Teeing off in Second Life

There are many, many activities you can try in Second Life which you may not by able to participate in or enjoy in the physical world. For me this has meant – among other things – playing the odd round of golf (a game I am not overly fond of outside of SL!).

I first tried my hand at a full 18-hole golf course in 2014, when I visited the AERO Golf Club (you can read about that visit here). As I hadn’t been golfing for a while, I suggested to Caitlyn we give it a try together. Given the last time I visited AERO was in mid-2015, it seemed natural for us to head there.

I have no idea how many golf systems are available in Second Life, but the one employed by AERO is very easy to get to grips with and enjoy.  The course itself – the work of Kaja Ashland and Marcus Bremser – is very well laid-out, and was last redesigned in (I think) 2015. Visitors arrive on the east side of the region, on the front terrace of the clubhouse. A quick walk through to the back terrace will take you past the pool and to the golf shack tucked into a corner where you can pick-up your clubs, HUD and scorecard.

There are no fees for playing at AERO, but you will need to join the in-world group. When you have done so, touch the golf bag in the hut to receive your club (actually three in one), HUD and scorecard. Wear / add all three, and you are set to go! The first tee is just a short walk from the hut; a par 4, it takes you down the length of the canal which almost cuts the course in two.

AERO Golf Club: Caitlyn tees off!

AERO Golf Club: Caitlyn tees off!

Game play is a case of selecting your teeing spot between the two markers, selecting your club type from the HUD (driver, obviously when teeing-off), and then taking note of the wind speed and direction (indicated by a particle cloud which appears next to you when you select your club). The LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys can then be used to adjust the angle at which you will strike the ball (indicated by a pointer on the ground) to compensate for the wind and get your ball down towards the green. Then it is a case of making sure the cursor is over the ground and then clicking and holding the left mouse button to both commence your swing and select the force with which you hit the ball (indicated by a power bar). Releasing the mouse button completes your swing.

AERO Golf club: about to chip the ball onto the green. Note the wind speed cloud and direction pointer

AERO Golf Club: about to chip the ball onto the green. Note the wind speed cloud and direction pointer

The flight of a ball is indicated by a line. By default, this is white, but you can use the Settings option on the HUD to select a preferred colour – handy when playing in a group. Additional strokes are played the same way, with the option of using a wedge for chipping up onto a green or getting out of a bunker, and a putter when on the green. Throughout it all your scorecard will track your shots and keep score.

The holes themselves vary in difficulty – and shorter par holes are not necessarily easier than those with a dog leg or other obstacle: the shorter par needs a steady finger on the strength of your swing or you can end up well into the rough on the far side of the hole!

The eleventh hole has a wicked shot across a bay which cuts into the course, requiring you select your teeing-off spot with care. Should your ball fall into the water at any time, the easiest thing is to remain where you are and try again.

One might argue that it would be nice to have a wider selection of clubs – particularly if you are a golfer – than just the driver, wedge and putter. But the truth is, these are more than adequate and mean that a round of golf is enjoyable without becoming taxing or complicated for the occasional / novice player.

I do have a couple of very small tips: if you use an over-the-shoulder camera view by default, you might want to centre your camera up when playing to get an more accurate view of the ground pointer. Also, if you have double-click to teleport enabled, you might want to turn it off; I carelessly mis-clicked on a putt and ended up attempting to teleport on the spot and lost a stroke.

AERO golf club: Caitlyn makes the putt!

AERO Golf Club: Caitlyn makes the putt!

As well as the 18 holes, AERO offers a poolside terrace and an indoor bar for socialising after a game. The cliff-sided bay I mentioned above has a small beach offering deck chairs and loungers, and there are several points around the course where you can take a break from play and enjoy a chat. You  can also break-off from a round if  the physical world or other requirements intrude; your card will retain your score and progress. However, the clubs are time-limited; should you return and find they have expired, simply obtain a new HUD, club and scorecard from the golf shack, and use the clubs / HUD with your “old” scorecard, and you’ll be able to finish your round.

Should you enjoy your time at AERO, do consider making a donation towards the upkeep of the course, and if you end up playing regularly there, you might want to purchase the pro scorecard – again, the fee goes towards the course.

AERO Golf Club is one of several scattered across Second Life and offers a fun way to enjoy golf in Second Life amidst gorgeous surroundings. Other clubs can be found in the Sports & Hobbies section of the Destination Guide (and doubtless elsewhere in the DG as well!).

