Inspiration: Putting the dog to sleep – The Antlers @ YouTube
I have been following the Second Life / Linden Lab Terms of Service debate quite closely. The fact they have expanded their remit far beyond what we, as creators, have ever contented with previously – has created a level of concern for me personally but combined with a pragmatic view – that surely this doesn’t mean “this” or “that”? Speculation has been in many mediums from forums through to bloggers. Recently a legal panel met and shared information which actually made it clearer (and more concerning!). Helping creators to understand the landscape in which we now operate when releasing our products onto the Second Life platform has been eye opening.
The reality is, are there alternatives for creators out there? To date, Second Life does not have competition that is in position to take their consumer base on board. There are some fledging offerings that do hold my interest however. Cloud Party is making good progress and is a vastly different offering to Second Life. They have talent onboard and there have been swift and well thought out developments, and some which need some tweaking. I personally struggle to navigate it (I use so many different keyboard hotkeys for modeling in programs, and with Second Life I seem to get finger confusion in Cloud Party!) but I like how it is moving along so I have started to now in earnest move products in to set up. I remember the first night logging on and Sam showing people around – it’s nice to see how it’s growing.
The other is Kitely. Now I was first put off (ok I admit this is naughty) by the design. The Logo looks a bit clipart and the website well….reminds me of a time in the 90s. However, it’s a surprising thing. Being based off Open Sim, the people behind it seem to have figured some key things out. (1) It has to be usable (2) it has to be easy and not expensive and (3) it has to work. I tested a mesh upload this week (after faffing with the viewers) and my account got a free region with a certain number of minutes a month (FREE!) No 1000 USD set up fee (which you would have to be smoking crack to think was value for money with Linden Lab). No 295 USD overhead for what effectively is rack space on a server (and overheads that don’t really support us as a customer effectively).
Now if I want people to visit me and expand etc there will be some costs involved – but in terms of immediate access and getting your thing going – there is no barrier to entry for a region. This is a great concept. The challenge for Kitely, in my opinion, is now getting the consumer on board and having a joined up community that supports it.
The Marketplace on Kitely, is actually pretty efficient, well designed and works well. I tested a little prefab this week and it took only a few minutes.
Kitely have also offered Second Life creators the opportunity to put inactive listings (or active if they want to sell!) on Marketplace (no cost) which is a keen commercial move in light of the TOS debacle ongoing. This gives content a home, and the owners are enthusiastic and seem to be growing into the roles and it’s creating a sense of trust and hope.
So where do we end up right now? For me I am trying new things. Second Life, I have taken the decision to still release the SL version of the product because (a) it has a limited shelf life for profit is a low poly copy of the detailed model anyway so it’s worth the money even under the new TOS; and (b) in the meantime I am exploring new options to expand my horizons.
I hope to see you in all worlds soon – and consumers come check them out because you know – options are good!!
(Image is a test clay render for a new Second Life Release for Collabor88 Nov).