The serenity Wision in Second Life

Wision, May 2020 – click any image for full size

Wision is a Full region designed by Mexi Lane, and intended as a place where:

Virtual projects are created for the real world… The sim hosts conferences and art exhibitions, but is available to photographers of the metaverse or to those who wish to stop in its suggestive quiet corners.

– From the region’s About Land description.

Wision, May 2020

A wildness region, largely given over to trees and open trails, ruggedly raised to the south-east, it is otherwise predominantly flat. It is home to three structures: an ancient turret of hewn stone sitting on the shoulder of the south-east hills, a far more recent warehouse-like building sitting within the trees to the west, and a futuristic geodesic dome on the west coast.

Wision, May 2020

The latter would appear to be the location for conferences / presentations, given the way it is laid out with concentric arcs of comfortable chairs facing a single pair set ready for group leaders. Admittedly, the dome has seen better days, the mesh of its walls torn and broken in places, but this adds a sense of depth to it. A terrace and stage outside offer space for events related to the dome.

Within its circle of trees, the warehouse also looks aged and careworn. Inside it offers what might a good sized exhibition space together with a separate café bar and mezzanine seating / reading area. With classic film posters on the walls, cases stacked with books and deep-set armchairs, its interior has a sense of cosiness about it.

Wision, May 2020

Beyond this, the landscape is open to wandering, and is ideal for photography. The north side of the region may look a little barren: the trees and rock abruptly end, giving  way to an expanse of flat grass that may seem at odds with the rest of the setting. However, there is a reason for this, which I’ll be covering in a blog post in the near future.

Scenic, serene and simple in composition, Wision makes for a relaxing visit, Rezzing rights, for those requiring them, can be obtained by joining the local group. however, if you do use props, please remember to pick them up again when done. Information on using the region can be obtained directly from Mexi.

Wision, May 2020

SLurl Details

  • Wision (Wision, rated General)

Firestorm 6.3.9: housekeeping matters

On Wednesday, May 27th, 2020, Firestorm released version of their viewer.

This release brings Firestorm up-to-date with all official viewer releases prior to the EEP update, and includes assorted updates and fixes from upstream of that release from the Lab, plus fixes and improvements from the Firestorm team, including a lot of OpenSim updates.

However, it should be noted that this release does not include EEP (Environmental Enhancement Project). As such, this is perhaps best seen as a maintenance release to prepare the way for a later EEP release.

As always, the focus is on those updates that may be of particular general interest, rather than trying to cover absolutely everything. Readers are referred to the release notes for a full list of updates / fixes and all associated credits.

Table of Contents

The Usual Before We Begin

As per my usual preamble:

  • There is no need to perform a clean install with this release if you do not wish to.
  • Do, however, make sure you back-up all your settings safely so you can restore them after installing 6.3.9.
  • Again, please refer to the Firestorm 6.3.9 release notes for details of specific Lab-derived fixes for this release.

Viewer Blocks

Note that with this release:

  • Firestorm versions 6.0.2 for Second Life and 6.0.2 for OpenSim will both be blocked from logging into the Second Life grid in three weeks time.
  • 6.0.2 for OpenSim will not be blocked from accessing OpenSim Grids.

Lab Derived Updates

The version of Firestorm brings the viewer to parity with the Linden Lab 6.3.8 code base. This means  Firestorm now includes all viewer releases up to and including the Ordered Shutdown updates, which should reduce the frequency of the viewer crashing on shut-down,  and the Premium enhancements viewer (version, which includes updates specifically for Premium Plus. However, with regards to the latter, it is important to note that:

Firestorm Updates

Client AO Updates

Firestorm includes a number of updates / fixes for the client-side AO system, including:

  • AO floater should no longer appear empty if open on logging-in to the viewer (see FIRE-29192).
  • The AO should now be more robust when in or leaving Linden Water:
    • A swim animation should no longer play when leaving Linden Water; avatar should transition to flying animation (see: FIRE-6605 / FIRE-8099).
    • The flying hover animation (for included in an AO) should no longer play when pausing swimming when underwater (see FIRE-15350).
  • Transitions between animations should now be far smoother, as double start / stops should no longer occur.
  • Animations should not longer stick on cycling (particularly sits / ground sits) See: FIRE-14925.
  • Additional fixes for sitting, smart sit and region crossings:
    • After sitting, disabling the client AO should not longer place your avatar in a default standing pose whilst still seated (see FIRE-15059).
    • Turning on the AO sits should no longer fail to turn off the sit animation when standing once more (see FIRE-16230 / FIRE-22471).
  • Tabbing out of the AO name field should set the AO name if newly edited  – no need to press ENTER to apply the new name (see FIRE-29078).
  • The Default check box should no longer become active when the currently-open AO set is already the default for an avatar (see FIRE-29101).

