Second Life’s TV show Designing Worlds‘ Saffia Widdershins and Elrik Merlin interviewed Linden Lab’s CEO Ebbe Altberg. Filmed during their 250th episode, Saffia and Elrik had an in-depth and candid discussion with Ebbe about many things, including the new platform, the future of Second Life, among other things.
Ebbe revealed that bringing back last names is on the horizon. He stated that while it’s not an active project on the moment, it is high on the list and will be coming back at some point in the future. He also discussed possibly bringing back community portals, which would attract users directly into a creator’s experience from RL.
He also discussed how bringing real-time facial expressions to avatars in SL is also a project, but that this technology is very much in it’s infancy and will take time for the hardware (such as 3D cameras) to become more common before this can become a reality.
Ebbe also had a long discussion about the new platform. He indicated that it has not yet been named, and said they have a code name for it as they’re developing it. However, they are keeping it secret because they are not sure the name will become the platform’s actual name. Linden Lab doesn’t want it to get branded with that name if that is not what is going to be used. It could potentially be very confusing. So for now, they continue to call it “the new platform” publicly.
Ebbe also emphasized that this new platform is NOT a replacement for SL; but is a completely new environment incorporating new technology. It iss easier to build new using the SL platform as a jumping off point, rather than trying to make the old platform work with the new technology. He stated that the new platform would be in the spirit of Second Life, with user generated content, and to make it easier for new users to interact with it.
He stated that they are at the point with the new platform that they are getting close to launching an avatar in the new world (hopefully by the end of the year), and indeed working towards possibly having an alpha test ready for specific invited users by mid-2015.
When asked if the viewer for the new platform will be open source, Ebbe stated that at the present time, they do not plan to open source the viewer. However, they are looking at possibly having plug-ins to be used with the viewer for customizations without the code being open source. He hinted that there might be a possibility for open source in the future at some point.
Ebbe also discussed cross-compatibility. He said that indeed some content would be able to cross to the new platform, but not all. They wanted the new platform to be forward thinking and future oriented, and not have to be written to allow for older technology. He stated that mesh would be transferable into the new platform, but that there would be a completely different scripting language used. He also indicated that avatars would be able hop between worlds using your avatar’s identity and Lindens. [Ed. Note: I got the impression that you would have two different avatars, one in each world, but that you could transfer the identity and lindens, not the avatar itself.]
The interview is featured on the Living in a Modemworld blog, and includes a written transcript of their discussion. In addition, the blogger, Inara Pey, includes interesting graphics and embedded videos to highlight the transcripts. It is well-worth a visit to her blog to see it. What I did was listen to the video and follow along by reading the transcript.
The video interview is here below.
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Suzanne Piers, Social Media Manager