WindLight Skies – They PAID For This?

by Pixeleen Mistral on 30/05/07 at 11:59 pm

LL’s rose colored glasses and color perception

by Inigo Chamerberlin

So, the WindLight First Look arrives, with the usual breathless Torley Linden intro. And of course, the now standard Linden chant of ‘Jir AH! – Jir AH! – Jir AH!’. But to the point – WindLight. Linden Lab PAID for this? In fact they were so impressed they bought the company?

I’ve rarely seen more unrealistic, garish effects – something I suppose I should have expected given Torley’s involvement.

‘Funky Funky’ preset – who could have created this bizarre aberration?

The ‘midday 3’ preset – Midday? Where? In hell possibly?

How about ‘barcelona’? just what Second Life needed to make it more lifelike! Smog!

IF it came with some decent realistic presets (because most users will use presets).
IF it came with clouds that drifted realistically instead of hurtling across the sky at ludicrous velocity.
IF the controls weren’t so touchy.
IF it were possible to punch numbers into it instead of relying on those twitchy imprecise sliders.
IF it had an ‘OFF’ button – because even ‘Default’ bears no resemblance to ’normal’ second life!
AND, most importantly,
IF it were a global effect on my estate, rather than a ‘one of, client based effect’ –
then I might be slightly interested.

As it stands, it’s nothing more than a silly set of gimmicky ‘effects’ that will do little but damage commerce in SL. Why? Well, run around with this junk enabled and nothing looks ‘right’ any more. Skin shading, clothes colours, reflectivity, transparency, etc, etc – all visuals go to hell.

Here’s what Second Life as we know it looks like – in case you’d forgotten

This ghastly mess is WindLife default preset.

SO that default preset is the ‘best’ WindLight can do? Though, to be honest it’s possible to improve this somewhat to something more like the ‘real’ Second Life. The question is, why can’t WindLife do better ‘out of the box’, as the default preset?

Until now, everything in SL has been created in a relatively standardised lighting environment. But with WindLight, that all counts for nothing! Countless hours of careful work by residents, wasted – and Estate owners can’t even lock the system so that some measure of reality prevails on their property!

This is a really, really bad move on Linden Lab’s part. Another ‘shiny’ gimmick no-one asked for that’s going to damage the Second Life experience rather than improve it. They just don’t learn.

WindLight should not be released under any circumstances until it’s possible for Estate owners to override its use and impose sane, sensible lighting and other effects on their property – or disable its use entirely on their estates. Otherwise, given the visual disaster WindLight represents, many estate owners are going to see sales tumble as visitors fail to buy well made products – that now look like rubbish.

Linden Lab should bear in mind that the vast majority of residents aren’t that keen on a Torley’oid world of oversaturated hyper bright colour and disco-like lighting. What Linden Lab should be aiming for here is realistic effects and allowing Estate owners full control – or at the very least, the option of an Estate-wide ‘disable WindLight’ function.

As an aside – it’s noticeable that feedback by any method than the wretched JIRA is discouraged – to the point of letting the blog close at 100 and pointedly throughout the post referring people to JIRA. This is as good as, to me and many others, as saying, ‘we aren’t interested in your feedback’. When are Linden Lab going to realize this? To quote from the manufacturer’s web site:

‘JIRA is a bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management application developed to make this process easier for your team.’

So, what part of that did Linden Lab fail to understand?

It says nothing about its unparalleled superiority for handling customer feedback. Because there is nothing to say on that subject. The manufacturers realize it’s useless for that. So why do Linden Lab persist in attempting to use it for that purpose?

The interface, as Linden Lab have customized it, is clunky, geekoid, difficult to navigate, unintuitive and incomprehensible. The words ‘user’ and ‘friendly’ were very obviously alien to whoever was responsible for setting this thing up – but still Linden Lab, and Torley in particular, seem obsessed with ramming it down our throats. Why?

