Monday, November 17, 2008

An interview with LaLa Legend, proprieter of the virtual world Legend City Online

Posted by Bettina Tizzy

March 15, 2009 ping: It's been months since I or anyone else I know has logged in to Legend City Online. Does it still exist? Does anyone care? Sound off, please!

Update: Per Marianne McCann, and in a message dated November 22nd, Legend City Online's LaLa Legend posted a clarification of LCOs terms of service to the LCO message boards:

"A reminder of our Terms of Service and Code of Conduct in reference to age and the use of Kid Avatars. All services are mature, strictly for entertainment purposes and are designed for individuals 18 years of age or older. It is strictly prohibited to portray a child or child avie in the matrix of Legend City Online in any way shape or form -- use of such will be seen as a direct violation of our terms and your account will be terminated."

The LCO Terms Of Service, however, as vague on issue of age, only indicating that, "Legend City Online will not knowingly execute an Agreement with anyone under the age of 18. Persons under age 18 may not use the Service without the consent and supervision of their parent or legal guardian. We only provide MATURE land. If Customer chooses to permit a minor to use the Service, Customer agrees to (i) supervise minor's use of any and all MATURE land usage, (ii) assume all risks associated with the minor's viewing of content received through use of virtual land we offer, (iii) assume any and all liabilities, including payment for services, resulting from the minor's use of Legend City Online Services as specified in this Agreement."

The only statement in their Code of Conduct ó roughly analogous to Second Life's Community Standards ó is that "all services are mature, strictly for entertainment purposes and are designed for individuals 18 years of age or older."



* Legend City Online's website can be found here
* Opened for business on September 22, 2008
* Legend City Online was formerly known as Central Grid
* Registration is free
* It is a registered US Company. The name has been trademarked and the design is under copyright.
* The German "Xumeo" continent was added to the matrix on October 28, 2008
* As of November 15, Legend City had a total of 303 Regions: 181 public regions, 69 regions on the separate continent of Xumeo, and 53 private regions
* There were 5,214 registered accounts as of 9am November 15, 2008; 2,196 of which are unique accounts since Legend City's acquisition of Central Grid
* Legend City will not disclose what kind of physics engine it is using
* Textures R Us (TRU), Simone and Alady Shapes are setting up shop in Legend City even now
* The Hippo Viewer, as modified and developed by Mana Janus, is their most compatible viewer. You can download it for Windows, Linux, or Mac here

Many thanks to Jolly Jedburgh for bringing Legend City Online to my attention eleven days ago. On the surface, this virtual world looks a lot like Second Life®, but it is another grid altogether. The differences don't stop with the company name, either. Despite the harried pace of signing up many new residents and dealing with the extraordinary technical issues that one might expect for a brand new world, it's owner graciously agreed to an extensive interview.

LaLa Legend has been a resident of Second Life since just after Beta in 2003. She left shortly after because, "(I) didn’t get the concept of its awesomeness," and returned in 2004 going by the name LaLa Xevious. Today, LaLa is the owner of Legend City Online. LaLa would not disclose her real name.

LaLa Legend

How many new accounts can you handle immediately?

LaLa: 75,000 new accounts can be handled, at which point we will need to restructure our database.

How large is your staff and what are their hours of operation?

LaLa: We have staff of 8 core team members as well as a small staff of volunteers working hard 24/7 to serve our community.

Why should we believe that you will not disappear overnight? People would invest in your grid, buy land, create content and set up shops... why should we believe that you will still be around in five years?

LaLa: Why would you believe that Second Life® would be? Our promise to our customer is this: We are working to create a lasting environment, where people can come and realize their goals and dreams at Legend City Online. We plan to be here for the long term.

Where is your funding coming from and will you be able to raise sufficient funds to maintain a state-of-the-art grid no matter what its growth might be?

Our funding is coming from multiple sources, and is stable enough to maintain our matrix as we are faced with the challenges that all I.T companies face in an ever changing market.

How long ago did you add a currency/economy and do you plan to keep it to Lindens? (This question was posed before I realized that the "L" I was seeing in my client related to the Hippo Viewer I was using, and not Lindens)

LaLa: We have enabled currency from day one. Our currency, the Legend $Ð has never been tied to the Linden$, nor will it be. In fact, the Legend $Ð trades at a different U.S rate than the Linden.

