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September 14, 2007


The Todd

M'kay, bye. Can I have you stuff? :D

Atlas Saintlouis

In this post, you state the following:

"At this point, to my surprise, I even discovered that the Lindens don't even recommend hardware anymore, on a normal page like "about Second Life" or "downloads" (which is what you have to know to press on to get SL". With other games -- yes, this is a game -- it tells you at Word One where to press to get the game itself, and what computer you need to play it."

**In your post, "Getting Griefing All Wrong" from September 11, 2007, you stated:

"The New Scientist suggests using the sports analogy of solving disputes by referees, not real-life courts, in addressing the problems of games. But Second Life isn't a game. It's a virtual world and a platform. That means in part disputes can be solved using inworld techniques (duels on the Caledon moor, councils of Gorean masters, confabs of land barons using Ban-Link, office hours with Lindens)."

I have always been perplexed by the divide that exists between those that refer to SL as a "platform" versus those that refer to it as a "game." Frankly, it is what you want it to be (assuming it is working which it usually is not): It can be a platform for business, social networking, or educational endeavors. Likewise, it can be a "game" in which you RP or one of the few games that aren't banned anymore. Either way, I am curious whether, to you, SL is a "platform" or a "game" because this article and the article from September 11th seem to say two different things in that regard.

Prokofy Neva

I don't find Second Life to be a game. It's not a game for me. It's a business, and a platform to do socializing and political work and to do pondering on ideas and converse with others. I don't see any "game" about it.

But I call it a game to stress the problems with it, that are inherent in it from its MMORPG roots, and its game-god parentage. That's all.

Something that has a 50/50 chance of working when I turn it on also feels a lot like a game to me, a game of Russian roulette or something.

I'm well aware of all the politically-correct nostrums the Lindens constantly peddle on this. And that's why I deliberately call it a game in dealing with them to remind them that it's not working, it's silly, it has ridicularities in it, and they need to get more serious with it.

It's also hard to think up what to call it. I call it "my game" out of habit, not as something I play with quests and jewels and points, but just that thingie you have to download that has a character in it. I don't think calling it "my platform" trips off the tongue so easily.

I just posted to that Serious Games talk shop list sounding off against a guy dismissing SL and saying it was a game, patiently giving him the Koolaid about how it's notagame.

But I find this stuff really tedious, politically correct, and silly, and I'm happy to call it a game for those piously strutting around claiming it's this technical wonder called 'a platform', and call it a platform to those piously strutting around claiming it's a game. I just find it a good corrective.

I look at this whole Second Life is a game or not a game thing as kind of like Ukraine and Belarus. Both these countries have movements and political parties that spend enormous amounts of time going around and telling everybody they are spelling the names of their capitals wrong, and that they are hopelessly Russifying everything, and revealing their deep ignorance about Russification.

They kept pestering everybody who said "Kiev" and "the Ukraine" or "Minsk and Byelorussia" that they had to be proper, and say "Kyiv" and "Ukraine" and "Miensk" and "Belarus".

But it was awfully hard to get people to do that. They'd slip -- they wouldn't do it. The New York Times wouldn't help by refusing to go along.

Then, when Ukrainian had the chesnut revolution, and became quite more democratic, and began to take all kinds of domestic and foreign policy decisions separate from Russia, suddenly, the "Kyiv" fell into place. Suddenly, people spelled the "Kyiv" in the news articles. They stopped saying "The Ukraine" like "The Bronx" and started saying it "Ukraine" like "Brooklyn" (the "the" somehow linguistically denoting remoteness and backwardness for some).

But poor Belarus can't get people to stop saying "Minsk" and "Byelorussia". It's still under tyranny. There are people like me who call it Belarus, but we are a minority. And it won't depend on us flapping our wings trying to call it the thing we wish it were. It will happen when the thing becomes what it wishes to be in reality.

Atlas Saintlouis

Getting it to work is a game of chance for many indeed. Getting it to be a platform almost seems like a goal as opposed to a foregone conclusion. With the "SL Grid" being launched, I most certainly hope that this "game of chance" gets some better odds than those for which are currently provided. That being said, how can we expect this to become a viable "platform" with what are essentially hidden system requirements? It is interesting to note that the "system requirements" for running SL are under /corporate. If an average consumer/customer can barely move due to hardware constraints, what real good can come of only corporate entities being able to easily access the system requirements? Now THAT is putting the cart before the horse.

