M Linden comments about SL Viewer 2.0


M Linden commented today on the unofficial Second Life Effects blog talking about Viewer 2.0. The new Second Life viewer 2.0 will be out in “public beta soon” which is a “enormously complex redesign effort” by Linden Lab. M Linden says “there is still work to do, but it is a big step forward”. Then he finishes his comment with “Soon we’ll have Viewer 2.0 out. By mid year you’ll see a materially improved “first hour” experience for new Residents”. We are going for “Delight.” 🙂

From the latest I have been hearing viewer 2.0 should be released in the first quarter of 2010 and there will be new details soon released on the official second life blog shortly. I have created a new section on my SL Wiki userpage called Viewer 2.0 Updates so you may be interested in checking that out. When more information comes out I will publish it here on my blog.

Great post ArminasX! The first thing I did when I joined the Lab was to count the top-level menu items. I came up with a similar figure. In Viewer 2.0, I can tell you that the top level menus will have a fraction of the menu items you’ll find in 1.23…even fewer than Firefox (according to my quick tally)!

We are not eliminating functionality, but we are re-organizing it. The menus in 1.23 are a bit like a game of “Find the thing that doesn’t belong.” Here’s one…in the View menu (arguably the worst) you have a cluster that includes Local Chat, Communicate, Inventory, Active Speakers, Mute List. What is Inventory doing in that cluster? You got me.

Communicate controls are found in three different menu areas in 1.23 and some choices are duplicated.

This is an enormously complex redesign effort. The new viewer — which will be out in public beta soon — is the first major step in the journey to a natural and intuitive experience.

We’re reorganizing and in doing so simplifying. I don’t see it as dumbing down. In fact, I think we are doing the opposite. We are letting good and smart interface design do some of the hard work Residents have had to do to climb the learning curve in the past. The learning curve in SL is too steep today. It is a barrier to creativity and innovation. Imagine the great creative spirits we’ve lost because they were stymied by the interface in their first days/weeks/months.

I use Viewer 2.0 now and the transition was easy. Most everything is there and it’s where you’d intuitively expect it to be. It’s not perfect, and there is still work to do, but it is a big step forward.

Soon we’ll have Viewer 2.0 out. By mid year you’ll see a materially improved “first hour” experience for new Residents. We are going for “Delight.” 🙂

Happy New Year!

M Linden

m said…
Great post ArminasX! The first thing I did when I joined the Lab was to count the top-level menu items. I came up with a similar figure. In Viewer 2.0, I can tell you that the top level menus will have a fraction of the menu items you’ll find in 1.23…even fewer than Firefox (according to my quick tally)!

We are not eliminating functionality, but we are re-organizing it. The menus in 1.23 are a bit like a game of “Find the thing that doesn’t belong.” Here’s one…in the View menu (arguably the worst) you have a cluster that includes Local Chat, Communicate, Inventory, Active Speakers, Mute List. What is Inventory doing in that cluster? You got me.

Communicate controls are found in three different menu areas in 1.23 and some choices are duplicated.

This is an enormously complex redesign effort. The new viewer — which will be out in public beta soon — is the first major step in the journey to a natural and intuitive experience.

We’re reorganizing and in doing so simplifying. I don’t see it as dumbing down. In fact, I think we are doing the opposite. We are letting good and smart interface design do some of the hard work Residents have had to do to climb the learning curve in the past. The learning curve in SL is too steep today. It is a barrier to creativity and innovation. Imagine the great creative spirits we’ve lost because they were stymied by the interface in their first days/weeks/months.

I use Viewer 2.0 now and the transition was easy. Most everything is there and it’s where you’d intuitively expect it to be. It’s not perfect, and there is still work to do, but it is a big step forward.

Soon we’ll have Viewer 2.0 out. By mid year you’ll see a materially improved “first hour” experience for new Residents. We are going for “Delight.” 🙂

Happy New Year!

