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Bash Quandry

A Letter To LL About Builders

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IvanBenjammin wrote:

While I think the idea behind this is noble, I'm ultimately against anything that introduces any kind of class system into SL - that's a slippery slope, leading to things like VIPs who are more valued than other residents, simply because of their contribution to the economy.

 

And frankly, I don't see why owning land is such a big deal. If you can't afford tier, then just rent. I have a homestead with more than enough prim allowance for my store and sandbox, with plenty left over for expansion, at a perfectly reasonable cost.

I'd actually like to know what the benefits of owning are, if anyone could enlighten me - it seems more like a status thing than something with real benefit.

In your case the benefit would be not paying a middle man (the Estate Owner) who is making a profit.

But you can't own a homestead unless you own a full region first.

 

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Are you serious? 


Bash Quandry wrote:

 It took me more than 3 years to build a sufficient profit base to finally become an official land owner
without bringing in any outside cash
, and still I can only justify the expense because I sublease a half of my SIM to another builder.

 


For 3 years you were getting money from other residents, and never ever brought any real life money into the world, and now saying that, in order to get even more real life money, your tier should be lower???

Maybe it would be a good idea to stop for a moment and think, how many of your customers are people who never sold a thing in world, and are buying lindens from their real life money? They are ones who support you and your work, and providing you with a real life income!

 

LL is providing a platform for us to do whatever is in our own limits, and of course inside the limits they set, and it is up to you to try harder to be able to pay your rent, or simply move to a smaller parcel. 

Be lucky you have the talent and skills to create something pretty, many people have none of those but at the same time they are logging in daily and buying lindens so that they could buy your products! 

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I agree that the current tier system is onerous. If I could easily move my shop to a mainland sim, I would do so, just to save $100/month.  Alas, that is a difficult prospect, made worse by the chaotic nature of many mainland neighborhoods, and vast tracts of abandoned land checkerboarding most sims.

Why, exactly, are "private" sims more expensive than mainland for the same level of service?  I don't think estate tools and terrforming are sufficient justification, since neither require any effort by Linden Lab.

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I am poor and unable to own land as I cannot oafford it, but if ti was lower, I know I would rent land, and such as much as I could, I love building, but I want a place to call my own instead of sandboxes, and not get scalped for it.

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I whole-heartedly agree with this....if there were more insentive for not just Builders....but Scripters as well....to development more great content for SL, perhaps 90% of those accounts (which are really dead/alt accounts) that Linden Labs claims to having would be used more. If sim owners could purchase different tiers of SIMS at lower cost, that would be dedicated to building, scripting, and/or RPing with development through builds and scripting systems, Linden Labs would have more sim owners paying for sims.

 

Expand this idea to include scripters, however. Without great scripters, the buids are just build that wow the eye. Add scripts to the builds and you get interactive content. We do need games with in SL that need land (some that need as much as a entire sim) in order for the "residents" of SL to play.

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Perrie Juran wrote:

In your case the benefit would be not paying a middle man (the Estate Owner) who is making a profit.

But you can't own a homestead unless you own a full region first.

 

 Thanks Perrie. I've got no problem with paying a middle man/woman - its the primary way I give back into the economy.

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I believe the title on this article is incorrect, and "Builders" should read "Content Creators".  After all, texture artists, programmers, and animators also create content. Builds without those things are plywood prims that do nothing.

But regardless of terminology, I would not wish to be singled out as a "builder."  I'd rather see private islands and mainland sims on the same tier.  If anything, Linden Lab could make money by setting up estate tools as an additional, paid service usable by mainland tenants if they own enough land.

I wouldn't get your hopes up, though.  Linden Lab is unlikely to lower prices for any reason.  They showed their charitable side a few years back, when they simultaneously increased the cost of homesteads, and removed the educational and non-profit discounts.

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Sorry, I have to disagree with you.  In the interest of full disclosure, you would classify me as a 'builder' as I have been a custom builder and sim designer since 2006 and profit from it as my primary RL employment.

Giving a discount on tiers to one group, always means some one else is paying for it.  Why should you receive a tier discount when, say for example, a club owner that provides high quality entertainment doesn't?

SL already has plenty of talented builders, some do for profit, others just for arts sake, some for their own enjoyment but the latter 2 groups may not be any less talented then those doing it for profit.  The beauty of SL has always been that it allows anyone to express their creativity.  Classifying people as builders vs residents is not necessary and is against the basic philosophy of SL being a creative platform for everyone.

