|Meet the Lindens is now a regular part of the Second Life anniversary landscape.
Over the course of the week of the Second Life anniversary celebrations, it gives Second Life users the chance to find out more about the people working at Linden Lab, find out about projects and plans, and the work being carried out on Second Life and Sansar, ask questions about matters of interest / concern to them.
For Meet the Lindens 2018, Saffia Widdershins sat down with six members of the Second Life team, as well as with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg:
|Table of Contents
- Keira and Patch Linden.
- Oz and Grumpity Linden.
- Xiola and Brett Linden.
This article is part of a set of summaries for the five sessions, and focuses on the conversation with Keira and Patch Linden. Please note that it is not intended as a full transcript of the given session; because some topics came up more than once through the week, I have tried to focus each summary on subjects that were answered in the greatest detail within each individual session.
Use the links in the table contents to jump to topics of interest or any of the other sessions in this series. Note that audio extracts are included with each summary. These have been edited to remove pauses, repetitions, etc., with care taken to maintain the overall context of comments and answers..
All of the sessions were recorded as a part of the overall video record for the SL15B celebrations by SL4Live. For completeness, the video of each session has been embedded at the end of each summary. The timestamps provided here and in the other summary articles will open the relevant video in a separate browser tab, so you can here the question and reply as given during the conversations.
About Keira and Patch
- Supervises the Product Operations (Land) team, comprising Guy, Midori, Bianca, Izzy, Conan and Forge Linden.
- Has responsibility for Mainland and coordinating the Community Gateway Programme. She also plays a role in helping to managed the LDPW.
- Originally started as a Second Life user involved in fund-raising activities in-world and also got involved in mentoring new users.
- As the Lab was recruiting, she decided to apply and was recruited.
- Is the Senior Director of Product Operations at Linden Lab.
- Role involves him in all of the support activities for both Second Life and Sansar (which each have individual support teams reporting to him through their respective support managers).
- Based at the Lab’s Atlanta, Georgia, office, home to a large portion of the support teams and which he helped establish.
- SL responsibilities include overseeing the content development teams and the Linden Department of Public Works – LDPW, aka The Moles, and managing the account support team.
- He started as a Second Life resident in 2004 designing male clothing. He became a new user mentor and a community lead. In 2007, the Lab asked him to consider applying to work for the company.
- He initially worked as a support agent, rising to become the concierge team manager. He then moved to the role of Operations Support Manager for a year prior to pivoting away from support entirely and joining the Product group at the Lab, and from there up to his current position.
Mainland Price Restructuring
[11:25-13:26] On Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 Linden Lab announced a restructuring of Mainland tier prices, presenting a 10% reduction in the cost to users, with allotment of “free” land for Premium members doubled from 512 sq metres to 1024 sq metres.
- The response from users has been very positive; the land team has been extremely busy responding to support requests for Mainland parcels.
- Even so, there is still a lot of Mainland available for those wanting to avail themselves of the opportunity (Premium account required to qualify, obviously).
- The rules relating to Mainland holdings (what can be held and where, the prerequisites relating to the amount of land within in region a person must hold, etc), have been relaxed.
More on the LDPW
[19:01-21:42] The Moles, or Linden Department of Public Works, are freelance contractors working for the Lab, and are generally SL users.
- They come from around the world.
- The Moles are responsible for all Linden-created content in Second Life (e.g. Linden Home, Mainland infrastructure, Premium gifts, experiences such as Linden Realms, Tyrah and the Curse of the Magical Glytches, the Horizons environment, even some of the infrastructure at SL15B.
- People can apply to join the team by filing a support ticket. Some people may be approached directly by the Lab on the basis of their work, reputation, etc.
[34:41-36:55] The LDPW is already working to exploit Animesh and:
- This may include a re-working of the PaleoQuest experience to make all the dinosaurs there Animesh.
- The potential for further work on the Second Life system avatar as a result of Animesh – backwards compatibility allowing.
PaleoQuest, July 2015 (Flickr) – nay be updated as a result of Animesh
[30:14-34:34] Will Second Life ever have regions larger than 256m on a side, such as for role-play, etc.?