Understanding Legend City's currency

* Legend City's currency uses this symbol: $Ð
* Plans are in the works to establish a full-blown
* You can purchase Legend dollars at Legend ATMs in Second Life. $1,000Lindens will buy you $Ð666 Legend dollars
* Notably, uploading a texture costs you $Ð10

Like every start-up, some growing pains are glaringly in evidence. This building is adjacent to the Legend City welcoming area

What are your biggest technical challenges, at present?

LaLa: Legend City is burdened with many technical issues. This is pioneering work, and there will be problems, which we will solve as we go along. We are, however, not changing things for change's sake, and we are listening to our users about the user experience they would like to have and about the steps we have to take to get there. Please bear in mind that this is a very complex endeavor and there are many things in Legend City that, in this form, have never been done before. Making Legend City a world enjoyable for it's residents is our highest goal.

More on Xumeo, the German continent...

Xumeo is a separate continent/grid available by teleport only from Legend City. It is planned as an All German speaking environment including currency, blue box dialogs, and all in world communication and signage. The two main regions there are Willkommen and Willkommen 2.

Xumeo is very PIRL and urban

Country cabins, perhaps? These were found on Xumeo

What are your thoughts on governance? Do you welcome all communities (child avatars, Gor, BDSM)?

LaLa: We welcome people from all walks of life. Of course we expect everyone that comes to our community to be respectful of each other’s choices. As well as expect that all activities are legal.

Are groups working well yet? (In fact, since I posed this question, my own experience has been that while you can create a group, it is not yet possible to add additional members. In other words, groups in Legend City have one member).

LaLa: Group implementation is a work in progress and is not complete yet. However, we are the only world offering groups at all.

Legend City newbies

There are eight avatars you can choose from upon registration: four male and four female. Here I am (also Bettina Tizzy) within two minutes of rezzing in Legend City Online

Once in-world, you can pick up any and all of the eight freebie avatars at the welcoming area

* Friend people when they are in your presence. Even so, they may not show up on your friends list. Search does not work yet.
* To change any of your body parts, go to your inventory and create a new part. Then wear it and go into appearance to begin modifying it.

Newbie look-alikes abound

Skins and eyes are already for sale on the Barrows region

My own experience has been that female avatars seem to outnumber male avatars nine to one

Newbie navigation tips:

* While it doesn't always happen, you may find that your avatar begins to bounce. One way to prevent the ensuing sea-sickness is to set your avatar to "fly"
* Sometimes you will find that the ground seems to swallow you up whole. Again, set your avatar to "fly" and you'll be back above ground again
* A teleport can be a dangerous thing. If you are meeting friends, be sure to agree on a spot before you attempt that teleport.

Sometimes the grid performs admirably and all seems perfect. You can even dance!

I have had a giggle over my avatar becoming a contortionist at times. Major lag spikes are not uncommon.

When do you expect to add voice and what protocol do you plan to use?

LaLa: We currently have no plans of adding voice because there are no technologies available to us that meet our standards. However, as our technologies develop, we will certainly look at including this feature.

Are you working with standard back-end protocols for everything?

LaLa: OpenSim is based on standard back-end protocols. These include http, xmlrpc and REST (Representational State Transfer). So the answer to your question is yes, we are working with the standard back-end protocols for everything.

Legend City Online's pricing structure and prim allocations are as follows:

Basic Private MiGs (Mini Grids) include 2 Regions for the $500 buy in pricing. Tier fees will remain at $85 per month.

Custom Private MiGs (Mini Grids) include 4 Regions for the $1000 buy in pricing.

Traditional Regions are priced at $100 with $100 a month tier. These regions have 20,000 prims and prims are scaleable to 256x256x256m

Open Space Regions are $25. Prim limit is set at 3750 and only 10x10x10m prims are allowed.

Do all scripts work on your grid? Which ones don't and do you plan to provide support for them soon? How soon?

LaLa: Of the 360+ functions, most have been implemented but not fully. The most notable exception is physics. Physics act somewhat differently and vehicle physics are not implemented yet. However, simple scripts like pose balls, doors and teleporters are very likely to work, with more complex ones needing a bit of a touch-up in places, but to know for sure you just have to try it. That’s what this is all about! Testing to see what works and needs to be tweaked.

Jolly Jedburgh tested particles in the sandbox. No one appears to be using the sandbox to learn how to build. They already know how

What are your policies on content theft, IP protection, etc.?

LaLa: As we continue to grow at such a rapid pace with new people coming to our community at mind boggling speeds, I have been made aware of the issues that other grids are plagued with at this time. It is this that has prompted me to address this issue head on and make public what my protocols for this will be.

