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Darrius Gothly

A Left-Handed Look at Sansar

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In case you haven't noticed, Sansar is the code name of Linden Lab's next big thing. There is a small pile of purposely vague hints from the Lab, and a whole ton of passionate pleas from existing SL residents exhorting the Lab "don't make it into ..."

But what if ...

Ebbe and the BoD decided they had to do something to ensure the longevity of Linden Lab. Second Life as a viable property is nearing the end of its technical capability. The basic data processing and management structure underneath is reaching extinction and is outstripped by newer, more facile engines.

Previous CEO's tried to come up with a life-extending project or product (or products) and failed.

So Ebbe, ever the wiser man, decides "let's ask the people using SL what they want." Of course the evil ogres that control the forest .. err wait, wrong story .. The BoD decided that openly asking would break years of tradition, so they demanded Ebbe find "a better quieter way". After much thinking, Ebbe came up with ...

The Grand Plan

The idea is not to come up with a fully formed design goal. The real plan is to float enough of an ephemeral idea that people get curious. Then, based on all their wonderful fantasies about "what could be", a fully formed Grand Plan would be written up. The design would virtually make itself, and the outcome would be guaranteed to match exactly what people want.

Except ...

The Peasants Rioted ... Again

True to our own history, we reacted with panic, fear .. and a whole bunch of torches. We roasted the leaders, threatened the designers, and once again protested loudly against the idiocy of the Mighty Upon the Throne. We whined a lot too.

So as we get nearer to the real "put up or shut up" day for Sansar, Linden Lab still hasn't the slightest clue what we REALLY want from a next generation "yeah, I'll follow you there" platform.

Or did I just fantasize all that?

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Are you effing kidding me?  LL has always placed their value on "what if".

They exist upon that which is possible and yet fail to deliver those possibilities.  I see no reason to expect any more from them than they've provided us and anyone else for years now.

The only way people will really be curious about Sansar is if it's as great as LL is making it out to be.  I honestly hope it will be, but I know how LL relies on hype.  And, since LL is so closeted about what they're creating, I've no reason to believe that it will live up to whatever hype they're trying to put behind it.

To even suggest that the negative commentary about Sansar is the product of fear is insulting to those of us who love SL and don't want it being harmed by the ignorant attitudes of LL's BoD.  We are not peasants... we are users who keep SL and LL afloat.  Eff them if they can't take us seriously.  It's to their own detriment that they think so lowly of their actual user base.

...Dres

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

Or did I just fantasize all that?

umm! yes

is ok tho bc I think is still Friday

+

if was Saturday then be different

like we go: what if this ?? and what if that ?

and LL BoD go: what if we do something else completely different ?

and we go: why ??

and they go: what if you dont say why ?

and then the staff go: what if we leave all you guys to argue amongst yourselfs k ? and we just make what we can ?

and we go: what if you never ?

and they go: what if we never and was nothing to login to ?

and we go: hmm! good idea, carry on ok

and then the BoD goes: what if you residents and you staffs paid attention to us ?

and the residents and the staffs go: who said that ??

and then we all look at each other and go: dunno. Must be somebody ghosted their avatar again. oh! well. They be alright  next time they login in

(: 

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

In case you haven't noticed, Sansar is the code name of Linden Lab's next big thing. There is a small pile of purposely vague hints from the Lab, and a whole ton of passionate pleas from existing SL residents exhorting the Lab "don't make it into ..."

But what if ...

Ebbe and the BoD decided they had to do something to ensure the longevity of Linden Lab. Second Life as a viable property is nearing the end of its technical capability. The basic data processing and management structure underneath is reaching extinction and is outstripped by newer, more facile engines.

Previous CEO's tried to come up with a life-extending project or product (or products) and failed.

So Ebbe, ever the wiser man, decides "let's ask the people using SL what they want." Of course the evil ogres that control the forest .. err wait, wrong story .. The BoD decided that openly asking would break years of tradition, so they demanded Ebbe find "a better quieter way". After much thinking, Ebbe came up with ...

The Grand Plan

The idea is not to come up with a fully formed design goal. The real plan is to float enough of an ephemeral idea that people get curious. Then, based on all their wonderful fantasies about "what could be", a fully formed Grand Plan would be written up. The design would virtually make itself, and the outcome would be guaranteed to match exactly what people want.

