A Small Town Green returns to Second Life

Small Town Green, March 2023 – click any image for full size

Shawn Shakespeare pointed out to me that, after a extended absence from Second Life, Small Town Green is once again open for visitors to appreciate.  This being the case I recently jumped over to take a look.

The work of Mido Littlepaws, Small Town Green (or Small Town, if you prefer) is a place which has featured in these pages a number of times in the pas. My very first visit being almost a decade ago (!) in the summer of 2013 – although I didn’t actually write about it until winter of that year. Further visits followed through until 2016, when the Mido halted her builds for a while, although Small Town Green re-appeared in 2019, which marked the last time I wrote about it.

Small Town Green, March 2023

To be honest, I have no idea if Mido has has iterations of Small Town Green between then and now, but I’m happy that I’ve been able to rediscover it thanks to the nudge from Shawn; Mido has a way of building highly attractive region settings which are fun to explore, with this one taking the form of two islands, hugged in the arms of surroundings hills.

The largest of these two islands has the landing point located on it, sitting on a curled tongue of land holding within it a small, round bay open to the outer waters on one side, where a wrought iron and wood bridge arches over a narrow neck of water. This curling spit of land touched the ruler-like wall of a raised tramway, itself separating the land from a pair of wooden piers, one of which offers the opportunity to take a kayak out onto the water – possibly the easiest way to reach the second (and smaller) island.

Small Town Green, March 2023

I admit that I initially took the smaller island to be a private home whilst initially exploring, and so didn’t pay it too much attention. However, it appears to be open to the public if you do opt to paddle over to it, and despite what looks like a little bit of unfinished landscaping, it presents a charming bath house reached along a lantern lit path overseen by a bamboo copse and bamboo fencing.

Back on the main island, a path follows the curve of the landing point’s tongue of land, offering two directions of exploration. The first runs west and then north, passing through a little field of brightly coloured flowers and past a ruined house with little places to sit and relax, and thence over the little bridge mentioned above. Eastwards, the path also swings to the north after a short walk, passing between tramway and an expanse of nanohana to offer a choice of two further routes.

Small Town Green, March 2023

The first is a grassy trail running between trees and sheltered by their boughs, and the second a waterfront boardwalk arcing around the bay’s inner shore and under the outstretched arms of sakura trees which have sprinkled their blossoms on the waters. Both of these routes recombine at a set of steps leading up to the arched gateway of a little town sitting on the north side of the island, the path linking with the one from the little bridge in the process, the two thus forming a looped a walk around the little inlet.

The little town carries with it a very western sensibility, comprising two cobbled streets that cross one another and are marked at their extremes by arched gateways under which the cobbles pass and end. Two pubs vie for attention at point the two roads cross one another to form an erstwhile town square, the signs of the hostelries staring at one another from opposite diagonals, possibly seeing who will blink first. They share the streets with a mix of business places, some backed by what might be townhouses. 

Small Town Green, March 2023
The majority of the builds here are, admittedly, shells, with the exception of two places of refreshment. The first is Murphy’s Old Ale House as it looks across the square at its rival. It boasts a cosy interior, complete with a little furnished apartment over it, reached by a separate doorway. Just down the street and alongside the steps connecting town to aforementioned looping paths, sits the Café Expresso 

Throughout all of this, there are numerous places where visitors can sit and pass the time during a visit, and it would be remiss of me not to suggest viewing the setting under its intended EEP settings (World → Environment → make sure Use Shared Environment is checked). It really gives this iteration of Small Town an extra sense of depth and romance.

Small Town Green, March 2023

SLurl Details

Scripted Agent Access control for Second Life regions

via Linden Lab

Updated: Yay! between drafting this, having dinner and coming back and publishing, LL have updated the Scripted Agent Policy – see: Linden Lab Official:Scripted Agent Policy. There is also a discussion thread on the forum.

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023 saw the Scripted Agent Access control – also known as “Ban the Bots” update – became a grid-wide capability in Second Life.

