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Future of the metaverse, and all that


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Being surrounded by Chipmunk-sounding tiny furries is not my idea of fun. I get that it's your entertainment, but it's rather insulting to say that having no desire to be surrounded by Chipmunk-soundi

Or, where a venture capitalist thinks SL-like systems are going. The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and Fortnite  Is Fortnite the next Metaverse? The Most Imp

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1 hour ago, Sassy Kenin said:

The Metaverse Idea is dead.⚰️

 

You couldn't be more wrong. The metaverse is back on the list of approved investor bait buzzwords. (It's doubly good as it builds upon the last few buzzwords that made everyone so much money (VR, AR and TheCloud)

Take that great long list of everything VR or TheCloud was supposed to be good for (and wasn't), dump it wholesale onto the Metaverse and business as usual for the next decade. We can expect the metaverse to be the solution to remote working, medicine, telepresence in general, manufacture, military, sport, gaming, fashion, education, mental health, business, numbers, and numbers business.

The only thing the metaverse categorically wont be good for is beat saber. That problem has been solved.

This is how the silicon valley churn works, it makes no sense, it's going to be a staggering waste of money with little to show for it at the end, and we won't get to sit this one out.

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3 minutes ago, Coffee Pancake said:

You couldn't be more wrong.

 

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I couldn't be more right.  we just have different ideas of what the outcome will be, whenever the word "Investors" comes in that's a gentle way to say the rich elite want this too.

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55 minutes ago, Sassy Kenin said:

I couldn't be more right.  we just have different ideas of what the outcome will be, whenever the word "Investors" comes in that's a gentle way to say the rich elite want this too.

Ummm, Sassy. You might want to read this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcasm

I think Coffee's post might make a bit more sense to you if you do.

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4 hours ago, Coffee Pancake said:

The metaverse is back on the list of approved investor bait buzzwords. (It's doubly good as it builds upon the last few buzzwords that made everyone so much money (VR, AR and TheCloud)

Also "crypto" and "NFT".

I'm surprised that one of the virtual land real estate investment trusts hasn't become an SL landowner yet. Yes, such things exist. Search for "metaverse REIT".

But those guys are a sideshow. The serious players are Epic and Roblox, who have tens of millions of users, billions of dollars, a track record of making big 3D worlds work, and say they're building the Metaverse.

There's interest in portals between metaverses again. SL used to be into that, but backed off. A gateway from Roblox to SL, for users 16 and over, has potential.

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Crypto and NFT are environmental disasters. Even when they they to make something just a teensy bit greener, we end up with Chia; A proof of storage based crypto that will burn though an SSD in 40 days!

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27 minutes ago, Profaitchikenz Haiku said:

"It's not dead, it's just sleeping"

What they should do is join forces with Linden Lab, merge it with SL and call it "Second Verse".

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Posted (edited)

Question is, is there the right visionary in the right place at LL at the moment or not.

I have the feeling LL is more orientating to maintain and streamline what we have at the moment, than puzzling on a possible second life for Second Life.
I think they still feel the blisters from burning themselves with the Sansar project.
So I can't blame them for being careful  with new ideas.

Edited by Sid Nagy
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8 hours ago, Sid Nagy said:

Question is, is there the right visionary in the right place at LL at the moment or not.

Not that anyone can detect. Some of the newer graphics Lindens who show up at Creator User Group have promise, but they're too junior. No public statement from Ebbe Altberg, the new owners, or the new chairman of the board indicates a  future direction. 

SL's technical people, overwhelmed by the technical debt of all that ancient C++ code, concluded that SL could not be changed much, and top management believed that. Hence, Sansar. Which failed. Now they're stuck. The technical debt problem is real, but the existence of third party viewers and Open Simulator shows that it can be overcome.

Oz LInden has retired. A replacement has not yet been hired. Here's the job opening for a VP of Engineering. Much will depend on whom they get.

Tasks listed for the new VP:

  • Own and manage the architectural roadmap; setting the vision and strategy for technology, and distilling it into successfully releasing the product on time
  • Anticipate technology scale and capability challenges and communicate clear, proactive plans to address these challenges.

Reasonable.

The listed job requirements, though, focus on the wrong technical things.

  • Experience with successfully building large-scale, global internet technologies in AWS

They need someone who's been in the game industry or VR to move forward. Preferably someone who's been inside a big MMO. (Yes, MMOs are games, but underneath, a big modern MMO and SL have many of the same issues.) Someone who understands AWS plumbing is needed, but that's not the VP's job.

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2 hours ago, animats said:

The listed job requirements, though, focus on the wrong technical things.

  • Experience with successfully building large-scale, global internet technologies in AWS

Just my tuppernce-worth here, but I think that's a tactical direction and as such it's going to have inherent limitations: you can only do what AWS supports. Single-supplier-dependency leaves you open to several problems, ratchetting up the prices for one.