Except ...

The Peasants Rioted ... Again

True to our own history, we reacted with panic, fear .. and a whole bunch of torches. We roasted the leaders, threatened the designers, and once again protested loudly against the idiocy of the Mighty Upon the Throne. We whined a lot too.

So as we get nearer to the real "put up or shut up" day for Sansar,
Linden Lab still hasn't the slightest clue what we REALLY want from a next generation "yeah, I'll follow you there" platform.

Or did I just fantasize all that?

The way you said that suggests that there is a single "what we really want", rather than multiple ones that are often mutually incompatible in some ways.

If there's going to be a new generation thing that is a continuation of Second Life, the people of Second Life need to decide what that will be themselves. 

Back when what is now Project Sansar was first on the radar I said that it would/could act, not as a "new" Second Live, but as a colony of Second Life.

Here's where someone will mention something about how colonies treated indigenous people horribly. They did. Absolutely unchallenged. However, in this case that's irrelevant because there will be no indigenous peoples or even indigenous pixels. kthxbai

When Europeans started settling North America they didn't really go to "North America", they went to Virginia or the Massachusetts Bay Colony or New Amsterdam. They were separate entities put together by pre-existing communities from the "old country" that were similar to the home country but different, and also different from each other. Eventually they started working together for the mutual benefit of everyone but they still maintained their individuality.

Now isn't time to pay too much attention to the platform. It'll be different. Nobody knows exactly how much, including the people making it. If the communities of SL want to survive they need to determine what it is that they need and how they want to run, especially under different conditions. For instance it sounds like the feudal structure of Second Life won't translate directly because raw land will be effectively free and unlimited, just as if people in one of the American colonies got too mad at their leaders they could go off into the wilderness and start Rhode Island. After they decide what they need they can start looking at the platform and see if anything is making that impossible without a workaround - then the platform can be fixed.

Second Life isn't about a platform. Most of what Second Life has accomplished has been in spite of the platform. The things that make it survive are the communities that have connected to form a critical mass. Sansar represents a chance for those communites to make their own world, or worlds, the way they want to run them. If the SL culture will survive it won't be because of "Sansar" but because of places in Sansar.

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But there will be a single "what we want" .. if done right at least. In the same fashion as you can have one restaurant that provides a "what we want" for lots of different tastes and palates.

Second Life is a lot like a Buffet restaurant as much as anything else. No matter what you're hungry for .. it's in there somewhere.

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As a tragically untechnical person, I never understand what is meant when ppl say LL is reaching extinction. Maybe because I have no basis of comparison, but it seems to run more or less okay, way better than it used to. With concurrency steadily shrinking, I don't understand the scaling problem either. Maybe I am just used to the glitches and limitations by now. Like, if large groups cannot congregate in SL, that is just a limit I accept. It's like coming to terms with the facts of RL: I can't fly, People get sick, ppl die, etc. What is up with all that? 

Most of the problems I have with SL is management and governance or lack thereof. Mesh was alleged to have been The Thing that would save SL, tho from the first mention I saw the writing on the wall: it hasn't killed SL, but it certainly has done nothing to staunch the flow of blood. 

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Think of it like a '64 Corvette. It still goes fast and looks great. But in the battle of MPG and overall eye-candy appeal, its attractions are limited to a shrinking audience.

SL still has legs, and it still has a lot of technical gems, but in the ever-expanding struggle for faster, neater, prettier .. it can't reach the higher levels of performance. (Mostly due to the cast iron frame and antiquated transmission.)

I know .. mixing my metaphors again .. but I hope that makes a bit more sense.

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So compared to other games, SL looks bad and is kludgy. Like Minecraft. 

I thought SL looked great in 2007. It looks better now, but so what? Like all the other technical improvements, it hasn't increased concurrency. 

Just one of many/most things I don't get.

 

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Pamela Galli wrote:

So compared to other games, SL looks bad and is kludgy. Like Minecraft. 

I thought SL looked great in 2007. It looks better now, but so what? Like all the other technical improvements, it hasn't increased concurrency. 

