April 20th 2018 Town Hall with Ebbe Altberg: transcript with audio

Strike the pose: Ebbe and moderator Xiola Linden at the first Town Hall session, Friday, April 20th

On Friday, April 20th, Linden Lab hosted two Town Hall meetings at which questions were put to the Lab’s CEO, Ebbe Altberg. Those wishing to ask questions were asked to submit them via the forum thread A Conversation with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg, although outside of the core meeting, Ebbe took time to answer questions from the audience present at the event.

Some 200 questions were asked, many of which were technical in nature. As many of the subjects of these questions were no things Ebbe could respond to directly, the decision was made to have the Lab’s subject matter experts address them directly through the forum thread itself after the Town Hall meetings, a process which may take several days to complete. So, if you did ask a technical question that wasn’t raised at either Town Hall event, be sure to check the thread to see if an answer in provided there.

The following is a transcript of the core questions and answers offered at both sessions, with audio extracts provided as reference.

  • These notes don’t follow the chronological flow of the sessions, as I’ve attempted to group subjects by topic for more concise reference.
  • Due to the nature of the event, some questions of a similar nature were asked at both sessions, which elicited very similar answers in each case. Where this is the case, I have generally provided the answer which – in my opinion, admittedly – offers the most information.
  • Similarly, Ebbe’s opening comments at both events followed similar lines, so I have only provided a transcript of the remarks made at the first session.
  • Questions are given in bold.
  • The “back to summary” links will take you back to the blog post summary of the session, and can be used by those who prefer to “subject hop” rather than work their way through the entire transcript.

The Short Form

For those who prefer, the following is a bullet-point list of the core questions asked, gathered into the same topic headings as the transcript notes. Links are given to the relevant part of the full transcript for those who would prefer to read / listen to the complete answers / comments.

Note: due to the nature of WordPress internal text anchors and scrolling, you may have to scroll up a little after jumping to a specific topic, in order to see the question.

Opening Comments – First Session

  • Linden Lab remains committed to Second Life, which is managed by a dedicated team covering Product, Engineering, Support, Marketing, etc. Jump to topic.
  • The Lab remains focused on growth, for Second Life as much as Sansar; Sansar does not signal the end of Second Life, nor are there plans to “transition” SL users to Sansar.
  • A lot of focus is on pivoting LL’s Second Life revenue generation away from a land-based model to one more balanced between land tier and other fees. Jump to topic.
  • Major effect and investment in being put into moving all of Second Life to a cloud based infrastructure, which will hopefully bring benefits. This should be seen as a sign of commitment to SL. Jump to topic.

Revenue: Land, Fees, Subscriptions and Compliance

Note: this section includes answers to questions about upcoming US SEC regulation changes and the incoming EU GDPR, which were primarily responded to in terms of compliance data management.

  • Land costs following the move to the cloud. – Land costs many not dramatically change, and revenue rebalancing has the potential to do more. Cloud benefits potentially more technical in nature, but may offer some fees benefits. Jump to topic.
  • How can Linden Lab sustain itself on a free-to-play basis? – Free-to-play, revenue and subscriptions: Free-to-play accepted norm in the industry and not changing with Second Life. However, as part of a re-balancing of revenue generation, what can be done on a free-to-play basis versus what might be possible through subscription options is being considered. Jump to topic.
  • Can you explain how LindeX and transaction fees are constantly increased with no perceived added benefit to users?
    • Providing an economic model that globally allows people to pay money into it and withdraw money from it requires regulatory compliance a state, federal and global levels, and this costs.
    • Increases in transaction fees, along with subscriptions, etc., may offer a means to reduce the cost of SL land.
    • Jump to topic.
  • What is the Lab’s policy on user data protection? – taken very serious, vis: compliance (above), LL does not participate in any business models that feature the use of user data. Jump to topic.
  • Have you considered charging for additional accounts, say US $10 per account? – Not come up, will pass it on to the team.
  • Are there going to be adjustments to Premium accounts? – Yes, and considerable work is being put into this by the Product team to determine the types of Premium account / subscriptions should be offered and what their individual benefits should be. Jump to topic.
  • Will the changes to Premium accounts also see changes to how arrears are handled, e.g. not lock accounts out? – time is provided for people to catch up on payments. Jump to topic.
  • Will any reduction in land fees apply to Skill Gaming regions? – in time, hopefully, yes. Jump to topic.

