Thursday, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg popped back onto the official Second Life forums for another round of Q&As about SL2 in the existing thread “Linden Lab is Building a New Virtual World”. Here are some of the questions he did answer, along with a few comments.
Due to the limits of the Tumblr software, many of the images of the SL Forum posts are going to be hard to read. However, each is linked directly to the original forum post.
First Ebbe restates what he’s said in a variety of previous posts, tweets, interviews, and press releases.
I’m feeling a bit of sympathy for him at this point. It seems if the Lindens don’t disclose their plans early, they are eviscerated by many Second Life residents for not allowing enough time to plan or comment. But if they do release early information, the Lab gets pummeled for not being able to answer all the specific questions people have about their yet-to-be-finalized plans.
On the other hand, when Ebbe decided to take the job, he had to accept that the was going to be living with results of a decade-long legacy of poor communications, arbitrary decisions, lack of institutional memory, outright lies, and general distrust of Linden Lab. It’s not his fault, but he’s the man in charge who has to deal with it. So far, he’s doing a pretty good job (with the exception of one major question he ignored that I will get to later).
This answer may be one of the most important in the thread, giving insight into what user-created assets Linden Lab thinks can be ported over into SL2. It’s no great surprise that Mesh and Textures will be supported, and that anything related to the Avatars (animations) and Scripts will see major changes (as they are apparently moving away from LSL). Sculpts were always a half-assed hack of a solution to the lack of true mesh models in Second Life, so I’m not surprised to see that they may go. Prims will be changed, but I’m certain some sort of backwards compatibility—even if it is just exporting prim objects as mesh, as the Singularity viewer already does—is likely.
Ebbe next answers some very pointed questions by Maklin Deckard, and continues to do damage control on some speculation about the new platform.
Back for the evening round of questions, Ebbe assures that L$ will be usable cross-platform between SL and SL2. And once again says “SL will be around for a very long time”.
Again, Ebbe promises you identity, Second Life social network, and L$ will transfer from SL to SL2, and that people can “hop back and forth” between worlds.
Some major news here: LSL is going to be replaced, and likely by C Sharp. Since LSL is a C-based language, hopefully the transition will not be too difficult for existing SL scripters. But I’m clueless enough about the nuts and bolts of writing code, that I could be greatly underestimating the difficulty level.
“We have no plans to disallow anything that’s going on in SL, and is legal. We’re proud of the freedom we offer.” From this pretty clear statement, some posters later in the thread got “child av sex may be back” (no, and… gross) and SL2 is going to be “Sanitized Life”. Once again, Ebbe finds that decade-long legacy of crappy communication is hard to live down.
On the other hand, one of the commenters made a very good point about adult content—and one that the Lindens probably never though about—relating to the popular in some circles RLV (Restrained Love Viewer) code. RLV code is incorporated into many third-party viewers, but not the Second Life viewer. If SL2 starts out as closed source, and does not include RLV-type functionality (however innocuously it is renamed) a lot of Second Life kinksters will not move to SL2. And there are a lot of them.
At this point, let me to pause and enjoy a brief moment of I-told-you-so:
Okay. Done now.
Sensible enough, but hard to accept. “I don’t know” is an honest answer, and as such, not what Second Life residents are used to from Linden Lab.
Now (as promised) the very important question that Ebbe did not answer. Prokofy Neva writes:
To be continued, I’m certain.