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Future of the metaverse, and all that


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46 minutes ago, CoffeeDujour said:

Should be pretty obvious by now, that any technology proclaiming to help solve all problems (rather than a specific problem), are just technologies with out a real purpose and we all better be throwing ideas at the wall to see what might stick. If nothing sticks, lets have a new word in a few years time and try again.

Then came the smartphone, which replaced all other mobile devices. But, yes, I get the point. Ryan Schultz's blog has a list of about a hundred virtual world systems. Few have more than 1000 users. Nobody has a big hit yet. It's hard to guess what gets huge. Shooting for medium-sized, a few hundred thousand users, with very good quality, though... SL could get there.

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No, the perfect tool for the job. Lot of people all in one place, a simplistic stylized look, only requires people have an account and can spend a few minutes on a skin website. (the reality being, most everyone already has an account with a skinned avatar).

Now look at this for SL. Not a lot of people in one place, the account is free but good luck getting socially acceptable pixels from scratch with no idea what you're doing in 20 minutes, event falls apart due to lag and flying *********** copters raining ***** on **** then **** took ***** in the ******** and it was a complete ******* show. SL's woes aren't technical.

 

Yes, SL has a whole series of problems which new users must overcome. Somehow, that needs to be fixed.

Social Island 10 hit the top of the Destinations list yesterday. I went to see what was happening, expecting a special event. No. A bunch of older users talking. Some jerks. Someone, not a new user, was zooming around in a super-warrior outfit with particle effects plowing into random people. Three zero day users. One was stuck, having attached a non-wearable object. One was just standing around. And one, in the starter female shorts and plaid shirt outfit, seemed to be cowering in fear, moving away if anyone got near her.

The new user experience still needs much work.

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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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More by a VC type on the Metaverse:

"Just as every company a few decades ago created a webpage, and then at some point every company created a Facebook page, I think we’re approaching the point where every company will have a real-time live 3D presence, through partnerships with game companies or through games like Fortnite and Minecraft and Roblox... That’s starting to happen now. It’s going to be a much bigger thing than these previous generational shifts. Not only will it be a boon for game developers, but it will be the beginning of tearing down the barriers not just between platforms but between games.” - Tim Sweeney (you know, Epic, Fortnite, Unreal Engine...)

 

Of course, SL did that already, and it was a flop. Older users will remember when big companies had a big presence in SL. Will there be a round 2 of that? Could it work? What would it take?

Or will this be a niche market for decades to come? I don't know, but, after a long hiatus, a lot of money is being spent on metaverse-like systems. There are about a hundred wannabe metaverse systems right now. There's a lot of action going on. Somebody might get a hit.

I'd like to see Second Life play a major role in this, but SL is not moving forward very fast right now.

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13 minutes ago, animats said:

Of course, SL did that already, and it was a flop. Older users will remember when big companies had a big presence in SL. Will there be a round 2 of that? Could it work? What would it take?

AR. If we can figure out how to implant AR into our eyes or glasses / contacts that doesn't look obvious. 

Then we decorate, paint, model, play, meet, communicate, and travel with AR.

Edited by Evah Baxton
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To be a go-to tool it must solve a problem or facilitate real, not imagined, goals.  I spend a lot of time logged in to Second Life, so I want you to know I am not knocking it.  I just haven’t figured out how to use Second Life to solve problems that were not caused by someone else in Second Life.  I did manage to make an animated signal flow diagram for FOX Networks some time ago to illustrate how IPTV worked.  They probably would have preferred a Powerpoint presentation but did accept and use the video file I sent them.  Otherwise, I guess I am just avoiding watching television.  Maybe people can share here how they have used SL instead of or in addition to traditional business tools to get a real life job done.  In the mean time I will continue using SL to host my social place and for casual entertainment.

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11 hours ago, animats said:

More by a VC type on the Metaverse:

"Just as every company a few decades ago created a webpage, and then at some point every company created a Facebook page, I think we’re approaching the point where every company will have a real-time live 3D presence, through partnerships with game companies or through games like Fortnite and Minecraft and Roblox... That’s starting to happen now. It’s going to be a much bigger thing than these previous generational shifts. Not only will it be a boon for game developers, but it will be the beginning of tearing down the barriers not just between platforms but between games.” - Tim Sweeney (you know, Epic, Fortnite, Unreal Engine...)

 

Of course, SL did that already, and it was a flop. Older users will remember when big companies had a big presence in SL. Will there be a round 2 of that? Could it work? What would it take?

Or will this be a niche market for decades to come? I don't know, but, after a long hiatus, a lot of money is being spent on metaverse-like systems. There are about a hundred wannabe metaverse systems right now. There's a lot of action going on. Somebody might get a hit.

