Tateru recently asked, “how’m I doing?” on her predictions for 2007. Since I gave my answers to her predictions at that time (see comments), perhaps I should help her out and take a look as to how well these predictions have come true.
1. “The Second Life client will be open-sourced…”
Erbo then: “…would be nice, but I don’t expect it in 2007.”
Well, as everyone knows, I got my face rubbed in the dirt on that one, and faster than pretty much everyone thought. And, as Tateru predicted, the build for the client is tricky (or so I’m told; I haven’t attempted it yet). But it doesn’t seem to be missing any assets, and the license is the GPL version 2. (Will LL move to GPLv3, now that it’s out? I wonder…)
2. “Linden Lab will break even. Initial profits will be small, but they’ll actually be in the black.”
Erbo then: “LL may raise mainland tier to correspond with the new island tier figures…and that may be what gets them over the top, or close to it.”
I understand LL is actually in the black now, and, as far as I can tell, they didn’t have to raise mainland tier to do it. They did, however, eliminate First Land, ostensibly because it was open to abuse, but that probably increased their land sales revenue somewhat. In fact, they’re adding mainland land at a breakneck clip.
3. “Open-sourcing the client will lead to a surge of work, leading to the first rudimentary resident-created offline building tool within 2 months that is capable of creating and importing real prims.”
Erbo then: “is dependent to a certain extent on #1, but somebody in the libsecondlife project may come up with it first. We shall see.”
We’re probably damned close to having something like this, if we don’t already. And I do seem to recall hearing about an offline tool that spit out building instructions as a text file, which could then be inserted onto a notecard and read by a scripted tool in SL that did automated assembly. (Sadly, the more-publicised uses of libsecondlife seem to be the various “bots,” like CopyBot, CampBot, and so forth.)
4. “Linden Lab will drop Havok physics entirely, and replace it with an alternative, either an open-source physics engine, or an end-of-lifed/discontinued physics engine released to the public domain.”
Erbo then: “They may be more likely to convince Havok to open up their old physics engine code. That would be the angle I’d pursue…”
Not a lot of progress on that front, although there is at least one open-source physics engine (ODE) that people are using in conjunction with SL-type code…but more on that anon.
5. “By the end of 2007, spurred by the open-source client, the first rudimentary simulator simulators will appear, based on top of flat datafiles, or mysql. They will accept a connection from a local client, operating initially as a simple single-avatar grid.”
Erbo then: “…dependent, again, on #1, to some extent, but who knows? Some enterprising libsecondlifer may beat everyone to the punch…”
Hello, OpenMetaverse project! 🙂 Their “OpenSim” does indeed let you create single-sim, single-avatar test grids…and they’re also building a way to connect up a Grid of one’s own. And yes, it is based on flat files and/or MySQL. This project is interesting enough that I’ve considered trying it out on one of our test clusters at the office…
6. “We’ll get new avatar meshes, and probably new default walk animations as well. The new meshes will probably not be 100% compatible with existing clothing and attachments.”
Erbo then: “…would certainly NOT happen soon if I had anything to say about it.”
And apparently it hasn’t. 🙂
7. “Voice integration makes it into the client by the fourth anniversary celebration. This causes a slew of primarily social issues (although also a bunch of technical ones) which are — by and large — not solved by the end of Decmber.”
Erbo then: “…again, why the creeping featurism? Voice is not as necessary as, for example, permanent fixes to the asset server, to keep so much stuff from randomly breaking.”
Well, if you count the First Look viewer, voice did make it to the Main Grid about the time of the fourth anniversary celebration. The rest of this prediction is still up in the air…though the open-sourcing went ahead without worrying about voice. (But is the actual voice First Look viewer source available? I don’t think so…)
8. “At least two fan-foci (major authors and their publishers, television series and their studios, or sports stars or somesuch) will make an effort to reach and energize their fan-bases through Second Life — and do so successfully.”
Erbo then: “…insufficient data to say one way or the other.”
Well, Tateru’s been gathering some of this data, in her Mixed Reality Headcounts. I would say that IBM has been pretty successful, but you could hardly call it a “fan focus.” Maybe Playboy is one example of this, though the jury’s still out on their relative success level, I think.
9. “At least one fully-branded client will appear, bearing few if any Second Life or Linden Lab names and marks, designed to operate on a set of sims segregated from the rest of the grid.”
Erbo then: “…if it happens, will probably contribute heavily to [LL turning a profit].”
I haven’t heard of this happening…though some companies are contracting with other developers (not LL) to build their own metaverse-like environments.
10. “Linden Lab will no longer permanently ban accounts, and only issue bans longer than 14 days in the most extreme cases.”
Erbo then: “…the WRONG way to go. There needs to be MORE permanent banning of accounts, and machines/IP addresses, to get a handle on the griefer problems.”
Well, LL can ban accounts permanently, but new accounts are too easy to create to keep people out for long. Case in point: the idiots that dropped the spinning screaming cubes on Fantasyland last week…they were banned permanently, and another, similar attack happened again just a couple nights ago. Probably the same people, with new accounts. So, indirectly and effectively, Tateru may be right here.
11. “Herr Doktor Amy Weebler will be mysteriously revealed to be some well-known Second Life personality in a sinister disguise.”
Erbo then: “…well, *you* tell *me.* :-)”
No comment. 🙂
12. “Tateru will be shown to get at least three of these predictions so embarrassingly wrong that she will say ‘Oh, bugger.'”
Erbo then: “…at least simple pragmatics would seem to indicate that *this* one, at least, will prove true.”
Actually, not so much. I count only one, and maybe two, of the above predictions that could wind up being that gratuitously wrong. The others are either pretty right on the money, or, while wrong, are close enough to correct that they don’t deserve an “Oh, bugger” reaction. You still don’t get a 100% score, Tateru, but your predictions are far more accurate than those of, say, Jeane Dixon. 🙂