Okay, time for my 'blog's first installment of Technology Predictions! Hooray~!
In this segment, I'll be examining new features in Second Life, and making predictions of how I believe technology in SL will develop, and cite some products that may emerge. So without further ado ...
Simulator Performance Improvements
Well, Preview testing shows sims can now handle up to 100 avatars. That's certainly exciting, since it's more than doubling the current standard of 40. I was excited when 1.6 came out, and frame rate per AV was greatly improved for high-AV situations, and it's great to see further capability of meetings. This is the biggest change to SL in 1.7, so I'll discuss it in length, first.
The 40 limit is a big time limit. Now, it's not really a limit for the average event, although my compadre Jerry Paffendorf has been consistently running 50+ avatar events for his future salons. Big time galas like Avalon's SL Film Festival easy can draw 100+ AVs. (If you're oldbie enough to recall, when Avalon first opened in 1.2 as the first private island, the event was absolutely packed to the prim ... err ... brim.)
So these big events now don't need to do the "sim corner" deal to work out now. That's a huge plus. (And I suppose now the 4-sim corner standard will be used for 400 AV events ... scary thought!)
But the real winners are ... people who don't hold events at all.
If the logic isn't apparent, consider Da Boom. Da Boom is the oldest sim in SL. Many oldbie residents owned land there. Sometime in late 2004 / early 2005, a giant Clubsinomall moved in. Being the closest Clubsinomall to the Welcome Area, it was popular, despite enormous lag of any Clubsinomall, though far from the worst. Now the Clubsinomall has a right to its land, and the oldbie owners have a right to their land, for sure. Unfortunately, numbers are king when it comes to lag, and so the overwhelming majority of residents of Da Boom moved out, and some left a shop in their wake to take advantage of the club's dwell ... err ... traffic. :)
Now, cut back to 1.7. Now the club can run comfortably at its current levels, and the concept of having a house in Da Boom and being able to say ... walk around without massive lag ... is a possibility again. No longer will small landowners be put out by the arrival of a Clubsinomall (or more fearsome, the Tringo-Clubsinomall) and its traffic. Of course, they'll still lose their privacy, but really, that was an illusion in the first place.
Eight HUD Attachment Points
The HUD is much cooler than I had originally surmised. For those out of the loop, the new HUD attachment points supplement an avatar's other attachments spots. The difference is that the HUD attachment shows up only on that AV's user's screen, as if it were part of the User Interface. The result is you can have tachometers, ammo counts, health, yadda yadda.
These will allow more tools for gaming, and will let people add new buttons that you can press to interact with your attachments or stuff around you. A list of predicted inventions:
- Dance machine where you click the HUD to choose your dance
- Easy to switch Animation Overrides
- Combat systems that come with guns (I know I plan to add this to my Ronin line of weapons, and I heard Crystalshard Foo talking about adding it to her combat module.)
- Vehicle controls
- Voice commands of attachments migrating to touch -> dialog menus. (Such as bling on / off.)
However, as cool as these are, they will require open channels of chat to interact with other objects, and we won't have the full capability of the HUD until Linden Lab releases direct Object to Object communication, which Cory Linden swears is sitting on his desktop waiting for some tweaking. (Big announcement from SLCC '05)
llSetPos, llSetRot, llTargetOmega, llSetPrimParams Support for Attachments
This will be the biggest change in 1.7, as far as "stuff for sale" goes. Basically it means you can now have moving attachments. The variety of items I foresee is simply too long to list, but a sample:
- Locket jewelry that can be opened and closed on touch
- Beanie hats with spinny propellers
- Those staff weapons from Stargate SG1 being animated to open up.
- Gun recoil (obligatory plug for my Ronin weapons goes here)
- Retractable metal claws (But absolutely not Wolverine's adamantium claws, right Marvel?)
- Velcro shoes that you can fasten and unfasten. SCRRRRIITTCH! Who wouldn't?
- Helmets that you can slide the visor up and down
- Oh, and last but definitely far from least prolific - muchos furry avatar improvements - expect spinning tails, real blinking eyelids, wavy hair, grinning prim-faces, and ...
- (holding in my laughter here) ... um ... adult attachments ... that can move
I'd better end this list while I'm ahead!
Full Bright Objects
I think it will take some time for people to convert their light objects to Full Bright, but I think the end result will be a more careful use of light objects, and people may be able to turn back on local lighting without the fear of ultra-laggy rendering or worse - crashing.
Improved World Map
It looks like LL took a snippet of their 2.0 renderer and applied it to work with their map renderer. The new maps look so gorgeous - an unexpected treat of 1.7's release.
I am encouraging LL to make the map images public - so they can be linked to online or as textures in SL - and we will see them used in gaming, searching, and tourist guides.
Negative Ratings: Gone
Finally. Ratings are dying anyway - as LL has been reducing stipends, and continues to tout that a new system is coming. I'm glad, for one, that they are taking their time and being very active in discussing ideas with the SL community at large.
In any event, I think there's room for a "Hey, watch out for this nasty AV" site, but honestly I don't see anyone doing it for money reasons, unless they are on some vendetta.
Don't overlook this feature! I, for one, am planning on updating my vendor kit to allow a "package" to be filled by an item in a vendor, then price set for sale dynamically. Or imagine a universal delivery system where you keep a package of a particular store on your land, and contents are delivered, price set, and you Buy Contents.
Another vendor upgrade. I can now have my vendor just scan through all items, check the type, and act on it appropriately.
So that's the predictions. I'm still holding my breath for:
- Object to object direct / secure communication
- Tree-based linking
But this patch is pretty cool.