I'd like to see Second Life play a major role in this, but SL is not moving forward very fast right now.

You might want to check out what the devs are doing with spherical worlds and solar systems in Empyrion: Galactic Survival on Unity. You can find it on Steam.

I wish my graphics card could still handle the game but it runs way too hot for my liking by about 20C. Maybe next year. Wait. I said that last year and the year before. Anyway, it's still early access I think. I'm not sure as I haven't looked at it in a while. Early Access was under $20US and was well worth the price imo.

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Second Life's premise and world structure are already the right ones - an interconnected open world that is run and maintained mostly like a physical world state, where anyone can create, do and become whatever they want, with options for private islands. There's a good reason why states or nations work the way they do, because they work, and the fact that SL is still the most successful and profitable virtual world is a proof of that.

There are arguments that Fortnite is how a virtual world should be, because of its success. But we gotta remember Fortnite at its core is a Battle Royale game, and the only reason it became a successful "virtual world" (it's not), is because it already got a giant existing userbase of Battle Royale players before it released its party mode, which in itself is nothing compared to SL in regard to user freedom and truly being a world.

It's like saying a golf club should hold baseball matches and make baseball courses because baseball makes more money - at which point it won't be a golf club anymore.

Just feel like I need to say this because there are people out there who are seriously arguing this.

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On 5/28/2020 at 5:40 PM, animats said:

Yes, SL has a whole series of problems which new users must overcome. Somehow, that needs to be fixed.

Social Island 10 hit the top of the Destinations list yesterday. I went to see what was happening, expecting a special event. No. A bunch of older users talking. Some jerks. Someone, not a new user, was zooming around in a super-warrior outfit with particle effects plowing into random people. Three zero day users. One was stuck, having attached a non-wearable object. One was just standing around. And one, in the starter female shorts and plaid shirt outfit, seemed to be cowering in fear, moving away if anyone got near her.

The new user experience still needs much work.

 

Citing the new user experience as the problem completely misses the point. The new user experience has been a 'problem' since SL started and it boils down to one very simple point - There are no shortcuts in SL.

Minecraft shortcuts players to a socially acceptable avatar by keeping the avatar simplistic, 5 minutes on a skin website and a few mouse clicks are all it takes to get good pixels. But also, being Steve is totally fine because every other play was Steve when they started. Sure, you can hand craft your own unique skin if you really want, but that extra work is on you.

Minecraft shortcuts usability by building on top of standard gaming. If you have played almost any other game, you can walk run and jump right out of the starting gate.

SL on the other hand requires you to learn a bunch of platform specific skills, acquire inventory, open packages (using whatever random system the author cooked up), attach clothing and complete a basic outfit ... which sets the player up for a massive loss, as soon as they leave the playpen and discover all their work has been for nothing because freebies are junk and socially unacceptable.

Free clothing, better starter avatars, and hand outs are not the answer, sure they might be fine, or even good. But there is a huge difference between acceptable and socially acceptable. The latter hits your wallet like a freight train, takes several hours, a decent level of competency, and is entirely unavoidable.

The new user experience has no impact on retention. Drop newbies into a practice playpen or a volcano, the learning and time investment curve is the same.

At this point I would strongly advise the entire new user experience be literally short cut into the trash. New accounts get a random color featureless jelly doll avatar and a button to pick a different random color. The first guide they ever have to pay attention to becomes "How do I get an avatar". No starter avatars, no freebie festooned welcome areas, nothing. All they have to master is how to move their placeholder body about and chat. 

A jelly doll avatar might not be socially ideal, but at the same time it isn't socially unacceptable. It exclaims "help me!" rather than "I'm walking trash and you should ban me on sight".

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47 minutes ago, CoffeeDujour said:

New accounts get a random color featureless jelly doll avatar and a button to pick a different random color. The first guide they ever have to pay attention to becomes "How do I get an avatar". No starter avatars, no freebie festooned welcome areas, nothing. All they have to master is how to move their placeholder body about and chat. 

That's like teaching kids to swim by dumping them into the deep end of the pool. It would work out OK for some users, and terrify others.

"You're a default" - middle school insult, from Fortnite.

Is there an official "How to get dressed" course in SL. If not, why not?

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4 minutes ago, animats said:

That's like teaching kids to swim by dumping them into the deep end of the pool. It would work out OK for some users, and terrify others.

Not treating new SL users like kids is probably more important.

4 minutes ago, animats said:

"You're a default" - middle school insult, from Fortnite.

A low lag standard 'jelly dolly' substitute avatar could easily be made part of the social norm, especially if we used it for event shopping .. say if region owners could easily enforce use of the 'base' avatar (as a region setting, all who enter here are automatically jelly, till they leave, and they then revert to their personal avatar).

