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Linden Lab working on "Basic" Viewer Mode

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As of the latest Snowstorm in-development build (version 2.6.1, build 223988), a "basic" mode feature has been merged from a previously unknown development branch called "viewer-social".

http://automated-builds-secondlife-com.s3.amazonaws.com/hg/repo/snowstorm_viewer-development/latest.html

Basic mode is intended for new users, while the user interface we currently use is now called "Advanced" (and I guess the "advanced" menu will now be called "expert" or something).  You choose the mode at login, and it requires a restart to change from one to the other.  Being freshly merged and not yet to beta status, it has some rough edges, but you can download it from the above link if you want to see it.  CYGWIN=Windows version

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I've suggested this several times, glad to see it happen.

SL viewers can be difficult for new users, things can be confusing.

People who just want to have a look around to see if it is any good sometimes give up very early.

Just the other day a friend tried SL and I tried to guide him trough things.

It took us ages for him to actually see anything as he was on a slow connection and had to manually turn down all his settings, show him how to work the camera, teleport, etc, etc.

The first viewer everyone automatically downloads should just be for walking, exploring and chatting.

Like what you see in SL? Move on to the normal viewer.

 

 

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Great idea and as Jo says - it's overdue - simple is best for new users - then move on to whatever viewer rocks your personal boat. But yes most new people only want to have a look about and this sounds like it could be just the job.

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Jo Yardley wrote:

 

The first viewer everyone automatically downloads should just be for walking, exploring and chatting. 

 

 

I wouldn't have stayed around if that had been the case back when I joined. I tried to make my own skin on day one, right there on the welcome island, because I didn't want to go anywhere looking like a clay golem. That skin didn't turn out so well, but I still got hooked because SL gave me a lot to tinker with.

Of course the creative spirits, who usually also happen to be deviants of one sort or another and not exactly what people would call sane, are no longer wanted here. LL are trying to attract a more mainstream audience nowadays. Seeing that they're dumbing the viewer down -- yet again and even more -- I suppose that "more mainstream" means "dumber".

As if some of the recent arrivals weren't simple-minded enough already rolleye.gif I mean, just look at some of the threads in this forum. [Ralphie mode] "I wanna be a fireman!" Geez. I guess if you build it, they will come. "It" being a viewer made for idiots in this case.

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@Ishtara - we're not all genius's either - it took me 3 weeks to figure out the most basic things - actually I'm still figuring them out. So an ability to switch to a more advanced viewer wouldn't have confused you - problem solved.

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I am still figuring out SL options and I am a 2 year old builder and manager of a sim!

Besides, the idea is not to replace the viwer with a basic one, the idea is that new visitors get a basic easy to understand "viewer for dummies" to get them going.

Personally I never really cared about my skin and didn't start building till after a week or so.

I know people who never build anything but still have a lot of fun in SL.

If you're a new member in SL who immediately wants to do someting complicated like tweak their skin, then they can skip the basic starter viewer and move on to the more advanced one.

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This is maybe good thing for new users. But I wonder how they have resources to do this. Why they dont focus fully on original v2. There is alot of things to do still and interface is easy for new users because its browser-like look.

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Mags Indigo wrote:

@Ishtara - we're not all genius's either - it took me 3 weeks to figure out the most basic things - actually I'm still figuring them out. So an ability to switch to a more advanced viewer wouldn't have confused you - problem solved.

I wouldn't call myself a genius. I simply wouldn't stay more than three minutes in an MMO if I got the impression that all I could do was to walk around and chat. The problem is that there is no advanced viewer anymore, at least not an official Linden viewer. And the third party viewer directory has been hidden away behind several links.

Viewer 2 is quite simplified and dumbed down as it is. LL flat out refused to add a an option to the preferences that would allow people to switch to the old, more complex and builder-friendly interface, because that tiny checkbox would have been too confusing for the facebook crowd.

If LL now simplify the client even more, SL will soon look like IMVU and attract a similar crowd. Which is probably their goal, seeing that IMVU is vastly more successful than SL (despite or because having banned adult content. And that might be LL's next step on the way to a mainstream virtual world for all ages).

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*Sighs and passes you a pint of Guinness and a sprig of shamrock - yerra you're probably right - but 'tis Paddy's Day - so... let's get drunk and forget...

or something

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The SL viewer is still pretty complicated to noobs.

Now and then I try to explain how it all works to friends, not easy.

Easier then it used to be but still quite complicated for total noobs.

