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August 16, 2012

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Darianknight

Excellent write up, and for the most part I agree with your sentiments.

I'm not really big on "Linden Homes" or anything of that nature in other systems because I've noticed over the years that it's like neglected slum housing.

There's a much better way into that, but that's a topic for an entire blog entry for me.

The postcard feeling is expected in Cloud Party, which is why I brushed it off when it debuted. It suffers from the same issue that all "web worlds" or "virtual world in a web browser" suffer from, in that in order to pull it off, the result will inevitably be a pale shadow of a full blown client tailored to the operating system and able to utilize far more resources and abilities.

I consider "web worlds" like a "Metaverse Lite". I use Metaverse very tongue in cheek because it's not really a Metaverse yet. But again, I digress.

Whenever I hear a company say that they're making a web browser virtual world I almost instinctively nod, smile and promptly stop listening. Whenever a company says they're making a non-dynamic system (Blue Mars, etc) I do the same.

I feel for you. It's a hell of a frustration to watch companies just do a 180 and shoot themselves in the foot - gladly.

Prokofy Neva

1. It is not "slum lands" to have Linden Homes. They're just not to your geeky aesthetic taste. They are suburban homes that suit tens of thousands of people. Good! I even kept a wizard one as part of the Land Preserve for a long time but then I needed the tier. Many people are made happy by this controlled experience.

Of course it competes with rental agents like me and therefore it's not the best solution, but given the Lindens' allergy to promoting commerce in general except for their own and their buddies, it makes sense for them, as a solution to newbie care and feeding. It would be better to have commercial offerings or even help groups with free homes -- competition from various models -- but they don't like that or feel they can't quality-control it or something... so they do what they do, and it's not the worst.

I don't even need the Cloud people to put me in a Linden home. I need them simply to make the ramp to my home much more intuitive and easy. I need not to be PUNISHED and FORCED to learn how to build in order to get a home (currently the plan). I need to just "be there" or "go there" with just one or two clicks. They can roll out land like toilet paper on these kind of platforms so they should just have little newbie landing perches at the very least.

Linden fails at this too by having the infohubs and welcome areas so filled with the same kind of nerd griefers.

The postcard world bothers me because I can't even do the most basic things like I could do in the Sims Online with company-made things like play pool, dance with another avatar, etc. It just rots.

If I want to look at pretty pictures, I'll go to Pinterest or go outside in real life with my camera phone and fool around.

As for the dynamic thing, I don't know, maybe that's at issue.

What I don't like most is the idea that:

o we can put out an unfinished crappy world and then act all hurt and disjointed if you say it's crappy

o we can do that and keep promising little upgrades on nerdy things like creator tools for things that don't make it more homey

o we can shit on other people coming in and not make them even a simple basic home with a simple nice ramp-up

o we can make it impossible to even do a simple thing like put up a painting in that home

etc.

It's an entire, deep, embedded culture. It is not fixed by changing this or that little routine.

Prokofy Neva

I'm remember the web world Metaplace, and the whole vision of architecture that Raph had which was fascinating and which he once explained to me in a bar in San Diego.

In that world, there was a town square where I could do lots of things -- games, orientation, etc.

I could easily start my own little parcel with its name and easily plunk out the library furniture or upload a texture of my own for the worldlet's backdrop.

To be sure, it was wonky, it had Google Sketchup Warehouse stuff which I hate in worlds because they don't fit, but it also had a lot of other "user friendly thing".

Very early in the game Raph, I asked if we could change the genders and Raph put out a store where you could walk in and change the avatar's outfits and therefore gender. Very simple and customer friendly.

It just really matters whether you care about making the world home for people other than geeks or not.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Well, I'm technically too old to be still called a geek, but I guess that once a geek, always a geek.

Nevertheless, I find Cloud Party too hard for me. Yes, I know. It was supposed to be "the VW to end all VWs" in terms of ease of use, and address the whole issue that LL "never got right".

But it doesn't.

