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  • Linden Lab

    Second Life End-of-Year Update: Wrapping Up 2018. What’s Next for 2019?

    By Linden Lab

    As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at some of the key accomplishments and new feature highlights that helped to make it one of the best years ever for the Second Life community. Celebrating 15 Years. Here’s to 15 More!
    Second Life recently turned 15 and, to mark the occasion, the community held a jam-packed SL15B celebration across several crystal-themed sims. In addition, Linden Lab organized several birthday events including MusicFest and an ambitious Shopping Event. Relive the highlights in the SL15B Flickr feed.  So…  is anyone ready for SL16B yet?   Lower Costs & More Land? That’s Crazy Talk!
    What a way to start the year! Early in 2018, we announced a 10 percent reduction in Mainland costs and doubled the Mainland allotment for Premium members. Then, in July we continued to reduce costs by lowering monthly maintenance fees on Private Estates by up to 15% with one-time land setup fees reduced by as much as 41%.  As a result, land is now more affordable than ever!   Performance & New Features
    As part of our commitment to improving Second Life, we announced plans for 15 enhancements and features on our product road-map. Many of these improvements are already in place or are close to completion, while work continues to perfect additional enhancements and features for 2019. We’ve started making significant improvements to Marketplace including the introduction of many long-requested features, such as wishlists and tracking your favorite sellers (with a feed of their most recent items).  We also added more categories to the Marketplace: Animated Objects, Gachas, Anthropomorphic, and a dedicated anime community, too. Estate Owners also saw improvements to the Land Manager page including web-based region restarts. There is also an Estate Access Management Release Candidate Viewer, which simplifies many Estate Management tasks, including ban list improvements.  It will be making its way to the default release soon. Speaking of land … there is the overhaul for Auctions with several key improvements and a serious facelift - and we’ll soon add the ability for Residents to create Auctions to sell the land that they own. In November, we unveiled the long-anticipated debut of Animesh, which allows independent objects to use rigged mesh and animations. We’re already starting to see some creative ways to take advantage of Animesh.  This new “dancing Santa” from Blow Up is an Animesh companion, which can follow you around and even dance with you as you celebrate the holidays in Second Life. Or for you. Santa is cool with whatever.
    A few Creators have already put out quite a number of cool early creations. Check out the Animated Objects category on the Second Life Marketplace to see what’s available. We are always striving to help our Residents achieve an immersive experience.  The Environment Enhancement Project (EEP), is a series of new customizations in the environment rendering system (also known as Windlight). Soon, you will be able to create and share even more advanced environment settings including up to four different sky layers which can be set independently. Check out this preview video that shows early testing on the Second Life Beta grid from Resident Silas Merlin:   Testing also continues for Bakes on Mesh, a new feature that allows system avatar baked textures to be shown on mesh attachments.  We’re hoping this will help us all ditch some of those avatar onion layers in the new year.
    New Experiences & Activities
    Fans of Linden Realms new and old saw not one, but two updates in 2018.  A limited-time and dramatic update Linden Realms: The Wrath of Ruth soon gave way to its full-featured successor Linden Realms: The Search for Magellan.