Menu and Preferences Updates

Avatar menu → Avatar Health → Scripts:

  • Clicking on the help icon (“?”) in the top-right of the scripts floater now correctly opens the Firestorm wiki page about the floater, rather than the Script Information help page dealing with in-world object script information.

Build → Upload:

  • Misleading “lossless” check box removed from image upload floater (see: BUG-228331).

Preferences → Colours:

  • Pick Radius has been updated to read Pick Radius Colour, to make the option’s function clearer.
  • Both the Pick Radius Colour swatch and distance / opacity slider now have tool tips to explain their functions.
Mini-map updates: Renamed Pick Radius option (1) and new tool tips for colour picker and the distance / opacity slider (2 – with the colour swatch tool tip shown)

Preferences → User Interface → 2D Overlay:

  • The Group Notices and Chiclets in Top Right check box has been replaced by radio buttons offering a choice of top or bottom right to display group notices and chiclets (changing location still requires a viewer restart to take effect).
New radio buttons to define the location for displaying group notices and chiclets

Appearance Updates

  • Jellydolls: if an avatar is Jellydolled even though the avatar is below your Maximum Complexity setting, it is because the avatar’s texture area is above the maximum texture area limit (set via the RenderAutoMuteSurfaceAreaLimit Debug setting). Firestorm will therefore display their “Texture Area” number in red in their name tag (see FIRE-23495).
  • Inspect Own Attachments: a new option to inspect your own attachments has been added to the avatar right-click context menu / pie menu. Presents the same information as inspect attachments on other avatars. (see FIRE-23987).
You can now inspect attachments on your own avatar as well as on other avatars / inspect in-world objects
  • It should now be possible to detach temporary attachments from Appearance → Wearing tab.
  • It should now be no longer possible to wear more than one physics layer.

Inventory Updates

  • Protected Folders: a new option to prevent accidental drag / drop or deletion of inventory folders.
    • Right-click on an inventory folder and select Protect from the context menu.
    • Folder is now protected, and will display “(protected) alongside it.
    • Select the folder, right-click and select Unprotect to remove protection.
    • All protected folders in inventory can be summarised in the Protected Folders floater (Avatar Protected Folders).
    • Double clicking on a folder name in the Protected Folders floater will automatically highlight it in Inventory, allowing you to quickly locate any protected folder.
    • Note: sub-folders and objects in a Protected folder can still be deleted or drag / dropped.
The Protect (/Unprotect) folder option in the inventory context menu (l), and the Protect Folders floater (r)
  • Uploading an image or saving a snapshot should no longer cause Inventory to jump from the recent tab jumps to the main tab (see: FIRE-22943 and BUG-225229).
  • It should now be possible to copy / paste into outfits folders in inventory.
  • Possible fix for attachments randomly ending up in inventory Lost & Found folder. This hopefully fixes FIRE-23364 and BUG-228813.
  • The outmoded Merchant Outbox system folder should now be deletable with this release.

Continue reading “Firestorm 6.3.9: housekeeping matters”

La Maison d’Aneli: new exhibits; new look

La Maison d’Aneli Gallery: Sweet Susanowa

Wednesday, May 20th marked the opening of a new ensemble exhibition at La Maison d’Aneli Gallery, curated by Aneli Abeyante, together with a new look / set-up for the gallery’s spaces.

For those familiar with the gallery’s former “indoor” futuristic look with the display spaces all physically linked, the current appearance is very different. On the ground sits a warehouse-like building tucked into a corner of Virtual Holland. With an outdoor seating area / event space, the warehouse offers two routes to the exhibition spaces.

La Maison d’Aneli: Desy Magic

The gallery spaces are now located in the sky overhead and connected via teleport both with the ground and one to the next. These new spaces actually gives artists more physical space with their exhibitions / installations, including the freedom to add the the décor / environment in which they are displaying their art.

