– Ready Player One and how LL could improve SL –

So i just watched Ready Player one and it was a pretty fun movie, Its about this huge virtual reality MMO game like SL mixed with SAO and this generic main protagonist looking dude and his wacky friends trying to solve puzzles and get 3 keys to unlock some shit and win the ownership of the game world itself. While the evil EA corporation is throwing money into focus groups trying to solve the puzzle themselves to gain control of the game and shit it up with their loot boxes and micro transactions.
I dont get why nerds hate this movie so much because this movie is like every nerd’s wet dream, like i understand there were some really cringy geek out moments that felt really forced like that part where they were talking about golden eye on nintendo64. But its still a very enjoyable and surprisingly solid movie.
What kinda disappointed was that there were a bunch of big missed opportunity moments, like they could have made the main chick turn out to be a dude IRL, you know just like girl avatars are in real videogames. I think they kinda sort of wanted to do that but it would have offended all the good god loving christian folks in american and their dumb sensibilities, because in american folklore, the hero has to get the girl and all that cheesy shit and if there is no girl to get or the hero gets the guy, you will have a bunch of pissed off old people going all HURR MUH FAMILY VALUES HAVE BEEN SHATTERED BY THIS MOVIE!!!, so instead *spoilers* they made that big cyborg dude turn out to be an ugly fat chick IRL because that wont offend anyone.*spoilers*
As for the main girl, when she said “you wont like me irl, im ugly” i expected her to be, i dunno, at least chubby or something, but no she looks just as hot irl as her avatar, its really lame how safe they are trying to play even in places where they dont need to, no one would have minded her actually turning out not looking like a supermodel IRL.
Now for avatars themselves, it didnt lack variety in that department, there were all kinds of avatars, robots, elfs, orcs, pizza wizards and even fucking furriers, but not a single anime girl anywhere, have they not heard about VR chat? You can literally be anything you want in that game, but anime is off the table, so fuck you. Which is even more strange considering they had a gundam and the bike from akira and all that anime stuff in it.
Another missed opportunity is by nintendo itself for not licensing their characters to the movie, there was no iconic nintendo characters like mario with his blue and red overalls, red hat and mustache or metroid in his yellow armor with big round shoulders and green arm cannon or zelda with his pointy ears and green hat and sword or a single pokemen reference. Nintendo, if you want to still be relevant in the future, you should jump on opportunities like this nerd wankfest of a movie, you are a huge part of nerd culture and you have probably shaped the history of gaming more than anything else they showed in it, yet other than that cringy goldeneye reference, its like you never even existed, they could at least made the main hero wear the powerglove or something, but well i guess its true what they say, genesis does what nintendont. It was also strange to not see any storm troopers or darth vaders, although they did throw in a shit ton of verbal references to star trek like the millennium falcon and captain spock’s famous phrase “may the force be with you”  so i guess thats ok.

Its kind of ironic how all thsoe copyrighted characters in the movie mirror all the copyright infringment and game model rips on second life.
Oh yeah there were also some inconsistency with the time line by like 20 years, when JD Halliday played atari as a kid, we already had playstations by then.

Anyway, this movie is like second life and sword art online had a baby, It was a very fun and filled with fun pop corn munching action and, pop cullture references and tracer’s ass. I recomend seeing it, just dont watch it in 3D cuz it just makes it as hard to watch and recognize all the characters as a crappy low quality cam rip on the web

– Mesh bakes, reduced sim costs and my idea for SL –

Now speaking of swords art online and second life having a baby, you probably already heard the news but Linden labs are rolling out a bunch of new changes to SL. One of them is a new mesh feature that will allow loading LL avatar textures onto mesh objects, this is a big thing because now you will no longer need deal with tons of confusing applier systems just to load your skins or clothing layers onto your normie mesh bodies, you will be able to wear your LL skins, tattoos, alphas, on your mesh bodies straight from your inventory. How exactly it will work i do not yet know but if you are wondering if im going to implement that into any of my stuff, the answer is very yes!.

