Sansar: visiting some Creator Challenge winners

Sansar: Secrets of the World Whale – Teager

Prior to the public Creator Beta opening, Linden Lab issued a challenge to those creators who were a part of the Creator Preview and who helped to move Sansar to a point where the Lab felt they could open the platform to a wider audience.

On offer in the competition, which closed on July 24th, were a series of cash prizes to be awarded to creators who, “create an experience with Sansar that takes the tools currently available and pushes them to their limits”, offered across a range of categories: Best Overall; Best Gaming Experience; Best Media Experience; Best use of Physics; Best use of Scripting; Best Visual Design; Best Sound Design;  and Best Narrative Design.

On Wednesday, August 16th, Linden Lab announced the winners of the challenge, together with honourable mentions, and I was pleased to see that some of the places I’ve personally enjoyed the most whilst exploring Sansar from a user’s perspective are among those listed, together with some I’ve been planning to write about.

Sansar: Garden of Dreams – Kayle Matzerath

The Best Overall award has been given to Kayle Matzerath’s Garden of Dreams. This is a recreation of the region with the same name in Second Life, and it also gained the Best Gaming Experience award. As one might expect from Kayle, this is an experience rich in vibrant colour, and offers much to explore and discover.

The primary gaming mechanism can be found in the Dungeon of Dis Pear. Given the current status of Sansar’s development, it is somewhat rudimentary when compared to what can be achieved in Second Life, but can be played with or without a VR headset. Reached via one of the teleport platform at the experience landing point, the game comprises of making your way through three levels of challenges to claim a “prize”. None of them are particularly difficult, although the second level may take a minute or two to work out, as even an initial wrong step or two can see you teleported back to the start point even before you appear to have made progress. However, they do demonstrate some of the basic capabilities available in Sansar to good effect (e.g. automatic teleport back to a level’s starting point on being “killed”,  a capability familiar to many SL experience users).

Sansar: Garden of Dreams: the Dungeon of Dis Pear – Kayle Matzereth

Other games can also be found near the dance gazebo, but these do require the use of a VR headset and controller, limiting their use somewhat.  Garden of Dreams is a pleasant experience, full of Kayle’s motifs SL users will find familiar and sits alongside his recreation of the Village of Breeze as two places I like to visit and just wander.

The award for the Best Sound Design went to another of the experiences I love – Teager’s Secrets of the World Whale. This a beautifully put together environment, complete with the plaintive cries of the whale. It’s also one I also mentioned in my Sansar tips and picks article as worthy of a visit as it also introduces various capabilities in Sansar, including the need to use the personal teleporting option. It remains a featured destination in the Atlas, and will be a place I’ll be returning to soon in my upcoming Exploring Sansar travelogue series – as well Maxwell Graf’s LagNMoor (again a name which may be familiar to long-standing explorers of Second Life, having once been a region Max held alongside of his Rustica), which took the prize for Best Media Experience.

Sansar: Through the Waterfall – Jasmine

Jasmine’s Through the Waterfall: Enter Another World claimed the prize for the Best Narrative Experience. This is something of an adventure narrative, opening with the line Without dreams, we can never become more than that which we already are… and an invitation to jump down from the desk on which we sit and seek the keys which will take us through the story, a scene – or chapter – at a time, starting with the aftermath of a tragic car crash. It’s not an entirely happy tale, but the use of media, music and sounds to craft a story makes this a worthwhile visit.

With seven prize winners and a further 12 honourable mentions, the competition list makes for a set of interesting visits, some of which people may well find easier to get into than others (Ria and Draxtor’s 114 Harvest remains a place – the only place I’ve yet tried, in fact –  which persistently outlasts my patience in terms of load time and has me going elsewhere); but all are well worth a visit in some measure, demonstrating both what can be done in Sansar and – in all fairness – how much further along the road the platform needs to travel. In this latter regard, it’ll be interesting to see how they compare to experiences that are being offered in a few months time, as things continue to develop.

Sansar: An Evening at the Ballet – Bryn Oh, featuring some familiar friends and winner of the Best Visual Design award

To visit any of the experiences mentioned here or in the competition blog post, click on the experience names in the text, or in the image captions.

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Art in the wild in Second Life

Aly's Fine Art Gallery and Jungle; Inara Pey, August 2017, on Flickr Aly’s Fine Art Gallery and Jungle – click any image for full size

In May 2017, Caitlyn and I visited Aly’s Fine Art Gallery and Jungle, designed by Hepburn (Hepburn30) and Pross (Prosperine2) for region holder Aly (Alysheea). The region is a home for Aly to display her 2D and 3D art –  and also provide visitors with a place to explore. As such, it presents an interesting mix of place to visit and explore, and gallery to appreciate the art on exhibition.