74 Responses to “WindLight Skies – They PAID For This?”

  1. Simondo Nebestanka

    Jun 1st, 2007

    Inigo, point taken re announcements. I guess I was trying to say I *wasn’t* surprised that Torley might be managing this feature, any more than I was surprised that Steve Linden managed the previous FirstLook viewer – if my memory serves me correctly.

    Sure I don’t know Torley any more than I know you, but after following not a few but many blog posts, raised to the power of many many fellow resident recollections and character references, I am reasonably confident that Torley is neither unstable nor a fake. It’s easy to make statements like this in the heat of the moment.. and I didn’t know ‘Torley Torgeson’.. but isn’t Torley right up there with the best of those who have inspired and encouraged incredibly creative input into this vast world? If you don’t warm to his style well that’s fine, but don’t deny credit where credit is due.

    I can pursuade my better instincts to follow that you just don’t like this FirstLook viewer, but I don’t quite follow how that becomes a basis for a Torley-bashing exercise.

    And sure.. bring on the competition.. but thus far, I can’t see them nearby. Stuff like WindLight and sculpties just helps increase the lead over anything else I’m aware of that allows content creation on such a large scale the way SL does.

  2. Inigo Chamerberlin

    Jun 1st, 2007

    Not Torley bashing.

    Just the simple fact that putting Torely in charge of something that will affect the visual output of Second Life for every Paying Customer (I don’t greatly care about those who don’t pay their way) makes about as much sense as putting a raving pyromaniac in charge of the Second Life Fire Department.

    At this point I don’t much care any more. I’ve seen some crap in three years here, this beats all though. If I’d realised who was in charge of the project I wouldn’t have even bothered writing the original article – talk about pissing into the wind!

    I hope you, and the rest of the fan club enjoy the outcome.

  3. Simondo Nebestanka

    Jun 1st, 2007

    Thanks Inigo, I follow what you are saying. Thanks for elaborating. No offence intended by my statements.


  4. Hazim Gazov

    Jun 1st, 2007

    Shut up, everyone likes Torley, this will obviously be cool.

  5. Gillian Waldman

    Jun 1st, 2007

    I don’t understand what is so hard about understanding this is FIRST LOOK program. There are many weeks to go before it’s released I suspect, and plenty of time for feedback/bug reporting. Jira is NOT hard to use and if you look at it, you can see plenty of the issues you’re on about are already fixed for the next rev. Torley is not a developer so he’s not making this stuff – he’s championing it…and PS, most people are really excited about it. It’s very buggy just now but I suspect will be amazingly beautiful when it’s done.

  6. Inigo Chamerberlin

    Jun 1st, 2007

    Gillian, you’ll be living with it – but if those presets are anything to go by, the only beauty will be in the eye of the beholder.

    I have no problem with FirstLook as STEVE did it – feedback and bugs via the blog. It was easy, and it worked.

    However, because JIRA (which is absolute crap) is Torley’s hobby-horse, we can’t do that way this time, but are being forced, by Toreley, to use the unfriendly, un-user-friendly, confusing and poorly conceived JIRA.

    Well there are a lot of us who CAN’T (because we aren’t super-geeks), or WON’T (because no one likes being coerced and bullied) use JIRA.

    Now – will the Torely Fan Club please go away. If Torley wants to discuss my views he’s perfectly welcome to try. In person. Not using glove puppets.

    Thank you.

  7. StallionSeven

    Jun 1st, 2007

    Why is this moron Inigo Chamberlin still employed here?
    Sweet Christ, if you don’t have a story, invent one. Is that the Herald’s motto?

    Do us a favor and jerk off somewhere else Inigo.

  8. Nacon

    Jun 1st, 2007

    Inigo said “Nacon – quiet! When I need shit – I’ll squeeze your head…”

    Ok. Here’s all the shit from other people in your own opinion.

    “Why is this moron Inigo Chamberlin still employed here?”
    “Don’t bitch about something until you’ve explored every aspect of it, which apparently, you haven’t.”
    “Looks great to me.”
    “Shut up, everyone likes Torley, this will obviously be cool.”
    “Inigo wasn’t it obvious that all the official blog posts were by Torley?”
    “You should apply for a job at the British ‘paper’ The Sun.”
    “Isn’t this site supposed to report on anything legitimate? ”
    “In other words, spend a little time experimenting.”