Technical / Project Questions

  • Will there be updates to Lab-owned in-world infrastructure – InfoHubs, themed private regions, etc? – already in hand. Jump to topic.
  • What are the plans for Second Life on Mobile? – It’s under discussion, but no firm plans, with a hope there might be a good business case to move in that direction. Jump to topic.
  • Will the return of Last Names allow people to freely choose their last name, or will it be ‘choose from a list’?
    • Also see my audio updates from Oz, Grumpity and Patch Linden on the return of Last Names – comments referencing that post are including in parentheses in the following bullet points).
    • Pre-made list (but suggestions on last name options may be sought from the community to help with refreshing the list with new options).
    • Will also be able to change your first name.
    • Will involve a fee (in US $) and might be a Premium benefit.
    • As a warning to creators: if you script items to identify avatars, don’t use names, use the avatar Agent Key.
    • No time frame as yet on when it will be rolled out.
    • Might be a Premium-only benefit; if available to all, Premium may have a specific advantage (TBD) over Basic.
    • Jump to topic.
  • When will Animesh Bakes on Mesh and Windlight EEP be available? –  No precise dates, but Users actively involved in testing. Hopefully in the next couple of quarters. Jump to topic.
  • Will the Teen Grid ever come back? – Not being discussed. Probably better to work on ensuring proper controls in place to allow people to use the one grid. Jump to topic.
  • What is the Lab’s commitment to the open source project? No change. Can’t really take it back and wouldn’t want to due to TPV synergy. Jump to topic.
  • Will any features from Sansar be back-ported to Second Life, such as the rendering engine or Marvelous Designer support? – rendering engine, no. Marvelous Designer support – possibly a question for the Second Life team. Jump to topic.
  • Will my.secondlife.com [Profile feeds] be improved to help make connections a-la Facebook? – connections and building communities are important, but whether my.secondlife.com is a part of that is unclear, as there are other potential channels. Jump to topic.
  • Would it be possible to spin-up a second instance of a region being rebooted, and transfer avatars to it and maintain traffic, rather than forcing them to teleport elsewhere / log off, and then letting the original just shut down? Jump to topic.
  • When is Second Life going to be optimised to run well on high-end client systems with good Internet connections and graphics? Jump to topic.

New Users and the On-boarding Process

  • Is Linden Lab planning to advertise Second Life to attract new customers and keep the population size healthy and sustainable? – this is a constant effort, and the Lab is investing time, effort and money into the entire end-to-end on-boarding process to not only maintain, but to hopefully grow, SL’s user base. Jump to topic.
  • What are Linden Lab’s plans to bring-in new users and incentivise past users to return? – partially answered above, plus the improvements to the platform, the content users continue to make, etc. Jump to topic.

General Topics

  • What is the Lab’s view on adult content and the future of adult content? – No change. Jump to topic.
  • Will there be more sessions like the Town Hall or like Lab Chat after SL15B? – There are in-world technical meetings, but the hope is to have more general in-world meetings and discussions going forward. Jump to topic.
  • How do you compare the Oasis [from Ready Player One] as an educational place with Second Life? – Second Life is probably the closest to the Oasis in the world today and has a broad range of uses and involvement which is inspiring. Jump to topic.
  • Do you see Second Life lasting for another fifteen years? – Yes; Second Life is still successful on many levels, so why not keep it going?
  • Can you give a positioning statement between Sansar and Second Life? – two products with some similarities, but also significant differences, each managed by a separate teams. Jump to topic.
  • What have you found to be the biggest challenges for Second Life with regards to your planned vision, and how are you overcoming those challenges? Jump to topic.
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Lab Chat #3 in 10-ish minutes

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

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.

You can find the full transcript, with audio extracts, as previously published in these pages by following this link.

However, I’ve been asked by a number of people if I could summarise things, rather than them having to read the entire transcript or just having a list of up–front links. I’ve therefore produced this summary, complete with links to the full answers within the transcript. If this approach proves popular with readers, I’ll adopt it as the lead-in to future transcripts.

Work in progress: Aki Shichiroji demonstrates a wearable wyvern utilising Bento bones for animation.
Work in progress: Aki Shichiroji demonstrates a wearable wyvern utilising Bento bones for animation.

Project Bento

  • How will creators make poses and animations for the new bones (wings, fingers, facial expressions, etc)? Creators will be able to use existing plug-ins (MayaStar, Avastar) to create animation content for Project Bento as is currently the case. Full answer.
  • Will there be any in-world tools for Bento pose and animation creation? At this point, Second Life doesn’t have any in-world animation creation tools, and Bento does not attempt to add them. Instead it leverages existing out-world tools. Full answer.
  • Will Bento have the ability to animate (or pose) separately?  Yes. Second life does already support isolating animations to certain parts, and Bento is no different.  Full answer.
  • Will any of the work on the Bento facial bones be incorporated into the default/system avatar for expressions, etc? The default system avatar has not at this point been re-rigged to use the new Bento bones. However, custom mesh heads, when rigged to the bones, will be able to make use of them. Full answer.
  • Will there be, or are there any plans to introduce animated mesh into Second Life (e.g. animated pets, etc)? No comment on whether or not animated meshes will be supported in the future. However, Bento bones can be used to provide a level of animation of creatures, objects, attached to an avatar (e.g. bats flying around your head). Full answer.
  • Will any attempts be made to have the new bones be scriptable for the use in user-created animation rigs like Anypose?  There are no plans to add scripting capabilities that are specific to Bento at this time. Full answer.
  • Can some Bento UG meetings be held at an “Asia friendly” time? It will be looked into. Full answer.