Designed as a means to provide estate / region holders with the ability to prevent unwanted scripted agents (“bots”) from accessing their regions. It is a response to increasing concerns over the use of scripted agents to gather data – including user data – from across the grid and send it for processing / viewing outside of the Second Life.

It is an issue most recently brought to the fore by the BonnieBots system (see these locked forum threads: Has anyone else noticed the B[xxxx] accounts?Sorry. This is not OK. B bots profile scraping and Questions for the Lindens), and the new control was first mentioned as a coming feature during a March 2023 Lab Gab session (see: Lab Gab summary: Grumpity, Mojo &; Patch – SL Mobile, land, bots & more – Bots and Policies).

The following is quick overview of the functionality as it is now – full information can be found in the Scripted Agent Estate Access FAQ from Linden Lab.

How does it Work?

Currently, the Scripted Agents Access control uses an estate-wide flag called deny_bots, which for most viewers is currently accessible as a Debug Console setting, although a viewer UI update is available in the most recent official RC viewers found on the Alternate Viewers page, and will eventually be coming to the official release viewer and TPVs as they adopt it.

  • When ON, the flag prevents any properly indicated Scripted Agents from accessing a region. The only exceptions being:
    • Those listed on the region’s access list.
    • Scripted Agents specifically granted Estate Manager privileges.
  • It is region / estate wide, meaning it cannot be set at / excepted from individual parcels within a region.
  • When the the flag is OFF, all Scripted Agents are treated the same as any other avatar with regard to estate access.

Setting the Flag

The flag can be set in one of two ways: via the Region Debug Console or (for those viewers that have the update) via World Region / Estate (CTRL-R).

Via the Region Debug Console

  • If you do not have the Develop(er) menu option displayed, reveal it in one of the following ways::
    • Go to Advanced → Show Developer Menu.
    • Press CTRL-ALT-Q.
    • Go to Preferences → Advanced Show → check Show Developer Menu.
  • With the Develop(er) menu displayed, either:
    • Select Consoles → Region Debug Console from the menu, or:
    • Press CTRL-SHIFT-`
  • The Region Debug Console floater window will open; in the input field at the bottom of the console, type:

set deny_bots TRUE

  • Press ENTER. If the command is accepted, the floater will echo:

estate setting deny_bots = on.

  • If the console fails to echo for some reason, type the following and press ENTER:

get deny_bots.

  • The console floater should respond with the Estate setting message, above.
  • If you do not have permission to set the flag, the console will respond:

unknown or unauthorized parameter “deny_bots”

Left: the Region Debug Console, showing the deny_bots command options. Right: denying scripted agents option within the Region / Estate floater (when available in all viewers. Images via Linden Lab

Via the Region / Estate Floater

Again, note that this option is currently being rolled-out on Linden Lab RC viewers, and may take time to reach all third-party viewers (TPVs).

  • Type CTRL-R to display the Estate / Region floater.
  • Click on the Estate tab to open it, if required.
  • Look for the option Must Not Be A Scripted Agent, and click the check box to mark it.
    • If there is no such option, use the Region Debug Console option, as described above.
  • Click Apply.
  • Close the Region / Estate floater.

Additional Notes

  • If your estate has multiple regions, it may take time for the setting of the deny_bots flag to propagate out to all of them.
    • If a region does not appear to update with the flag being set, try restarting it, this should force the update.
    • If you have attempted to set deny_bots with the region console but the region continues to fail to reflect the change, please contact support.
    • If you get the error message “Estate already allows bot access, no change”, please try restarting the region, and then toggle deny_bots again. If you’re still having trouble after restarting, please contact support.
  • Note that the flag only applies to registered Scripted Agents (and all bots should be properly registered as such via the account’s Scripted Agent Status page on the account dashboard); it will not prevent unregistered bots accessing a region / estate. However:
    • It is a violation of the Second Life Bot Policy for anyone to operate a bot or bots which are not so identified. Failure to do so on the part of a bot operator can result in an account suspension.
    • If you have set the deny_bots flag, but believe your region is being repeatedly visited by an unregistered Scripted Agent, file an abuse report under the Disturbing the Peace category with the scripted agent’s name, where (region name) and when (date / time) it was seen.

