Content Creators in New Worlds

I have been to a lot of new worlds lately.

A pattern emerges.

Now before those of you reading this say to yourselves,  I don't care about OpenSim; I'm not going over to OpenSim; I'll skip this post -- remember that  The Next Generation of SL IS indeed a new world, an even more different world as it isn't based on the one we know.    

Here is what often happens.


A new grid opens its doors. Announcements are made. A few of the owner's friends have come over pre-opening. Sometimes they set up storefronts, or at least a welcome grid with some items to buy and some gifts.

The next influx that follows closely on the heels of the opening are the second wave of creators. They bring over already made goods, set up shop and wait for the new arrivals to show up and buy their offerings.

A mini rush ensues (almost always :D); some new folks come in and buy items. Great. All is good.

More folks come in slowly and there are sales. Creators make some new things for the young grid or bring over more of their previous made stock.

But here's the issue. It takes a certain amount of population to create enough sales to make it viable for content creators to stay. When the population stagnates or the buyers simply stop buying because  they have what they need -- sales drop sharply or stop. It isn't quite like the Walmart "we must keep opening new stores or we will die" issue, but it flows alongside that stream.

In many cases, after a few months (sometimes weeks, sometimes longer) the content creators leave.

So there is the problem. Is there an answer?

Well The Lab while it has made some pretty bad decisions in the past -- mostly by not listening to the public opinion -- isn't dumb. They have that covered, or at least they hope to.

They are planning on making it as easy as possible for people to come over to their new platform. Notice I didn't say MOVE over. Some folks will, some will visit, some will have dual citizenship.

As announced there will be the same money balance, friends list (not everyone will be in both grids of course) and perhaps some of the same goods.  I was hoping when the SL 2.0 announcement came that they were going to make it possible to click a "I want to move, send whatever I have that I can use in the new world over" button.   Silly me. It would be a good trick though.

Instead it looks like (NO inside info - just postulating from bits and pieces of information, subtle slips and things not said ) designers will likely need to port over there goods, much like they do now to those new OpenSim worlds. The file type may be different; that has yet to be officially stated -- and with that comes some issues, but an option for some items. The tech and rules will likely be far removed from what we are used to.

So a furniture maker for example could import (we don't know if this will cost yet) a mesh couch file. The current dae file may need to be converted to another file type. The uploader will likely be different, so existing notes won't apply.  Hopefully (ALL fingers are crossed here) the physics won't be such an issue.

Once the item gets into the new world, new animations and new scripting (officially announced as being needed although no word as to what file type or language will be used) will have to be added to work on the new platform.

Textures and material layers will get uploaded and we have our couch. Whew!


Just like coming to a new world in OpenSim, residents will need new things. Mesh bodies with new matching clothes?  Dances?


So it is important that these items are available when the new world opens to the public. Those who venture over in the first wave of tourists  and emigrants will likely want a bit more than what the visitor's bureau hands out.   The first designers on the new platform will likely do well. 

But there needs to be enough in the new world to hold on to the population. And for the most part, that takes community.  It will be difficult if half of your friends are across the ocean.

Easier access (web based browser or specially made aps) will help. Lower land costs will help.  I am all for new, but you can't be all things to all people so some folks won't find what they are looking for in the Next Generation.  

The official word from Linden Lab for some time is that the new world will be for content creators. Let's reflect on that repeating pattern. Without a buying populous, content creators have no reason to stay. 

Firestorm in OpenSim

I didn't get an inside tip; in fact I missed the first Firestorm class in OpenSim.

I was following breadcrumbs left on the Opensim Virtual Google+ group looking for a new clothes store -- which led me to a Twitter page (I don't Tweet) and I saw an ad for the first OpenSim Firestorm class. Woot!

Now it was long over but as a good little reporter I wanted to know what was going on over at the Littlefield grid.

A lovely and well-made complex awaits you at "Firestorm" (well natch). And even if you missed the class, those on the hypergrid can zip on over to the office and pick up the class notes from the box on the floor. Just click and be PATIENT (a sometimes keyword in OS).

Since I hate to miss anything I snuck over to the Firestorm Residential sim that I saw nearby on the map. Again, very lovely in any world. And I SO appreciate lovely.

So welcome to OpenSim Firestorm team!!!!!!

FBX the winner for SL 2.0?

I have to admit that I haven't been keeping up with SL 2.0 announcements of late. I have been spending a lot of time in OpenSim in Back To The Land mode.  But this bit of news got my attention today.

SL 2 will only use Autodesk FBX formatted files, the scripts are based on Javascript and it will run in Chrome
This wasn't an official Linden Lab press release by any means but it came within a very long, well written response to a question about mesh versus prims. I could not find any official disclosure that mirrors his statement and have asked the writer to site his source. No reply as yet, but I will update this page as I get more information.

