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Can This Leaver Be Retained?


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So some of you may have seen this video by a gamer who checked out SL and then left because the frame rate was low, he couldn't figure out what to do, and when he went to clubs he couldn't get in because he was a newbie and they banned brand-new avatars (for good reason, and not only because this is a hide-out for the griefing population but various jealous ex-partners make alts and harass their love interests or spy on current ones).

I think it's long past time for LL to be catering to this category of people who will never like SL, never stick, and never contribute to inworld or LL's revenue.  That is, at one level, they don't try to cater to them at all , which is why they leave, yet the expectation that something should be done to keep them dies hard.

"It's not a game," yet the current marketing campaign in fact is targeted to this class of people, broadly speaking, as RP and cosplay and furries overlap with gaming culture.

So a Linden asked (in a tweet now deleted) if there is anything that could be done to retain this person, people provide various answers, and I keep pointing out that it's time to let it go, to which an SL user keeps trying to justify all the various ways in which gaming culture -- writ large -- in fact exists happily in SL and has residents. 

Yet this is still a niche, even if you try to heavily overreach to say "oh, but MadPea games" or "oh, but RP sims" or "oh, but creativity" etc. etc. Once, weapons were a huge selling category in SL in earlier days -- even if framerate is low and actual war games don't work so well, there's a category of gamers who like "off time" to socialize and talk shop and look at weapons and gear, and SL can satisfy that to some extent. But I'm pretty sure weapons sales and even vehicles have been overtaken by breedables, not to mention mesh avatars. Just watch the ticker of the most recent purchases on the MP, which while not a hard statistic, and possibly selective, still gives you a rough idea of what sells.

The overwhelming majority of residents in SL are not in RP or costumes other than normal real-world clothing, even if sexier than most everyday life would allow for. They are not furries, vampires, N'avi, Steampunk, as important as these communities of content and lifestyle are. Fantasy Faire -- which I think is the supreme event of the year -- bears ample testimony to this, but it's not "for everybody."

 If you go to the Linden talks, you might think FF is the only contingent of SL, as the RP types tend to be overrepresented there. But if you pick any club with real green dots, or any other type of event, whether a merchant event or even something spontaneous like a memorial for Ebbe or Mr. Sirbu, most of the people are dressed for "normal real life," not fantasy. They might be a weekend Dinkie like me, but it's not a default.

In some ways, the Lindens are constrained about how much they can market the reality of this platform as a dating app because the dating doesn't lead to real life, but leads to virtual simulation which then reinforces the "adult" stereotype -- although most adult activity occurs in the privacy of homes, not on Zindra, which is largely empty, it seems, except for a lot of expensive land for sale. The real green dots are in Bellisseria, in nice little homes, and God bless them. "Decorate your own home" seems to me like a more compelling marketing topic -- there are other apps avidly played by people who like decoration, mainly on their phones -- perhaps some of them could be won -- although of course there's the cost factor. Some of the screens used to reference this.

I realize the Lindens are going to market their way, based on what they think their statistics (to which we are not privy) show them, and little can be done. I do think it would be helpful to give up on this one category of gamerz, which dies hard in part because it was part of the original LL culture of techies and is still present although to a lesser extent. It doesn't mean that you can't build some sort of more casual, less speedy/war game in SL; it doesn't mean there isn't an avid niche for board games. It doesn't mean you can't have vampires and furries or a mermaid avatar in the Library.  It's just that you concede that this is not what the majority of people are here for. And by the way, if you could display the activities of all avatars, as Will Wright did with the Sims Online, I'm confident you would find "shopping" and "decorating" and "chatting" far outstripping any other type of activity, whether sex, learning, war, or whatever. And that's ok. It's not the sophisticated, edgy culture the early Lindens especially wanted to build "a better world" (via the route "your world/your imagination which never produced that elusive "better"). But it's ok.

 

 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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I watch a fair amount of content on YouTube from creators like this . I don't think it's fair to say that someone who does things for content on Second Life can't possibly be retained. It's possible to count on Second Life as a source of content, like for a video or blog, and to also enjoy playing it as well. 

