Lindens Poach 2

by Alphaville Herald on 27/07/05 at 12:57 pm

David Parks

Lindens have hired There cofounder Jeffrey Ventrella, and Dave Parks from RIT”s MUPPETS project — an academic/educational/open source version of SL. Zero Grace and the commentors on Cory’s blog are all sprung over the hiring of Ventrella, but I always figure you get more mileage from a mutant undergrad computer graphics d000d, and that’s what Dave is. His self-description: “l33t haxXorZ = teh d4vE!” That’s all I need to know! Now if they can only pick up Alan Kay and Randy Farmer and…, but first Cory has to stop watching reruns of the A-Team.

39 Responses to “Lindens Poach 2”

  1. Prokofy Neva

    Jul 27th, 2005

    Now, if they’d only bring on Will Wright, they’d have a world…

  2. Matthias

    Jul 27th, 2005

    Uri, if you’re going to put up a pic of Dave, at least get a good one!

    As a student at RIT myself, I became good friends with Dave last year. He’s a great guy who was very enthusiastic about MUPPETS and insisted that it was far superior to SL on the multiple times we talked. He is a great guy, though, with much to offer to the SL community (not to mention the fact that his wife is uber-hot!).

  3. Tony Walsh

    Jul 27th, 2005

    Matthias, can you tell us if Parks made a smooth transition off the MUPPETS project to work on SL? I’m wondering how well MUPPETS will continue without his efforts.

  4. Urizenus

    Jul 27th, 2005

    better yet, can you get an interview with him? and when do I get to meet his wife?

  5. Matthias

    Jul 27th, 2005

    Tony, I hate to say this, but I haven’t talked to him since I left RIT on summer break in late May. I had no clue he was even starting work on SL until Uri posted this.

    Uri, I can try to get an interview with him at some point, and I’m not sure when you’ll get to meet Tamara (his wife). They’re a cute couple, though!

  6. Tony Walsh

    Jul 27th, 2005

    Cool, thx Matthias.

  7. qarl

    Jul 28th, 2005

    don’t dis Ventrella – he first caught my eye in 1998 for his work in artificial life. it’s neat stuff.

  8. Dave Parks

    Jul 28th, 2005

    Er.. hi or some stuff.

    1. For the record, “l337 haXXXor = teh dave” was not my writing, it was a professor.

    2. I’d be happy to answer interview questions (see e-mail).

    3. The transition off MUPPETS is going very smoothly and the project should live on without me. If you don’t believe me, come check us out at SIGGRAPH.

    4. I thought MUPPETS was superior to SL in terms of graphics and programmability (we give users unrestricted access to pure Java for cryin’ out loud), but SL has always been top notch at what it does. The fact that you can have 1000′s of people throwing unchecked code at it 24/7 and they have better uptime than most out-of-the-box MMO’s is amazing.

    5. Yes, that is a horrible picture.

    6. No, you don’t get to meet my wife.


  9. Urizenus

    Jul 28th, 2005

    yer just afraid to let her near a trU mack dAddy like Uri.

    I understand completely. Thanks for checking in!

  10. Tony Walsh

    Jul 28th, 2005

    thx for the info, Dave. Glad MUPPETS will carry on. best of luck in your new role.

  11. Prokofy Neva

    Jul 28th, 2005

    Why are you saying it’s “unchecked code”? I’m not aware that LL actually lets users manufacture/code the actual world. They let them use this inworld arcane toy language of LSL, and the very fact that they’re forced to use that means it *is* checked, no? I mean, if MUPPETS lets people use Java inside the world. I just don’t see any 1000 unchecked people. Thought they certainly do have the entitlement attitude that they *ought* to be unchecked. Also, bTW a fair number of people do make scripts with LSL but then the latest game patches break it. Ask Simcast to tell you about THAT!

  12. Matthias

    Jul 28th, 2005

    Dave, first off, good to hear from you! I would have emailed you by now, but unfortunately, Michelle never sent out emails using our individual emails.