The teleports, as noted, take two forms: individual Anywhere Doors that, from the ground, take visitors directly to a specific exhibit / installation. These also connect one exhibit to another, if a little randomly in terms of you don’t know where you’re going next when you open a Door on any given exhibition space.

La Maison d’Aneli: Nox Kirax

For those who prefer to select where they are going, the gallery spaces and the ground level are also connected via teleport disks that will offer a menu of destinations within the gallery, allowing visitors to pick where they go next.

The artists displaying at the gallery comprise:

  • Ilyra Chardin, with The New Normal: The Date, 3D installation offering a commentary on the current state of physical / social isolation resulting from the SARS-COV-2 pandemic.
  • Slatan Dryke, with a redux of his installation, Crumbs from my Nightmares.
  • Thoth Jantzen, presenting Vortex one of his  immersive, mesmerising media shows.
  • Nox Kirax, with a set of his portraits in which visitors are invited to consider the expressions on the faces of the subjects and reflect on what they might be saying.
  • Desy Magic, offering a captivating selection of avatar studies, paintings, and 3D sculpture.
  • Sophie Marie Sinclair, presenting a number of her physical world nude and abstract paintings.
  • Sweet Susanowa, with an intriguing selection of photographs and abstracted paintings / drawings.
La Maison d’Aneli: Ilyra Chardin

Together, they make for an engaging mix of art and expression. I admit to having a certain attraction to Thoth’s work and Desy’s images that tends to make me lean towards them, and that is true here -although admittedly, a still image of Thoth’s work really doesn’t convey it, it really does have to be experienced.

Ilyra’s piece is certainly of the times, and the staging of a couple sharing a romantic meal  whilst keeping strictly to their own apartments, and they sharing it whilst separated by the gap between their balconies is certainly of the time, whilst Slatan’s redux offers the chance to re-visit an installation that challenged introspection the first time around.

La Maison d’Aneli: Sophie Marie Sinclair

Nox Kirax, Sophie Marie Sinclair and Sweet Susanowa was three “new” artists for me, inasmuch as I’m not aware of seeing their work in the past, and all three offer something entirely engaging, in very different ways to one another. I particularly found the portraits by Nox to hold my attention in full, while the sheer diversity of imagery with Sweet’s exhibit offer a richness of imagery and a different style of narrative within them, while Sophie’s nudes have a wonderfully fluid feel to them that is suggestive of life and vitality.

A further engaging ensemble of exhibitions well worth seeing.

La Maison d’Aneli: Slatan Dryke

SLurl Details

2020 Simulator User Group week #22 summary

Devil’s Bend National Park, April 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken at the Simulator User Group meeting held on Tuesday, May 26th. Not a lot was discussed in terms of meaningful reportage (again), so just a short update on server deployments / official viewer updates.

Simulator Deployments

Please refer to the simulator deployment thread for updates.

  • On Tuesday, May 26th, the majority of the grid was updated to server maintenance release 542403, comprising the fix for the group notice archive timestamps bug.
  • On Wednesday, May 27th there will be a single RC deployment – maintenance update 542737, comprising infrastructure improvements related to the cloud migration work.

SL Viewer

There have been no updates to the official viewers to mark the start of week #22, leaving them as follows:

  • Current Release viewer version, dated May 11th, promoted May 19th, formerly the Camera Presets RC viewer.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • FMOD Studio RC viewer, version, issued May 21st.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version, May 19th.
  • Project viewers:
    • Mesh uploader project viewer, version, issued May 15th.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version, December 9th, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version, November 22nd, 2019.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, September 17th, 2019. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version, July 16th, 2019.

New Simulator Chat Range Capability

As noted in my May 16th TPV Developer meeting notes, a new ability is being developed to allow region / estate owners / managers to set the open chat range on a region (see BUG-228333).

The change has caused a certain amount of confusion. For example, will the chat range be defined by originating region or the recipient region?  For example, if you are in a region with a 100m chat range and are 10m from a neighbouring region, does your chat travel 90-100m into the neighbouring region, or will it be limited to the chat range set within the neighbouring region, if less than 100m?

