New Viewer Gives Second Life Users a Customizable User Interface
for a More Flexible Workspace
With the launch of the new Second Life Viewer on Nov. 8, Second Life Residents can now customize their user interface for a more flexible workspace.
New customizable functionality includes:
- Drag-and-drop buttons on the toolbar so Residents can change ordering, move buttons from one toolbar to another and choose which buttons appear
- An option to choose one, two or three toolbars
- The option to select either icons or labels
The new Viewer also makes it easy for new Residents to find the essential basic functions, as well as access more advanced functionality as they grow in Second Life.
New-user functionality includes:
- How-to window provides easy, step-by-step instructions for common tasks
- Destinations button offers interesting destinations
- Avatars button allows Residents to choose and immediately change their avatar
- Inventory button lets Residents see the things they own
- Shop button takes Residents to the Second Life Marketplace
By merging the Basic and Advanced modes, users no longer need to switch between modes, which improves usability – and ultimately enhances the Second Life inworld experience.
For further details on how to get the most out of the new Second Life Viewer, please check out the following video tutorials:
Inbox Messaging Gives Second Life Residents
a More Efficient Way to Communicate
Did you know that you are now able to send a message from your inbox to anyone in Second Life who accepts messages from you?
Whether you are a merchant and want to ask your customers about their experiences with your products, or you simply want to keep in touch with friends, the addition of the profile inbox will help you better communicate.
Because you can view and track your messages, inbox messaging also allows you to better manage conversations. And because the inbox is available on the web, you don't have to be logged in to Second Life to read and send messages.
If you would like to contact someone who is not in your friends list, you can send them a message directly from their profile by choosing “Message” from the drop-down envelope icon.
Although direct messages to other users don't appear in your profile feed (even if that's set to public), if you are still concerned about your privacy, your profile settings allow you to control who sends you messages and how you get notified.
It’s been a little while since I last updated folks on Second Life.
Earlier this year, I noted several areas we would be focusing on. Let me update you on each area and share with you our plans for the remainder of the year.
But first, we’d like to give a warm welcome to our newbies! August was the biggest growth month for Second Life in nearly four years! I hope you all take the time to try out the many different activities in Second Life — there’s everything from clubbing to boating. You might even to want to try your hand at making something new. As a side note, one of the easiest ways to find new things is to check out the Destination Guide in the log-in screen of the viewer.
Now, back to our areas of focus at Linden Lab:
With the Basic mode, which we rapidly deployed, new users can now more easily find things, move around the world and manipulate the camera. This has really helped people walk and talk, as well as getting newbies up and running. But it has its limits — particularly when it comes to participating in the economy and creating things. Soon you will see us merge the Basic and Advanced modes, which will eliminate the need to switch. All functionality will be in one mode with easier-to-use controls. After these modes are merged and deployed, you can expect us to release an improved UI into the viewer. This should be a lot more flexible for user flow for all users.
Thankfully, this massive feature got deployed on time. Many new creators joined Second Life so they can use their Mesh skills, and some of the creations I’ve seen are truly spectacular.
Although our response times have improved, we realize that we still have a ways to go. You can expect continued investment and focus in this area to include expanded support staffing, as well new features (similar to the estate tools we rolled out earlier this year) and revised policies to make the Second Life experience much better for customers.
Better Customer Value
Last month, we added exclusive Premium areas such as sandboxes (places where you can go and create), as well as free items. You can expect more exclusive areas, items and features in the months ahead. We have been really pleased by the positive response to Premium by our residents. In fact, last week we reached the highest number of Linden Homes ever. We hope these new Linden Home owners will enjoy their newfound land ownership and check out other ways that Land is available on the Second Life Land Store and through private estate purchases and rentals found through Second Life Search.
You can sign up for Premium right here!
Shiny New Things
Because worlds feel most vibrant when they are full of life, our next project for Second Life is the ability to make “life” within it. Second Life has more than a million real people in it every month, as well as many artificial creatures and people – however, our creation tools have not made it particularly easy for the content creators to build high-quality entities.
Over the next few months (with testing most likely starting in December), we will be rolling out a series of more advanced features. These will make the creation of artificial life and artificial people much smoother. For starters, we'll unveil a new, robust pathfinding system that will allow objects to intelligently navigate around the world avoiding obstacles. Imagine being able to create advanced pets, creatures or even a living town where non-player characters are walking about. Combined with the experience tools I mentioned above, it should soon be possible to create more advanced MMORPG’s or interactive experiences which use AI right within Second Life.
I will touch base again in a few months when we have delivered a few more things. Thank you again for being a customer! I hope you enjoy your time in Second Life, whether that has been for years or you have only just joined.