You wrote "Without a doubt the primary function of Second Life to the average user is role play in some form or another.".  I don't believe this to be true at all.  I've known a wide variety of people in the 7+ years I've been in SL and the majority have never role played or considered SL to be a game or game platform.  I don't deny that role play is an activity of SL but I doubt the majority of residents want SL turned into just another game platform

Finally you are mistaken in thinking that LL has any interest in or obligation to make it easier for you to make money. That was never the intention of the creators of SL but came about on its own as SL society evolved.  However this has never stopped me from building better or stifled my business in any way and I fail to see how it would for you.  Maybe you need to reassess your business plan and expand your product line if it isn't as profitable as you'd like it to be.

 

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IvanBenjammin wrote:


Perrie Juran wrote:

In your case the benefit would be not paying a middle man (the Estate Owner) who is making a profit.

But you can't own a homestead unless you own a full region first.

 

 Thanks Perrie. I've got no problem with paying a middle man/woman - its the primary way I give back into the economy.

I'm not sure how that 'gives back to the economy.'

The basic idea of a Middleman is that they provide an added value Service above what the Manufacturer suplies for which you pay a premium, that is an added cost to you.

Really it only benefits LL and the Estate owner.

There's a difference between contributing (giving back) to the Community and contributing (giving back) to the Economy.

In th early days of SL, LL did do something similar to what Bash is referring to, rewarding those who contributed to the Community as a way to help stimulate the Economy.  That was before the Economic model as we know it came into being.

If you want to learn more about that you can pick up copies of the original FAQ notecards for SL in the basement of Governor Linden's Mansion.  They are very interesting to read.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Clementina/165/118/60

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Ok, perhaps 'giving back to the economy' is a poor choice of words. Money that I earn from people buying my products is returned to the economy in the form of rent. Some of that money is profit for the landlord, some of it goes into their operating costs, and presumably some of it is used to buy things from other merchants.

So whatever you call that. Re-investment into the economy? I would've thought that anyone circulating money, by buying, selling, renting etc is contributing to the economy.

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IvanBenjammin wrote:

Ok, perhaps 'giving back to the economy' is a poor choice of words. Money that I earn from people buying my products is returned to the economy in the form of rent. Some of that money is profit for the landlord, some of it goes into their operating costs, and presumably some of it is used to buy things from other merchants.

So whatever you call that. Re-investment into the economy? I would've thought that anyone circulating money, by buying, selling, renting etc is contributing to the economy.

I think re-investing is a very good way to put it.

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I went and had a look at the FAQ on the old economy. Seems like the only hold over from those times is the stipend provided to premium members. I'm glad it doesn't work that way anymore :) If I'm reading it correctly, there was no exchange (buying or selling) with real dollars back then?

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IvanBenjammin wrote:

I went and had a look at the FAQ on the old economy. Seems like the only hold over from those times is the stipend provided to premium members. I'm glad it doesn't work that way anymore
:)
If I'm reading it correctly, there was no exchange (buying or selling) with real dollars back then?

right. there were outside exchanges, the big one was called Gaming Open Market. GOM also dealt in other games, it was not only a L$ thing. they were burned badly by fraudulent transactions. LL tried to buy them out to keep it going, that did not work out, so Lindex turned up at the end of 2005. popular legend says that LL put GOM out of business, but they were already tanking.

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IvanBenjammin wrote:

I went and had a look at the FAQ on the old economy. Seems like the only hold over from those times is the stipend provided to premium members. I'm glad it doesn't work that way anymore
:)
If I'm reading it correctly, there was no exchange (buying or selling) with real dollars back then?

It is really interesting to see how the SL Economy got started.  There's another one of the FAQ's where they tried paying people to host events.  So from the earliest days they were aware of the social nature of SL.

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Yes, the social aspect of SL was clearly a focus from the start. I find it interesting how...idealistic that FAQ reads now. SL is so much larger now that managing the economy the old way would have become a nightmare. The focus seems to have shifted from "hey, lets all get along and share!" to "be an entrepreneur, make stuff and get paid for it!"

The entrepreneurial thing was present from the beginning, but it now dominates. Kind of like the shift of the web itself, actually.

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Inferniel Solvang wrote:

I whole-heartedly agree with this....if there were more insentive for not just Builders....but Scripters as well....to development more great content for SL, perhaps 90% of those accounts (which are really dead/alt accounts) that Linden Labs claims to having would be used more. If sim owners could purchase different tiers of SIMS at lower cost, that would be dedicated to building, scripting, and/or RPing with development through builds and scripting systems, Linden Labs would have more sim owners paying for sims.

 

Expand this idea to include scripters, however. Without great scripters, the buids are just build that wow the eye. Add scripts to the builds and you get interactive content. We do need games with in SL that need land (some that need as much as a entire sim) in order for the "residents" of SL to play.

