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Everything posted by animats

  1. In early 2010, Linden Labs acquired a social network which was supposed to be "Facebook for avatars", "Avatars United". They shut it down in late 2010. That was from the era when, for a while, it looked like the future included the ability to move from virtual world to virtual world, perhaps taking some of your stuff with you. From 2009, via the Internet Archive: Welcome to the world’s most open community for MMOs! Register today, hook up with your friends and improve your virtual life… one application at a time! "It's like Facebook for your virtual personas." So, LL has been there, done that.
  2. Yes. Autodesk called Apple's bluff. Autodesk has said they will not support Apple's private graphics API.
  3. That's puzzled me for some time, too. I thought that Sansar might be investor-driven, but according to Crunchbase, it's not. LL hasn't had a funding round since a series B in 2006, says Crunchbase. Bloomberg doesn't have much on LL. LL seems to be self-funding Sansar from SL income. Worst case is that LL took on debt to fund Sansar, and if Sansar is killed, the debt comes due. But that's pure speculation. Equity usually shows up in Crunchbase, but debt doesn't necessarily show there, especially for privately held companies. Benchmark Capital and Catamount Ventures each have two board seats, so they are presumably the biggest investors. Neither of those firms is a top investor in VR. So it doesn't look like "we're funding the headsets, we need to fund the content". Headset funding is mostly from Facebook, which owns Oculus, NTT and DoCoMo, which are the latest big investors in Magic Leap, and Microsoft, HTC and Panasonic, which are big enough to do this on their own. None of those seem to have money in LL. Sinespace, the most successful player in the "VR game level loader" space (which is them, Sansar, and High Fidelity), claims 10,000 active users spending about US$17 per month, with Sinespace taking 30% of in-world transactions. That's only $600K a year, about a third of the average fast food outlet's revenue. That's who Sansar is chasing. There just doesn't seem to be much revenue in this space. The numbers don't work. So I don't see why LL keeps pouring money into Sansar. Does anybody see a route to profitability?
  4. Many people overestimated the demand for VR, from Zuckerberg on down. One of the things driving VR was that the consumer electronics industry is desperately looking for the next "must have" product. Desktop PCs and smartphones have peaked. Tablets were less popular than expected. 3D TV flopped so badly it disappeared from the market. Internet of Things for the home didn't work very well and remains a niche. Same thing for 3D printers. Google Glass was a flop. So too many hopes were pinned on VR. 2017 was supposed to be the year of VR. What actually happened was that VRChat peaked at Xmas 2017, at about 5,000 users, and went downhill from there. VR games other than Beat Saber have not been very successful. VR headgear nauseates about 5% - 15% of the population. That's worse than roller coasters. (There are people who thought augmented reality would be the next big thing. It might be if the price comes down, a lot. I've tried the Microsoft HoloLens, which starts somewhere around $3500. That needs to drop by about a factor of 25 to 50 before it can power Pokemon Go. The over-hyped Magic Leap One, on which over a billion dollars has been spent, is in the same price range and has about the same limitations, including a very narrow field of view.) (About two years ago, I posted on the Facebook page of a well known "thought leader" that VR headsets were the next 3D TV. He threatened to ban me. I wonder how he's getting along.)
  5. Nice, but the rate for that sort of thing in the SF Bay Area is maybe US$150,000/year. How big is your budget?
  6. Yes. Which is my point here, too. Setting the viewer to a LOD factor of 0 is just a way to see that easily. Another way would be to build a street of houses and see if they look solid out into the distance. I've been aware of this recently because a new neighbor in Kama City has been putting up tall prefab buildings on their parcel, then taking them down and trying something else. Mine's bigger than yours. The closeup view. Nice. Coming apart at a reasonable view distance. Low LOD. Lots of tris, but not the right ones. The top half is gone. Lowest LOD is random triangles, but outside draw distance for this large object at LOD factor 2.0. Here it is at LOD factor 1, the out of the box experience for new users. Where's the tower? One midair triangle. This is a very simple building outline - a cube atop a cube. It could easily have a good lowest LOD model visible out to the draw distance. Cities in SL look strange and sparse because of this effect. It destroys the user's sense of place. You can't see landmarks. There's a very tall building near here I rarely see, because you have to get close before anything appears. New Babbage has building inspection to prevent this sort of thing, but few other areas do.
