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Oldbies: What's changed around SL in the decade since ~2007?


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I blundered into the SL subreddit quite by accident and it reminded me of the great 2004-2007 period in which I was really active in SL.  Worked on a bunch of contracts to Nissan USA, CSI:NY, Reuters, etc. on their regions via the Electric Sheep Company.  I'm sure all that stuff is all completely gone now.  I imagine the Prokofy Nevas, Anshe Chungs, Cubey Terras and most of the other oldbies are long vanished.  The hours I spent on IRC...  Nostalgia!

So, what's truly new across the grid?  I logged back on for a few minutes just now and to my utter surprise, my LSL-based items still actually worked fine after a decade.  That's actually impressive.  What new features and resident dynamics are around these days?

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Graphics has improved a lot since 2007.  We now have shadows and lighting that act like RL lights as well as much better skies and water. You can actually use windlight presets to choose the way these all look or edit them in the environmental editor under WORLD to set them to suit your own preference. Turn your graphic setting up as high as you can for your computer and if they are high enough you'll see them. 

You can check out this website to see statistics such as number of regions, population, how many people online now as well as history, Lindex stats etc.

A lot of oldbies are gone but a lot still remain.  All three of the ones you mentioned are still around.  Prokofy is pretty active in these forums.

Most scripts will still work from back in the day.  A few things have been replaced by upgraded scripting and new capabilities have been added.  A look at the LSL Portal in the wiki and a search of the blogs will update you on that. 

We now have mesh that a lot of people think has improved items.  You can get mesh items such a clothing, hair, eyes, bodies and heads for your avatar.  A lot of people don't like it though and stick with the classic avatar, system clothes.  It's more of a personal preference but more and more people are using it.  You can also get mesh houses and vehicles etc. 

Some mesh is well done and lowers what was called prim count back in the day, other mesh doesn't or actually raises it.  Now days Prim Count is called Land Impact because prims, no matter if they are traditional, sculpt or mesh can count as less or more than one prim.  For Example: traditional box prims can count as one if you link two together and have the physics set to Convex Hull.

There are a lot more people in world that came from the gamer culture.  LL has marketed SL as free for several years now and a lot of people expect everything to be free , which of course it isn't.  However there are some great freebies out there if you take the time to find them.  People can furnish their avatar and homes with freebies as there is enough of them around.  About the only thing you can't find for free is land.  A number of the newer people also fee entitled to go where ever they want and do whatever they feel like too.  However a good amount of the newer people are nice, polite and friendly.

SL is even more of a place that you can do most anything you can do in RL.  Take some time and explore it. 

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Adding on ...

Invisiprims are dead now.  It was a glitch they left for years anyway but they were finally "fixed" not log ago.  Your old shoes may show the skin heels of your feet below the shoe now.  However a new system layer -- the alpha layer -- has been added to the avatar that will allow you to make parts of the body invisible. 

 

However all the changes have not botherd SL.  It is still the same at heart.  We shop for clothes, chat in groups and head to Frank's Place to dance. 

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All of those commercial sims are gone.

The adult sims are on a single continent.

Mesh avatars and clothes are the thing now.

Age verification came and went.

Vampires infested SL for a while. 

Oldbies still post once in a while.

Sansar and Hi Fidelity are in the works.

 

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Rhonda Huntress wrote:

Invisiprims are dead now.  It was a glitch they left for years anyway but they were finally "fixed" not log ago

is some good news about invisiprims

in the latest release viewer LL have re-fixed invisiprims. Invisiprims work again now. I havent tested it myself yet, but am sure the boat people will be pretty happy to get the water out of their hulls again

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Release_Notes/Second_Life_Release/4.0.7.317689

 

 

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wherorangi wrote:


Rhonda Huntress wrote:

Invisiprims are dead now.  It was a glitch they left for years anyway but they were finally "fixed" not log ago

is some good news about invisiprims

in the latest release viewer LL have re-fixed invisiprims. Invisiprims work again now. I havent tested it myself yet, but am sure the boat people will be pretty happy to get the water out of their hulls again

 

 

Oh thank the makers for that news, maybe 6 months and it will be in Firestorm! It's no fun being a neko captain and having wet paws because the water is leaking into the boat - and his crew is too busy trying to wave others out of the path, rather than bucket the waters over the side.

