The Fast Lane

This week we discuss net neutrality, virtual reality, High Fidelity’s new virtual world and more!

This week’s topics include:

Guests:

Karl Stiefvater (Qarl Fizz, formerly Qarl Linden) is visual effects artist, software developer, and interactive designer extraordinaire.

William Reed Seal-Foss is a 3D artist and virtual world content creator.

Thank you to our sponsors – Botgirl’s Digital PlaygroundAngelRED CoutureKahruvel Design and Virtual Vision 2020

About Kim/Gianna

Kimberly Winnington (SL: Gianna Borgnine) is the Emmy nominated owner and CEO of Sand Castle Studios, LLC, a company dedicated to helping organizations maximize the full potential of virtual worlds and social media by creating interactive, social, and 3D experiences. For the last 5 years, Kimberly has helped SCS clients stay ahead of the curve and is a respected resource for information on current and developing trends, social media, and immersive experiences.
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30 Responses to The Fast Lane

  1. Reality Check says:

    This podcast has become such a depressing thing to listen to anymore, I use to look forward to new ones every week, or when ever they would come out, which became fewer and farther between. There was once new guests, and interesting topics. Since Reed has been on the show its such a negative fest on everything. I’m not sure why any SL’s would continue to sponsor the show at all. I can’t remember when a single positive thing was said about SL.. Karl at least has insights on the technical side of things, Reed mostly sounds like an old man sitting on the porch complaining about everything. I’m glad there are other pod casts which focus on the positive aspects of these topics.

    • reed says:

      Previously, the podcast revolved primarily around Second Life. I’m personally opposed to that, diametrically. I normally don’t speak much about Second Life anymore, because it no longer interests me. I do enjoy speaking on the topics of technology in general, and more specifically internet, graphics and game technology. Admittedly, I was a bit of a Debbie Downer last week, but it’s hard for me to be cheerful about subjects like the return of CISPA and what the FCC has been doing with Net Neutrality.

      Second Life, to me, is pretty much dead. Although I draw the line of “dead” a bit higher than most. Practically speaking, Second Life is stagnant, and has been for years. The best way I can explain what I mean by that is to say that Second Life has lost its spirit of innovation.

      You can bring up as many statistics about Second Life usage all you want. Many people still use it and do interesting things, I know. Sometimes new accounts are even made by bonafide newcomers to Second Life. The elephant in the room is that there is no way on Earth the rate of new users joining Second Life will ever keep up with how many were and are lost all the time. Many people still use Ultima Online as well, which predates Second Life by nearly ten years. Ultima Online is still around for the most part because of a die hard set of fans, the same as Second Life. Good MMO’s die slow, and both of these platforms will be around and financially viable for a long time to come.

      But the blisteringly obvious aspect of Second Life that leads me to believe it is truly stagnant is the lack of development. Second Life is literally still plagued by the same problems users were dealing with in 2007. Group chat is still broken, seven years later. Users are still restricted to a very narrow definition of 3D content, mainly in that what you make for Second Life pretty much can only be used in Second Life. The fact that mesh import only supports an antiquated version of COLLADA, and that any sort of animated mesh must be rigged to the proprietary Second Life skeleton is absurd, especially when you look at other platforms of the day like Unreal and Unity, even Cloud Party. I can literally save a file in Maya and simply open it within Unity. It’s that easy.

      And lets take a look at the Linden Lab business model. A region is $1000 to buy, with a monthly fee of $295. And what do you get for what is essentially the down payment and monthly installment on a new car? You get one core. One, for an entire SIM, in the year 2014. That is completely insane. How about the market place Linden Lab taxes, where taking what you’ve bought to another platform will get you banned? Why would I buy any sort of virtual good that can only be used under strict guidelines in this walled garden of theirs? I don’t see much value in any of this.

      Linden Lab had the option to expand Second Life and keep it relevant a few years ago, by making the entire platform open source while there was still a lot of interest in it. They didn’t though, because they’re greedy and closed minded, or at least somebody making decisions is. Because of this reason alone Second Life could literally be wiped away completely and rebuilt from the ground up with every technical aspect done right, and it would still fail.