Or what if you’re 10m from a region boundary, and the region has a chat range of 40m, and the neighbouring region 70m – does it mean people 50m from you in your region cannot hear your chat, but a) your chat will be relayed 70m from the region boundary in the other region,  or b) just 60m (due to the 10m between you and the region edge)?

Replying to questions like these, Rider Linden indicated that it would be the recipient region that would determine the distance chat is relayed within it, where you are close enough to be heard across a region boundary. Oz expanded on this, suggesting it would be a combination: the originating region’s chat range determining which, if any, neighbouring regions can “hear” chat from it, and the chat range in those regions determining which avatars within those regions can then hear the chat.

Rider further indicated that whatever the chat distance set, chat will never be relayed beyond the region(s) immediately adjoining the originating region. So, for example, if you have three region, A, B, and C, arranged in a single line one to the next, chat from A could be relayed in B, but not to C (and vice versa), but, depending on the chat range set in B, it might be relayed by both A and C or only in A or C, depending on the speaker’s location in B.

Hope that clears things up!

Obviously, the new capability won’t override parcel privacy settings. There is still no time frame as to when this feature will be implemented both server-side and in the viewer, which will require an additional UI element to allow the chat range to be adjusted.

An empire of books in Second Life

The Empire of Dreaming Books, May 2020

We received an invitation to visit The Empire of Dreaming Books by the region’s co-creator, Num Bing. Together with Clifton Howlett, she has created an environment to honour the Zamonia series of books by German comic creator and author, Walter Moers.

Captain Bluebear tells the story of his first 13.5 lives spent on the mysterious continent of Zamonia, where intelligence is an infectious disease, water flows uphill, and dangers lie in wait for him around every corner.

– A description of the Zamonia books and their protagonist, Bluebear

The Empire of Dreaming Books, May 2020

In particular, the setting recreates a part of the city of Buchhaim., located in western Zamonia on the Dull plateau  on the dry, flat, steppe country not far from the border with the South Desert. The city sits on the convergence of many trails across the plains, and is famous for two things. 

The first is Buchhaim’s countless book stores and second-hand bookshops, printers, publishers and all things involving literature. It’s a place where the evening hours are traditionally called “wood time”, when poets of all kinds present their works in dining rooms and everyone can listen at will. The second is the extensive network of catacombs lying beneath the city.

The Empire of Dreaming Books, May 2020 – click any image for full size

It is said that it is in the centre of the city is where the influence of the Buchimists (alchemists who mainly experiment with books, words and literature) of Buchhaim is the greatest. It is also the the part of  the city Clifton and Numb have recreated for their build. Specifically, they present the Schwarzmanngaße, the oldest alley in city, which spirals its way inwards to shop number 333, the home of Phistomefel Smeik and his bookimistic laboratory.

Number 333 is also where you can find the landing point for the build. From here you can step inside Herr Smeik’s store and thus find your way to the catacombs (via teleporting), or follow the Schwarzmanngaße on its outward spiral to the city’s edge, where paths offers routes of exploration around the outlying lands.

The Empire of Dreaming Books, May 2020

Wandering these outlands will reveal multiple places to appreciate the city from a distance. These retain bookish themes – some in quite a novel ways: even the bird stands offer a book or two to read! Thus, it’s worth taking time to explore on the ground before using the teleport to reach the catacombs.

I say this because the latter really are extensive – after two visits, there is still a lot I’ve yet to reach – so going to the catacombs could distract from ground-level explorations. While it is possible to “cheat” by flycamming around the tunnels and chambers, doing so is hardly keeping in the spirit of exploration, and also risks missing the finer details awaiting discovery. The tunnels wind their way up and down, connecting chambers one to the next – although some are also dead ends in terms of finding a way through all of the tunnels, thus adding to the sense of exploration and discovery.

The Empire of Dreaming Books, May 2020

Books feature strongly throughout the catacombs, which can make things feel a little “samey” in wandering through them – but the chambers offer their own individual themes that more than compensate for this. From cosy lounges to vast, tiered libraries, there is a wealth of detail to be found throughout these chambers – so much so, more than one visit may be required to appreciate them all.

Many of the chambers offer a further surprise in keeping with the catacombs of Buchhaim: they are home to buchlings (booklings). Often depicted as bloodthirsty cyclops species in Zamonian legends that eat everything that gets in their way, buchlings are actually the most intelligent and educated form of existence of the catacombs of Buchhaim. They worship, collect, maintain and read books, and believe they are the ones who have the most literature, because they only have to read it while others have to write, proofread, publish and sell it.

