This page is a part of a transcript of the Meet the Lindens presentation held at the SL13B celebration on Tuesday, June 21st, featuring Ebbe Linden (Ebbe Altberg, CEO at Linden Lab), answering questions from hosts, Zander Greene and Jo Yardley, and members of the audience.It covers the questions asked about Second Life.
- Ebbe on Ebbe and the Lab
- How did working at Linden Lab come about?
- What were your fist impressions on joining the Lab?
- Which part of the job do you like the most?
- What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced
- What is your management style?
- What are the things you see SL residents doing that you admire?
- Do you think critics are right when they say the digital age has made us more isolated?
- Do you have a Linden Bear?
- Are the revenue issues for Blocksworld a / the reason for it not reaching the Android platform?
- Ebbe on Sansar
- Is the approximate SL / Non-SL creator ratio known for Sansar Creator Preview applications?
- Avatars and Freedom of Expression
- Will there be recommended hardware specifications for Sansar?
- Are we anywhere near a name for Sansar?
- Ebbe on Second Life
- Is there any explanation for the recent LindeX exchange rate fluctuations?
- When can we expect a version of the SL viewer supporting the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive?
- Has the Lab considered cubemap reflections?
- Does the Lab have and plan / strategy for Mainland / re-populating abandoned Mainland?
- When will we have more control for environmental factors in SL / Sansar?
Ebbe on Second Life
There have been some fluctuations in the LindeX exchange rates recently. What caused this, and is the Lab doing anything in this regard? – Cain Maven
Well, first I want people to understand that the exchange is an exchange between users. It’s not like you’re exchanging things with Linden Lab; you’re exchanging things with each other. It is a floating exchange, so it all depends on the supply and demand amongst you all, right? We’re sitting on the sidelines watching it.
Now, there’s some things we can do to impact the exchange rates, to sort-of manage the supply of Lindens in the market; but we try to be very passive and let the market take it[self] where it naturally sort-of wants to go.
Now, there were a couple of things. There was an event a couple of weeks ago where there was a pretty rapid change, and that was a fairly isolated incident of someone or someones being very active on the sell side, which was maybe, I would say, fairly unusual, obviously very unusual as we haven’t seen that in years.
And now why it’s moving slowly? It’s something we’re looking at, and we’re analysing it.
Could it perhaps have something to do with the grandfathered regions that people are all trying to get money together to buy those?
It could contribute, but I mean in general I can say that things have been very stable from a volume point of view … the number of users is very stable, so it could be related to some of the pricing changes that have been introduced, although I wouldn’t necessarily assume that that’s completely it.
But you know, ecosystems like this are quite complex. so we’ve done things, like for example – it’s been a while now – but we removed all the third-party exchanges; we now done where you can buy-down for grandfathered pricing; we changed some of the pricing on the exchange for what it cost to buy and sell the Lindens and to redeem.
So, all these things could have various impacts individually, and combined they could be a contributor, So, we’re analysing it, but I think ultimately, given the amount of volume we have, it’s going to go the way supply and demand wants it to go. It’s a dynamic market, it’s not a set rate, you always have to be aware that this market will and can fluctuate.
When can we expect a version of the Second Life viewer supporting the commercial Oculus Rift and even the Vive?
I’m told that there’s a project viewer around the corner; I’ve been told I might actually get to see what that looks like today [Tuesday, June 21st]. Not a ready-to-go project viewer, but something that I can look at. Once I see it, I have no idea if that makes them say, “oh, we’re close to something that’s going to be reasonable”, or “Wow! We’ve got a lot more work to do!”, and go back and work more.
And I’d also have to, you know, put an asterisk on Oculus and Second life. Second Life, I don’t believe – I wouldn’t say ever – but it’s going to be a huge challenge for Oculus and Second Life to ever be an ideal combination. Second Life was not built to be comfortably flying along at 90 frames per second. There might be, you know, a future or maybe with the 1080 Nvidia card or something and a super machine with a very optimised region and the right kind of avatars; maybe you can get everything to align to be sort-of smooth at 90.
