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What changes do you think might happen in VW's?
Topic Started: Oct 11 2012, 05:36 AM (2,199 Views)
misty harley
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We've all been in VW's for a long time and the reminiscing thread on SLU had me thinking about what could possibly happen within VW's over the course of the next few years...will they be around, what major changes could occur to them? Will I even be around to see them or will my interest finally fall off to the way side?

The questions could be for any VW you are active in, a general 'catch all' or just us personally.
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Johnny Night
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grumpy old bastard
In general I think virtual worlds will always be around. Commercial, educational and social applications will always have an audience, so they won't go anywhere anytime soon (or ever). Socially I'd expect more browser based stuff or even phone aps. Commercially I'd look for more game like experiences and less VWdly; pre packaged type stuff with not a lot of user customization. That would possibly fit educational as well. I suppose it just depends on what teachers want to teach with them. The sky is the limit.

Specific ones might stay or go depending on financing, interest, usability, etc. Financing and interest probably a sticky point. The moment financial obligations overwhelm interest these things twinkle out (for both users and platforms).

So basically a lot of changes. The landscape isn't anywhere close to what it was 5 years ago, we'd be foolish to expect the next 5 years to be any different. Things happen too fast to get comfortable.
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misty harley
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Socially, I'm thinking the same....a way to keep in touch with people and phone apps, etc would be the key to that. When I first started VW's six years ago, I remember linking RL with VW was a HUGE ASS NO NO and you were deemed idiot for doing it. I've watched that trend slowly change. There will still be people who don't link the two but I also think maybe in the future, it will be a lot more common place then it is even now.

With cyber school trending as the 'it thing' to do in many communities, I wonder if education is going to see a boom in VW type settings. I don't think it will be done in any of the current 'closed gardens' but more so as stand alone sims that are not linked to any other grid--at least for the younger generation (k-12th grade). there probably already is classes like that (versus a basic chat room/web cam type class) but the possibilities for teaching would be almost endless when it comes to technology driven education.

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Amaranthim Talon
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The scifi fan in me rah rah rah's at this. I hope and envision a future where real holo-deck like constructs can make our VW's even more interactive. That of course always - in the stories of course - holds the possibility for a Matrix or such. I doubt very much it wd need go to such extremes but- how wonderful if we could visit in "person" with folks we now star at the screen with? Whether in avatar forms or realistic representations.

I don't see VW's going away- they may morph into something else - that 3-D web we keep talking about, who knows? And as for my personal interests, I doubt they wd wane beyond temporarily as they do now from time to time. After all these years, I think it would take one heck of a change to make me break free.
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Freedom Astheta
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It's a really good question, Misty. I'm having a terrible time answering for some reason. After letting it percolate a couple days, I was going do I just not have any thoughts about where VWs are going at this point? (Nah, surely not on that one - if anything I got too many and keep blathering about 'em)

I still can only point to a couple of things I think are significant and still can't wrest some projection out of them, especially over any length of time (as has been pointed out here given how very fast things change).

First, the social deal that you see with really big games. I presume there's some of this over the entire landscape, but I don't do nearly as much with it (when I was trying to tackle education, I played a lot of Asian games so I could talk to, often quite young, people from all over the globe in there). Back when that was starting up as mainstream (later than starting, obviously), there was a huge amount of adult socialization going on in tandem with gameplay in MMORPGs. People talked, even met and married as they do in VWs, a lot, actually, guilded, grouped up on hard/group quests. You don't see it now, hardly at all. People may talk in guilds, but I don't know. It got dangerous. Crazy as that sounds, there was money to be stolen and it was using in-game functions.

Weirdly, another trend was younging down and simplifying, presumably under pressure, of the content and gameplay. People are not socializing, though, and there's a lot of trying to get people back in, most of whom are pretty much gone forever. There IS more social control, however. There was a scary period of time where bad things were happening involving kids' interaction with each other (Inorite?)

Call me crazy, but I've been watching IW go through that phasing, or at least it feels similar to me. I know and like individuals in there and I've been there for over two years, too. It is so not the same. It is uncomfortable very often. A shame, really, because that puts off people who are cool and you'd really like to get to know. (And, of course, I perceive SL as a bigger, more progressed version - no longer exciting, often uncomfortable)

Secondly, there is the quality and availability issue. It's been said many times, including by me, so I won't go into it very far. It's that same financial torque thing at work, though, that keeps SL's pricing outrageous, that forces quality in the face of huge competition. In the simplest of terms, building is not all that easy in VWs and it takes quite a long time to master each piece, which most people do serially. Lots of people over multiple years, plus not being able to get all that anywhere but SL...I don't think SL is closing anytime soon. I also think all the rest will continue to have the problem of comparison.

