Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SecondLife : The New TPV Policy : I Can Finally Speak My Mind : How Will It Affect You : Kissing Innovation Goodbye ? ~or~ Follow The Yellow Brick Road Toadies

By Avatar JayR Cela

    So what exactly does the new TPV vetting policy mean to the average user of SecondLife ?  ( After yesterdays PH-FS meeting I can finally express my opinions. That meeting by the way, filled 4 Sims with 75 avatars in each one and crashed repeatedly until a Linden eventually stopped by to investigate, ultimately moving the event to a more robust server ) Not a whole heck of a lot for the immediate future. The loss of name tag viewer identification and custom coloring of those tags. So to the average or casual user that's about it. At least for now. In the foreseeable future, at least in my mind it indicates a lot less innovation outside ( or thinking outside of the box ) of what is officially sanctioned by the lab first.

    What ever constitutes a shared user experience in SL must first be approved by LL to work with the standard ( stock ) version of V3 first, before it will be allowed to hit the SL grid. So let's clarify a shared user experience, and no it does not pertain to RLV enhancement's. So all the people living on the Zindra continent and Goreans can breathe a sigh of relief. Here are a few examples of a shared user experience. Multi layer clothing and attachment points, body physics, region and or individual parcel windlight settings are the easiest examples to explain.

    When multi-attachment points and clothing layers were first introduced by the now defunct Emerald Viewer team a couple of years ago it created quite a stir. Unless you were using the Emerald Viewer, no one else in SL besides fellow Emerald users could see them. For instance, you were an Emerald user and had decided to wear 2 or 3 necklaces to compliment your perfect outfit. They looked just great on you and to all your friends that were using that viewer also, but walk into a night club filled with multiple SL Viewer user's and the additional 2 necklaces were off somewhere floating around your head instead of gracefully adorning your neckline. This problem was even worse when it came to multi-layered clothing. I had several experiences where I was eventually banned from a  popular SL night club because I was not wearing a skirt or top. Oh I looked just fine on my screen and to others that were on the same viewer, but to the average user I was partially nude. So this was or is considered as a shared user experience, not everyone could see the same thing as I was seeing on my screen.

    Eventually this lead to the Lab adapting, and improving upon both of these features, here in lies the problem. You see LL did not adapt until they were forced to. There were just too many Emerald users out there in SL Land to ignore. The new TPV agreement ( and I use the word agreement with tongue in cheek ) under the new TPV policy, developers must first make sure that #1 the new feature works with the Stock V3, that in itself is not a big deal, it's #2 that puts a kink into things. #2 any new shared user experience has got to be first approved by LL before it can be implemented. And I don't know about your experiences, but even getting LL's attention is not unlike hopping into a bucket, lowering yourself into the water well, and adding a hundred pound of bricks into the bucket with you along the way. Guess what ? Your going to sink right to the bottom.

    I have witnessed this several times before in SL, the first was the Inter-Op project headed up by Zero Linden and the Advanced Working Architecture Group ( AWG ) this so called consortium of LL and some top notch coders who were SL resident's including help from IBM was supposed to usher in a new era of the Virtual World experience. Allowing people to travel freely between SL to alternate grids, Open Sim, OS Grid, Open Metaverse etc... this was and still is a kick ass idea. After 2 years that project went absolutely nowhere. At least not in SL, it is now alive and well in the Open Sim virtual universe, as the Hyper Grid protocol.

    Another example is the absolutely horrid User Interface ( UI ) of the initial Viewer2. When Phillip Rosedale first introduced Project SnowStorm with the purpose of bringing online a Rapid Application Development ( RAD ) working environment into the SL viewer development process, it took nearly 2 years before someone finally admitted that the UI was a miserable excuse towards enhancing the user experience, and it still is sorely lacking. Two freaking years, what the hell kind of RAD environment is that supposed to be ? It's not ! It's a Big Black Hole ! Toss your money into the wishing well and hope for the best. What kind of incentive is this supposed to be to talented Third Party Developers ? It's not an incentive, if anything it's a great big Screw You TPV's ! You are better than we are at being creative, so you can not play here anymore ! Unless you want to Follow The Yellow Brick Road, and perhaps, just maybe the Wizzard will take pity upon you.
      And then  the ultimate slap in the face to the dedicated Third Party Developers, is the removal of Viewer Tags and colors, don't give me this happy horse shit that some users are being bullied into trying alternative SL Viewers. Give me a break, that has got to be the lamest excuse the LL PR department has come up with so far. I'll tell you exactly what this is. The Lab is ashamed, it is being slammed into the dust bin with the sorry excuse it calls a Virtual World Viewer. They cant for what ever reason or another make something better than the TVP's so what the hell, lets bring them all down to a level playing field, that way all the SL Viewers will be just as lame as ours, and maybe no one will notice.

    Rather than embrace change, and take advantage of some truly creative thinking, the lab has chosen to play it safe. Hmmmm kinda makes me wonder where Apple Computer would be today if Steve Jobs had decided to tow the line, and drink the PC Kool-Aid ?

    I think it is high time to add an extra layer of management between who is responsible for insuring the viewer code is stable, and who ultimately makes the creative decisions about what the eventual goals of enhancing, the user experience should  be. If someone continues to say, well we cant do this because of that, and we cant do that because of this, do you really want to associate yourself with them ? NO ! Because they are hindering your creativity.

    The people we refer to as Third Party Developers are very passionate, dedicated SecondLife users. Please notice the word "Users" there is a difference between a user and a coder ( with some grey areas ) the exception beings the TPV's, these people actually use the product. In the 1 year that I was attending SnowStorm meetings, ( before I got banned for being outspoken here on this blog ) not once in that entire period of time did I ever see a Linden even bother to change the outfit they were wearing. What does this tell you, personally it tells me they are not USERS ! They don't even have a freaking clue as to how people actually use the product. If someone is going to be in a position of making decisions ultimately determining what is and what is not enhancing the user experience, it should not be left up to only the people writing the code. It requires someone that actually goes out into SL, buys clothing, goes dancing, gets involved in sail boat or motor sport racing and so on and so on, not someone sitting in an office cubicle all day hammering away at code or going back and forth from one mindless unproductive internal office meeting to another all day.

    This has got to be the most narrow minded, bone heading thinking I have seen the Lab come up with yet. The TPV's are running absolute circles around the internal viewer development department ( And they are not even on the payroll ) My God ! can you imagine if these same people actually had access to the Server Code as well ? Ha I can imagine, Open Sim, that's whats going to happen ! What possible incentive does a Passionate, Dedicated, Creative and PRODUCTIVE TPV have here ? Absolutely Zero, Zip, Nada !

    I am positive, and confident when I make this statement. These tallented, dedicated, passionate, creative developers and users have better things to do with their free time, besides sitting around watching paint dry on the wall, while their creative ideas get sucked down into the abyss of typical LL procedures and gridlock.

    In closing : Respectfully  Mr. Rodvik Humble I know that you follow this blog on it's Twitter link. I only speak out here because I care. Please reconsider this decision, at the very least. Put someone, a creative, passionate user in control of what takes priority. No more we can'ts, We the users want to hear, we can. It may be hard, but we can do this, and we will do this, not because it is easy, we will do this because it is hard. And we intend to stay #1

JayR Cela :_(

P.S. Supposedly the next Phoenix Hour scheduled to be broadcast on Treet TV will feature Oz Linden as it's guest.


virtual world said...

Great article, it inspired my to think deepler on this topic.

JayR Cela said...

Hi there, who ever you are:_) thank you

JayR :_)