The Linden Lab blog

31 07 2006

So Linden Lab just combined all the blogs of their employees to one big blog which can be found at http://blog.secondlife.com/

Let’s see how much they will communicate with us via this channel 🙂

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Building a virtual guitar in Second Life

29 07 2006

Robbie Dingo, Machinima guru and creator of virtual music instruments got the job to create the guitar for the upcoming concert of Suzanne Vega.

And for everybody being interested in how a virtual guitar is actually build he put up some video showing how he is creating the guitar. Interesting to watch is how much detail work is put into it (and apparently how easy it looks on the one hand but how complicated then again if you try yourself ;-).
So creating instruments in Second Life might not be as hard as in Real Life but nevertheless you can see that it’s an art of it’s own.

You can read about it here and watch the video here.

(and where’s the edit dialog in that movie? 🙂

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hunting the bugs

28 07 2006

The other day I was chatting with Jade Lily a little bit about the Preview Grid and how it’s not that much used as it might be better for Second Life. So she was thinking about what one can do about that fact so that new versions are hopefully better tested.

Now I must admit that I am also rarely in the preview grid. Usually I follow an announcement, see some cool feature which is announced in there and I go and check that out (like flexible prims, lighting, new UI stuff and so on). Eventually I discover some bug which I then report.
But once I have done that I am also quickly out there again. And I started thinking about it and came up with the following reasons:

  • Usually nobody is around in there and as communicating is key it get’s rather boring there
  • Building stuff does not really make much sense as you cannot take it with you to the main grid. This is especially true for bigger builds.
  • Same with scripting, although you might copy your scripts to some textfile and upload them again later. But then again scripting usually also goes with building.
  • Every time I plan to go there some version might have changed and I have to download another client. Even more problematic with 2 previews open.
  • For many people testing is boring, especially if it’s doing the same thing over and over again in every version. I am probably one of them 😉

So what does that actually mean for user-driven testing?

With no building going on you will rather not find bugs in that area, same with scripting
Most of the bugs might have something to do with interacting with the world or other people. If we e.g. look at the group enhancement in 1.12 then testing this would make sense with lots of people who are part of some group. These people are not really present and thus not that much testing is going on
With not many people in the preview also testing load-related bugs might be hard to discover
People might not come back into preview in order for testing if some bugfix by LL is really working for them.

So in general it means not very well tested version (at least regarding the resident side of testing). Another problem might also that nobody knows what actually is done on Linden Lab’s side on testing. So I wouldn’t know which tests are handled by them anyway, like all the repetitive ones, like the unit test boxes at Morris. Moreover, as the bug tracker is not publically visible, you don’t know which bugs are fixed or still being checked in upcoming versions and thus it’s hard to test these again. Also for people reporting bugs it is not always clear what the status of that bug is, whether it’s fixed or not.

So what can be done to improve the situation? Basically the incentive to use the preview grid needs to be improved. We had some pile-on tests someday with Vektor Linden which have been lots of fun not only for the residents but also for Vektor. And there have been about 100 people in the preview at that time. So this and some other points:

– Make being in preview more fun. Do events there with some Lindens around to delegate testing. Make it a community fun event.
– Make it easier to keep up with preview versions by trying to update the version more easily
– Eventually make it possible to copy stuff back from preview to main grid
– Open up the bug tracker for the non-expoitable stuff and enable people to see progress

I think Philip was talking about being able someday in the future to have different versions of software running on the same grid. No idea how that might work e.g. regarding different feature sets but from a technically viewpoint everything is doable just depending on how much work you want to put into it 😉

I know these points are not easy to do but making preview more fun at least should work. Jade actually also was proposing maybe some contests like a building contest. This might work and at least some experiment might be nice to have. In the end having residents do the testing saves quite some money from which a fraction is enough to put into some contest.

So maybe other people have more ideas on that. If so, please leave a comment.

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The Tao of Linden

25 07 2006

While reading throught the list of recent article over at worldofsl.com I encountered this post by Philip Linden. It’s called “The Tao of Linden” and describes roughly their company principles and is the first page of their company handbook. It sounds quite nice and I wonder how much of that can really be lived on a daily basis. So I am wondering what will happen with work which nobody will do. I guess there’s also a process for that. And I also wonder what the reaction of the community will be. Something like “nice talk about transparency but what’s about us?” ?!?

We will see 🙂

In the meanwhile it is of course nice that they called that handbook after me 🙂

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When movie sets go Poof!

23 07 2006

Watch the video

So a quick little video from recent RFL footage.Really sad when these great sets are gone!Congrats again to all the builders!

This video was originally shared on blip.tv by Tao Takashi with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.




Relay For Life Stats

23 07 2006

The opening ceremonies are on and I will post some photos shortly but here are some results already.

Altogether an amount of over US$ 38,000 has been raised while still some money will come in. This is a huge success after last year’s US$ 6,000. And for this year the ACS was estimating US$ 8,000 while Jade was thinking about US$10,000. It’s great to see that it has been much more in the end and it also shows that fundraising money in virtual worlds is a way to go!

Team Statistics

1. Pixels in Pink with L$3,747,363
2. Relay Ladies with L$1,766,663
3. The Dysfunctional Fundraisers with L$856,039

Lap statistics

People walking: 925
Laps made: 1217
Distance:  4,943,732 meters

Congrats to everybody involved for getting this amount out if it! Let’s hope for even more next year! 🙂

(I will update the post as new numbers will come out)

PS: The sims will go down soon is what I’ve heard, so make sure to visit them today. And isn’t this quite sad? All those work will be gone.. and imagine how cool they would be to use for movies…

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The Relay For Life Auction is still going on until noon! (Updated)

23 07 2006

So if you haven’t been there, then come and bid!

Great prizes, like a Dominus Shadow Senecio II, 8 hours of custom building by Cory Edo or a 3D print model of your avatar from Eyebeam OpenLab (this get’s shipped to you)! All money goes to the American Cancer Society to fight Cancer!

So come over and bid!

Here’s the LM for the Auction.

Update:

The auction just closed and here are the highlights:

L$400,000 for the Dominus Shadow Senecio II (US$ 1320)
L$100,000 for 8 hours of work by Cory Edo (who said she will add another 8 for that money) (US$ 330)
L$50,100 for the 3d print model of your avatar (US$165)
L$55,000 for Second Life hoodie (a RL one) (US$181)
L$100,100 for a Dazzle Haute Couture Gown (US$ 330)
L$60,000 for a custom hair design by Panache (US$ 200)

and this is only the stuff for over L$50,000. There was lots more and the final results are posted in the forums (you need to login to access it).

Congrats to all the winners for their prizes and for donating that much money for the fight against cancer!

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