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Vaughan Elliott

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About Vaughan Elliott

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  1. "Is there *anyone* here who thinks the subject of this blog thread is a good idea? Even in Linden Labs? I have to wonder..." Actually, having read pretty much all the comments, I'm still having a really hard time understanding how this is a bad idea... I'm sure it is a bad idea as popular consensus is the cornerstone of democracy and as such, I must be missing something. I'm sure its something to do with the ways that the objections are being expressed, but I just can't see it.. However, here is my thinking. By laying it bare, I'm hoping someone will have the good sense and eloquence to put me right From a content creation perspective, it seems to me it can only be a good thing that LL are involving themselves in the in-world experience so as to better understand what sort of problems content creators have and what sort of tools would really benefit them? That the 'game' is cartoonish and generic surely serves the function to a) introduce new users to the SL platform and b) avoids creating some new killer environment that directly competes with what's already out there. It also gives you a preview of the various new features currently in the pipeline? Looking forward to some assistance here as I really can't see the bad in this...
  2. "From my perspective, not only has Linden Lab made it's share of blunders over the years but the users themselves have become exceedingly bitter and arrogant and it's hard to remain encouraged around swarms of either miserable or despondent creatures. " I think there is a lot of truth to this and maybe this is down to a misunderstanding or lack of faith too on the part of the userbase. I think the problems as they've been variously described are pretty accurate, but I also still have a lot of faith in this medium and the medium itself seems stronger than the problems. Many of the issues with SL, I think, have originated in the encroachment of real world business interests and principles that aren't really compatible with whatever it is SL is made of. In spite of this however, whatever it is SL is made of still persists and is quietly improving in its overall potential. Mesh, mono, http messaging, controls over chat spam etc.; beneath the mess of UI confusion, problems of internal competition and diminishing traffic etc., other core aspects of user control are improving. I thought it telling that someone said it was better than TV - this seems to me to be exactly in keeping with what SL could be if handled right. For some, its a universal creative medium through which they can create multi-sensual experiences; for others, it's an interactive medium where they can have multi-sensual experiences. In this, it's an extremely potent and novel arts medium and it's with the disappointment of this ideal not being fulfilled that so many residents have been alienated. They could sense the potential, but competing with apps and social networks, the real world and the 2D net, somehow got in the way. I still personally have a lot of faith in what SL is. Running it as a business with profit-based aims, as usual, seems to be the real killer, but how could it be otherwise and persist? Though I am of the view that SL has enough going for it that running it from the perspective of passion would look after its sustainability, I doubt the investors are as confident and willing to take such risks. As such, they need to strike a balance between the two - profitability and the core meaning of the medium (which is increased involvement and immersion). I personally have enough faith in the substance of the SL experience to think that these problems are not insurmountable. If not, someone else will take up the idea and do it better, but until that time, I'm pretty committed to what is happening here. (An afterthought worth emphasizing: SL had no business fearing and competing with social networks and apps. Just because they are online does not mean they are of the same nature. Apps and social networks are concerned with virtualizing real life and the self; Second Life is an exploration of being rid of the constraints of real life, living outside its limits. In this, SL is chosing to compete with animals outside its own food chain. See here for more on that: http://innegative.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/secondlife-virtual-social-network-culture/ )
  3. Hey hey, come now! I won't hear a word said against the current leadership. Rod is probably the best thing to have happened to this place in years. At the risk of committing heresy, I might even be willing to say I prefer him to Philip, who always struck me, beyond a certain level of success, as a pretty disinterested figure. I reckon it is probably one of the fundamental problems of a medium like this one - finding a CEO that is capable of integrating their own creativity into a platform where the essential purpose is to allow other artists to create. Rod, however, I suspect is capable of this - certainly, his interests seem to me to go beyond just making a successful business. SL generally, I still have a good deal of hope for. This sort of virtual world seems to me to remain extraordinarily pregnant in terms of what it can be as a creative medium, allowing the expression, as it does, of the users' nervous system - a more complex involvement of human faculties say than literature or even television. The amount it potentially allows for in terms of creating deep experience seems pretty vast. It's having a good few problems right now - a stupid viewer, the rightly cited MP and land issues etc., but there is some space for optimism too. In terms of retention, I reckon the abilities to control chat spamming and control visibility of other parcels etc are good moves. It will allow control over gaming spaces so that experiences can be more focused. Likewise, thinking about NPCs and combat without HUDs could be very useful in creating desirable environments. The more control we get over environments, the more likley it is we are able to create more rich and vibrant virtual experiences. SL is struggling, but handled right, I still think it can stand as a supremely important art/expressive medium - it's a sort of writing and a sort of painting and it's value is in expanding the depth of this medium. As such, I never really got why anyone would want to push the social networking side of things.
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