Unlike other virtual environments, we have a zero tolerance for Content Theft or Infringement of rights in any way shape or form. With this zero tolerance come a few concerns I have as the owner of Legend City, as well as a person that creates content.

I want to say that we have taken precautions to make sure that the casual bot or copy bot being used on "our" grid is not possible.

This, we know, does not stop the uploading of content that may or may not be stolen from other grids. With this being said the following protocol will take place if the issue arises:

1. The content creator/s, themselves, MUST be the root of ANY complaint or suspicion for questionable items on the matrix of Legend City Online.

Although we appreciate those who want to keep an eye out for content theft, we will NOT respond to nor condone "witch-hunts" or arbitrary cries of theft from overzealous residents - period.

We do not feel it is fair to incite unfair or unjustified "doubt or suspicion" in anyone's products until it can be proven that the questionable content is being distributed improperly.

2. It will further be the responsibility of said content creator to provide proof of ownership and copyright and/or intellectual property registration. Without this information, your content may be unprotected. Watermarking should be kept on file with our administration.

3. An investigation of questionable content will take place for all sources to be discovered. If a justification cannot be made or it is deemed that content was intentionally stolen for ANY purpose, then this content will be banished from the matrix of Legend City Online.

The Eve region, created by Taarna Wells, is attractive.

Humps Place is a region on the westernmost coast of the Legend City continent.

Humps Place

Good to know: Moving your creations from one grid to another

According to Melanie Milland who owns the Xumeo continent, Second Inventory is having some trouble with sculpty transfers into Legend City.

Second Inventory is a 3rd Party Software that allows you to save your creations from one virtual environment directly to your hard drive, and then restore them in other grids. It costs € 29,00.

In conversation, Melanie indicated that you can NOT download a sculptmap from Second Life even if you have it in your inventory as an original, and re-upload it (in Legend City). In her words, "It WILL be broken. You need to take the same file you originally uploaded to SL and upload it. Saving it from your SL inventory to your hard disk is not lossless in itself. It changes the file."

Melanie Milland

See also:

LaLa Xevious' thread on SL Universe

Mana Janus (best known for developing the Hippo Viewer) has already set up a couple of businesses in Legend City, including MJM Lab (it sells a sim-wide teleporter), as well as Christmas trees


Princess Ivory said...


How does this compare to Openlife, which seems to be one of the most popular alternatives to SL currently? Are people joining both, or just choosing one to try? There is a limit to how many things I can join and keep track of!

Bettina Tizzy said...

Princess, it takes but a few minutes to register and pop in for a look. I think you need to experience both, too. Your priorities are uniquely yours. However, the purpose and the reason behind the research for this blogpost was precisely to provide you with information that would help you to make up your own mind, if indeed you intend to explore other worlds at all.

For example, LCO doesn't expect to have voice anytime soon, whereas OLG is launching two voice options next month. I know some people for whom this alone would be a deal breaker.

OLG doesn't have an economy yet, though it expects to soon. LCO already has an economy and stores in operation.

Even beyond the features, I think it is also a choice of what feels right to you and your immediate circle of friends and associates.

Gaspar Roux said...

Thanks for this review! I ventured into Central Grid a while back, but Legend City is a much smoother and more pleasant experience. Very snappy performance in the various sims I visited tonight. The viewer download and install was also clean and quick, as it should be. Kudos to the Legend team.

Right now we are on the leading edge of an explosion of metaverse innovation, catalyzed by OpenSim. Things are going to get very interesting very quickly, even before widespread adoption of an inter-grid protocol. SecondLife obviously has the rich content, cashflow, functional maturity and mindshare at the moment, but content ownership issues and the accelerating curve of open metaverse developments may moot those incumbent advantages fairly quickly.

BTW, this evening's Legend City visit, marks the fifth grid I've visited today. I feel like it's 1993 again...

xlent1 said...

Rar here...couple of points worth noting about opengrids in general:

> Dorothy, we not in Kansas no more = you are not in SL, so be people, other platforms at your own risk. While LL is pretty random about a lot of stuff, they are also solid on many things.

> ALL the content is loaded on a database -- means that the person(s) that control the database can do ANYTHING they want to it. Yeah, anything...copy, take it to another grid.

> Databases can also get wiped out for many reasons. Keep stuff backed-up.

> DO NOT USE YOUR SL PASSWORDS -- er...this is not SL and if you use your password it could be stored unsafely and used to acccess your other accounts.

