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The excellent Second Life show ‘Designing Worlds‘ celebrated its 250th (!) episode with an exclusive interview with Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab.

It is a very interesting and exciting talk, I won’t write too much about it because others have already done so and you should of course just watch it.

You can see it here on the ‘Designing Worlds’ page on Treet.tv, or here on the Excellent ‘Living  in the Modem World’ blog where you can also read along with a transcript.

I could not resist picking the currants out of the porridge (yes, that is a Dutch saying), and sharing some of the extra interesting bits;

In short; mesh avatars will be improved, starter experience will be changed, 1920s Berlin is amazing, Ebbe’s son Aleks helps Linden Lab with inworld research, Second Life isn’t coming to an end, groups and group chat are being worked on, bringing back last names is high on the list, SL2 Alpha release planned for middle of next year and it already looks better than SL1.


The team is working on making improvements to the avatars, from little things that we might see as bugs, and also trying to solve the “dead face” , get some eyes and mouths  start moving.

For the future, we’re thinking really hard about how the on-boarding to the next generation platform will not necessarily be to have you go through this one place because we want to make it easy for the creators of experiences to bring-in an audience directly into their experience.

It’s one of those things that’s near the top of priorities for Second Life to bring back the idea of the community portals or something like that, where it’s easy for experience creators to attract users directly into their experience from the outside world.

(1920s) Berlin is amazing to me. It’s funny. My son actually did a little bit of contracting here, helping the product team with some in-world research. He spent some time in Berlin and interviewed Jo Yardley, and just listening to him talk to me when we were driving down to LA together the other day just you know, how it’s grown over the years and the incredible community engagement around that experience and how they’re sticking to a very specific design and community philosophy, and it’s working and the residents in that community love being there.

Second Life will be around for a long, long, long time for people to continue to enjoy what it is.
We don’t have any plans right now to do anything that would be destructive to what you can do in Second Life today. So it’s mostly just improvements we’re talking about, not extreme changes to anything that would jeopardise the content or the creations or people’s livelihood.

On group chat ; We spoke to Jo (me! 😉 ) and many others, once you get into many groups and you’re trying to manage communities, there’s plenty of functionality we could add to make that easier.
But the performance issues of the lag in chat is something that a group of people here worked on for quite a while. It’s only of those Second Life old technology things where you just start pulling at a bit of string and it keeps going and going. So I don’t know when we can say definitively that we’ve solved it and you’re no longer going to see chat lag, but I already know we’re better today than we were a few months ago, but I’m not sure how close we are to being able to say, it’s solved now, there are no more problems.

(Bringing back last names) is on the list of Second Life things that I know both Oz and Danger would like to tackle.
I don’t know what exactly or when exactly. I just know it’s high up on the list… …But it’s clearly something that the team would like to solve. I just don’t have any more information than that right now, because everything that is below the thing that we’re actively working on right now, gets a little fuzzy until it actually becomes an active project where people are actually working on the designs and the specifications and the code.
So it’s sort-of in that next set of things that we would like to tackle, I just don’t know how many other things could get in the way.

On SL2;
We are also looking out to what will the first, at least a little bit public, release, an alpha release which might be invite-only for certain use cases, when can that take place. And we’re trying to aim for somewhere middle of next year.
…I’ve already seen this little test world that we have, and I look at that little test world, and I go you know what? I haven’t seen something in Second Life that looks that nice. So even though it’s this early, you can already start to see that we have some advantages already this early on.

We’ve said that mesh is something that is very likely to be importable (in SL2), we’re working on that already. so people working in mesh should be able to leverage their assets to a large degree in the future.
This place (SL) is great, stay here for a long, long time. We don’t even think about how to transition people in some specific time frame. If three years from now, this is still a better place for people than the new place (SL2), then so be it.

We’re trying to make it clear to people that the content is yours, and we just need to have sufficient protections to protect ourselves. But again, it’s obviously not in our interest to make a mess for content creators by ourselves stepping in and starting to be part of the problem, rather than the solution with regards to IP protection.

On ending, congratulations to Saffia Widdershins and Elrik Merlin on reaching this very impressive milestone.
Thank you very much Inara Pey on providing the excellent transcript and writing about it on your blog.
And well done Herr Altberg on another excellent interview.

The future looks interesting!

Screenshot from Designing Worlds

Screenshot from Designing Worlds