An away team mission to Planet Idun in Second Life

Planet Idun, January 2021

CK Ballyhoo dropped me a line concerning Planet Idun, a new role-play / photography region with which she has been involved, inviting me to hop over and join her in taking a look around, with region holder and co-creator Fazzy Constantine (Faisel Constantine) also on-hand to chat and answer questions.

Idun. A tropical jungle planet, set in the far reaches of the Milky Way galaxy. Featuring a full day and night cycle, dynamic weather, stunning scenery, views and hidden spots.

– from the region’s About Land description

Planet Idun, January 2021

Located on a Homestead  region, Planet Idun is the latest design Fazzy and his team have worked on under the BluShock RP group banner – a group with a role-play history that stretches back over a decade, and which has been responsible for some impressive designs, such as the ice world Vanargand, complete with its Oblivion-inspired spaceport tower, and also the world of Aegis Prime (as will as having a penchant for Norse mythology, as some of the name indicate!).

For Planet Idun, the BluShock team have opted to create a setting potentially warmer than Vanargand: a rugged, rain forested world where water in places falls from a teal sky to join with that tumbling from high cliffs into the gorge of a narrow river. Largely untamed, this is a world that does have some signs of civilisation – but finding your own way around will call for the explorer within you, as paths are not always obvious, at times relying on narrow ledges of rock.

Planet Idun, January 2021

The clearest sign of habitation is the large ultra-modern base built into the high cliffs towards the north-west of the setting. It is built around two covered landing areas for air / space craft, one of which is dominated by a monster hammerhead of a spacer I’d personally not have liked to pilot into its landing. Inside the base are comfortable living spaces as well as multiple workspaces, whilst its location is marked by both the manner in which its backs into the cliffs and the impressive communications arrays sitting on the peak above it.

However, this in not the only structure to be found within the setting. awaiting discovery on the tip of a high finger of rock pointing to the sky on the east side of the region is Idun’s Roof. A bar / house constructed of wood, presumably gathered from the local forest and reached via a long, winding stair. Elsewhere are other artificial constructs – an open-air landing pad, the region’s own landing point (complete with teleport connecting it with the Deep Space Destination Hub, a nexus for travelling between different sci-fi settings (just accept the experience to use the system for automatic teleports).

Planet Idun, January 2021

As a role-play environment, the region is intended to support free-form RP by members of BluShock and can support short RP situations created by other groups (e.g. as the location for an away team mission). There are a fair number of opportunities scattered around that can be used to built game play – camp sites, crashed vehicles, hidden walks and tracks (some obvious, others not so – as I said, you’ll need the explorer in you), and kayaks to explore the waters as well as the aforementioned bar and the cliff-side base.

Our last region, Vanargand, relied heavily on missions and events, off world time travel and so on. But this time we’ve decided to take a back seat and just build an enjoyable region. A few interested parties are also coming down from other groups to enjoy role-playing.  We’ve been inspired by a few sci-fi games – Mass Effect and Halo, for example.

– Fazzy Constantine

Planet Idun, January 2021

friendly group BluShock is also open to those interested in free-form sci-fi based role-play where the emphasis is on fun rather than an overburdening set of rules and requirements. In addition, those looking for sci-fi / fantasy-based photography may also find Idun to their liking, the dynamic custom day / night environment helps to add depth to the setting / photography.

Planet Idun will be officially opening at 11:00 SLT on Saturday, January 23rd, with a party and celebration at Idun’s Roof. However, it is currently available for general visits for those wishing to look around ahead of the official opening.

Planet Idun, January 2021

SLurl and Links

Fantasy Faire 2021: sponsor, store & performer applications open

via Fantasy Faire

Fantasy Faire, the largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, will take place in 2021 from Thursday, April 22nd, through Sunday May 9th, 2020 inclusive, with the scheduled activities programme running between April 22nd and Monday, May 3rd.

As with previous years, Fantasy Faire 2021 will comprise multiple shopping regions offering space to Second Life’s top Fantasy Creators, offering the most comprehensive opportunity for fantasy shopping. In addition, there will be further regions focusing on entertainment, the Fairelands Quest, art and more.