    Prok, as to SimCast, I wouldn’t necessarily try to spout off about that which you don’t know. That wasn’t what took SimCast v.2 to its knees whatsoever, but then again, you wouldn’t know that. ;-)


  13. Prokofy Neva

    Jul 28th, 2005

    Matthias, um, I read it in the Herald? *shrugs* And Simkast is just an example, anyway. The point is, the new game patches often break people’s scripts, full stop.

  14. qarl

    Jul 28th, 2005

    Dave -

    if you bring Cg to second life, you’ll make many people VERY happy.

    hint hint.


  15. Urizenus

    Jul 28th, 2005

    Matt, the script-breaking updates didn’t kill simcast, but they put enormous pressure on the dev team — actually on each of the dev teams that worked on the project. In the first iteration, when Prong was paying Azelda for scripting, the updates were death. Other factors were stressers as well, including security issues and lag. Those technical obstacles seemed in turn to put pressure on the political rifts on the team.

  16. Dave Parks

    Jul 29th, 2005

    Sheesh, Prok, not a dev, are you?

    Code is code is code, and it’s just as easy to write malicious scripts with SL scripts as it is to write malicious scripts in Java. I just spent the last month teaching high school students to make modules for neverwinter nights, and several of them managed to ACCIDENTALLY crash the system from a script written in a language that’s much more limited than what SL offers.

    Bottom line, you can declare variables, perform complex mathematical operations, create functions, loops, and do pretty much anything you could otherwise do in any other complete language, and even with 1000′s of people writing programs (yes, PROGRAMS, actual applications) using this system, the only major trouble they have is breaking obsolete scripts.

    If you were a dev, you’d know that updates to scripting runtimes ALWAYS break old scripts. Even for big name scripting runtimes (including Java), we can minimize the damage and design for backwards compatibility, but there’s always going to be a case or two (or hundred) you miss.

    That’s why it’s so important to write scripts that can be modified and maintained easily. When the environment in which a program runs changes, a programmer will need to adapt the code to take advantage of the changes, and on occasion (rarely), old functionality might be removed.

    At some point, it just doesn’t make sense to hold everything else back because a small group of people aren’t willing to maintain a code base, ESPECIALLY early on in a project when you don’t even know exactly what it is people are going to NEED.

    Fortunately with Linden, these are mere growing pains. As time goes on, updates that break old scripts will become less and less frequent until they are virtually nonexistent. Compare PHP updates today to what they were five years ago. By comparison, Linden is being VERY considerate and thoughtful.

  17. Prokofy Neva

    Jul 29th, 2005

    Uh, Sheesh, Dave, not a dev, no, and *you’re* an arrogant prick Lol for speaking to me in that classic geeky hectoring know-it-all tone. Have you been getting lessons from the SL forums???

    The world *is* um made up of OTHER PEOPLE who AREN”T game devs and if you want to be in a METAVERSE and not just a fucking GAME you have to fucking EXPLAIN YOURSELF. I don’t care WTF game you get to rule dude! I read it in the Herald. That’s all. And Uri is now expanding on it. But go back and read what they wrote originally. They indeed used the word “break” or I wouldn’t have used it! And if they had to spend time “updating” I’d sure as hell call that BREAKING. I was merely trying to represent their issue, and the issues of other scripters as I see it and get some clarification on this, I have no stake in it.

    I don’t need some fucking arrogant asshole telling me “if I were a game dev…” blah blah blah. What I see is a fucking arrogant company that gives not a fuck about the scripts they break routinely — unless of course they are working with their hand-picked FIC special projects on secret islands and stuff. They make no effort to consult and adapt many times, as far as I can tell, and this is routinely complained about on the forums, and is commonly understood. I dn’t know what planet you’ve been on.

    Nobody needs your fucking modulated tones and behave-mod crap like “That’s why it’s important, children, to write scripts that can be modified and maintained easily.” Huh? I have absolutely no dog in this hunt. I’m pointing out a FACT IN THIS GAME complained about by others, not making this shit up myself. They are grownups, able to write the scripts properly, and they still find it a HUGE hardship.

