SL10B Looking Forward: Part 1 – Simplification

Im not a fan of themes. I see SLB akin to the WWDC or E3 of Second Life. An expo for the community at large to display their little parts of SL and a chance to see what everyone else is up to. But a theme can help give focus for some to build around.

This years Theme was ‘Looking forward, looking back’ and while it’s easy at 10 years of Second Life to look back at how we all got here, not much has been said about looking forward. Although i will admit i’ve still got three quarters of SLB to get a look at so some may very well have looked forward.

So anyway i decided i would write a few posts on my thoughts looking forward, starting with simplification.

destination-island_003
New Users arrive at a temple, very different from when i was a lad.. i mean newb 

I’ve started ignoring new users. It’s terrible, i shouldn’t but i have. My work, my projects my clothes are all designed and created for the user who knows what they are doing. At my Island town centre there is a steady influx of new users, dressed in new user basic skin tight clothing, just stood there trying to work out what to do. Where they go after that is a mystery to me but i find myself ignoring them as being a nuisance of sorts almost wanting to say “go away and come back when you’ve learnt how to use SL” – terrible, i feel terrible.

With the lab removing the tutorial island from the start New Users are left to fend for themselves in the open wide grid randomly arriving anywhere in the destination guide. At first you may think “THIS IS  MADNESS”, well only Linden Lab can know that as I’m sure they are monitoring the retention difference since going this new route. Letting new users just get out their on the grid may actually be a good idea and perhaps i as a destination owner could be doing more to educate new users. But i’ve tried and its too hard because every time i try to simplify tasks, they end up still to difficult to grasp.

So can the Lab do something to make this task of educating new users easier? well, yes and they are. Many moons ago you may remember the New Gaming Tools promised by Rodvik. It lead many to comment “Bah SL is not a Game, we don’t need Gamification tools“, well yeh , we do actually. You see the Game tools, now renamed to ‘Experience Tools’ could help me to make tasks easier for new users to get to grips with SL.

Imagine your self as a new user arriving randomly at a place and that place automatically attaches a discreet HUD that encourages you to take part in a task in an interesting way thats unique to that place. The Experience Tools will not just be about making games, it’ll hopefully make it easier for us to perform simple tasks in more immersive and intuitive ways. And perhaps the Lab themselves will use the tools to build more education places for new users.

The wait hopefully is nearly over with rumours of a Beta/project viewer just around the corner. So looking forward I’m seeing an easier to interact with Grid. But only if content creators embrace the new tools.

16 thoughts on “SL10B Looking Forward: Part 1 – Simplification

  1. I’ve just seen a video on youtube of people trying SL for the first time, it is painful.
    They arrive at the temple above but of course with the standard settings of the SL viewer, everything is grey and takes for every to rez, they don’t wait.
    Not to mention that they don’t appreciate the cartoon trees, they think they are just badly made low resolution trees.
    They don’t wait for the signs to rez, don’t read anything, they just try search and teleport.

    The way things are now just DON’T work.
    I think that we need to teach people the basics BEFORE they even start their viewer and they have to figure out how to use the destination guide and search.

    Anyway, more about that on my blog here;
    http://joyardley.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/starting-your-second-life/

    But I’ll write a new one based on that video.

      • Ha! Yes!
        In my 1920s Berlin sim I’ve done something like that on purpose.
        My Bar where we all gather every day for a drink, dance and chat, is hidden far away in the corner.
        Finding it is a bit of a reward 😉

  2. There is no single introductory training program that will work for a majority of new users. We have too many cultures with different learning paradigms. Plus the number of first time computer users far out numbers experienced users. Even the concept of 3D displayed on a 2D device is foreign to many of the people coming into SL.

    What we know to date is nothing the Lab or users have tried has worked well.

    It will be interesting to see if the Rift changes the 3D learning paradigms.

    • True but some tutorials for certain games do work a lot better for a lot of users.
      For instance, The Sims starts with learning to customise your avatar in a rather user-friendly setup.

      It would be interesting to see how the Rift will change all of that, the whole way we experience SL will become different so the way we learn it will have to be turned upside down.

    • I cant see everyone running out to get an Oculus though. It’ll only be gamers who think SL is trash and Us SL Users who are already experienced in Virtual Worlds.

        • Problem with visions like that is that there are a lot of if’s. If the oculus goes big, if Linden Lab get the UI right first time, if people accept wearing 3D glasses, if the problems we have now get swept under the rug.:-p

          • True but one thing is sure; virtual reality headsets will be big, they already are.
            The devkit version of the Rift has already gone global and is huge, big game designers are already creating games for it and they just received a $16 million investment.
            They are going to change gaming for ever, there is no if about that.
            Of course, the LL part is a big IF, but at least they are already working on it in stead of waiting till everyone already has one and is wondering what’s keeping LL from catching up.

            I’ve tried the Oculus Rift and once you’ve done that, you’re sold.
            And I had no problems wearing the headset as it is and that was still an early version.

        • imho, Oculus is interesting and many people will like it. But it will not be big for same reasons not everyone is using a joystick for gaming, or a tablet to make digital art. It may not be needed or comfortable or cost effective. I personally will not be using anything that creates motion sickness.

          p.s. I love the idea of new users having the possibly to make their avatar, and doing a tutorial before entering inworld, but this should be optional.

  3. Just the other day I was complimenting Abnor Mole on the training portion of the new exploring game and that led to a discussion of the New User Experience, that “Golden Hour” in which some one gains interest or says “frak this!” and leaves. The temple you picture above is an abomination. I tried it twice with disposable alts and found myself trying to help other “noobs” while I was there. It was fruitless.

    The Lab needs to make Viewer Popup #1 the How To pane, not the Avatar Chooser pane when one first lands because there is no tutorial at the Temple. Then The Lab should activate an auto-attach HUD feature to guide new users for the first hour. After that, give them a 30-day temporary premium account. Drop them on a 512 square meter mainland parcel they get to keep for the trial period. The parcel should have a “survival kit” of sorts with additional tutorials and such. A L$100/week stipend would be a nice start, too. After 30 days (or 90 or 45 days), remind them that to keep the land (or upgrade to a Linden Home) they should pay for a premium membership then they keep the land free for as long as they are a premium account. If they don’t upgrade or if they ever downgrade the land reverts to The Lab right away.

    • I like the idea of having your own home thats kitted out to help you orientate with SL. A home point where you can get back to in order for help. Made me think of Portal Two at the start, one of the best ‘how toos’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwjj6Df77fM

      It might be Linden Lab have something up their sleeve and are just waiting for the new Permissions system to be released. Will have to wait and see.

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