The Empire of Dreaming Books, May 2020

Within Numb’s and Clifton’s catacombs, the Buchlings are to be found  in tunnels and chambers, sometimes standing innocently and sometimes getting up to a little mischief (or trouble). Their presence further reinforces the region’s homage to the Zamonia books, as does the name for the setting: The Empire of Dreaming Books was the title of one of the volumes of work by Hildegunst von Mythenmetz, the most famous Zamonian writer of his time.

A truly magical setting, The Empire of Dreaming Books is well worth the time taken to visit and explore.

The Empire of Dreaming Books, May 2020

With thanks to Cube Republic and MorganaCarter for their suggestions to visit the region as well.

SLurl Details

The art of Shakti Adored in Second Life

Kultivate The Loft Gallery: Shakti Adored

I love to paint nature in the abstract form as I feel it. I try to capture that energy, the movement, of the natural world. My innate and incessant feeling and filtering energy is what drives me to paint the crazy way I do.

– Shakti Adored

I make no apology for covering another art exhibition connected with Kultivate Magazine and galleries just a couple of days after my coverage of the Kultivate Sensuality exhibition. While I may well be a contributing writer for Kultivate, this is not favouritism on my part; simply put, the Kultivate galleries cover an enticingly broad range of art and artists that is is entirely natural to be drawn back to shows there. This is certainly true of the May / June exhibition at Kultivate’s The Loft Gallery that opens at 13:00 SLT on Tuesday, May 26th 2020, featuring the extraordinary abstract work of Shakti Adored.

Kultivate The Loft Gallery: Shakti Adored

A 10+ year resident of Second Life, Shakti is perhaps best known to many as the curator of a range of art projects and galleries in Second Life over the years, including some exquisite exhibitions at Angel Manor. However, she is an accomplished artist in the physical world, with a lean towards abstraction, as the quote at the top of this piece notes.

However, far from being “crazy”, Shakti’s use of the abstract form is actually enticing, as can be seen within the twelve pieces she has selected for The Art of Shakti Adored. Rich in colour and tone, these may at first appear to be pure abstractions, but each carries within it a strong sense of theme and narrative that offers further depth to what are already captivating pieces.

This sense of narrative may be more obvious in some than with others: the titular character of Funny Bunny, for example, is unmistakable as his / she raises an inquisitive nose to take a sniff at a plant leaf – or is it a feather? – immediately drawing us into the picture, as it is hard not to find the bunny’s presence in the painting adorable, further adding to its appeal. Alongside of it, Fea Lights might at first appear to be more chaotic, but the two smoke-like presences quickly give it form, opening a story of sprites at play (or dancing) in an autumnal woods.

Kultivate The Loft Gallery: Shakti Adored

Meanwhile, Moving Forward offers a rich mixture: an abstracted watercolour / ink wash backdrop that almost suggests a collage, but within which the eye can discern certain things (in my case, the bent trunk of a palm tree, the suggestion of a conch shell and a pine cone, and a sense of flowing water to name but three), overlaid with more prominent elements (a rabbit once again), plus a hand holding what might be an infinity symbol). All of this combines to offer a sense of motion through both layering and motifs).

Creativity can often be a form of catharsis for the creator / artist. This is certainly true with Shakti’s work, as she notes herself. Her art, with the aid of a garden bath tub has allow her relief from the pain of fibromyalgia. At the same time, her discovery of Second Life offered her a way to escape the pain of a harmful marriage to a world that allowed her life-long love of art to bloom, first through her work in curating art galleries and projects.

Having recently returned to painting herself, Shakti now finds art as means to continue the healing process that continues on after the ending of her former marriage, that ability to overcome the discomfort of her medical condition, and a means to express the teaching of her other interests, such as Reiki, in a visual way, with Second Life offering her the means to present her work.

Kultivate The Loft Gallery: Shakti Adored

Thus, The Art of Shakti Adored is not only a expression of Shakti’s art, but very much an expression of her journey through life – physical and virtual – in which she is inviting us to share.This makes it a truly engaging exhibition that should not be missed. 

SLurl Details