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Detectives, aliens, food and PC tales in Second Life

It’s time to kick-off another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s Second Life home at Bradley University, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, February 26th

13:30: Tea Time Mysteries!

Seanchai Library launches a Tea Time series, featuring everything non-Holmesian from Christie to Hamett, classic sleuthing to hard-boiled detectives of the noir-ish hue.

red-windThis week: Raymond Chandler’s Red Wind  concludes with Kayden, Cale, and John.

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every boozy party ends in the fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband’s necks.

So opens Chandlers 1946 Red Wind. Regarded as one of the classic openings for a noir story, it follows Philip Marlowe who, initially a bystander in a bar, witnesses an odd exchange between a man and a bartender concerning a woman, whom the man describes in great detail.

The conversation ends when another man in the bar kills the questioner, and Marlowe decides to delve into matters himself…

18:00: Magicland Storytime

How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse continues with Caledonia Skytower at the Golden Horseshoe In Magicland.

Monday, February 27th 19:00: The Crucible of Time

crucibleGyro Muggins concludes reading the fix-up by John Brunner. First published as two-part story which appeared in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, it’s an ambitious tale of alien intelligence which grew to a series of six linked tales pushed as a single novel in 1983.

Far off in space is an alien race which is so much like us, yet so un-alike. From the birth of their earliest civilisation through to their attainment of star flight as their star system passes through the galaxy, we follow their development through the ages.

Aquatic by nature, this race presents some significant challenges well outside the realms of anything encountered by humanity. But they are also driven by all too familiar hopes, fears, desires, needs, wants, prejudices, impact of religious ideologies, and the quest for knowledge we have experienced in the growth of our own civilisation.

Charting six periods of time, each a thousand years after the previous, the six stories focus on the efforts of a group of individuals in each era as they face one or more challenges, their success in overcoming these challenges inevitably leading them towards a greater understanding of their planet’s plight, and ultimately, the ability to deal with that plight and the survival of their civilisation.

Tuesday, February 28th 19:00: Save Room for Pie: Food songs and Chewy Ruminations

save-room-for-pieComic writer Roy Blount Jr has been a life-long eater of food. He’s not sure where his attraction to food began, but he knows that eating isn’t always easy – beyond the sitting doing, chewing and swallowing, that is: those most assuredly are the easy parts.

But, what effect is the global climate and the ups and downs of the economy – local and global – having on the food he eats? How much does his own sinusitis, with its deadening of his sense of taste and smell, impact on his actual enjoyment of eating and food?

In poems and songs, limericks and fake (or sometimes true) news stories, Blount talks about food in surprising and innovative ways. In these pages he ruminates on everything from bacon froth to grapefruit, Kobe beef to biscuits. He defends gizzards, mullet, okra, cane syrup, watermelon, and boiled peanuts; he seeks imagined observations from Frederick Douglass to Louis Armstrong to Blaze Starr. There’s even an imagined conversation between Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden. 

And we shouldn’t forget the shampooed possums and carjacking turkeys! With Kayden OConnell.

Wednesday, March 1st 19:00: Politically Correct Bedtime Stories

politically-correct-bedtimeBedtime stories. We all know them, whether about the Wicked Witch, the Evil Goblin, the Nefarious Fairy, the Wayward Wolf or some other creature with mischief and badness on its mind. But did you know all of these tales are in fact the product of a few, elite minds, isolated from the rest of the world, who would discuss worldly affairs as their own skewed perspective on all things presented them?

Did you know these views and ideas were never supposed to leave the inner sanctum of the club in which they were first spouted, but somehow they did? Worse, that they somehow became the foundation of the tales we tell our children at bed time, leaving creatures and witches and fairies and all much maligned?

‘Tis true! Honest!

Luckily for us, James Finn Garner has carried out an intense investigation of this situation, and offers – through the voice of Faerie Maven-Pralou – twelve properly adjusted, politically correct bedtime stories for the modern era. Thus we have witches who are “kindest impaired” and the Emperor who went “clothing optional”, and more!

Thursday, March 2nd: 19:00: HG Wells’ A Story of the Stone Age

Shandon Loring continues H.G. Wells’ 1897 short story set within the stone age and focusing on Ugh-lomi.