Why not expand it to bloggers and machinamists, who do a great job of advertising SL... or club/venue owners, DJs and live performers who do a great job of providing entertainment for people in SL... or those of us that provide support for our fellow users through inworld groups and/or here in the forum... the list of people who collectively add just as much to the SL experience, as does any creator or scripter, goes on and on.  Without these people, there'd be nothing but lovely interactive spaces and no one to interact with them.

I'm all in favor of LL revamping their tier system in order to make it more accessible and hopefully more affordable, but it needs to be done for everyone, equally, across the board... not just some chozen few who are under the misguided impression that their contribution is immeasurably more important than that which anyone else has to offer.

...Dres

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Just a heads up, I've not read the entire thread, only the original post.

 As someone who has been an active content creator in SL since 2005, as well as a professional designer/visual artist since 1997, I wanted to throw in my two cents.

 First,  I since I work in the art/design industry, a lot of my friends do as well. Out of all of these visual design professionals, I'm the only one who is in SL. The rest, without exception, see it as a waste of time. Honestly, I can't really blame them as the major reason for their attitude is the SL content creation tools, which have some amazingly absurd flaws.

  • Rigged mesh not supporting SL's own avatar shape sliders or morph features (even fitted mesh only partially addresses this).
  • No cap on excessive texture use leading to textures becoming one of the biggest performance killers in SL.
  • No support for NPC objects or in-world animated mesh.
  • Only very crude and limited interactivity features.

 And many more issues.

 Second is the presentation. Presentation is vitally important and yet was almost entirely ignored by SL until recently.

  • "Programmer art" permeates the SL experience. The avatar mesh itself, as well as the default shapes and skin layer assets leap to mind.
  • Avatars used in advertising have astonishly bad proportional flaws.
  • Linden environments (new user zones, welcome areas and Linden hub sims) tend to be wholly unoptimized, badly designed and poorly laid out.
  • The Linden windlight settings were designed to intentionally make SL look bad. When windlight was first introduced, a few idiots complained that the advanced shaders ruined SL's graphics, so LL tried to appease them by making the default settings look as much like pre-windlight SL as possible. To this day they've not been changed and to make matters worse we still lack the promised feature of being able to share windlight settings as inventory so most people only ever see the default settings.
  •  SL's camera settings are straight out of a late 90's 3D videogame with bad camera issues.

 This lack of effort in presentation gives the impression that SL is capable of far less than it actually is, which pushes away artists who might otherwise rush to SL to create.

 Finally, as the OP brought up, there's the ever present issue of cost. I'm going to respectfully disagree with the idea of lower tier for content creators, as well as the common idea that land cost in SL is the single biggest obstacle to LL drawing in new customers. Lower land prices are an idea, and I'm sure they'd lead to more customers for LL, but there's a bigger issue.

 That issue is the perception of value when it comes to land prices. And I want to illustrate that point right now.

themyscira_skybox.jpg

This skybox I show here? It's less than 500 land impact points, total. To get an idea of the size of it, my avatar is 6' tall and present in both screenshots. Can you find me?

 Anyone, given the know-how, could have a skybox like this all their own, customized to their own preferences in theme, style and content, for only $4.50 a month. Anyone can do this, yet you'd be hard pressed to find anyone other than me getting this kind of value out of the land they're paying for,

 

 If you're sitting there reading this post, staring dumbfounded at those screenshots wondering how I manage to squeeze so much into the equivalence of 479 prims, how I can get a skybox that looks this large for less than $5 a month, then that strikes me as a much bigger issue than the cost of land.

 

 Linden Lab, if you want to draw in more content creators, particularly content creators with the skills and experience to create amazing content that can draw in more paying SL residents, a good first step would be to hire someone (Better still, a small department of someones) who both understands SL and also has professional art and design experience, particularly with videogames. Find some people like this, offer them a paycheque to help guide development of the SL tools, the user experience, and your presentation/marketing materials.

 I'd much rather have the tools to create engaging, quality content that non-content-creating SL users will happily pay for than a discount on my tier, but I'm never going to get those kinds of tools so long as the tools are developed at the exclusion of the people who actually use them and know how they should work.

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I think you hit the nail on the head right there. SL is laughably unoptimized for content creation and display.

I think Bash's overall intention is that, not just builders, but for all content providers the high tier cost is a bane against people who want to simply have a sim for others to experience. The cost is what drove me to shut down my sim after two years, and is why all my favorite hangouts(except for one or two) are now gone.

These were popular places that dozens of people would visit daily but, because they were not specifically geared towards being profitable, they were not sustainable.