This update brings a variety of features for you to check out, including upgrades to Profiles and the Viewer. The new features are part of our ongoing quest to create an excellent experience for you — whether you’re creating, connecting or exploring.
It’s easy to forget about RL for a while, socialize as your unique SL identity, and share what you love about Second Life when you’re part of SL Profiles. Connect with other Residents and explore Profiles using whichever identity you choose. You can add your interests, tweet your favorite locations and form friendships with other Resis, as well as continue the conversation through Facebook, Plurk and other social sites.
As always, we value your right to network under any identity you like — and SL Profiles lets you do just that. Your SL Profile name and identity can be whatever you like — let your imagination run wild! Update your status, share your location and comment on friends’ posts. You’re in charge of how you connect and how much of your RL identity you share.
Spend some time exploring — there’s a ton of ways to customize your settings for a rich, social SL experience. You can edit your Profile at any time — and there’s a spot for your real-world info, too. Customize your settings to optimize your Profile.
The Recommendations tab lets you know which Residents might make good friend match-ups for you, and the more interests you add to your Profile, the more recommendations for potential pals will pop up. You have the option to add your recommended connections to your friends list right in Profiles, and you can contact them right away through instant messaging — or just have fun reading the profiles of like-minded Residents.
Updates to the Viewer
We’ve made big changes to the Viewer Login Screen.
- When you open the Viewer, you’ll get a peek at what’s happening inworld. Check out the latest Destination Guide Editor’s Picks and stay up-to-date on SL news with a direct link to the blogs. Want to chat? “What’s Hot Now” reveals the most popular locations — click, log in and start socializing! Get started right now. Just click on any one of the images before logging in, and you’ll start your SL experience at that location.
- You’ll also notice some changes relating to Region Environment Settings. These give region managers the ability to customize environment settings — like atmosphere, sun, time of day, and cloud coverage. Visiting Residents will automatically see those settings, unless they’ve already chosen to use a personal override. For example: a Gothic castle might have a gloomy, spooky environment — and a tropical island might be bright and sunny. This feature is sometimes referred to by its previous moniker, Windlight Environment Settings. Check out the Knowledge Base for more info.
- For greater discoverability and to provide you faster access, you’ll find the Search Button displayed along the bottom bar in the Viewer.
- Another new feature gives parcel owners greater control, including the ability to hide avis, avatar activities and conversations from everyone outside a parcel and vice versa. You also gain the ability to restrict sounds emitted by avatars on the parcel.
- We expect to release the next version of the Viewer toward the end of August.
Meanwhile, we continue to work on the issue of full compatibility with Apple OS X Lion — we’re currently testing out compatibility issues. Many Residents have chosen to wait on upgrading their versions of Mac OS X so they can continue to go inworld. Check out more details here, and join in the conversation.
More new avatars
We’re proud to introduce the latest members of the SL family — a new troupe of human avatars. Last month, we rolled out our line of robot, animal and vehicle avis, and this month we’re adding to the new selection.
Avatars created by: Adam n Eve
The newest group of human avatars includes a spectrum of ethnicities, and complements current inworld trends — Steampunk, anyone? You can try them out by going to the Library folder in your Inventory and choosing Clothing > Initial Outfits. These guys (and gals) have been designed to optimize loading time. We considered various benchmarks, including Avatar Rendering Cost. We worked with Adam n Eve to craft detailed textures that emphasize aesthetic beauty. This balance provides a good starting point for customizing your look, and serves as an example for creators of how to make inworld items look good — and also load quickly.
Second Life is about creativity, diversity and communication — and this new pack of avis gives you a greater range of personalities to try out. They’re also completely modifiable.
It is our goal to continue to improve our payment process in order to make it easier and worry-free. Starting this month, Residents will begin to see improvements in usability including simpler layouts and flows, and we’ll be working on making the system even easier over the next couple of months. We’re also working on a new-and-improved way to offer local currency options. If you are currently part of the Local Payments beta there are no changes just yet.
Mesh is in production
We’re still accepting volunteer regions to receive mesh support here. If you just want to experiment with mesh creation, the same link will provide you with the steps you’ll need to take to get involved, and locate a mesh sandbox to work in. We’ve started to roll out mesh to regions across the grid via our release channels, and it will soon arrive at a region near you. While it’s being deployed, mesh objects are supported — but not all viewers will display them, and not all regions will fully support them until the rollout is completed. Also, we know there are going to be questions about some concepts being introduced with mesh, and we’re working to help explain them — more to come on that topic in the near future. The mesh forum is a great place to see and read what others are doing, as well as ask questions.