    So why bother squeezing only my shit? People has spoken, you’re still an idiot, Inigo.
    (oh and you can shove Tenshi up in your ass while youre at it.)

  9. hrm

    Jun 1st, 2007

    Inigo- “Doesn’t it strike you as worrying that the default is so different from the current version?”

    This pretty much cuts to the point of the article. “It’s different from what I’m used to so I don’t like it.” Well sorry, the current version looks pretty blah, imho. And the beta of what’s coming already looks better. If you don’t want to test an unfinished, buggy product that’s not ready for release, don’t download beta software. If you DO test it, and have suggestions on how it could be improved, submit them through the proper channels instead of whining your ass off in this article. At least that way someone might take your suggestions and impliment them, rather than seeing the article and thinking, “what a dick!” That’s kinda the point of releasing test software.

    Let’s be honest- SL has a LONG way to go before it even catches up to games released as far as three years ago when it comes to looking “realistic,” and the most realistic stuff in SL is usually user created, not supplied by LL. It’s about time they bumped up the client-side stuff that they ARE responsible for.

    And, believe it or not, there ARE urban sims that might actually like a preset with a little smog. Not every sim can be a demented moonscape littered with floating signs, shops, and other detritus lit by the kind of flat, boring super bright light that could only exist in a virtual world like most of the mainland, you know.

  10. Inigo Chamerberlin

    Jun 1st, 2007

    Ahhh. I see the colonials have risen from their beds :-)
    It’s great, you can literally set the clock by them…

    Ok, well, sorry to disappoint some of you, but I AM working with WindLight. It’s not fun with a flawed toolset, but it has to be done. Clearly the person who supplied the default settings hasn’t bothered much.

    Anyway, I have run into a difficulty here, so, I assume some of you, judging by your adverse comments about my supposedly ‘not using WindLight’ HAVE been using it – so, it follows that someone out there must know the answer to this problem?

    I’m attempting to create a full day-span of presets (one where the sun moves realistically). In the process I have discovered that all Linden water in WindLight emits light! And I can’t find a way of preventing this. It makes low light environments incredibly unconvincing. Anyone know a way of preventing this?

    I’ve found a couple of other specific issues, relating to existing content of course, which will need attention, but this ‘glowing radioactive water’ thing is a real showstopper. All sensible solutions appreciated.

  11. Kahni Poitier

    Jun 1st, 2007

    I don’t know how to fix it, Inigo, but don’t let the nay-sayers get to you. I think WindLight is awesome, and I can’t wait for it to become standard.

    “What’s this 3d crap? I designed all my stuff to be seen in 16-colors and 2d! You’re ruining my entire vision! How DARE you!”

    Adapt or die.

  12. Simondo Nebestanka

    Jun 1st, 2007

    When using the non-WindLight viewer, in the ‘Graphics Detail’ tab turning on ‘Ripple Water’ seems to give non-light-emitting water, not affected much by modifying the ‘Nighttime Brightness’ in the ‘Adv. Graphics’ tab. Turn off ‘Ripple Water’, and the water surface light radiation is lessened by decreasing the ‘Nighttime Brightness’.

    In the WindLight viewer, turning on ‘Ripple Water’ also gives non-light-emitting water, however turn it off and no matter what you do to ‘Nighttime Brightness’, you still get ‘bright’ water.

    Does seem like a bug to me. If your graphics card can handle it, for now try turning on ‘Ripple Water’ and it may get rid of the glowing radioactive water.


  13. Io Zeno

    Jun 2nd, 2007

    “‘What’s this 3d crap? I designed all my stuff to be seen in 16-colors and 2d! You’re ruining my entire vision! How DARE you!’

    Adapt or die.”

    Hrm, how do you “adapt” to a 100 different presets, none of them seeing the same world or content in the same way?