Second Life

The new Experience Keys based Social Islands
The new Experience Keys based Social Islands – see below
  • Can we have tools inside inventory to help manage it?  The Lab is focused on improving inventory operation robustness, and will have a new viewer offering this soon. Better inventory management interfaces and tools are a terrific idea, and something TPVs could even contribute. Full answer.
  • Will we see similar edutainment-type experiences as the new social islands, but aimed at more advanced users? Yes, very probably in time. Full answer.
  • Why doesn’t Second Life have gift cards which can be purchased in stores like other games? Probably more interesting to think of ways to sort-of refer a friend, maybe, with an associated gift card to get them into the world. But something to examine. Full answer.
  • Any plans to provide more robust photography tools similar to Firestorm’s Phototools? Will existing tools be updated? Lab prefers not to comment on things until close to release; photography floater updates an excellent opportunity for TPV / open-source contributions. Full answer.
  • Can sound files be increased in length beyond the 10 second limit? Yes, and animation file sizes can be increased. By how much isn’t clear, and the work will be dependent on moving the assets to CDN delivery first. Full answer.
  • Will we be able to texture more than 8 faces when editing mesh in-world?  The change made in Sept 2015 refers to allowing more than 8 textureable faces as a part of the upload process, not to in-world editing. No further changes planned at present. Full answer.
  • Will any similar incentive to the private island buy-down offer be presented to Mainland owners? Not at present. Time is required to analyse the other impact of the buy-down offer and determine its overall benefit (or otherwise). So nothing planned for Mainland at the moment or immediate future. Full answer.
  • Will anything be done to address vehicle region crossing issues, particularly with large vehicles, which have become worse over the past year? Lab not aware of any changes that should have made things worse, but will look into matters. However, large vehicles have always been problematic on region crossings, so no promises. Full answer.
  • Will RLV functionality be added to the official viewer? Longer-term, Lab will add more capabilities to Experience Keys which will be similar to, but not compatible with, RLV. Full answer.
  • Will Experience Keys be opened to Basic members to create Experiences? Experience Keys will remain Premium-only do to potential griefing abuse. Premium helps ensure accountability.  Full answer.
  • Will Experience Search (and other search) be improved? The  current focus is the Marketplace search beta, using Elasticsearch. This will likely become the default MP search engine soon. The Lab may then use Elasticsearch on other search capabilities. Full answer.
  • Will the Marketplace Listing Enhancement issues & JIRAs be addressed? The Lab believes they have a fix for a major cause, which is in the process of being implemented and may clear up most issues. Full answer.
  • Can the number of Estate Managers be increased? Will be looked at. Full answer.
  • What’s the best way to report group spammers? Single or Multiple reports? Via the Abuse Report, Quality of report, not quantity is important. Many reports aren’t actionable as they are incomplete. Full answer.
  • Does LL give employees time to use SL? Yes & all staff are encouraged to spend time in SL when first starting. Oz Linden also looks to recruit from SL users where possible. Full answer.
  • Any thoughts on Vulkan graphics support for SL? For SL, no. Sansar, yes.
  • Can we have an update on Linden Realms and the grid hunt games available through the portal parks? New Linden content is coming, but no details given.

Continue reading “Lab Chat #3 in 10-ish minutes”

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.

 

 

Reminder: Lab Chat #3, May 6th with 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.

The third in the series will take place on Friday, May 6th, starting at 10:30 SLT at the Linden Endowment for the Arts Theatre. The guests for this session will be:

Ebbe Linden (Ebbe Altberg, the Lab’s CEO), who requires no introduction here. He’ll obviously be answering any questions on Project Sansar which are raised during the show.

Oz Linden, 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, 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.

Because both Oz and Troy will be present at the show, the majority of the questions this time around will be focused on Second Life and Project Bento, so this is a great opportunity to find out what is being planned for Second Life, and what Project Bento is all about and what it might mean for you.

Among many other things, Bento offers the potential for animated facial expressions and animated fingers (shown in this video by Abramelin Wolfe) on mesh avatar models

The show will be recorded in audio, which will be made available some time after the show has wrapped. I hope to attend and produce a full transcript, and those wishing to catch-up on the first two Lab Chat sessions through this blog can do so by following the links below:

For those who prefer, videos of the first two sessions can be found on YouTube:

LEA Theatre SLurls

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.

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.