{later note: The poster wrote back stating that this was (I am paraphrasing) an educated assumption based on High Fedelity (see the comments to this post just now up) and Unity. 

Looking up the poster I found someone with many hundreds of followers who is in both SL and OS and has lots of techiness in his portfolio along with mesh building -- a perfect candidate for an invitation to test the new platform.

So for me, and for now, and until I hear differently -- this statement seems to be a lapse in that non-disclosure-agreement, most likely brought on by the siren song of the creative writing muse. I go there too. I am personally treating it as that; you can make your own decision.

Recently I have downloaded some mesh files for personal use on my land in OpenSim. I found that some converted well from their native format and others not well at all. Hopefully this won't be an issue for builders.

IF this intel is correct, it puts the new platform in the Cloud Party camp (different tech undoubtedly but still browser based as we already suspected).  The rules were very different there so it is likely that designers will need to think differently.  Hopefully many of them are over there now working on their skills to make a beautiful world for the first arrivals.

Finding Our Perfect World

Or better yet, the world that is perfect FOR US.

New Years is my favorite holiday. It marks new beginnings and for me is a time of reflection.

I have been out and about in the metaverse this last six months (well, a year really but in overdrive since summer) trying on grids and seeing what was out there.

I have no plans to abandon Second Life. Too many friends, too much invented, too well ingrained in the culture for a departure -- I still like to know I have choices.

There are plenty of other grids out there. Largish and tiny, each with their own owner and siren's call. I visited maybe fifty and joined maybe a dozen. As the calendar turned I was sifting through my picture postcards to decide which grids were "keepers" -- just for me, you understand.

My list is not your list. We each make our choices based on our needs and sometimes on our links within a community.

I have decided to divide my time between Second Life (SL 2.0 should a beta come along and accept my candidacy) and the Great Canadian Grid.   Parkville is feeling a lot like home these days. It is peaceful and restful and I can both play and explore. SL with my seven year history and ties to MOSP-LEA7 is pretty much a no-brainer. Honestly I can't imagine life without it. I would cope as I DO that, but it would not be a pleasant experience.

I will be leaving my "stuff" in Inworldz but not be taking part in the community. I sell very little there these days (the first two quarters of 2014 were very good, the last dire) and the toxic nature of the forums is off-putting for me. I have a very good friend there and will visit her often and likely upload  new creations for HER (I have been doing that) as gifts, but commerce is no longer part of my scenario there; neither is the art world. Of course there are stories and details, but they really don't matter.

I will likely be abandoning Avination and wishing them well. Nothing much for me there.

Hanging in with Virtual Life as I actually sell more there than most grids if you factor in the population, I will not be making or porting anew. My stores are reaching prim limits. No personal ties there; the folks I knew have mostly left.

Other grids fall into the same pattern, not many sales -- no personal ties.

And that pretty much tells the story.

What keeps people coming back?

Low cost is good. You can have a sim (or several) in OpenSim communities that let you host on your own computer and hook up to their address (sort of like free webhosting). There are $5 per sim grids and $8 per sim grids and $10 per sim grids -- the list goes on.

But there needs to be something else to tie folks together. If people simply wanted to make a sim and create their world, there would be no need to become part of the metaverse.

I am not the most social person. When I am in the midst of a project I tend to get annoyed if someone wants to chat. What can I say? The creative muse is a harsh mistress. But I do like knowing other folks are out there. I like contributing to the community. I like having visitors see what I have created.  I think that is true for many people.

I want to watch the metaverse grow in all its forms. I want to be able to say "I remember when the hypergrid didn't work all that well and landmarks to other grids would not get you where you wanted to go".

Things will change radically in the next decade. I have no vision where we are headed, but I suspect it will be grand. Our personal jobs right now are to find a spot to call home.

Go forth. Explore. Set down roots.

SL 2.0 Testing Sign Up -- Really?

Rumors are flying about the SL 2.0 "next generation" testing sign up.

Is it here? Is it coming soon?

A friend wrote me today SURE I would be the "one in the know". Well she obviously has me in a loftier position that I actually inhabit .

I did some research, wrote to some "in the know friends".

You know that theory "you can find out anything if you ask your three most influential friends and they ask theirs"?  Well you might be able to get to the President that way, but finding out about testing signup? Not so much.

I have decided to let it all flow by me. I am a patient gal and I don't feel all that comfortable with alpha testing which I assume this would be. I can be in the second or third wave.

But keep your eyes peeled. There may be something behind this rumor. 

Or not!