Stories and colours in art in Second Life

PsyGallery, March 2023: Deyanira Yalin

A recent visit took me to Psygallery, operated and curated by Twister Grut, for a couple of small exhibitions by two well-known Second Life artists: Ilyra Chardin and Deyanira Yalin which, while individual in content, do compliment one another quite nicely.

Located in the lower level hall facing the landing point, Ilyra presents Once Upon a Where, a selection of her original paintings reproduced in-world. This comprises a series of nine images located around a central sculpture – Time in a Bottle -, which nicely encapsulates the central theme of the exhibition: fairy tales, stories and flights of the imagination.

PsyGallery, March 2023: Ilyra Chardin

The images are all mixed digital media finished in the style of paintings, eight of which plumb the depths of visual storytelling to great effect, with the ninth forms a superb life study of a coastal bird bearing the title Not All Who Wander Are Lost, which. The latter, depending on your perspective, might call to mind Tolkien, Shakespeare or perhaps Lana Del Rey. Whichever might come to mind, there is no denying that the title fits the images perfectly allowing the imagination to take flight – if you will – in thoughts of the subject’s life on the wing, and where it might have journeyed from and journey onwards to.

Accessed via the teleport board is Col-or-ing, a series of vividly striking images by Deyanira Yalin. This is a richly diverse selection of pieces all joined one to another by equally vivid narrative content as well as their sheer beauty. As with Once Upon a Where in the gallery space below, the eleven images are framed around a central sculpture by Deyanira, a piece as rich in colour, and with a life and motion which matches the vitality of the digital paintings.

PsyGallery, March 2023: Deyanira Yalin

The latter – as is all of Deyanira’s art – are immediately captivating in tone, content and style. Each speaks to its narrative equally as strongly  the next, but I confess I was very much drawn to Africa, Lady Under a Red Moon, and In My Room – the latter very cleverly bringing a certain literal interpretation of the old metaphorical idiom about elephants and rooms in a most delightful manner. Africa, meanwhile, caught my eye as an expression not just of natural beauty, but a beauty encompassing the whole of the temperate African continent.

That said, all eleven pieces within Col-or-ing are attractive and engaging, the stories waiting within them  – as noted above – joining this exhibition with Ilyra’s as eye-catching expression of storytelling through art.

PsyGallery, March 2023: Ilyra Chardin

SLurl Details

2023 SL SUG meetings week #13 summary

WQNC, January 2023 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, March 28th, 2023 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. They form a summary of the items discussed and is not intended to be a full transcript. A video of the entire meeting is embedded at the end of the article for those wishing to review the meeting in full – my thanks to Pantera for recording it.

Server Deployments

  • On Tuesday, March 28th, the SLS Main channel servers received the Estate Level Scripted Agent Controls (aka “Ban the Bots”).
  • On Wednesday March 29th, all simhosts on the RC channels will be updated to run the same simulator release, comprising the new LSL Functions llList2ListSlice, llSortListStrided, and llListFindListStrided (per BUG-231545). It also has a fix for DATA_SIM_STATUS from llRequestSimulatorData(), and doubles the amount of memory available for Linkset Data (LSD) to 128k.

Estate Level Scripted Agent Controls (aka “Ban the Bots”)

This is the simulator update referenced in the March 10th Lab Gab session – see: Lab Gab summary: Grumpity, Mojo & Patch – SL Mobile, land, bots & more – Bots and Policies).

  • The update includes a console variable that can be set by estate managers to either True or False. When set to True it will prevent Scripted Agents from entering regions in an estate (those required by the estate can be added to the access list so they can continue to access regions).
  • This will be supported in time by a viewer UI update to allow the option to be managed more directly – but it will still be a while before this UI change surfaces in the viewer.
  • There will be a policy change update published soon which will further cover these changes and the operation of Scripted Agents.

Further changes have been suggested within the Lab – notably to traffic – but it has yet to be decided on whether / when these will be implemented. In the meantime, please also refer to this FAQ.