Another somewhat great news is that they are lowering the sim costs on mainalnd and moving the grid into a cloud based network, witch i think is a step in to the right direction that they should have taken ages ago. I say somehwat because lets face it, the 10% cost reduction is meaningless when sims still cost hundreads of dollars a month, no ones going to flock to mainland because its still way out of reach financially for most normal people, especially when you compare it to the monthly cost of running a game server witch is 40$. But i do hope that moving to the cloud will help them cut the costs enough for them to be able to lower the sim prices even more.

But if was LL, heres what i would have done in the first place:
Instead of throwing all my money and resources into dead end projects like desura, patterns and sansar, i would instead direct those resources into making SL a streamlined MMO game platform. Redo systems like character movement, vehicle system, combat, IK, pathfinding and AI, make it all work like in a real videogame.
Next step would be redoing the sim software to allow sim scalability so that you wouldnt be confined to 250×250 cube ion the middle of the sea, and price land based on scale.
Lets say a small island sized as 1/4 of our current sim sizes would cost you 15$ or whatever subscription fee premium users pay in MMO games.
Bigger plot of land for commercial purposes like shopping malls or small indie game projects would go from 40$ to 100$
And than we would have huge plots of land for big game companies to create their own MMO titles with a huge open worlds the size of games like skyrim or farcry, building their MMO experiences on top of the infrastructure provided by LL, it would go from 300$ to 1000$ or even more if the game is as massive as WOW.

So yeah that’s all.

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12 Responses to – Ready Player One and how LL could improve SL –

  1. Tomosuke says:

    I wouldn’t call your ideas pipe dreams, they are obtainable. Just very ambitious. The question is: Linden Labs willing and committed enough to take on said ideas?

    From my understanding Linden Labs tend to want to hold on to things that hinders the growth of the platform and content creators always have to do some odd work around. That in itself may stop lots of designers and artists from using Second Life in general. But I only know so much from what I gather from speaking with different individuals.

    Ready Player One… I’m not getting into that. (I’m glad you liked it though.)

  2. Thermalpulse Resident says:

    TL;DR: I’m split on this and listing my thoughts on SL’s improvements for all the internet to argue at.

    -THE AGAINST-

    While I LOVE the idea of SL becoming more video game-like because that would be AWESOME… It isn’t possible without a total engine overhaul. It would require deliberately breaking nearly every script we currently have and completely redesigning SL’s LSL from scratch for both faster performance and more stable execution with an overall lower weight- on top of this, SL would need to be able to handle much, much heftier weights which would require massive optimization in categories such as Alpha Blending, Mipmapping, and LOD generation to keep performance stable for users and somewhat more simple on the servers themselves.

    The sim size is a hard limitation of the system itself and changing this would break literally every sim currently in existence and mapping multi-sized sims would be a costly hassle. They would need some form of re-arranging program to move sims of 1/4 size, 1/2 size, 1x size, 2x size, and 4x size into nice, orderly formations and then lock those sims firmly in place to prevent issues with resizing sims over other sims. This would make larger sims far more expensive and scarce, obviously, but that is the only considerable way of pulling this off- which once again requires a complete overhaul of SL.

    The problem with all of this is mainly the users themselves. While you, I, and pretty much everyone who reads this blog will go “Hell yeah! I want that!”, not everyone’s so eager to see that change. Whether it be for the benefit of their businesses like Omega (mesh bakes are already gonna ruin them eventually) or less talented creators and purists who’ve been on SL for nearly a decade or more, the people will rise in dissatisfaction of what the new SL would become.

    Not to mention, costs for this project would be extreme and the time it would take for LL with all their “talented” and talented workforce would be huge. Think about how big a budget Sansar had, how many people were working on it, and how long it took for Sansar to be ready for the public. Even then, Sansar is still kinda a piece of garbo with barely more than a run button and a clunky teleport system. We’re talking years of work, and for most of it they would probably have to shut down SL altogether to work on this or once again have to purchase brand new test servers to build on. Hell, maybe that’s what they’re -actually- doing by moving everything to the cloud.

    Their motivation for SL is already paled in comparison to their game’s creators and it’s bad enough the shit they get when they try to make things better and accidentally make some things worse by accident. For instance, the latest bug-fixing update broke our ability to game the Prim Media system and use it for storage, which in-turn broke the most ambitious game on SL: GoThongs. In order to get this future, we would need to campaign, make petitions, “convince” most of the player base and especially the big-name businesses to agree to the changes, and finally fund a Kickstarter/GoFundMe/Patreon (More than likely Kickstarter) for LL to have the money to bring this about. Speak with our actions instead of our words.

