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Posts Tagged ‘Virtual Worlds’

2010-07-20 We Are The Network: Virtual World Success and Failure Factors – Past, Present and Future

July 18th, 2010 No comments

2010-07-19 Added reference link to blog post by returning Second Life CEO Philip Linden “Update on Strategy”

Virtual World Success and Failure Factors – Past, Present and Future

Please join our global discussion group
every Tuesday at 12pm noon U.S. Pacific / 3pm Eastern time

This Tuesday, July 20th at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Wells/97/56/27

This Week’s Topic

Virtual World Success and Failure Factors – Past, Present and Future

Virtual worlds grabbed the attention of marketers, companies and educational institutions several years ago, in no small part driven by the fast growth of Second Life™ and offerings for younger children such as Disney’s Club Penguin and many others. Some predicted that virtual worlds would “replace the 2D web.” Over the course of several years many competitors appeared on the marketplace. Today it is far less clear whether this evolutionary replacement will occur in the mid-term, if ever.

In this discussion we will analyze three phases of virtual world development, using the Second Life environment as a model for discussion (since it is the one that most participants in this group know the best).

We will look at Second Life’s initial strong growth phase, discussing which factors seem to have driven and limited growth even during that fast adoption period.

A second phase appeared, in which more targeted uses of virtual worlds appeared, although also through this period usage growth appeared to have stalled, and in many ways retrenched (from public data, it would appear that concurrency has fallen to levels roughly comparable to two years ago after a peak in early 2009). Although on a typical day about 10,000 new registrations are logged, only about 2% of these registrations result in active users (from data presented in a public forum around the launch of Viewer 2).

The third phase has yet to unfold, as we go forward to some form of global financial recovery (with or without jobs, a related but separate topic). Will this third phase look like continued decline for virtual world use, or growth, and what drivers will determine its shape?

We will discuss the corporate model, technical, community, marketing and external cultural and business/financial drivers for the growth or lack of growth through these phases. Is there a path that would result in strong future growth for virtual world technologies, has the market splintered in a fashion that reflects strong but less visible growth, and under what conditions would a system such as Second Life return to strong growth, or has it reached its ultimate size based on the number of people who are interested in its philosophy and concept base? Will virtual world concepts become dramatically widespread, but in some other form than a single-vendor connected system? Are there drivers that indicate that the concepts must evolve to be of interest to a dramatically larger audience?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon U.S. Pacific / 3pm U.S. Eastern time for an interactive discussion, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

If you do not have a Second Life account and would like a quick start to attend the session, please contact me for more information.

Best regards,

Joel

Reading links below – have fun and see you soon! Read more…

Three Simple Steps to see if Your 3D Virtual World Scene is a Low-Performance Computer Killer

April 28th, 2010 No comments

Have you checked your 3D  virtual world scenes on a really low powered machine like a netbook? If not, you may be in for a surprise. Users with low performance machines like netbooks may find a huge performance penalty when they visit your virtual space. In other words… things may look just fine and performance may be “totally ducky” on your machine, yet with a low performance machine your space may be close to unusable.

Isn’t There a Simple “Follow This Rule” Design Guide?

It would be nice if there were simple “follow this rule” guidance that would make design for low performance machines easy. Unfortunately every simple rule I have seen is either incorrect, incomplete, or creates unnecessary compromises.

In other words, simple rules don’t really work well in creating performance optimized builds for a wide range of hardware. Because of the number of variables, testing is the only reasonable way to be sure your build works well with lower performance machines.  When there is a build-induced performance issue, the cause is often that one aspect of the scene exceeds the complexity and performance levels low performance machine graphics systems.

A Recent Example of a Surprising Answer

I recently diagnosed a problem in a well known virtual world environment where even mid-level computers were showing 25-50% frame rate reductions, and netbooks showed extreme performance problems with no other avatars present. We found that the grass surrounding the stage was constructed in a way that caused particular problems for low performance computers.

