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SecondLife should go P2P (Skype did, look where it got them)

blaze Spinnaker
1/2 Serious
Join date: 12 Aug 2004
Posts: 5,898
09-20-2005 03:47
(note: couldn't search on P2P and not sure searching on "*P2P*" actually works .. so if I sound redundant here .. please accept my apologies)

I propose Secondlife(SL) should migrate its grid structure to one which is Peer to Peer (P2P). That is, one where players are not only clients but also host simulators on their respective computers.

There are two aspects to this proposal - whether if it is a good idea (for everyone, residents and Linden Labs), and if it is, whether it's possible. I believe a definite yes can be answered in both cases.

Why is it a good idea for residents and Linden Labs for SL to move to P2P?

Linden Labs have shown that their core value proposition is not the generation of content or a compelling experience for the individual game player, but rather by hosting a community and orchestrating an economy which makes the community compelling.

In other words, much like a real life government, Linden Labs have shown that they shine best not when they create things but rather create an infrastructure which encourages free individuals to create and contribute things. How they do this so well has been already been discussed[1], and I will not address it here.

Unfortunately, from either engine licensing reasons or other orthogonal issues, they currently run and completely control the grid. This is unfortunate and is creating artifical friction that slows SL population growth. If we continue the government anology, this is the same thing as if the US government sold all land and didn't simply give it away for free to settlers.

I believe to encourage the mass adoption and wholesale immigration into the virtual country of SL, Linden Labs(LL) should open up their network and let anyone host a simulator. By doing so, we will see an immediate and massive increase in the amount of land for the use of second life residents.

True, some peers will be unstable. However, arranging an architecture which allows people to recognize unstable peers apriori will allow for a convergence to stability such that simulators which wish to attract people will try hard to be up all the time.

Obviously, SL is a commercial enterprise and needs to make money. There are a large number of ways for LL to do this in a P2P world.

They include being the central bank, and do all or some of the following:
- Tax all player to player transactions (ala PayPal)
- Charge fees for storing funds
- Or, like a bank, earn interest off the collective funds stored in the system..


I think this is very doable technically. If we can extrapolate the grid concept such that anyone can add themselves as a peer, then the only issue that is left is the development of a strong and secure central banking system which allows for secure financial transactions between individuals.

Assuming that all financial transactions need to go through a central clearing house network as they do now (and *NOT* through the peers themselves) then I believe it would be possible to do these transactions in a secure manner.


To conclude, I think the proposal can also be looked at in a different light. If Linden Labs doesn't do it - someone else will. The crystal space engine is gaining strength in technical feasibility and there are a number of nascent metaverse projects using the engine to do what I suggest above. As the CS engine develops streaming and develops better graphics, the question will no longer be should Second Life go P2P, but which open source project will replace Second Life?
_____________________
Taken from The last paragraph on pg. 16 of Cory Ondrejka's paper "Changing Realities: User Creation, Communication, and Innovation in Digital Worlds :

"User-created content takes the idea of leveraging player opinions a step further by allowing them to effectively prototype new ideas and features. Developers can then measure which new concepts most improve the products and incorporate them into the game in future patches."
blaze Spinnaker
1/2 Serious
Join date: 12 Aug 2004
Posts: 5,898
09-20-2005 03:56
Looking back:

1. the sourceforge metaverse project (ala Hugh Perkins) seems to have lost its way.

2. Other engines other than crystal space are out there and offer even more competition.

3. P2P has proven to a very powerful concept. Control of the meta-network is the key.

4. Islands and sub contintents have been suprisingly popular. However, you still want to be on the map. Having to go to many different lists is a problem.

Perhaps this is what LL is thinking - get a big enough grid to make it a master list, and then open things up?

People won't want to go to other lists, because the LL list is the most definitive.

5. I didn't use the term micropayments before. But I recognize now that the beauty of the L$ is that it allows for micropayments. I also realise that without micropayments the SL economy could not exist.

6. Being listed on the definitive list is another source of profit or at least control.

7. I didn't realise at the time how important IP protection was. Only after a year have a I realised what a terrible dead end that has become for SL.