There are people who make videos trolling and griefing on Second Life, but he wasn't one of them.

I'd actually argue that gaming YouTubers are theoretically easier to maintain than the average gamer. Because they want to get enough content to make a video, they're not likely to quit after their first setback in Second Life. Had it not been for his video, I think this creator would have quit playing a lot earlier based on his confusion. If the creator and their viewers like Second Life, it creates a new stream of content for the creator, which could draw in new subscribers and provide something different for current subscribers to watch. There's an incentive to keep with a game if there's enough demand for it. Lastly, creators have the benefit of being able to read any specific advice people may give them about Second Life in the comments of their video or through their social media, whereas the average gamer doesn't have such direct availability to feedback. 

I think it is possible to retain users with gaming backgrounds, but I don't think it's a general group where LL should be spending a lot of time marketing towards. I agree with you - I think there is a lot of potential with people who are interested in home decoration, shopping, and socializing. 'Gamer' is too broad of a group to market to, but 'slice of life' gamers for lack of a better term may be a better group to target. I think it would be more effective to focus on retaining this group than the catch-all 'gamer'.

Carmen King is a YouTube creator with a lot of experience in this genre and she's been covering Second Life on her channel for several months now. I've noticed a good deal of other people in her comment section being interested in Second Life as a step up from the Sims - so there's at least some anecdotal evidence of interest from this crowd. The problem with converting this group of viewers into players seems to be the onboarding process.

In general, I'd love to see LL address the newbie onboarding process and help flatten the steep learning curve of Second Life. It's not a direct way of retaining a leaver like that creator, but I do think it could improve the chances that someone like him, as well as people in the target demographic, will stick around. At the very least, it could have made the experience less confusing for this creator. Even if Second Life was never going to be for him, at least he might have left a slightly more favourable review for his viewers who might be interested.

Edited by simplemint
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1 hour ago, simplemint said:

I think it is possible to retain users with gaming backgrounds, but I don't think it's a general group where LL should be spending a lot of time marketing towards. I agree with you - I think there is a lot of potential with people who are interested in home decoration, shopping, and socializing. 'Gamer' is too broad of a group to market to, but 'slice of life' gamers for lack of a better term may be a better group to target. I think it would be more effective to focus on retaining this group than the catch-all 'gamer'.

I like playing walking simulators and sandbox games, so that translates very well to Second Life. You don't really see that side until later though, because most newbie areas aren't interesting to look around. They could make those areas do more work by showing what can be done at the same time as teaching people how to move around.

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6 hours ago, simplemint said:

I think it is possible to retain users with gaming backgrounds, but I don't think it's a general group where LL should be spending a lot of time marketing towards.

I agree. Thinking back, I was not a gamer at the point I started to use SL. What grabbed me was exploring and tinkering with build tools at my own pace. Still here 13yrs later, exploring and tinkering. Also, the social aspect was an unexpected side benefit.

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I don't think it's possible to retain this particular user, he's not really in it to be in it.

It does do a great job of highlighting many of the problems the new user has in SL, though. Stuff that could so easily be fixed, if LL weren't so apathetic and/or inept.

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42 minutes ago, Paul Hexem said:

I don't think it's possible to retain this particular user, he's not really in it to be in it.

It does do a great job of highlighting many of the problems the new user has in SL, though. Stuff that could so easily be fixed, if LL weren't so apathetic and/or inept.

Yes, whether or not he intended to try to figure it out or not, he did indeed highlight, and make light of, several of the issues that come up when people try Second Life, and, indeed, when a person quite familiar with Second Life tries a new product in Second Life.  I have seen many 10 year + residents attach or rez something they just bought and have a period of confusion and amusement at the unexpected ways in which some content is implimented.

Some horses are vehicles, using scripted vehicle functions.  Some horses are attachments.  Some horses are objects that are scripted to take controls when sat upon, then move by the script alone without vehicle functions.  I imagine some horses use pathfinding.  I expect the same could be said about other products.