  7. Won't play embedded for me, but will play directly on YouTube. Interesting video. It's an hour in Sansar, with no cuts. Sansar's main advantage over SL seems to be lighting and shadows. Although some of those may be baked. Note that the light bulb and the weight do not cast shadows. Two minute teleports! Areas in Sansar must have a disco. Even if a disco makes no sense. For small houses, a DJ room in the basement meets the disco requirement. 1977 called. It wants its disco floor back.
  8. I wish. Spend some time in SL with the LOD factor at zero. It's awful. Worst problem is buildings. So many buildings go see-through at lowest LOD. Fly around at LOD factor 0. Go to the demo sims of the major building makers. It's not pretty. This is why cities in SL don't look very good. The builders are getting low LI by zeroing out the lowest LOD, badly. This is why I'm big on impostors. Many buildings could be reduced to a cube with pictures pasted on it for the lowest LOD. No more big triangles hanging in space. That's what needs to be automated.
  9. I can live with Blender. It's been around for over 15 years, and it used to have the user interface from hell. By 2.79, it had achieved the user interface from heck. Haven't tried 2.8 yet, but that's supposed to be better. My main complaint about SL content creation in Blender is the LOD system. The whole LOD thing needs to be automated, to the degree that it is in Sansar and for prims. Almost nobody really makes hand-built low-LOD models. Yes. Chin Rey does it. I've done it, and it's too much work. Open Firestorm. Open the lower right Firestorm menu for Quick Preferences. Set LOD factor to 0. Now you see the lowest LOD model of everything. Go to some shopping area. Look around. These are good boats with bad LODs. Low-detail, OK. See-through, not OK. Come on, at least give us a textured box for the hull. See through buildings reduced down to a few random triangles. Concrete ground missing. Aargh. Again, a textured box would be OK. Same scene, normal LOD settings. I don't blame creators for this. I blame LL's tool builders. Fix the tools once, and everybody gets it right. Beats beating on creators. If you could just create in Blender, and what you did there went in-world with no fuss, creators would have a much easier time. In the years that SL has had a really crappy LOD system, everybody else in gaming has made progress. There are solutions for this. And LL knows it, because they bought one of them for Sansar.
  10. That's very strange. That does indicate a possible network problem. Can you run a once a second ping to "secondlife.com" while also running the LL viewer?
  11. animats

    SL stock market

    Waterbank News still offers SL stock quotes, but they don't mean anything. They also have commodities quotes, on snow, sand, and catnip.
  12. There's not enough traffic for "main roads". I'd like to see a few through routes on existing roads marked, maybe with a solid yellow line, so you could drive or bicycle without reaching at dead ends. Some of those might become tram lines. By the way, is the ferry to the fairgrounds island only running during events, or what? I went there and waited at the ferry sign, but nothing showed up.
  13. Ouch. Still, asset fetch over HTTP went in when, about five years ago? Viewer developers have had a long time to convert.
  14. Huh? There's not much question about what happened to High Fidelity. They shut down their public worlds back in April. Here's Rosedale's blog post on the "pivoting" and layoffs at High Fidelity. VentureBeat and Variety have coverage. What's left of High Fidelity gave up most of their San Francisco HQ office space. Their staff now meet in High Fidelity itself, says VentureBeat. I had a High Fidelity account at one point. It's nice graphically, but it was never used much. It's not a big shared world like SL; it's a lot of little private worlds you can teleport between, like Sansar. Incidentally, Worlds Adrift, the first big-world MMO built on the Improbable SpatialOS engine, is shutting down on July 26th. There will be an End of the World party. (If you follow the technology behind big virtual worlds, this is important. Otherwise not.) Second Life remains the winner in this business, by a big margin.
