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Matthew Leach
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What do most people do in Second Life? Buy things and meet people? In OpenSim regions there are far less 'things' and often no money. With less people, there is less of a draw for others who want to socialise. The numbers aren't surprising really. The types of users that OpenSim will pull from SL though are groups of friends who want to build their own environment, and serious users. Educationally we're moving to hosting our own sims that we just fire-up as needed. Neither seem to be in trouble yet. I think a comment on a previous post, where the reduction in SL land was due to increased use of the market place over stores, was probably accurate.
There's a lot of interest here - the cross-over from virtual to real; how 3D printing can make highly intricate shapes relatively easy to produce etc. However, there's enough "un-said" in the reporting for people to get the impression that he invented the cube (although of course he never implied it himself). Especially in this post where they are referred to as "his fractal cubes, which he originally made in Second Life". Where-as he wasn't the first to create either a virtual or physical version; and by following the same rules they're all identical. He might be the first to sell them to a mass market though; and there are plenty of other fascinating shapes in his shop as well.
Too late to the conversation :( It seems as thought there could be technical improvements - for example the rezzing seems random sometimes; where it would be better if the closest appeared first and expanded outwards. However, I'm guessing there has been plenty of experimentation by LL technicians. If the product is what it is, then the main thing that you can do is improve information to the user: * Qarl's suggestion; start with all shapes with default texture then fill-in with actual textures. * Loading screen showing progress bar that doesn't show the scene until all has downloaded, but with a button to optionally jump straight in mid-download (managing user expectation). * Permanent on-screen download indicator showing progress as you move around. This is all viewer-side stuff though, and there's nothing stopping a 3rd-party adding it in.