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10/01/04 - Town Hall With Philip Linden (Chat Log)
October 1st, 2004
Philip Linden: Hey there!
Philip Linden: As always, thank you all for coming. So flattering that we have such a great turnout.
Philip Linden: I think there are a number of repeater parties - so very large overall attendance.
Philip Linden: OK so let me say a few things,
Philip Linden: and then we can get started with questions,
Philip Linden: as is our usual format.
Philip Linden: I like this stage and seating, BTW. Works well for seeing everyone.
Philip Linden: OK so lets talk about service and performance problems!
Philip Linden: As folks are painfully aware,
Philip Linden: we are growing very fast now,
Philip Linden: and as this growth reaches larger absolute magnitudes,
Philip Linden: we are stressing the team and some of the systems.
Philip Linden: So this september we had a 'perfect storm' of problems,
Philip Linden: because we did a big release and attempted to move facilities within the same month.
Philip Linden: This was perhaps, in retrospect, a bit ambitious ;)
Philip Linden: Ambition is not a place where we fall short ;)
Philip Linden: But I want to reasssure folks about a few things...
Philip Linden: First and foremost - we are growing very fast and making money.
Philip Linden: this means we will be well able to expand the grid and develop the software aggressively.
Philip Linden: Our plans for world domination are proceeding quite nicely ;)
Philip Linden: One concrete example of this will be hiring.
Philip Linden: We have several positions open on the website now.
Philip Linden: but will be adding many more in coming weeks.
Philip Linden: Basically, if you do something you think is something we need here at LL,
Philip Linden: and would like to look into working for LL,
Philip Linden: send us your resume.
Philip Linden: We have lots of room and money, etc, to grow.
Liquid Zidane: i hack profiles. does that count? heh.
Philip Linden: Hah! Not sure what the salary is for that liquid.
Philip Linden: I think a negative value.
Philip Linden: So with respect to the systems under load and bugs...
Philip Linden: we are boosting hardware capacity under our database and asset systems,
Philip Linden: and are literally doing that work now.
Philip Linden: So you will see rapid improvements.
Philip Linden: Also,
Philip Linden: we will continue to rapidly patch SL
Philip Linden: until all the main content loss or movement or teleport bugs are fixed.
Philip Linden: This is top priority.
Philip Linden: We've rolled out 5 patches so far, and will continue untill all bugs gone.
Philip Linden: I'm sure there will be Q's about specifics of this stuff,
Philip Linden: but I wanted to simply say in overview that scaling SL is our top goal (above new features),
Philip Linden: and that we have the money, people, and hiring capacity to do it without risk.
Philip Linden: So let's shift over to question and discussion. Haney?
Philip Linden: OK let me start with the mail in questions I got before this event.
Philip Linden: The first was when can we expect to see Havok 2 and a linux client.
Philip Linden: For both of those, we are shooting for Q1 2005. So soon.
Philip Linden: As I've said before, both are partially complete. We'll get the bugs out then on to them.
Philip Linden: Second, someone asked about ATI cards being more buggy lately.
Philip Linden: With the release of the X600 and X800 cards and drivers,
Philip Linden: ATI reintroduced a few old bugs that affect SL users.
Philip Linden: We've told them and are working with them,
Philip Linden: so look for driver updates there.
Philip Linden: It is frustrating as always to be part of bringing 3D into more mainstream use!
Philip Linden: Someone asked whether the shift in camera position on entering edit mode can be fixed.
Philip Linden: The answer is yes, we have fixed it - will be in near release.
Philip Linden: Agree that was a problem.
Philip Linden: Also there has been concern about unwanted teleport summons.
Philip Linden: We will add to the next release a restriction so that you need calling cards (or something similar) to do that.
Philip Linden: Agree that is a nuisance.
Philip Linden: There was a question about local positions being used in edit spinners...
Philip Linden: We have a large set of edit enhancements which include local position/rotation editing.
Shokra Patel: well not everyone that comes to an event doesn't have your calling card and how are you to teleport them if they ask?
