Monday, August 31, 2009

Phase 1 Island Changes On The Way

Last week I conducted a survey of residents on our Phase 1 islands (Desperation North, South, East, and West). I very much appreciate the input I got from respondents and wanted to share with you both the results of the survey and the changes we will be making as a result. (You can view the published survey here, although responses are no longer being tallied.) This is a long article. If you wish you can hop straight to the summary.

Should we have a day/night cycle?

Survey results:
  • Yes - 40%
  • Don't care at all - 24%
  • Prefer dark, but don't really care - 32%
  • Would move away if sunlight were enabled - 1%
My response:

While I had always intended New Desperation Isle and the surrounding areas to be an adult playground bathed in moonlight, it is an unfortunate fact that with Windlight and the limitations of some users' monitors and computers, night time in Second Life is often just too dark for many users to see anything. I don't know how many screenshots I've seen that people have taken on New Desperation Isle where they have obviously forced their local sunlight on in order to take pictures. There is also the economic fact that I have lost many potential customers who did not want to live on an island that never had sun. I have chosen to enable "global time" on the Phase 1 sims, including New Desperation Isle, which will add a regular day/night cycle to those islands.

Should we continue to allow security devices at ground level?

Survey results:
  • No (keep them in the sky only) - 32%
  • Don't care - 40%
  • Yes - 28%
My response:

First off, I apologize for the awkward wording around that question (I mixed up the "yes" and "no" but, luckily, clarified what each survey answer meant). Anyway, it is clear that there are at least a few people who really rely on their security devices at ground level, so I am going to allow their continued use on the ground (on Phase 1 sims only), but due to some additional feedback, I am going to require that the warning time be set to a minimum of 30 seconds. In other words, trespassers should have 30 seconds to exit the premises. This will keep strangers off your sex beds but will give someone who accidentally wanders onto your parcel due to grid lag ample time to escape without being ejected from the sim.

How much should we change New Desperation Isle?

Survey results:
  • Make it an adult commercial sim where other content creators can sell their wares - 40%
  • Rebuild some areas to attract new visitors - 28%
  • Leave it as-is - 12%
  • Make it a residential island - 12%
  • Don't care - 2%
  • Just get rid of it - 0%
My response:

Well it is clear that people in Phase 1 like New Desperation Isle and don't wish it to just go away. I am now left between updating the island to draw in new visitors and making more space for adult retailers. It will be one of these two options though.

Should we update the ground textures on the Phase 1 islands?

Survey results:
  • Yes - 64%
  • Don't care - 28%
  • No - 8%
My response:

When I first started out I just went with the generic default ground textures for my first few islands, and they remain today on Desperation West, North, and South. This wasn't so much of a concern since at night time you barely notice the textures anyway, but once we enable daylight, I want those islands to look both unique and attractive, so I will be updating the ground textures. They will still be a regular grass/sand/rock progression- just new textures.

Another cosmetic change

One person mentioned that our Vacant signs, while easily visible to people looking for land, can detract from the surroundings of existing tenants. I agree, and I am going to design a new kind of sign which does not impact the view so much.

One last thing (and it's a biggie)

Sometime soon I will be forced to flag New Desperation Isle and the rest of the Phase 1 islands as Adult sims. I and several of your fellow tenants have received warnings from Linden Lab that if I do not mark the sims as adult, that anyone who currently has Search > Places listings with adult keywords will be removed from search, and that Linden Lab may start suspending the accounts of residents who fail to comply. I cannot risk having my account locked, and no one running an adult business or meeting place wants that either. I am about to write another post specifically about this issue, so please keep an eye on this blog.

When's all this going to happen?

I plan to make all of these changes by next Monday, September 7. It will probably happen in phases, but I will try not make the switch to Adult until the 7th. If I am forced to switch over earlier, I will notify all tenants.

  • Phase 1 is going to be getting sunlight.
  • Security devices on Phase 1 islands may remain at ground level, but the warning time before ejecting trespassers must be increased to 30 seconds.
  • New Desperation Isle will stay right where it is, but will likely see some changes to bring in more traffic.
  • We will be updating the ground textures on the Phase 1 sims.
  • We will soon be using Vacant signs which are smaller and less noticeable to existing tenants.
  • All Phase 1 sims will be flagged as Adult. (We are going to add at least one new sim for anyone who wishes to live on a Mature sim instead of an Adult one. Again, keep watching this blog.)
  • All of these changes (except New Desperation Isle remodeling) are slated for completion by Monday, September 7.
Thanks for your feedback, thanks for your support, and thanks for your business. I believe that these changes will help improve the quality of living for most residents of the Phase 1 islands and keep us all on Linden Lab's good side.