At Linden Lab, we’ve recently been reviewing the long list of improvements and enhancements we want to bring to Second Life, weighing priorities, and scoping out important projects for the next few months. We wanted to share a few highlights from the list of projects we’ll be working on so that you can know what improvements to expect in the coming months. This isn’t an exhaustive list, of course, but here are a few of the initiatives we think will have a big impact on improving all of our Second Life experiences.
Releasing Experience Keys
We recently put out a call for creators to join a limited beta for Experience Keys - new LSL functions and calls that make it possible to bypass the multiple permissions dialogs that you encounter with scripted objects today. Thanks to the applications we received, we now have enough creators to move ahead with the beta, and we’ve begun giving these beta users access the keys. The feedback we get from beta participants will help determine our next steps for making Experience Keys available to everyone, and we may start by expanding the beta group with a second group of creators.
Improving Group Chat Performance
Today, group chat messages can sometimes take a long time to be delivered, and in some cases delivery fails entirely. This is an issue that impacts lots of Second Life users, and it’s something we’re actively working to improve. Anyone should be able to reliably hold a conversation using group chat in Second Life without delivery delays or other problems.
We’re carefully monitoring the effects of the changes we make to improve group chat performance, and so far, the results of efforts like upgrading the servers that host chat have been positive. We anticipate that the work to improve group chat performance will continue for some time as we identify the underlying causes of the issues, experiment with different fixes, and analyze results, and as we move forward, we’ll use this blog to share our progress.
Implementing the Chrome Embedded Framework
We’re working to upgrade the component of the Viewer that’s responsible for rendering web content, including the Viewer splash screen (displayed before login), the content of a number of floaters, and inworld media-on-a-prim. This is important because it will fix a number of bugs (especially related to streaming media) that currently affect many Second Life users, and it will also make available many modern web features that aren’t possible with the Viewer today.
We’re making good progress on this initiative already, and expect to have an experimental Project Viewer ready for testing soon.
More Texture and Mesh Loading Improvements
Building upon the performance enhancements we made with Project Shining, we are continuing to make improvements to how the Viewer retrieves texture and mesh data from our servers.
The next round of improvements will reduce the number of connections the Viewer needs to get this data (making it easier on your router and network), while also using each connection to retrieve more data more quickly (for the technically inclined, this means that among other things we will add support for HTTP pipelining).
These improvements will mean that as you explore Second Life, objects will appear more quickly and reliably, especially for users who have longer latency connections (higher “ping times”), such as those who live outside the US.
We have begun doing small scale testing with a selected group of users, and the early results have been great from a performance point of view. Unfortunately, we’ve also encountered a bug that we need to tackle before we can move on to releasing a project Viewer. We’re eager to move ahead as quickly as we can, and will use this blog to announce that project Viewer as soon as it’s available.
Stay tuned for more!
Again, these certainly aren’t the only things we’re working on as we continue to improve Second Life, but they’re among our priority initiatives in the coming months. As we move forward on these and other improvements, you’ll hear more from us on this blog, so keep an eye out!
When we updated our Terms of Service in August 2013, the revised language of Section 2.3, the “Service Content License,” caused concern among certain Second Life creators. The revision to this section was worded in such a way that these creators expressed concern that we intended to appropriate their original creations and sell or license such creations without their permission. As our historical practice demonstrates and as we have since tried to clarify, this was absolutely not our intent. Creators are the lifeblood of Second Life. It is you who have populated Second Life with a petabyte worth of unique content and experiences, and it is important for our collective and continued success that you remain confident in continuing to create in our world. To be clear: Linden Lab respects the proprietary rights of Second Life’s content creators and prides itself in its success in providing platforms on which users can create original content and profit from their creations.
As part of an update to our Terms of Service today, we have made a modification to further clarify Section 2.3. The updated section still provides Linden Lab with the rights that we need in order to operate and promote Second Life, so you will see that we have retained much of the language as the previous version. However, the updated section now also includes limits that better match our intended meaning, and we hope will assuage some of the concerns we heard about the previous version.
First, the modified version limits our rights with respect to user-created content in Second Life by restricting our use “inworld or otherwise on the Service.” Additionally, it limits our right to “sell, re-sell or sublicense (through multiple levels)” your Second Life creations by requiring some affirmative action on your part in order for us to do so. This language mirrors the corresponding User Content License currently in Section 2.4, which has been part of the Terms of Service for years.