The gallery space is located in the south-west corner of the region, and is formed by three tiki huts located around a small lake surrounded by sandy banks. Aly’s art, which is an intriguing mix of “traditional” photography, abstract images based on photos, and images which appear to have been captured in-world. These are displayed alongside and around 3D sculptures and mobiles.

Aly's Fine Art Gallery and Jungle; Inara Pey, August 2017, on Flickr Aly’s Fine Art Gallery and Jungle

Across the water, elephants graze on the long grass growing around a tall watchtower. Of African origin, the elephants are perhaps a little at odds with the rest of the setting, which – for myself at least – has a far more Asian look and feel to it than it does African. Nevertheless, the offer plenty of opportunities for photos and are quite magnificent.

Beyond this, the region is a mix of tropical rain forest and rugged uplands, and offers much that requires careful exploration.  The rain forest has a number of trails running through it, one of which leads to a wooden summer-house offering a place for couples to enjoy a cuddle or two alongside a series of waterfalls. Another of the paths leads to steps cut into the side of the plateau which rises from the north and east sides of the region. This is an area requiring careful exploration, as not everything to be found here is necessarily above ground: there are caverns awaiting discovery. For those who prefer staying out of tunnels and caves, there are platforms along the side of the cliffs offering seating areas, while others provide ways to explore some of the lower-lying rocks.

Aly's Fine Art Gallery and Jungle; Inara Pey, August 2017, on Flickr Aly’s Fine Art Gallery and Jungle

Throughout the entire region are many Asian influences: a statue of Buddha, ruins which wouldn’t go amiss in the jungles of Burma, Tai Chai exercise areas, and more. These are mixed with places to sit and cuddle in camp sites and elsewhere, and which include a platform beneath a hot air balloon. For the observant – again – a hidden opportunity to play the Moonphase Piano.

As noted, this is an intriguing region. The art exhibition is modest, but well worth a visit, while the rest of the region offers a chance for exploration and photography – and has over the months been captivate by talents far greater than my own.  That said, and being honest, I do have one or two quibbles with some parts of the build – the plateau and rugged areas are a trifle ragged in places, and could perhaps benefit from some gentle clean-up and tidying. But again, this doesn’t detract from photographic opportunities, either under the default windlight or similar soft lighting.

Aly's Fine Art Gallery and Jungle; Inara Pey, August 2017, on Flickr Aly’s Fine Art Gallery and Jungle

SLurl Details

SL project updates 33/1: server, viewer, misc

Yasminia, Yasminia; Inara Pey, August 2017, on Flickr Yasminiablog post

Server Deployments Week #33

Please refer to the deployment notice for the week for latest updates and news.

  • There was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, August 15th, which remains on server maintenance package #17.07.27.327933 (not 17#17.07.11.327548 as quoted in the deployment thread. This comprises “additional internal fixes”.
  • On Wednesday. August 16th all three RC channel should be updated with the same server maintenance package, 17#17.08.11.328159, comprising internal fixes and the following feature requests:
    • BUG-5398: llGetObjectDetails() constants OBJECT_SELECTED & OBJECT_SAT_UPON. This sees the addition of two new parameters:
      • OBJECT_SELECTION_COUNT – returns how many agents are selecting any link in a linkset
      • OBJECT_SITTER_COUNT – returns how many agents are sitting on any links in a linkset.
    • BUG-9666: llGetObjectDetails() constants OBJECT_REZ_TIME, OBJECT_CREATION_TIME and OBJECT_RETURN_TIME.
    • BUG-134057 OBJECT_CREATION_TIME output precision possibly clamped – this sees a shift to 6-digit precision.

SL Viewer

There have been no viewer updates so far this week, leaving the various pipelines as follows:

  • Current Release version 5.0.6.326593, released on May 26th, promoted June 20th – formerly the AssetHTTP RC viewer – overviewdownload and release notes
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Maintenance RC viewer version 5.0.7.328060, dated August 9th.
    • Alex Ivy 64-bit viewer version 5.1.0.507412, dated July 21st.
    • Voice RC viewer, version 5.0.7.327253 dated June 23rd.
  • Project viewers:
  • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847, dated May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes.

llHttpRequest

Further to my week #32 TPV Developer meeting notes, the llHttpRequest() changes are progressing.

“There are also some changes in the works coming along with llHTTPRequest() and mime types, Simon Linden noted at the Simulator User Group meeting. “A bit of clean-up, but there’s a chance there will be issues if people are doing some funky things along those lines. We will be putting some servers with that code on a few RC regions to test.”

Mazidox Linden added:

We should have some regions up tomorrow to test here on Agni, and we’ve already got a couple of test regions on Aditi, including Bonifacio and Sandbox Artifex. I’ll have more details about Agni regions at the Server Beta User Group on Aditi, in Morris on Thursday, at 3 PM Pacific Time.