Philip Linden: We will make sure that we test those thoroughly with SL content creators in preview, etc before releases.
Philip Linden: Shokra we'll look at that.
Philip Linden: Haney will post the next question
Haney Linden: Increasing non-US population demands for better support/supervision at non-US hours as well as during weekends/holidays. Lindens already do too much "work" on off-duty hours, as volunteers. What about outsourcing tech support, sysadminn
Philip Linden: We will certainly look at outsourcing, paying L$, etc.
Philip Linden: The live help program has been a tremendous success.
Philip Linden: I can't say thanks enough to all the live helpers...
Philip Linden: huge change in the speed with which we can communicate,
Philip Linden: and the ease with which new users can get help.
Philip Linden: Really a cool program.
Philip Linden: So broadly we are very supportive of hiring international, etc - SL is a very global crowd,
Philip Linden: and we will be a global company.
Philip Linden: The details can be a pain - but we are working on it.
Philip Linden: Live help is a downpayment I think.,
Haney Linden: Linden Lab has made the transition to a "game/entertainment company" to assuming itself as a "hosting provider" for a new, marvellous technology, with very successful results. What will be its next vision? I think that LL will either tr
Haney Linden: of online gaming (and let's see if THAT works!) or the WWW of online gaming. In the first case, it means growing the company exponentially or being bought by a megacorp; the second choice, will be first licensing the sim software and la
Haney Linden: So, become the MySQL of online gaming = a manageable sized company, with a core of programmers managing an open source project, getting revenues from land sales and tech support from so-called public land, and mantaining central servers
Haney Linden: functions to non-SF-based freelancers/companies? I'm a telecommuter living on an island somewhere mid-Atlantic, manage remote servers 600 miles away in the US, and even some in Russia and the US. Quality of service does NOT decrease wit
Philip Linden: OK so is SL gonne be the MSN or the WWW?
Philip Linden: Without question our direction and goal is WWW
Philip Linden: We will not be successful unless we are fully open and the control over the world is in your hands.
Philip Linden: Were we to choose the alternative (as many of the current and former systems have),
Philip Linden: I think we would be rapidly competed out of business by something like SL
Philip Linden: To get SL to reach across the world and become really big, we will have to give up
Philip Linden: most of our control over it.
Philip Linden: That is a sacrifice we are happy to make to see this thing happen.
Haney Linden: Jim Bunderfeld: Will Lifetime member ships ever be available again
Philip Linden: I'm not sure whether we'll sell lifetimes again. We'll look at the usage data and see what makes sense.
Haney Linden: Flyte Xevious: is any possibility of another sandbox being opened?
Philip Linden: I will pass along the desire for a new sandbox - OK.
Haney Linden: Gina Dawn: Question for Philip: What is yur prognosis on land resale prices. Are we still seeing a large influx of players from others games; how many more sims are going to be added to SL? These are factors that seriously impact market
Philip Linden: We will add land at a rate precisely matched to the number of new users per month.
Philip Linden: We think this will accurately stabilize pricing...
Philip Linden: inotherwards, if on average everyone has 1 acre of land,
Philip Linden: and we get 10 new users,
Philip Linden: we will add 10 acres of new land to the auctions.
Philip Linden: In august we were admittedly behind and added more to catch up.
Philip Linden: Unsuprisingly this made prices go up (starting in june),
Philip Linden: and then come back down again.
Philip Linden: They are currently stable at higher prices than in april, BTW.
Philip Linden: I'd say that in general land prices should trend slowly upward,
Philip Linden: and the economic growth of SL proceeds -
Philip Linden: inotherwards as people can create cooler and more valuable stuff,
Philip Linden: land prices will track up to match the higher income potential.
Philip Linden: At least that is a speculation.
Haney Linden: Mex Thorn: hey my question is... will SL ever have voice chat like There?
Philip Linden: Voice chat is something we are still looking at. No commitments as to direction or timing.
Philip Linden: We would really like to see great masking/voice shifting be part of that solution.