    And most of them pretty ugly to my eyes as well, stop gawking at the sky and look at the stuff on the ground around you, hardly an upgrade, more like a bad light show. Especially avatars, the most important content that people own.

    I also *like* the idea that I am seeing the same world as those around me. No, not everyone is deep into “immersion” but everyone seeing the same thing is pretty integral to a shared experience, a virtual “world”. I guess that is out the window too, and we are all on our own little acid trip or something, yay.

  14. Inigo Chamerberlin

    Jun 2nd, 2007

    Simondo :

    Thanks for that, but Ripple Water is my default… so it’s not that

    I think it’s some function of the sun position in Lighting (even with sun lighting at minimum) and Atmosphere setting – but 20 possible settings to investigate, each with many permutations, finding the culprit isn’t easy. I’m tinkering.

    What is REALLY out of order is the way WindLight ‘night’ seems to prevent light prims (not fullbright prims – light EMITTING prims) working. I’ve also noted WindLight-only Alpha issues and messed up particles. And of course, reflection seems to be broken by WindLight too…

    So much for not breaking existing content… The amount of stuff WindLight is capable of breaking, never mind the other objections to it, is downright scary.

  15. bubbles

    Jun 2nd, 2007

    DUH? What part of ‘first look’ and ‘doesn’t represent final quality’ do some here not understand? I’m especially disappointed with the Prokofy faction. I greatly appreciate LL allowing us to try out work in progress projects. Some people are never happy.

  16. Inigo Chamerberlin

    Jun 2nd, 2007

    Hey Bubbles – Linden Lab BOUGHT the company that produced the technology. Well, ‘acquired’ was the precise term.

    First of all it, was supposed to be a working product. One of the stated reasons for the purchase was that the Atmosphere/Cloud/Lighting functions were virtually ‘bolt it on and go’. You know, no development required?

    Now, if we all looked at it and said “Awesome, Cool, Oooooh, New Shiny” – do you really think Linden Lab would say – “Woah guys! It doesn’t work that well, it’s buggy, it has a nasty UI, it breaks a lot of existing content, will cause inworld visual perception issues, and it’s just not ready to go”?

    Or do you think it would just be released ‘as is’ while LL went back to their important stuff – like ‘keeping us safe inworld’ (threatening people for indulging in fantasies in a virtual world – ROFLMAO), or setting up ‘age verification’ systems with highly questionable companies?

    Honestly now? :-)

    Even the oddballs at Linden Lab have enough sense to realise that, as WindLight stands, it’s far from satisfactory.
    So, instead of spending money testing it (something you’d thought they’d have done BEFORE they bought it – I saw the pre-purchase product demonstration videos and they were far from impressive, in fact, pretty much what we have right now, minus the psychedelic presets though)they dump it on US to test-drive, saving money and doing THEIR job for them, in the guise of a First Look release.

    But… BIG problem for the Linden Fan Boyz! Critical analysis of a Linden Lab product! OMG!!!

    Well, we have to make it clear it’s not good enough, because we’ll have to live with the ‘finished’ product (‘we’, the bulk of the customers of Linden Lab – ordinary people).
    They asked us to tell them what we thought, remember? That’s the POINT of First Look. NOT uncritical acclaim of a flawed product which does no one any good.

    If they can live with that, because it’s what they wanted, YOU can live with it too!

  17. Michael Seraph

    Jun 2nd, 2007

    I’ve been running the First Look for a couple of days. I keep it in default mode. The sunset is a bit too garish for me, but the sunrise is very nice. I like the night and especially like the look just after sunset. The sky at high altitudes (700m) looks good, unlike before. All in all, I like the product. LL says it plans to put in estate controls for estate owners and hopefully will simplify the end user ability to muck up the controls. That way most people will be seeing the same thing.