M Linden

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8 thoughts on “M Linden comments about SL Viewer 2.0

  1. mmmmmm…..and imagine the great creative spirits you might lose by this new viewer designed only to delight newcomers, not long term users.
    ‘Most everything is there’??? What’s missing?
    A business has to worry not only about pleasing new customers but about keeping it’s current customers.

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  2. I sincerely hope “Viewer 2.0” corrects the mistake of not showing an avatar’s height in the viewer window. Seems like a small thing, but that tiny oversight resulted in several far reaching problems.

    Because avatars are commonly 7-8′ tall, buildings, vehicles, etcetera are all typically at least double-sized.

    I also hope the new viewer brings camera placement improvements. The current camera placement contributes to buildings in SL being even more oversized than the avatars, and is extremely detrimental to immersion. I made myself a HUD that moves the SL camera to a better position ( think Fallout 3 or Resident Evil 4) and began sharing it with other residents. People love it, good camera placement really changes your perception of SL.

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  3. @Daniel
    There aren’t too many in-world examples of it unfortunately, but try checking out the sim Doomed Ship and seeing just how large a sim can seem when even only making the absolute minimum concessions for oversized avatar height and SL’s camera placement. Once your good and lost take a moment to realize the build there is still only half a sim in size. Might want to check out the camera HUD they sell there, or I can pass you mine (which lets you select whether or not the camera is offset)for free.

    A better sense of scale is also better for design. You can use it as a part of the world you build and avatars you make. Aliens (Na’vi, wookies, etcetera), mythical creatures (giants, minotaurs, cyclopseses) could tower over regular human avatars (avatars can be anywhere from about 3′ to about 9′ tall, but you almost never see an avatar outside the 7-8′ range). A minotaur’s lair at the centre of a labyrinth can look like it was made for an 8-9′ tall mythical beast, if you’re used to furniture being designed around 5-6′ tall avatars.

    Cubey Terra (of Abbotts Aerodome) once set up an exhibit showing how smaller vehicles make sims larger. When a vehicle is twice as big, the sim around it is half as big in relation.

    It’s a very important aspect of design that has just been almost completely overlooked by Linden Lab, and much of SL’s userbase.

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  4. @Penny Patton: I will check out Doomed Ship and the HUD indeed. Yup very important and its going to be interesting when viewer 2.0 finally gets released. I really hope LL take on board what SL residents want to see and have. (^_^)

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  5. I too made a viewer HUD I called the Tour Cam http://tinyurl.com/yfnc98y It brings the camera to the avatars eye level and in front of your head so you are not looking at the back of your head as you walk forward. With all of your controls still working as usual, the Tour Cam is not a Mouse Look. It is really nice for touring the interior of buildings as in RL. But it does not change the need for a building scale for buildings to look and feel right. Your avatar will still sit an a chair that has a seat height that is 0.75 meters off the floor. Being viewed from any other angle will not change that reality. The result of my study of these matters resulted in the Erlanger Scale. http://tinyurl.com/nzwtlm

    Enjoy your Virtual Life
    Ethos Erlanger

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  6. It’s Not About the Viewer

    Daniel, thanks for this post. Yet I have strong feelings a new viewer is still going to disappoint me. There are more issues here than what you and I see. I feel there is a dismal lack of interest on the part of the Lindens for anything that will make avatar motion more immersive for the person viewing. I want to feel as though I am walking down the street rather than trotting along at 5 miles per hour. Strolling leisurely across one of AM Radio’s scenes is not possible with the speed that Linden Lab has the avatar permanently set at. And a smaller, accurately scaled avatar feels as though he is going even faster when walking at the speed of the Linden Lope. More… http://tinyurl.com/yjqhd76

    Enjoy your Virtual Life,
    Ethos Erlanger

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  7. @Ethos: I know of many that have strong feeling about a new viewer and normally people don’t like change so quickly. There’s alot of things Linden Lab needs to work on which will take months-years to sort out. Thanks for your comments here. 🙂

    Stay tuned for updates.

    Like

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