There are probably some more insights I've had in that time, but mostly, I think, the original statement is still compelling.


Oh, I guess

8. Bandwidth hasn't improved as fast as one might have hoped. However, I realise now that having a sim which only has one or two avatars in it (sandbox and/or sex box) is doable.
_____________________
Taken from The last paragraph on pg. 16 of Cory Ondrejka's paper "Changing Realities: User Creation, Communication, and Innovation in Digital Worlds :

"User-created content takes the idea of leveraging player opinions a step further by allowing them to effectively prototype new ideas and features. Developers can then measure which new concepts most improve the products and incorporate them into the game in future patches."
Richie Waves
Predictable
Join date: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 1,424
09-20-2005 04:00
Would this devalue land? make money counterfitable? make the world huge and baron..
Not disagreeing though it could be the first step to taking on the internet :)
_____________________
no u!
Jeffrey Gomez
Cubed™
Join date: 11 Jun 2004
Posts: 3,522
09-20-2005 04:42
This is really not a new concept. It's been discussed by residents for the better part of Second Life's existance.

Honestly, this far into "the game," so to speak, migrating SL to a solely P2P client won't happen. More likely is a licensing or software deal on the side that opens it up to those applications, as is a slow migration outward that won't be P2P per se.

Similar to how the internet exists today, there are still a finite number of DNS servers. You can draw this analogy to the asset servers already in existance.

Imagine, if you will, LL holding the keys to a new Domain Name standard for a system that's actually open. That, to me, sounds like one hell of a business plan long term.

PS: Poor analogy. Skype's popularity got it bought by eBay. Such a "buyout" deal for Second Life would likely not be in our best interest at all, with the sole exception of companies like Google.
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Jeffrey Gomez
Cubed™
Join date: 11 Jun 2004
Posts: 3,522
09-20-2005 04:54
From: Richie Waves
Would this devalue land?

Not really. It'd just show people what they're really paying for - servers. You really can't go below the cost of bandwidth and hardware, which is mostly what prices are set to now.

From: Richie Waves
[M]ake money counterf[e]itable?

Yep. To be fair you'd want to just use USD and SSL by then.

From: Richie Waves
[M]ake the world huge and baron.. (sic; barren)

Nah. The success of island sims and the main grid proves demand meets supply in terms of land resources. Contrast this to places like ActiveWorlds, which do tend to be huge and barren.


Really the two things we need are:

1) The ability to own, maintain, and control our own data
2) In a decentralized system that could withstand World War III

Simple on paper, at least.
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Michi Lumin
Sharp and Pointy
Join date: 14 Oct 2003
Posts: 1,793
09-20-2005 09:25
Do you have any idea, any idea at all, what sort of interpeer bandwidth that would take?

Looking at the "success" of the massive throughput (sarcasm) that networks like ED2K, Gnutella/Gnutella2 and BitTorrent yield.... it'd be a nightmare.

What would be peered? What would benefit? Swarming textures? Geometry everywhere? Just slapping "p2p" on a topology because its the hot buzzword of the day isn't going to be a panacea.

Some systems actually work *worse* in a P2P fashion.
Astrin Few
Live Musician
Join date: 19 Apr 2004
Posts: 60
09-20-2005 09:45
As much as I love P2P networks and communities, I think that the significant server demand, the ongoing development of the server and client software (read: distributed code base) and the need to have some practical glue that holds this community together make a P2P version of SL a bad idea - and I'm not even getting into the IP security issue, which I know for many residents would be a show-stopper (they simply will NOT be on a network that can expose their IP address, period).

I spent many years on the DALNet IRC network, which, although not P2P, is a collection of individual volunteer servers with a variety of hardware. It was terribly exposed to attack, and random shutdowns of this or that server. I love the concept of IRC, but the SL grid is so tightly coupled (flying from sim to sim would become VERY problematic on a distributed, peered grid) that it really encourages a consistent, solid server array in one place. If LL can make a go of it leasing those server resources, that's a solid business model, IMO.