I would also love to show elderly people around my sim, people who are not very experienced with modern computer technology and so on.

I'd explode with delight if we get a viewer that would be good enough to install in a old peoples home and they could actually use it.

Besides, I have found that the phoenix viewer is a great viewer with lots of options superb for us builders.

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:


I wouldn't have stayed around if that had been the case back when I joined. I tried to make my own skin on day one, right there on the welcome island, because I didn't want to go anywhere looking like a clay golem. That skin didn't turn out so well, but I still got hooked because SL gave me a lot to tinker with.

Of course the creative spirits, who usually also happen to be deviants of one sort or another and not exactly what people would call sane, are no longer wanted here. LL are trying to attract a more mainstream audience nowadays. Seeing that they're dumbing the viewer down -- yet again and even more -- I suppose that "more mainstream" means "dumber".

As if some of the recent arrivals weren't simple-minded enough already 
rolleye.gif
 I mean, just look at some of the threads in this forum. [Ralphie mode] "I wanna be a fireman!" Geez. I guess if you build it, they will come. "It" being a viewer made for idiots in this case.


This^  


For the past year we have seen only a dumbing down of SL with display names, letting RL children in, a new dumber viewer, and yet concurrency levels are still lower than they were two years ago. After display names were launched I would bet that most if not all the new accounts made were just current residents making alts rushing to grab their names while they could. This "dumbing down" is obviously not working, the question is when is LL going to realize that and go a different direction.

 

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@George & everyone else. I often wonder if LL deactivated accounts that hadn't been accessed by their 'controllers' for say 12 months what the real population of SL might be. Then one would have to take alts into account as well - most people I know have at least one or two for different reasons. To be honest I'd prefer if LL did that rather than a hyper-inflated population fiction.

Erm... I'm not sure that has anything to do with this conversation - so ignore and carry on :smileytongue:

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@Mags. That is exactly my point. Everything LL is doing to attract new users is not attracting anyone new, yet they continue walking the same path. Reminds me of Homer Simpson when he gets an electric shock by touching something, he says 'Doh!" and continues touching the same thing repeatedly. 

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~shrug~ I'd actually like a simpler layout myself, for times when i don't build and just chat... that is, if it was possible to switch on the fly. Having to relog? That's useless.

But from the (very few) people I guided through the first steps... SL is too complicated, entirely unintuitive and definitely a pain in the ass even for long-time residents.

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LL needs to accept the fact that SL, like any open-ended MMO out there (e.g.. Eve Online) is by it's nature more complex than a linear "do this, then do that, then level up" MMO. Are there things they could do to streamline the experience? Yes, no doubt. But, IMO, the Lab is treating symptoms and not the underlying disease.

Instead of this constant race to the lowest common denominator they should invest in a revamped volunteer/LL employee partnership where the newbie areas are manned by a combination of Lab employees and vetted volunteer helpers, not overrun with spammers, scammers and griefers.

SL is complex but what helps greatly isn't a dumbed down viewer or phony display names; what helps is having someone to answer questions, give advice, do a bit of handholding, etc. Those who aren't as motivated to seek out answers on their own do better with a friend or mentor to help them past the first few difficult days. A new helper program could be that friend.

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why are we complaining that the official second life viewer doesnt have the features of this third party viewer or that other one? there is a lot of third party viewers that will fit your tastes from Restrained Life to Phoenix to Kirsten's and others more. and you can do your job in them. you remember what those viewers are? they are tweaked official linden lab viewers. if it wasnt for the flexibility that the official viewer offers we wouldnt have that variation of choices that fill our taste, the official second life viewer is a base where third party developers work on, if they want to transform it oriented to graphics they can or for building, or whatever the goal of the developers is.

the official viewer must remain a base viewer. with enough flexibility in customization as to permit viewers like firestorm and kirsten's to exist. the viewer that the beginner must face when starting is the basic one, because we dont know how smart the new user is is, it may change into advanced and change back again to basic scared (i shouldnt have touched that thing). if a user likes control it wouldnt be hard to find out how to change to advanced and be happy. if the user has the technical mind of seeing if there are mods for the viewer, that want an experience beyond of what the software offers, they will find the third party viewers and be happy.

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I would much rather see the focus be on presenting a full experience that is easier to understand and better explained. Think about it. To move on to more advanced things users will have to select an option and restart the viewer, as opposed to just going to options they previously skimmed over and avoided until they were ready. Baffling at best.

Its been long documented that it was that even basics were confusing that was driving new people away, anyway. People didn't understand stuff like chatting, IM'ing, rezzing... Moving the advanced stuff aside won't solve that.