So, yes, CP works on a Web browser. Yes, you can quickly figure out that clicking on keys will do something. Figuring out exactly what you're supposed to do is another story (the tutorials are nice, at least they don't crash like LL's HUD-based system, but they're not as easy as they seem). I really had a lot of trouble walking up the stairs to enter my own home. Who cares if I was getting 30 FPS if I couldn't exactly aim at the entrance and would always get stuck on doors? (These days, I get easily 20 FPS on SL anyway, even with my 7-year-old iMac, so I don't feel CP to be *so* much better)

Then... building. Well. I have to say that except for very simple VWs where "building" consisted of dropping items on the ground and shuffling them around (like on MOOVE), I only have experience with SL. I was never a Blue Mars developer, so I have no idea how "building" worked; nor do I know how IMVU works. Taking that into account, I was expecting that at least rezzing an item on my own house would be... simple. Like, you know... search directory, drag, drop, rotate and move to the final place? I mean, how can that be made more simpler?

Apparently, it cannot. I ended up with bits of furniture all over the place — sometimes outside the windows of my home. And since there isn't a detachable camera yet, and you cannot fly, or even open the windows, that means going through the painful experience of walking down the stairs... trying to find the lost item... finding it... now entering the Build Mode of Hell again... trying *very carefully* to drag the item back into the home... walking all those stairs up again, crashing into the door... then finding the object... dragging it into the final position and *whoops* I made a mistake somewhere and the object ended back again outside the window! Oh NO!

This gets tiring after a while.

So I tried to upload a few meshes. I don't have many (I'm not a 3D modeller!), just a few from the mesh beta testing days in SL. I know how many people complained about how complex the mesh uploading feature of SL was, how it gave unpredictable results, and so forth — not even mentioning the complexity of doing clothes or avatar parts (which are beyond me). However, nothing compares to the complexity of the CP uploading tools. Blender seems a breeze compared to the incredible amount of steps that it takes to upload a mesh to CP... and the end result, well, is nothing special: I couldn't apply textures or anything fancy like that, and I'm sure I've missed a dozen steps somewhere.

Oh well. All I can say is that CP is way, way, way too complex to use for any simple building. I'm sure that professional 3D modellers are drooling over it, even though I continue not to see what is so special about it — except for running on a Web browser and not "needing" any special download.

Still, without a marketplace where "normal" users can buy content — since it's so hard to build it! — it will be hard to judge what future Cloud Party has... but I believe it will go the same way of all other VWs: good for geeks, but not for anyone else.

Prokofy Neva

Wow -- just wow, Gwyn! I'm shocked. If 8 years of developing in SL has made it that you can't even build a little table in Cloud Party, then thigns are really bad.

And while I'm not a geek or developer, I can at least texture a prim and do a few little things, make little stupid items that are simple. And I can't do that here.

The houses with the uncomfortable stairs, up on stilts, are a particular kind of torture that some geek is probably chortling at. They really are ridiculous. Why do you need a house on stilts? It's not like it's going to flood in there, you know? How about a nice open building that doesn't head bang with nice camera angles???

And did you figure out how to texture the prims? That was a real stumper for me.

c3

funny,

i wasnt making a strong software built as "beta" pun in that little g+ blurb.. it was more about the "klouting" and "segregating" of people by ranking such as in Huxleys brave new world...

anyhow- no surprises. CCC C3 , all tossed for slave building for the 1% .... again and again.

17+ years of web3d -- since the cult of VRML and its SF crooks--and it all loops again.

"does it get better"? remember asking grumpy me that in 2007-8?..

it's not what technology wants...;)

savage c3

Ahab Qvetcher

Prokofy touches on a number of interesting issues here.

1) In many ways the precise technology for the virtual world or virtual society doesn't matter so long as it is somehow useable (I accept that Cloud Party has a steeper learning curve than SL, which means I would be out of the running to begin with)--it may not be as well developed as it could be, but it has been functional for, what, nearly ten years now? So the virtual part is well in hand. Now it is time, and past time, to focus on the problem of 'society.' In SL there has been a spate of griefer attacks over the last month or so, which call into question a number of issues. The technology will never control it, so all that is left is a consistent ethic of law and order, and an idea of virtual property rights (the account holder or avatar as tenant.) Until we get the idea that the company is not merely a company, but stands in relation to the avatars/ account holders as would a government to its citizens, a lot of problems will remain. With it, you can begin to have a coherent discussion of protection of intellectual property in things like SL, or protection from griefers and other such petty criminals.