    We also introduced the new Swaginator with two ambitious seek-and-find events. As part of our SL15B event, we created 15 limited-edition gifts for a Birthday Gift Grab grid-wide hunt that extended over a whopping 15 weeks! More recently, we held the Winter Swaginator Hunt which included five hidden gifts created exclusively for holiday hunters. There were also numerous exclusive shopping and community events, which are always a blast!  Look out for the traditional Snowball Fight.
    2018 In Numbers
    As the year comes to a close, we’ve rounded up some interesting statistics to share insight into how the Second Life community is spending its time and money. One thing is clear: Second Lifers were a busy bunch in 2018.   You spent an estimated 336 million hours inworld in the past year alone!  And there are 50 million+ chat messages daily. Our daily concurrency rates remain stable, too. Take a look at this chart, which shows the overall traffic trends on logged in Second Life users over the past two years.   Pictured: Second Life concurrency rates from early 2017 to late 2018.   This active population helped keep the Second Life economy healthy in 2018. Approximately $65 million was paid out to Residents in the past year for a variety of items and services. On the Marketplace, there are currently over 5 million virtual goods for sale. Since we lowered prices on the Mainland and maintenance fees on Private Estates, we’ve seen some growth in the overall land market as well. For example, we saw increases across the board in land ownership - more Region owners, more parcel owners, more group-owned land, more Regions on the Grid. As many owners traded up from Openspaces and Homesteads to full Regions to take full advantage of the lower pricing, we saw growth in overall SQM owned by Residents. So, what was popular with the Second Life community in 2018? Here are some interesting insights into General and Mature-rated places and items: TOP MARKETPLACE CATEGORIES 2018 (by Web Traffic)
    1. Apparel (General)
    2. Women's Apparel
    3. Avatar Accessories
    4. Home & Garden
    5. Complete Avatars
    6. Avatar Components
    7. Avatar Appearance
    8. Animations
    9. Buildings & Other Structures
    10. Men's Apparel TOP DESTINATION GUIDE CATEGORIES (by Web Traffic) 1. Games
    2. Editor's Picks
    3. Recently Added
    4. Premium Gifts
    5. Photogenic Spots
    6. Shopping Events
    7. Adventure & Fantasy
    8. Featured Events
    9. Freebie Spots
    10. Role-playing Communities
    2019...Here We Come!
    In true Linden tradition, we didn’t get through everything we wanted to do in 2018 … but we certainly feel proud of the developments already out and we’re excited for the things to come. Stay tuned for even more improvements, including progress on our migration to the cloud, Linden Home updates, Gridwide experiences, and the much-anticipated ability to change your name! Thank you from the entire Linden Lab staff for your continued creativity and contributions to the Second Life community. We cherish the opportunity to help this unique and amazing world flourish year to year, and we can’t wait to see what adventures await in 2019! We wish everyone happy holidays and a wonderful New Year!
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Our community blogs

  1. Xiola Linden
    Latest Entry

    By Xiola Linden,

    potd0118.png

    Today's Second Life pic of the day is "And don't it feel good?" by Shyralei Nefekalum.  Credits available here.

    To submit your image for Second Life Pic of the Day consideration, login to Second Life, snap some pics and add them to the Official Second Life Flickr Group.

    Be sure to check us out on social:
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  2.  

    Hello Residents of Second Life!  

    Over the last few days, Residents using certain email providers may have noticed that they are not receiving all email notifications for events such as Marketplace purchases and Offline Messages.  

    Email has come a long way since it was first introduced to the world in the 1960s. There are many factors that affect the deliver-ability of a message, and algorithms which affect it are constantly being updated.  Sometimes things go awry despite best intentions - such as certain phrases being flagged as indicative of spam, or the volume of messages sent in a certain time frame.

    Second Life is a complex beast and not all our email sending practices are as good as they could be. We are re-examining these practices and we’re going to do better to make sure our Residents are able to get the information they need.

    There are some things you, as the recipient, can also do to better ensure deliver-ability, such as having email filters, white-listing certain contacts, checking your spam folder and marking legitimate messages “Not Spam,” and even contacting your email providers about certain emails.

    If you are experiencing issues receiving emails from us, you may also want to consider updating your email temporarily to a different provider (for example if @yahoo emails are failing, try a @gmail account), verifying your email address with us (offline IMs, friendship offers, auctions, etc all require a verified address), and white-listing (add sender to contacts) Second Life messages to ensure you receive them in the future. It’s always best to use an email account that is only accessible by you.  

    We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused and will provide updates once available.

  3. Come one - come all to the Snowball Arena for a friendly ice battle of epic proportions! This Snowball Showdown means you're free to pelt your fellow Second Life Residents and Lindens with a bevy of sparkling snowballs! But the Lindens and your fellow Residents get to return fire with their own avalanche of snow-arsenal.

