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Reader Comments (6)

Posted: Nov 4th 2008 9:51PM (Unverified) said

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There is some even earlier history:

Even before the Lindens openly "packaged" the 4 sims and sold them as such, earlier in 2006, the Lindens allowed Adam Zaius to use the void sims, as they were called then, to construct water bridges on his rentals continent of Azure Islands. Anshe noticed that he had these void sims with less prims and demanded that the Lindens enable her to have them, too. Under pressure, the Lindens then finally made them available to the general public.

This is a strange statement, "Later in March 2008, the performance of void simulators was reportedly impaired by the deployment of Havok 4 physics."

I think there are others who would contradict this completely. For example Desmond Shang and other continent owners were allowed to test Havoc 4 on their islands, including void sims. In fact, they found that the testing showed they could handle the stress. The Lindens chose some land barons as testers, and after completion of this testing, far from finding them as "impaired," they found them as functioning so well that they doubled the prims on them and began to sell them as a hyped product.

It's not the freezing of the mainland that caused the run to void or OS sims; that freeze in July -- just the opposition --was caused by the previous popularity
of the OS sims starting in March. They sold so many of them (13,000) that it had a dramatic impact on both private island rentals and mainland sales and rentals, both of which were severely depressed by the OS sales.

The Lindens provided a feature on the OS sims that they did not have on regular private islands, which was the ability to designate a payor to LL, so that customers could pay LL tier, and thus have LL terminate them for failure to pay tier, ending the constant problems island owners had with customers who failed to pay on time, or failed to understand what tier was, that it was required in addition to a purchase price. By being able to designate a payor different than the owner, OS speculators could buy up 100 sims, sell them for slightly above cost, have tier paid to LL, and do little or nothing to manage them as the renters could be given full estate perms even to change textures, terraform, make sim-wide bans, etc.

So you have gotten a number of issues in this history significantly wrong.

Posted: Nov 4th 2008 10:17PM (Unverified) said

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From what I'm hearing from my friends who rent Openspace sims, demand is "elastic." Many of them are trading their sims for smaller parcels within other Openspace sims. This would give them a similar rent payment but with less area and fewer prims.

Not exactly Moore's Law. *sigh*

Posted: Nov 5th 2008 12:56AM (Unverified) said

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Prokofy, just a couple of quibbles with your revision.

I was renting an openspace a couple of months before the release that contained Havok 4, and I know they had already doubled the prim allowance, since that is why I moved from my quarter sim in the first place. Secondly, I have made if very clear in previous posts that I was not blaming Havok 4 per se, just stating that the release that contained that code is the same one that brought the cyclical time dilation problem...a fact easy to look up on the JIRA..unless you believe that somehow the dates have been gamed. It is quite easy, as has been done here, to confuse the fact that it was the (or a) Havok 4 release with that being the problem. Until I hear differently, I cannot say one way or another what it was in that release (and continues to be in every release since) that is causing the problem.

The second part of your post I think I would probably agree with time wise. I quite suspect that it was the huge increase in void sales that likely slowed mainland increases.

Posted: Nov 5th 2008 1:09AM (Unverified) said

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I just remembered though...that there was a problem brought on by Havok 4...which closely resembled the cyclical time dilation one...that was fixed very quickly..within the next couple of releases..which in fact was masking the current problem, which has never been addressed...so, technically, the article is correct. The one admittedly attributed to Havok 4 though, was repaired.

Posted: Nov 5th 2008 6:32AM (Unverified) said

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no matter how you slice it, the core is the core...so whether it is 4 voids or 1 full sim the "costs" to LL are the same. What they are saying is that this product maybe be more "valuable" to users and now they want to "jack-up" the pricing.

It's like Dell coming to your house and saying...hmm you are more productive so let's charge you again for your pc. At least Microsoft renames the software and puts it in a shiny box before they make you pay again for something. (Use openoffice btw!).

We had voids at 1750 prims and then one day they were up to 3750. No one ever told us how to use them. In fact, it had been my impression that LL always encouraged people to push limits of their stuff to see where it would break--cause SL is still a beta offering and we were all in this together. Guess dem days are over.

Because the voids were used "lightly" we actually found that the performance within the void to be comparable to a full sim for up to 20-30 avatars. You can't hammer physics too hard or run a lot of scripting. Big drop in performance is when lots of people (40-50) hit the sim at the same time. But how often does that happen? We were planning to create more art experiences (like Viva La Vida, Rezzable Visions, Greenies Lawn) using these. And since when does LL care about how laggy an event is?

There is no way it makes sense to pay the new pricing. We have already combined our voids back into full sims. Sims now go up very high 4000m++, so you can use the vertical layers more effectively to create the same thing you had on 4 voids. Ok, so no water on the higher layers, but is that worth almost 2x cost of prims/month--nope. Keeping a void at the new pricing will be a badge of dopiness and suckerdom.

What is perplexing about this move by LL is that there are 32,000 regions and only 500,000 active users and from a macro-level there is tons of surplus capacity. Kingdon bangs his chest over how much money LL is making and how "picture-perfect" their balance sheet is. So why drill into such a micro-issue? Even LL admits that all 13,000 voids are not being "abused"--so what is it then? 2,000 of these?

And what really is the impact on the SL residents at large--only impact would be when the sims lag (and the full sims are much worse btw in total number of lagged out sims). When a void crashes it only blows out the users sessions for the people there. So claiming this move helps all of us is spin and insulting lip-service.

Tat, what you should also include in your history is that the grid has "grown in land mass" significantly in the last 6 months--largely due to the voids. I think it has been a giant charade. On one hand the voids are the same cores and on the other the voids are fewer aggregate prims so in fact the grid is less dense in terms of content. So now LL is in a real jam when all the voids either get abandoned or flipped back into fulls. Their land mass will dramatically shrink. But don't expect to see any statistics on that and don't expect visibility on the grid growth either. LL seems to have stopped updating their statistics page except for log-on info.

Also don't forget that this move will change also the sweetheart deals that the old-timers had. Some of them have voids at $25/month. Hard to see how they can adjust and this will be reason for them to drop those sims. What will be impact on ACS? No idea, but seems like it should be pretty significant.

Some people may not be aware that they are getting over-charged on the voids in January, but it is hard to see that LL will get much of the $650,000 month possible uplift--more like $100,000 (2,000 x 50), but I think they will loose at lot of full sim equivalents in the process as well as premiums and classified revenues.

My take is that there are some very serious scaling issues on the SL platform and some of the LL techs are freaking out. Also there is a major conflict of interest in trying to be a real virtual worlds service platform and also trying to be a Mainland landbaron. We are all caught in the cross-fire on this.

Finally there is an appalling lack of consideration for the customers, users of SL (unless you want to be treated they same way in which cigarette companies treat their customers).

Posted: Nov 5th 2008 6:07PM (Unverified) said

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this probably would be worth at least a comment from some of the authors here in Massively

ps:would it be possible to you guys modify the layout of Massively to include your email addresses or some other means to reach you guys without logging into SL? (besides posting comments on possibly unrelated blog entries)

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