Wednesday, June 25, 2014

(N+1)th Life?

Here's part of a statement that Hamlet Au received from Linden Lab and posted an article about on NWN:
"Linden Lab is working on a next generation virtual world that will be in the spirit of Second Life, an open world where users have incredible power to create anything they can imagine and content creators are king....The next generation virtual world will go far beyond what is possible with Second Life, and we don't want to constrain our development by setting backward compatibility with Second Life as an absolute requirement from the start."
What comes to mind at that news?

  • The Osborne Effect: how much effort/$ are you willing to invest in something when you've been told something far better is coming?
  • Will they support both kinds o' computers--Windows and Mac? While it's still a sore point that Linden Lab has never provided a 64-bit Linux version, it has provided a 32-bit Linux version for a long time, for which I am extremely grateful. That said, it would be really nice if they'd come out and say "yes, we will support Linux for this new virtual world", especially given that it will at least initially be closed source. (For that matter, did you hear about the improvements to graphics in Android "L"? I hope you're targeting capable tablets and smartphones, LL.)
  • Can we be anonymous in the new world as we can in Second Life? I hope that is the case; Ebbe Altberg tweeted "Yes, we clearly want to... let you bring you [sic] identity and friends across", which gives me hope.
What comes to my mind the most, though? Sheer delight!

How many times have I quoted Fred Brooks here? At least twice. Let's bump that number.
"Plan to throw one away. You will anyhow. The only question is whether you deliver the throwaway to your customers."
Of course, backwards compatibility would be nice... but Second Life looks crude compared with other 3D environments. Every so often you see a link to a video of avatar configuration in a game that makes Second Life look pathetic in comparison, both in simplicity and power of UI and quality of avatar. Creators shouldn't have to find obscure bugs that they can take advantage of to do things SL's creators didn't envision or even wanted to forbid.

Bless the creators of Second Life for their ingenuity and skill--but they deserve an environment they don't have to fight. I will cheerfully give up inventory if I can have better.