However, I hope this discussion continues. I'd love to experiment with a P2P MMRPG (or whatever SL is) and would love to contribute a server on my network to the cause (albeit probably only on a T1 connection).
Jessica Qin
Wo & Shade, Importers
Join date: 16 Feb 2005
Posts: 161
09-20-2005 10:11
While we're at it, I think it should also be powered by moonbeams and snowflakes.

Jess
Pypo Chung
Residen Meatbag
Join date: 26 Dec 2003
Posts: 220
09-20-2005 11:21
Second Life would need to be alot more stableized in order to do anything of the sort, even though it is out of beta....the max life of this world has ONLY been about 2.5 years, and I am proud of how it has grown and the things that have been done, but just like the lazy bum I am, there is alot that needs to grow from second life. I kinda of laugh and look at sl sometimes as the future of RPG Maker tool sets....But who the heck knows what will happen till it does! Maybe P2P is where were headed, but dealing with issues of such service would only cause more stress then anything. Maybe once the software isnt so buggy, or we have a better made medium for community we can get more things done. Vivva la Cheezy Bread! :D
Huns Valen
Don't PM me here.
Join date: 3 May 2003
Posts: 2,749
09-20-2005 12:19
I have monstrous downstream, but only 32KB/sec upstream. I don't think this would work too well for me.
Enabran Templar
Capitalist Pig
Join date: 26 Aug 2004
Posts: 4,506
09-20-2005 12:25
I just love when blaze tackles technical improvements for us.
_____________________
From: Hiro Pendragon
Furthermore, as Second Life goes to the Metaverse, and this becomes an open platform, Linden Lab risks lawsuit in court and [attachment culling] will, I repeat WILL be reverse in court.


Second Life Forums: Who needs Reason when you can use bold tags?
Michi Lumin
Sharp and Pointy
Join date: 14 Oct 2003
Posts: 1,793
09-20-2005 12:28
From: blaze Spinnaker
I propose Secondlife(SL) should migrate its grid structure to one which is Peer to Peer (P2P). That is, one where players are not only clients but also host simulators on their respective computers.
[/B]


Exactly, Huns. I don't think Blaze realizes how much bandwidth it takes to serve the amount of content needed by various agents in a simulator. A P2P topology would not diminish this, it'd just distribute it.

In other words, if your average simulator requires 5MBPS upstream (likely it requires more), a distributed P2P architecture wouldn't lessen this, it'd simply decentralize it.

It's amazing: people complain about "lag" (what a generalized and overly broad term) now. The average user couldn't host a centralized SL sim, forget a torrent, swarm, or distributed on-demand hive of content.

Wouldn't it be great to fly into a sim and see your roof take a half hour to rez because *it* happens to be in Europe behind a lagged pipe, whereas your front door is being downloaded from down the street. Or would each user host all content? How big would caches have to be?

And what happens when the online population fluctuates? Do we suffer from poor performance when there are few users online? This is how current P2P networks are affected by low network node count.

P2P barely works for file exchange. I haven't seen one yet whose qualities of efficiency trump its "neat idea" gloss.
Introvert Petunia
over 2 billion posts
Join date: 11 Sep 2004
Posts: 2,065
09-20-2005 12:34
Personally I'm waiting for the Blaze P2P® release myself. Distributed thread generation for all!
Eggy Lippmann
Wiktator
Join date: 1 May 2003
Posts: 7,939
09-20-2005 12:44
blaze, have you ever even taken a senior level networks class? *snicker*
Huns Valen
Don't PM me here.
Join date: 3 May 2003
Posts: 2,749
09-20-2005 12:48
From: Michi Lumin
In other words, if your average simulator requires 5MBPS upstream (likely it requires more), a distributed P2P architecture wouldn't lessen this, it'd simply decentralize it.
I'd imagine hosting an event with lots of people would demand 20-30 megabits upstream to do it comfortably, and that's just sending updates and cached assets to avs, let alone whatever arcane edge-connection traffic goes on between sims. I suppose in ten years when you can buy an OC3 worth of bandwidth for dirt cheap, it might be feasible to let people run their own sims, but they would still have to either deal with a central asset server or involve a level of redundancy that makes RAID 5 look dangerously inadequate. How much would it take? 100TB of distributed disk space to store 10TB of content, just so that it would have enough availability? Centralized storage, or at least decentralized storage that is all being done in professional data centers under the guidance of one company, seems like a much better option.

