SL13B: Ebbe on the Lab, Second Life, Sansar and more

Jo Yardley, Ebbe Linden and Zander Greene
Jo Yardley, Ebbe Linden and Zander Greene

Update: Pey’s law came into effect. 45 minutes after I published this report, the video of the discussion appeared on YouTube. I’ve therefore embedded it at the foot of this introduction.

Meet the Lindens is a series of conversations / Q&A session with staff from Linden Lab, held as a part of the SL Birthday celebrations in-world. These are opportunities for Second Life users to get to know something about the staff at the Lab: who they are, what they do, what drew them to Second Life and the company, what they do, what they find interesting / inspirational about the platform, and so on.

Tuesday, June 21st saw Zander Greene and Jo Yardley putting audience questions to Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg, in his persona of Ebbe Linden. The following is a transcript of the session, focusing on the questions and answers, including audio extracts from my own recording of the event.

The discussion started with a brief re-cap of Ebbe’s background prior to his arrival at the Lab in February 2014. You can read my own short profile on him, and also his own feedback on that profile and the comments which followed it.

This transcript picks up with questions around Ebbe’s times at linden Lab, and I’ve attempted to split topics logically between those between Ebbe and linden Lab, Project Sansar and Second Life. As such, the questions in the following sections are not in the order presented during the discussion, and may not reflect any video of the event which is produced.

Please use the links below to jump directly to topics of interest.

Quick Links

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Lab Chat #3: transcript and audio

Lab Chat #3: Saffia, Troy, Oz, Ebbe and Jo
Lab Chat #3: Saffia, Troy, Oz, Ebbe and Jo

Friday, May 6th saw the third in the Lab Chat series take place in-world, featuring guests Oz Linden, the Director of Second Life Engineering, Troy Linden, a Senior Producer of Second Life and of course, Linden Lab CEO, Ebbe Altberg, in his alter-ego of Ebbe Linden.

The session focused on a mix of questions submitted to an official forum thread ahead of the event, and questions taken directly from the audience, and this transcripts offers a breakdown of the questions asked and answers given.

Please note that in places the audio presented has been edited to remove asides, repetition or removed inaudible elements, and so may differ in length and content to the official recordings made of the session. However, no attempt has been made to alter the content or context of the answers supplied by Ebbe, Oz and Troy.

For ease of reference, the session has been split into two parts, and the following Quick links will take readers to any specific topics of interest to them, and further topics can be navigated to by either returning to this page, or using the Quick Links summaries provided within the Bento / Second Life and Project Sansar pages.

 

 

Lab Chat #3: May 6th, 2016 – Ebbe, Oz, Troy and Bento

Lab Chat LogoLab Chat is the name of the public Q&A series aimed at providing Second Life users with the opportunity to have their questions put to Lab management and personnel.

The first two sessions in the series took place in November 2015 and January 2016 respectively, with guest Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab. Each event covered both Second Life and Project Sansar and saw Ebbe respond to questions selected from those put forward to a forum thread ahead of each event.

For those who missed the first two shows, you can catch up with them through my transcripts, which include audio from the events and are available below:

The third in the series has now been officially announced, and will once again feature Ebbe Altberg, who will this time be joined by Oz and Troy Linden. The 1-hour event will once again take place at the Linden Endowment for the Arts Theatre,  on Friday, May 6th, starting at 10:30 SLT.

About the Guests

Oz Linden
Oz Linden – Director of Second Life Engineering

Oz Linden is the Director of Second Life Engineering at Linden Lab, and is perhaps most noted for his involvement with viewer development, including contributions from the open-source community and TPVs. He oversees almost all aspects of the technical development of Second Life, both viewer and server, and works closely with his engineers and developers to ensure Second Life continues to be enhanced.

Troy Linden  is a Senior Producer of Second Life at the Lab, and has been involved in bringing numerous high-profile projects within SL to fruition, and is currently engaged in Project Bento, the project to greatly extend the second Life avatar skeleton, which Oz’s team is currently working on together with members of the SL content creation community.