Nicholaz Beresford

Btw, system requirements/recommendations are on the front page directly below the sign-up button.

They're pretty useless of course, because the minimum requirement will barely start the program and if you're lucky get you in slide show mode.

Their recommended system there more like the minimum requirement (and I've been telling them for three months now to update that).

With a software like that, and with heavy weightlifting you do, upper class hardware will be barely enough (although I always avoid top of the line stuff).

30FPS with 512m draw distance is either on abandoned land or a machine with the best parts money can buy (about $2000).

OTOH, there will always be situations with 3FPS.

More always buys you faster of course, and "good" is an individual thing.

But I agree, their system recommendations are ridiculous and even hurting their business.

Nicholaz Beresford

Oh, just for the record, my machine is a Intel Core2Duo 2.1GHz, 2GB Ram and a NVIDIA 7600GS. I'd be amazed if (with the time you spend online) you could settle for less.

Prokofy Neva

Nicholaz, they aren't "on the front page". They aren't in visible, normal, lettering at the TOP of the page or even in the MIDDLE of the page when you press on SUPPORT or DOWNLOADS where you really MUST have a link or a paragraph as you arrive on that page showing the system requirements.

Instead, "system requirements" is in tiny tiny TINY print hypertexed WAY BELOW at the bottom. It's impossible to find in the first few passes, especially if FOR YEARS you were used to finding it under DOWNLOADS or SUPPORT, but now it's simply no longer there.

In fact, the link even says the word "corporate" as if it is part of the other website.

"System requirements" is not a light you should bury under a bushel. A giant, even cartoonized TRY SECOND LIFE TODAY! has to go on the website because frankly, not everyone knows that "downloads" is where you get this. I can't tell you the number of normal, educated, smart people who have asked me in bewilderment, "but where's the entry? the portal? the website"? After hearing all the hype about "the website Second Life" they think registering and getting a password is a thing they type in...and enter already -- in fact as you do elsewhere.

If they aren't used to games downloading as a separate thingie, they may not know that DOWNLOADS contains *the thing itself*, not just wallpaper and such.

Furthermore, I dunno, call me silly, but I would intuitively put SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS under...drum That's where it goes? Duh? and yet it is conspicuosly missing.

There's also very misleading information. They say that "Second Life doesn't support Vista". Yet on their blog, they have page after page from Lindens in authority explaining how to get Vista and SL working. Indeed Vista *does* work with SL if you have the right Nvidia card -- and that's why it can work for me -- after a fashion.

You might think that they should just not offer Vista advice at all unless it is perfect. But...the reality is that 99 percent of the people in America buying a new computer are forced to buy a Vista. Why? Because that is all that is sold in computer stores that they can access easily, going to Comp USA or Best Buy at their malls or shops in cities. They could also order a Dell online.

To be sure, the geeks -- that tiny tiny percentage of Americans -- can do things like go to this guy in Little Korea who sells the parts to computers for you to build yourself, sell you a copy of XP or just leave a copy he's copied in the machine, and you can buy a "new computer" with XP in it. Or you can talk to this guy you know at work who is the network provider and he can still get you a system with XP. Or you can go to a geek guy as I did who sets up your system to emulate XP, stripping the Vista junk of it. And so on. BUT THAT IS NOT THE NORM.

So the Lindens need to work a LOT harder in getting Vista, the thing we're all stuck with in all computer stores now, working with SL.

Ace Albion

I hope they can fix the problems, or at least work on some simple, easy to understand, easy to find instructions for getting things working.

I saw Emma in the log talking about nvidia drivers and hotfixes for Vista- I'd like to see the Second Life webpage have some step by step "fix it" process laid out- click "here" to download and install the hotfix from Microsoft, click "here" to download the nvidia driver, all that laid out simply and clearly right on the SL website.

Maybe that would help, because I know myself how hugely frustrating it is to have to trawl forum after tech site after forum looking for that one place that has the file you need. They can disclaim it as much as they need to, but at least put it where people can see it, and get to the files.

Geeks will always sneer and say "get a proper graphics card", or "install a different operating system" which is also frustrating. Second Life has more potential if they work on getting it running on all those unsupported intel graphics computers reliably and more smoothly. People are buying up cheap laptops right now- they can get one for £300 even in the expensive UK. SL should run on that cheap computer, the same way Internet Explorer does. If that means making SL less "shiny" for that computer, then I think they can do that.