For downloading movie trailers and Knoppix CDs, P2P is good stuff. For something that needs to actually be reliable all the time, I wouldn't count on it.
Icon Serpentine
punk in drublic
Join date: 13 Nov 2003
Posts: 858
09-20-2005 13:13
From: Michi Lumin
Do you have any idea, any idea at all, what sort of interpeer bandwidth that would take?


No kidding.

The sims on the grid or on some REALLY hi-speed LAN equipment. They move large volumes of physical information in real-time.. those kinds of resources are only physically possible in a close-proximity network. Moving that over the Internet would completely bork sim crossings beyond what you can imagine at this point.

As a parallel, I have been playing the Doom3 Co-op mod with some friends. We all have decent to excellent broadband connections. If we get just 3 people in there, the lag becomes difficult to deal with in a squeeze.

Also, imagine the number of transmission points. It would be scary.

We'll probably have to wait for communications tech to catch up before something like this would be possible. But by then, I imagine there will be more than one, "SL."
_____________________
If you are awesome!
Introvert Petunia
over 2 billion posts
Join date: 11 Sep 2004
Posts: 2,065
09-20-2005 13:29
From: someone
I have monstrous downstream...
Is this another of those Letters to Slenthouse Magazine postings? Yeah, everyone has monsterous downstream, right. :p
SuezanneC Baskerville
Forums Rock!
Join date: 22 Dec 2003
Posts: 14,229
09-20-2005 16:32
I think the North Wind would better a better power source than moonbeams. Moonbeams are wussy, you can hardly see them at all even at night, and not at all during the day. Snowflakes are fine in places where it snows, when it's snowing, but what about in the desert? Air would work better than snowflakes, it wouldn't have the same energy density as snowflakes, and it lacks the neat property of being made out of unique crystal structures like snow is, but there's plenty of it, and when you use it up more rushes in to fill your fuel tank back up so fast you don't even notice.
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So long to these forums, the vBulletin forums that used to be at forums.secondlife.com. I will miss them.

I can be found on the web by searching for "SuezanneC Baskerville", or go to

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Magnum Serpentine
Registered User
Join date: 20 Nov 2003
Posts: 1,811
09-20-2005 17:54
From: blaze Spinnaker
(note: couldn't search on P2P and not sure searching on "*P2P*" actually works .. so if I sound redundant here .. please accept my apologies)

I propose Secondlife(SL) should migrate its grid structure to one which is Peer to Peer (P2P). That is, one where players are not only clients but also host simulators on their respective computers.

There are two aspects to this proposal - whether if it is a good idea (for everyone, residents and Linden Labs), and if it is, whether it's possible. I believe a definite yes can be answered in both cases.

Why is it a good idea for residents and Linden Labs for SL to move to P2P?

Linden Labs have shown that their core value proposition is not the generation of content or a compelling experience for the individual game player, but rather by hosting a community and orchestrating an economy which makes the community compelling.

In other words, much like a real life government, Linden Labs have shown that they shine best not when they create things but rather create an infrastructure which encourages free individuals to create and contribute things. How they do this so well has been already been discussed[1], and I will not address it here.

Unfortunately, from either engine licensing reasons or other orthogonal issues, they currently run and completely control the grid. This is unfortunate and is creating artifical friction that slows SL population growth. If we continue the government anology, this is the same thing as if the US government sold all land and didn't simply give it away for free to settlers.

I believe to encourage the mass adoption and wholesale immigration into the virtual country of SL, Linden Labs(LL) should open up their network and let anyone host a simulator. By doing so, we will see an immediate and massive increase in the amount of land for the use of second life residents.

