Philip Linden’s Toy Rocket Keeps Crashing

by Pixeleen Mistral on 24/11/07 at 11:34 am

Can’t fix the game – so fix the mission statement?
20-25% total crash rate unchanged since January – October statistics still MIA

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

LL’s clue inventory is unavailable

Reclusive game god Philip Linden announced a new, slimmed-down mission statement for Linden Lab on Wednesday, and said the Lab might need to change to achieve its lofty goal: To connect everyone to an online world that improves the human condition”.

How “everyone” will be connected remains a mystery – the Lab’s own published statistics show 20 to 25% of all sessions ends in some sort of a crash, and no significant progress has been made in this area since January. Ever the politician, King Philip claims to have a plan to reduce crashes over the next 6 months – evidently having just realized in September that there is a problem. Does Philip needs to spend more time in-world? He seems a bit out of touch – but it a nice to hear that he is finally getting the idea.

A certain level of cynicism is understandable for residents who suffered through a near 24 hour login lockout. Ironically, the login lockout was in progress as Philip-the-oblivious nattered on about his new mission. Clocking in just 2 minutes short of a full day, some speculate that the timing of the “problem resolved” message was intended to dodge calls for refunds from the paying customers – the Lab having come perilously close to a full day of downtime for those affected by the lockout between 10:17 am Wednesday and 10:15 am Thursday

Unfortunately, King Philip does little to address the cynical, simultaneously promising to concentrate the Lab’s efforts on stability instead of more new features, and promising more new features:

“…we seem to have reached a point where the rapid addition of capabilities is no longer the key challenge, and indeed can be counterproductive…”

“…Stability is what we’ve got to be all about in the first half of 2008, at the cost of other work…”

“..there is one new platform feature that still seems really important to deploy given the rising use of SL for education and collaboration, and that is being able to browse the web easily from in-world. So we have a small team of people working hard on that right now…”

…We need to seriously reconsider how the UI and more broadly the user experience for SL works, especially for new users. We aren’t there yet in terms of the interface for virtual worlds. There is now a small new internal team doing nothing else…”

- Philip Linden

So – stability über alles – except for new feature like web browsing, new user interfaces, and whatever else strikes the Linden’s fancy. In other words, there is no sign that the Lab is going to change its ways at all. It may not be able to. A barely profitable Linden Lab cannot be what the investors had in mind.

Consider the long promised, never delivered, in-world web browsing feature, and the striking similarity between the Lab’s new mission statement and Google’s: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Then contemplate Google’s market valuation, and how it achieved its position – by selling targeted advertisements.

Given the notable failure of in-world ads for RL products, is anyone surprised that the Lab now feels compelled to insert web browsers into their virtual paradise? The old media will be happy to have web sites appear in-world – regardless of what this does to the immersive experience. Its seems likely that the “use of SL for education” all about educating consumers on what product to buy. This seems to be the only sustainable way to funding a “free” Second Life experience, particularly as the small land owners begin leaving in disgust.

If the future holds an advertisement-driven metaverse, the importance the Lab has placed on frictionless creation of anonymous accounts, a mission to connect everyone, and embedded web viewing makes some sense – if we forget about the crash rates. At least the ad agencies will feel at home – they can go back to creating web pages.

“We have managed to create a virtual world with the magical properties that we all knew were possible. If Linden Lab were to disappear tomorrow, this work would still go on. The rocket is lit. Virtual worlds are finally real.” – Philip Linden

Yes Philip, the rocket is lit. But the residents are tired of the rocket crashing. Maybe if you can tear yourself away from watching Robbie Dingo videos “about 100 times” and focus on the world’s problems, your toy rocket will do something other than repeatedly explode on the launch pad – then we can all enjoy land extortion 16 m2 ad parks – made of web pages!

25 Responses to “Philip Linden’s Toy Rocket Keeps Crashing”

  1. Bladen

    Nov 24th, 2007

    I for one would like to be the first to congratulate Philip on getting it up to 20 to 25 percent for us. He’s making our jobs that much easier. We’re looking forward to that number climbing in the future.