Haney Linden: Jonquille Noir: Q: Are there plans for more themed Developer's Incentive contests, and if so, what and when?
Philip Linden: Yes - look for details in next few weeks.
Philip Linden: We will have themed incentives again.
Philip Linden: We realize that dwell is not the only/best metric.
Haney Linden: Michi Lumin: In light of recent crashes and data loss, Will we ever see BACKUP in any form or EXPORT/IMPORT.
Philip Linden: We are looking at how to do that.
Philip Linden: Clearly the first goal is to improve OUR processes.
Philip Linden: We are concerned about preserving rights appropriately,
Philip Linden: but barring that will do everything we can.
Haney Linden: Lecktor Hannibal: I have one Haney, I would like to know if and when we will get multiple select/drag and drop in the inventory?
Philip Linden: We are working on that right now in the codebase, so yes we will have it soon.
Haney Linden: David Jacobs: I would like to ask philip what future plans he has for SL/other online games
Philip Linden: Well as you all know I can talk forever about future plans.
Philip Linden: I guess that makes sense given the size of the future ;)
Philip Linden: I think an important thing to realize,
Philip Linden: something that creates friction and debate...
Philip Linden: is that in general SL will be an open platform for digital content.
Philip Linden: So we can expect all kinds of different uses.
Philip Linden: I think the reason we sometimes think of SL as a 'game' or as directed at gaming/gamers,
Philip Linden: is that (in my opinion) the sort of 'killer app' for open digital content creation
Philip Linden: WILL be entertainment.
Philip Linden: So what we see in the SL economy is a lot of experimentation and competition
Philip Linden: focused on building entertainment experiences.
Philip Linden: So this is the metaverse...
Philip Linden: but the part Neal didn't cover was how it all started...
Philip Linden: which was by the population building games and other forms of digital fun.
Philip Linden: Kind of like we all live on this island,
Philip Linden: together,
Philip Linden: and the 'export' that keeps us fed and clothed is entertainment.
Philip Linden: That is a way I've been thinking about the future.
Haney Linden: Roxie Marten: Regarding the Second Life College Program does this rasie any ethical questions in people be used as subjects of a study with out thier permission?
Philip Linden: Good question.
Philip Linden: I suspect that as part of the community,
Philip Linden: colleges and other new groups to SL will need to abide by reasonable standards around informing others about their work,
Philip Linden: or risk being shunned by the community.
Philip Linden: I suspect that sort of 'common law' will make things like this work.
Philip Linden: Of course our TOS applies equally to all, educators included.
Haney Linden: Salazar Jack: Question for Philip - How is the permissions system reform and possible contracts system going?
Philip Linden: We are workig actively on updates to the permissions system.
Philip Linden: I don't have a specific release time, but that too is on the front burner, like Havok and Linux.
Philip Linden: on contracts we are farther behind...
Philip Linden: still thinking about what exactly to do there.
Philip Linden: We are looking at dispute resolution at a high level lots.
Haney Linden: Alexin Bismark: For Phillip: Why the new limit on accounts / credit card and what is the numbet allowed now?
Philip Linden: The max number of accounts we want one person to be able to hold is 5.
Philip Linden: This seems a reasonable tradeoff between desires of community and individual.
Philip Linden: Always a tough subject.
Haney Linden: CrystalShard Foo: Have you concidered placing several ocean scene sims for exploration? (not for selling parcels(
Philip Linden: Yes we are looking at 'filling in' the oceans in some different ways.
Philip Linden: Look for experiments there in coming weeks/months.
Haney Linden: Doodles Casanova: Question 2: The 1.5 rollout was done rather quickly compared to 1.4, which had several weeks of test sim use prior to rollout. Do you think you will go back to the longer testing periods for subsequent upgrades?
Philip Linden: yes we will go with longer test periods. We moved too quickly with 1.5 - good learning experience.
Philip Linden: There were less big new features,
Philip Linden: so we thought we could do it faster.
Philip Linden: We were wrong about that. Expect longer preview and more early review of features next release.
Haney Linden: Jamie Otis: question is: is the group structure and accounting going to be revamped anytime soon?