Attracted to the young woman Eudena, he kills his rival for her attention and the de facto leader of their tribe, Uya. Forced into exile as a result, Ugh-lomi becomes the first man to  fashion an axe using wood and stone, and ride a horse. His use of the weapon helps him survive a range of encounters with wild animals. Ultimately, he returns to his tribe and claims leadership for himself.

Also in Kitely.


Please check with the Seanchai Library’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule.

The featured charity for January / February is Heifer International, working with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.

Fossil Fractals in Second Life

It’s pretty well established in these pages that I’m attracted to fractal art. So it was with some interest that I read about a new installation by Asmita Duranjaya entitled Fossil Fractals, currently on display at her InterstellART community region.

“This exhibition shows a new art technique meshing of fractal creations and making them relief-like 3D-art,” Asmita says of the exhibition. “The results look like fossils found on an exoplanet in the universe, being displayed for human eyes.”

On display are around (I think) 16 pieces  – the display space is something of a maze, so finding them all requires a certain amount of walking along hallways and up and down steps and ramps! Each mesh piece is presented in a haut-relief format, and as Asmita notes, they are decidedly fossil-like in form – although the finishes on some suggest their origins might have been more mineral than organic.

The latter are quite exotic and alien is looks: crystaline structures rising from a flat base, demanding that one zoom and cam gently around them, the minerals and crystal fragments within them glittering gently. Others are more familiar in looks, displaying the spiral sweep found in ammonites. Some, from certain angles, look perhaps less like fossils and more relief maps of an alien world, as built up from 3D images taken from orbit. All of this makes the display an intriguing exhibit. If any of the pieces catch your eye, they are available to purchase.

As noted above, Fossil Fractals is displayed as a part of the InterstellART community, and when visiting it, you can also visit the surround (and overhead) galleries, some of which house permanent exhibits, others of which are supplied as studio space for artists. A teleport network is provided for getting around (and links to the ground level exhibition spaces), although the easiest way to get to the art studios (floating on islands overhead from Fossil Fractals) is to either fly or use a double-click TP. Those interested in joining the community should contact  Asmita directly.

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SL project updates 8/3: e-mail issues and other bits

Server Deployments – Recap

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for updates.

  • There was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, February 21st, again leaving it on release 17#17.01.27.323172.  However, all regions on the channel were restarted in keeping with the Lab’s policy of restarting a channel every other week, regardless as to whether or not it has received a deployment update.
  • On Wednesday, February 22nd, all thee RC channels received a new server maintenance package containing “minor” changes. No release notes available.

RC Release E-mail Issue

One of the changes on the RC release is to increase privacy protection on e-mails – which is a good thing. However, it now means that the viewer is performing a check it doesn’t need to do, and as a result, sending snapshots to e-mail ((aka “postcards”) can fail or encounter problems.

There is a viewer-side fix for this in the works, but it has yet to clear LL’s QA, but will be appearing in a viewer once it has. It also means that all viewers which do not have the fix can encounter issues when trying to send snapshots to e-mails, and so will also have to include the fix as well.

SL Viewer

No further updates this week, leaving the various pipelines as:

  • Current Release version: 5.0.1.323027, dated January 25, promoted February 3 – formerly the Maintenance RC viewer.
  • RC viewers:
    • Maintenance RC viewer version 5.0.2.323567 dated February 14th – a range of improvements and features – overview here (initial release version number)
    • Love Me Render RC viewer version Version 5.0.2.323361, dated February 9th – rendering pipeline fixes and improvements
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Alex Ivy (LXIV), 64-bit project viewer version 5.1.0.501863 for Windows and Mac, dated January 10th
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer, version 4.1.3.321712, dated November 23, 2016 – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review.
  • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847 dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

E-mail Verification Update

The Lab is proceeding with e-mail verification, so again, if you haven’t already done so, please read my post here. There is still no timeline for when the switch-over will occur, and the Lab will provide a blog post as things come into force. Also, while they won’t immediately be affected, this will mean that eventually IMs to e-mail and then marketplace notifications for merchants will ease working for all unverified e-mail addresses.

Other Items

Links Not Clickable in Group Notices

This is quite an old issue (see BUG-10498), but is apparently occurring again. Speaking at the Server Beta User Group meeting, Mazidox Linden requested if anyone encounters it and can reproduce it, could they please raise a new bug report, stating how they encountered and reproduced the issue.