Strategically, a better decision would be to implement on the internet the core services required for the Metaverse in a way that allows a variety of servers to access them. Sort of like the way the opensim is using "standard" servers to cobble together a patchwork hypergrid system. At the moment it's fragmented because of so many competing variants, and they have yet to solve the biggest single issue of a commercial Metaverse: the money. But they have the connectivity, the variety and resilience, the method of taking necessary inventory from grid to grid, and possibly the biggest asset of all, the ability to connect home-based small worlds into a bigger system.

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12 hours ago, Sid Nagy said:

Question is, is there the right visionary in the right place at LL at the moment or not.

Visionary is a big word. I don't think there are any visionaries neither of the right or the wrong kind at LL and there haven't been for a long, long time, not since the days of Philip, Cory, Eric and Ryan oh and briefly Avi.

But that begs the question, are there any visionaries driving any of the other current virtual world/virtual reality ventures? I dont think so.

 

12 hours ago, Sid Nagy said:

I have the feeling LL is more orientating to maintain and streamline what we have at the moment, than puzzling on a possible second life for Second Life.

I absolutely agree with you but I also firmly believe it's the right thing for LL to do. I wish it wasn't, I really wish it wasn't but I can't see any realistic alternative. It's too late for SL to chance course now.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Profaitchikenz Haiku said:

Strategically, a better decision would be to implement on the internet the core services required for the Metaverse in a way that allows a variety of servers to access them. Sort of like the way the opensim is using "standard" servers to cobble together a patchwork hypergrid system.

It's an attractive idea technically, but has most of the same problems as distributed social networks, which have tiny numbers of users. (This is a technical subject of limited interest to SL users, so I won't go on with it here.)

"Portals" between different virtual worlds, though - that might be practical. In the early days of SL, LL was more open to that idea. I've seen a video of a Minecraft to Roblox portal demo. This idea seems to be getting traction.

Edited by animats
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2 hours ago, Coffee Pancake said:

UE5 Early access with Nanite just dropped .. there are no more high poly meshes, only weak software.

Well, almost. Here's how it works, from the Unreal Engine documentation:

  • During import: meshes are analyzed and broken down into hierarchical clusters of triangle groups.

  • During rendering: clusters are swapped on the fly at varying levels of detail based on the camera view, and connect perfectly without cracks to neighboring clusters within the same object. Data is streamed in on demand so that only visible detail needs to reside in memory.

  • Nanite runs in its own rendering pass that completely bypasses traditional draw calls.

It's a level of detail system. A good one, where the LOD switches take place for parts of the mesh, not the whole object all at once. All this is integrated with the streaming system and the rendering system to make it work without highly visible LOD switches.

In the current Early Access UE5, it only works on rigid objects. Not avatars or clothing. Also, it takes considerable hardware to make this go. Recommended system specs are 64GB of RAM, 8 CPUs, and a NVidia 2060 or better. Or a Playstation 5, which has 24 GB, all directly accessible from both GPU and SSD, so they can move data to the GPU really fast. This is far more graphics power than most SL users have. Epic claims the quality degrades gracefully on lower-end hardware, all the way down to "a 3 year old Android phone".

This has implications for Second Life. Second Life has a huge collection of high-quality content with terrible lower levels of detail. With this new approach to automatic LOD, it may become possible to use all that great content without so much degradation at lower LODs.

I have a a UE dev account (which is free until you make a million dollars in revenue, then they want 5%), so I downloaded and built UE5 Early Access, and built one of the provided demos. It worked. I may spend a little time with it and bring in some complex geometry to watch the Nanite system do its LOD thing. More on this later.

I'm not much of an Unreal Engine user, though. There are some SL users with serious Unreal Engine experience. Comments?

 

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16 hours ago, animats said:

This has implications for Second Life. Second Life has a huge collection of high-quality content with terrible lower levels of detail. With this new approach to automatic LOD, it may become possible to use all that great content without so much degradation at lower LODs.

Implications in what way? It's not like LL would move the render pipeline onto Unreal's engine if the licensing was affordable anyway and if it's not affordable and patented it's not like LL is going to brew/roll their own.

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1 hour ago, Lucia Nightfire said:

Implications in what way? It's not like LL would move the render pipeline onto Unreal's engine if the licensing was affordable anyway and if it's not affordable and patented it's not like LL is going to brew/roll their own.

That's not the suggestion .. how UE5 enables creators to basically dump zbrush content straight into engine is of interest

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1 hour ago, Coffee Pancake said:

That's not the suggestion .. how UE5 enables creators to basically dump zbrush content straight into engine is of interest

Yeah, but animats said implications for Secondlife. When/Where/How would that come to fruition?

Management and developers don't exactly have a track record for even keeping up with industry standards, let alone new tech.

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