Update 31st May: Tateru has provided the following update with feedback from Linden Lab on the new website: “The Dio staging/test server has now been closed off, and Linden Lab expresses thanks for the notice of the security issue. Linden Lab also adds that yes, it is not ready to talk about it in any detail other than that it will be something new and completely separate from and unrelated to Second Life and that it is not yet ready for public consumption.” As such, the links to the site given in this article no longer work. (With thanks to Tateru for permission to quote her update.)
Tateru has reported on a new trademark having been registered by Linden Research Inc. You can find the full details on her site, but the key point is that it is for an entirely new product – called Dio (which, among other things, Wikipedia points-out is the Italian name for “God”).
The name would appear to be connected to a
new website, which has a rather interesting home-page:
Any attempts to go further than this page leads to a
log-in page with confidentiality statement (as identified initially by Miro Collas):
The metadata for the pages supplies a clue to their purpose: “Dio allows you to create and play user-created stories.” As such, it’s a reasonable to assume the website is connected to Linden Lab’s range of “new products”, first alluded to by Rod Humble at SLCC-2011. Details were vague then, but have become clearer thanks to various clues dropped by Humble himself and as a result of other goings-on, including:
- That there are perhaps / at least three products in development
- That “Product 2″ is an in-house development
- That the Lab obtained interactive fiction company Little Text People (LTP) earlier this year, and a project they were already working on looks to be Linden Research’s “Product 3″
- We’ve seen Emily Short (one of the people behind LTP) giving interviews alongside Rod Humble recently
- Ms. Short herself appeared to drop some hints on LR’s direction in a recent Gamasutra interview.
Given the site links to a secure log-in, complete with confidentially statement also points towards it being connected to Linden Research’s call for product Beta Testers, initially made in March this year and which still appears to be open.
Speculation on the site is open to all – doubly so given, as Tateru points out, security is somewhat billoxed - allowing people to discern rather a lot, including URLs for image assets, one of which is rather novel to say the least, and another to what appears to be an Apple-related wallpaper. Others appear to be more “game / story” related.
Commenting on Tateru’s article, Psyke Phaeton points out that site’s URL’s might be an oblique reference to Baron Bwimb of Ooze, the self-proclaimed baron of the Paraelemental Plane of Ooze, in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, and provides a link to
another webpage from the site, entitled “Baron’s Test Story”.
Speculation is bound to continue now the cat is out of the bag. Tateru is seeking further feedback from Linden Lab, and will update her article if / when any feedback is forthcoming. I’ll follow suit here, depending on the amount of information that is forthcoming. In the meantime, for more speculative analysis, keep an eye on her comments page.
With thanks to Tateru Nino, Miro Collas and Pyske Phaeton. Note that some of the image links given in this article may become unresolvable, depending on how the apparent security breaks in the Dio website are fixed.