Philip Linden: We have various improvements we've received about groups in pipeline, yes.
Philip Linden: No detailed schedule.
Haney Linden: Paradigm Brodsky: Are you guys going to be ready to do cross promotions soon, with media entities?
Philip Linden: I'm not sure what sort of promotions you mean...
Paradigm Brodsky: something with a presence of media entities
Philip Linden: Some types of promotion make less sense in SL than others.
Paradigm Brodsky: like magazines, holding interviews...
Paradigm Brodsky: with celebreties
Philip Linden: If you mean will we advertise SL more broadly - yes we are already ramping up there.
Philip Linden: Yes so the answer broadly is yes.
Haney Linden: Paradigm Brodsky: Will objects ever have inheritance?
Philip Linden: If by that you mean physical hierarchy, such as for jointed bodies...
Philip Linden: yes at some point but no schedule commit.
Haney Linden: Torley Torgeson: "Dear Philip, what do you think of the benefits of Second Life for people with disabilities and problems with social interaction in real life? I am autistic and OMG!!! Second Life is such a GOOD trip. I say thankee. :)"
Philip Linden: Well said, thankee... ;)
Haney Linden: Angel Coral: Might there be a class at some point on inventory management.. it is something never addressed yet LL has to keep all the stuff.. would help loading and reduce personal lag?
Philip Linden: Good point, and I agree.
Philip Linden: We are also improving the speed and support for inventory.
Philip Linden: But of course there also needs to be some upper limit.
Philip Linden: Boundless inventories are not scalable, because they are globa.
Philip Linden: global.
Philip Linden: So we are thinking about how to better design that.
Haney Linden: Meiyo Sojourner: another question for phillip: will there ever be a SL poser model released to make things easier for the animators?
Philip Linden: I'll look into that... perhaps send me email with more detailed thoughts.
Haney Linden: Satine Chatnoir: Will you look at supporting older Windows versions? A dear friend I badly want here has Windows ME, on a Compaq, which means not easy to upgrade...
Philip Linden: I'
Philip Linden: I'm not sure about WinME...
Philip Linden: there are so few users with good graphics cards under ME.
Philip Linden: But again, feel free to send me email with more details.
Philip Linden: (btw I am email@example.com)
Haney Linden: Jill Mackenzie: Hello there I have a question but firstly i want to say thank you for all the hard work you all put into SL... my question is this.... I have heard rumors prim allowances on property will increase am wondering if this is
Haney Linden: no more new questions please
Philip Linden: prim allowances will I think steadily increase forever...
Philip Linden: our design for SL included periodically updating the server machines,
Philip Linden: for example,
Philip Linden: so we can follow moores law.
Philip Linden: As to when the next step up will be, I am not sure.
Philip Linden: Right now we need higher frame rates with the prims we have...
Philip Linden: but we are working on some very cool improvements there.
Philip Linden: SL will keep looking better and better - I can tell you that.
Haney Linden: Cereal Milk: Q for Philip if there's time, he mentions fixes for movement bugs, does this include problems with sim crossings?
Philip Linden: By movement bugs, yes, I mean sim boundaries.
Haney Linden: Cinda Valentino: I'm sorry, I've been away, are we really no longer able to call a Linden for help anymore?
Philip Linden: you can still call lindens, of course.
Philip Linden: Now you just also have the live help team,
Philip Linden: which is pretty much online 7/42
Philip Linden: Well lets just say 24 ;)
Haney Linden: Laukosargas Svarog: Are the in-game audio bugs on the Mac being taken seriously! I would dearly like to hear what my PC counterparts are hearing !
Philip Linden: yes we have the Mac streaming bug as a high priority bug right now.
Philip Linden: Problem is with the FMOD library, which is open source,
Philip Linden: so hopefully we can fix. But slowed a bit by that.
Haney Linden: FuRaz Chung: hey haney, I have a question... are there any plans for a texture browser of some sort. because selecting a texture from a textual list is so hard sometimes?