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On 6/29/2021 at 12:06 PM, Prokofy Neva said:

The overwhelming majority of residents in SL are not in RP or costumes other than normal real-world clothing, even if sexier than most everyday life would allow for. They are not furries, vampires, N'avi, Steampunk, as important as these communities of content and lifestyle are. Fantasy Faire -- which I think is the supreme event of the year -- bears ample testimony to this, but it's not "for everybody."

 If you go to the Linden talks, you might think FF is the only contingent of SL, as the RP types tend to be overrepresented there. But if you pick any club with real green dots, or any other type of event, whether a merchant event or even something spontaneous like a memorial for Ebbe or Mr. Sirbu, most of the people are dressed for "normal real life," not fantasy. They might be a weekend Dinkie like me, but it's not a default.

 

I found these two paragraphs particularly interesting, and I agree.  I likewise have roleplay (RP) outfits, animal outfits, robot outfits, etc.  Most the time, however, I am human in modern clothing.  

Most of my long time friends here like to make things.  A few have cash cows and show up to keep the income stream alive, having long ago lost interest.  A few do inworld "charity" work, though I suspect they manage to skim enough to line their own pockets cover their expenses; nevertheless it keeps them coming back.  

The ones that only do roleplay tend to burn out.  

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12 hours ago, Ardy Lay said:

 

Some horses are vehicles, using scripted vehicle functions.  Some horses are attachments.  Some horses are objects that are scripted to take controls when sat upon, then move by the script alone without vehicle functions.  I imagine some horses use pathfinding.  I expect the same could be said about other products.

And some horses can be avatars, which can be quite unsettling until you get used to it.

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13 hours ago, Ardy Lay said:

I expect the same could be said about other products.

Now I think of it, there are 3 or 4 different ways to just open a box, but that horse has been beaten to death :/

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I think one thing LL can do to help retain folks is to have the client auto-detect hardware and turn down graphics detail so people experience a smooth frame rate. As a resident, I know to turn down my settings in crowded areas and to turn them up when I'm alone. I also know that textures load from the cloud so I sit still for a while whenever I teleport to a new place. I also walk instead of run to help with the loading process. I don't think gamers know this since they download the entire game before starting and textures load from their hard drive. Maybe a little pop-up can give some hints on how to optimize the experience.

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Posted (edited)

It already attempts to set your settings via an auto-detect at initial startup (right after install). Doing it after that is ... Well it is pointless. Too much can change from moment to moment in any given area to make it worthwhile.

as far as the difference between normal games and Second Life with regard to the Texture download/use process .... If you're expecting it to function like a "game" in that regard, you are going to be disappointed. If you're not paying enough attention to see that it is not pre-downloading the entire asset database (or at least just the textures) ... Well, it's high time you stopped assuming that is just how everything works.

Edited by Solar Legion
"How - not "ow"!
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Posted (edited)

No, that ‘leaver’ cannot be retained because, for one, he was never a ‘comer’ in the first place. In fact I’d almost characterize him as a ‘hater’, if it wasn’t that he wasn’t actually interested in hating SL, either... only in making one of those long-fashionable YouTube videos ‘amusingly’ (generous choice of adverb here) putting down a product you never had the remotest interest in. But as long as you get clicks, Likes and “ha-has” from watchers just as indifferent to the product in question, it’s all good. It’s also as if I entered a restaurant of Mexican food, which I don’t like, for the sole purpose of finding and featuring in a YT video all the things I do, indeed, not care for.

But it’s OK, you can monetize that. You always could, centuries before computers even existed, never mind the Internet.

 

And of course, most times it ends up having precious little to do with whether the product is in fact any good. For sure, this guy maybe thinks he successfully concealed that he never wanted to like SL or understand it.