This is akin to how you have to activate the advanced menu. Still makes me chuckle after 4 years.

Give users the full experience out of the box, in a way thats easier to understand. Creating a maze of experience levels and options will just make matters worse.

Edit: I do love the how-to button in basic mode. But why this wasn't simply added as a removeable button is something you'll never be able to explain to me. All you can do in basic mode is chat and move around. Newbies are gonna think thats all there is and leave. Bank on it. Way to go, LL. Now, by default, 99.9999999999999% of what SL offers won't even be seen by newbies. And we'll be stuck explaining it to them as we are now.

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simple minded people dont like complexity. they just want to chat and walk, the fewer buttons as possible, they have computers and the only thing they do with it is chat and listen to music. they dont dig deeper and they are comfortable with it. complexity scares them away. some residents that have been in sl are not remotely interested on bulding anything, or coding anything, or creating nothing, they are the audience of the creators. simple mind people like simple things. advanced mind people will just change the button next to the log in fields.

many software uses that division, for example nVidia drivers and ESET Nod32.

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I would suggest that anyone who has concerns about this downloads the proposed Viewer 2.6.0 Beta at the link that Daniel posted.

This basic viewer is being produced because many new users do find Viewer 2 confusing - this virtual world is much more complex that many others.  Once you need or want to do other stuff you get pointed in the direction of the 'Advanced' viewer - and hopefully this mode will be developed to show new residents that they can do more but they need to switch to 'Advanced' mode.

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Canoro Philipp wrote:

simple minded people dont like complexity. they just want to chat and walk, the fewer buttons as possible, they have computers and the only thing they do with it is chat and listen to music. they dont dig deeper and they are comfortable with it. complexity scares them away. some residents that have been in sl are not remotely interested on bulding anything, or coding anything, or creating nothing, they are the audience of the creators. simple mind people like simple things. advanced mind people will just change the button next to the log in fields.

many software uses that division, for example nVidia drivers and ESET Nod32.

I agree Canoro - sometimes people who are used to the internet and gaming/creation assume everyone else is too. Most people who have computers, and indeed come to SL, are not interested in becoming 'experts' in anything - they just want a bit of fun and relaxation. And there is nothing wrong with that - without consumers the creators would have few to sell to and the Clubs and Venues across SL would be empty. We all have our interests and needs and I say diversity is great. :smileyhappy:

 

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Now that I've played about with it I think it's a really good idea. People will inevitably call it 'dumbing down' but I keep reminding people that not everyone who wants to see what SL is like is a computer/internet 'expert'. Quite a lot of people just use their computer and the internet for normal entertainment stuff - sometimes people in these forums forget that not everyone wants to build, create or even think about complex technology. I think this is a great introduction tool for SL - anyone internet savvy enough will be on the advanced viewer on their 2nd log in. 

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I shudder to think how they could "simplify" the interface more..... anyone have a picture of this? I've got so many viewers installed now they almost account for 25% of all programs installed =X

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Mags Indigo wrote:

Now that I've played about with it I think it's a really good idea. People will inevitably call it 'dumbing down' but I keep reminding people that not everyone who wants to see what SL is like is a computer/internet 'expert'.

 

The problem is that they shouldn't have to be experts. "Advanced mode" shouldn't be just for advanced users, at least not to the extent that it is now. The learning curve is too big. LL needs to find ways to bridge the gap between the level of expertise required to walk and the level required to do what we are calling advanced tasks, not showcase the former and hide the latter.

The beauty of SL lies in its complexity. Why would I, if I were a newbie, just want to chat in SL if I can do that on Facebook, Twitter, MSN, ect.? Presented with basic mode, why would I, if I were a newbie, choose to stick with SL over going to another virtual world?

And simply changing to advanced doesn't change the advanced experience. You do that and you are presented with a viewer identical to the official one, from what I can tell. If I were a newbie, please explain to me why I should find advanced features less confusing just because I couldn't access them before I switched modes?

Why would I even think to access them if the default setup doesn't even tell me there is more to SL than what I am currently being presented with in basic mode?

And when a newbie downloads the viewer - presuming the person even sees the small dropdown box that toggles modes, what is stopping them from switching to advanced before they even login for the first time?

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Wish they'd fix the existing problems first like SEARCH and making the profiles smaller so the whole SL experience isn't obscured.  Figures...they seem to have their hands in too many pots and therefore the quality output leaves much to be desired. 

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