True, some peers will be unstable. However, arranging an architecture which allows people to recognize unstable peers apriori will allow for a convergence to stability such that simulators which wish to attract people will try hard to be up all the time.

Obviously, SL is a commercial enterprise and needs to make money. There are a large number of ways for LL to do this in a P2P world.

They include being the central bank, and do all or some of the following:
- Tax all player to player transactions (ala PayPal)
- Charge fees for storing funds
- Or, like a bank, earn interest off the collective funds stored in the system..


I think this is very doable technically. If we can extrapolate the grid concept such that anyone can add themselves as a peer, then the only issue that is left is the development of a strong and secure central banking system which allows for secure financial transactions between individuals.

Assuming that all financial transactions need to go through a central clearing house network as they do now (and *NOT* through the peers themselves) then I believe it would be possible to do these transactions in a secure manner.


To conclude, I think the proposal can also be looked at in a different light. If Linden Labs doesn't do it - someone else will. The crystal space engine is gaining strength in technical feasibility and there are a number of nascent metaverse projects using the engine to do what I suggest above. As the CS engine develops streaming and develops better graphics, the question will no longer be should Second Life go P2P, but which open source project will replace Second Life?



Won't work

Many Cable Internet Companies forbid home users from being Servers. You have to get a business account for that.
Jeffrey Gomez
Cubed™
Join date: 11 Jun 2004
Posts: 3,522
09-20-2005 18:22
From: Michi Lumin
I don't think Blaze realizes how much bandwidth it takes to serve the amount of content needed by various agents in a simulator. A P2P topology would not diminish this, it'd just distribute it.

Indeed. More likely is people will just rent servers in distributed warehouses, similar to what happens already. Some of them are easily $200 a month with bandwidth caps.

From: Michi Lumin
In other words, if your average simulator requires 5MBPS upstream (likely it requires more), a distributed P2P architecture wouldn't lessen this, it'd simply decentralize it.

I wonder - have they ever released the numbers for streaming? I know the reason things are as they are now is because of the huge data that needs to be moved, and everything is compressed to high hell - be it JPEG2000 or prim protocols in general.

Would be nice to see raw numbers to work with, though. Maybe we can poke Ben en masse.

From: Michi Lumin
*snip*

P2P barely works for file exchange. I haven't seen one yet whose qualities of efficiency trump its "neat idea" gloss.

Yep.

What I think will get us to the "decentralized" stage is working with the industry on newer standards as they happen. The game industry, for example, came up with a wonderful process known as normal maps that saves a huge amount of space and processing power on the client machine. Similar to that, I have fairly complex models in Blender (several thousand polygons) that happily compress to around 100 or 200k of data with Winzip alone.

------

I think the real hurdle to cross, and this will easily happen in the next five to ten years, is streaming technology, both in terms of compression algorithms and new techniques as the speed data can travel.

In terms of P2P itself - nah. Though I think if we move into a more open and decentralized environment, having LL serve as a DNS and hookup facility would really work the best, long term.

As for blaze's postings... no comment.
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Emma Soyinka
Got moo? o_o
Join date: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 218
09-20-2005 19:31
Bandwidth is hardly the only problem. SL is resource intensive enough as a client, what you're suggesting is generally for P2P (unless people work around it, but this is not the default MO) that every client is a server as well. Well that works fine for bittorrent and file sharing services, but seriously...

The load that it would take for a client to do the stuff the SL servers do as well, well ... let's not even think about how slow that would be.
Huns Valen
Don't PM me here.
Join date: 3 May 2003
Posts: 2,749
09-21-2005 02:03
From: Introvert Petunia
Is this another of those Letters to Slenthouse Magazine postings? Yeah, everyone has monsterous downstream, right. :p
I have no idea what that is.
Introvert Petunia
over 2 billion posts
Join date: 11 Sep 2004
Posts: 2,065
09-21-2005 05:16
I think it is called an attempt at complete non-sequiter absurdist humor. I could be wrong though.