Viewer Updates

On Tuesday, March 28th:

The remain viewer pipelines stand as:

  • Release viewer: Maintenance Q(uality) viewer, version Thursday, February 2.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself).
    • Maintenance S RC viewer, version, issued February 24.
    • Performance Floater / Auto FPS RC viewer updated to version, February 21, 2023.
  • Project viewers:
    • PBR Materials project viewer, version, March 23 – This viewer will only function on the following Aditi (beta grid) regions: Materials1; Materials Adult and Rumpus Room 1 through 4.
    • Puppetry project viewer, version, December 8, 2022.

Reminder: LSL XML-RPC

Linden Lab is going to be shutting down LSL XML-RPC functionality completely. This was announced at the last SUG meeting, and confirmed by a later blog post. Please see either Shutting Down LSL XML-RPC (Linden Lab) or SL Scripters / creators: LSL XML-RPC shut-down (this blog) for details.

In Brief

  • This was another meeting with live music, so technical discussions were not up to the usual amount.
  • There was a general discussion on testing vehicle region crossings and on the deployment of the LSL functions currently being deployed and mentioned above. Please refer to the video for details.

Fantasy Faire 2023: reminders for merchants/sponsors + bloggers

via Fantasy Faire

Fantasy Faire, the largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, will take place in 2023 from Thursday, April 20th to Sunday May 7th 2023 inclusive. As usual, there will be the expected rich mix of events, activities, stores and regions to explore, and this post is just a quick reminder to people that Merchant & Sponsor applications, together with Blogger applications are currently open – but may not be for much longer, so if you intend to apply for any of these opportunities, now is the time!

The Shopping Regions Teaser

The following are short descriptions to the Fantasy Faire 2023 shopping regions. More complete descriptions can be found in the Store Applications form, linked to below, together with details of those regions still with available store slots.

  • Dingir by Stabitha (What88 Zond): in another existence, just outside our own, is the forgotten city of Dingir, a place of art deco architecture once filled with bright colours and rich materials to symbolise the beginning of a new age of consciousness, but now long neglected.
  • Flambois by Beq Janus and Elizabeth Jarvinen: home to the Faire Lands Academy of Magic, a hidden gem in the heart of the mystical Flambois forest.
  • Frostweald by Searlait Nitschke: in the depths of Winter, the world of Frostweald waits to welcome the Spirits of loved ones as they travel from their world to the next.
  • Fungalmire by DaveOSaurus: a forest steeped in legend and myth, where ancient trees and giant mushrooms tell tales of times past. Winding paths lead to hidden nooks where visitors might stumble upon forgotten artefacts or catch a glimpse of a mystical creature or two.
  • Giggenwhirl by Allie Munro, Krystali Rabeni, Peter Locke and Lunar Tripsa: a bedridden boy dreams of a beautiful world where he can fly high above the ground into the blue beyond on a myriad of strange and magical creatures with hinged wings and propeller appendages.
  • Glimmering Meadows by Julala Demina and Lil Cinnamon: a meandering river makes a path through flower-filled meadows, glimmering light reflecting onto the nomadic tents rising up high into the colourful sky.
  • Isles of Aquarius by Echo (Jessicarubyrabbit) and Liz Corryong: dripping with the life-giving waters of the sea, the stone and glass forged by the commanding currents of the merfolk are illuminated by the hypnotic lights of their Prana, or life-force.
  • Khumbala by Ketsui Naidoo, Robyn (Robynredhead) and Ghost (synthodox): since the dawn of time, this Afrocentric Dreamworld of Memories, has grown and prospered under the rule of five benevolent Gods. Through them, the world was brought the waters, the winds, the very ground we stand, crops that sprout therein and the light that shines above.
  • Nysaris by Kadaj Yoshikawa and Janire Coba: a peaceful polytheist civilisation, the town full of lush vegetation which surrounds the Agora; the Temple dedicated to the Goddess of Hope.
  • Opera by Alia Baroque: baroque decadence, whispering curtains, bucolic debauchery.
  • Safe Haven – The Oasis Of Mana’Olana by Sweetgwendoline Bailey and Mondi Beaumont: a desert landscape with typical buildings, that is obvious at first glance – but a closer look reveals lively greenery in the interior and very unusual flora and fauna in the centre of the land. A realm for inclusivity, equality, and all the good values in life.
  • The Shimmering Fen by Elicio Ember: the air shimmers with magic and the land is lush, a living swamp of towering mushrooms. Meet the graceful elves who call this place home, living in organic structures that flow with the rhythm of nature. Welcome to The Shimmering Fen.
  • Sialdor by Dacien and Marcel Blackwood: a gothic Victorian styled city along the coast. With cobblestone streets and iron street lamps illuminating the foggy roads with glowing magical orbs.
  • Spirits’ Crossing by Marcus Inkpen: twin cities from a forgotten time connected by an ancient bridge where long ago a battle between powerful mages and elder gods tore reality asunder. Now the ruins, twisted trees and ever lingering magic form a misty labyrinth home for the few brave enough to live there.
  • Syzstrum Synod by Walton Wainwright: nestled among the stars, a world where machines left by long-forgotten creators have pried the secrets of the cosmos from the grasp of mystery.
  • The Winding Valley by Eldowyn Inshan: through fog, wild ivy and winding paths, a hidden entrance leads into a valley. Surrounded by high mountains you can see a village in the distance. Lamps shine brightly and chanting can be heard faintly on the wind.
  • WooHoo! Bay by Riven (Lrriven): a tropical paradise done in pastel and a whimsical land where one may complete a quest of self discovery to save the local fire lizards from their volcano god.
Fantasy Faire 2022: Sunken Honey (Lilia Artis and Haveit Neox)