But he does that very poorly. Running around fast enough to avoid paying attention to anything, let alone whatever would indeed provide an explanation? Check. Arriving at a specific newbie—helping place (with two helping agents, that I could spot), saying “help?” as if actually asking for it, but making sure it was only to his private recording (and therefore his YT audience) rather than anyone there who could—and most likely would—have indeed helped him? Check. Twice featuring specific places with age restrictions, and making the most off them for his predetermined point of widespread unwelcoming-ness? Check. Going to a shop and asking sarcastically if he was expected to shop? Well, that doesn’t even merit a “check”—more like a colossal “duh”. More generally, the trick is to make it sound like you’re actually making an honest review, but never explicitly saying so—and, if possible, adding a giggle here & there. That way you cover your ass, in case someone tells you it’s a lame-ass review.

 

Anyhow. Even if the argument was “couldn’t we somehow modify Second Life to retain even these types, in a ‘change-their-mind’ way?”, the answer would still be no. You see, many people simplistically think it’s just a question of somehow ‘expanding’ SL to offer something for them, too. But like most products, Second Life is already carefully balanced to satisfy a somewhat broad audience... key word being balanced. Hide or even eliminate advanced features so that new users can’t feel confused by them? Sure, if you wish to screw any and all advanced users. Plaster the user experience with far more texts, pop-ups and windows offering a myriad of ways to give you help? Absolutely, and cue in the complains of unwanted / spammy help offerings. Dumb down the help material? No need to: most people refuse to read any of it, anyway—and some of them then go on to face the very issue and impatiently complain that they don’t know how to solve it, right after hitting “Close” on the explanation or darting past it as fast as they can, just as this YouTube guy did.

It’s not that there’s a lack of helping material. The “RTFM” acronym was coined for a reason, no matter that these types think that a video of themselves failing to do so is inherently funny, let alone informative.

Edited by Ren Toxx
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6 hours ago, Solar Legion said:

It already attempts to set your settings via an auto-detect at initial startup (right after install). Doing it after that is ... Well it is pointless.

A viewer option to automagically turn down your gfx settings when your framerate drops below a certain threshold for a certain amount of time, or maybe high/medium/low configurable presets and desired framerates for each (if the framerate is outside the desired range, jump up or down accordingly) Many people would probably turn it off eventually in favor of making the decisions manually, but I think it would certainly be a nice option to have.

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Posted (edited)

The default graphics settings could probably use a re-evaluation. Ultra may have been fine for high end cards from 2009 in 2009, but it doesn’t do so well on those cards now. The guy in the video had shadows on, so it's not surprising performance sucked.

Edited by Lyssa Greymoon
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13 hours ago, Bree Giffen said:

I think one thing LL can do to help retain folks is to have the client auto-detect hardware and turn down graphics detail so people experience a smooth frame rate.

This is a little off topic, but ... I wish it was that simple.

The bulk of what SL does isn't rendering. If you have a fairly recent graphics card, the SL client will have difficultly getting it out of bed let alone making it work hard. Downloading and processing textures and meshes is expensive. Resolving animations for avatars with many rigged objects (an attachment can be made from many rigged objects) is brutal and kills even high end PC's in a crowd.

Dropping graphics details turns the world to triangle mush because everything is uploaded for firestorm with double the normal LOD values, for the lowest possible Li once rezzed (worst outcomes x2). It's all junk data that the viewer has to fetch and process and and will rarely be seen.

13 hours ago, Bree Giffen said:

As a resident, I know to turn down my settings in crowded areas and to turn them up when I'm alone

Auto shifting causes shader changes, doing it automatically create massive freezes as the viewer changes up and down. Switching ALM on and off can have such a huge impact that the viewer gets stuck bouncing back and forth because one is so fast and the other is so slow. 

13 hours ago, Bree Giffen said:

I also know that textures load from the cloud so I sit still for a while whenever I teleport to a new place. I also walk instead of run to help with the loading process.

If you're trying to get to a set location on a region - RUN -  textures load in chunks. If you run then maybe the viewer wont waste time fetching additional chunks for something you're not going to see anyway.

If you're exploring, walk .. but keep the draw distance down.

13 hours ago, Bree Giffen said:

I don't think gamers know this since they download the entire game before starting and textures load from their hard drive.

Games present a very optimized streamlined experience to the player, and it far more than just the meshes and texture data being local, a lot of stuff can be precalculated. SL can't do any of this. The viewer has to do everything in real time and work on the assumption that it could all change for the next frame.