Removing the grasss and replacing it with a different ground cover improved the frame rate on mid-level computers by 25-50% and a netbook by over 100%, all by replacing ONE graphical element in the scene! This illustrates that a single element can have a surprising and large impact on user experience.

A Simple Three Step Test Read more…

Understanding the Maximum Bandwidth Option in the Second Life™ Viewer

March 25th, 2010 3 comments

This post provides a bit more detail to explain one point from my earlier post 12 Ways To Make Second Life™ Run Faster On Your Low Performance Computer. Some debate arose over the “real meaning” of the maximum bandwidth option on the Network Settings dialog, so I figured I’d go research this and try to find the facts.

A quick caveat: Even though this post is fairly long, I have purposefully left out a bit of detail in order to avoid overwhelming folks who are not fluent with network engineering and programming. If you are fluent in these areas, I’m sure you’ll see things that will make you say “but you left out…” Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the mechanics, it’s just that I’m trying be sure this is accessible to people who need to understand it. Thanks for your understanding!

Why All This Detail? It’s Just One Slider!

I know… this seems like a lot, but it is broken down in to easy chunks. The reason I’ve included this background is that the Maximum Bandwidth Option only controls some of the traffic that goes back and forth between the viewer and the server(s) at the data centers. If you understand a little bit about what’s going on “under the hood” and which types of traffic it does and does not control, you’ll be in a much better position to decide on the best setting for Maximum Bandwidth as you use Second Life. Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: , ,

2010-02-02 We Are The Network: How in the World do you Explain a Virtual World?

January 31st, 2010 No comments

We Are The Network logo 300How in the World do you Explain a Virtual World?

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Feb 2nd, at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

How in the World do you Explain a Virtual World?

If you have spent a while working, building, creating or socializing in virtual worlds, you’ve no doubt ended up trying to answer the questions “what is a virtual world?” or “what is Second Life?” Most of us who have virtual world experience are used to the blank stares, incredulity, interesting assumptions, and inability to fully communicate what in the world a virtual world “is” to those who have no context for the discussion.

How do you explain a virtual world to someone who has no idea what you are talking about? Which ways of explaining what a virtual world “is” work, and which don’t? Do you need to tailor the explanation to the person, or are there generic explanations that seem to reliably connect with your listener? Are the press-induced brand identities of places like Second Life too overpowering to overcome, except on a one by one basis? Can a virtual world grow sufficiently to have more than hyper-niche acceptance if each new user must be courted individually.

These and other questions arose near the end of our last discussion “How Would you Measure the Health of a Virtual World,” so we are continuing the discussion into a related new area this week.

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,

Joel

Reading links below – have fun and see you soon!

How do you explain virtual worlds to people who don’t know anything about them?
http://terranova.blogs.com/terra_nova/2007/07/how-do-you-expl.html

Learn to explain virtual ventures to relatives
http://svensworld.de/learn-to-explain-virtual-ventures-to-relatives.html

VWR: What is a Virtual World?
http://www.virtualworldsreview.com/info/whatis.shtml

How Can I Get Event Announcements (choose one or more)? Read more…

2010-01-26 We Are The Network “How Would You Measure the Health of a Virtual World?”

January 25th, 2010 No comments

We Are The Network logo 300How Would You Measure the Health of a Virtual World?

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Jan 26th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

How Would You Measure the Health of a Virtual World?

Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life, have issued a post titled 2009 End of Year Second Life Economy Wrap-up. While economic measures are clearly relevant, are they the only, or even core way to judge the vibrancy and health of a virtual world? Are the economic measures complete and consistent as presented, or is there more to learn based on what is and is not included, and what the numbers say to us? How would you measure “health” of a society or world? What are the key indicators other than economic? How does our approach for measuring the health and well-being of a virtual world connect to the physical world, or does it?

