What follows is my open letter to the people who have spent the past 8 months bashing viewer 2 and impeding its growth, as well as consequently stifling the entire market and innovation through their boycott. If you’re easily offended, I’d suggest you read another blog entry than this one.
For instance, how about the actual post that wasn't intentionally written to piss you off? Yes, this post was written on purpose to infuriate everyone, and to this day I still get comments that make me laugh simply because people entirely missed the point. This is the "shock value" companion to the follow-up that was meant to get people talking and illustrate a point that is now mute in 2011 - in that all of the hatred and bickering back and forth served no purpose than to drag out a process that we could have spent better time and resources making better united. This article was written from the point of view of somebody that was simply missing this point, and many other points, to illogically debase Viewer 1.23 at all costs. While the same attitude persisted from 1.23 viewers toward 2.0, I chose the viewpoint of 2.0 instead because it would cause more contention.
In the end, I proved my point - because whether we liked it or not at the time, I said that Viewer 2 would become our staple viewer going forward and 1.x series was on the end of it's life. Of course, we could have sped this up by about a year in advance had we all stopped to unite over it. Progress is scary, and rapid change in technology is outright terrifying for those of us who have become accustomed to our entrenched methods.
If we wish to survive the future and accelerating returns, we need to lighten up and move forward. It's only going to happen in faster bursts going forward.
For the full intentions of this letter, please see the second part here - http://blog.andromeda3d.com/2010/11/all-that-glitters-is-not-gold.html
Dear Viewer 2 Haters,
The past eight months has been a rocky road of progress. In April when I decided to bite the bullet and give Viewer 2 an honest shot, shortly after it was made public, you were there with your prim torches and sculpty pitchforks. Sure Viewer 2 introduced Shared Media, but that didn’t matter to you.
You stood by smugly, assured in your dominance and rightful place in the virtual world when you continued using Emerald, even as it was apparent that it was going down in flames. You stuck to your guns and continued fabricating countless reasons why you would never be caught dead using Viewer 2.
There was the introduction of alpha layers, which make unsightly invisi-prims a thing of the past, but still you showed strength in unity when turning your nose up at the fledgling viewer, still not even a year old.
You called yourself true designers, builders and people who cared about the economy in Second Life, all while contributing to TPVs holding out in introducing the new features. If it had anything to do with Viewer 2, then you wanted no part of it.
And the third party viewers listened to your pleas! Surely you are proud of your voices being heard in stopping TPVs from even considering the notion of switching to Viewer 2 code and taking the time to make it better on their terms and yours. Why should they? They had a codebase that was solid and had the benefit of many years of development and maturation, compared to this snot-nosed upstart called Viewer 2.
How dare this new viewer even exist?! Why should anyone bother giving it the time of day, or even the scrutiny of the TPVs to tear apart and make better?
Sure, my experience with using Viewer 2 has not been a bed of roses, and there have been hardships along the way. But this is where I differ from you.
While you call yourself the true spirit of Second Life, I must question you on this as well as your integrity.
Surely you were there in the beginning when the 1.x codebase wouldn’t even let you teleport without taking off all of your clothes? Surely the pain and hardships of that first year of development did not scare you away. Where would we as a virtual nation be today had you taken the same stance against the fledgling 1.x series as you do with 2.0 series?
If you had simply snubbed your nose and sat elsewhere in your smug superiority, you would not have a 1.x series to even base those now solid 1.x third party viewers on. But you persevered and continued to add feedback, and in a number of cases took it to heart to do better with third party viewers.
Where did that spirit go? Are you the same pioneer that you were from day one?
Clearly you are not the representation of Second Life in its glory days. You have become complacent and lost your spirit of innovation. You’ve forgotten what it’s like to roll up your sleeves and push the limits, to get your hands dirty.
And for that, I sincerely thank each and every one of you.
For the past eight months, I’ve worked hands on with Shared Media at Pixel Labs along with Jon Dragoone. Each day listening to countless people like yourself tell the world how much Viewer 2 is hated and how you’ll never use it.