Both Oz and Troy will be at the Lab chat session to directly answer questions on Project Bento, the SL development process and roadmap and on Second Life features, while Ebbe will doubtless cover any questions related to Project Sansar, if they arise (! 🙂 ).

Present Your Questions

The Lab is inviting questions on these topics to be submitted to the official forum thread, no later than Friday, April 29th, 2016. A selection of questions will then be drawn from those submitted and put to Ebbe, Oz and Troy during the recording of the show and before the live audience at the theatre.

In difference to the first two Lab Chat events, the May 6th session will be recorded as audio only. I also hope to be at the event, and will have a full transcript of proceedings available through these pages (with audio extracts) as soon as possible after the show has finished recording.

And to help with Project Bento, here’s the Drax Files World Makers segment introducing the project.

VWBPE 2016: Ebbe Altberg transcript with audio

Ebbe Atlberg, through his alter ego of Ebbe Linden, addresses the VWBPE conference
Ebbe Atlberg, through his alter ego of Ebbe Linden, addresses the VWBPE conference

On Wednesday, March 9th 2016, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg appeared at the 2016 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education conference, where he gave a brief overview of matters pertaining to Second Life and Project Sansar over the course of the year since the last VWBPE conference, and to answer questions about either platform asked by the audience.

The following is a transcript of his session at VWBPE 2016, complete with audio extracts. Note that note all items are given in the order they are discussed in the video of the session. For ease of reference, I’ve split comments and questions between those specific to Second Life and those focused on Project Sansar. Also, where more than one question was asked on a specific topic, I’ve grouped the questions / responses together under a single topic.

The Summary

Click on the links below to go to the relevant section.

Opening Comments

Thank you  so much. Great to be here again; it’s an awesome event, I hope you’ve all have had great sessions and more sessions to come. I will just spend a little bit of time and just talk about what I am and what we here at Linden Lab are really excited about, and what we’re working on a little bit. Then as usual, very happy to spend most of the time actually talking to you with regards to your questions that you may have.

So, first of all, wow! What an incredible year it’s been. The virtual reality market that we’re sort-of been waiting for is actually in the process of happening. We’re now seeing incredible investments from a  very large number of companies, whether it’s hardware, software, platforms tools, that I’m sure many of you are very excited to get your hands on very soon.

We in the Lab have been playing a lot with the latest hardware that’s going to hit the consumer market soon, over the next few months, and doing a lot of work to integrate those into project Sansar, but there’s also work to get some integration of that into Second Life.

So we feel very fortunate to be having all this incredible experience, together with you all, of running Second Life. Having the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t work, what works really well and what is not working at all, and what it takes to run a platform like Second Life. What makes creators successful, what makes businesses successful, because our primary goal here is to make creators of experiences as successful as they can possibly be, and share their success.

VWBPE 2016
VWBPE 2016

Second Life Overview

Second Life has made a lot of good strides over the last year since we last met. Performance is continually improving, and we have some more performance improvements in the pipeline to come out soon. Quality is improving, stability is improving, and we’ve also managed to roll out some nice improvements. New avatars, and you have the new, better web control or media on prim, that’s now a really modern browser technology, which hopefully will be really helpful for educators.

New Registration API

We also have a lot of interesting things coming in the pipeline. [An] improved registration API, so that it will be easier for institutions to bring on their customers or clients or students in a more pre-configured way: choosing what avatars they can select from, getting them set-up in the proper groups, and taking them through a whole custom on-board experience.

Back to index

Compliance Work

We’ve also done a huge amount of work in what seems boring but is very, very, important to us, and even though you might not realise it, very important to you all as well, which is around compliance, and making sure that all the things we do fiscally within the Second Life virtual economy, and what it takes for people to redeem to fiat currency, US dollars or whichever currency you prefer around the world. We’re doing a huge amount of work to improve all the tools and fraud controls, etc., to make sure we’re running a clean, tight ship where there’s no money laundering or anything of that sort.

