It’s been a funny old day.
Everything was plodding along in its usual way. I was in-world for a bit earlier, then left for a hospital rendezvous. Upon my return the bombshell was dropped:
SECOND LIFE 2.0 is finally here!!
I literally creamed my knickers. The odd thing is I was only thinking about it earlier in the day, and wondering how much longer we’d have to wait. I have a dreadful memory at the best of times, but I seemed to recall that February had been mentioned as the month for release., and seeing as February is almost at an end I was starting to think the labs had forgotten, but not so; ‘M & Co’ had finally unleashed the beta and it was all systems go.
It must say a lot about me that I actually felt sick as I was downloading the new viewer, the kind of sick that you experience as a kid on Christmas Eve. The sensation of pure excitement, tempered with a million “What if?” scenarios coursed through my veins..What if I didn’t like it? What if I couldn’t use it? What the hell will I do with my REAL life if it sucks?
Well dear reader I can say with all honesty it’s not nearly as bad as some of my Plurk pals would have me believe, in fact, I actually *really* like it. You see, here’s the thing: I am NOT a very technical person at all. For some reason people seem to think, in real life at least, that I am, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I manage with computers but I don’t know squat by comparison to some, and the same has always applied to my Second Life experience. I perform exactly to the standard that I set myself in Second Life…nothing more, nothing less, and that makes me happy. I’m not a Second Life overachiever. Sure, I make shapes and take photographs, but that is a million miles away from building virtual palaces, being a top DJ or clothing designer or achieving any of the other amazing technical achievements that have been made by individuals in-world. The only thing I have in common with Codie is a voluptuous figure; I don’t have her brains for coding and scripting and all the alchemy that goes on behind the scenes. But that’s OK, because that’s not what I want to use Second Life for.
And there is your problem, because the new viewer is created with the new user in mind, and it really shows. With a few exceptions I think the uber-creators are going to despise it, and I’ve certainly seen evidence of that tonight on the forums and feeds. Gone are the pie-charts and the myriads of options that some, like myself found so confusing, but builders found essential. They’re still there of course, but this new viewer, so far as I can tell, is all about immediate functionality and ease of use all the way. I really rate a lot of the options that the labs have incorporated too. For a start the interface is really neat and more visual than the previous viewer. They’ve installed an easy to manage landmarks system, kerching! I LOVE that. They’ve integrated forward and back buttons which seem such a trivial thing but will make such an enormous difference to navigation.Beloved was peeping over my shoulder and said that the new interface reminded him of Firefox; I dunno about that, but I do know that I’m loving the new inventory options, such as ‘Outfit’ and ‘Wearing’…I could go on, but I haven’t got to grips with it all myself yet. There is going to be a LOT to learn, but I have breathed a huge sigh of relief and I don’t feel as daunted as I did before. This new viewer appeals to me because it fits my learning curve and my abilities perfectly; even after three years, I don’t really find much fun in fannying around with prims and this new viewer doesn’t make me feel so intimidated and dunceworthy because of that. My own personal view is that there should be a choice of interfaces for users, say an interface like this one for casual users and those who spend their time shopping and socialising, with minimal time spent upon object creation ( sound like anyone you know?) As a complete contrast there should be a GUI for those who do want to create, with easy access to all the tools and tackle that they need to perform their in-world tasks with no hassle. Of course, this is only a Beta, so perhaps the Labs will allow for an element of personalisation and allow for this kind of interface in future releases?
Incidentally, the new Snowglobe 2.0 viewer is out too, so of course I’ve downloaded that and I can say, hand on heart, I’ve had the BEST Second Life experience that I have had for WEEKS by making the transition. Minimal lag, no crashing..it really has been a complete breath of fresh air for me and has revitalised my Second Life experience.
Will I miss the old viewer? I guess so. It’s hard-coded into my brain, because I keep reaching for the bottom right of the screen to bring up my inventory. But I’m swept away by the frenzy and the hype and I have a very good feeling about all this, in the sense that like Linden Homes a week ago, these new changes will bring new avatars to our wonderful virtual world, and new avatars mean new talent, new ideas and will hopefully sustain Second Life for many years to come.
Anyway, here are a few links to wet your appetite for the new viewer: ArminasX Saiman has a great piece about the new viewer over at Second Effects. Sasy Scarborough has written all about inventory mangement and learning about the new sidebar on her blog too, it’s a really helpful article, thanks Sasy! Finally Torley Linden and the gang have a host of fabulous tutorials for you to watch, learn and be entertained by, all available by following this link.