    The battle commences tomorrow - Friday December 21st from 11 am to 1 pm SLT. Spots are limited, so be sure to get there early to grab your snow launching weaponry from the vendors around the arena. 

    Mark your calendars, assemble your dream squad, and be there!

     

  4. Linden Lab
    Latest Entry

    By Linden Lab,

    You may have been among those who had problems seeing avatars yesterday; this is a quick note to share with you what went wrong and what comes next.

    Early yesterday morning, we deployed an update to the backend service that creates the baked textures and other data that make up your avatar’s appearance. The time was chosen to be at a low point in concurrency because we knew the update would create unusual load (making all-new appearances for every active avatar). It turned out that the load was a little higher than we expected; that probably would have been OK, but we had two simultaneous system failures in the servers that provide some of the key data to the service. By the time we had diagnosed those failures, the backlog of work to be done had grown considerably and the number of active users had also increased. It took a few hours for the backlog of avatar appearances to get caught up.

    We realize how disruptive events like these can be (our own inworld meetings were full of mostly-gray Lindens and clouds yesterday), and very much regret the inconvenience.

    We're increasing the redundancy of these services and modifying our deploy procedures to avoid a repeat of this kind of failure in the future.

    The good news is that this was one of the last backend changes needed for us to be able to roll out the new Bakes-on-Mesh feature on agni; it will, with the updated viewer, allow you to apply system clothing and skins on your avatar even when you're using mesh body parts. Look for the viewer release announcement soon.

            - Oz Linden

  5.  

    At Linden Lab we appreciate and support the creativity of our community - a community based on the very idea that the only limit to your creativity is your imagination. That is why we feel it is important to clarify our stance on and process for the protection of community-created content. Our goal is to nurture the overall creative and competitive ecosystem that enables each member of our community to prosper -- even when that means making difficult determinations in disputes between our Creators.

    While we cannot comment publicly with a definitive analysis of any one case or dispute, we want to reassure our community that we closely consider all perspectives (and applicable law) before arriving at any dispute determination. When there is disagreement in our community over the integrity of a creation, we strive to be fair in our review of the facts. In particular, we do not take actions for or against any Creator lightly as we know that our Creator community is passionate about and protective of their work.

    So, why make this statement now?

    Due to the size of the Second Life economy and its user base, there will always be Creator conflicts and complaints under review. Recently, there’s been some debate about one of the more esoteric aspects of content creation, which impacts many in our community. For example, one high-profile complaint under review deals with a fundamental question about whether UV mapping can be considered proprietary and protect-able or part of the public domain.

    Linden Lab recognizes that there are passionate arguments to be made on both sides of this and similar discussions. However, the determining factors are quite nuanced and not easily assessed without a closer review of the facts in the context of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (or DMCA).

    Ultimately, Linden Lab will always comply with the DMCA process, and continue to determine the validity of each DMCA notice (and any counter-notice) on a case-by-case basis. That is precisely why we have a team dedicated to reviewing all properly-submitted IP claims and determining the fairest outcome within the guidelines of the policies and laws governing the process, which is described in the Intellectual Property Infringement Notification Policy.

    We are ever-amazed by the ways this community utilizes the Second Life platform for creativity. Keep innovating - you make Second Life even better as we roll out new features and tools to create with -- and keep supporting your fellow Creators!

    225673608_58e244be15_o.jpg

    Image courtesy of Torley Linden

  6. Hello Land Owners!

    Wow - it's been kind of quiet over here in the land bog, but we have some news to share! Read all about it in the Featured News section of the blog by clicking this link. The quick version is that the Second Life product team has added the ability for private Estate Owners to do Region restarts via the web - and introduced a new 'Safe Mode; that will help disable scripts, physics and collisions in order to make it easier to get in and remove issue causing items. 

    Read the full blog in featured news - it's worth it!

     

  7. Grid Status Update

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