4 minutes ago, animats said:

Is there an official "How to get dressed" course in SL. If not, why not?

SL social acceptability is (for better or worse) dependent on a 3rd party mesh head / body. LL can't play favorites or compete.

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After seeing somebody else do it, I made a map marker avatar.  It's a green cone pointing downward under a white sphere.  I think that would be less weird than a blob of jelly.  Apparently the render cost is quite low.

image.thumb.png.e16d7717b670628a92ccc0c119ee6655.png

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On 5/29/2020 at 2:01 PM, animats said:

More by a VC type on the Metaverse:

"Just as every company a few decades ago created a webpage, and then at some point every company created a Facebook page, I think we’re approaching the point where every company will have a real-time live 3D presence, through partnerships with game companies or through games like Fortnite and Minecraft and Roblox... That’s starting to happen now. It’s going to be a much bigger thing than these previous generational shifts. Not only will it be a boon for game developers, but it will be the beginning of tearing down the barriers not just between platforms but between games.” - Tim Sweeney (you know, Epic, Fortnite, Unreal Engine...)

Of course, SL did that already, and it was a flop. Older users will remember when big companies had a big presence in SL. Will there be a round 2 of that? Could it work? What would it take?

It flopped in SL because the companies were not thinking like they should have and also because the SL engine was (and forever will be) just not able to handle the needs of the companies expectations or their customers.

What Tim Sweeney and other current 'pushers' of the metaverse are thinking is completely different and I bolded those in your quote above.

Scenario 1 Realtime 3D presence: Go to a local shopfront/corner shop,/doctors surgery where they have a whole heap of those new 3D measuring machines that measure you completely and accurately, then once you have scanned your self its uploaded to a secure area on your metaverse account and you can virtually go to a clothing store and buy clothes (realistic looking) that fit perfectly and delivered to your door. From a customer perspective, far easier, quicker, no trying on in a store fitting cubical etc., guaranteed fit always and potential cheaper prices. From a business perspective, low overheads due to only needing a warehouse and the ability to have a greater range of products on the shelf due to unlimited VR space.

Or a virtual super market, museum etc, all of which have been pushed to insane levels since the covid-19 lockdowns. Just think about it museums in the space of 2 months have pushed to get their entire artifacts online virtually. The lockdown has pushed the metaverse enormously.

Scenario 2 game partnerships: I create a general avatar that I can use anywhere. I can shop, go places, see things etc virtually and realistically. All the while being whatever I want to be avatar wise. Then say I want to go play a game. Virtually my VR self 'teleports' to that game which is located on a linked number of regions, remembers where I last logged off (or make it you have to log off in a specific zone like a tavern etc) and as soon as I appear in that game region, my clothing, avatar, accessories are automatically changed to a character I created for that region that is in theme with that game.

For instance in a simpler form, I go to a virtual museum in my normal avatar virtually and get a IM from my friend who wants to play WoW VR. I IM him back and say sure be there in a sec. Go to my virtual world hologram map and click on the pulsing map marker for WoW VR and am teleported to the Stormwind Tavern all the while automatically changing during the teleport to my night elf character and WoW VR UI loaded ready to play. Then get bored go to a different game region and now I'm ready to play Minecraft in my pixilated glory.

That is what they are looking at, not a glorified outdated chat dress up ken and barbie program that SL has become.

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I'd like to see Second Life play a major role in this, but SL is not moving forward very fast right now.

SL in its current form or thinking will eventually fail as it has stagnated. It is also why it SL isn't talked about in those articles you post. It is just to slow on the uptake with no forward critical on trend thinking and with them missing out on SL2 years ago where they could have been the forerunner to all of this (as users were wanting), opted for the failed Sansar instead. They have missed their chance.

For example, the latest Unreal Engine 5 tech demo. If you haven't seen it go see it and you will see why Epic is positioning itself as a streaming VR behemoth for the metaverse with its unreal engine 5 and storefront.