This work will see MIME types associated with llHttpRequest being validated. This will involve checking the MIME types are well-formed, rather than any kind of checking against a valid whitelist of MIME types.A example of a poorly-formed MIME type, once the changes are implemented would be llHTTPRequest(base_url, [HTTP_MIMETYPE, “application/x-www/form-urlencoded”], “”.

The only exception to this is HTTP_ACCEPT, which does employ a whitelist, details of which are due to be added to the SL wiki. This will require the use of a MIME type from the set of types which are currently posted in the accept header (or any text/[subtype]).

As Oz Linden noted:

Unfortunately, someone put invalid example values in the wiki, and if anyone has used them then they’ll fail. I actually think that there’s little chance of bad failures, but it could trip a few people and given recent history we’re going to go a little more slowly with this one. The bad examples are only a year or so old, so I’m hoping they won’t be too widespread, and I’ll put up a forum post as soon as we have the region list.

Other Items

Aditi Inventory Syncing: Those who routinely log-in to Aditi, the Beta grid, probably know that the inventory syncing from Agni (and Main grid) and Aditi is currently broken. The Lab is aware of the problem, and it will be addressed.

BUG-100870 [Feature Request] Sandboxes should disallow sat upon objects to bypass auto return: this is being considered for all sandboxes, but is not currently being considered for all land, due to the risk of people being unseated from vehicles when crossing land with very short (e.g. 1 minute) auto-return periods.

Lovefest 2017: celebrating H.P. Lovecraft in Second Life

The 2015 Lovefest carnival

Lovefest – the Second Life celebration of the birth of H. P. Lovecraft – will open its doors for 10 days of festivities commencing on Thursday, August 17th, 2017. The event will run through until Sunday, August 27th.

This year marks the 127th anniversary of Lovercraft’s birth on August 20th 1890, and the event’s 6th year. There will once be a wide range of celebratory activities – shopping, music and dancing, live music, film showings, open microphone events, live storytelling in voice, dance troupes and an adventure for people to enjoy!

Deep Diving in the Pacific Ocean

Voyage to the bottom of the sea at Lovefest 2017

For 2017, the adventure takes visitors deep under the sea with the Miskatonic University Oceanic Expedition Team!

Those volunteering to participate will sail into the vast Pacific Ocean aboard the research vessel S.S. Abigail. Whilst en-route team members will receive their deep-sea diving equipment.

Once on location, team members will be lowered into the deeps to continue the work of an earlier advanced research team, charting the ocean floor, collect samples and expand the discoveries of the first research team.

But team members should beware! Whilst the ocean floor as a fascinating, diverse and wonderfully alien place – it can also be a place of danger!

As with previous Lovefest adventures, this is an interactive quest, combining a treasure hunt with a mystery that has a distinctly Lovecraftian twist to it. So don’t forget to join the S.S. Abigail as she sets sail! Join the expedition at the Miskatonic University Expedition Pier.

Kingsport, Mass

Those visiting the festival will be warmly received at Kingsport, Massachusetts – a city out of Lovecraft Lore, known as a community of artists and artisans which thrives mostly from tourism. Here visitors will find a rich tapestry of merchant stores, entertainers, dancers and more within the market and the waterfront wharves.

Event Schedule and Other Information

The 2017 festival website has a full (and final, at the time of writing) schedule of events, together with a list of entertainers, DJs, readers and live performers. The website also includes a list of the event’s participating sponsors.

About H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft watches over the Lovefest 2015  proceedings

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born on August 20th, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, where he spent most of his life.

A child prodigy, he was reciting poetry when just three years of age, and writing his own poems by six. His grandfather – one of the adults who raised him – encouraged his reading, presenting him with a wide range of books and stories from the likes of One Thousand and One Nights, and the Iliad through to his own original stories of Gothic horror.

As an adult, Lovecraft was introverted, riven by a lack of self-confidence, was unwilling to promote his own literary efforts. Only published in pulp magazines in his lifetime, he was never able to support himself with his writing, and died in poverty at the age of 46 in 1937. It was only posthumously that his work gained recognition – notably the Cthulhu Mythos – and he was elevated to the status of one of the most influential writers of horror fiction in the 20th Century.

Rich in theme as well as narrative, his work has influenced generations of horror writers who followed after him, including the likes of Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Alan Moore, Junji Ito, Caitlín R. Kiernan, William S. Burroughs, and Neil Gaiman.

In addition, film directors John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, and Guillermo Del Toro have all acknowledged Lovercraft as an influence in some of their work, whilst artist H. R. Giger of Alien fame has also pointed to Lovecraft’s tales as a point of influence.

SLurl Details

This article will be updated once the official SLurl for Lovefest 2017 is open to the public.