    I don’t think it is AT ALL fair to characterize people who have had their scripts break sometimes without warning as some little group holding the game back like petulant children. I don’t see that. People spend hours and hours of slave-like labour fixing those scripts back up completely without complaint. Do they get credit for that?

    And it is ONLY NOW — ONLY NOW!!!!! — that this company has deigned to do an early-warning of when it plans to do game updates!!!!!!. And yeah, I sure as hell still call it a game because it’s such a goddamn crap shoot when I open it up every day, I don’t know which new way they will have either empowered griefers or devalued my land ROFL.

    And they didn’t even make good on their promise, because they just snuck in a patch, then delayed it a day, WITHOUT doing any email as promised so that people could finish transactions, etc. before the down time.

    Let me say that it’s a good thing they aren’t putting you on community relations “Dave,” and it’s a good thing that my considerable investment in SL doesn’t depend on you and your asshole arrogant behaviour. I just walk around the robots : )

    Uri, I hope you don’t edit this. I hope you can see that *all I did here* was just go to bat for people I saw as having to face undue stress and business loss by having the scripts break all the time. I know just on little things like Hank Ramos’ rental script which I was forced to use on commission for a long time, one patch would throw off some little feature like notification in email, and suddenly hundreds of tenants would be told their rent had expired when they had paid, causing hours and hours of customer service headaches.

    In a world that functions more like RL, that kinda stuff matters. Of course, you’re just whirling kewl weapons and vehicles and crap around in a 3-D sandbox, “Dave” or you’d understand that.

    I surely am no expert in scripts. I don’t have to be. I can raise issues of company game performance as a consumer. If you don’t understand that, and can’t answer the posts with intelligence and civility, you don’t have a game — much less a world — that will get a million people in the door, you have a goddamn tekkie wiki science cult. That’s it.

    When are these *fucking arrogant game devs* going to get the *fucking stuffing* knocked out of them????

  18. Urizenus

    Jul 29th, 2005

    Dave, meet Prok.

  19. Urizenus

    Jul 29th, 2005

    Crimey prok, the guy is fresh our of college and has been hired to cut code, not be a nurturing sensitive new age customer relations rep. A small bit of perspective please?

    He wasn’t even harshing on you. Just trying to explain shit, and some of us find that useful so please don’t send the technical geeks running for cover, ok?

  20. Prokofy Neva

    Jul 29th, 2005

    Uri, I don’t need nurturing sensitive New Age reps, and I sure don’t look to LL for THAT geez. I don’t think there is anything cuddy from there, not even the bears, ok well maybe just one special bear of one VERY special Linden but I’m not saying WHO lol.

    And he sure was harshing on me, and all from being fresh out of college? In a *game*??? HelLO??? This is how the world works now, people fresh out of college get to be arrogant assholes instead of putting their shoulders to the wheel? Sorry, no sale. And the tekkies have people like me running for cover, not visa versa — who’s permabanned and who’s got a job at a fancy game company, eh, Uri lol?. What your FIC friends would say is that I’m “jealous” — as if I could be jealous of…that???

    Uri, try to be intellectually honest here, whatever your need to suck up to Mr. Game Dev and drool over his lovely wife. You and I know that the scripts BREAK. They BREAK Uri as in *snap* and *borken don work ne more*. You KNOW that is true, and it is not because of some petulant little group of die-hard griefing scripterati, as much as I carry no water for that bunch, and it is not because they don’t code right. The game breaks. It doesn’t work. It limps. It crashes. Heck, it’s like a bowl of jello half the time, with stuff not rezzing and wierd stuff floating into view. Honestly, Uri, do you ever LOOK at it???

    What’s really SCARY Uri is the CONFORMISM you see in these young game devs fresh out of college given so much POWER and so PREMATURELY without the maturity and REASON and SOCIAL SKILLS to handle it. They are so fucking smug. They act as if a company they work for could do no wrong and as if they are God’s gift to creation. Where’s there sense of objectivity? Honestly, Snowcrash has arrived.