  18. Rhiculus Oh

    Jun 2nd, 2007

    You’re an idiot; those lighting schemes are far more impressive than anything the base SL / Havok engine have been able to provide to this point. Granted, Linden Labs is royally screwing the goat by throwing an immense amount of development time at stupid things like lighting when they should be focusing on issues that the population actually cares about. Release the grid source already LL, the hackers of the world will fix it far better than you’ll ever be able to and we’re sick and fucking tired of sims crashing when the forty-first avatar steps over the border.

  19. The Ted

    Jun 4th, 2007

    The path of evolution is layed upon the the voices of dissenters and theorists. It would be more then appropriate to observe the natural flow of things rather then chant doubts and personal views i would like to remind you of the static skyline before wind light however unrealistic it may be it still adds a new and interesting addition to an otherwise unwavering atmosphear

  20. Gando Thurston

    Jun 4th, 2007

    As a SL photographer, I’m digging WindLight. I’ve only just started to play with it though.

    It would be really cool if the settings could be passed through the inventory. I’d like to see a message like: “Inigo Chamerberlin wants to give you a preset for WindLight – do you accept?”. That way I could see what the estate owner had in mind for the sim I’m in — and still be able to shut it off.

    Passable WindLight settings would allow for others to decide what they want their default look to be like, and spread it around, leaving it out of LL’s hands so they could get on with other business.

  21. Gillian Waldman

    Jun 5th, 2007

    Inigo – I just wanted to add there is a bug with certain drivers and ripple water…I did file a Jira issue so if you want to compare notes, you can find it here:

  22. Mark Busch

    Jun 14th, 2007

    I think it is a good improvement. You are so worried about the ‘default’ looking diffrent then the default as it is now? Didn’t you notice that the ‘default’ we are having now is really ugly?
    And why should everything be as ‘realistic’ as possible? If you want realism, don’t play SecondLife but stay in your first life! As long as it looks interesting and good it’s fine by me, and I think Windlight makes everything in SL look much more interesting and alive.

    And who cares if the color and texture of your left shoe do not look exactly what it looked like when you bought it?! Like anyone cares or notices :P

    Yes they bought Windlight because it’s an impressive wheater and environment system. Why don’t you try making something better yourself :) you act like it’s something horrible, you obviously don’t know what you are talking about.

    Oh and in your comparison, the picture “This ghastly mess is WindLife default preset” looks better in my opinion. Don’t write articles that are purely based on your exaggerated PERSONAL opinion.

  23. Binders Off

    Sep 21st, 2007

    I just today came across this article, unfortunately months after it was posted. However, I must say I am pleased to find someone who has seen throught the Windlight marketing hype and pegged it right to the wall.

    Windlight is one of the worst ideas LL has come up with in a long time. Has anyone taken the time to actually test this system and see what it does to existing builds. If you want an environment that turns your bright and shiney textures to stone and rubber, that makes your glass look like it’s been fine-sanded and de-glossed, that makes your swords and cars look like they just went through an acid bath… Windlight is exactly what you’re looking for!

    So far every new thing that Linden Lab has brought us has had one added nice effect: they LAG THE SYSTEM TO DEATH. Flexi prims, as nice as they are, are SERIOUS lag factors. Sculpty prims, as interesting as they are, are MAJOR lag factors. Rather than taking steps to reduce lag and increase system performance, Linden Lab seems fool-bent on adding yet more lag to the system by bringing in new special effects to an already over-extended foundation.

    One has to wonder about these people. It seems Linden Lab is made up of a group of highly intelligent visionaries totally unrestrained by any sense of realistic discernment. They continue to tax their system when it’s already on the constant verge of major catastrophe, and they keep adding more and more things to tax the system even further.

    The only thing I can really say to them at this point, is one great big, resounding, echoing DUH! GET A CLUE PEOPLE!

    Windlight is an interesting idea that has proven impractical and messed up. We can live with the existing skies people. Work on the flipping LAG!

  24. archie lukas

    Sep 30th, 2007

    Damn the pretty skies

    round the boobs off

    lets get real problems sorted.
    Lisa Simpson hair

    hexagonal boobs
    muscles with points

    Concentrate on the avatar physics chaps!

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