So I don’t want to over-promise anything; I mean I think Oculus in the context of Second Life is more of a way for all of us to learn, to experiment, but I don’t want anyone to believe that this is going to be some sort of go download Second life off the Oculus Store and have a tremendous Oculus experience. I think that would be the wrong thing to set those expectations. But, I’m looking forward to seeing what can be done with the right hardware combination; how good can we get it in Second Life. I’m curious about it.
But Sansar is definitely the platform that is purpose-built to be a great VR platform. That means that the whole content optimisation pipeline and how we have to bake experiences, so some of these cool things we have in Second Life, like the ability to create in real-time; in Second Life the authoring environment and the runtime are sort-of one in the same. In Sansar we had to separate those two out. You go into a specific editing mode, and then you publish, and they we do all kinds of baking and optimisation for lighting and audio and all kinds of things. And then, depending on how much optimisations need to be done, and what quality settings you might set, it might take a little while for that process to take place, and then *boom!* you have a runtime environment where people can come in and have basically the runtime experience.
So there are pros and cons with both of those models, but to get VR, we had to go down that route, because having an ability for people to edit the environment inside the runtime would be too difficult to do for performance reasons. At this point in time at least. So that’s what I have to say about that.
.. And I had a good time with the DK2 in Second Life as well. We had done a decent job of getting it to work, but the DK2 had an expectation of 75 fps, the Rift, the final consumer version, the CV-1, has an expectation of 90 fps. But they did some really good work on their software to, that actually make the software faster.
And now we have these incredible Nvidia card that just came out, you know the 1080 and the 1070, and I’m looking forward to getting my newly ordered box with a 1080 in it to see what can be possible in there. Obviously, with no expectation that most of you would have that for quite some time; but it’ll give us a sense of what’s going to be possible in the future.
I’m aware it’s been said Second life will probably not have any real-time reflections any time soon, but has the Lab looked at cubemap reflections? – Paulo Gibbs
Wow. Pretty geeky. Are we talking about people wanting mirrors? Yeah. I know that’s a thorny problem. I don’t know if Second Life will ever solve for that; we probably have higher priority items to do. And I don’t actually know when and if that would be solved for in Sansar, either. So I have to whiff on this one. I don’t know. I haven’t heard of it being a priority, and I can understand why when we talk about things that need to be done.
There’s a lot of land for sale or even abandoned on the Mainland. What is Linden Lab’s plan, if any for that land, and is there any goal or strategy to re-populate the abandoned Mainland – Justinevander
So what I do know is that Patch Linden is working with his troops to do some improvements to Mainland. I’m probably going to wait for him to be more specific on what they’re going to do, but some infrastructure improvements on Mainland and upgrading content in the experience there to make it a more attractive place to be. That’s all I know about that now, and that’s work that’s in progress. I don’t know exactly when they’ll start to deliver some of those upgrades, be we definitely want to make Mainland a more interesting place.
When are we going to have more control over environmental factors, snow, rain 24-hour day cycles, and how will this be in Sansar? – Beckka Fredericks
In Sansar it’s too early for me to tell on some of those things.
In Second Life, thanks to Jo, we obviously know about the 24-hour clock thing, and I know that the team has said maybe there’s some environmental package that we should try to solve for. That could be an interesting area to focus on for a bit.
But right now, I haven’t seen any of that on a high priority. We do have a Second life off-site coming up on the East Coast in about six weeks, and we’ll see then if this is something that will sort-of float to the top.
So yeah, any feedback you guys have for what you do and do not want, in the next several weeks is a good time to remind us, because like I said, we’re going to have an off-site. We have it – well, this one, we have it every year. We try to get the team together, because we’re quite distributed. The Second life team is in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Virginia and all kinds of places in between. So we try to get as many of the people on the team together a few times a year, and the next one’s coming up in 5-6 weeks.
It’s not like we make all the decision then, we’re trying to lay out what’s critical for the upcoming quarters and what do we have to focus on, our energy, and what do we think can move the needle the most.
We’re thinking about how do we get Second Life to grow, how do we get more users to come in, how do we get more users to convert to stay, and how do we get more users wanting to engage and stick around. So I’m not sure the things that you asked just there are going to be at the top of the list; so can’t promise anything there. But we’ll see. Some of those things shouldn’t be too difficult, so hopefully we can squeeze them in. But again, I think there’s probably going to be enough things on the list above it that are more impact. So again, we’ll see.