2)At one level you may argue that the company is selling a product, but at that point a question of what the product is arises--is it simply space on a server? Or is it somewhat more? The word I am about to use is an ideologically charged one, and I wish to step outside that for a second--at one level what is being sold is passage to a 'colony;' the company stands more or less as might the Lord Proprietor of Maryland in the 1640's--here is a tract of land, come settle it, make of it what you will, pay your quit rents to the Treasurer of the Eastern Shore, don't bother those who disagree with you. When you visualize that, you begin to visualize a new society being formed of disparate individuals. That begins to have an attraction, and it begins to have applications that can make serious money for a company. It also calls for some protection for the rights of the virtual citizenry. Otherwise, what you have is a cute toy or a very strange video game.

3) Without some such mentality you won't see businesses or educational institutions hanging around much. They demand protection from troublemakers, for a start, and are not too interested in having the citizenry parade around with whips, chains, an interesting prosthesis big enough to choke an elk, and a sign that says "VIP BDSM Fantasy World." The faux libertarianism that insists that everything might go anywhere anytime cuts no water in real life, and would have to be regulated here too.

4) Without such, much potential in SL or other similar would be wasted--an Australian group of college educators solved most of the technical problems of virtual delivery of classes on SL, just as the education craze was running its course. Their hope was to create education on demand cheaply for users in impoverished countries. Textbooks on line, tutorials in local languages wherever you can find a qualified instructor, at any time of the day or night, lectures recorded, and the cost of a sim is infinitesimal compared to that of a brick and mortar building--if you get enough students to lag a space, you simply hive off and create another space.

But to do that, you have to keep the technical infrastructure SIMPLE to keep the learning curve down and to keep the computing hardware feasible. That of course runs 180 degrees counter to every instinct which is to upgrade, complicate, and intensify.

Anyway, enough, time for decent avatars to go to bed and count electronic sheep, or prosthetics attachments, as the case may be.

Dr Langway

Prokofy has written a very good piece on CP and listed it's faults and flaws.

Based on Prokofy's blog review, which I am not saying is right or wrong BTW, and the comments of others here, CP seems a place no one should waste time going to.

It will be interesting to see if Prokofy goes back to CP and why.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New subject

Prokofy will you be sharing your views on Ecuador granting political asylum to Julian Assange, the British Government's reaction to Ecuador's decision and the reason there has been no reported comment from the USA on the issue?


Prokofy Neva

c3 -- I thought I'd be as incoherent and disconnected as you are at times with this one.

Ahab -- CP has a steep learning curve on creation, maybe to keep it the sacrosanct domain of geeks. But as a metaversal device, it's much easier than SL to get into and look around because it's web-based. That, to me, doesn't really mean that much. I think most people who bother are already exposed to WoW or some other MMORPG that downloads and requires acclimitization, so it's not really that big a deal. Developers think they are getting to be "like Facebook" when they make a virtual world be web-based. I think this is merely a technical feint and misjudgement of their audience.

Linden Lab refuses its world-bearing obligations and destinies. It just refuses. And that means until communities have the resources to buy their own servers and coders and make their own worlds, people will be at the mercy of such geek societies as appear on the Internet for their own reasons.

You can talk about history and political science and Lord this and that, and we all have, but as Spin Martin once put it, "We are customers of a software company. The end." And as a Linden once put it, he isn't interested in group governance, merely code. They don't see it our way and never will.

As I said, some day when these things become cheaper and more ubiquitous we will see communities making of it what they will without expecting it all to be decided by one proprietary company. Or there will be enough of a market that some companies will sell "world" as a product and "governance" as a product in a competitive market.

Some universities went to open sim, where if anything, they might expect more griefing, not less as there are less rules, less tools, less staff, less concern, etc. But ultimately, they solve the problem with locked down islands.

My views on Assange are on my other blog:

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/08/196631.htm

The US made a lengthy reply at the State Dept, Google it. They say they aren't getting involved.
This is a story of victimology in search of elusive persecutors.


Ahab Qvetcher

Not to flog a dead horse, but the 'product' isn't really the software. If I was interested in just the software, I would be perfectly happy beating the begeebers out of the pixelated natives in Mount and Blade or some such. The product is the socialization. And while Linden Labs won't step up, sooner or later, someone will, I suspect.

Prokofy Neva

Yes, you're right Ahab. The Lindens, especially the current leadership, don't see it that way. Mark Kingdom, or M Linden, actually had an insight when he said "the killer app is each other". But, hell is other people. Governance has to be part of that app.

elizabeth (16)

prokofy wrote "the revolution IS the country club and you have to stop making geek revolutions"

^^that

c3

to be incoherent IS to be connected to the Social slavery media age.

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