Change one thing

ideaIt’s been a while since we heard anything from Linden Lab about any new developments related to ‘All New Ultimate SL’ (ANUS), but that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening behind the scenes. What’s interesting to me is the somewhat limited ambient noise within the sl community related to the project, following the initial flurry of interest in the immediate aftermath of the ANUS announcement being made.

It’s likely that the lack of information relating to progress from the Lab is partly responsible for such low key community chatter, but i’m also of the opinion that the business as usual way in which SL Original Brand (SLOB) has carried on since the announcement has contributed significantly to the way in which people have responded. Updates, restarts, support and improvements continue to take place, as if ANUS was nowhere on the radar – nevertheless, almost unnoticed by us, there have been some big changes behind the scenes. The Labbie team committed to working on SLOB has been drastically slimmed down – now under the able leadership of Oz Linden – although the way that development continues apace, you probably wouldn’t even have noticed the reduction in resources. Indeed, we’ve seen some substantial improvements since ANUS claimed a big slice of Lab talent and time… Project Interesting, Experience Tools and Autobuild Tools are perhaps the most notable, but there are some equally, if not more significant changes on the way, particularly with CDN (Content Delivery Network) and rumoured changes around the render pipeline that could result in ‘screamingly fast’ performance, thanks to HTTP texture streaming; not to mention a potential solution to the avatar z-offset problem that server-side baking irritatingly introduced.

kowloon16_001Don’t be fooled though – it’s no accident that we’re still seeing improvements to sl, despite LL shifting resources, staff and focus from SLOB to the new kid on the block. Basically, Oz and his team are in the unenviable position of having to pick and choose which areas of work they are going to concentrate on, without the luxury of being able to pursue each and every project they’d like to tackle. As a direct consequence, what we are seeing  is actually a particularly cool outcome: Because the focus is now directed towards the big wins and essential, ‘must have’ changes, the less glamorous and resource-draining ‘desirables’ are more likely be put to one side, facilitating progress on the projects we really want to see move forward. The end result is a leaner, keener and more strategically minded approach to product development that drives innovation and can potentially achieve better results than before.

Ultimately, everyone should be happy! (Well, as happy as sl users can be!)

And, if you’re still not happy, then what one thing would you choose to do, if you were faced with the dilemma facing Oz? With fewer resources and developers, less cash and a seemingly never-ending list of tweaks, improvements and most-wanted features, what is the one thing you’d choose to concentrate your efforts on to improve sl?

mosp2_001i know what i’d want to work on – although, technically, it might not be a realistic proposition: increasing LI quotas for land parcels. Imagine being able to build to your heart’s content, without ever having to worry about running out of prims, or the impact of your epic scale model cathedral build upon Sim performance? To be honest, even a doubling of the LI permitted per parcel would be a huge and very welcome improvement, (provided there wasn’t a corresponding hike in land prices!) – that, far above a whole raft of other possible technical improvements to the virtual world, would definitely be my number one project.

How about you? If you were Linden in charge of product development at the Lab, where would you choose to focus your team’s efforts? (And if anyone says ‘reducing tier’, i’ll poke you in the virtual eye!)

s. x

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)
Kaiser Chiefs – Getting Better


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