    -THE FOR-

    Video games are near and dear to my heart, and I’ve spent the better part of the past five years scouring SL for any sign of interesting “games”. While these have only ever gotten better with time, so too have they shrunk in number. If we rebuild SL, we can have a truly beautiful and extremely profitable game literally capable of being anything and having the world’s greatest character creation while not being limited by a rating system. It would blow everything else out of the water- Roblox, VR Chat, Sansar, High Fidelity… They would all be powerless to stop an SL capable of running game engines within itself.

    Let’s start with the most important subject- combat. Combat is the bread and butter of the video game world, and it’s the centerpiece in nearly all games today- whether it be through puzzles, platforming, shooting, or good ‘ol button mashing, combat is a hefty part of the day-to-day for gamers. Combat should be 100% script-based as it is, but with those scripts being far more powerful than ever. What I mean is scripts should be able to overwrite your controls and camera view, much like SL’s Experiences. Running with Shift, activations with E, third-person mouse-look toggleable with CTRL, replacing the LMB with an attack, the works. This would require more than just new scripts, however. Some of you may be aware of how SL handles where your “avatar” currently is. To the system, you’re a giant, immovable cube box that can’t be resized or rotated, disallowing you to crawl under objects or dodge bullets because your arm was ten feet away from your hit-box. The way SL handles animations would have to change. One would have to be able to resize, rotate, and move the player box for various functionalities like having i-frames during certain frames of an animation. Having solved these two things, there would only be one huge problem with implementing combat: customizable controls. It isn’t enough to have scripts overwrite your current control scheme for a game, you need to be able to customize the basic keybinds as well. Having E for jumping is weird as it is when Space is seemingly used for nothing but lock position, which could be moved to Alt. Many are used to the current scheme, which is why they should be fully customizable.

    Next stop, pathfinding and AI. LL is already doing what they can for this and began work on the Animesh project, a new function to allow mesh to be rezzed in-world and be capable of handling animation with its own skeleton. One can be equipped per avatar, allowing for an extension to the Bento skeleton and things like animated hair, extra limbs, penises, pets, sex dolls. Problem is one Animesh object is 200 prims added to the cost of the actual mesh. They’re working to reduce and optimize Animesh but our 12-year-old engine is starting to see some hard limits that adding new code simply can’t fix. No news on actually re-writing pathfinding, but with Animesh on the way, they’ll have to. It will be in bigger demand than ever to be able to have Animesh pathfind correctly, since there’s no point in having pretty, animated NPCs if they keep running into walls! For this, I would like to recommend player-created pathfinding pathways complete with terrain overrides to allow objects to pathfind through walls and the base LL sim ground (for ghosts and mountainous regions alike!) AI as-is is player-made which I believe, converse to everything thus far, should be something made by LL. Simply put, having a core, basic AI to customize and work with is far, far better than having people script their own. This way new players of a sim are instantly familiar with how to deal with the NPCs of their new hangout, and making games in SL doesn’t have such a large skill cap. Edge detection needs a serious rework as well.

    -Did I forget to mention we should be capable of putting sim water where ever we damn well feel like? I mean, sure, swimming could be handled by a floating script, the idea in the next paragraph, but it would be so much cleaner to be able to adjust and move sim water on floating islands without sinking everything beneath it. Or using the water-reflection texture and applying it to prims to make mirrors.

    Lastly, I want to touch on script storage. As-is, scripts are forced into objects to run, and they only have control over that singular object. Instead of this, scripts should be storable within the sim itself, having said script linkable to several objects. No more 200MB script weight on your sim because you have half a billion fancy doors! On top of this, these scripts should be able to alter the avatar and rezzed objects at-will, much like RLV, but without the hard inventory limitation. This would allow immersive grabbing of objects, or pushing blocks for those infamous Zelda block puzzles, as well as allowing ladders to -actually- function without needing to sit on them or walk up them like some kinda tightrope master. This part is probably the most likely and possible of everything I want for SL so far, and there really is no reason why they can’t put this in. It would be an optional sim feature, so it couldn’t break anything too badly and really would just improve the experience. It would greatly reduce lag in sims that use it correctly, as well. Let’s face it, it would be Experiences but a thousand times better.