> Money is and value to real money can be unstable--SL has actually been very stable and seems ok. Careful on credit cards also.

> think about the future--things will change a lot in 2009 for virtual worlds, so maybe best to be a little cautious and check anything you are gonna commit/risk effort on.

Princess Ivory said...

Well, LCO with no voice versus OLG with voice: I'm with LCO on that one. I don't want voice.

LCO has an economy and stores already. OLG hopes to have a currency soon. I'm with LCO again.

BUT - OLG let me input any last name I wanted, so I got Princess Ivory in OLG. When I go to LCO to register, I see that they are like SL, and everyone is limited to the same short list of names. And "Ivory" is not one of them. :(
I don't want to pick a new name.

What to do, what to do...

Thanks for the great review, by the way! Really gave a good idea of what LCO is all about.

Bettina Tizzy said...

Princess... the LCO people are likely gonna kill me for saying this, but once you've registered with any old last name, go in-world and find someone with the "Legend" surname. They have the ability to give you the last name of your choosing, but they do like to verify in one or two ways. That's why I'm Bettina Tizzy in LCO :)

Sssshhh, it's a sikkrit!

garykohime said...

If there is anyone thats looking out for the virtual collective, its Bettina! Hats off to you Bettina for the exhaustive research your doing. Also, for keeping your findings non-biased. If you have any bias its right where it should be and informative at minimum. I've been anticipating your posts on this subject; other Grids. Thank you so much. Voice to me isn't a deal killer. Economy is a deal killer. Names? well for the already virtual experienced it might be. I'm willing to let this go, but I do take note of Bettina's suggestion.

@ Rar...Right As Rain? Is that you? is the most positive position I've ever seen you take on SL. I think you got up out of a different bed, than what I'm used to seeing :) Kidding aside, you have some good points. I just wonder if LL has the sustaining power or even interest, long term in its continual support of 'general users". So, bottom line is.. its really not WHERE you are, its who are the movers and shakers and lasting ability is as IT is. Change is a given, hopefully, if a particular other GRID can pave a path out of SL, then it will spur more 'listening' on LL"s part. That is if they still have the 'ears' to hear. As of recently, Im not all that certain as to who really has there ear. But, tendencies appear as if they are heading to a business only virtual world. There might be money in it for them. But, where is the real sustaining money..its with the general consumer and the Long Tail. Social networking is the future of SL and RL. World consciousness or the collective will be and is the direction human evolution is taking. Jump on the pioneering ship and set sail to uncharted shores. You just might become the next Ben Franklin. :)

Jolly Jedburgh said...

@ Princess Ivory

If that is your SL name you can use the ATM's in SL to sync your LCO name without having to ask a Legend as long as you specify your SL avatar name on the account set up on LCO's site =) may work out quicker but I find they are very helpful with many things including names.
I asked LaLa about the last name limitations she explained it was 'due to some people getting clever with it using some unpleasant combinations'. As much as that made sense, in a way , the only ones I could think of was "Seymore Butts" or "Ivana Humpalot". I guess my mind does not work in that direction as much as some other talented folks.

Faith2xs said...

Where can I find an ATM in SL ??? I found out about LCO last night and created an account and joined this morning. Looks good. Basic, and at the beginning, but nice. Debating a 25 trial or a jump in feet first mini grid. Seems a bit light on explanation, such as the cost of tier first month for personal grids, is that the price of tier each month? or just the first month? I was going to buy some OS and another island in SL, but the whole OS blunder by LL has put me off buying any new land there. This seems a viable option if we get enough creators to fill it with content. I want to buy some of the local currency too as I want to upgrade my avatar right away.

Bliss Crimson of SL

Cliff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aarlington said...

I don't understand wy we are asked to give our SL avatar name - can someone please explain this clearly?

This bit - when you are registering a new account.......

"Enter your Second Life Avatar's name below. This is optional, but will allow us to contact you within Second Life more easily if the need arises.
To use the ATMs in Second Life, you need to enter your SL Avatar's name here. "

What exactly does this mean? Why would we want to do this?

aarlington said...

....and can we give our SL name later?? Or does it HAVE to be during registration?

dunc said...

Hmm, A very interesting interview, and yes legend city may look really good, HOWEVER, Avoid LaLa Legend, as her attitude to people with other ideas is frankly disgusting, and she will ban anyone who voices their opinions against her. Other legend admins are much more helpful however this puts a huge downer on the grid.