Revival of Second Life?

Until last autumn we Second Life residents witnessed many negative things facing us. Linden Lab’s Jira was closed. The last names were not brought back despite of the numerous voices of the residents. Content creators were spitted on their faces, as Linden Lab made them swallow the new terms of service. Decline of the land mass also shed a shadow over the future of Second Life.

But then Linden Lab got a new CEO, Ebbe Altberg, appeared and seemed to take residents’ concerns seriously, even if many considered that just a “honeymoon” of the new grand leader. But does he really listen to his people? Would he see Second Life as an unique platform of digital culture instead of just a capitalist back box of making profit?

Jira Re-opened

The first concrete signal of the emerging new era was received, when Second Life Jira was re-opened in February 2014. The residents were able to read, create and comment on tickets again. It’s now possible to vote for and comment on some important issues, like SVC-472 (Region Crossings Fail), SVC-7125 (Bring Back Last Name Options!), SVC-2820 (Allow group IMs to be muted) and STORM-1716 (Mesh Deformer for tailoring mesh clothing). Wow!

Land Markets Refreshing

I’m not sure, if it’s just my subjective observation, but I would say, that Second Life land business is doing well. Just have a look at United Sailing Sims area, located east from the Blake Sea, and you won’t see many free parcels available there anymore! The same applies to the Confederation of Democratic Sims. Has the decline of land sales turned finally?

Yellow is not a dominant color anymore in the USS area

Yellow is not a dominant color anymore in the USS area

Terms of Service Revision Dawning

In April 11th, 2014, an interesting notice was posted in United Content Creators of SL group, quoting NuVibez Magazine:

I (Altberg) am working with legal council to figure out the right wording so that they have what they need to protect them, but that ensures that we all own the rights to our content and what we create. they even now and when the tos was announced, had no intention of ever taking our stuff nor was it their purpose.

Content creators, that are aware of their rights, should find this as a really amazing piece of news. This would be the first time in Linden Lab’s history, that I’m aware, that the lab corrects its prior decisions, showing that they listen to people. I’m impressed!

Still, we have not seen the outcome of the change, but there is true hope now instead of just hot air.

The man and the prim

The man and the prim

The Future

Second Life has really a potential to be The Platform for content creation and creativity, but will they be on that position in the future or become just another mass-entertainment-oriented company? Well, that will be seen, but at least the current trend looks promising.

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Sailboat Prototype

I wanted to find out, if it was be possible to build a sailboat in Cloud Party. One of the content creators was kind to build a simple reference sailing ship. It didn’t support collisions, advanced sailing physics or even keyboard controls, but still it was an exciting experience and I’m thankful for his demo and helpfulness.

One of the Cloud Party developers gave me some ideas, how to start the sailboat project. I made a simple sailboat prototype mesh and script, to see how a simulated floating vehicle would behave. However, the first challenge was to make the sailboat float. Since the Cloud Party physics doesn’t know the water level, water doesn’t have any effect on the boat. A natural consequence of this was, that the boat sank like a stone, that was a quite discouraging experience. :(

But it doesn't float...

But it doesn’t float…

The only solution, to prevent the boat from sinking, was to disable gravity and simulate floating behavior in the sailboat script. That may not be the most elegant solution, but currently we don’t have anything else. Since keyboard controls (namely the arrow keys) can’t be dispatched to the boat script, the sailboat was controlled with local chat commands.

Here we go!

Here we go!

Eventually the boat moved, turned and heeled without major issues. At moment the boat is closer to a motorboat than a sailboat. Still, I’m happy that the proof of concept succeeded!

Next it’s time to replace the ad-hoc physics of the prototype with something more realistic and try make the boat use wind. If Cloud Party development team added a feature, to control simulated vehicles with keyboard, we should have all needed ingredients, to put together a usable sailboat. One day we will be there. :)

Walking on the deck as the boat moves

Walking on the deck as the boat moves

Modern Cabin

I decided to create something modern and minimalistic on Blender, something that wouldn’t take ages to get ready. Earlier I wasn’t so big fan of modern architecture, and still don’t like those discordant elements in many modern works (but hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!). Modern architecture offers several advantages over the traditional one, because you can manage space, light and materials without any constraints enforced by style requirements. In other words, the feel of your house is completely under your control.

After outlining a house idea on paper, it was time to start concentrating on the implementation.

The cabin in building platform

The cabin on building platform

I thought, the cabin would be quick to make, and that was partly true. It took only couple of evenings to get the mesh in shape, but UV mapping and textures were the more challenging part. Anyway, after several weeks, it was time put the hammer and saw back in the toolbox and sit down to evaluate the result.

The entrance

The entrance

The house contains only one script, which is included in the both mesh doors. It works inside a link set and doesn’t expect any special tricks with door, like making half of it invisible.

What else could be said? I’m happy, it’s ready finally. If you like to view it in-world, you are welcome to visit me and have a tour. The land impact of the cabin is 26.

Inside

Inside