The SL website is a mess, that's for sure.

Argent Stonecutter

"No. When my telephone doesn't work, it doesn't work. They fix it."

The telephone was invented in 1876. How long before you could say that about it?

OK, stuff develops fast on the Internet, but we sure as hell haven't made it to 1900 in "telephone time" for virtual worlds, and Saturday Night Live was still making jokes about "We're the phone company, we don't have to care" in *19*76.

Yes, it's beta. You know that. I know that. We all know that. If you want something that isn't beta, there's plenty of alternatives. You can try and do business in them. But because they're not run by crazy cowboys who are willing to test out telephones running off open containers of sulphuric acid and don't seem to understand why their customers might balk at that they don't have what it takes. Whatever it is, Linden labs has got it, and the other guys don't.

I'm sticking with them until someone who's got the same kind of inability to see limits gets together with someone who can actually ship something better than beta. For UNIX on the desktop in the GUI era that took from about 1982 to 2002 (and that IS internet time already) when Apple shipped Jaguar. I really aren't expecting anyone to come up with something anything like SL (let alone better than it) until well into the next decade... and the way Linden Labs is going it's going to be based on SL one way or another.

As far as getting SL to work on cheap hardware goes... not so long as anyone can knock together prims and make their own stuff in-world. That's where all the CPU power goes, doing all the calculations at runtime that everyone else does offline. But what kind of SL would it be without that?

Prokofy Neva

Technological innovation accelerates at phenomenal levels precisely because of technology itself. Therefore, it's no good to say, hey, we had 150 years to do the telephone.

I *am* sticking with them. I'm *not* complaining in fact. It works good ENOUGH as I always say. I'm in it for the beta and I'm hanging on for the ride. I think they can do with a modicum of more user-friendly stuff though, and TELL people more stuff on their website than they do.

They'll spend hours writing some completely geeky, quirky thing that only a handful of users will bother to read an understand, and neglect to put the obvious on the support page: 'WARNING: Nvidia has now started spitting up with SL on Vista" or to link to a driver you can actually use. That's just common courtesy.

Yes, I agree with the point about run-time. I don't understand all this agitation about CAD into SL. If you want to build offline, use CAD, use the Sims II, use whatever. Sit and build in your silo. Exchange screenshots with your friends on Yahoo. But don't get in my game with this stuff that slows down development of other more critical tools for collaboration.

Kryss Wanweird

I am also tired too.
Interesting you mentioned this problem with your graphics card, because I have a major issue with mine, that simply gives me the "Blue Screen of Death" very often when I load Second Life. This is a known issue in jira, and haven't been fixed since I started SL. I always send error reports. They try to sell this ridiculous idea that the problem is the graphics card (I have a dell inspiron e1405 with 2G ram and WinXP Pro, so the problem must be with dell/intel, yeah right).
I've been running Entropia Universe client on the same computer, with no lag, no crashes, and with customer support (even though I'm a free account). And btw, EU is much more complex and graphically sophisticated than SL.
So to resume the problem: crappy software architecture and programming.

Prokofy Neva

Eek, there goes my plan to buy a Dell. Is it the Intel? But doesn't everything have Intel? I get these runtime errors where my video card just goes black and crashes, and then restores itself and gives me a message. This can't be good.

Kryss Wanweird

Not good, but then it could be actually the graphics card, in your case, if it is too old (+ than 5 years) In my case it can't be because I got this computer in December. Intel manufactures the processor and the chipset, in Dell Laps. The chipset is the device responsible for audio and video capabilities as you can see in
Well, in my case it came equipped with the 945GM express chipset, state-of-the-art technology. No way that it's the cause of SL crashing. Not every computer uses Intel components though (some use AMD, for example).
If you are interested in buying a new computer, I would strongly recommend a Dell. The support is perfect, they even have chat support which is very convenient.
My bf got the exact same notebook as mine last month from the Dell Outlet, so his came with Vista, and he didn't experience any problems with SL. I absolutely love my computer, excellent cost-benefit. So, you might want to check Dell Outlet. The outlet has fabulous deals.
And if possible go for 2Giga RAM. The only reason I didn't get mine from the outlet is because I brought it to Brazil.
And if possible go for 2Giga RAM.

Prokofy Neva

No, I just bought the card a few months ago, it came in a brand-new computer.

I know what chipsets are, no need to bore me.

