Category Archives: News

Upcoming changes to land damage in Second Life

secondlifeAs previously reported in these pages, in April the Lab made some changes to the behaviour of Damage settings on land. At the time, the changes caused a certain amount of confusion in the way they limited people’s abilities to set Damage compared to previous behaviour.

As a result, a number of bugs were filed against the changes, including BUG-9098BUG-9253 and particularly BUG-9422, prompting the Lab to acknowledge there are issues, and promise to look into matters to see if anything could be done to improve things.

As a result of this, the Lab has now come up with a proposal on how Damage can be managed at both the region and the parcel level (there are no plans to offer Damage settings at the estate level) in order to provide region and parcel holders the greatest flexibility on how Damage can be managed on their land, as identified in the various use cases offered through the bug reports.

One of the issues resulting for the April changes to Damage: if the Allow Damage option is disabled at the region level, it could no longer be set at the parcel level - click to enlarge (image courtesy of Whirly Fizzle)

One of the issues resulting for the April changes to Damage: if the Allow Damage option is disabled at the region level, it could no longer be set at the parcel level – click to enlarge (image courtesy of Whirly Fizzle)

The proposal was unveiled by Oz and Grumpity Linden at the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, July 31st, and the detailed discussion of the changes can be heard via the meeting’s video (11:16 through 19:16). However, in essence, it is being proposed that:

  • The current Region / Estate > Region > Allow Damage function will remain, and is set to off by default – so damage will be disabled at the region level by default
  • A new setting, Allow Parcel to Override Damage will be added to  Region / Estate > Region, which will allow parcel owners within a region to set Damage for their land, even if it is disabled at the region level via Allow Damage. This will be set to on by default
  • The About Land > Options > Safe (No  Damage) option will be unchecked by default – so Damage will by default be on at the parcel level by default.

Thus, under this approach, and by default, parcel owners can still have Damage enabled if they wish, while the region owner can have it disabled in order to make places like public areas safe from unintentional Damage, for example.

However, region owners will be able to retain overall control for setting Damage on a region by unchecking Allow Parcel to Override Damage. This will cause the entire region to obey whatever is set via Allow Damage, and the Safe (No Damage) option in About Land > Options will be disabled / greyed-out for all parcels, preventing parcel holders from changing it.

In addition, further changes will be made to the viewer so that it will only display Damage icons in regions / parcels where Damage is enabled.

Currently, there are no times scales for when these changes (which will involve updates to both the simulator code and to the viewer) might be implemented; the idea at the moment is to gain feedback on the proposal as it stands. Furthermore, the Lab is still examining how they might ensure that any current settings for Damage people have on their land are correctly preserved when any changes are eventually rolled-out (although it is likely some people may have to manually readjust the Damage settings on their land once changes have been made, even with the best efforts on the Lab’s part to avoid this).

Once the changes have been finalised and time tabled for implementation, the Lab will hopefully communicate them ahead of release via a blog post / announcement and through the viewer’s MOTD. I’ll also be covering the changes when they are ready to be deployed.

VMM: RC viewer updated, Magic Box / XStreet shut down dates

secondlifeUpdate: The Lab has confirmed automated migration of all Direct Delivery items has now been completed, and the current plan is for the new RC viewer mentioned in this article to be promoted to the de-facto release viewer in week #32 (week commencing Monday, August 3rd).

The auto-migration of Direct Delivery items to VMM has been proceeding for a week, and mostly seems to be going smoothly.

However, the VMM code for the viewer has yet to reach a release status, primarily due to the VMM viewer release candidate having suffered from an elevated crash rate when compared to the current release viewer.

As a result, on July 29th, the Lab to issued a new version of the release candidate, version This does not contain any changes to VMM functionality, but is intended to reduce the RC viewer’s crash rate. Assuming it achieves the aim, it should mean the VMM viewer is once again back in the running for promotion to release status alongside the other RC viewers currently in the release channel.

End of Magic Box Support

Also on July 29th, the Lab issued a blog post announcing the ending of Marketplace support for Magic Boxes and the final shut down of XStreet.

