Sunday, January 16, 2011

No 2011 Predictions, BlueMars Down, SL up!

Again, no silly predictions for this year either.

I have always found “Top ten predictions for blah whatever” to be a fool’s errand. High profile SL/VW blogs have already had some predictions proven dead wrong barely 2 weeks into 2011. So what is the point really?

For whatever reason, of course, the downfall of SL is on every list. When I went “all in” with SL back in 2006 that game had been going on for years already. For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would stick around with anything and rant about how it is just about to fail. When the Wired magazine article about SL came out in 2006 and I checked it out, I dropped all my efforts in with no fanfare or ranting. SL was exactly the VR system I have dreamt about for years before, and I haven’t been wrong about that choice since. I have said it before and I will say it again, If you can’t figure out why you hate SL but can’t leave, just go, you are wasting your time and helping no one.

The lights go out on Blue Mars, mostly.

So the dust has yet to clear over at Avatar United the company behind Blue Mars. Early word is around 50% layoffs of a very small development team including CEO Jim Sink. From everything I have read and heard, you have to feel for him, his dream was cut out from under him and he is trying his best to put a good spin on it all on his way out.

Word is development on the PC is dead; focus is now on I-phone and I-pad with eventual port to Android. A lot of talk about Twitter and Facebook integration, so it sounds like the investors are after that elusive Farmville rabbit, good luck with that. To accommodate the lesser power of mobile devises they are going for smaller rooms, rather than sprawling worlds, the very thing that killed Google’s Lively. So investor stupidity kills another idea with potential. We can only wait and see if BlueMars lands on its feet, but for now, another “SL killer” can be dismissed.

Good News for SL already.

We didn’t just get our group limits bumped up from 25 to 40, they went all the way to 42. (Thank DNA for the extra 2) Despite early reactionary reports to the contrary, it works fine with all viewers and is not some LL conspiracy to force you in to the LL2.X viewer space. (Worse thing you will see is hardcoded text stating 25 or 40 group limit with no effect on your ability to get up to 42)

New internetwork compression has cut sim crossings lag at least by half. Your inventory and worn prims are still the overall crossing limit, but you will sim cross in about half the time and far fewer failures as well.

Promised “Soon” are Viewer 2.5 with minor enhancements, New group chat system, and random grid infrastructure enhancements. Frustratingly, still no date on grid wide Mesh release.


  1. I don't know if SL would actually go up if Blue mars is going down, I feel that this years will be it's peak if nothing Super-exciting happens.
    In 2011 People want iPad-snappiness functionality, and SL is like 10 Years behind in that, mesh at least will bring it some "Video Game" Graphics Level, if they get the shadows and make it a bit less power consuming we're good to go up :)

  2. Hey Alvi,

    I'm going to partly agree with you here. I don't expect for SL to go up as BM is changing its focus. (the up down was more of a general statement that SL is indeed getting some promised improvements, BM future is pretty much anyones guess at this point.)

    Beyond that I don't think SL is 10 years away from going mobile, certainly by then all Mobile devices could handle SL out of the box. I have seen some interesting demos already, however most of them seem to be based around pre-rending the world and streaming frames up to the client. Unless rendering costs drop severely something like that will never be a free offering, and will only be available to people willing to pay for it. It will be interesting to see what BM solution is.