People come to SL and see 3D graphics, games have 3D graphics, therefore .. SL must just have a junk engine (followed by wailing about building SL in unreal here).

 

13 hours ago, Bree Giffen said:

Maybe a little pop-up can give some hints on how to optimize the experience.

Knowing when to show it is actually very difficult. It would require context - It's easy for the viewer to know SL is struggling, it's hard for it to know why the user is pushing it though the mud.

7 hours ago, Lyssa Greymoon said:

The default graphics settings could probably use a re-evaluation. Ultra may have been fine for high end cards from 2009 in 2009, but it doesn’t do so well on those cards now. The guy in the video had shadows on, so it's not surprising performance sucked.

We (Catznip) have played with adjusting shadow rendering based on performance, there are some shortcuts that can help shift the CPU load balance away from shadows and back onto rezzing stuff, but again, without context it's prone to getting it badly wrong.

Keep in mind the frame rate requirements vary depending on what you're doing at that moment, the viewer can only infer and make a eduicated guess .. and then get it wrong more than it gets it right resulting in a disconcerting or glitchy experience.

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20 hours ago, Quistessa said:

Now I think of it, there are 3 or 4 different ways to just open a box, but that horse has been beaten to death :/

PLEASE LINDEN GODS - Give us a set standard way for purchases to be packaged and opened. The current rez/wear/hud creator free for all is a nightmare.

Go to an event with free gifts. Get them all. Then try to unpack them in a timely and efficient manner.

A special object type - PACKAGE - with a standard, easy, intuitive, boring way to accomplish that.

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4 minutes ago, Coffee Pancake said:

PLEASE LINDEN GODS - Give us a set standard way for purchases to be packaged and opened.

Actually, now I think of it, we have llGiveInventoryList, and MP supports giving folders. . . Why is anything boxed/packaged in the first place? sure it's useful for a backup, but unless your thing has 42+ inventory parts, there's no sane reason not to give it to the end-user unboxed/unpackaged.

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On 6/29/2021 at 1:06 PM, Prokofy Neva said:

The overwhelming majority of residents in SL are not in RP or costumes other than normal real-world clothing,

THIS.

LL are constantly trying to upsell SL as some grand adventure for highly motivated people. It's no better than trying to sell SL as some place for business meetings or virtual collaboration or education.

That is not the SL the vast majority of us inhabit and enjoy, nor is it the kind of SL we actually want.

Base expectation - being able to hang out, meet people and make friends. Perhaps by chatting to each other. If only that could be made to work.

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4 minutes ago, Quistessa said:

Actually, now I think of it, we have llGiveInventoryList, and MP supports giving folders. . . Why is anything boxed/packaged in the first place? sure it's useful for a backup, but unless your thing has 42+ inventory parts, there's no sane reason not to give it to the end-user unboxed/unpackaged.

Gathering statistics (scripts in worn packages routinely phone home to log who, what and where). Plugging social media / flickr. Checking for updates. In your face branding branding branding. Convivence, a single identical object that everyone gets regardless of where they get it. Marketing. Signing the unpacker up to mailing lists. Plugging the support group (or lately, the off SL support discord). Making the unboxing an experience by animating your avatar or something else equally obnoxious.

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19 minutes ago, Quistessa said:

Actually, now I think of it, we have llGiveInventoryList, and MP supports giving folders. . . Why is anything boxed/packaged in the first place? sure it's useful for a backup, but unless your thing has 42+ inventory parts, there's no sane reason not to give it to the end-user unboxed/unpackaged.

Some of us prefer boxes to folders so we can unpack what we want without having to unpack it all and delete, delete, delete, delete, delete. With a folder I have to create a box to put the whole thing in for storage and delete, delete, delete, delete, delete. 

I've been unpacking what I want from boxes for 18 years without having to waste a lot of time deleting things I won't need or use any time soon, if at all. I have no desire to change my method as it saves me a lot of hassle and time. Others may have the time to waste. I don't. Life's too short on this side of the hill.

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