Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The 2k problem

Linden Lab recently announced a new TPV (third-party viewer) policy. Most of it is straightforward... but the zinger is at the end, part 2k:
You must not provide any feature that alters the shared experience of the virtual world in any way not provided by or accessible to users of the latest released Linden Lab viewer.
The $64 question: what does LL consider the "shared experience", and what do they consider an alteration of it? Some say that features that solely affect what the user of a TPV sees don't fall under that prohibition... but OTOH, Qarl Fizz's mesh deformer code, though it is just such a feature, apparently falls under the 2k ukase. Fortunately, since the latest Linden Lab viewer lets one adjust the level of graphics, enable or disable shadows, and change one's Windlight setting, those aren't considered impermissible alterations of the "shared experience"... but parcel Windlight settings, OTOH, are.

Linden Lab supposedly has something in the queue to give functionality similar to parcel Windlight settings... but would they bother if people hadn't seen what it could do and decided it was a good idea? This decree would seem to kill any non-UI improvement in a TPV, by saying "you can't do anything until we have already done it". I fear that this will slow improvements to SL to a crawl.

OTOH, SL isn't the only grid around any more. Is LL shooting itself in the foot?

Tomorrow morning there will be a downloadable recording of a discussion with the folks behind Phoenix/Firestorm; check their blog for details and a link when the file is available. I guess we'll have to see whether LL clarifies 2k, and how TPV writers react.

UPDATE: Read Cheyenne Palisades's excellent post about the changes to TPV policy.

UPDATE #2: Read Emilly Orr's post and followup on the changes in TPV policy.

UPDATE #3: I was optimistic about the recording of the Phoenix/Firestorm discussion, alas--but Second Life Newser has a post with a summary, including lots of links to web content discussing the changes.

UPDATE #4: The discussion itself is up with audio and video on treet.tv. Apparently future episodes of the Phoenix/Firestorm Hour will also be on treet.tv... that's good to know.

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