On Friday, January 22nd, the event organisers formally announced the opening of applications for sponsor, stores, and performers.

It’s time. It’s time to turn our weary eyes from the darkness toward the approaching spring. Toward the approaching Fairelands, the promise of hope and delight.

– The Fantasy Faire Website

Fantasy Faire 2020: Autumnium

Sponsorship and Store Applications

Sponsorship options comprise:

  • Shopping regions sponsorships (as available) – LS65,000:
    • Sponsor Store with 1600 Land Impact allowance, which can be shared between 2+ merchants and located in front of the region landing point.
    • Sky platform for rezzing builds as needed.
    • Name in Region Title and on Region landmarks.
    • Region 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 and prominent logo placement on the website.
  • Region Event Sponsorship – L$60,000:
    • Includes a THEMED store on a shopping region if desired.
    • Name in Region Title and on Region landmarks.
    • Region 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 and prominent logo placement on the website.
  • Event Sponsorship – L$60,000:
    • Includes a THEMED store on a shopping region if desired.
    • Region parcel with name on landmark.
    • Logo placement on corresponding event poster.
    • The opportunity for a sponsor’s brand profile on the Fantasy Faire website and prominent logo placement on the website.
  • 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.
  • Matching Funds Sponsor:
    • Please contact Elizabeth Tinsley for details.
Fantasy Faire 2020: Zodiac

Store options comprise:

  • Featured Creator Store + Quest Sponsor – L$35,000 (no more than 2 per region, with potential for region of your choice):
    • Featured Creator Store with 1000 Land Impact allowance, which can be shared 2+ merchants, and can have a sky platform for rezzing builds as needed.
    • Prominent placement next to Region Sponsor Store.
    • Advertising on the Hunt HUD and on the Fantasy Faire blog.
  • Featured Creator Store – L$8,000:
    • 700 Land Impact allowance, can be shared between 2+ merchants.
    • Prominent placement around region landing point.
  • Themed Store – L$2500:
    • 300 Land Impact allowance, generally of one merchant only.
    • A second merchant can be added for a surcharge.

Full details on requirements and guidelines for performers can be found on the Fantasy Faire 2021 Store Application form.

General enquiries relating to performing at the event should be addressed to Elizabeth Tinsley,

Performer Applications

Note that this is for dancers, actors, particle performers and various other artists, it is not for live of DJ entertainment, applications for which will be announced in due course (as will blogger applications).

  • The organisers are seeking fantasy themed shows (~1h in length) that are family friendly and don’t use any copyrighted material without permission to do so.
  • Performer applications will remain open through until the end (SLT) of Sunday, February 21st, 2021.

Applications should be made via the Fantasy Faire 2021 Performer Sign-up form.

General enquiries relating to performing at the Faire should be addressed to Aelva Resident.

Additional Links

2021 CCUG meeting week #3 summary

Snowdrops, November 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken from my audio recording and chat log of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, January 21st 2021 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, with dates available via the SL Public Calendar.

The venue for meetings is the Hippotropolis camp fire.

SL Viewer

The Dawa Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 6.4.12.555058 on Wednesday, January 20th signalling the issues within the build process that had stalled viewer updates have been cleared. However, at the time of writing all other viewers in the current pipelines remain unchanged:

  • Current release viewer version 6.4.11.551711, formerly Cachaça Maintenance RC viewer promoted on November 12 – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Project Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 6.4.12.553798, January 7, 2021.
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7, 2021.
  • Project viewers:
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.12.553511, issued on January 7, 2021.
    • Simple Cache project viewer, version 6.4.11.551403, November 12.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • A more comprehensive viewer update will follow in Friday, January 22nd TPV Developer meeting summary

Viewer Caching

  • LL are in the process of overhauling and improving the viewer’s cashing mechanisms.
  • There is already a Simple Cache  project viewer that is available (see the viewer list above). This will be progressing to RC status soon.
  • A further project by Callum Linden is to improve the caching and loading of textures within the viewer. No ETA at present as to when a project viewer for this will surface.
  • Mention was made in 2020 about detaching the viewer UI rendering from scene rendering in order to improve viewer performance. This work is still in the discussion/ initial development stages.

