Friday, 3 September 2010

Imprudence picks up where Emerald left off

In the wake of the hacking controversy by one of the developer team that produces Emerald viewer there has been a rush to dump it over fears that personal data is no longer safe and many of the 'refugees' have been downloading the Imprudence viewer as the best choice to gain some of what they like in Emerald, namely features such as bouncing boobs and RLV (Retrained Life) which strikes a cord with the BDSM fraternity in Second Life. But the influx to Imprudence has brought a rush of requests that border on demands. Power to the people might well be their clarion call.

 This posses some real challenges to the Imprudence devs who are having to put features that existing uses have requested on the back burner as they try to meet the requests of the refugees. Looking at the Imprudence forum the Emerald people are pretty vocal too and some of their requests are deeply worrying for sim owners who pay for the sims they visit in Second Life. We have seen so many sim settings being overridden by Emerald from flying to spying and Imprudence devs are under pressure to give them the same. However, how much power should be given to potential griefers and those who don't respect other people or their property?

 For my part I would want to have the power to enforce my regions settings and even deny access to people using viewers that break my sim rules if it's the only way to protect the virtual space I pay for (in fact this may yet be possible in Open Simulator since the infrastructure code is open source and can be tweaked to possibly block some viewers access). There are many ways in which my sim rules might be breached and I recall some role play sims banning the use of radar huds on the basis that in real life you wont be able to see over the hill so to speak. Emerald and Imprudence have radar built in and I noted that some of the refugees are calling for a longer reach already. Where do these demands end I wonder?

 But in any event it dose add up to greater power being given to the viewer users with scant regard for those who pay for the virtual worlds they visit. There has to be something wrong with that. I also think it is just a little unfair of Imprudence devs to put requests made by those who came first on the shelf in favour of new comers that do seem to want the very powers I am ranting about.

 I have been asking for the intergrid teleport that was developed in MeerKat viewer to be implemented in Imprudence since the demise of the MeerKat project at the end of last year. I requested it in January this year and was told it was going to be included once they ironed out the problems but no promises were made. Six months on and I am told it is on the back burner because of the influx of Emerald users and, as disappointing as this is to me, I know there is still time since Open Simulator is still not out of Alpha stage although it is looking pretty advanced now.

 Changing the subject slightly I also requested the devs of Imprudence to upgrade the grid list which they had supported with an eye on moving closer to the Open Simulator standard. There are, in fact, over a thousand private grids now using Open Simulator and probably more since many are behind firewalls serving education and private companies. There are some well known girds that already support more than a 100 regions too but most have fewer than 10 regions. Hypergrid 1.5 makes it possible to grid hop around the many grids taking your clothes and appearance with you. With MeerKat viewer I could actually grid hop from Second Life to my private sim on one of the grids and back but it was not a rock stable experience I do admit and that's what I hope Imprudence devs will eventually tackle and improve on.

 The open metaverse will eventually be bigger than Second Life and certainly more advanced but because it is still fragmented with much of it hidden away people get the false impression it lacks traffic. In fact the traffic is very high but because there is no central place to see the figures indexed as there is in the closed grid of Second Life, we just don't know what's out there and just how big it really is. I personally try to get round as many grids as I can find just as I once did in Second Life surfing the regions, shopping and visiting interesting sims. There are some fantastic builds on the open metaverse and many have owner-coded widgets and improvements over the basic infrastructure code. IWorldz, Meta7 and Role play Worlds spring to mind and, interestingly, many grid owners recommend Imprudence viewer even though their grids may not appear on the Imprudence grid list.

 So what I am arguing for is a search feature to replace the current grid list partly because listing all the grids out there would make the viewer list far too long and partly to give the users a means to search for grids and also for grid owners to add themselves to the search engine. I know you can already add grids you know about but that only serves you and I would imagine that it might not be too difficult for someone entering a grid URL to click a button to send the info to the Imprudence server where the viewer gets it's current list from anyway. How much better if the Imprudence server supported a search feature in the viewer?

 By way of example I got hold of the following list of OS grids which is by no means all the grids out there and the list does not indicate the total number of regions on a grid, only the number of hypergrid-enabled regions currently indexed by  Hyperica

    * AnSky (3 regions)
    * ArchitectureIslands (2 regions)
    * AustriaGrid (2 regions)
    * CondensationLand (10 regions)
    * Cyberlandia (39 regions)
    * DjinnMetaverse (1 region)
    * DorenaVerne (5 regions)
    * DWGrid (1 region)
    * EdenRealm (3 regions)
    * FrancoGrid (26 regions)
    * FunGrid (2 regions)
    * GermanGrid (11 regions)
    * GovGrid (1 region)
    * HumbugCove (1 region)
    * Iti Motu (3 regions)
    * ItiMotu (2 regions)
    * JansSchmiede (1 region)
    * JokaydiaGrid (2 regions)
    * KimsWorld (1 region)
    * KorolovGrid (1 region)
    * LandofVikings (1 region)
    * Logicamp (2 regions)
    * MetaGridNet (1 region)
    * MetaverseNexus (2 regions)
    * Metropolis (11 regions)
    * My3dWorld (2 regions)
    * MyOpenGrid (1 region)

    * NZVWGrid (1 region)
    * OpenParadise (1 region)
    * (1 region)
    * Openvue (1 region)
    * OSGrid (53 regions)
    * Otherland (1 region)
    * Pixelpeach (2 regions)
    * PMGrid (10 regions)
    * ReactionGrid (16 regions)
    * Sanctuary (2 regions)
    * StaminaGrid (1 region)
    * TaxiLand (1 region)
    * TerraNova (1 region)
    * TGIB (1 region)
    * TomsWorld (2 regions)
    * TromblyInternational (1 region)
    * TroppoGrid (4 regions)
    * UCIGrid (2 regions)
    * UFSGrid (1 region)
    * Upper. Hotel Attraction (1 region)
    * V-Business (9 regions)
    * VirtualHighway (1 region)
    * VirtualRealityGrid (1 region)
    * Virtyou (8 regions)
    * WilderWesten (10 regions)
    * WorldSimTerra (9 regions)
    * YourSimSpot (1 region)
The viewer search engine could categorize grids by content. ie, education, business, shopping, role play, socializing, dating, gambling, adult, whatever. Perhaps eventually the search engine could do much more such as advanced searching in sub-categories even. There would be no need for a web crawler either since the grid owners will add themselves but a crawler could check for the home page of a grid site and if not found delete it from the list and save the need for an admin to do that task. I don't see any real limit to its potential but I do see it as a powerful feature to have in the Imprudence viewer and one that would attract many more people to want to use it.