Wednesday, June 13, 2012

and the night goes by so very slow (part I)

DJ Anarchy: I have consumed nineteen bottles of Red Bull in the last hour! Screw you, gravity!

We move on.

Conversation in passing with friends:

[8:09 PM] Fxxxxx Axxxx: I'm starting to think, perhaps, that someone doesn't quite understand how the avatar mesh works in Second Life nor how the mesh deformer works with it. Honestly, what they *need* is a program that will simulate the deformation within the modeling program, *not* more complexity over an already complex feature that works on hope, unicorns, and baby's tears as it is.
[8:10 PM] Axxxxxxxx Rxxxxx: that pretty much sums it up, I think
[8:11 PM] Fxxxxx Axxxx: No offense to Nalates, really, but people have been pretty much clamoring for this without understanding how very difficult and utterly patchwork the system has to be.


And, at the root of all this, that's the problem--and it's one I'm guilty of, as well. Clamoring for new features that other games have, without realizing what an ungainly cobble the Lindens are working with now is disingenuous at best. Most games don't have such a mix of new code paired with Legacy coding just to make the system work at all, on the systems it does work on.

Adding new code to the mix, most of the time, is rather akin to seeing two people playing Russian roulette and asking to join in.

[8:11:26 PM] Axxxxxxxx Rxxxxx: well, it sounds like Charlar's saying that the bulk of the lindens are out of touch
[8:11:41 PM] Axxxxxxxx Rxxxxx: which, ya know, realy isn't anything NEW but still worth getting out there
[8:13:35 PM] Fxxxxx Axxxx: I'm still reading through comments. I don't quite get 'Out of Touch' as much as I get 'Had to be pushed out early to meet demand'. Basically so much time had already been spent on it, they just wanted it out, so they'd have a feature. Possibly even to try and make themselves look profitable and investment worthy if one must be a cynic.


Right, because there are more than a few of us thinking that the entirety of development over 2012 has centered around making the game look profitable, fun, and easy to manage, thus resulting in high bids when they put it on the open market. I'd love to say I'm wrong; I still don't think I am.

Plus, let's revisit that "early" thing. Remember, mesh was tested for one solid year before deployment, and it still wasn't ready. Part of that failure, also, must be laid at the feet of the Lindens, because I think they genuinely thought there would be more avatar designs, and landscaping/furniture elements in mesh, instead of the tilt towards clothing and hair we have now.

[8:14:48 PM] Fxxxxx Axxxx: And honestly, reading that, I get the feeling Char might be, not pissed, but perhaps irked that he couldn't get to it, and more irked that people couldn't be patient and now he has to deal with a crap half-way solution he'll have to work in and deal with dependencies and legacy.
[8:15:06 PM] Axxxxxxxx Rxxxxx: yea, that's the impression I got too
[8:15:30 PM] Fxxxxx Axxxx: He obviously *had* a plan. He says as much. He knew what he was doing, and I *doubt* this was it.
[8:15:48 PM] Fxxxxx Axxxx: I imagine fixing the Avatar and animation system would have come first, in order to better allow mesh creation.


Let's move to the comments from that blog entry. From Charlar Linden:
For context: In order to ship Mesh content support I had to defer a lot of features. I did cut additional work on avatar mesh content to focus on the problems remaining around in-world mesh. If I hadn’t done that deferring, as well as other stuff, mesh would not have shipped. <*At all*. I’m not kidding.


I told the beta users this – and they were sad; some got grumpy. I thought that they would not immediately start making mesh items for avatars. I was *obviously* wrong. People did really great work, right out of the gate. I didn't have any engineers available to do any of the work needed, not for months.


If I had it to all over again, I would have probably temporarily turned off rigged mesh support in the uploader. Then more of you would have called for my sacking (thank you for your support).
And while that's likely true--the calling for sacking part, because we are a fickle constituency, myself included--let's focus on rigged mesh support. This is important, because this is the biggest issue--if our shapes are not absolutely consistent with the shape the designer was using (which is why a few designers started turning out shapes that mashed the mesh works in question), rigged mesh items simply won't behave consistently or correctly.

What would SLife have been like if nothing was rigged to start out with? If we could have adjusted everything, would there have been as much screaming? Would that have helped with items like necklaces and ties, hair, shoes, earrings and other items for which rigging directly combats the individuality of our personal shapes?

[8:15:53 PM] Axxxxxxxx Rxxxxx: he also seems pissed that other lindens don't "get" SL
[8:16:17 PM] Emilly Orr: Which is both gratifying and annoying
[8:16:25 PM] Emilly Orr: Because one of them gets it, yay, cue the fireworks!
[8:16:38 PM] Emilly Orr: And the rest of them still don't, and likely won't ever, cancel the celebration
[8:16:41 PM] Axxxxxxxx Rxxxxx: and the rest don't, can't we drop bricks on their heads?
[8:16:47 PM] Emilly Orr: Oh, if only


Now, barring the brick-dropping, there's a point here, and it's a point both I and others have made, over and over again: namely, that the Lindens responsible for coding and maintaining the game don't play the game. Let that sink in. That's really baffling to me, but it also strikes me like a major car factory whose employees never drive. How can you build something, maintain it, fix it when it breaks, if you have no idea how it works? And clearly no desire to know. That would create, by definition, an adversarial relationship between players and coders, which we've seen over and over and over again.

[8:17:52 PM] Fxxxxx Axxxx: Hmm, still reading it differently.
[8:18:07 PM] Fxxxxx Axxxx: He definitely does say that some lindens work but don't play.
[8:18:23 PM] Fxxxxx Axxxx: But he also seems to be trying to remind people that many of them DO play, often. They *knew* what it'd be used for.
[8:18:38 PM] Fxxxxx Axxxx: It wasn't that they were, as Pussycat implied, morons, or stupid
[8:18:52 PM] Axxxxxxxx Rxxxxx: "Yes, some Lindens are completely uninterested in Second Life, and to them it’s like making dog food, in that they’re never going to willingly eat it."
[8:19:03 PM] Axxxxxxxx Rxxxxx: that came across to me as "dammit, they're idiots for not being in SL more"
[8:19:13 PM] Emilly Orr: And haven't I said that for years?


From the blog again, Pussycat Catnap first:
What the heck did they think we’d all use mesh for? sexbeds?
Linden bears?
Griefer tools in sandboxes?

Seriously – of course it would be used mostly for clothes.

EVERYTHING in SL flows that way.

Do they not run any form of analytics on their own marketplace? Just look at what’s listed.
And this bit from Charlar Linden, with the dog food factory comment:
Actually, this reminded me of one more thing. Almost all the beta users were in-world content makers. We only had one or two Adult content creators. The clothing makers were apparently lurkers (damn you Elie Spot, et al!). If you think all the mesh stuff is clothes and genitals, you’re doing some amazing artists a disservice.


Yes, some Lindens are completely uninterested in Second Life, and to them it’s like making dog food, in that they’re never going to willingly eat it.


Some other Lindens spend hours and hours in SL a week, outside of their job. They have a grip. We knew clothes would be a hit, but if I’d kept everything we needed to fix/build, none of the project would have been released.
And Pussycat again:
I’m sorry what I typed sounds like an attack – the lindens have become amazingly absent from public view over the last year, and it makes the communication end up always feeling hostile.
Which has been my general impression as well--that the best way to contact a Linden for help these days, is to be one, and if you're not--even if you're a paying customer who owns sims--it won't matter. That may be a vast disservice to those Linden employees who do try to fix things, but they're unfortunately few and far between, at least according to the court of public opinion.

And splitting this into (at least) two parts, because this seems to be getting unwieldy.

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