In the blog post, Merchants using Magic Boxes for item deliveries are advised that they have until Monday, August 17th, 2015 to manually migrate those items to use the viewer-Managed Marketplace. After that date, Magic Boxes will no longer be listed on the Marketplace.

Essentially, manual migration involves moving the item into the Marketplace Listing panel, where the required folder hierarchy will be created, and then associating that item with an existing listing on the Marketplace. This is done by copying / pasting the listing reference number (that’s the number at the end of the item’s URL displayed in a browser’s address bar) from the Marketplace and pasting it into the Associate Listing option of the Marketplace Listing panel.

VMM includes an option to manually associate existing MP listings with VMM items in your inventory, which will help ease part of the the migration process for those concerned over automated migration paths

Manual migration in VMM involves moving the item into the Marketplace Listing panel, where the required folder hierarchy will be created, and then associating that item with an existing listing on the Marketplace, by copying / pasting the listing reference number using the Associate Listing option in the Marketplace Listing panel.

Once items in the Marketplace Listing folder have been associated in this way, and a check for errors run, in-world Magic Boxes can be deleted (just make sure everything you want to manually migrate has in fact had its listing associated with a  VMM item first!).

You can also learn about manual migration in the fourth part of the Lab’s VMM video tutorial series, which I’ve also embedded at the end of this article.

XStreet Shut Down

Following the cessation of Magic Box support on the Marketplace, XStreet, (which I think may still be in part used with Magic Boxes), will remain available through until Thursday, August 27th, after which it will finally be shut down. Presumably, this is to give any merchants who missed the August 17th deadline time to complete any remaining manual migration of Magic Box items & re-list them on the Marketplace.

Summary and Migration Video

So, once again the dates:

  • Magic Boxes will stop working on August 17, 2015, and will no longer appear on the Marketplace
  • Xstreet will be finally shut down on August 27, 2015.

And the Lab’s tutorial video on manual migration of listings to VMM:

Lab VMM Resources

Experiencing PaleoQuest, the Lab’s latest adventure in Second Life

PaleoQuest; Inara Pey, July 2015, on FlickrPaleoQuest, July 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

The Lab has launched the latest in their series of adventures for residents as a further demonstration of Experience Keys / Tools. Entitled PaleoQuest, it can be accessed from the Portal Parks, and following the announcement, I trotted along to give it a try, along with a few friends and some of the folk from the Lab and the LDPW.

As the title suggests, the adventure revolves around dinosaurs and parks … but also features time portals, moles, Magellan Linden and  … Doctor Talpa! The adventure comes with a back story, which I’m not going to explain; I’m going to leave that to the official video:

Once you’ve reached a Portal Park, follow the PaleoQuest footpath to the portal itself. Here, you must explicitly join the adventure and assign certain permissions to it (displayed in a dialogue box). These permissions allow the adventure to act on your avatar (teleporting you, proving you with items, etc.) without you constantly having to accept them via further dialogue boxes.

When you have agreed to join the adventure, walk into the light and you’ll be transported to the Visitor Centre, your starting point. As you do so, a game HUD will be attached to your screen – don’t remove it, as you’ll need it to proceed. It will automatically be removed from your screen when you leave PaleoQuest (and all the permissions you have granted will be automatically revoked as well – all part of the Experience Keys system).

PaleoQuest; Inara Pey, July 2015, on FlickrPaleoQuest, July 2015 (Flickr)

The HUD is a combination communications unit – you’ll receive text instructions through it, and hear them on occasion from Magellan -, progress indicator and score keeper. How to it is explained in a tutorial video. Both it and the back story video can be watched at the Visitor Centre as well as on You Tube directly. As well as providing you with instructions (also available in note card form), the Visitor Centre is also the place where you can redeem the goodies you’ve collected along the way for prizes.

Beyond the Visitor Centre are the 5 individual quest zones, reached via the monorail system. Each of these zones involves you in two activities; the first is to undertake a specific task which must be completed in order to help thwart Dr. Talpa. These must be completed in order – you cannot do one, then skip one and go to the next. The second activity involves you collecting “common and rare items” for Magellan (he’s always been one to get others to do the work for him!). These are the aforementioned goodies which can be redeemed for your rewards.

