|On Thursday, November 15th, 2018 Linden Lab hosted a further Town Hall meeting at which questions were put to three of the Lab’s senior staff: Oz Linden, Grumpity Linden and Patch Linden.
Those wishing to ask questions were asked to submit them via a Town Hall meeting forum thread (now locked from having further questions added, but remains available for viewing). The following is a summary of the answers to questions asked during the Town Hall session, audio extracts and video time stamps provided as reference. The video is embedded at the end of the article.
|Table of Contents
When reading this summary, please note:
- It is not a full transcript; rather replies to questions have been bullet-pointed for ease of reading.
- Responses to questions have been grouped by topic, and are not necessarily in the order discussed at the meeting.
- Some questions were very generic in form and as a result lacked any structured answer (e.g. Q: will Linden Lab be improving Groups? A: what would you like to see improved?). I have not included such questions in this summary, but have focused on those questions that yielded replies that offer insight on Second Life and Linden Lab’s thinking about the platform.
- Audio extracts are provided. These have been cleaned-up in places to remove repetition or pauses, etc.
- Both topic and audio extracts may concatenate comments / responses to topics asked at different points in the meeting.
Specifically because of this last point, I’ve included time links to the points in the official video (also embedded at the end of this article) for those who wish to listen to the questions, comments and replies as they were recorded.
Also note that not all of the questions raised in the forum could be addressed at the meeting, so some may be addressed from within the forum linked to above by Linden Lab in the coming days.
Introducing Oz, Grumpity and Patch
Oz is the Technical Director for Second Life, having joined in 2010 with initial responsibility managing the viewer open-source project and rebuild what had become a fractious relationship with TPVs, with his role expanding over time to encompass more and more of the engineering side of Second Life.
As work on Sansar started to progress in earnest, he pro-actively campaigned within the Lab for the role of Technical Director of SL, building a team of people around him who specifically wanted to remain solely focused on Second Life and developing it. His team works closely with the product and operations team to ensure SL constantly evolves without (as far as is possible) breaking anything – a process he refers to as rebuilding the railway from a moving train.
Grumpity is the Director of Product for Second Life. She originally came to Linden Lab while working for The Product Engine, a company providing end-to-end consulting and software development services, and which supports viewer development at the Lab. Grumpity was initially involved in the development and viewer 2 (as designed by 80/20 Studio).
She became a “full-time Linden” in 2014. Her current position involves coordinating the various teams involved in bringing features and updates to Second Life (e.g. Engineering and QA), liaising with legal, financial and compliance to ensure features and capabilities meet any specific requirements in those areas, etc. This work can involve looking at specifics within various elements of the overall SL product, such as UI design and layout, etc.
Grumpity jokingly refers to herself, Patch and Oz as the troika, responsible for the development and direction of all aspects of Second Life.
Patch is the Senior Director of Product Operations at Linden Lab. Originally a Second Life resident, he joined linden Lab in 2007, after being invited to apply to the company as a result of his work as a community leader and mentor from 2004 through until the invitation was extended.
His role is the only one of the three here that also encompasses Sansar, as he manages the respective support teams for both platforms. In this regard, he recently established a support centre in Atlanta, Georgia. For Second Life, his work also involves overseeing the content development teams, the Mainland Land Team, the Linden Department of Public Works – LDPW, aka The Moles, and managing the account support team.
Opening Comments: The Fifteen Reasons To Celebrate Blog Post
Elements Already Delivered
Grumpity Linden started with a review of what has been delivered:
- Mainland costs: as has been stated at previous Town Hall and Meet the Linden events in 2018, Mainland tiers costs were revised in March 2018, together with a doubling of “free” tier size.
- The Lab continues to be pleased with the response.
- Mainland ownership is at levels not seen in some time.
- Response continues to be positive.
- Animesh: Animesh officially reached release status on November 14th, 2018.
- Games and Experiences (via Patch):
- Tyrah and the Curse of the Magical Glytches has been enhanced.
- A new version of Linden Realms has been deployed.
- Further updates and ideas are in progress, notably for winter 2018 / 2019.
Elements In Progress
- Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP):
- Progressing rapidly, almost on a daily basis.
- Lab keen to bring EEP out as whole, rather than bit-by-bit.
- Land Auctions:
- The updated land auctions were launched in July 2018.
- There have been issues, which the Lab has been working to address, but this is taking time to fix as the auction system does involve people’s L$.
- Resident-to-resident auctions are still coming, but probably won’t be deployed until early 2019.
- Themed Learning Islands:
- The Lab deployed the first of the themed learning islands in August 2018, and this is an ongoing programme.
- The results have been “interesting” and provided a lot of ideas on what to provide next.
- Because the Lab wants to have “clean” results from the work, this is not something that can be openly discussed in-depth. However, Lab remains committed to improving the on-boarding experience.
- Bakes On Mesh (via Oz Linden):
- The last infrastructure updates (Bake Service) have been deployed.
- Updates to the viewer should be appearing soon.
- Its anticipated there will be further simulator / server deploys as well as viewer updates.
- Users are encouraged to test the viewer as it moves forward and to provide feedback (see the Alternate Viewers wiki page).
- Performance Improvements:
- There have been a number of projects to improve performance, and more are on the way.
- The viewer’s texture cache is being overhauled and improved.
- The rendering system is being improved.
- Region crossings have been touched, and more work in this area may be forthcoming in the future.
- Performance is something the Lab is always working on.