    -IN CONCLUSION-

    All of this is completely possible, but not without massive sacrifice and effort. On both us and LL. This would truly be a passion project, and something we could only hope would come out the way we want it to. We would need to raise millions, have everyone OK this, and have an enormous amount of patience. They would have to rebuild SL from the ground up with stronger script, optimization, and AI support with every intention of allowing users to customize every part of their experience. Perhaps this is what they wanted for Sansar initially and realized it was just too ambitious. Worst of all, while I preach all this good shit of what SL could be… it’s not like I’m on it long enough to actually show that I mean it. A lot of people with a passion for changing SL would likely not even be avid users who are on constantly. One could argue that’s why the change is necessary, but who are we to say it needs change when so many are happy with SL just the way it is? I don’t plan to claim my views, or the views of those I admire should go above all else- changing SL is a pipe dream without first changing the hearts of the many to see the viewpoints of the few.

    P.S. – Sorry, not sorry for this long winded, disgusting post on personal views for the detriments and possibilities of all this. Bring it on, break my argument down! Mwa-ha-haa!

    P.S.S – If this post gets approved and subsequently you actually read the whole darned thing, you are one hell of a cool person to be able to handle that much incessant, rant-like reading in this small a sitting. Good on you!

    • for the cons

      It doesnt have to break every script, it could just run side by side, just like regular LSL and mono does now, for sim size, i dont see why this would need to break every sim either, just keep it the same size unless the owner wants to increase or decrease the size, also i was talking more about the isolated middle of the sea sims, not mainland, mainland could just all be merged into one big sim, multi sim places like insilico could also just be merged.

      As for stubborn old fags that refuse to move with the times, ill say what i always say when LL implements something new and oldfags start complaining “well just fuck them, they can just uninstall or go to open sim if they dont like it (they wont lol)” Like when LL implemented mesh, every old prim and sculpt creator treated it like the end of the world, giving excuses for being too lazy to learn new things. And if youre going to say, well what if they leave, whos going to play SL, all the new gamers that it would attract once sl stopped being a dumpster fire it is now, they just need to rename it to something less cringy as second life and make some deals with MMO companies to make their games on this new platform and lots of curious new blood will come into the system.

      It will be a big undertaking, but with desura’s, pattern’s and sansar’s budgets combined, they can pull it off, also with sansar they wasted all that money on hiring professional artists to create content, but they forgot to create the game itself and thats why sansar is literally nothing right now, if instead they spent that money to hire coders to redo some of the systems in SL, it would have been a better investment.

      for the pros

      I think putting all the work onto scripts is a very bad idea, scripts are the main problem why sl combat is so wonky and inconsistent, everything relies on scripts instead of functions built into the viewer, because those functions just suck ass and users would rather script their own systems, but than you have a million scripts running and the server trying execute all those player scripts just chokes on them, making animations, sounds, alphas, movement go out of sync, and than you got latency issues on top of it all, like best example is driving a car on the mainland, how delayed the turn is and how its rubberbanding back and forward and slows down and goes fast again or drives off into the distance. A game server is not supposed to run these things, it is only supposed to handle user connections and transferring data from client to client, the client itself is where all this should be running shit like huds and weapons and all the other stuff. Imagine how much sim performance would improve if every person ran his own hud on their client instead of everyone throwing all that shit at the sim, so my idea is, there needs to be a built in client side functionality for these things but highly customizable using scripts and alongside it also allow players to create their own client side functions from scratch using scripts, the bottom line is, the client should be handling the scripting of the user, not the server.

      For animesh being 200LI, it has nothing to do with the engine being old and them adding new code, its just they are afraid to repeat the mistakes they did with mesh by not setting hard limits on what users can upload and stuff, the 200Li is a temporary limit, what they are afraid of is that animesh objects will be abused the same way people abuse avatars right now, attach 9438759843 lag inducing trinkets to them and going overboard with the polygon count whille using exploits to circumvent the render weight.