- Current region size is deeply baked into the current Second Life infrastructure / environment and is not easy to change.
- The Lab has investigated ways and means to offer other region sizes, and have succeeded in tests, but with nothing that will scale.
- The move to the cloud might offer the opportunity to present users with land products of different sizes.
- In the meantime, there is the possibility that as a result of improvements in simulator performance, the Lab might raise the Land Capacity within the existing region products further.
- However, what might be the biggest limitation to this is not the simulator, but viewer performance: the more objects placed within a region, the harder the viewer has to work to render it all.
Linden Homes Revamp
- Linden Homes have been successful from the Lab’s point-of-view.
- Original homes largely designed by Molly Linden (not an aggregate account, as some believe)
- These units are all non-mesh, and are now looking dated.
- Revamp will likely see new designs in mesh, and present more styles for users.
- These could include mixed commercial / residential options.
- An example of the mix commercial / residential might be designs with a store area on the ground floor and living space on the upper floor(s).
- The offerings may by flexible – both 512sq metre footprints homes and 1024 sq metre footprint units.
- The new offerings might be along similar lines to Horizons: a range of building styles available with each parcel – however, the parcels themselves will not be offered for sale.
- The Lab is considering a number of themes and concepts for this revamp.
- [21:47-24:33] Renting Linden Managed Spaces: It is possible to rent Linden-held spaces (such as the SS Galaxy and Svarga) for private or special events (birthday parties, weddings, etc). Those interested in doing so have a couple of direct options for contacting the Lab with a request:
- By submitting a support ticket with their request – the Linden space they’d like to use, when, how long for, and other relevant details.
- By reaching out directly to a member of the Land team, preferably via e-mail, providing the same information.
- [27:32-29:41] Personal views on the best improvements in SL over 15 years.
- Patch: the massive improvements in avatar appearance thanks to mesh; the experience tools that allow immersive activities; Bento and the (still in development) Animesh capabilities; the land prices restructuring.
- Kiera: everything Patch has indicated, plus Voice and the ease with which it makes communications more intuitive and personal.
- [49:44-50:28] Estate Management Enhancements: The recent announcement that private estate holders can now restart their regions from the web, rather than having to log-in to SL is the first item in a number of further improvements to the estate management tools. These will include:
- Improved ban / access list management.
- Increasing the number of allowed estate managers.
- [52:04-53:43] Region Move Fees: could an amnesty be offered on the US $150 fee for moving a private region from one grid location to another?
- There are circumstances where the fee is waived (e.g. as it is not possible to expand a region by adding others to it; because the region is within the “red zone” – the offshore areas surrounding Mainland continents, etc.).
- Outside of these types of move, cases for region moves are seen by the Lab as “rare”.
- [53:59-57:22] Groups and Group Management: can groups have more capabilities – such as splitting roles in to sub-groups which can be individually IM’d?
- Not something that has been considered.
- Further increasing the number of groups for Premium members has been discussed, but no decisions made.
- One problem with groups is they are part of the data which has to be updated / transferred whenever a user logs-in or crosses between region (directly or via teleport). This has to be weighed against any increase.
- [1:15:47-1:16:54] On re-using disbanded group names: currently, no formal process in place for this, but might be something that could be handled initially via a support request. The actual demand for this would have to be investigated both any formalised process for handling it is planned / implemented.
- Quick bullet points:
- [58:12-1:02:00] Will banks and stock Markets: be allowed back in SL: No (this topic interrupted by a wombat disposed to shouting in Voice).
- [1:03:21-1:07:08] How residents (and LL staff) might help promote Second Life via social media, etc.
- [1:08:50-1:10:07] The Lab is considering an idea to develop an on-line Second Life / Linden Lab channel / network for streaming videos from SL.
- [1:07:12-1:08:46] SL waterways and connecting Mainland continents.
- [1:10:44-1:12:51] – Could LL offer pre-paid game cards to encourage people to try SL – difficult proposition due to the up-front manufacture, marketing, distribution, etc. However, people can “gift” a month’s Premium membership to others (payable in Linden Dollars) via a support ticket.
- [1:13:00-end] General discussion and short Q&A.