While Linden Lab are concentrating on pathetic problematic non realistic looking things like EEP or working out ways to make money Epic, are looking at ways in improving EVERYTHING so as it can stream across the internet as quick as possible. Additionally Unreal Engine 5 looks to solve a lot of Second Life's issues that have plagued SL for years meaning it can be done. SL has been plagued with unoptimized content for years dragging the system down, causing lag etc. Epic on the other hand look directly at this and release its latest engine (yes, SL is just an engine like UE5) that from what it seems and has been tested as on the new PS5 can do the following:

  • Allow for global illumination (aka dynamic)
  • Downscales dynamically triangle count
  • Allows for scenes due to this downscaling of BILLIONS of triangles down to a more reasonable streaming and rendering number without loss of HIGHLY realistic environments
  • Effectively REMOVES the need for a normal map whilst allowing for movie quality scenes that are NOT pre rendered
  • From this downscaling keeps textures at 8k with no lag, frame rate issues etc all on a relatively very good spec modern computer (PS5)
  • Due to this downscaling allows for enormous scenes horizon to horizon with each object seeing no optimisation from outside creation tools or the need for LOD models
  • Allows for dynamic animation where the ai can accurately position the avatar according to its environment
  • Allows for particles to move along with the environment or other particles/objects

It is this forward thinking that is allowing Epic's CEO to tout a metaverse and those with a brain can see he is positioning his company for that. He is actively through deals with game deplorers luring them into using his Unreal Engine with exclusive Epic Store deals. What this allows him to do is set a metaverse up where all games will be on it due to them using Epics engine.

Whilst I would love SL to be the forerunner or even just compete, I just cant see this happening. They still haven't solved the lag issues, region crossing issues etc which have plagued it from day one. However forward thinking companies like Epic have clearly looked at SL and seen its issues, as from their latest engine they clearly show knowledge of the problems SL has been plagued with. Optimisation and its streaming problems is showing results in getting it solved as well as region crossings where it is horizon to horizon. Add to this cloud gaming/hosting and SL is finished.

Also before people start saying that internet speeds will be the downside of this and all the above solves nothing streaming wise, considering most have decent net now and developments don't slow for those that wont upgrade, the streaming will only get better. Just last week it was announced that a few partnered universities in Australia have tested in the wild (i.e. not in a controlled environment) a new (simple and adaptable to current infrastructure) method of linking fibre that allows for transfer speeds of 44.2 TERABYTES/s  between users. Whilst probably a few years away for consumers the fact that inter-continental or interstate transfer speeds can go up to this speed will solve latency and download.

Edited by Drayke Newall
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@Drayke Newall remember that Epic's tech demos are, and have always been, what a tech demo is meant for: showing off what the extremes are, but they don't mention how much memory on  hard disk all that content needed. Streaming can get better, but a world full of such content would require the end user to have petabytes of storage capacity on the local machines and gigabytes of ram available for the realtime processing. Whilst it can be done on MODERN hardware, on which not everybody can get ahold of right now (in the future, yes), tech demos show where they're pushing and to what extent it is possible at max insane levels, it will take years (probably many) before this can become a regular standard. 

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1 hour ago, OptimoMaximo said:

@Drayke Newall remember that Epic's tech demos are, and have always been, what a tech demo is meant for: showing off what the extremes are, but they don't mention how much memory on  hard disk all that content needed. Streaming can get better, but a world full of such content would require the end user to have petabytes of storage capacity on the local machines and gigabytes of ram available for the realtime processing. Whilst it can be done on MODERN hardware, on which not everybody can get ahold of right now (in the future, yes), tech demos show where they're pushing and to what extent it is possible at max insane levels, it will take years (probably many) before this can become a regular standard. 

I am fully aware of that, but that wasn't the pretence of what I was showing and I think your are missing the underlying point of my post. Unreal 5 is a game changer where normal, LOD's and badly optimised content is out the window all because they have come up with a method of reliably downscaling insane detail to a non factor. Even though Unreal 5 isn't out till next year, if it was out tomorrow no developer will build a scene with a statue of 30mil triangles directly imported from zbrush and multiple that by 300 as in the tech demo. As you say it is pushed to the extreme and even SL doesn't have that much of content (if any) that is of that insane nature unless griefing. However even a reasonably high quality model that shows all detail without the need for a normal or LOD would see the benefit with this system.

For a virtual world like SL that has been plagued by badly optimised content, unreal 5 shows that it can be downsized quite reliably which, if SL can be made to do the same server side before sending it to the users client (for example downscaling of texture to correlate to the surface area of the mesh they are applied to that many people have been wanting for years) it would see beneficial results. I'm not suggesting insane things like the tech demo, however a system of downscaling similar could be applied to SL if the coding allows to make the optimisation a non factor as well. If Epic continue with this, which they will, it will only get better leaving SL in the dust if they release a VW.

As far as storage goes, people are used to it with modern hardware. Take the current games on PS4 or Xbone many can only be installed about 4 times on a terabyte drive due to the file size. People are used to that. The issue with SL is that it hasn't seen its cache system updated in years with only promises to do so. Where they should be updating it so that your favourite regions can be designated to stay in cache and having a overwriting separate cache for random travels, they have stuck with the latter further increasing issues and frustration.

