I'll have to go back and award myself at least a partial point for getting another 2011 prediction right -- I said merchants would be certified in 2011 -- and it turns out in the waning days of the year it will be creators that will be certified.
Rod Humble, CEO of Linden Lab, announced today on the forums that the "powerful" new tools being developed for making games that are visible in Linden Realms will only be available to certified creators.
It's not clear what the certification will involve, but the sense is that it will involve more than the silly questionnaire that was put in front of us automatically to be able to upload mesh.
The justification for this elitism is the griefing that was sure to occur otherwise. There has been a lot of concern expressed about what would happen when the world acquired the capacity to force HUDs on avatars. Every prim diva with a mall would force a HUD upon you on landing, the way she now pushes a notecard, landmark and group invite into your face. It could also be used for griefing, spamming people with nasty HUDs forcing things into their view. Possible other things like the ability of stuff inworld to be tripped up and then put into your inventory -- that could be griefable.
So, obviously that influenced the Lindens, plus, they may have wanted to keep an eye on how the tools were used -- and for what, and by whom.
One of the key goals of Linden Realms was to learn more about what tools Residents could use to develop richer experiences in Second Life — and boy, did we learn a lot! In Q1 2012 , we will be releasing new tools used to develop Linden Realms, which will allow Residents to create even richer original experiences in Second Life. To prevent abuse of these tools, we will introduce a "creators" program in which verified members will be given access to these very powerful capabilities.
It's not clear whether this "creators' program" will only involve these MMORPG tools, or creation in general -- I hope just the latter.
But at the bottom of the post, Rod talks about new pathfinder abilities:
Because worlds feel most vibrant when they are full of life, one of our next focuses for Second Life is the ability to make high-quality “life” within it. So in 2012, we will be rolling out more advanced features that will allow the creation of artificial life and artificial people to be much smoother. For starters, in Q1, we'll unveil a new, robust pathfinding system that will allow objects to intelligently navigate around the world while avoiding obstacles. Combined with the tools from Linden Realms this will make the polished creation of full MMORPG’s or people/animal simulators within Second Life easier and of high quality.
So it sounds to me like this: while the Lindens are bringing back that old slogan "Your World, Your Imagination," they really mean this for a select group of Feted Inner Core (FIC) -- devs who will be sub-creators of the world that we will all perforce consume.
Just as we can't edit or resize or modify mesh objects and have to learn the difficult skill of making mesh to be able to have any control over mesh (sculpty was like this, only a bit editable), so now we will be even further removed from a creator-class that will get certification and access to special tools -- and therefore, a privileged position in the economy.
Of course, the knowier-than-thous and arrogant assholes of the forums and blogs will say, "well, learn the skill if you want certification, it's not that hard." There will be any number of horrid little smarmy fanboyz who will eat up this new stratification of SL, because it will give little nerdlets without lives power over other human beings.But learning these skills is not something everyone has time and inclination for -- and by contrast with the inworld building tools, they are several orders of magnitude harder.
The certification might involve giving ID -- and therefore some even skilled people may resist signing up because they just don't want to give their RL name to a platform like this.
Somehow the prospect of going to slow-loading sims where smug little devs and fanboyz of the Lindens have made little wordlets with animals that you can buy for a young fortune -- well, it seems awful! It's already awful, having the pet-making class of people so privileged and lording it over the forums.
What do you think? Will this, too, be something that the essential openness and democracy of SL will absorb without too great a difference in the "feel" of SL?
The feel of SL is of course very different these days, it doesn't feel like a world, much less a free one, for many reasons. For one, the Lindens don't talk to us, there are no more community Lindens, and now there is some...entity...called "Linden Lab" with -- I swear to God! -- *the Kremlin* as the picture in its avatar. I don't know *what* they were thinking. This "Linden Lab" creature comes on the forum like a bot and plays "friends". It asks you ridiculously vacuous questions like, "What is the best compliment you ever got in SL?"
Someone tries to talk to this intelligent artifice and ask it what *its* favourite compliments were, to...no answer.
I can't believe Ciaran Laval is greeting this as better communication from the Lindens. It's not a Linden like...we know Lindens to be. Humans. With personalities. Individuals. It's an account called "Linden Lab" that could be operated by interns or anybody. Why can't it at least have a name?!The word "Linden" has always had an aura around it of specialness. Lindens were always special people -- individuals who had specific assignments and office hours and who had bears and such. I suppose the experience of both Pink Linden and Blue Linden serving as forums' lightning rods made the Linden collective decide that they didn't want real individuals to draw fire -- better to have a corporate anonymous exterior.
I mentioned "Flowers for Algernon" today -- I have that feeling again. A feeling that I was once smart and could manipulate the world and create things, and now I am getting dumber...
Rodvik also talks about "other products unrelated to SL". So it looks like my prediction for a Facebook game tied to SL was off. It might still be a Facebook game of another sort. But when he says "unrelated," that sounds, well, completely unrelated.
"Some of them will be very experimental, but all will fit within our company’s proud history of enabling creativity, which I hope may interest some of you." Some?
Rod is only fueling creator-fascism, the bane of SL, especially in the earlier days when the forums were controlled by a handful of FIC creators.
Look at what "Ezra" writes on SHamlet's blog -- pure fascism:
The TPV program has long since made TPVs the IE of Second Life. Things like Shared Media flopped day 1 because TPVs wouldn't move to Viewer 2 to support it. Mesh is pretty much dead right now because there's still Phoenix viewers connected to the grid. Smaller features like llTextBox() for input rather than scripts having users type things on hidden chat channels are dead in the water because older viewers still connect. It's silly.
Linden Lab should necessitate viewers connecting to the Second Life servers support a strict set or features. Could 1-2 people accomplish it? Seems so, just a policy change and user-agent blocking. That's better than continuing to have large and small new features alike go unused because there's no guarantee everyone can see them.
Imagine. *Blocking people from logging on to SL* and forcing them to use a viewer to see mesh just so this asshole can sell his mesh. Horrible.