Sponsorship and Store Applications

  • Event Region or Event Sponsorship – L$65,000 (includes a Theme store)
    • Name in Region Title and on Region landmarks.
    • Border Crossing recognition. OR logo placement on corresponding event poster.
    • Sponsor spot on Fantasy Faire Radio to play during the entire month of April.
    • The opportunity for a sponsor’s brand profile on the Fantasy Faire website. Prominent logo placement on the Fantasy Faire website.
  • Shopping Region Sponsorship – ONLY available to Merchants – L$65,000 (includes a Region Sponsor Store with 1600 LI)
    • Can share a store between 2+ merchants.
    • Placement in front of Central Arrival Point.
    • Can have a sky platform for rezzing builds as needed.
    • Name in Region Title and on Region landmarks.
    • Border Crossing recognition.
    • Sponsor spot on Fantasy Faire Radio to play during the entire month of April.
    • The opportunity for a sponsor’s brand profile on the Fantasy Faire website. Prominent logo placement on the Fantasy Faire website.
  • Featured Creator Store + Quest Sponsor – L$35,000 (includes Featured Creator Store with 1000 LI)
    • Can share a store between 2+ merchants.
    • Prominent placement next to Region Sponsor Store.
    • Can have a sky platform for rezzing builds as needed.
    • Advertising on the Quest HUD and on the FF blog.
    • Limited to up to 2 per region (but the organisers will get you onto the region of your choice if the two spots are not yet filled).
  • Featured Creator Store – L$ 8000 (700 LI)
    • Can share a store between 2+ merchants.
    • Prominent placement within a shopping region.
  • Theme Store – L$ 2500 (300 LI)
    • This store type is intended for individual merchants.
    • A second merchant can be added for a surcharge.
  • Quest Sponsor – L$30,000:
    • Does NOT include a store.
    • Logo placement on the Quest HUD and on the Fantasy Faire website.
  • Fantasy Faire Radio Sponsor – L$30,000:
    • Does NOT include a store.
    • Recognition on Fantasy Faire Radio and on the Fantasy Faire website.

Full details on requirements and guidelines for performers can be found on the Fantasy Faire 2023 Store Application form.

Fantasy Faire 2021: Peaville goes Nuts (Sweetgwendoline Bailey and Mondi Beaumont)

Blogger Applications

Applications for those wishing to blog / vlog about Fantasy Faire opened on March 20th. Those wishing to apply can do so via the Fantasy Faire Blogger Application form. However, if you have not blogged / vlogged about Fantasy Faire before, it’s important you not a few things.