Like usual SL and virtual worlds are a different beast due to streaming, I know that and that wont change. If however, they can ultimately use and improve streaming from a central location to peoples PC's then such processing will become meaningless as it would be done elsewhere. That is where we are moving to and what these metaverse thinkers are driving towards.

Lastly, many places are pushing faster internet speeds with some getting gigabit connections. In South Australia (Australia being the backwater of internet speed in the western world) the city area has access to 10GB/s speeds. The only limiting factor (other than cost) would then be realtime processing, however this is why I mentioned in my previous post that development will continue despite people not upgrading and with cost in a few years time being lowered to reasonable levels.

Most people that are interested in virtual worlds (or really VR) are gamers and therefore they don't buy stock comps. They make sure that they get reasonable systems. Most systems these days gaming wise have at min. 32gb ram as it is cheap (i.e. more than the 16gig in the PS5 demo), not to mention ME2's and have the power you suggest as for VR goggles it is needed.

EDIT

The flywheel diagram in one of the links animats posted shows how epic is moving to the metaverse. With their recent release of Epic online Services (of which just this may they did this https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonchandler/2020/05/05/virtual-reality-concert-in-helsinki-attracts-over-1-million-spectators/#6a2c0c201281) as well as unreal 5 it is moving at a quick pace for some form of new Virtual World.

Edited by Drayke Newall
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On the Identity of SecondLife

On 3/11/2020 at 5:17 AM, animats said:

Worth thinking about when asking the marketing question "What should a new SL user's first hour be like?" What should be preset, and what should be changeable? This a hard and critical problem.

I think that SecondLife itself is little more than a very elaborate browser. What is seen below the address bar is very much the choice of the user.

This is a location on the good old 2D Web:- https://www.kokoro.academy

This is a location on the 3D Web. secondlife://KINGS%20RANCH/163/138/2338

Let's replace 'SL' with some browsers.

"What should a new Chrome user's first hour be like?"

"What should a new Firefox user's first hour be like?"

The answer then becomes obvious. The first hour should be the user going to where they want to go, and doing what they want to do. There should not really be a 'shared experience' besides learning to use the browser. The browser should empower the user to search and find their interests by themselves.

SecondLife is a virtual-world browser but has the barriers to entry of a game

You do not have to register, confirm your email address, etc to download Chrome or Firefox, but you do for games.

SecondLife has the barrier to entry of a game, which creates the idea in the user's head that when they log in, they are going to experience a game, they are given the expectation that they will be rewarded for their work with the experience of a game.

In reality behind SecondLife's registration wall is the entry-way to another smaller internet. User's choose to go to different locations the same way they choose to go to different sites online. Different places have different themes, experiences and expectations or lack thereof for their users the same way that internet sites do.

Often, the users identity even changes depending on which location/site they visit, and they may not even wish to have a shared identity between two 'sites' or 'locations' etc.

I don't have the answers to these thoughts, just chucking them down here.

 

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On 3/11/2020 at 12:18 PM, Selene Gregoire said:

yeahthat.gif.ed4e3b317a9dfd3fef3e42bd7e7f9dab.gif

For 16 years I have been trying to tell LL they need to stop being so inconsistent in all things. Maybe they will listen now?

Yeah I know... wishful thinking.

nope not going to happen, they care more about the dollar then the player. and and if you try and please everyone then you fail for there will be someone not happy still.

start islands are just that for you to start, where you go after that is your choice. its not about perfect immersion, where you choose a furry and start in a furry populated area. because then you dont search or explore or learn anything more, aka you dont find new things you want and have to buy, aka you dont get lindens.. aka you dont spend money.

there would be some people that would choose the furry and want to be put in a human start island or some other place not just furry related.

me using furry is just an example this could be applied to any avatar type.

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8 hours ago, Drayke Newall said:

For example, the latest Unreal Engine 5 tech demo. If you haven't seen it go see it and you will see why Epic is positioning itself as a streaming VR behemoth for the metaverse with its unreal engine 5 and storefront.

While Linden Lab are concentrating on pathetic problematic non realistic looking things like EEP or working out ways to make money Epic, are looking at ways in improving EVERYTHING so as it can stream across the internet as quick as possible. Additionally Unreal Engine 5 looks to solve a lot of Second Life's issues that have plagued SL for years meaning it can be done. SL has been plagued with unoptimized content for years dragging the system down, causing lag etc. Epic on the other hand look directly at this and release its latest engine (yes, SL is just an engine like UE5) that from what it seems and has been tested as on the new PS5 can do the following: (...UE5 feature list...)

It is this forward thinking that is allowing Epic's CEO to tout a metaverse and those with a brain can see he is positioning his company for that. He is actively through deals with game deplorers luring them into using his Unreal Engine with exclusive Epic Store deals. What this allows him to do is set a metaverse up where all games will be on it due to them using Epics engine.

