Back to the future

“The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?” – So says Doc Brown when Marty McFly expresses surprise at his choice of a DeLorean for a time machine. You’ve can’t fault the Doc’s logic but, ufortunately, by the time Back to the Future hit the big screen, the DeLorean Motor Company was already history, and not in a good way either. Much as i hate to draw the parallel, when i consider sl, i can see a whole lot in the way of similarities.

SL has big ambitions… it wants to catapult us into the future and expose us to the remarkable possibilities that can be achieved – unfortunately, this shiny, stainless steel, sleek vehicle isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.. peer under the bonnet and you’ll find an engine that fails to deliver the promised performance, a satnav that has absolutely no sense of direction and a whole host of drivers all fighting for control of the wheel. SL hasn’t quite gone the way of DeLorean just yet but i have a feeling that 2012 is going to be a landmark year that will either make or break our virtual world – to stick with the Back to the Future analogy; we’re waiting for a lightning bolt that’ll either propel us pell-mell into the future, or blow us sky high into oblivion… or we may just miss it altogether, run out of juice and coast to a halt – stuck in the past and going nowhere.

Don’t take any of that too seriously though – i have no crystal ball and, judging from past experience, i usually fall pretty wide of the mark when it comes to making predictions. Let me invite you into the passenger seat of my own personal time machine and transport you back to some of the predictions i made at the tail end of last year, if i may, (please fasten your seatbelt, cross fingers and don’t scream!)…

(Cue wobbly rippling lines across the screen, accompanied by harp flashback music, or alternatively, TARDIS sounds… whatever suits you best!)

The future…
Who knows what the future will bring? Here are my sl predictions for 2011:

Linden Labs will have yet another CEO by the end of next year;
Oops! Off to a bad start then – Rodvik is still incumbent at the Lab, although it’s only in recent months that he’s really appeared to grow a set of balls and started to crack the whip. Perhaps, in some ways i was right, since the Rod Humble that we started the year with is subtly different to the one we’re seeing now – and i’m not entirely sure how happy i am about that. My biggest reservation about the new Boss Linden was having someone from the world of gaming in charge, (and i know that some of you don’t have a problem with that); now i think we’re starting to see the consequences of that and, i have to say, i’m still concerned. Just as an aside, in a bizarre coincidence, i couldn’t help noticing that the new DMC, which took over the DeLorean business is based in Humble, Texas… Perhaps Mr Humble is the guy who’s going to keep the sl legend alive, after all!

Music venues will have to become licensed and pay for the privilege;
Well, it’s another fail for Haven, although outside of sl there are some scary things being proposed by the US Congress, vis a vis SOPA, that could have seriously damaging effects on inworld activities and, ultimately the sl economy if certain proposals are pushed through. LL, being US based would have to comply and i daresay other countries would look to follow suit, under pressure from commercial concerns. Under the Act, even this inoffensive little blog would be considered to have fallen foul of the law, making me a criminal under US law. Since the Act is still a live issue, and likely to spawn significant debate in the future, i’m going to hang on to this prediction, since i reckon there’s a 50/50 chance that we’ll see some sort of fallout in sl over the course of the coming year as a result.

Viewer 3 will be launched, to a storm of criticism;
Banzai! Hit that nail right on the head! Not only was V3 sneaked out in the dead of night with little fanfair, (and the Lindens still persist in referring to V2 – even though their own people think it doesn’t make sense… ‘
Torley Linden: If there are specific V1 UI features you miss in V3 (confusing we still label it as a “Viewer 2” download, I know!) please say so. :)’), but it has caused a huge amount of criticism, which has in turn resulted in a great deal of hassle for TPV developers too. And don’t expect it to stop any time soon!

Linden Labs will announce that 3D sl is still some years away;
Well, yes and no on this one. This was really just a complete shot in the dark on my part and, of course it’s a subject that, as far as LL is concerned, has never even popped it’s head over the ramparts… however, quite incredibly, 3D sl did become a possibility when the May release of Kirsten’s Viewer, incorporated 3D capability. So, wrong on both counts i’m afraid. Sadly, we won’t be seeing a 2012 Kirsten’s, as Kirstenlee’s announcement just before Christmas of the demise of the viewer and any further development and support made clear. Very sad and a great loss to the sl community – still, as far as i’m concerned the most advanced viewer for graphics you could get. As for LL, are they likely to take up the reins? i don’t think they will, i have a feeling that this one is dead in the water.

Experimental direct neural inputs will be designed for a ‘total immersive sl experience’;
Not my best prediction! 

And my wish list for 2011:

A ‘nudge’ button – allowing me to shuffle closer to someone when ‘sit’ puts me half a sim away from the person i’m sat next to;
i still want this… surely it’s a simple request?
A ‘freeze’ button – allowing me to take the perfect picture in my own time, without my head bobbing round like one of those nodding dogs, and without having to mess around without all those tiresome debugging functions;
Still on my wishlist, although Firestorm does allow you to play with these settings in preferences, and with selectable camera angles, things have become a lot easier.
A ‘panic’ button – a simple one-click solution to the particle cloud/Ruth nonsense, that doesn’t require the manual activation of a test avatar, removal of hair and getting dressed from scratch all over again;
i wish! However i don’t think i’ve been properly Ruthed since switching to the latest Firestorm release… so here’s hoping!
A personal ‘rez zone’ – a small area that travels around with you, allowing the temporary rezzing of pose balls for personal use even if the land permissions disallow building.
Well, one can dream!

So much for the past… tomorrow i’ll be giving my predictions for next year, perhaps ill do better this time!

S. x

Slip inside the eye of your mind
Don’t you know you might find
A better place to play
Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger 

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