Viewer Rendering Situation (Moving from OpenGL)

Work on updating the viewer’s rendering API to something more recent than OpenGL (which is to be deprecated by Apple anyway) has hit an issue. Vulkan had been looked to as a replacement for OpenGL. However

  • Logging added to the viewer to assess the capabilities of users’ home systems has revealed that around 20% of existing Windows users have systems that cannot support the Vulkan API.
    • This figure is potentially conservative – there are users who are accessing SL with older viewers without the necessary logging, so the overall percentage could be higher.
  • This means the work on any potential move to an API change has paused while LL assess options.
  • One course of action might be to add some form of abstraction layering in the viewer, such that those able to support a more recent API do so,whilst older systems continue to use OpenGL – but decisions of direction / options have yet to be finalised.
  • Another issue with updating the rendering API is the risk of content breakage if an incoming API handles some rendering features in a substantially different manner to OpenGL.
  • One aspect related to systems used to access SL lies within LL’s own Recommended specs page, which continues to list GPU options that are well out-of-date. For example, the basic “recommended” Nvidia GPUs are listed as GeForce 9 series / GeForce 200 series, which ceased being supported by Nvidia in 2016.

ARCTan

Project Summary

An attempt to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs to make them more reflective of the actual impact of rendering either in the viewer. The overall aim is to try to correct some inherent negative incentives for creating optimised content (e.g. with regards to generating LOD models with mesh), and to update the calculations to reflect current resource constraints, rather than basing them on outdated constraints (e.g. graphics systems, network capabilities, etc).

As of January 2020 ARCTan has effectively been split:

  • Viewer-side changes, primarily focused on revising the Avatar Rendering Cost (ARC) calculations and providing additional viewer UI so that people can better visibility and control to seeing complexity.
  • Work on providing in-world object rendering costs (LOD models, etc.) which might affect Land Impact will be handled as a later tranche of project work, after the avatar work.
  • The belief is that “good” avatar ARC values can likely be used as a computational base for these rendering calculations.

Status

Focus on this project was reduced due to the to concentrate on the Uplift project work, so the last couple of months of 2020 saw little direct progress. Vir hopes to be able to turn his attention back to it “before too long”.

In Brief

  • As is common for the start of a year, priority lists are currently being reviewed and updated.
  • Graphics updates: as well as the current LMR 5 project viewer with fixes for graphics issues, the Graphics team are also working on other issues, such as rainbows having the colour spectrum inverted  (i.e. appearing as VIBGYOR rather than ROYGBIV). However, it is until to fix the sorting issue that causes the Moon to appear in front of rainbows.

Date of Next Meeting

  • Thursday, February 4th, 2021.

ZackHerrMann at Raging Graphix

Raging Graphix Sky Gallery: Zack Herr Mann

LIV (Raging Bellls) recently expanding her Raging Graphix Gallery with a new skybox exhibition area featuring a special exhibition by the master of psychedelic art, ZackHerrMann.

Hailing from France, Zack has a passion for art that dates back to his early years, and which has been influenced in a wide variety of ways – including by the likes of Marvel comics, the performance artistry oft found within LGBTQ communities and within the rock music scene. He studies art of a number of years, and had hoped to specialism, but freely admits higher  education in art (as with all subjects) can be prohibitively expensive.

Raging Graphix Sky Gallery: Zack Herr Mann

As a result, he became very much self-taught in terms of developing his own style and approach to art, as he also notes with disarming candour, touching on some of the influences on his work as noted above:

So, I started to discover night life, especially in the LGBT Community, touching on the worlds of drag queens and other creatures of the universe. Then I discovered the power of creation using a computer and graphics tablet, using PhotoShop. with these tools I felt reborn, free to recreate a persona based on a childhood character I made called Linda Cluster. This persona is a celebration of all that I love about the rock music culture, and is a nod to the musical artists I admire: Nina Hagen, Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper, Bjork, and so on.
It is Linda Cluster’s work that I focus on presenting in SL, because its probably the more advanced works that I’ve done in RL.

