For this year's Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference, with MachinEVO and CAMELOT Project representatives we gathered eagerly for Mr Ebbe Altberg's opening keynote on March 18th.
At the SL Main Auditorium, the Chief Executive Officer of Linden Lab (the makers of Second Life®, BlocksworldTM, DesuraTM), announced their development of a new next generation platform with expanding possibilities and new features to improve quality and to benefit its users, including educators. It was great pleasure (and relief) to see that LL's CEO is so friendly, open and eager to include the educators' community in their plans and to take extra session time to answer our Questions and Answers at the end of his keynote.
For those educators appreciating machinima or having 'land' in SL who have not got the time to watch all the talk, here are a few of his key points on Linden Lab's future plans on the next generation platform:
- Maintaining SL identity and keeping content,
- Moving back and forth between the two platforms
- Cheaper land,
- New avatar types & skeleton structures,
- Accessibility for 13+ clients [let's hope for YL better accessibility to safe content],
- Meeting educators' needs and maintaining communication with the community of educators
- Efforts to reduce costs (but maybe not in SL);
- Outline of improvements in the existing platform so far,
- Connecting with customers, audience & partners
- Avoiding economic decisions hindering teacher participation
- Improving slurls
- Offering scripting capabilities for all users
- Availability options from more platforms (Mac, PC, mobile)
- Use of Autodesk Maya 2015 sophisticated and state-of-the-art tool for the design of the next platform from the grounds up - as a starting point - (initial requirement for Alpha users of then next gen platform)
- Better 3D and animation capabilities
- Improved Scalability and Creativity
- Higher visual fidelity for shopping, avatars, clothing
- Easy access for the impaired
- Supporting an array of third party tools as part of the creation - highly optimised format
- Activating existing talent in the world to create incredible content instead of training staff anew
- Partial backwards compatibility - idle content disappearing from the old platform, but should be easy to bring back and store offline
- Over a year before availability
- SL may eventually be layered on top of the new platform
(not in speech marks in case there are possible inacuracies):
As CAMELOT* Network Partner and standing for language teaching professionals interested in Teaching Machinima, it would be great ommission not to express how privileged and honoured Camelot would be to have a discussion with Mr Altberg surrounding educators in the current SL and the next generation platforms.
Many thanks for being so open to and for the educational community.
* CAMELOT stands for "CreAting Machinima Empowers Live Online Language Teaching and Learning". The project is coordinated by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), UK School of Language, Literature and International Studies.
For past presentations in VWBPE, here are the links for Philip Rosedale's (CEO of High Fidelity and Founder of Second Life)and Ebbe Altberg's keynotes in VWBPE 2014.
You may also wish to watch Philip Rosedale's TED talk on 'Life in Second Life' back in 2008.