Faire blogging should stem from the same sources as the Faire itself – inspiration and imagination; whilst there are no obligatory assignments for blogging, the Faire cannot be written about simply by donning an outfit and writing a few words about it, or by a quick hop to a region and a rapid write. As the Fantasy Faire organisers have previously noted:

We are looking for bloggers that genuinely love the Faire and cherish the fleeting time the Fairelands visit our realm. Since the application is mostly about getting into the early access, we are focusing on bloggers who take pictures in the regions, or of the regions We are also searching for bloggers with strong ties to RFL, who are passionate about the Relay and willing to write about it.

In short, writing about the Faire should come from being immersed within it, participating, having fun and letting your imagination soar on the wings of the Faire! So again, if you are interested, make sure you check-out all the information for bloggers and that you complete the application form.

Fantasy Faire 2020: Lunafae (Sharni Azalee)

Additional Links

Saturated in Second Life

Saturated, March 2023 – click any image for full size

Lex Machine (Archetype11 Nova) is back with another visually stunning region / installation which – as with all his designs – is sure to both engage and challenge the eye and mind. Occupying a Full private region utilising the Land Capacity bonus, this is again a build that offers visitors much food for thought: a journey through modern life and the potential for questions who – and where – we are.

Entitled Saturated, the installation involves a flat landscape which – in keeping with the region’s name – is saturated to the point of waterlogging as it sits just above the waters of the surrounding sea. From it springs, apparently at random, figures, statues, objects both familiar and strange, mixed with a scattering of vegetation.

Saturated, March 2023

Mermaids mix with radio / telecommunication towers mix with figures apparently in suspension and towers of static-filled video screens, whilst laptops and old computers lie discarded in powdery piles and figures stand with cameras and screens or radios in place of heads, the body of an automatic handgun points skywards, and more. It all seems so chaotic, so unconnected, so jumbled and surreal; what could be the connections between these disparate elements? Perhaps the easiest way is peek at the region’s About Land description.

Rain, it can bring life. But when the ground has had it’s fill, first comes damage, next destruction. Death is last. Are we saturated?
Are we better off with these constant inputs or was less more? When was the last time we savoured anything?

– Saturated’s About Land description

With these words, we gain a framework of context, one fleshed out by the landscape before us: a statement on life and our ever-increasing reliance on -addiction to – technology (perhaps most aptly defined by the figure “snorting” Facebook and the litter of computers and laptops and cell phones strewn over mounds of a white substance like some form of new cocaine), and the fears (re: the Terminator-style figures leaping out of screens of data) and polarisations it brings to our daily lives.

Saturated, March 2023

The polarisations might be best indicated by the family gathered to the north-east, where mother, father, and child all have heads replaced by screens symbolising the manner in which technology has reduced daily living and personal time to the need for everything in our lives to become a matter of public record with meaning only given through its presence on social media. At the same time, this demand to be publicly accessible contrasts with the ability of technology in enabling us to hide behind masks of anonymity, as represented by the figures wearing / carrying masks, or with Russian doll-like heads. Meanwhile, to the south-east, the figure stabbed with syringes suggests the divide generated by the easy passage technology gives to the passage of misinformation into our lives, warping our common sense against the realities of science and medicine.

Elsewhere the symbolism might be clearer such as the large eyes watching over everything like Big Brother – although whether we see this as the state or in the form of corporate goggling-up of our data (or both) is a matter of personal choice. But really, there is such a richness of metaphor to be found within Saturated, that trying to write about it is no easy matter. From the apple and serpent (our end of innocence? the beginning our our fall simply born by our coming into existence?) through the presence of mermaids and flying fish (the explorations of the unknown? the free flight of the imagination we once had?) to the reimagining of the March of Progress, there is so much to say that is difficult to translate into the written word.

Saturated, March 2023

Simply put, Saturated is – as with all of Lex’s builds – something not to read about, bot to experience for yourself – and I encourage you do do so.

With thanks to Moon Cloud.

SLurl Details