It seems that we are faced with similar questions outside of virtual worlds. Some economic indicators suggest that we are in economic recovery. Does that evaluation connect to the health of our society (not just in economic, but medical, community, educational and other terms), both in the U.S. and globally? How would we decide that we are doing well, or not doing well, overall?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,

Joel

Reading links below – have fun and see you soon!
2009 End of Year Second Life Economy Wrap-up (including Q4 Economy in Detail)
http://blogs.secondlife.com/community/features/blog/2010/01/19/2009-end-of-year-second-life-economy-wrap-up-including-q4-economy-in-detail

The Radical Libertarian: The Measure of a Society
http://radicallibertarians.blogspot.com/2005/12/measure-of-society.html

Should society measure “progress” not just by increases in GDP, but rather through a set of more precise quality of life indicators?
http://www.helium.com/debates/111694-society-measure-progress-increases-gdp-through-set-precise-quality-life

Green Economy: Taking the Measure of a Society
http://blogs.worldwatch.org/greeneconomy/taking-the-measure-of-a-society/

A Better Measure of Society’s Well-Being
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/a-better-measure-of-societys-wellbeing-20091002-gghw.html

How Can I Get Event Announcements (choose one or more)? Read more…

2010-01-12 We Are The Network: Is “Professional Rewriting” And Blog Plagiarism The New Normal?

January 10th, 2010 2 comments

We Are The Network logo 300Is “Professional Rewriting” And Blog Plagiarism The New Normal?

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Jan 12th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

Is “Professional Rewriting” And Blog Plagiarism The New Normal?

I recently heard the term “Professional Rewriting” for the first time. At first I thought “this is a bad joke.” My stomach started to feel queasy after searching a bit for the phrase on the web. While some services focus on what you would expect of a true writing and editing service, a surprising number go past that position. In some cases they suggest that it is ethical and “not cheating” (in as many words!) to have them take your basic ideas and write a paper from scratch using your concepts – even if the goal is to hand that paper in to a teacher, professor or academic journal with you named as the author.

For the next stop on the “you must be kidding” tour I looked more carefully at Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

2010-01-05 We Are The Network: BYOT (Bring Your Own Topic)!

January 4th, 2010 1 comment

We Are The Network logo 300BYOT (Bring Your Own Topic)!

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Jan 5th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic(s)

This week’s topics are… whatever we all bring in! Due to a number of external constraints, I have not been able to craft a structured topic for this week, so maybe it is time for us to “just get together and chat about whatever comes up.”  Here’s the rationalization part – hey we haven’t done this open forum style discussion for quite a while, so it’s time, right?

See you soon!

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,

Joel

How Can I Get Event Announcements (choose one or more)? Read more…

Let’s Stop Gaming The Size Of The Social Media and MMO/Virtual World Universe

January 2nd, 2010 4 comments

I often see calculations showing the total number of people involved with social media, MMOs and virtual worlds. These calculations have been making me more uncomfortable of late, as the statistics seem only partially valid to me. I think it’s time to stop gaming the size of the universe. What does this mean, anyway? It means playing with statistics to overstate the number of people involved in social media, MMOs and virtual worlds.

Here is the standard playbook for gaming the size of the universe:

1) Make a list of companies and systems in the space of interest (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, MySpace etc for social media, World Of Warcraft, Lord Of the Rings Online, Second Life, Blue Mars, IMVU etc for massively multiplayer games and virtual worlds)

2) Compile a list of the number of users on each system

3) Add up the numbers from each system to create a total

4) Proclaim that the total people involved is the total number of users of that category of system

The number sounds nice. Unfortunately the result is likely to be significantly overstated.

Why is this not a legitimate way to calculate the size of the social media or MMO/virtual world universe? In a word, duplication.

In my experience, people who are active in social media, MMO’s and virtual worlds tend to be involved in many systems. As far as I can tell, a significant percent of people who are active in social media, MMOs and virtual worlds will create an account on multiple (in some cases all known) new systems to check them out.