We know that the legal language of documents such as the Terms of Service can seem daunting, and we expect that some creators may continue to have concerns about particular elements of the updated agreement. Today’s revision to this section of the Terms of Service more closely expresses our intent - that we do not intend to appropriate or sell your content outside of our Service - and our hope is that the limitations clarified in the updated language of this section will support creators’ confidence in our platform.
As with any document like this, it’s important to read the whole Terms of Service before agreeing to it. Section 2.3 isn’t the only thing that’s changed - we’ve also added the updated policy for skill gaming, which we blogged about here - but we wanted to blog about this update to be clear about what’s different in this section, what it means, and why we made the change.
Experience Keys are a new tool in Second Life that make it so you can opt-in to an entire experience made up of numerous scripted objects, rather than having to grant avatar permissions to every individual element of that experience. In other words, they allow creators to make experiences that are more immersive, because they’re not interrupted by permissions dialogues. Additionally, with Experience Keys, each of the scripts in the experience has access to a common private database that stores information across user sessions and simulator restarts; a powerful new capability for scripters. Here’s a quick video introduction.
Recently, we kicked off the limited beta for Experience Keys. Thanks to the great applications we received, we now have enough participants for this stage of the beta, and are beginning to send out keys to those beta creators now.
We’re excited to see what creators make with this new tool! In the meantime, though, you can have some fun and get a sense for the ways Experience Keys can improve inworld content by checking out The Cornfield- a new (free) game, thematically inspired by a bit of Second Life history and created by the moles. Watch the trailer below, then grab the Experience Keys Project Viewer and go check it out for yourself - you can find a portal to The Cornfield here!
UPDATE: the deadline has been moved to September 1, 2014 (previously was August 1)
Gambling is strictly prohibited in Second Life and operating, or participating in, a game of chance that provides a Linden Dollar payout is a violation of ourTerms of Service. However, games of skill are legally permitted in many jurisdictions, and we’ve seen that many Second Life users are interested in playing such games for Linden Dollars. Therefore we are updating our gaming policy in Second Life.
The details of the revised policy can be found here, and this is a summary of how it will work:
Skill games that offer Linden Dollar payouts will be allowed in Skill Gaming Regions only. This is a new region designation that will apply beginning
August 1, 2014September 1, 2014. Those Second Life residents who wish to convert their regions to Skill Gaming Regions can do so by contacting Linden Lab in accordance with Linden Lab’s Land Policy. Due to the additional administrative and compliance-related costs associated with these regions, the monthly maintenance fees will be greater than those for regular regions in Second Life. We will include Skill Gaming Regions as a new category in our Destination Guide (unless the owner requests its removal). As a resident, you will be able to check the setting of each region to verify that it has been recognized by Linden Lab for the placement, operation, and use of approved Skill Games.
Only operators approved by Linden Lab will be allowed to run skill games that offer Linden Dollar payouts on Skill Gaming Regions. Those wishing to become approved operators can apply now. Due to processing and compliance-related costs associated with maintaining this program, there is a one-time nonrefundable application fee as well as a quarterly license fee (waived through December 31, 2014, upon approval of an application) for those designated as approved operators. We will maintain a public wiki page of operators.
Creators of skill games that wish to make them available in Second Life may do so only through Skill Gaming Regions and only after the games have been approved by Linden Lab. Creators of skill games that offer Linden Dollar payouts can apply to become an approved creator and to have their games approved now. Due to processing and compliance-related costs associated with maintaining this program, there is a one-time nonrefundable application fee as well as a quarterly license fee (waived through December 31, 2014, upon approval of an application) for those designated as approved creators. We will maintain a public wiki page of approved creators and their approved games of skill.
Access to Skill Gaming Regions will be restricted to Second Life users who are of sufficient age and are located in a jurisdiction that Linden Lab permits for this kind of online gaming activity. If you are in a permitted jurisdiction and you meet the relevant age requirements, you will be able to access these regions just like any in Second Life. If you are not eligible, you will receive an error message. However, you are responsible for knowing which jurisdictions are prohibited and the requisite ages of participation and not attempting to access a Skill Gaming Region if you do not qualify. Attempts to circumvent our controls will constitute a violation of our Skill Gaming Policy and Terms of Service.
In summary, skill games that offer Linden Dollar payouts will be allowed in Second Life, but each game, its creator, its operator, and the region on which it is operated must be approved by Linden Lab.
