We interrupt your regularly-scheduled roadtrip posts...

To bring you this announcement. Linden Labs have announced that they are going to open-source the Second Life server code.

Well, damn. It’s been in the rumour mill for a while, but this confirmation is big news. It’s also one of the reasons why writing a book like this is such a nightmare in some ways - you’re out of date five minutes after you write - and why this blog exists, to act as the ever-growing errata sheet for the book.

(Of course, this change we’ve caught in time to add it to the book. But you just know that ten minutes after we submit final-final-final edits, Microsoft will announce that Halo 3 will come with a built-in Stephen Speilburg and Lawrence Kazdan to help you make your Machinima, or some such. )

In the book, we’ve fairly skeptical about Second Life as a Machinima platform, but this announcement means we’re going to have to do a fairly major re-think, as it eliminates a good half of the problems we perceived. For starters, the ability to run your own private Second Life island means that we’d no longer need to set aside $20,000 for a couple of years’ island rental if we wanted to make something BloodSpell-scale in Second Life. An open server means that AI-controlled NPCs are a possibility. And so on.

Now all we need is for someone to release a fairly major graphics upgrade to the client, and Second Life could be seriously cooking with Machinima gas.

OK, that last metaphor gave rise to a bit of an unpleasant image. Sorry about that. We’ll try not to talk about “Machinima gas” any more.