Whilst I would love SL to be the forerunner or even just compete, I just cant see this happening. They still haven't solved the lag issues, region crossing issues etc which have plagued it from day one. However forward thinking companies like Epic have clearly looked at SL and seen its issues, as from their latest engine they clearly show knowledge of the problems SL has been plagued with. Optimisation and its streaming problems is showing results in getting it solved as well as region crossings where it is horizon to horizon. Add to this cloud gaming/hosting and SL is finished.

I don't think it's that bad for SL, but LL is being Left Behind. I bring this up occasionally to try to jolt LL management out of their complacency. There's a mindset at LL that they have the right to coast along. Watch Ebbe Altberg's speeches. For years, SL had no competition. That's changed. Today, there are about a hundred virtual worlds on line. Most of them are worse than SL. Some aren't.

LL is pretty good at running a virtual world. Their hands-off attitude is refreshing. The world is not run in a heavy-handed way. Compare Epic's running of Fortnite. You go into a battle area and just look around, avoiding the action, and a monitor program kicks you out. Epic takes about a 95% cut on Fortnite "skins". (It's deliberately made hard to calculate that.) If you do a new build, there are lots of specific rules and it has to be pre-approved by Epic before it goes live. Epic's CEO talks about an open metaverse, but what they deliver is a walled garden with spikes on top of the walls.

LL is not so good at moving the technology forward. They're understaffed and a prisoner of their technical debt.

SL on the UE5 engine has potential. Unlike UE4, where much of the content optimization was done in the UE4 build environment, UE5 claims to do more of it at run time, in the GPU. That's a plus for a dynamic world like SL. The UE5 demo, though, probably relies on the PS5 having 24 GB of RAM, all accessible by both the 8 CPUs and the GPU, and an 825 GB solid state storage device. Once you get that thing loaded up with the game assets, you can do a sizable environment very fast. Moving to a new environment, though, means a huge download.  Huge. So this isn't a magic bullet. It's really GLOD in the GPU, for those who know what GLOD is. A coarse-scale LOD system would still be necessary to keep from having to download all the background content at full resolution.

There are other approaches to big shared worlds. There's Improbable, with their Spatial OS. They have dynamic region boundaries; get too many people in a region and it splits and gets put on more servers. It apparently works but is very expensive; you have to run on their servers in Google's cloud, and they charge for every object event. Three games built to use it gave up after losing money.  There's Dual Universe, which is a voxel-based big-world system with entire buildable planets. They split regions in half when more people show up, going from planet-sized to 5m squares, so they can do crowds. This reaches Alpha 3 this month, and is semi-playable now. Great spaceships, OK cities, not so good looking avatars. There's "Avakin Life", which is sort of like SL on mobile with classic avatars and without advanced lighting. If SL did mobile, it might look like that.

So far, nothing in this space can do everything SL can. All those systems are making rapid forward progress. SL isn't.

 

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7 hours ago, animats said:

I don't think it's that bad for SL, but LL is being Left Behind. I bring this up occasionally to try to jolt LL management out of their complacency. There's a mindset at LL that they have the right to coast along. Watch Ebbe Altberg's speeches. For years, SL had no competition. That's changed. Today, there are about a hundred virtual worlds on line. Most of them are worse than SL. Some aren't.

I do think it is that bad though. Second Life has moved from a virtual world to more of a dress up and decorate house chat program. There is nothing wrong with that however, it needs to get back its focus on getting people to build more worlds (regions) so that they can compete with any form of metaverse from these bigger players. If they play their cards right, get region crossings fixed (or increase the sim size like in open sim) improve the UI, add modern scripting functions, VR etc they could start approaching indie developers to create games in second life.

A game dev friend of mine for years has been wanting to get a whole heap of sims and do an entire full multi level modern RPG game in SL with questing, open world combat etc but, the region crossings, population size per sim, environmental editing features and lack of experience or scripting functions doesn't make that possible. I know you have been doing a lot with experiences and animesh on your parcel. So you can just imagine the kind of impact press wise it would have if it was announced that 'x' gaming studio has made a Full RPG game within SL that has beautiful graphics and is comparable to many modern RPG games. THAT would be the start of metaverse in SL. That is what the metaverse is and SL could do it before others but they wont as they just cant be bothered looking at features that will allow that. 