  21. Urizenus

    Jul 29th, 2005

    Prok, I know that scripts break, and thanks to Dave I’m starting to learn why they do and what the prognosis is. And with respect to his social skills, they are better than those of most commentors on this blog. I have one example in mind right now.

  22. Dave Parks

    Jul 29th, 2005

    Prok is absolutely right. I had no business taking a know-it-all, condescending tone with him, and that wasn’t exactly my intention. I didn’t mean to offend, and I apologize. I was just trying to establish what perspective you were coming from (user side scripting) and offer an explanation from my perspective. Unfortunately, it came out authoritarian and rude. Please bear with me while I get my Internet forum legs back (it’s been awhile).

    You’re absolutely right that it’s a HUGE hassle to maintain scripts in a constantly changing environment, and with a product this mature and mission-critical for people’s businesses, such breaks must be kept to a minimum. I absolutely value the opinion and concerns of people who wish to do business in SL, and I view the system as MUCH more than a simple game. I understand that for an ever increasing number of people, these scripts are their means of earning a living. They’re sacred.

    I can agree with you that the notification system for impending changes gives little or no warning, and that truly sucks for people who will lose money in the fallout, and it’s not acceptable.

    On the subject of games I get to “rule,” I definitely don’t view myself as being in a position of power. The way I see it, LL is like a governing body of SL, and if I’m employee of LL, that makes me a civil servant. As far as I’m concerned, I’m working for the users.

    Now, all this has been very educational, but I’m afraid it would be inappropriate for me to continue discussing this here, as I haven’t even STARTED working at LL, yet, but I would definitely like to keep in touch with you, Prok, and hear your concerns. It’s nice to find people who aren’t afraid to speak their mind.

    Feel free to aim me (Runitai) and I’ll give you additional contact info (no sense posting that stuff here for the spiders to find).

  23. Prokofy Neva

    Jul 29th, 2005

    Thank you for your apology, Dave. I really appreciate it. I don’t like to use words like “fucking” in a post, because it always says something worse about the poster than the subject of the post.

    I really am glad you decided to set the tone here. It’s very hard for the legions of fanboyz your age and younger in SL to ever admit they have an attitude or tone problems or that their hectoring attitudes really need a big slap in the face. They are customers, though, so it’s understandable.

    What really hurts is when Lindens are abrupt and condescending. This has happened to all of us inworld and even on the forums (remember the correspondence with Julia and Kona I think it was). But the culture is such in this tekkie world that nobody EVER apologizes, nobody EVER says they are wrong. So what you have done is VERY important…VERY IMPORTANT…indeed HISTORIC. In fact, as soon as you get a bear inworld, send me one, and you will be inducted into the Cult of the True Linden LOL.

    I want to say two words about the back story here — there’s a free script in the world that many of us all argue shouldn’t even be there, because it only destroys business, and that is the fREEVIEWER by CrystallShardFoo. It stopped working. She’s never online, never available, never motivated to fix it or service it by helping with user orientation. Why should she? It’s free! Weeks go by, whatever. Somebody else makes a free script…that doesn’t work…People sometimes demand the free script anyway tho, especially new people.

    Contrast that with Captain Barmy or Jeri Zuma who instantly TP to you if they are online, or come on soon from wherever they are, and HELP you as a customer. Because you’re paying like $1000 a pop for the item, for one thing, but becaues they “get it” about service in a service-oriented entertainment-based economy. They get it! So many of the scripterati *don’t* and yet mommy and daddy keep paying the credit cards and they never have any feedback for their shortfalls in income LOL.

    Then FlipperPA takes time out from his busy schedule shining on at the SL Future Salone thing to tell me some CS stuff but only because I banged on him mercilessly. Of course, he tells me with cheerful condescending assurance that I need to “deed the object” and “read the instructions for group land”. Gosh, Flipper, really? I would never have guessed! LIke I haven’t done that 8 million times already? So Flipper has a free thing out too which is a free thing added on to Crystal’s free thing — now TWO free things don’t work. I believe it’s not server lag, but the patch that borked them. They don’t believe that. They keep getting it to work in world. We customers don’t. Whatever. We’re not stupid, but something’s wrong. It can often be a simple thing like a copy without the textures set right or something, who the hell knows. The point is, people trying to run real businesses in SL find themselves clashing really brutally sometimes with the sandbox set that just want to have fun and twirl stuff around and shoot stuff.