I wonder if they fixed the bug that created invisiprims if you alpha some worn mesh though. That's an annoying one, especially as it makes some hair look super weird.

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from what I read in the release notes, looks like LL came up with a more efficient way to render oldschool invisprims (something about pre-loading it said)

with the mesh thingy you mentioning thats still happening. I got some mesh hair that does that against the ocean water, and against other textures that contain a transparency layer, even if that layer is not visible

is something to do with 1-bit transparency I think. Dunno exactly. Maybe a texture maker can explain it better than me 

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Not an oldbie by your standard in the slightest :) But...

Still remember the day on rollout when the grid hit 15k* log ins - and stayed up. A wednesday I recall :)

Apart from that well as always not had enough horses under the hood - all around the platform has *stunned*

And as an SL13B (and 12 11 10) erm helper of others.,,

(*the number total still not matched by any SL equiv set up together - also possibly after your time /ducks/. Bunker is calling and welcome back)

 

 

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What has changed?

More than you'd think, less than you'd hope.

As others have pointed out, LL's changed CEOs numerous times, adult sims were all swept into a single continent separate from moderate and G rated sims, and technical improvements like mesh upload have drastically changed business and visuals in SL.

 The "SL boom" began and ended very quickly, corporate involvement in SL dropped sharply after 2007. It's much more difficult for individuals to make significant amounts of money in SL these days, too.

 However, if you're just in it for fun, you can make bigger, more detailed and more engaging environments now than you could way back then. Especially if you're smart about optimization.

 LL is apparently close to rolling out some improvements to the avatar systems which will allow for more interesting use of rigged mesh avatars.

 As for resident dynmics? Well, LL stopped sending newbies to "Welcome Areas" and now I guess they drop them off in semi-random spots around the grid...or something? Whatever the case, it's much more difficult to find large groups of active avatars in SL. There seems to be fewer social and RP venues these days, too, but there's still fun ones around.

 What hasn't changed is at least as interesting. We got Windlight in 2007 but you may be surprised to know...LL never finished it. After about five years they finally fixed the broken day cycle editor (one line of code, LL. It was just one line of code. Why did that take 5 years to fix?), but we never got weather, the ability to share windlight settings, or those gorgeous volumetric clouds they showed off. LL has since parted ways with Windward Mark so I doubt those features will ever come to be.

Unfortunately, that's par for the course with LL. We have mesh now, but it was introduced in a strangely incomplete fashion. For example, we cannot animate mesh except with the same crude scripts we used to animate prims. At one point LL introduced tools to move NPCs along pathways in SL, but we never got NPCs to use with those features. So they're just sort of...there. LL replaced prim limits with "Land Impact", the intent being to give us resource management that reflected more accurately the rendering costs of prims and mesh...but they left textures and avatars out of the equation entirely so the lag and SL's system requirements only got worse.

 So it's a mixed bag. I still have fun poking at SL now and then, but I'm not nearly as engaged as I used to be and you're right that most of the other oldbies are long since gone or fallen off the radar.

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Of course I haven't vanished. You've vanished. I haven't vanished. I am now in my 12th year, still in business on the Mainland which is a very rugged experience but has gotten better since the more copyleftist ideological Lindens left and instituted reforms punishing ad farms and the like.

I don't think the features like avatar feet shadows or bones that move or whatever are important and in many cases you can't see them or use them anyway unless you have an extremely high-priced and complex rig with a very high-end graphics card. This will never be a Best Buy computer game as I have found out yet again.

What's more important is how the economy has severely crashed with a 10 point loss on the LindEx since April for reasons which are murky -- possibly due to the hyping of Project Sansar, possibly related to the desperate offer to lower sim prices (but I don't think so) to grandfathered level, etc. I think it's capital flight.

I think the most important development is the gatcha, the machines that sell random content that are featured at special events, and the merchant events where limited availability content is sold sometimes at a discount.