Thanks to you, we’ve had eight months to explore and create using these new features. We’ve had eight months to get to know the Viewer 2 Interface, and while it’s not everything we wish it was, we still have the greatest gift you could have ever given people like us this holiday season.
Thanks to you, we’ve had an eight month head start with these new features, and have had ample time to get to know the intricacies of the main viewer. At first it was a pain in the butt, I’ll admit, but over time I’ve learned to come to terms with it.
You haven’t even taken the time to do that much.
Sure you’re just busy… you’re a prominent in-world merchant and can’t find the time to relearn something wholly new. I totally understand. The only issue with this thinking is – it’s the main viewer, and whatever influx of new users that may be coming into the virtual environment will likely be using Viewer 2, now that the 1.x codebase is on a fast track to being retired.
Where are your products utilizing the Viewer 2 features? Are you still recycling scripts from old televisions because you don’t take advantage of Shared Media? Are you creating shoes and other parts covered in invisible prims to hide the feet because you don’t see the merit of alpha layers?
Somehow you call yourself professional designers, and yet you stood by for nearly a year and refused to make an effort to bring the absolute latest and best features into your own product lines. Heck, you didn’t even bother to think about how you can benefit from those features in the future, and begin to make plans and tests when you had the chance.
But that is changing soon, isn’t it?
It was the introduction of Mesh that was the straw which broke your back.
It’s becoming painfully obvious now that you will use Viewer 2 in some form or fashion going forward, and even you cannot deny this. Phoenix is updating to Firestorm, and while the 1.x code of Phoenix will stick around, its days are numbered. I give great kudos to Kirstens for biting this bullet early and making great strides with Viewer 2 codebase as a third party viewer.
But while the TPVs are making plans to convert to 2.0 codebase, even if some are still standing their ground and refusing, you and I both know it is a matter of when and never has been a question of if.
I’m sure you can jump over to InWorldz and continue your protest. The land is definitely cheaper there.
But I find it dubious that you’re the same people who complain that Second Life search is broken but brush off the fact that InWorldz search doesn’t even exist.
You seem to be tolerating quite a bit of things from places like InWorldz that you have come down heavy handed on for Second Life. I suppose when they offer insanely cheap sims with a ridiculous prim limit, you’ll suddenly have selective amnesia.
I’m not against progress, and I’m sure as hell not against places like OpenSim, ReactionGrid or InWorldz. But I know when not to be a hypocrite.
What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
If you wish to continue bashing Second Life for things which are being worked on, or are currently broken, you had better be prepared to hold third party grids and efforts to the same standards.
You consider Viewer 2 unfinished and broken, refusing to use it. Yet you gladly trot over to InWorldz and other places to find much worse or equal conditions, only to give it a glaring thumbs up review.
You cannot do that.
I understand the pioneering spirit, possibly better than you at this moment. The same scrutiny and willingness to endure stability issues, bugs, and overall issues in a new system that you apply to those third party grids is the same attitude you gave Second Life when it first began in the 1.x series.
You were willing to use the viewer even when, and despite, that it was broken and was in need of serious development help. You stuck to your guns and gave it all you got. Hell, you’ve managed to build entire brand empires in the virtual world because you had that pioneering spirit and stuck to your guns.
Viewer 2 is the same situation as the dawn of the 1.x era and it’s the same situation as you gladly walk into concerning places like InWorldz.
The only difference is that despite the prices and prim limits, Second Life is still quite a distance ahead in features and pure magnitude.
Of course, that also explains why every time somebody tells me the virtues of InWorldz and how they are moving their brand over there, I’m also invited to Inworldz with them.
That’s the problem with cheap land and high prims; It’s directly proportional to the amount of money you’d be expected to make in that system through perceived traffic. I know at least two brand owners who have spent plenty of time evangelizing InWorldz like a Time-Share Condo salesperson and pushing all they can to convince their group members to drop Second Life and follow them into InWorldz like some preachy ass cult.
If your marketing in InWorldz involves leeching people from a totally different system, then you aren’t cutting ties with Second Life. You are still wholly dependent on the population of Second Life to keep you going, even if you are in InWorldz, and that is simply a piss poor business decision.