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LL is pretty good at running a virtual world. Their hands-off attitude is refreshing. The world is not run in a heavy-handed way. Compare Epic's running of Fortnite. You go into a battle area and just look around, avoiding the action, and a monitor program kicks you out. Epic takes about a 95% cut on Fortnite "skins". (It's deliberately made hard to calculate that.) If you do a new build, there are lots of specific rules and it has to be pre-approved by Epic before it goes live. Epic's CEO talks about an open metaverse, but what they deliver is a walled garden with spikes on top of the walls.

True and agree. LL have managed SL very well with no competition as all others have failed and SL has continued. That said now that many enormously funded companies, and not just new upstarts like before, are looking at a metaverse LL need to start listening to not only what that competition is looking into but also its userbase. I understand that they are the developers etc but there have been hundreds if not thousands of feature requests that just don't get implimented to bring SL up to a more current standard. Many of them practical. For example it was years ago some of us in the forums were talking about textures being downscaled to their mesh surface area, LL never took notice and therefore Epic now release UE5 years later with a similar feature. LL just placed it in the to hard basket like they do most things. Inventory management feature requests have been ignored, updated ao backend requests that allow more have been ignored, auto swim in linden flagged water has been ignored, UI change requests have been ignored, better environment tools have been ignored. Scripting feature requests have been ignored for years. The list goes on. It took us 8 years of complaining about Windlight for them just to look into a new system only for it to be a half baked complicated ui mess of a system.

This is why they are falling behind and getting ignored in press releases talking about the metaverse. There is no metaverse in SL or no substantial increase in its technology or usability to even start looking into a metaverse.

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SL on the UE5 engine has potential. Unlike UE4, where much of the content optimization was done in the UE4 build environment, UE5 claims to do more of it at run time, in the GPU. That's a plus for a dynamic world like SL. The UE5 demo, though, probably relies on the PS5 having 24 GB of RAM, all accessible by both the 8 CPUs and the GPU, and an 825 GB solid state storage device. Once you get that thing loaded up with the game assets, you can do a sizable environment very fast. Moving to a new environment, though, means a huge download.  Huge. So this isn't a magic bullet. It's really GLOD in the GPU, for those who know what GLOD is. A coarse-scale LOD system would still be necessary to keep from having to download all the background content at full resolution.

But as I mentioned in my post before, no person that has VR goggles or plays games which a lot of these metaverse pushers are targeting has a system much less than that. If they released the metaverse next year and announced its specs this year gamers would have no problem with updating to those specs. Keep in mind gaming is bigger than Hollywood as far as people, profit and budget. LL have for to long kept their specs to low and this has impacted on how far they can push the engine and how they are perceived. I have 32gig of ram and a 512 NVMe SSD along with 4TB of other HDD. I have a later released graphics card and an 8 core CPU. I bought this 4 years ago and im not alone in such comp specs. Now it is obsolete in the gaming world and I need to update to run any modern game at good frame rate. Yet here in SL you have people still using hardware that hasn't seen a driver update in 10 years!

Just take a look at SL recommended specs (not their min). This will show you why Second Life is a laughing stock and ignored now in press unless Ebbe does an interview. 

  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. - Windows 8.1 should be in the min spec and Windows 10 ALONE should be recomended
  • Screen Resolution: 1024x768 pixels or higher. - You cant even get screens that go down that low off the shelf anymore and it is Recommended! 
  • Graphics cards: AMD 4850, NVidea 9600, ATI 5850 - ALL of these cards are pre 2009 cards (I.e. 12 years old) ATI as a company ceased to exist in 2006 and disused by AMD in 2010
  • RAM: 4 gigs - Show me one person that still uses a PC with 4gigs to play a graphics intensive game.

All of the above should be the MINIMUM specs but are in the recommended specs list. The recommended specs should show a person what they need to run Second Life at Ultra reasonably.

Let me put it another way. My PHONE has better specs than second life's recommended specs. Its screen resolution is 3200x1440, its cpu is a 2.73 8core, its ram is 16gig...

The first thing a person does when they go to play something is to check whether their system meets the recommended or minimum specs. If I had never played SL before and looked at the specs page I would instantly be turned off as to me and 90% of people they would instantly think this 'game' is to old if that is their specs so wont play it. It would be different if it was a game released 12 years ago as that is what you put as the recommended specs, i.e. what its specs were back when it was finished. SL is an evolving platform that is still current so its recommended specs should show that.

It would take LL all of 5 mins to update their specs to a more modern recommendation yet clearly they don't even have enough staff to do this.

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So far, nothing in this space can do everything SL can. All those systems are making rapid forward progress. SL isn't.

On your first point I agree. Nothing at the moment does exactly what SL does. That said LL for to long has kept the status quo and this has been to their detriment. SL needs to start looking at how they can improve their system so as to entice game companies over to make games, entice real world stores into SL again as a virtual shop front (Avakin who you mention on mobile does have RL stores selling stuff on their platform with success), look at how they can make a museum etc use SL as a virtual experience. Update the engine to Vulcan and then to VR. Fix the backend of region crossings, downscaling of textures and meshes.