My sim was the same way. It was a labor of love, so to speak, that I wanted others to simply come and enjoy. Because I opted not to shove stores and other money making strategies down my visitors throats, it was not profitable and therefore unsustainable.

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There has been some really good pros and cons about this. I think it's an interesting idea about builders getting a break on land. The people that should be getting the discounts are the people running RP groups within SL. They are the largest groups of people that attract people into the grid.

 

With that being said. I left SL sold off all my land and moved to OpenSim. That is the future right there. It may be in the early stages of development, but as it stands right now it makes SL look old and antiquated.

 

SL is more of a noob paradise. OpenSim is for the more advanced person. The numbers don't lie. There are more people in OpenSim than in SL. I have heard similar requests made to SL before and went no where. Those of you who choose to stay in SL, good luck. You'll need it...

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Maren Singh wrote:

I think Bash's overall intention is that, not just builders, but for all content 
providers
 the high tier cost is a bane against people who want to simply have a sim for others to experience.

Perhaps you've got some personal information as to Bash's true intent, because nowhere here has he said anything like what you've described in this sentence.

The term content provider could very well apply equally to every single person who owns or rents property in SL and has rezzed at least one prim.  Therefore, everyone who pays tier would be eligible for this discount/incentive which he wishes to implement and that's not at all what he suggested.  In fact, he makes the distinction between serious content creators and casual builders perfectly clear, even though he never could quite explain what exactly distinguishes them from each other.

Neither Bash nor anyone else who has posted here in support of his impolitic idea has been able to justify the sheer inequality which lies at the heart of his suggestion.  In fact, not one person has even tried... I can only imagine that this is because there is no rational justification for it.  At least not one which wouldn't make anyone who might be foolish enough to try, look like an inconsiderate jerk.

...Dres

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Dayna Bedrosian wrote:

There has been some really good pros and cons about this. I think it's an interesting idea about builders getting a break on land. The people that should be getting the discounts are the people running RP groups within SL. They are the largest groups of people that attract people into the grid.

 

With that being said. I left SL sold off all my land and moved to OpenSim. That is the future right there. It may be in the early stages of development, but as it stands right now it makes SL look old and antiquated.

 

SL is more of a noob paradise. OpenSim is for the more advanced person. The numbers don't lie. There are more people in OpenSim than in SL. I have heard similar requests made to SL before and went no where. Those of you who choose to stay in SL, good luck. You'll need it...

Oh really now?  You may be right that there is the possibilty for more development in Open SIM.  But I've been there and if people talk about SL being empty, OPEN SIM is a vast wasteland.

And as far as your numbers go, the last published figures I read were last October.

"The top 40 OpenSim grids have reached 28,705 regions, a new record high and an increase of 578 regions since this time last month. They also reported 316,197 total registered users and 18,475 active users this month, a total of 6,405 new registered users and 33 new active users."

LINK

I'm not against OPEN SIM, I'm very much for it.  But it hasn't come any where close to offering what SL has to offer at this time.

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Dayna Bedrosian wrote:

There has been some really good pros and cons about this. I think it's an interesting idea about builders getting a break on land. The people that should be getting the discounts are the people running RP groups within SL.
They are the largest groups of people that attract people into the grid.


Really?... how very curious.  I must ask... would you be kind enough to point me to the documentation which provided you with this fascinating bit of statistical information?

...Dres

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Dresden Ceriano wrote:


Bash Quandry wrote:

This is not solely a product/vendor thing. Some large scale content creators don't sell anything. This is about attracting and keeping more builders and creating more sustainable environments in general. Part of that is making being a builder more profitable, yes, but it is not a prerequiste. 

Yet, the biggest selling point to creating content in SL is it's vast base of users, which are willing to shell out good money for good creations.  If all you wanted to do was create things and were not concerned with profitability, there are other, cheaper platforms where you could do just that.

My main point is that someone would have to pay for you and your fellow "skilled content developers'" reduction in tier... LL certainly aren't going to take that sort of hit without finding some other way to make it up.  What other choice would they have than to do so by taking money out of the pockets of the rest of us non/casual creators?  I'm sure I'm not the only one that would take issue with having to shell out more cash in order to subsidize your creative vision.

...Dres

Agree. It is a silly idea, based on an immature understanding of business, Capitalism, and LL's business plan. It all comes from the pervasive sense of entitlement coming from a certain segment of the population. 

There are a lot of really bad builders in SL -- are they supposed to get a break on tier, too?  Because pretty much everyone can become a bad builder.

 

Silly.

 

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Pamela Galli wrote:

Because pretty much everyone can become a bad builder.

And this, coming from someone who failed miserably at becoming a bad builder.

...Dres

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