What is Holding Second Life Back
While I love Linden Labs second life. I have some concerns about it. I truly only complain about things I like or care about, and Second Life is one of those things. Here are a few of my complaints, and possible solutions.
The first complaint is about their scripting language. While one would think that it would be object oriented by definition, it behaves more like C. Perhaps that is due to a hardware limitation, such as scripts that affect one object, should, in a natural way, affect others that are children of that object, etc.
Another issue is that the scripts should run way faster. Trying to parse XML is terribly slow for example. That is probably because they only allow a script to occupy 29KB of memory at any given time. That is really lame. I understand the technical issues around this, and I have a solution I'll describe further in the blog.
I think they are going to choose Mono as the default language for Second Life, and that is a good choice, because I think that C# is a brilliant language. Still, it may be a little too heavy for the average developer. I'm not sure how much they want to implement, but I think Python would probably be a better choice.
The switch to sculpted prims will help designers create more realistic objects, but if they are dead objects, does it really matter?
After someone logs into Second Life and they surf around through the adult content, and then they do some flying, maybe some building, the drop off from having it be fun and cool to somewhat boring is pretty steep. They may have a bunch of people signing up to use it, but I'm sure WOW has a far more active user base.
The biggest problem is that Linden Labs needs to open-source the server template, or release it in a binary form so that individual users can run it on their servers and plug into the grid. The new server on the grid would become another island in the grid. The current land speculating / purchasing thing is out of hand. I'd never pay that much for land, and its too complicated to buy. I'd much rather run the software on my web server and create my own environment that others could enjoy. I know the argument would be, “well then how do we ensure quality?” The answer is you don't. Do you know a good web site from a hokey one? Most people do, the same thing would happen for islands in second life, some would have high latency and be ameteurish, and others would be well put together and fast. Those islands would naturally serve more people, and the others wouldn't. The variety in Second Life with this system would be much greater, and the burden wouldn't be so high on Linden to keep their servers up.
If they do some of these things, I think it will be ultimately successful. If they don't they will get scooped.