Second Life Thrash

Eric Rice has a post about things afoot in Second Life that have user/customers upset. Raising the prices is a serious one of those, but not the only one. In the post, he posits that user dissatisfaction coupled with the techno-alpha-geek makeup of people who have been early adopters might push the creation of an open source alternative sooner rather than later. A big chunk of my criticism and disinterest in the joint is mitigated if one can easily set up their own server and/or move their work out of own server and into another.

Eric talks a lot about people doing real work and making money in SL, but I’m not spending lots of my time building anything in a system where it is locked up, I can’t take it out and am at their mercy on rate hikes and such. To me, portability of what you build is the big stopper. I don’t want to spent 1000 hours making a scale copy of the Sears Tower or whatever only to have Linden shut it down one day without warning. When you are heavily invested in something like this fundamentally outside of your control, you are always at risk for that eventuality.

6 Replies to “Second Life Thrash”

  1. It’s not a very simple problem, but it is a problem. Eric’s post was mainly about prices, I don’t see that he wrote about much else. That said, it is a problem.

    Setting up one’s own server is a definite goal. But there are problems on a macro level regarding this, specifically with security and then further with finance. Not all servers are equal, and allowing people to attach to a main grid through an insecure server is not something that should be considered.

    As far as the Sears Tower, yes, I understand completely. Still, at some point we all trust someone, be it LL for providing a service or the RAM manufacturer in Korea. This is all brand spanking new and is pretty exciting along those lines because the potential is there. The question is when enough potential will give the inductive kick for the next level. 🙂

  2. Taran, There has been a years long back and forth with Eric and myself and others on the whole subject, of which this is only the latest post. Basically, he has identified a schism where a number of alpha geeky types seem less interested in SL than “civilian”, more ordinary user types. One of my big issues is always the ephemerality of creation. Having written bunches of posts on fora that no longer exist (such as when I was active on the GEnie forums 15 years ago), I’ve learned to question up front what happens when the switch gets thrown to turn off the system housing my work before I begin to make it.

    On the fora, at least, I can usually create backup copies in ASCII text or similar. On SL, I’m completely at their mercy because there is no way to backup the work (that I know about – I’m SL ignorant.) True, you are always at the mercy of companies but more so here because of the nature of the system.

    People talk about SL being an implentation of Neal Stephenson’s “metaverse” concept. To me, it bears the same relationship as GEnie or Compuserve did to today’s internet as a whole – a proprietary proof of concept of the value of the network but something that will eventually give way to a less controlled, more open and commotized form of the same types of interaction.

  3. I have to approach one project from this conceptual place of ‘I’ve built a Gotham City, now what”… I can’t port the physical, but I can port the visual. We have a picture of the city, we have history of key characters— SL has been a type of game storyline development platform. Corporate involvement is really minimum in my realm, however, that speaks more of interaction-with-brands in a game space.

    One of my Xbox 360 games has Cingular present, and I kinda have to interact with it.

    The fascinating part is the chasm between those that live there as a culture and society and those who are paying for access to a client-server software application (hence the platform angle).

    I think when most people talk about not-getting-it, they’re really overthinking it.

    If you say it’s a game, they’ll say ‘dumb game, there’s no point’.
    If you say it’s an open platform (like blogging, podcasting,e tc), the similarities are striking: the 3D is what makes it or breaks it.
    I’ve spent time in Warcraft and SL and there are similarities and differences, pros and cons.

    Blogosphere culture vs. gamer culture is an amazing place to people watch. There’s so much to learn and I’ve grateful for that above all. (That and meeting some amazing talented people that I now work with and play with in virtual and real life.)

  4. One point to note WRT the whole “set up your own server” concept; rumor has it (http://www.3pointd.com/20061031/multiverse-goes-open-beta/) that Multiverse (a competing MMO toolkit) has gone from open to closed beta. Multiverse is working on a revenue-sharing licensing model, so if you don’t charge money, they won’t charge you. If you do, they can handle all the $$ transactions, and give you your split. Interesting idea.

    (Note: this doesn’t mean I don’t still dig SL…just pointing out what could be a pretty cool new option…)

  5. er…make that from CLOSED to OPEN beta. ie, you don’t have to be some established game design team, or in an academic program, to get your hands on the server app.

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