The sad thing about all this is, Linden Lab have the upper edge. They have the platform already built and running. They don't need to start from scratch and work out how to make it all work. But instead of pushing forward with advancement to a metaverse or improvement of their system, they are too scared of stepping on users toes 'cause all of a sudden their content might break or they might need to update their computer.

Edited by Drayke Newall
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58 minutes ago, Drayke Newall said:

The sad thing about all this is, Linden Lab have the upper edge. They have the platform already built and running. They don't need to start from scratch and work out how to make it all work.

One huge advantage LL has is that SL has such a strong separation between viewer and servers. A lot can be done in the viewer without changing much sim-side. That's why there are third-party viewers. It's probably possible to do, say, a UE5-based viewer, or a Vulkan-based viewer, without any server changes.

LL could probably build a modern viewer, with multiple rendering threads to get the speed up, and better rendering. Transitioning to physically-based rendering is possible. Ebbe Altberg has said they have no plans to do that. That is disappointing. If LL were able to fix region crossings and script overload, that would deal with the biggest pain points sim side. This would get SL to the basic level of performance expected by, say, most Steam users. All 125 million of them.

SL's big asset is the user base. Trying to cold start a metaverse with user-created content from zero users is very, very hard. Ref: Sansar, High Fidelity, Sinespace, Facebook Spaces, Worlds Adrift ... Backwards compatibility matters. That's why evolution of SL is so promising. If only we can get LL management to grasp the opportunity.

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12 hours ago, Ardy Lay said:

I wonder how much of what you call stagnation is really just avoiding the breakage of existing content?  I suspect some stuff is just gonna have to break for SL to change a whole lot.

not breaking anything is why SL is at the stage it is. Were Linden to start breaking a lot of stuff to get more pretty then a lot of residents will not be happy

what Linden can only do is to introduce new features while ensuring that pre-existing stuff continues to function. The SL world being user generated content

 

as an aside

with every new tech demo (engines, games and worlds) then I am still waiting for a multi-player demo with more than 100 characters independently outfitted and operated. Even the latest demo of Unreal 5 only has one character in it

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2 hours ago, Mollymews said:

not breaking anything is why SL is at the stage it is. Were Linden to start breaking a lot of stuff to get more pretty then a lot of residents will not be happy

what Linden can only do is to introduce new features while ensuring that pre-existing stuff continues to function. The SL world being user generated content

But the trouble with this is that by not breaking things it is making the scripting behind the scenes enormously complex whereby they literally cant implement new decent or full features as it either will break existing content or just simply be impossible to implement as it would involve to much work.

Look at EEP, it took years to actually implement because of all the systems and code they needed to brush aside to put new code next to and even then it was released with known bugs simply because they couldn't get rid of all of them without affecting other systems.

I fully understand them not wanting to ruin their existing player base due to breaking things however, that is also what is holding them back in garnering new regular uses and more profit so as they can compete with any other potential competition. It has been over 10 years since mesh was introduced. If they were to remove sculpties from the system entirely both rezed, in inventory and the ability to upload them, sure it will hurt a few peoples feelings however I'm sure they would get over it. Or even just keep the sculpties people have but remove them from the marketplace so as no new ones can be bought or rezed. People have had plenty of time to update and move away from these things but LL just will not do anything to help the optimisation system.

What LL do is akin to a gaming studio saying they are going to release a brand new game but make it so that it only runs on the original unreal engine and consequently hampering any optimisation or feature possibilities that the new versions offer all because some people might have a windows 98 PC. These gaming companies or really any company just wouldn't do that.

A better example would be WoW where, they introduced later expansions that completely DESTROYED the entire previous expansions for end game players. This meant that the original game, quests, etc are now impossible to experience. They didn't listen to their current userbase saying but if you do that it will break x or mean I wont be able to get that particular piece of gear. They just did it and ended up increasing their playerbase at the loss of a minority.

Business have to break things for things to work in some cases and unfortunately the one platform that absolutely needs it is Second Life for it to progress but they just wont do it.

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as an aside

with every new tech demo (engines, games and worlds) then I am still waiting for a multi-player demo with more than 100 characters independently outfitted and operated. Even the latest demo of Unreal 5 only has one character in it

There would be no difference between Unreal 5 tech demo and a demo of 100 characters independently outfitted as those outfits irrespective of numbers would be created by the studios themselves therefore be optimised or at least made to work with the system. They are just simply assets just like a cardboard box would be.

Edited by Drayke Newall
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