Linden Lab Plans SL Improvements

In a recent article in the Second Life blog, Linden Labs announces upcoming planned improvements to the Second Life platform. As promised in a recent video interview given after Linden Lab dropped the bombshell that a new virtual world was being developed, Linden Lab continues to dedicate resources to improving the current Second Life platform.

From a long list of improvements and enhancements that LL plans to bring to Second Life, they weighed priorities and scoped out a list of important projects for the next few months. They shared a few highlights from the list of projects LL will be working on so that residents are aware of what improvements to expect in the coming months. This isn’t an exhaustive list, of course, but here are a few of the initiatives LL thinks will have a big impact on improving all of our Second Life experiences.

One of those developments and improvements is Experience Keys, that I blogged about earlier.

Linden Lab posted this about Experience Keys:

Releasing Experience Keys
We recently put out a call for creators to join a limited beta for Experience Keys – new LSL functions and calls that make it possible to bypass the multiple permissions dialogs that you encounter with scripted objects today. Thanks to the applications we received, we now have enough creators to move ahead with the beta, and we’ve begun giving these beta users access the keys. The feedback we get from beta participants will help determine our next steps for making Experience Keys available to everyone, and we may start by expanding the beta group with a second group of creators.

In the meantime, though, everyone can get a sense for what’s possible with Experience Keys by downloading the Project Viewer and checking out The Cornfield game.

Improving Group Chat Performance

One of the most frustrating experiences in SL is group chat. As most of you know, group chat is notoriously laggy, resulting in either serious chat lag that makes a connected conversation impossible, or the fact that group chat just flat out refuses to open at all. I know that when I do large weddings, it is extremely helpful in trying to organize everyone that we all get into a group chat, and nine times out of ten, it just doesn’t work. It is incredibly frustrating.

Linden Lab states: “We’re carefully monitoring the effects of the changes we make to improve group chat performance, and so far, the results of efforts like upgrading the servers that host chat have been positive. We anticipate that the work to improve group chat performance will continue for some time as we identify the underlying causes of the issues, experiment with different fixes, and analyze results.”

Implementing the Chrome Embedded Framework

Linden Lab is working to upgrade the component of the viewer that is responsible for rendering web content, including the viewer splash screen (displayed before login), the content of a number of floaters, and inworld media-on-a-prim. This is important because it will fix a number of bugs (especially related to streaming media) that currently affect many Second Life users, and it will also make available many modern web features that aren’t possible with the current viewer.

Linden Lab states: “We’re making good progress on this initiative already, and expect to have an experimental Project Viewer ready for testing soon.”

More Texture and Mesh Loading Improvements

Building upon the performance enhancements made with Project Shining, LL is continuing to make improvements to how the viewer retrieves texture and mesh data from the servers. Linden Lab indiates that the next round of improvements will reduce the number of connections the viewer needs to get this data (making it easier on your router and network), while also using each connection to retrieve more data more quickly (for the technically inclined, this means that among other things we will add support for HTTP pipelining).

These improvements will mean that as you explore Second Life, objects will appear more quickly and reliably, especially for users who have longer latency connections (higher “ping times”), such as those who live outside the US.

Linden Lab states: “We have begun doing small scale testing with a selected group of users, and the early results have been great from a performance point of view. Unfortunately, we’ve also encountered a bug that we need to tackle before we can move on to releasing a project Viewer. We’re eager to move ahead as quickly as we can, and will … announce that project Viewer as soon as it’s available.”

Again, these certainly aren’t the only things LL is working on as they continue to improve Second Life, but they’re among their priority initiatives in the coming months.

It is certainly good to know that Linden Lab is clearly putting time and effort into the Second Life platform. Stay tuned here, as I will report changes and improvements as quickly as Linden Lab publishes them. Meanwhile, visit The Cornfield and check out the benefit of the Experience Keys improvements. I haven’t had time to visit it yet, but I plan to this weekend. My only concern is getting chased by someone with a chain saw! Horror flicks are not my thing!!

Have a wonderful weekend, and don’t forget to click over and check out our available land! This is a great weekend to stay indoors, keep cool and shop for your upgrade or new home today!

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers
ZoHa Islands Social Media Manager