There’s all sorts of speculation and drama going on following a recent interview with Ebbe Linden about what’s going on with All New SL, (please give us a name for the new kid on the block, Mr Altberg, it’ll make talking about it so much easier!)
Most of said drama and wringing-of hands has focussed on a small, but apparently incredibly significant statement that Ebbe made, which has variously been translated as meaning anything between, ‘You’ll only be able access SL2 by selling your soul to the devil and chanting satanic invocations over your computer’, through to ‘one of the options we’re looking at is setting up user-created gateways to the new world’. Reporting of the issue had become so convoluted and speculative that even Ebbe felt the need to jump back into the fray and say, “Hey guys, calm down… I was just throwing a few ideas into the mix”.
Having waded through the hullabaloo, i don’t intend to add to it – not that i’m at all qualified to anyway: i wasn’t there, haven’t spoken to Ebbe, nor am i party to any of the machinations going on behind the scenes of the Lab. At best, i can only give my own interpretation of what i think was the intended message, and a haphazard guess as to what it might mean, and that’s something which isn’t needed or helpful. Let the rest of the blogosphere slug it out, i say, and good luck to them!
However, the whole thing has pushed a few thoughts to the forefront of my mind – one of which i do think would be worth considering during the development of the new SL. It’s not actually a new idea, indeed it’s something that’s been tried in the past with the sl we’ve grown up with, but i do think it may be time to revisit the concept as we stand at the dawn of the new SL.
Personally, i rather like the idea of user or community portals as a means of entering sl – not in the sense that they should be the only way in but that the facility should exist where it is possible to gain access to sl via a route that isn’t the Linden Lab route. The vision i’d propose is a sort of hybrid between the old Enterprise version of sl and the – sadly shelved – Gridnaut experiments that almost, but not quite made the grade back in 2008.
Imagine, if you will, being able to construct your own in-house Grid, based on the sl infrastructure and web APIs, hosted on Linden Lab servers – or even your own – over which you have complete control. It would be a Grid where you were king (or queen), you called the shots and you were responsible for running the show, but with all the benefits of the sl main Grid, or my own infrastructure set up my own preferred way.
In my fictitious virtual world – serenLife (sL) – based on the above scenario, i would have the ultimate say in everything about my Grid. It would be up to me whether it was open access, or restricted membership; i’d have my own ToS and Community Standards; tier cost and land limits would by my choice; and, i would have ultimate say on what my Grid would be used for… art, culture, commerce, education or even naughty hanky-pankiness! Ultimately, it would give me the freedom to build my world, my way, yet with all the benefits of having Linden Lab providing the infrastructure, or alternatively, my in house server monkeys greasing the virtual cogs.
That sort of thing would – of course – cost money, but freedom always has a price and in much the same way that SL Enterprise was a chargeable commodity, so too would my model be similarly structured.
What would differ, however, is that serenLife would also act as a portal into mainstream Second Life. Yes indeed, part of the attraction of my world would be the facility to TP freely into sl and back again (subject to acceptance of the Lab’s own ToS, of course). Goods and property would also be similarly transferable, opening the door to all sorts of interesting possibilities. Just imagine being able to sign up to serenLife for a small fee where you could then take advantage of my generous prim allowances and low tier to set up a virtual manufacturing business, importing your finished goods to sl, where you can then make a decent profit selling them. It’s essentially what i do at the moment – most of the things i build are constructed offworld in my own standalone grid, where i have practically unlimited land and prims, before being imported into sl once the work is finished.
Whilst that may seem fairly small potatoes, imagine if Linden Lab did indeed decide to provide hosting services: allowing established real world businesses to run their own Grids which also act as community portals into the new SL, and permitted the crossing over of goods and services between worlds? You could have a corporate Grid for – say an entertainment company – with a web-based sign up… customers would login to do their music shopping, as avatars in a virtual corporate store, but could then TP into sl to check out clubs and communities enjoying their kind of music. Similarly, SL2.0 virtual merchants and clubs could advertise their services on the corporate/community Grid, enticing people across to SL2.0, increasing concurrency and profits. The potential is huge!
Then again, i’m sure someone will find lots of reasons why none of that would ever work – i think it’s a good idea though!
I’m the king of my own land.
Facing tempests of dust, I’ll fight until the end.
Creatures of my dreams raise up and dance with me!
Now and forever, I’m your king!
M83 – Outro