Just one of many/most things I don't get.

 

I was playing The Sims 2 in 2007 when the big hype about Second Life started. I looked at the pictures of SL and said - "What? This is the big new thing? This garbage?" - and stayed with the Sims 2. And the Sims series was never known as being cutting-edge graphically. The thing that made me stay in SL when I eventually started in 2010 was the people I met in it.

As far as Minecraft goes, I have a theory - it's similar to the Uncanny Valley. We respond well to a replica of something that's obviously cartoonish like Lego or Minecraft because it's not supposed to look exactly like the object and it has a certain charm. And we also respond well to a replica that's very accurate, like in a high-spec video game. But when something is trying hard to look something else but just doesn't - like a photo-realistic texture of an ornate cabinet on a smooth cube - it falls into what I call the Crappy Valley and just looks sad. With Minecraft and Lego the very system is designed so things can't fall into the Crappy Valley. Old SL, though? Yeah. And even current SL - I love my SL cat despite her moving like a windup toy and occasionally rezzing without her head for a while, but I know few outsiders would be impressed, especially compared to the relatively ancient technology of The Sims 2: Pets.

As far as vehicles, SL has more in common with my friend's 1964 Rambler, which I took a ride in and observed, as it smoked and snarled and the speedometer needle did a random dance based on nothing, that it was "running on will and spite." She acknowledged, "It's SO running on will and spite." Interestingly enough, this friend of mine is also in SL.

And as far as concurrency, even at it most hyped level Second Life never had a worldwide concurrency approaching that of, say, Hepatitis B in the state of Missouri (I happened to see a billboard.) They're just not that into us.

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Pamela Galli wrote:

So compared to other games, SL looks bad and is kludgy. Like Minecraft. 

I thought SL looked great in 2007. It looks better now, but so what? Like all the other technical improvements, it hasn't increased concurrency. 

Just one of many/most things I don't get. 

Well, I never said a '64 'Vette looked bad or was kludgy. Folks like you and me .. we appreciate the lines, the memories those lines bring, and the way we feel when it's wide open on a back country road. Let the kids have their green thingies and super-hawt mega-machines. What we have is history, community .. dare I say it, Society?

There is a rhythm to this place. A wholly emotional yet purely scientific set of parameters and sensations that fulfill each of us in different ways.

When you go into your closet to find "comfort clothes", the outfit you pick is the one that makes you most comfortable .. puts you most at ease. When we come to SL, we do much the same thing. We fall into patterns and habits created over our years here.

If there is anything that can be gleaned from the ongoing cat-n-mouse game we're playing trying to understand Sansar, it is that we are a large group of people that wants things to stay exactly as they are every day, yet incorporates all the latest gizmos and shinies without annoying us too much.

Trying to explain that goal to others is pretty tough sometimes. Even when they have a totally empty mind about SL and are learning it for the first time. Now up the ante some and try to explain it to someone that already has their own opinion, and you encounter .. what's the term? Pushback.

Linden Lab has a set of incentives and goals that they must heed. I strongly suspect one of the more important goals pressed on top is "it's gotta be really new and smexy!" (As evidence I would like to point to the prevalence of VR in the product "hints" even though VR devices have single-digit market penetration.)

Convincing Linden Lab that Sansar has to retain a big helping of the old, dusty, treadworn from SL will be, and so far seems to be, rather difficult. Of course, having essentially zero "body language" from LL does hamper us a bit. The best we can do is make sure they understand the emotional tie and the philosophical connection that SL engenders. And that it's just as important to accomodate those in Sansar too.

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Well. it's water under the bridge. LL abandoned the Minecraft track long ago. Now you can just import some professional quality mesh and be done "creating".

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Sansar needs these three things for sure....

 

-Cheap or free land

-Revenue based on inventory placable/item sales, not land sales or rent.

-Good inworld mesh and/or sculpty creation tools.

 

The lack of any one of these means complete and total failure imho.

 

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It could only be a failure if it failed to meet its objectives.

 

Since we don't know what the objectives are, lack of inworld creation tools or cheap land may not be relevant.

 

I suspect many will be in for a surprise when they discover what and who sansar is aimed at.