      And yeah the sim water idea is good, like maybe have different block types when building, a prim block could be either a water block or solid block.

      For scripts, like i said there should not be any player scripts running in the sim at all, well, there should only be scripts required to run the experience itself, so like you said, scripts like puzzles or scripted npcs and events, tracking score, while things like the combat system would instead get sent to the client and ran there, so everyone runs their own sword client side instead of the sim having to run everyone’s swords on top of trying to handle connections and data transfers.

      • Ann says:

        anyone any link about what LL broke with gothongs, would be interested to read in more detail about exactly what they changed and what stopped working.

        anway the texture api seems interesting, depending on how its done could maybe it could replace omega/av2/kemono hud/applier system and even be used to load texture mods onto mesh clothes, no more texture huds! :O hopes are high!
        (maybe it can load materials too?)

        more on texture api, was mentioned in the past that if LL did have a skin loading api avatar 2.0 may finally be getting LLUV, this idea already in the works? and if the body were to get LLUV what would happen to the m3a2? still have its own uv map still or possible to map the head to LLUV too?

        “All of this is completely possible, but not without massive sacrifice and effort. On both us and LL”

        I could easily half ass something on sim size, how about rotate one of the directional axis of a sim? would give a 256 tall sim that will go 4000 across. this might even be doable to an extent client side using scripts long as you don’t mind the skybox being the wrong way around and having no water/terrain and a wonky camera, (maybe not on the mainland)

        anyways got a few other ideas.

        1/talking about putting water everywhere, would be nice to put sky anywhere? Would like to load a texture on the border walls of my parcel and have it parallax like real (fake) sky does! this is a simple effect that has been around in games since doom! (1993) would help immersion greatly for people that can only afford to live tiny boxes in the sky!

        2/I think given recent events with hippo, Linden should maybe look into adding a redeliver button onto the market, the information/database already exists (order history) to allow them to add a button to resend past purchases! so why not? maybe I’m missing something obvious? seems like a no-brainier and is not difficult to add at all.

        “all the new gamers that it would attract once sl stopped being a dumpster fire it is now, they just need to rename it to something less cringy as second life”
        I originally avoided SL because I didn’t like the name, I only later joined after seeing videos of some really cool rp sim people had had made,the video included kemono stuff although I didn’t realize until re-watching it much later.

        anyways was interesting read Thanks

      • Jenny Gee says:

        Why wouldn’t they just update the engine?

        The way I see it now seems to be them trying to add blocks to a Jenga tower that should have toppled ages ago.

        I don’t think there’s any future for SL unless they completely overhaul it sooner rather than later. Part of that should be changing the engine or completely rewriting the current one to 2018 standards. There might be a need for a SL2 for this to happen, but it is what it is.

      • cuz LL doesnt know whats good for them

  3. Hey Ann, I do have an LLUV version of avatar 2.0 in mind that i might do later on if i can figure out what to do with the seam in the middle. The sky surface type is a neat idea, the redeliver button too, i dont get why there isnt one already, its such a nobrainer, and yes the name second life is why i didnt wanna play this game at first till i saw a grieffer website with screenshots of what they do on sl, it looekd fun so i gave it a try.

  4. Ruby says:

    Well, it was the Ready Player One novel that got me back on SL out or nostalgia… Still got to see the movie though.

  5. Jenny Gee says:

    If I was LL what I would have done ages ago is paid you in order to make Kemono and/or Avatar 2.0 the default LL bodies. My deal would be that you’d retain complete creative freedom to continue working on them at your own pace in your own way. The only difference is you would be paid largish amounts to support your work and kemono and/or Avatar 2.0 would be default options for SL.

  6. I’ve been preaching this stuff for years, SL needs a plethora of updates to its user interaction and game design, but unfortunately I don’t think it will ever happen, because all they are interested it is making money for their shareholders, and the people in charge don’t see the correlation between [better controls+bigger sims+smoother gameplay] and [more money]

    • I’ve actually been working on my own sort of metaverse type game where users can create a highly customize-able avatar, but the main mechanic will be creating custom inputs/control schemes using a node graph to make calculations and filters to the input, and applying those modified numbers to camera and character movement.

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