I don't think something like new perms in HG2 is going to fix that, primarily because of the time involved. It's hard to imagine "a thing" coalescing again. People start and are attracted, but the energy falls off before it can get going (or so I perceive). Add in social discomfort, it just doesn't want to get off the ground.

It is, I suspect, happening in closed venues like education, or in limited ways in some of the new grids, but it is very hard to project. Everyone is waiting for a "new thing". I think there will be one, but it ain't at all clear what or if in time. If there is, we won't be able to easily apply our apple comparisons to the whatever (is that an orange/what is it anyways?).

I don't think, though, we're going to see any fundamental changes to VWs as it stands now. Whether they hold or fold specifically...dunno.

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misty harley
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I think pricing wise, there is a catch 22. If anything will eventually 'kill' SL it will be the high pricing. Almost unaffordable considering what you get in comparison to other grids--closed gardens anyway (OS/self hosting/otherwise isn't really a good point comparison for closed gardens); lower amount of prims per land mass purchased. Prims (or LI as Sl calls it these days) is the main value in VW's, the more the better.

However, keeping that in mind, low pricing could also kill a closed garden as well. The turnover possibility is high because then it becomes 'throw a way money'. Buy a sim, keep it for a bit then ditch it because it's low priced enough for many that it's not a huge commitment. Plus, there is no 'small parcel' chances for many other grids unless someone wants to rent from a third party. That, in of itself has it's pitfalls, most namely it turns off people that want small but not through a land baron as the land could disappear at any given time with little to no notice.
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Amaranthim Talon
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I have found recently that in SL at least - the actual learning curve of going from total noob to "ok, i can walk now"- has gotten HUGE. When I arrived in '06, it was to the Island template of introducing new people. You walked in, got your little HUD thing and you had to READ and follow directions to learn how to leave on your own.

This past week I have been trying to introduce to SL a completely new to VW's person who is incredibly patient but at times wants to just shuck it. Walking wasn't too hard to explain- but damn- the unpack a simple box is not going well! I tried DLing the std viewer myself but frankly, am at a loss there too- so am somewhat a noob in that aspect myself. Will keep trying but realistically, not every new person has the benefit of a resident there to help out- even when I seem to suck at being a teacher!

I am not for dumbing down the platform- but I do wish they would make it a bit more noob friendly the getting started. Once the basics are down then a friend can take u the rest of the way- but wow- coming in raw is just waay too difficult. I don't understand how folks stay..
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Cryptic Quandry
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=^.Q=
Amaranthim Talon
Oct 19 2012, 07:41 AM
I don't understand how folks stay..
[[yeahthat]]
I know this thread is about what do we think will change, but that definitely needs to change for any significant user retention to happen.
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Freedom Astheta
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That particular problem is magnified a hundred-fold with "the rest" of OpenSim too. You pretty much have to be familiar with how things work to even think about beginning.

New commercial grids hopefully remember that some of the people that join might be new to VWs, which as you've said, SL seems to have forgotten about altogether. Far more often, though, it seems that everyone you see participating in any VW has prior experience and with OpenSim, tech background specifically related.

You've made a great point, Amara. What it looks like is a single crowd with experience spreading thinner throughout any VW options. That doesn't bode well for the future of any of it...
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misty harley
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The learning curve for VW's will always be higher. Mostly because it's not a traditional 'game'. i do think the V3 is actually easier to navigate for people then the V1 viewers and I refuse to speak of the mess called V2. I had a hell of time learning V1 when I started and that's without any gaming experience with the exception of the old nintendo mario brothers. .

I do think if you are used to either a V1 base (like IW official viewer)......you will have an extremely hard time navigating V3. Add in the fact that there is a billion different flavors of viewers out there makes it even harder to teach someone or learn it. I jump between a few V3's on occasion (as do most people) and I find myself stumbling trying to figure out where stuff is because they all put it someplace different in hopes of making it better. They are 'better' then the official in the sense that you find a viewer that fits what you like and how you like it. But it takes time to find the right fit.

IF they are going to fix anything, they need to make sure that new users are getting the education they need to for SL directly to be the social platform that is most likely the reason they joined.

The rest (building) will come with time and experience and only the ones truly interested in a Virtual World will stay and that goes for ALL virtual worlds. Until VW's brings out more 'gaming' type of add-on's...the gamers may never find the appeal of VW's in general and find them a waste of time and space.

But I think the nature of the 'game' means a higher learning curve no matter what type of viewer you put out. Even cloud Party which is a very 'basic' type of in browser viewer is a pain in the ass to learn to navigate. What they have going for them (and not sure if any other VW does, it's been a long time since I made a new account) is the 'follow along' pop ups that give you goals to reach to unlock the next part of the game. Absolutely brilliant on their part because it appeals to the 'gamers' long enough to possibly hook them and it helps with the learning curve.
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Freedom Astheta
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The problem is that so many of the skills overlap, I think. You can't put off learning about "boxes" and how they work very long if you're going to get your free stuff out and on, or avatar manipulation. Those are both technically building skill sets.