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Sassy Romano wrote:

It could only be a failure if it failed to meet its objectives.

 

Since we don't know what the objectives are, lack of inworld creation tools or cheap land may not be relevant.

 

I suspect many will be in for a surprise when they discover what and who sansar is aimed at.

i agree

the evidence of this is here

http://www.canarybeck.com/2015/12/08/the-many-roles-we-play-in-second-life/

over 3000 SL residents participated in this survey. For sure is self-selected this group, but I would say that these 3000+ are in the most engaged group of SL residents

the top 3 groups: Roleplayers, Socialisers and Explorers (these types of people here in SL and eleswhere) are pretty clearly the target audience for Sansar. When add [in] the Music, Entertainer and Fashionista counts then is a no-contest pretty much.  Builders, Scripters and other technical groups are a pretty distant second, even in SL

so Sansar is pretty much a done deal I think

if is hardly any inworld building tools in Sansar (or none even) then oh! well. I will still go on it. Might even learn how to be a roleplayer or something like that, which I never done hardly any of in SL, except going round being nosey (:

 

eta: [in]

+

eta more

up until I read this [survey results] I was more thinking that Sansar would not be successful without inworld building. The numbers are what they are. So I am let it go now, going what if this and what if that, and no-build then doom

I will still have go on it and I hope that will be good for LL, and everybody who goes on it for what happiness they can get from it

 

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I have this feeling that the SIMSs latest release can give insight into the minds at LL.  Not sure if I can put it into words but something about: LL & Sims having common industry trends. 

Trends: 

1. An average computer being able to handle the game

2. Ease of a new player being able to figure out a game 

3. Nothing to creepy that would scare away the mainstream. Like overaly realistic avatars. A look that has another world / immersion vibe. 

4. Simple games / quest built into it. not sure why but they seem to think this "sells" it. 

5. Open continuous worlds seem to be on a decline, maybe they are not worth the effort and hurt trend "#1" 

whatever Sansar becomes, I think it will be following trends. 

I imagine a focus in the last decade has changed. From can we put a man on the moon, to how many men can we get to come to our moon amusement park here on earth. 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is probably what concerns me most about Sansar. The lack of understanding for the WHOLE system.

My car runs fine as long as I keep gas in the tank. If I ignore all the other parts though and just focus on the gas tank, before long my car will die and never work again. The oil, water, air in the tires, grease and all the other mechanical parts are important too.

That survey focuses on just the people that take money out of their pocket and put it into Linden Lab's pocket. And yes, those people are vitally important to making a business work.

But you cannot ignore the other myriad "parts" of the system that make it whole and complete. If you ignore the creators, inventors, designers and Merchants then .. before long .. the Sansar Car will die.

LL has a demonstrated history of ignoring the totality of Second Life .. in both its design and psychology. Focusing on just how to get money in the door, specifically focusing on just THAT transaction, will doom them to failure as they will have missed (and misunderstood) the entire system and why it works.

But .. all we can do is push, push and push! And hope they remember ...

A Virtual World is .. a WORLD! Not just "you gimme money".

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Sassy Romano wrote:

It could only be a failure if it failed to meet its objectives.

 

Since we don't know what the objectives are, lack of inworld creation tools or cheap land may not be relevant.

 

I suspect many will be in for a surprise when they discover what and who sansar is aimed at.

1 user agrees.

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just add some more thoughts

LL is currently sponsoring a Marvellous Designer tutorial, I think that helps confirm that building as they see it going forward is a off-world task for the forseeable future (meaning a future based on current resource availability)

i think also tbf that LL would like to be able to offer their own building tools, comparable to Maya, Marvellous Designer, etc. In a: Who wouldnt want to be able to offer this kinda way. Is a time and resource problem tho, tools like these take years to dev from scratch

in the meantime tho, LL do have to build the infrastructure of the [sansar] platform itself, which is a pretty big project. So is understandable LL are applying what resources they have to this. In a: the reality of the current situation is this Or that, not this And that. Even if they would maybe prefer this And that

+

just add also

when look at what can be made in Maya, Marvellous Designer, etc already then it blows SL out of the water; LL would be years and years trying to replicate these tools. And if they got distracted doing this then it leaves a big hole for another company to exploit (which Ebbe has said on lots of occasions that this is LLs worry as a company)

the hole being a platform that can bring the outputs of these already high-caliber 3rd-party builders toolsets together, in a inworld-like way with avatars/people in them, socialising, exploring, roleplaying, etc, and spending money on their avatars and personal spaces, and experiences they might encounter

eta [sansar]

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Sassy Romano wrote:

It could only be a failure if it failed to meet its objectives.

