Uccie↑ (hugs) reminded me about the Great Wall of China↑ and it seemed like a reasonable backdrop for today’s musings (with apologies to Douglas Adams↑). I reverted to my older format of photos and so, if you click on them to see the full size, just ignore any irritating black lines from the tiling bug. There are only so many battles an Intrepid Explorer can fight in one day.
My mind was full of the discussion Fleep↑ has re-ignited about the metaverse and the future of Second Life. This is far too large a topic for my brief posts but I’ll try and address my own frustrations.
Programmers and publicly held companies have something in common (apart from getting their new ‘product’ out there). They worry about today. In the case of coders it’s the progress they’ve made on their task. For the company it’s today’s stock price. Their horizons are limited by the way in which they are measured and in both cases those measurements involve the immediate bottom line.
If there isn’t a “bigger picture”, a future goal which involves a larger (I hate to use the word) “vision”, then nothing that is being done has a context apart from the immediate. If you were a large corporation which made its profit on camera film, and focused on that without having a strategy to deal with the “future”, you’d wind up failing↑.
If you are a group of excellent technical minds which focuses on the next tiny iteration to a whiz bang anything, you can find yourselves coding something that has lost its relevance.
If I wanted to go to Montreal from Halifax, and decided to drive there (6,122 km or 3,804 miles), I could use a TripTik↑. This would be a huge project so to make it manageable my days would be planned but, if I followed all of the individual maps, I would eventually arrive at my destination. However, along the way I’d only be able to see that day’s objective. The entire point of the details would be to arrive at my intended destination. I could keep my head down and focus on the minutiae but I would eventually achieve the bigger goal.
If I changed my mind in mid-trip, and decided Florida was preferred, I could change course – but then my maps would also change. I could measure my progress but, again, it would be measuring individual achievements within a greater context.
According to Wikipedia↑ the Metaverse is “our collective online shared space ….. including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet.” Before I can decide that Second Life should be either clung to or abandoned I want to know its intended future. What is the planned role for SL in the greater Metaverse.
I got incredibly frustrated a while back with a group of brilliant technical minds working on issues related to moving between worlds. The discussions were always at the bits & bytes level and there was no articulation of “the goal”. What would the virtual space look like – how would it work – how would all the elements relate to each other? How the hell do you know if what you’re doing moves you in the right direction if you don’t know where you’re going?
I get really annoyed every time I read that the “solution” is point & click, or removing god powers, or mesh. Nothing is a “solution” if there is no context. Today’s concurrency numbers are not context.
Somewhere, somebody in Linden Lab must know the greater plan – one which extends beyond next month or the next iteration of a fast track development process. That’s what I want to see – and until I do I have no way of making decisions about my own place in this world. If it doesn’t exist then, yes, we’re screwed.
Second Life, the Metaverse and we residents deserve a future – but don’t tell me that a little bit of your favourite code or a new distribution channel is the answer. Show me the bigger picture and how your solution, whatever it is, moves us in that direction.