More Personalized Emails
If you’ve unsubscribed to optional news and promotional emails in the past, you can now resubscribe to emails by category. It’s important that you enter the email address that’s connected to your SL account. These subscription options don’t affect the emails you receive for transactions, instant messages from friends and/or customer service responses.
It’s shaping up to be a hot summer here in San Francisco — er, at least at Linden Lab! — and July brings a lot of exciting updates — including great news for all Residents who’ve experienced issues with Group Chat lag, awesome new avatars, sweet new features in Profiles and much more!
A longstanding question about the default avatars that the Lab provides is “Why do they only offer humans?” Well, fret no more! Check your Library > Clothing > Initial Outfits tab in any Viewer and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover 36 new default avs! We worked with three amazing creators and focused on balancing visual appeal with diversity and efficiency. We think you’ll find that this fresh batch of avis is far more performance-oriented than our previous defaults — and a heck of a lot of fun.
Animal series by Damien Fate
For Residents using Basic mode, the new set of avatars will soon appear in the avatar selector. In a short time, they’ll be available at registration as well. You’ll be tempted to choose your favorite. Try out Second Life as a robot, a dragon — or even a sports car!
Group Chat Lag
Here’s a little something about that right royal pain, Group Chat Lag. You know how it is: you’re inworld, having a ball chatting with a group of friends, but the chat shows up with words missing or in the wrong order. It’s like a bad roommate, always hanging around and making a mess, interrupting your conversations and ruining your jokes! Some of your friends won’t even try talking while that loser’s around, knowing that their impeccable comic timing will come out looking like free-form poetry.
Except, for some reason, we don’t see that dude around much these days. Was it something we did?
We’d say that we’ll miss the old Group Chat Lag, but that would be a total lie. Instead, as the saying used to go: “door Don’t let the hit you in the butt on the way out.”
We’re working on improved functionality and features for Profiles, a great way for you to express your interests, share your favorite activities, communicate your unique personality, and meet other SL Residents like yourself. Some of the cool things we’re adding will include a “Pages” feature that lets you add pages to your profile for different topics, interests, regions and other fun stuff. As always, you control the level of privacy for your account — you can adjust precisely how much information you choose to display — or keep private!
You can look forward to a feature that will allow the option of auto-posting to Twitter and Facebook— as well as a new activity stream, including a summary of your friends’ activities. This will allow you to check out what posts or photos your Second Life Friends have commented on, notify you when a friend changes their profile pic, and more!
We’re also working on integrating additional social-network identity — including popular sites like Plurk, Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr and Foursquare — so you can streamline your SL social networking, all fine-tuned to share just as much or as little as you prefer. You’re in the driver’s seat, but we’re glad to be along for the ride!
For all of you who love shopping for new gadgets, outfits, avatars — and everything else under the sun! — we’ve implemented some changes to our Marketplace hat will enhance your shopping experience and make the process go more smoothly. One of the coolest features we’ve been working on is Direct Delivery. We launched the Alpha phase of Direct Delivery in early June, and the participating merchants have been giving us some great feedback! What’s next? More focus on improving Direct Delivery, and working with Beta Merchants on the Alpha platform.
We’ve been working on an API for third-party viewers to use to support listing items on the Marketplace, and continue to gather feedback as we develop that capability. Beta Program participation has been opened up for third-party viewer developers and vending system developers, and our primary focus has been on bringing Direct Delivery to market.
On the promotional email front, we’ve improved the functionality of promotional-email subscription preferences. To unsubscribe to any promotional email, just hit the “unsubscribe” link in the message, and you’ll be able to choose the type of emails you want to get from Linden Lab — instead of “all-or-nothing.” This feature allows you to opt-in to messages you’d like to see more of — and unsubscribe from those you don’t! You’ll still receive other messages, like inworld notifications and Marketplace emails.
Later this month, the new Search functionality that was included in the most recent Viewer release will go live as the primary Search experience for all Residents. Every search on the Secondlife.com website and in the Legacy Viewer “All” and “Groups” categories will use the new back-end technology, and will benefit from the improved result relevance. Viewer users will not only get the updated results — they’ll also be able to take advantage of all the exciting features we've included in the new Search interface, including easier searching for Events, Land Sales and Rentals, and Classifieds. If you haven't explored Second Life with the new-and-improved Search functionality yet, download the Viewer and take a look!
Let us know what you think! Share your experiences with these new features in the Technology Forum. And, don’t forget to hit Twitter — follow us @Secondlife and tweet using the hashtag #secondlife. Now, go explore Second Life, tap into your creative side — and make something incredible!
e, Performanc e, Performanc e!
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