 

Since we don't know what the objectives are, lack of inworld creation tools or cheap land may not be relevant.

 

I suspect many will be in for a surprise when they discover what and who sansar is aimed at.

Indeed.

LL knows how big the market is for an SL-like experience, and I'm betting they aren't satisfied. We are high-maintenance cheapskates who scare away a broader audience with our creepiness and our mockery of everything mainstream. Don't be shocked if LL doesn't care what we want from Sansar.

 

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add more even. It now being Sunday (:

+

when look at things like cloth, real water and weather, destructibles and that. Then who wouldnt want these

like to go boating on a physics water that moves. Sitting on a beach watching the waves roll upto the shore. Going for a swim and have our avatar body and hair get wet. Hair that changes form in response to this

having animals and creatures and flora and fauna that grow and move gracefully in response to the environment 

who wouldnt want to be able to tie their hair up, and then on touch have it fall

is all these little things that people including us more buildy/scripty types do want 

 

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Anya Ristow wrote:


our creepiness

 

if is full on fluids in Sansar then our capability to be creepy is going to go way up. SL will end up looking like a Sunday morning catholic church service by comparison (: 

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

And therein lay the real snub:

Geeks:
But we made this for you!

Suits:
 Yeah and we paid you for it. Now go away. We have to make money.

maybe. altho (:

in the Scripting forums on here theres  3 people who pretty much answer 90% of all the questions ever asked about scripting

each of them initially had expressed their disquiet about Sansar not using LSL. So what they said was that if is C# (which they havent used before) then they are going off to learn it. Now. They not waiting for Sansar and learn it then

in the Mesh forums on here is also same. People in there also are really pushing their skills learning, so that when Sansar comes they will be ready

+

was a article over on Hamlets blog. Was a person, like our scripters and meshies who arent professionals, a dedicated amateur. And sure they make some little money out of SL making what they do. Stuff they would make even if they never got any money. They do it bc they like doing it. Is lots of other people like this also, out there in the wide world. Doing game mods and stuff like that

but anyways, this person who commented, done a rant about their frustration building on the SL platform, that they had reached a point where they couldnt grow any further. To grow their skills, to make stuff go extended, they were now at the point where they were making convoluted hacks, and having to use insane workflows to do this

they saw Sansar as a chance to being able cut out of workflows all the hackery and convolutations

then another person responded and made a spirited defence for the amateur builder. Which I actual then posted an agreement with

then the first person reply saying they are a actual amateur as well. A very frustrated one, and basically said: please LL dont cripple Sansar like you did SL

+

so I am now agree with the first person

i still got SL to go oldschool style with prims in if I want. I still got a own private OS continent now as well where I can do same. So I have come to accept now that insisting on having 3 things to primmage in, is maybe being a bit greedy

given that my peers, builders and scripters, are not only ready to move on, but are also actively building their skills for this. Something I am not doing

+

also

theres a zillion people building with prims in Minecraft. Many of them are growing their skills as well. They want to go somewhere to do this

  

eta: turpos

  

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irihapeti wrote:

the evidence of this is here

over 3000 SL residents participated in this survey. For sure is self-selected this group, but I would say that these 3000+ are in the most engaged group of SL residents

the top 3 groups: Roleplayers, Socialisers and Explorers (these types of people here in SL and eleswhere) are pretty clearly the target audience for Sansar. When add [in] the Music, Entertainer and Fashionista counts then is a no-contest pretty much.  Builders, Scripters and other technical groups are a pretty distant second, even in SL

Except for on tiny little detail: that survey was so clumsily done the "results" have no value or credibility whatsoever.

But that brings up a interesting and rather important question: With allt he talk about what people want and need and how LL listens/fails to listen to their customers, has there never ever been a serious customer survey in SL???

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