We’ve gotten far enough that we’ll be able to soon improve the time it takes for people to redeem money, so we can do that in hopefully just a day or two for most people. We’ve blogged about that, so you might already know about that.

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The SL Team and Other Things Coming Up

So, I feel really good about the Second Life team. Just a few weeks ago we had the whole team together in Seattle. We keep switching spots; sometimes we do it in Boston and this time we did it near the offices in Seattle. And it’s a very tight group, they are very passionate about Second Life, with Oz heading-up on the engineering side, and just a great, tight crew who really just want the absolute best for Second Life and for you all. So I feel very good with what that team has been able to do over the last year, and what they’ll be able to do in the coming years.

Some cool things coming in addition to the registration API. We have a way for, institutions that have had interruptions of viewer updates when it wasn’t something they were completely prepared for can now sign-up to be on an EDU channel, where we can better manage viewer updates.

We’re working on an update to get the current Oculus viewer working with Second Life, and we’re also working on this Quick Graphics viewer (version 4.0.2.311103 a the time of writing), so that you can manage when people show up in your regions with way too much clothing or too heavy of an avatar and still get good frame rates within your regions if there are avatars that are too heavy.1 Those will all roll out over the next weeks and months.

Back to index

Continue reading “VWBPE 2016: Ebbe Altberg transcript with audio”

Lab Chat #2: Ebbe Altberg – transcript and audio

Lab Chat #2, January 21st, 2016 - Jo Yardley, Ebbe Altberg and Saffia Widdershins
Lab Chat #2, January 21st, 2016 – Jo Yardley, Ebbe Altberg and Saffia Widdershins

Update Wednesday, January 27th: The official Lab Chat #2 video is now on-line, and is embedded at the end of this article.

Thursday, January 21st saw the  second in a series of discussions called Lab Chat, billed as “an opportunity for you to ask Lindens your questions during a live taping that will be recorded and archived for everyone to view.”

As with the first show, the session featured the Lab’s CEO, Ebbe Altberg in his alter ego of Ebbe Linden. In preparation for the recording, Second Life users were invited to ask questions about the Lab, Second Life, “Project Sansar”, etc on a forum thread.

Over 80 questions were asked, all of which were reviewed by the Lab Chat production team, and from which the list of question to put to Ebbe was drawn. The questions select were those the production team thought would be of most interest to the attending audience, or represented those questions which were asked multiple times by different people.

The following pages offer a transcript of the show’s recording session, which has been split into three parts:

  • Those questions and answers those related to Second Life
  • Those focused more on Project Sansar
  • Additional questions & audience Q&A.

The first two sections are presented in chronological order – as the questions were asked during the recording of the show. The additional questions have been grouped together (where possible) by subject matter, for ease of reference.

The Quick Links below will take you directly to each of these three sections, or to any of the individual discussion points within them. Each question / answer includes an audio extract of that question and response for those who wish to listen rather than read.

Quick Links

Concerning Second Life

Concerning Sansar

Additional Questions

Closing Comments

Note: this is not a transcript of the entire recording session. The focus is on the questions asked and responses given. Also, the audio extracts are from a recording which was cleaned-up following the show to remove repetitions, pauses, trailing comments which otherwise break the flow / context of replies. However, no attempt has been made to editorialise or in any way alter the context of any response given to questions.

Wareable examines Project Sansar

"Project Sansar" promotional image via linden Lab
Project Sansar promotional image via Linden Lab

In Virtual worlds reborn: Can Second Life’s second life democratise VR? Sophie Charara, features editor at Wareable, examines Project Sansar, using in part Ebbe’s comments from an on-stage discussion they had, together with Ken Bretschneider of The Void during the December 2015 Web Summit. I’ve embedded the video of that discussion at the end of this article.