PaleoQuest; Inara Pey, July 2015, on FlickrPaleoQuest, July 2015 (Flickr)

The five main tasks are fiendish, while the secondary task of collecting items Magellan will name for you isn’t easy either. There may well be rewards to be had when you’ve gathered them and got them back to the Visitor Centre, but as with the main task, there’s also a fair amount of death to be found along the way. Well, lots of death, actually, and in a variety of ways, all of them coupled with the chance of losing the goodies you’ve accrued.

This being SL, however, none of the deaths you may (that’s spelt w-i-l-l) suffer are permanent. Should rocks, darts, toxic water, evil creatures or other Unpleasantness get you, like Doctor Who, you will regenerate in a flash.

I’m not going to spoil the adventure by going into specifics of any of the quests; suffice it to say that this being a time mix-up, dinos won’t be the only things you encounter. There’s ancient Egyptians, pirates and more. What I will is that PaleoQuest is a lot of fun. Oodles of it, in fact.

PaleoQuest; Inara Pey, July 2015, on Flickr“Watch the birdie…” – PaleoQuest, July 2015 (Flickr)

Congrats to Patch, Shaman, Michael, the moles and all who worked on the project; it’s been worth the wait ever since Patch mentioned it at the SL12B “Meet the Lindens” event, and it really does deliver up fun by the bucket load. Or have I already said that?

Don’t take my word for it, however – go see for yourself. You’ll probably come across Whirly still trying to get across Nessie’s rocks ;). (Me? I took a leaf from Magellan’s book. I sat down had a drink or six and watched everyone else!)

PaleoQuest; Inara Pey, July 2015, on FlickrWhirly gets into the spirit of things – and makes an enticing snack for Nessie! – PaleoQuest, July 2015 (Flickr)

Oh, and do make sure you have the music stream enabled when visiting. Someone did a pretty awesome job there as well.

Related Links

Encountering King Arthur and Beowulf in Second Life

In June I wrote about the non-profit Literature Alive! project operated by Desideria Stockton and Royce Sommer, and their Canterbury Tales Virtual Pilgrimage. They now have a new literary adventure for people to enjoy.

Beowulf and King Arthur is hosted on the Lingnan Drama Island by Brant (MrK Kas). The title itself pretty much explains what the installation is about: an exploration of the legends and times of Beowulf and King Arthur. And if this sounds an odd combination when one considers Beowulf is an Old English epic set in Scandinavia while King Arthur really came to literary prominence as a romantic figure in the 11th and 12th centuries, keep in mind both are firmly rooted in Anglo-Saxon times, and thus the pairing is apt.

As with Canterbury, Beowulf and Arthur is an interactive investigation of both legends, this one set within a huge castle structure. Entering the courtyard of this will bring the visitor to a famous image: Excalibur stuck fast in a great stone. Paths leading either side of this serve as introductions to the two legends – left for Beowulf, right for Arthur. From here, one can explore on foot, passing through the Beowulf section and on to the Arthurian section, or a teleport board provides access directly to Arthur, and one can then progress to Beowulf from there.

Given this is interactive piece, there is a lot to click on throughout; with Beowulf, blood spatters on the floor of the castle hall and on the tables provide information on his legend, while visitors can also learn about Anglo-Saxon times in Britain, paganism and Christianity (which sit as uneasy partners in the Beowulf legend) by clicking on wall displays, flowers, and so on.

Moving through the hall leads the visitor increasingly toward Arthur and Arthurian legends, notably Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a reference to Myrddin (Merlin) prior to his fusion into Arthurian tales, and thence a climb up to Arthur’s hall, where sits the round table and an opportunity to learn about the code of chivalry.

Both elements of the installation include quizzes and puzzles and the opportunity to win prizes (keep an eye out for the quiz chests scattered around). As with Canterbury, this is an engaging exploration of literature, and one that appears to be part of a bigger project. Outside of the castle sit a series of Tudor style houses which look to be in the process of being set-up to offer insight into other works of literature; this is something I’m hoping to talk to Desi and Royce about in the near future.

In the meantime, if you fancy the opportunity to find out more about two classic mythologies and the times in which they are set, Beowulf and King Arthur offers an interesting and easy-to-follow means of doing so.

SLurl Details