These sales innovations have pumped a lot of value back into the economy and also involved the average user because now the creator class, which used to punish the consumer for their copybot problems by putting everything on "no transfer" (useless) has now emphatically made an entire big class of product that is no copy and on transfer -- the gatcha. So this has created economic opportunity for a lot of ordinary people and made SL more fun and more social as people have yard sales and special events of all types.

There are also more limited edition items dealing with the problem of how to create scarcity in a highly copyable and gluttable world. It's quite interesting. 

Also mesh has gotten better although it still doesn't fit in the world as you can't place one mesh on another without a prim base.

 

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What has changed in 10 years?

Technically, the grid is much improved.

Creatively, the world is a pale shadow of its former self.

Economically, it's stagnant.

Socially, it's empty.

Politically, it's a cross between Disneyland and Brazil.

Financially, it's expensive and increasingly restrictive.

That about sums it up.

I would gladly trade away all the technological improvements to return SL to what it was in 2006.

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I recall reading an article years ago saying that the Windlight patents or trademarks had been returned to Windward Mark and that LL had let the windlight development team go.

 I couldn't find said article, but in my defence it's like 6am and I haven't had any coffee yet.

This would have been around the time of the massive layoffs in 2010, when Mark Kingdon set fire to LL's offices before dancing naked through the streets and into the bay, never to be seen again. Although some say on a clear night, if you listen closely, you can still hear his haunting, manic laughter wafting through the night air on an errant breeze.

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So many amazing sims now gone. All my favorite nightclubs gone. Most of my favorite stores gone. All my creative, entrepreneurial friends gone.

The introduction of an 'Adult' rating 'sanitized' the mainland, reducing its diversity and vitality while at the same time creating a highly-concentrated porn slum in Zindra. Mono-field names (Sus123anxxx36 Resident) reduced the human-psychological aspect of belonging to a society. Potential residents were offered Second Class status in Second Life, which was a disincentive to join and made it more difficult for those who did join to integrate into the existing society.

Then, of course, there was the slow and steady rise in the cost of tier (relative to a basket of alternative infotainment goods and services) which has steadily reduced the number of estate sims because there are far more choices now in 2016 about how one wants to spend US$300 a month than there were back in 2006.

The iPhone didn't exist back then, nor Kindle, nor Instagram, nor Snapchat, nor streaming Netflix. There were no apps because there were no smartphones. Facebook and Twitter had only just opened to the public. Computers and hosting services were far more expensive with considerably less speed and functionality. That is the world in which Linden Lab set its prices - and it hasn't changed them since (except for some tinkering at the margins and then only reluctantly and then only very recently). By my estimation, comparing the cost of an alternative basket of infotainment goods and service from 2006 to the cost a basket of infotainment goods and services in 2016, the relative price of tier has at least tripled. More and more people are preferring to spend their money outside SL than in it. Can you blame them?

All of this has dampened enthusiasm and creativity across Second Life. At the meta level, the smart money (who might have made big investments inworld) see Linden Lab as Yahoo - a company that had it all and blew it through lack of vision, strategy, leadership and effective management. As for Sansara, remember Blue Mars?

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Deltango Vale wrote:

So many amazing sims now gone. All
my
favorite nightclubs gone. Most of
my
favorite stores gone. All
my
creative, entrepreneurial friends gone.


My, my, my...

Meanwhile you've told us that you refuse to truck with mesh, and you were recently baffled to learn that invisprims are no longer standard operating procedure despite their falling out of favor five years ago. All this suggests that you now don't even bother to look at what Second Life now is and has been for years because you're convinced it can't compare to your memories.

   Deltango, are you grieving

   Over Second Life unleaving?

   Leaves, like the things of man, you

   With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

   Ah! as the heart grows older

   It will come to such sights colder

   By and by, nor spare a sigh

   Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;

   And yet you will weep and know why.

   Now no matter, child, the name:

   Sorrow's springs are the same.

   Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed

   What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:

   It is the blight man was born for,

   It is Deltango you mourn for.

Apologies to Gerard Manley Hopkins, not that he'd care because he's been dead for quite a while.

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I thought maybe you were referring to something like what I have read others say -- that the flood of full perm mesh templates and downloads from the Internet had introduced too much sameness. I have seen pictures of some pretty remarkable extant sims, tho have not personally visited them. 

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