I do not have access to the information that it would take to de-duplicate the lists, and there is essentially no incentive nor ability given privacy and competitive concerns for these disparate companies to share their user lists. I think it would, however be interesting to see a fully de-duplicated count — a count de-duplicated both within each system (person who operates multiple accounts would then count as “1”) and across systems (person who has accounts on multiple systems counts as “1”).

The other little hitch is the definition of a “user.” How do you define user to count active users, and to disregard accounts that may have been created and abandoned? Do the various companies involved have any consistent definition for this statistic?

Until we somehow see that result, can we all see our way to not claiming that the universe is Twitter + Facebook + LinkedIn + … or World of Warcraft + Lord of the Rings Online + Second Life + Blue Mars + IMVU…  ?

My hunch is that it’s much closer to the size of the largest of the systems, rather than a sum of the separate ones, but that remains to be proven somehow, someday, once there is a universal common login (now I’m completely dreaming!)

Thanks for reading… all comments welcomed!

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

2009-12-29 We Are The Network: Part 2 – Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI

December 27th, 2009 1 comment

We Are The Network logo 300“Part 2—Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI”

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Dec 29th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

Part 2—Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI (Return On Investment)

People on seesawIn our last session, we attempted to arrive at key measures to determine “The ROI” and “Virtual World Engagement” for virtual world and social media projects. I say “attempted” because we ended up with a variety of different positions and views on what constitutes the value center for engagement and ROI. Ultimately we decided that there is no single measure of value or ROI (other than dollars at the end game for business projects which could be measured in multiple ways, and measurable improvement of some sort for educational and social action projects.)

At the close of the discussion there was strong consensus that we needed another session on this topic. Actually it was closer to “we are going to continue this,” and so we will!

We decided that the path to metrics is to build a catalog of prototypical goals for various project scenarios in business, education and social action, with the premise that this will lead to some specific measures.

Please bring Read more…

12 Ways To Make Second Life™ Run Faster On Your Low Performance Computer

December 25th, 2009 23 comments

Joel Foner 2009-12-06
* Added the “How To Make Your Viewer Run Even Faster (when you really need the most you can get!)” section

Joel Foner 2009-12-08
* Added “Stay Plugged In” (thanks t
o Ignatius Onomatopoea for this tip)

Joel Foner 2010-03-25
* Added “Remember to re-check all
of these settings after any viewer updates, uninstall and reinstall or installation of an alternative viewer version!”

Joel Foner 2010-03-26
* Added Understanding the Maximum Bandwidth Option in the Second Life Viewer
* Added “If you’re Not Using Voice, Turn it Off!”

Stock Car RacingIntroduction

Second Life™ provides a 3D visualization of virtual environments, dynamically rendered so that you can make changes and any other avatar within sight sees those changes in almost real time. The technologies underpinning these capabilities are complex and place serious demands on the CPU and 3D graphics accelerator on your local computer.

The good news is that all of this is possible. The bad news is that there are a lot of moving parts and it uses a lot of computing and graphics horsepower to get the job done. The performance you see depends on many things. There are many factors that determine the performance you see, including the speed of your computer’s 3D graphics processor, the main processor (CPU), your hard disk speed, how much RAM (memory) your computer has, network stability, network speed, how many avatars are in view, how many avatars are on the region that your avatar is standing on, other load factors on the region, as well as specific characteristics of how the scene is built.

This article shows how to improve the operating speed of the viewer on low performance computer hardware. These steps will only cover optimization of your computer, and will not include addressing other potential sources of performance problems.

Please note that this article assumes you have some Second Life™ experience, and that you are comfortable with opening menus and making settings changes in the Preferences pages in the viewer.

But I Just Bought A Machine. How Could It Be Low Performance?

You may have bought a computer pretty recently, and assumed “this machine is pretty new, so of course its 3D graphics performance must be good”. You could be in for a surprise. In this age of Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,