While the piece in Wearable doesn’t offer much that’s new to those who have been following the Lab’s conversations to the press and SL users about their hopes for the new platform, the article does offer some interesting insights to what the Lab is doing and some of their thinking behind Sansar.

Sophie Charara
Sophie Charara

Starting out with what we already know – the Lab is pitching the platform as “WordPress for VR”: an environment where people can come in and create virtual environments without the need to be a software engineer, coder, etc. – the article covers a lot of ground, with comparisons to Second Life, references to other pioneers in VR (Chris Milk, Nonny de la Pena and Jeremy Bailenson) and a further look at hoped-for time frames with “Sansar”.

The Lab has, on numerous occasions, indicated that initially, Sansar is being targeted at some very specific verticals where immersive VR has practical application. Education, healthcare, simulation, business, design and architecture have all be very specifically mentioned in this regard. So a point of interest for me was reading the specific example cited by Ebbe as to how Sansar is already been used, albeit on a test basis, by an architect:

An architect named Diego, who works for a big firm that is completing a major medical centre project, built the entire building in Sansar as an experiment.

“When he experienced it in virtual reality for the first time, he walked into the lobby and said ‘Damn, it’s too big,'” said Altberg. “It took him one second to realise that something was off and he’d been working on this project for a long time. That had value instantly.”

In this instance, the power of virtual realisation is clear, and having a platform which allows companies and individuals easily leverage this kind of visualisation, connect with other and have them shared in such visualisations / experiences / models is clear. In the example above, it is only a short step from Diego witnessing the flaws in his design (and being able to correct them as a result) to him being able to invite his clients into the model, so they can witness first-hand what his company’s vision for the project is. It also potentially allows his company to retain the model as a part of a virtual portfolio of projects they can showcase to future clients.

That the Lab had identified architecture as a suitable environment where Sansar could offer significant value for clients can also be ssen in the fact that the first public demonstration of the new platform took place San Francisco’s month-long Architecture and the City Festival in September 2015.

VR capabilities have a huge potential for various vertical markets, such as architecture and design, and these are markets the Lab have indicated they are targeting (image archvertical.com)
In 2014, Jon Brouchoud demonstrated the potential of architectural visualisation using the Oculus Rift and Unity 3D (image archvertical.com)

Hence why “Sansar” could, potentially, be a very powerful platform with the sectors the Lab has identified, particularly if it really does allow clients the freedom to create environments which can be standalone or interconnected, and / or which can be accessed directly through a closed Intranet, or open to all via direct web portal, according to individual needs.

Picture, for example, a university using Sansar to build a virtual teaching environment, access through its own Intranet and using it’s exiting log-in and authentication process so students and staff can seamlessly move into and out of the virtual space. They could then open a public portal to elements of that space, and / or link-up with other education institutions, enabling students to share in their virtual learning spaces, building-up their own “world” of connected experiences.

Second Life has proven itself and the value of virtual environments in education. "Project Sansar" could present opportunities to significantly build on the foundations laid by SL
Second Life has proven itself and the value of virtual environments in education. “Project Sansar” could present opportunities to significantly build on the foundations laid by SL

Not that Sansar is purely about these niche environments. The potential social power of virtual spaces and virtual opportunities has long been established by Second Life, and the article does make it clear that as things progress, the Lab does see Sansar as potentially being able to replicate a lot of what Second Life can already do and offering it to an audience as a much more accessible medium.

This obviously is something of a worry for those of us deeply rooted in Second Life – much has already been made of the potential for the “cannibalisation effect” Sansar might have on the current Second Life user base. It’s actually a valid concern, and something we should perhaps be prepared for at some point down the road, if Sansar proves to be a success and starts to pull SL users away from this platform. But frankly, it’s not something which should be held up as a reason for the Lab not to press ahead with Project Sansar.

Continue reading “Wareable examines Project Sansar”