    They insist on making the world and being at the feted core of it. They insist on flooding — indeed infesting — the world with their free, no-copy, non-mod creations. They insist on never providing customer service and putting their shops in boutiques you have to fly a thousand miles to. They actually don’t come inworld much anymore because the secret is they’re all off playing WOW.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us *live there*. And all they can do is say on the forums “get a life” — after we finish buying their precious creations.

    How long do you think that kind of set-up’s going to last?

    Thanks again for your kindness, Dave, it made my day, and it shows that the rave reviews about you may have some merit. Good luck working at LL.

  24. Jim Purbrick

    Aug 1st, 2005

    Hi Dave,

    Glad to see you’re getting stuck in already! ;-)

    I thought MUPPETS was superior to SL in terms of graphics and programmability

    I think the programmability gap will close when we start using Mono as the SL scripting engine and it sounds like you’ll be able to help out lots on the graphics front.

    Prok, you’ll be glad to know that we’ve already done lots of thinking about how to minimise the disruption the move to Mono will cause.

  25. Dude

    Aug 1st, 2005

    Hey Dave! Welcome to SL! A word of advice… put Prok on ignore in every sense of the word.

  26. nerferder

    Aug 1st, 2005

    Wise choice of response methodology Dave!

    You and Noam, gotta hand it to you, you realize that you that engaging in tit for tat with an ignorant asshole like Prok is a waste of time from the beginning~! A pity more of us didn’t see that earlier, the tiger could have been rendered impotent a lot sooner!

    By the way, I didn’t find ANYTHING in your initial response to Prok to be arrogant. You were remarkably restrained whilst confronting PROK’S arrogance and presumptions.

    Even if I thought you were being arrogant, I would rather see arrogance from someone who actually has the knowledge to back it up, versus the wild, assumptive, ignorant of the facts type of arrogance Prok displays continually.

  27. Urizenus

    Aug 1st, 2005

    Nerf, as your post shows, you *still* haven’t figured it out. Take a leaf from Dave and try being a nice person. Its amazing how far that can go.

    Meanwhile, I pine for the good old days when we used quaint expressions like “good answer” instead of “wise choice of response methodology.”

  28. nerferder

    Aug 3rd, 2005

    The wise owl said:

    “Nerf, as your post shows, you *still* haven’t figured it out. Take a leaf from Dave and try being a nice person. Its amazing how far that can go.

    Meanwhile, I pine for the good old days when we used quaint expressions like “good answer” instead of “wise choice of response methodology.” ”

    Uri, Uri, Uri,

    The only persons I have not been nice to here are Prok, and the those particular SLH staff ninnies, yourself included, who engage in blatant double standards with regard to your responses to different people. You know, like telling me I have psychological problems (anger), while censoring me for expressing similar sentiments about Prokofy…

    Like lambasting me for a short, relatively tame post here, and barely admonishing Prok for calling Dave an arrogant asshole multiple times in mile long diatribes… Funny how that didn’t get a “be like Dave Prok!” from you… Actually, it’s more telling than it is funny.

    You are not my mentor Uri (thank God!!), so, no, I won’t “figure it out”, just because because the high and mighty hypocrite Uri wants me to.

    It was a good post, but it was more than that, hence my choice of description. I feel the same about Chomsky as well, even though I deplore his ideology, beause I am about 99% sure that Noam recognized Prok for what he is immediately, and didn’t deign to waste time on the know-it-all, “the bolsheviks are coming” load of crap which Prok belches forth continuously.

    I am quite confident that Dave realizes that as a soon to be representative of LL, he must remain cool. I have no such stricture. So save the “be like Dave” stuff, you’re comparing apples and oranges here.