      Yeah, there still isn’t a single platform that combines a multi-user MMO experience with the content creation aspects that Second Life did. But don’t kid yourselves, this doesn’t mean Second Life is still relevant. Instead of one, there are multiple different platforms that each do an aspect of what Second Life does, much better than Second Life ever did, and they’re being used by a lot more of the same people. I tend to like this a little better, in that this patchwork community, while fragmented, isn’t a community lorded over by a management team that is completely incompetent and near sighted. And one day, something that people love will come along, and it will do everything that Second Life did, but a lot better. Count on it.

      P.S. I don’t know why, but I read your comment in Draxtor’s voice.

      EDIT: I posted this incorrectly as a response to the blog, instead of a response to Reality Check’s comment. Perhaps Kim could delete the other comment?

  2. qarl says:

    well said Reed.

  3. Pingback: Second Life is dead | Like I Was Saying

  4. mcoyote says:

    I have another view on the notion of SL being “alive” or “dead”. I’d say it’s more along the lines of complete. That sounds a little off the mark even to me at first blush, but I have good reasons for saying so.

    The concept SL represents — a big, shared media sandbox with an integrated, self-sustaining marketplace for property and goods — may have technical issues, but its vision is realized. One might replace SL with something else that does the same thing only better, but it doesn’t seem the margin is there. No similar venture has gained traction on any scale because, even if they could that vision better, they’ll never do it so much better to be worth the investment. My impression is LL figured this out and have let SL’s evolution taper off because nothing they were capable of would result in commensurate gains.

    LL continues to charge $300/mo for sims because enough people pay that much enough of the time to be worth it. They don’t support outside, standalone sims/clusters because the hassle won’t gain them enough to be worth it. They could do whatever it is they needed to provide always-perfect group chat, for example, but how many subscribers could that possibly bring in or retrain? They’re a business, so I can’t fault that kind of thinking.

    This probably sounds like reinforcement for the notion SL is “dead”, but I think the term is misleading enough to take issue with. Platforms bearing a resemblance to SL are either in their infancy and need to innovate to have hope of success or are, fundamentally, games that only retain players through first-person content growth. In contrast, SL is complete because the concept underlying it is as successful as it’s going to be. The marketplace has been pretty clear on this point — only us chickens are pounding the table for SL-but-better. I doubt anything will emerge to replace SL as (e.g.) WoW, etc. did Ultima Online, etc. because there’s no angle.

    As usual, we probably won’t recognize whatever comes next until it’s here. My working guess is we’re bound for a new, AR-ish, web-like experience, where virtual goods are purchased and exchanged among online venues and participants as real ones are via e-commerce. The challenges are substantial, though — virtual goods need to be reliably created, exchanged, stored, and destroyed in a global context in order to be worth the effort. The only virtual item managed that well, currently, is money, for the obvious reason that it matters in the real world.

    Whatever that may be, it won’t be based on SL or coming from LL.

  5. Metacam Oh says:

    I am with reed. I’m pretty much done with SL for the most part. Still love the podcast and the diff topics, keep it up, thanks guys.

  6. Jake says:

    Inworldz has very much picked up the tech were SL left off
    Sure its still not perfect but getting close everyday and once out of beta later in year
    will be Flexi Mesh that’s already done its being worked into viewer/ Windlight Weather System for region owner / Parcel Windlight

    Sure some might call it a clone but LOL in many ways better here are a few examples

    Mentor Program
    Custom Scripting Engine =Fully LSL Compatible
    Real Physics Engine
    No Traffic Bots
    Beta Grid
    Inworldz Viewer
    You can reach the company and get matters fixed = Customer Service
    45.000 = 75.00 Month
    Inventory Backup = Lose or delete by mistake? its ok they will fix in no time
    just much more

    Look I am no big fanboi but its like the early years of SL without lag and everything fixed!
    Oh many will say only 300 logged in yea but 1000′s log in and out thru out the day its just not everyone logged in at once and my sales are for me at cashout around $250 to $350 each month oh yea I know its not lottery winnings but add in community and cost of living that really makes it worth much more.

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