Philip Linden: I think we have some thoughts on that but no details or schedule.
Philip Linden: But it is on the list.
Haney Linden: Deklax Fairplay: Q #2: How can you think that prices should generally track upward in a market that is consistently being replentished with an equal supply of land as any influx of players occurs, especially if there isnt enough manpowe
Philip Linden: Let me explain.
Haney Linden: isnt enough manpower or the will to keep up with it on a regular basis
Philip Linden: If the population to simulator ratio stays roughly constant...
Philip Linden: but the quality of content improves,
Philip Linden: we can expect to see more profits for content creators,
Philip Linden: and therefore higher land prices.
Philip Linden: So if a game in SL costs L$100 today,
Philip Linden: and become so cool that one can charge L$500 later,
Philip Linden: all else being equal.
Philip Linden: People will then pay more for land.
Philip Linden: That is what I mean.
Philip Linden: This is called GDP growth in economics,
Philip Linden: and is one of the reasons SL will totally take over the world.
Philip Linden: The US (and china, etc) see about a 2% annual GDP growth.
Philip Linden: We see something like a 2% WEEKLY GDP growth.
Philip Linden: Between february and now,
Philip Linden: the amount of money people spend in SL in a month (L$) buying and doing stuff
Philip Linden: has more than DOUBLED...
Philip Linden: even though average balances and time online haven't changed.
Philip Linden: Do you see what I mean?
Philip Linden: BTW I mean per person, not all of SL
Philip Linden: So since the average person has doubled their consumption,
Philip Linden: this can only be explained by the content improving.
Philip Linden: This is GDP growth.
Haney Linden: Mara Anubis: question, are other payment options being looked into other than credit cards ??
Philip Linden: yes we are looking into other methods.
Philip Linden: First will probably be paypal, but many others.
Haney Linden: annie Lily: will we be allowed to have more than 10 groups soon?
Philip Linden: Not sure but on the list - I will increase priority.
Haney Linden: Sensual Casanova: please ask... Will there be a feature in the near future to better allow animations between 2 avatars?
Philip Linden: yes we are looking at better conforming bodies between AVs
Haney Linden: Rosalita Martinez: Got a question for Philip: I know this is considered an adult community. Would there be any support in the future to add like a client side parental controlls to allow which Sim's a person is allowed to go to?
Philip Linden: Yes we have some of those controls already,
Philip Linden: but are respectful of the desire generally not to have minors in the world,
Philip Linden: even with those restrictions (no enter M sims, etc)
Philip Linden: But we would somehow like to let kids use SL in some way... feedback welcome.
Haney Linden: Chibi Chang: What are your thoughts on OpenCroquet? Could it be a clear competitor to SL in terms of virtual worlds? - opencroquet.org
Philip Linden: yes opencroquet looks cool....
Haney Linden: OK, just a couple more answers before we go
Philip Linden: but I think the competitive landscape is more likely to br driven by community
Philip Linden: and we are clearly ahead there...
Philip Linden: I would love to suggest that tech is all that matters...
Philip Linden: us being so clever and all ;)
Philip Linden: but I think the early community size is what will drive the winner.s
Haney Linden: Chris Altman: Is there any particular reason why the streaming is all raster graphics, as opposed to vector graphics (like SVF, for example)? It would be much less straining on all resources - bandwidth in particular.
Philip Linden: One more Question.
Philip Linden: That is a pretty complex question...
Philip Linden: in a way, the geometry IS vector...
Philip Linden: we have huge compression relative to vertex data...
Philip Linden: images are wavelet compressed.
Philip Linden: Which is optimal.
Philip Linden: We will drive the tech much farther,
Philip Linden: but vector wouldn't really help.
Haney Linden: Thanks you all for coming. I'm sorry we didnt have time to get to all the questions.
Philip Linden: OK everyone...
Philip Linden: I really appreciate the strong attendance
Philip Linden: and great questions.
Philip Linden: I can't stay longer as I usually do.
Philip Linden: OK you guys.
Philip Linden: See you later. And thank you for all the support!