Business in Virtual Worlds, Second Life

Second Life(r) Development: Progress Report

My own progress report is I still can’t figure out how to get the registration mark so I give up. Sue me. In the meantime, a progress report on developments in the World that Must Be Obeyed (am feeling very Rumpole-like these days).

Back in January I sifted through the various blogs and press interviews to come up with this schedule as promised by our friends in management:

February: Lightweight Client
Miller tells IW that the lightweight client will include text chat, instant messaging, and voice communications.
Progress: Not achieved

This Quarter: Mono Deployed
“In another architecture change, Linden Lab is deploying Mono as a foundation for running the Linden Scripting Language. LSL is the language used to control behavior of objects in-world. Mono is being deployed this quarter, starting on the beta grid. Mono will allow scripts to run up to 700 times faster than they now do, theoretically, although in practice performance has been 100 to 200 times faster than current rates, Miller said. The goal of the Mono deployment, as with the Havok 4.6 rollout, is to make Second Life more predictable and stable.”
Progress: Moving along

April: Open Source Server
Linden Lab said in April it plans to open-source the Second Life server.
“There are a number of things about the architecture of our current server infrastructure that inhibit a source code release,” Director of Open Source Development Rob Lanphier told “There are a lot of cases of monolithic design and improper trust relationships between components that would need to be addressed.” (via Virtual World News)

May: HTML on a Prim
Rosedale promised the ability to display HTML Web pages on a prim by May when speaking with Reuters from Davos.
Progress: Well, you can DISPLAY them, but I thought he meant you could CLICK on them too. We’ll call it “in progress.

Critical Ongoing Issue: Customer Retention
And Linden Lab is working on several measures to improve customer retention. Currently, about 90% of people who try Second Life give up on it quickly. Anecdotally, that’s pretty similar to the retention rate for most Internet activities, but Linden Lab would like to do better. They have regular, weekly focus groups of average consumers brought in off the streets, to test Second Life usability, Miller said.
Progress: I leave it for you to judge….peak concurrency may be up but the bloggers ain’t happy.


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