    You guys should seriously quit bitching and look on the bright side: Most of you guys need to get outside. I know that us Ni\gras love going outside and eating delicious KFC and watahmelons in the sunlight. You should try it sometime.

  2. Observer

    Nov 24th, 2007

    I rarely crash. Typically most of the people who crash often have inferior hardware.

  3. Chuck

    Nov 24th, 2007

    When the Lab finally places web on a prim IN SL, i expect big businesses to pay ME LOADS of money to advertise in my Community specific popular locations. SPONSOR MY AVATAR NOW!!!

  4. Rape-Ape

    Nov 24th, 2007

    No virtual dogdick for you.

  5. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 24th, 2007

    I had to come to the conclusion today commenting about the Blingsider with the “SL Still Broken” headlines everyday, and the Herald doing this periodically, that there’s a funny assumption here rooted in a severe case of fanboyitis: that it shouldn’t be broken, that there is some other state it is supposed to be in, that this Rube Goldberg machine called Second Life will not have a large percentage of failure states. You have to be a total wide-eyed naif to imagine this thing is going to perc along like a Swiss Watch.

    And obsessing on 25 percent failure rates strikes me as something like the way the AP has covered the war desertion statistics. They say there are “80 percent more deserters than last year!” But the figures are up from…7 per 1,000 to 9 per 1,000. By contrast, the Vietnam War was said to have 52 percent desertion and World War II to have 63 percent desertion rates. These figures can all be checked, but the misleading way in which the material is presented is obvious.

    By the same token, SL crashes 25 percent of the time compared to…what? Compared to its first year? Second year? Fifth year? Surely it crashed more then, even with less people. And SL crashes 25 percent of the time compared to…that *other* 3-d interactive user-generated streaming content world…which is…where? Ok, then.

  6. Crissa

    Nov 24th, 2007

    25% (including development sessions)

    Of course, that SL also has longer session times (on average) than other immersive worlds might push that number, as well. Longer sessions means less ends which means crashes seem more frequent.

  7. Persig

    Nov 24th, 2007

    I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with Prok for once. You people bitch and moan about the brokenness of the system like you actually understand what “fixed” would look like. A lot of these seemingly unnecessary features ARE calculated at improving stability and lowering the crash rate. Havok4? Not just an “ooh shiney”. Havok 4, in addition to making more realistic physics, has the potential to greatly lower the amount of work necessary for a simulator to track everything physical in-world. Improved physics is not just fluff- it’s there for stability. The same can be said of HTML on a prim. This isn’t frivolous either and anyone with an ounce of vision can see that the web and SL should not be segregated, they should be integrated. By allowing HTML on a prim, all of those slow-loading textures you used to have to wait for Linden to serve can now be offloaded to external web servers that do nothing but service the textures for a select set of prims on one parcel. When textures load quickly this improves performance and the overall user experience. This is not to mention how much more incredibly useful in-world resources can be when they are interactive and can be designed by conventional web artists.
    As Prok mentioned before, you really have no basis for comparison. There are plenty of on-line worlds but none that attempt to do exactly what SL does. And for what it is supposed to do, it does it pretty damn well (especially considering they didn’t limit themselves to the Windows platform).
    Maybe I’m just the luckiest guy on the face of the earth but I rarely crash at all. I don’t even have the most current hardware, but I think a lot of the people who piss and moan about performance think they can get away with running this program on their four-year old Costco deal with the on-board video. Upgrade your hardware, people!
    It’s like showing up to a street race in a dune buggy and complaining that the race isn’t fair. Please, be willing to put up the money for the proper equipment for the task or just shut up entirely. Pretty please? With sugar on top?! =)


  8. Ruth

    Nov 24th, 2007

    I don’t get it. People act like LL is purposely making Second Life broken. They leave comments on the Linden blog that says “Still can’t log in” as if LL doesn’t already know… It’s pretty obvious that SL means everything to Philip Linden, I’m sure he is upset over its brokenness the same as anyone else and is doing his best to make it better. Rude comments don’t do anything to help.