I just haven't bestirred myself to see whether this one was AMD -- I think it was.

But what video card is on that Dell you are recommending? And how much did it cost?

Kryss Wanweird

The video card is Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 950, on the chipset. Its the one I pointed out in the link.
My Inspiron E1405 with 2Giga ram was about 1500 USD, but my bf got the same one from the outlet with 1Giga Ram for 700 USD, about 3 months ago at the most.
I just checked now and they are only 570 USD with 2GigaRam, because Dell issued new inspiron models....
The E1505 and E1705 are the same machine, but different video size.

Kryss Wanweird

And you can get the latest model (1420) with the 128MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS video card, which is better for gaming for around 900 USD...

Cherowolf Redgrave

Hey Prokofy. This is directed to Kryss. I too was experiencing the same while I had Entropia loaded. I dumped Entropia and the problems stopped. I don't know if that was for sure the issue but I haven't had any problems with SL since. I have Dell AMD 64x2 Dual Core 4400+ 2.0 ghz, 2 gb ram. Running XP. I can only run 1 cpu (an AMD issue) or SL freezes up on me. I have two ATI Radeon X1300 Pros with a Nvidia nForce 430/410 controller. And if any of that makes sense to you then you are more a tekkie than I - I am simply reading off the device manager.

Kryss Wanweird

Hi Cherowolf,

I didn't understand completely, so you got the Blue Screen when you loaded Entropia while you were running SL at the same time?

Anyway, here's what you can do to try to resolve this:

1- From what I've read, this is a unique processor that simulates 2, according to AMD. Since I assume Dell sold your machine with that processor + WinXP, it has to work full potential with that configuration. So, first, be sure you have all updates for your computer installed, especially the BIOS ones. To do that, goto, sign-in to your account and input your equipment's serial number. Then check to see if there is any updates and install them if it's the case. Repeat the procedure periodically (I do that every 2-3 months). With your system updated if still doesn't work propertly, open an support issue @Dell, and they have to resolve it, even if that means replacing your XP with Vista at no charge. Or replace any other device that might be malfunctioning. Or the whole computer.

2- Entropia: In the log-in screen, click Options and then check "Disable Shaders". It will work.

3-On SL (if Blue Screen): In log-in screen, click preferences and then check "Mute". So you will get no sound, but you can enable it later, after system stabilizes.

Next computer, maybe consider an Intel :)

Ace Albion

Argent, the cheap laptops and desktops filling full page ads in our national newspapers are almost certainly capable of working with the existing prim based streaming of Second Life. I would just like to see some diversion to taking one of these built-in-graphics computers and getting SL to work on it- if that means no ripply water or scaled down textures or whatever, then that's fine.

Philip himself said he'd like to see SL running on an OLPC. That will never happen so long as the tech-fetish geeks get to lead the development.


Prok said "You: because I've paid thousands of dollars in computers trying to get a goddamn game to work"

I've built myself a PC less than 500 bucks and it runs high at 40-60FPS on SL... guess what...


Go play Activeworld, it's perfect for you.


Whoops, forgot to give you the link.

Have fun, Prok.

Prokofy Neva

Guess what, I have a friend who is far more brilliant than you. He built me an excellent computer for only $364, worked great, until my son accidently wiped the motherboard with an ungrounded screwdriver trying to put in a new sound card. Oh well.

Active worlds looks to be pretty lame. Most people I know have left there.

Nicholaz Beresford

Btw, the "system requirements" (outdate as they are) *are* on the front page.

Go to (not being logged in there) and you'll see them right below the orange "sign up now" button.

And as far as video is concerned, the intel on board videos (9xx, 9xx) are *not* supported.

They may run it, but if they don't LL will simply tell you "it's not supported ... end of story."

Prokofy Neva

Um, Nicholas?This was said already. Scroll up. And, sorry, but having tiny, miniature type hyptertex way at the bottom of the page is NOT good enough. It is not on the Support page and not on the top or or show anywhere OBVIOUS when you are in DOWNLOADS.

As for your little lecture about "Intel not supported," duh, it says that. But that can't explain why a perfectly good computer that does NOT have that doesn't run, that fits the specs now, can it?

And the information about the Vista/Nvidia/memory leak situation is NOT included here anywhere, now is it? Instead, that card is recommended!

Prokofy Neva

There's no orange sign-up now button, you m ust be thinking of something that existed before their website change recently?

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