    Your choice to attack my terminology indicates a weak argument and/or a base desire to simply marginalize me because you don’t like me. If you really had an issue with my sentiments, you would actually address them, rather than my style. Funny how you seem to accept, and at times even fete (OMG! FIC at SLH? Could it be?) Prok’s extremely catty style… Again, more telling than funny, however. Remembers that Prok brings traffic to this site, that he has written for you, and that I do niether. So I suppose the glaring double standard benefits you; and that is really the bottom line eh? Go figure!

    I pine for the good old days when the employees of publications excercised a little more restraint. I can write to my local paper’s editorial page, and be fairly harsh (and have in fact) without having to deal with the unleashing a staff of Dudley Doorights on me for expressing my opinion.

    This is just one of the reasons this website will never be taken seriously by most who have half a brain. And believe me, most people who I have heard comment on SLH think it’s as much, if not more of a joke than I do.

  29. Elle Pollack

    Aug 3rd, 2005

    “This is just one of the reasons this website will never be taken seriously by most who have half a brain. And believe me, most people who I have heard comment on SLH think it’s as much, if not more of a joke than I do.”

    Maybe because its authors primarily intend it as a joke? ;p

    Asside from the occasional forray into seriousness, the editorial staff (Uri, Walter, etc.) seldom ever pretend that the Herald isn’t primarily a tabloid rag.

  30. Urizenus

    Aug 3rd, 2005

    How did Chomsky get involved in this???

  31. Walker Spaight

    Aug 3rd, 2005

    Elle, we are a serious, serious, SERIOUS publication!!!1111one11

  32. Neal Stewart

    Aug 3rd, 2005

    Uri wrote: “How did Chomsky get involved in this???”

    Comment 26 (nerferder’s) is a reference to Hamlet’s June story on Prok, wherein some old linguist is mentioned.

  33. Elle Pollack

    Aug 3rd, 2005

    “Elle, we are a serious, serious, SERIOUS publication!!!1111one11

    Comment by Walker Spaight”

    Yes, and the l33t looking exclaimation points prove just how serious. ;)

  34. nerferder

    Aug 4th, 2005

    Yeah, it’s funny that when y’all want to project airs of being a “newspaper” and play it up as “serious”, it’s “legit” then, but when someone questions your double-standards, suddenly y’all admit it’s a tabloid, and start with the sarcasm about not being serious. **Groan** I guess the Peokofy school of droll wit has opened and has a few takers!

    So you’re saying that these articles are not to be taken seriously? As you are no doubt aware, I take very little seriously on this site, so I am not sure what all the winking and elbow nudging is really about, however, I hope it makes the SLH FIC feel cool though… :)

    So, now that you’ve indicated that even you folks know it’s a joke, can we skip the future comparisions to “newspapers” and the like?

    “See the chameleon, lying there in the sun…”

  35. Urizenus

    Aug 4th, 2005

    Nerf, I’m going to say this and say this once so that we are perfectly clear about the whole thing:

    The Second Life Herald is perhaps the most important fairly unbalanced and deadly serious yet irony-packed and uproariously funny virtual tabloid newspaper covering an online video game EVER!



  36. Walker Spaight

    Aug 4th, 2005

    I second that emotion.

  37. montserrat

    Aug 4th, 2005

    yes and i have the pictures to prove it, too.

  38. Prokofy Neva

    Aug 4th, 2005

    I third that emotion. And also note that Nolan/ blaze/ Ulrika/Hiro/ Chip/ Everyposter is not a valid interlocutor in the form of Nerferder and I’m not going to bother answering him/her.

  39. nerferder

    Aug 4th, 2005

    The only “valid interlocutor” for you is a bung plug jammed into that festering, cankerous orifice you call a mouth.

    Hey, if I pretend to be Barnes, will you let me cyberlocute for you?

    You’re the laughing stock of SL Prokofy Neva, enjoy the the padded cell you’ve created for yourself.

    As for the rest of you nerds, I am so pleased to see you make each other laugh. Nice to see you folks with your ass springs wound to the max actually stop whining, and focus on something else for a moment!

    You don’t have to hate SL, you’re misfits of your own design, remember that!

    Kisses and hugs!

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