    Even the writer of this “article” has nothing but cynical remarks. If it’s that bad, don’t play anymore. Please go away and leave it to those of us who take SL for what it is– a work in progress.

  9. Mark Mangino

    Nov 24th, 2007

    SECOND LIFE ADDICTION: You lonely people that act like its the end of the world because of SL log in issues and crashes….lol Go take a walk, stop ignoring your kids, husbands, wives…get some much needed sleep..Everything will be “ok”.

    PS- Most of your crashes are client-side..DONT BLAME SL FOR YOUR LAME COMPUTER PROBLEMS..Buy a new one like I did so I could feed my addiction :)

  10. Lowell

    Nov 24th, 2007

    As I wrote in my story on Rosedale’s blog post: “The trouble is, the rocket doesn’t launch some of the time, crashes after launch other times and even when it gets into orbit it can undergo decompression for no obvious reason. Here’s hoping in six months that the launch pad is still there and is having a much better launch record.”

  11. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Nov 25th, 2007

    With my four year old PC at home, I’m lucky to get 6 frames per second while my CPU usage is running at 95-100%. With my brand new PC at work, I get 13-20 FPS with the CPU usage down around 45%. The obvious conclusion is that I need a new PC at home, not that Second Life is “broken” in some way. I crash a few times at work and at home, but that’s not surprising. How many servers does LL run, and how many communications links do they have between those servers that they don’t control? Perhaps we should be thankful for what we can get for free, rather than trying to disparage it.

  12. The Grid Live

    Nov 25th, 2007

    Second Life News for November 25, 2007

    From: The Spoof New Disney princess Giselle has enchanting royal lineageas Second Life hooker! Quote from the site – Disneys Internal Affairs department is probing reports that Enchanteds heroine Giselle is modelled o…

  13. Nicholaz Beresford

    Nov 25th, 2007

    The 25% already has a reference number. 20-25% percent of all user sessions end not with the user exiting the program but with some sort of interruption.

    That would be similar to every fourth of fifth usage of your web browser or word processor would not end by you clicking the red [x] but by the “The program encountered an error” message.

  14. Masterful Paine

    Nov 25th, 2007

    After several failed attempts to log on 25th November 15.10 GMT (23.10SLT) thanks to Google I found the Second Life status page:-

    “Second Life Service Status
    Second Life Offline for Database Maintenance or Update
    In our continuing effort to improve your Second Life experience, we have taken Second Life temporarily offline for maintenance. This may also effect portions of our website. We are working to re-open our doors as quickly as possible and we appreciate your continued patience. For more details and further information on current system status, please visit our official blog at”

    Cross reference shows this to be an unplanned outage.

    Surely it should be possible to give more information about the issues giving rise to the problem and provisional target times for resolving things. In my view it is not reasonable to expect people to hang around to make abortive attempts to log on!

  15. JimBean

    Nov 25th, 2007

    > That would be similar to every fourth of fifth usage of your web browser or word processor would not end by you clicking the red [x] but by the “The program encountered an error” message.

    No shit sherlock.

    What we’re saying is we don’t care. Yes, it’s mildly annoying. If you find it more than mildly annoying (something, say, you obsess over and need to write news stories about) perhaps you need to see a shrink.

  16. anon

    Nov 25th, 2007

    I have the theory that because the lindens don’t really know how to optimize code, they promise new features because they can simply tack them onto their existing codebase with very little effort because someone else already did them all.

  17. anonyfur

    Nov 26th, 2007


    LL keeps more people out of SL then the PN could ever hope to.
    Mebbe Phil should offer them a job, they can only improve SL.

  18. DaveOner

    Nov 26th, 2007

    A couple thoughts…

    a) I love how the crack heads keep criticizing their dealer for giving them low-quality crack. This isn’t news, it’s the same shit people have been writing for the last couple years! SL crashes a lot? NO WAY! Instead of crying about shit you don’t understand try either to understand what you’re crying about or get another dealer!