That’s like opening shop in a cheap storefront buried in an alley on the outskirts of town, and relying on sending people to Wal-Mart to stand in their aisles and tell them about your store and how much better it is than Wal-Mart.
Inworlds more than likely will suffer from the same issues of scalability as Second Life has had to deal with over these years. It is the very nature of that system, closely resembling Second Life, that while there is not many people co-currently within its confines it will be very inexpensive to deploy servers. This trend is simply a temporary one, and over time even they will have to start raising prices just as Second Life has had to do.
How much faster do you think Viewer 2 would have developed had a majority of the serious community actually used it? Your voice is pretty powerful, at least enough to convince TPVs not to use Viewer 2 code for nearly a year or so.
That shear force of will could have been put to better use over the past eight months, in using the Viewer that a majority of truly new users will be using and getting to know your market. Instead you’ve chosen poorly, in refusing to touch Viewer 2, telling the world how much you hate it, and how you simply don’t have time to learn it.
Because of you, I’ve spent the past 8 months truly living that pioneering spirit you’ve forgotten. Clearly that head start isn’t enough of an incentive either, for me, or I would have been long gone by now.
No, I have greater incentive to use Viewer 2 and tear apart every single thing it can and cannot do. If my suspicions are correct, and quite often they are, Second Life is headed toward “Fast, Easy, Fun” integration with Social media networks and websites with their Skylight project combined with the layer ability from Intel which allows about 1,000 co-current users per region.
In your unwillingness to learn Viewer 2 for all it’s worth, you’ve essentially screwed yourself out of valuable time to prepare and capitalize on a coming wave of casual users and micro-transactions for your products that will likely number 100 to 1000 times the reach that you have today.
I’m sure InWorldz is growing like a weed and tons of people are signing up every day for it, but it cannot compete with the ability to reach the 500 million users of Facebook as well as the 6 billion websites on the Internet.
Suddenly that cheap land and high prim limit doesn’t seem so enticing anymore, does it? I’d venture to say that it wasn’t a very wise decision to stick to your guns and stand your ground in using 1.x viewers, either.
Looking back at the past eight months you’ve squandered, and now knowing that things like Project Skylight and the co-currency layer will open your brand up to untold millions of potential consumers, if you haven’t been convinced to bite the bullet yet, then you are just plain ignorant.
No, viewer 2 is not perfect. It simply hasn’t had the benefit of many years of development to reach that point yet. What viewer 2 is, however, is a glimpse into your future. You were given ample opportunity to reach for that brass ring, and you turned away. Now you are going to scramble to play catch up, or you can wait for your TPV of choice to do the scrambling for you.
In the end, the TPVs will bite that bullet and roll up their sleeves. I’m certain that the TPVs will find ways to make the viewer 2 experience much better as well – but you’ve paid an obscenely high price for procrastination and being an elitist. You’ve paid for it in losing your edge, and your ability to beat your competition to a market that may number in the tens of millions or more.
At this very moment, Second Life is the best option if you are a content creator. OpenSim and HyperGrid are promising, but without a central marketplace you may as well hang it up if you want to be a serious creator there. HyperGrid technology is like going from America Online to the World Wide Web but forgetting to have Amazon.com.
When HyperGrid is paired with a central marketplace, as well as building the HyperGrid teleports into the Landmarks natively, then I see an absolutely huge future outside of Second Life. Assuming that the features of Viewer 2 are also present in HyperGrid enabled Open Sims.
InWorldz still needs a year or two in order to know if it’s worth the time and money to participate (even if it’s just a little money). As it stands, InWorldz is a good experiment that needs time to mature and by no means should you treat it as a platform to build a business on.
Now would be a good time to stop rationalizing your boycott and learn to use Viewer 2 for all its worth. You simply cannot afford to waste any more time than you have at this moment.
Or you can continue to give people like myself and Jon Dragoone an insane head start on this coming wave, and play catch up later.
Your choice, regardless, but we still thank you from the bottom of our hearts for giving us an eight month head start over you to begin with.
Why not be generous and make it an entire year head start?
Update: For the full intentions of this letter, please see the second part here - http://blog.andromeda3d.com/2010/11/all-that-glitters-is-not-gold.html