by kris on 16/01/09 at 12:14 am
The OpenSim plot thickens…
by Kaffe McMahon
(Originally published in the Swashbuccateer on Jan. 3, 2009)
Project Exodus (no it is not Charlton Heston does Second Life)- this project has been purportedly on the drawing boards of Linden Labs for over 6 months, prior to the new Land Pricing Policy. The plan was to enhance the experience of the SL residents and to offer new areas of exploration as well as things to do. One of these new activities being sailing and to update first entry into Second Life for new subscribers.
Concurrent with this project LL had been building up their main land and offering substantially reduced rates compared to private estates. Mainland Full Sim Tier $195 USA compared to Estate Full Sim of $295 per month as well as costs to terraform, build and have the land delivered. The new rate plans were rolled out during the 4th Quarter of 2008 by Linden Lab. In effect this killed off open sims as used , and allowed step conversions to Homestead or Open Sims to Full Sims no charge. These new rates for private estates were the coup de grae for many private estate holders. Sarah Nerd, long time land broker, got out of the land business. Estates have been pulling out as fast as you can hit delete. The deluge is not over yet. January tiers starting to come due and the exit rate is expected by many observers to climb.
It leaves the question just who did LL want to exodus? The rate uproar had barely settled to a low mumble when news started leaking to the SL population at large about Project Exodus. A new body of water, Blakes Ocean, is being built, by LL, 6 x 6 sims with 36 sims for sailing. Linden Labs has stated that Open Sims were intended for light use, water and sailing. It would seem that the free new ocean would therefore be comprised of Open Sims. This is not the case. It will not be robust enough for anticipated use and they are using homestead sims [ I would not be surprised if really full prim is used as there may be grid to burn with the drop out rate] Here is a link showing the new land masses and water. http://blog.nci-sl.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/sansara-heterocera122908.png
This was first wide spread mention of the new ocean, http://blog.secondlife.com/2008/12/19/hoist-the-mainsail-and-head-for-the-high-seas/. Found the main blog for SL on December 19th.
The new region via the new ocean will connect to the Sailing Sims. In essence offers passage from estates to mainland. They still will pay for their land as they have and make decisions on allocation of water versus land on their sim. In addition to no charge to move all of their sims they have new water to sail. It would be a good guess this land will become more valuable.
A 1024 parcel near this near area was rumored to be at over 500K Lindens. It is difficult to find this exact area since it is not launched yet and has not been heard of by many. A trip over to the Starboard Yacht Club finds a map on the floor that shows the new and old land. Here are a couple of photos (this one and the one at the beginning of the article) and the slurl if you want to see the map I photographed: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Hollywood/82/118/31/
The Sailing Sims is a "loose confederation" of water based estates and sims that have interconnected waterways. Consisting of about 120-130 sims. A map of their current lay out can be found here and they have a number of blogs and intersim races and events.
The timing of this seemed very peculiar, perhaps just a coincidence. LL builds up their grid, financing expansion on new land sales. They somehow did not factor in that people would push the technology envelope to the limit and use the Open Sims full tilt. Yet, this same organization was able to plan a six month launch to move 120 sims, and build an ocean. This seems to be incredulous that we are to believe that they had no inkling of Open Sims usage and had to discontinue this product. It seems paramount to a greedy grid grab.
I lost an Open Sim and now we are our finding our estate at a cross roads, like many others, I was upset. I had joined SOS to help mobilize efforts to save our water. SOS members were urged to contact the Attorney General of California. To me and many others it seemed like Nautilus and other Main Land had been conveniently built up and funded by the 100's of Open Sims that were launched. The rewriting of rules of use freed up quite a bit of grid space. Many mobilization events happened, including events at the Sailing Sims over in Hollywood. The Sailing Sector has not been that vocal in the SOS group as of late. The efforts of the SOS group appear to be ineffective or shrouded in secrecy. They have been contacted for a comment. . .
Marktwain White, of the Sailing Sims was contacted to comment on the Blake's Ocean and who will be allowed to use this water. Mark said:
"I still feel strongly about the OS pricing policy that LL has adopted. I feel that a 67% increase is wrong and have told the LL that on more than one occasion in my discussions with them. I have proposed alternate suggestions on the OS lite product and alternate pricing. Unfortunately they didn't bite."
He offered some excellent information and here are his comments about the 'sweetheart deal':
"The most common comment about the Blake Sea Project runs like this: LL is playing favorites in selecting the USS for special treatment.
The problem with this statement is that it has a faulty premise. The premise above is based on assuming LL or Jack is your father and you all and the USS are his children. "
"The proper premise is that LL is a business that looks for the best tools and partners to accomplish a given task. If LL looks at three service providers and after doing due diligence picks the Blue Company over the Green Company or the Red company they are making a decision on how to best get a job done. A journalist for the business pages of the local paper would not say that LL was showing favoritism, he would say, LL picked the Blue Company as the best partner to work with them on project X."
"Do you think LL has spent the hours and dollars they have in creating the Blake Sea only to do a favor to USS? On the contrary, LL has finally figured out that they are not good community builders, they need partners to do that. They have learned along with all the Corporations the have build ghost towns in SL that it takes a community to bring life to the pixels. They get it now."
The above quotations from Marktwain were from correspondence we had via note cards. It is appreciated that he offered an update on the Exodus Project.
My email to the Attorney General of California generated a thanks for the information form letter. I do not know what the tipping point is to move LL to action.
Another idea is to see what can we do as another sailing community to move LL to work with us. Can we move forward as a "community of common interest" to meet our own needs. It is time a parley of the Brethren meet to work together.