  15. I think he misses it. He was in London City in SL recently, asking what people wanted in SL. HiFi flopped. Very few users. They "pivoted to enterprise": "Philip Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity and a virtual world pioneer, confirmed that his company has laid off about 25% of its staff, or 20 people, and pivoted to social communications for workers using 3D audio. High Fidelity now wants to enable virtual meetings and social online communications, such as people would do in online meetings." (You can do that in SL. In 2008, meeting planners had event services for SL. It never caught on, much, as a business tool. Works, though. I know someone who does hold small business meetings for RL activity in SL. His people like that they can hold side conversations and go off to talk in small groups.)Conference center, Boardroom sim. Hold your next meeting here!
  16. "Packet loss", as reported by viewers, is not really network packet loss. It includes packets not processed because the viewer was too busy to process them. If you have "ping" on your system, ping "secondlife.com" for a while, or run some speed test program. If that's not losing packets, the network path to the SL data center in Phoenix AZ is fine. Expect to see some packet loss if the viewer frame rate is very low. When the frame rate starts to drop, it's usually because the main thread is using all the CPU time one CPU can provide, or because your machine is swapping to disk due to lack of free memory. That's when the main thread starts losing packets. The network bandwidth limitation is more to keep from choking the viewer's main thread more than to prevent choking the network. LOD factor of 9 is insane. LOD factor of 1.5 to 2 is normal. If you set it to 9 and you're flying, your viewer is forced to render the high-resolution model of everything on the ground within draw distance, which takes time. Oh, and make sure your machine isn't swapping. Is there a web browser in the background with lots of tabs open, using up memory? Try running Firestorm and nothing else, or as little else as Windows 10 will let you run.
  17. Prototyped a marine railway for Bellesaria beach houses. Track extends smoothly into the ocean so the boat can be moved over Linden beach, then retracts. The track extension is a prim trick. The track is shortened by setting the "slice" parameter while moving the prim. (This is a proof of concept in prims. It needs a proper mesh carriage to carry the boat. If some marine accessory creator wants to do this, let me know. I'd rather buy one from someone in the boat business than build this as a product. People would want it resizable, they'd want carriages custom-fit to their boats, they'd want custom paint jobs, and it would take too much customer service.)
  18. That's called a "marine railway". This would do the job. Almost exactly what I need, and here's a RL prototype to model. For SL, will have to retract the track when not in use, to get it off Linden land. Probably store it under the fixed track section. Or cheat, and wind it out of a box like a roll-up garage door. That would allow up to 64m of track, in case you need it.
  19. Now there's an idea. Except that neither Sansara nor Jeoghot has much of a rail system. So there's nothing to connect to. Only Heterocera has much SLRR. A road connection, though... While you can sail from Bellesaria to Sansara, there's almost no place to go when you get there, as sailors have discovered. Going either east or west along the south coast of Sansara, you quickly run out of navigable water. As Bellesaria expands (and there's clearly demand for that), one possible expansion area is above. That's conveniently near the end of the Linden road system in Sansara, marked by the big red dot above. End of the road. Linden-owned land all the way to the coast, down a steep hill. This would be an excellent starting point for a big bridge to the potential Bellesaria expansion area.
  20. Here's another possible look. Portmeirion This cute little place was the setting for The Prisoner, a 1960s TV show. It was built in the 1920s in roughly the style of an Italian village, but in Wales. It's a summer resort, with whimsical architecture. Useful for building ideas. About the right density for SL. See it in Google Street View for more detail. Be seeing you!
  21. Some trams, maybe. New Babbage seems to have the best surface tram system. It looks good, it corners well, and it's popular.
  22. That's what I'm doing now, and since I have only to cross about 4m of Linden sandy beach, it doesn't look that awful. But there have been snickers.
  23. For waterfront homes like that, has anyone come up with a good way to get a boat from your own property across the narrow strip of Linden land, and into the water? I've considered a truck and boat trailer setup, but my place has a sandy beach. A rocky shore like this would be tougher. Anyone have something good? Might work.
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