WOW, what a year it has been here in Second Life. For VR enthusiasts it’s been quite a roller coaster ride. For some the VR world was flipped on it’s head, for others not so much.
For instance during 2014 Linden Lab completely changed, not just inside, but the way i perceive the company. My perception of our place in the bigger VR picture was expanded, and suddenly there is this renewed energy in all things virtual reality.
I found myself having to validate my place as a member of the VR community as gamers tried to pretend that VR had not existed since the 90’s. Many tried to argue that virtual worlds are not VR because they are not immersive and lack the presence of ‘proper VR’. I would argue that immersion depends on the person experiencing the VR, that some people can be easily immersed than others. The Oculus and it’s 3rd party plugins are for the most part simply accessories to visiting worlds I have already been exploring for a long time. I’m part of the virtual reality community thats explored what it means to own something that does not exist, battled the drama and ethics of virtual relationships, griefing, grey goo. My minds been opened by the lack of boundaries in this virtual space, interacted with people from all over the globe who each bring to me a glimpse of their own countries and communities histories and dreams. I’ve witnessed how similar we all are on this planet, how we all assume the same things, how we all seem to get the same wrong impressions of each other, and how we can all change and form friendships while other times become enemies. I’ve watched shy awkward users with language difficulties become confident friends. This is virtual reality for me, it has changed my world view, this is what’s important to me in all this VR nonsense.
While the gamers are getting giddy with the extra sensory perception of killing people, my interest is now in how the VR accessories can enhance and open up the way i’ve been using VR for the past 10 years. Luckily all the changes to Linden Lab seem to be pushing it into this direction.
So last year i made list of predictions and i bet you are dying to see how much i got it wrong :-p…
1. Second life will finally get the ‘Experience Permissions System’.
NO FRIKIN WAY, it actually did finally arrive. Linden lab announced a Beta programme in autumn and i got to play with it on Escapades. Unfortunately i was bogged down with lots of other big projects that i was not able to fully explore the possibilities but in 2015 i think i will be able to do some amazing things with the Experience (XP) Tools.
2. Linden Lab reveal Bigger Plans.
Linden Lab announced they were working on a totally new virtual world currently known as ‘THE NEW THING’, a new virtual world based on all the latest tech in the land, is that big enough for yu?
3. Rodvik Linden will be defrosted from carbonate now that Shining project is almost complete so he can introduce Linden Labs Bigger Plans.
Well Rodvik did break his silence long enough to announce he was leaving and we’d be getting Ebbe as a new CEO who then went on to opening the blinds to the LL offices.
4. Object export will arrive in the Official SL viewer because its a good idea.
Pfftt, this didn’t happen, so i still have to switch viewers just to export reference models. Maybe i should submit the idea via LL’s new feature submission thingy.
5. Linden Lab starts to add a clause into new employment contract that prevents them from being poached by High Fidelity if they show talent.
This may have happened, how would i actually now, this was a stupid prediction.
6. Linden Lab will dedicate some time to fixing its Whale Failing Web based services.
They did do this, SL feed has become more and more reliable throughout the year as has the SL Marketplace. There was also mention of a new Web Plugin in the works .
7. Premium Membership will gain worth.
Erm, no…. still not seeing any benefit from being a premium content creator yet.
8. A official version of the SL viewer will appear for Tablet devices.
OK i cheated a bit since i was on the beta programme for SLgo, although it took FOR AGES for the iOS version to be released and it never works well enough with my network to be regular useful.
Well i don’t think i did to badly last year, it kind of puts pressure on me predicting 2015 :-s but i’ll try my best lol.
HERE BE LOKI’S MEGA AWESOME BUT PROBABLY WRONG PREDICTIONS FOR 2015 IN SECOND LIFE.
1. The true awesomeness of the Experience Tools won’t be realised until spring or even summer.
One thing i have noticed about new features of SL, is that it can take a fare while before the features filter out amongst the creators. One reason is because it takes a while for Creators to learn then create for the features, another is information strangely takes a long time to reach everyone. But i also think non-creator users will be none plussed and probably assume XP tools had always been there.
2. Web on a prim will work again better than before and be more useful.
When Linden Lab first announced Media on a prim i was like ‘OMG’, but it fell short of the potential. It arrived just as HTML5 was making waves in web design and the potential for web applications inside the VR world was exciting. Unfortunately the Webkit used to display web on a prim would crash when ever heavy HTML5 was loaded on my mac. Then Adobe updated flash in a way that was no longer compatible on a mac. In case you did not know, i own a mac, so my experiments in Web on a prim ended. It’s a feature that could have been a lot more useful if it could load the sort of interactive content making waves today.
3. Linden Lab will stop doing major big ideas for SL as the ‘NEW THING’ approaches.
It makes sense that as the NEW THING is developed, Linden lab won’t want to do major new features for the old platform when they could better use it in the next virtual World. This will annoy me and others, but we’ll get over it. From now on it’ll be a matter of improving what we’ve already got which lets face it, is still potentially a lot of work.
4. Linden Lab will announce a closed Alpha for the NEW THING and SL users will get even more worried and be vocal about that.
Come on you know this will happen, but it won’t matter.
5. Linden lab will create their own VR hardware devision to create their own VR immersive hardware accessories.
Ok this is more a fantasy than a prediction. It seems the Problem with being a VR software maker in a world where VR hardware is taking centre stage is that you have to keep adding and updating and reinstalling API’s for all the various accessories who think they are the most amazing thing since iPhone. In a perfect world where Linden Lab had grown huge, they invested in hardware to expand the VR experience…. that never happen though.
6. The Consumer version of Oculus will not be released in 2015.
I’ve discovered how unfriendly the DK2 experience is. I thought it ws a mac user only problem, but it seems some windows users have display issues too. Some Devs and even our own Linden Lab have expressed they are patiently waiting for updates and better support for openGL. Oculus themselves have recently bought new tech such as NimbleVR to experiment with. All this suggests to me that a consumer version will not be ready in 2015. If true, this might actually be a good thing for Linden Lab as they work on their NEW THING.
7. Premium membership will gain worth
Well i gotta keep hoping.
So thats my predictions for 2015, nothing really exciting from an everyday SL users point of view. I don’t think anyones got anything to worry about until 2017. Have a great new year and here is to a productive 2015. I for one am looking forward to exploring the many ways to use XPtools for everything, so keep an eye on this blog