I'm actually in favor of the idea of instructions and guides before you ever enter the world, despite the fact that you really should be in context to learn stuff. I hate the whole "follow the signs" approach as an intro most - it's a very poor compromise (yet impossible to get around due to the prim to cost equation in most cases).

I think the viewer problems are related, especially getting into V2-3. You have to know what you're looking for. That requires an in-depth understanding of wtf is going on - what a VW is and how it works - before you even do the first thing. The V3 interface is much cleaner and is, in fact, more logical, but where the hell is it. Remember how much used to be in the hidden advanced menu (pffft)? You almost forget what you should be able to do before you find the thing, then forget again when you switch between viewers.

This is interesting, Misty - thanks! That's enough to go take a look, which is why I run around inflating all those resident counts, lol..

Misty
 
the 'follow along' pop ups that give you goals to reach to unlock the next part of the game. Absolutely brilliant on their part because it appeals to the 'gamers' long enough to possibly hook them and it helps with the learning curve




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misty harley
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Freedom, the only way right now to get into Cloud Party (I think!) is through face book. There might be a limited 'otherway' version but I'm not exactly positive. Having SL/IW/multiple viewer experience does sorta help (as in, not really but maybe kinda) but it is different and not just how it operates, just everything is different. There is a post over on SLU about it with pictures though if you are interesting in reading user based reviews, etc.
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Freedom Astheta
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Wow! Jeez, thank you again, Misty...lots. I did go over and read up on SLU (been a while, trying to get my forum addiction under control, lulz).

You know what? That thing is fascinating. I'd skipped over Cloud Party - guess I was reacting to the FB thing and envisioned some sort of IMVU twist, maybe combined with Kitely. One thing about FB affiiliation is there are a lot of assumptions, not all fair or deserved, but there since it's got history like everything else.

I'm really glad you jiggled my memory and paved the way...much appreciated (and certainly not for the first time :))

There are a few things that are downright startling, at least to me. First, couldn't agree more - that intro thing is excellent. I don't know when or where the idea went out of favor (probably at the point of corporatization), but it seems like losing the intro concept is bending over backwards to shoot your feet in terms of inflow of new users.

@ Cryptic - they're using javascript from what I'm reading. As you said elsewhere, that's pretty limiting for most users. However, it's damned intriguing. I actually have a couple days off this week (first time non-emergency in almost six years...I'll see what more I can find so I know how to frame questions). But Java, Cryptic...and it's still user content created.

Mesh...it's all mesh from the beginning. "Prims" are mesh (available as pre-forms but the editing possibilities are quite restricted). Yep, VWs are mesh. Little wild that you're beginning there. There are some inworld tools for direct manipulation - texturing, for example. Conceptually, content generation appears to be entirely centered on mesh.

One problem pointed out quickly, though, is that you'd better be able to make mesh objects yourself and bring them in because you're the only one able to mod in any significant way. That raises the bar almost as much as Java scripting.

It sure is an interesting approach bridge-wise, though, given it is clearly geared directly to FB users. There's sort of a great divide thing there - you think of VW users and FB users as almost different species, especially when it comes to content creation. An experienced VW user tends to have quite the knowledge base even as strictly a consumer of virtual goods.

Uh, but not generally comfy with whipping around in javascript and mesh generation programs.

What am I missing here? (But interesting, damned interesting what has been popping up - it's almost like precursors to a real thing emerging, but in pieces)
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Aliselia Aeon
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Cryptic Quandry
Oct 19 2012, 10:38 AM
Amaranthim Talon
Oct 19 2012, 07:41 AM
I don't understand how folks stay..
[[yeahthat]]
I know this thread is about what do we think will change, but that definitely needs to change for any significant user retention to happen.
I've had a few friends want to try SL. None of them lasted over a few days. They didn't want to take the time to learn it because they found it just too much trouble. What baffled them even more than building etc, was the overall culture of SL-and the smaller subcultures.
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Johnny Night
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grumpy old bastard
Aliselia Aeon
Oct 23 2012, 05:24 PM
What baffled them even more than building etc, was the overall culture of SL-and the smaller subcultures.
I've had the same kinds of experiences personally as well as attempting to get others involved. Anytime I try to socialize or get involved in a group, it's awkward (and I'm awesome! who wouldn't welcome me?!?). Builders are all knowitalls. Clubbers are all gesturbators. Business people are all businessy. Roleplayers are all busy bodies. Mentors are all car salesmen. And the normal people are all AFK. I'm generalizing of course; it's not as black and white as I make it out to be.

However, it's kind of a cop-out to tell people to "look around!" and "find out for yourself!" and "there's tons to do!". Obviously it's done wonders for retention over the years huh?

(I apologize for not keeping up with this thread, been a bit busy lately [[tired]] )
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