    If these kinds of articles had any valid information in them trying to get to the root causes of the crashes and why things are the way they are (beyond the Prokofian “outsider looking in” politics) then it wouldn’t be so damn annoying.

    b) Two words: Spell Checker

  19. Rock Ramona

    Nov 27th, 2007

    just my 2 cents…for the past 2 weeks my puter has been crashing every 10 to fifteen minutes just after id log onto sl.i have been a hard and software hack since 1978,have built hundreds of systems,and have written code with my hacker group Cult Of The Dead Cow…so i know a teensy bit about what im talkin current system i run games on is a 2.7 amd with 2 gigs of corsair,a sound blaster live sound card,and a nvidia ge6800 video card.While most of this stuff is 2 years old,it is still more than what the average sl user is using.when im not in sl,im flying microsoft flight sim 10 with all the sliders cranked and can run it all day without a hiccup,along with a slew of other new games and puter is cleaned daily by 7 differant ad ware proggies and i defrag every sunday nite.i kept getting pop ups from ll saying to reinstall my video drivers that i update once a i called nvidia who i let look into my puter via the web to check my drivers and my install and they said my drivers are fine,i told them what was happening and the man told me it was Linden labs code monkeys being lazy and not covering enuff range of video drivers in their updates,that all they are initially worried ab out is the new stuff.soooo im not the crazy one with a junk puter and nvidia said they would back me up with what he said,sooo this all cant be blamed on a buncha noobs with old puters……..

  20. Plianthro Wylie

    Nov 27th, 2007

    I think that the blame here is a shared thing. YOU have an older computer that is obviously water cooled and overclocked (if you’re running flight sim 10 with the sliders maxed out I don’t even want to think about what heat you must be generating) but the majority of people are running a sub-standard video card and 512m of RAM.

    Like I tell anyone who wants their games to run better, Upgrade your RAM and Video card.

    Now there is plenty of blame on LL’s end it seems, not the least of which is padding the system requirements for gameplay…

    1 out of 4 sessions end in a crash, but let’s put that into some relevent number like “25% of all sessions of 8 hours or more end in a crash” (8 hours is just a number I pulled from thin air) I wonder what WoW’s crash rate is for people having sessions lasting 8-ish hours or more…

    Regardless of how the blame is assigned or balanced, a 23h 58m 45s downtime for login is a bit ridiculous in my mind…

  21. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 28th, 2007

    Did anyone else notice, too, that DaveOner is addicted to forums spite and malice?

  22. anon

    Nov 28th, 2007

    >nvidia ge6800 video card.
    >when im not in sl,im flying microsoft flight sim 10 with all the sliders cranked
    >who i let look into my puter via the web to check my drivers


  23. Plianthro Wylie

    Nov 29th, 2007


    Yeah… I wasn’t going to say anything since I thought it was pretty obvious but there’s no way that card (even the “ultra” version) is running flight sim 10 with the sliders goosed to max.

    That cards specs are as follows:

    Core/Memory Clock (MHz) 400/1100
    Fill Rate (AA Sample / Sec) 6.4 Billion
    Verticies / sec 600 Million
    Memory Bandwidth 35.2 GB/s
    Memory Interface 256-bit GDDR-3
    Pixels per Clock (Peak) 16
    Texture per Pixel* 16
    Rendering Pipelines 16

    Not a bad card.

    Let me address something I’ve seen on posts around these-here parts that we should all take a reflective moment for.

    Proving your point by wildly embellishing the facts doesn’t help your cause, in fact to be truthful, it has the exact opposite effect and causes that which you were 100% truthful about to become sullied by the bigger glaring embellishment.

    Be truthful, admit when you’re wrong and treat others with respect… and eat Oreo cookies because they are delicious.

  24. anon

    Nov 29th, 2007

    even my 8800GTS can’t run it on Very High (and that’s not the max, the max is Maximum)

    it poops out at 5 fps

  25. Seán Clancy

    Dec 1st, 2007

    “Does Philip needs (sic) to spend more time in-world? He seems a bit out of touch – but it a nice (sic) to hear that he is finally getting the idea.”

    Doesn’t anyone proofread these posts? Does this outfit not have a copy editor?


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