These changes are effective as of
August 1, 2014 September 1, 2014, and applications for approved creators and approved operators are now being accepted at Echosign.
If you live in a jurisdiction where gaming is permitted and you plan on playing these games in Skill Gaming Regions in Second Life, you should not need to do anything differently. However, adding payment information on file now is a good way to ensure you’re able to play as soon as Skill Gaming Regions are live.
We understand that this updated policy may raise some questions, and so we’ve created an FAQ page to address what are likely to be the most common ones at this point. We’ll be sure to update that as needed and will keep an eye on the forums and other community discussion channels so that we can help clarify anything that might seem confusing as this update goes into effect.
After the wildness of SL11B, why not take a step back and relax with some summertime fun?
The Fourth of July is the day the United States celebrates its independence, and it doesn’t get much more American than the Independence Day Market. There’s also a wonderfully-groomed manor garden, a soothing tropical beach, two great shopping zones, and even a music festival to enjoy. If you like your summers a little darker and more terrifying, why not visit a forgotten carnival full of zombified clowns?
As always, we're looking to highlight the amazing events and spaces created by second life users,so join the fun and show us something new! Just be sure to show off those summertime adventures on the Official Second Life Flickr Page while you’re at it.
Second Life is celebrating its eleventh birthday with a rollicking community-created bash. Check out the SL11B section of the Destination Guide to see all the wild places residents created, or take a look at a few highlights below.
This SL11B, wander through an intricate globe of a perfectly contained ecosystem, peek inside the mind of a photographer, embrace the dirt and grime of a neo-futuristic VR bar, take a quick trip to Italy, or set up your very own fantastical photographs. You can also wander through over 11 sims of birthday celebration wonder. There’s a mind-blowing amount of things to do at SL11B!
As always, Second Life wouldn’t be Second Life without your amazing creations. So join the fun and show us something awesome! If you have an event or creation you’d like to share, let us know.
There’s plenty to enjoy, so be sure to share your adventures on our Official Second Life Flickr Page and take advantage of the new SLShare to Twitter and Flickr available in the latest official viewer.
Back in April, we blogged to announce that Flickr and Twitter support had been added to SLShare - the feature that allows you to share posts and images from Second Life to other social networks, right from the Viewer. Previously, this update to SLShare was only available in a Project Viewer, but as of yesterday, it’s now available to everyone as part of the main Second Life Viewer.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even create your own photo filters; visit the wiki page on this for more information.
Once you’re comfortable with the new features - get creative! We can’t wait to see what you share.
Starting today, you’re invited to take part in the Second Life: Celebrating Your Second Life Snapshot Contest, in honor of 11th Birthday of Second Life.
Participation is easy - submit your celebratory snapshots from inworld to the contest page on our Official Second Life Facebook Page. Click the contest tab, review the contest information and rules and start sharing. This year you will be able to submit up to one snapshot a day for the duration of the contest. Full rules, submission and voting dates, and details are all on the Facebook page.
Browse the SL11B category on the destination guide to see what the community has planned to mark the event inworld.
Don’t forget that the Resident-driven Second Life 11th Birthday Community Celebration starts this coming Sunday the 22nd. Visit their website for the latest information.
You only turn 11 once, and we can’t wait to see what kind of celebrations and fun you create and share!
Now gridwide, the Sunshine V2 Viewer offers even more stability and other performance improvements. The work includes better retry logic, removes old client-side baking framework, and an assortment of appearance related bug fixes.
Another big feature that debuts with this update is the viewer support for AISV3. The bulk of the work was inventory-related, which not only sped up inventory operations but also greatly reduced the failure rate when performing outfit changes!
So if you happen to notice quicker avatar renderings, faster scene loading, seamless region crossing, or just better overall router stability, these are all objectives of Project Shining.
It will require a Viewer update, so do it now and enjoy the Sunshine!
School’s out, the weather’s heating up, and the living’s easy. Do yourself a favor and spend some leisure time browsing the Second Life Destination Guide; there’s always something new to see or do!
Shop to benefit charity at Fashion for Life, catch sports fever at London Does Football, or let the ocean breeze salt your virtual hair and try your luck on the pier at the Gacha Arcade. You could get fancy with charming hat art at the Arts in Hats, Hats in Art region, or march to the beat of your own quirky drums in the Chaotic Parade.
There’s plenty to enjoy, so be sure to share your adventures on our Official Second Life Flickr Page.
If you have an event or creation you’d like to share, let us know!
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