ZackHerrMan discussing his work

The result of all of this are pieces that are rich and vibrant, frequently animated and carry a wonderful depth and life. wtached over by a figure whom I assume is a representation of Linda Cluster.

Raging Graphix Sky Gallery: Zack Herr Mann

Within the skybox at Raging Graphix, all of this is marvellously brought into focus. The two-roomed are is not large  but it perfect for housing the selection of art Zack displays.

These are pieces which – while “psychedelic” might be the term he uses to describe himself and which are vital in their colour and depth – also carry within then themes that might also be considered spiritual and / or cosmic. Within them are pieces that suggest living mandalas, whilst other perhaps suggest the tree of life, whilst other contain heavenly (as in cosmic rather than religious) themes.

An important not to keep in mind when visiting is that Zack makes extensive use of projectors to give some of his pieces their depth. As such, if you are to fully appreciate attending this exhibition, it is essential you have Preferences → Graphics → Advanced Lighting Model enabled (you do not need to enabled shadow rendering as well, so the performance hit shouldn’t be too great).

Raging Graphix Sky Gallery: Zack Herr Mann

A visually impressive and and engaging exhibition.

SLurl Details

A Panacea for those who miss snow in Second Life

Panacea, January 2021

As is often the way, the changing of the year sees a lot of people in the northern hemisphere turn their thoughts away from winter and towards the promise of spring. With region designers, this often means moving to replace the snowy looks they may have set out on their regions for the holiday period with something with more colour and the promise of warmth.

Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight – some regions can continue to offer snowy scenes well into February and perhaps March. However, as January does move to February and thoughts of spring bubble up even more, it can mean that those who do like walking through a snowy white blanket or celebrating falling snow or taking to ice skates or sleds and are starting to miss opportunities to do so – or who simply like to witness / photograph the scarecrow form of trees without leaves, standing with arms upraised -, MoonStone (Hecatolite) and Louise (Sallielouise) may have just the right Panacea.

Panacea, January 2021

Occupying a Homestead region, this is a setting that – for now – remains caught in the grip of winter, although the thaw is showing signs from gradually breaking through.

Laid out along an east-west orientation (don’t be fooled by the map tile, that is still awaiting post-Uplift update at the time of writing), this is a rugged place. The highlands sit predominantly to the west:  hills that while not high, are already showing signs of greening as the days lengthen and the air warms. The lower slopes, however, are still wreathed in snow, some of which are are under curtains of snow that is falling gently, testament to the fact that winds across the island are low.

Panacea, January 2021

As the land rolls down towards the eastern coast, so it is cut by water that almost splits it in two, it extends as far as the green-topped hills that form an open-ended ring around it. But is this a river that is flowing out from the hills – or an inlet of water that, having forcing its way around a little eastern island, found the line of least resistance to cut its way deep into the landscape?, as suggested by the water’s direction of flow within the semi-iced channel.

The land is also cut by a second channel reaching to the west side hills; however, it is still largely frozen, with two large tables of ice sitting against the step slopes of the hills holding it in. One of these appears thick enough to withstand a complete thaw: is is home to a wooden bench that would not be any fun to try and haul by up the precipitous slopes.

Panacea, January 2021

Scattered across the island are a number of buildings and structures. These include two cabins – a blocky one sitting up among the hills, and a more traditional steep-roofed one encompassing a single room, sitting on the north-east headland, close to the rocky coast  and accompanied by a small folly. A lighthouse sits on the little eastern island guarding the river mouth / inlet, and beyond it, on the south-east headland, a gazebo provides a covering for the local ice rink.

Elsewhere, cafés offer places to enjoy a warm drink, while paths and trails winding through the land and the hills, watched over by the local wildlife. Most of the latter are birds, waterfowl, turkeys, squirrels and deer – although you might want to keep a wary eye on the wolves and polar bears that reside here. None of them appear to be aggressive, but you never can tell!

Panacea, January 2021
A simple yet carefully detailed winter setting, with sleds available for those wanted to have a little fun whilst a box at the ice rink will provide skates, Panacea offers a photogenic visit, and is also suitable for those who have a wearable horse and would like a winter’s ride. In this it’s name might also be taken as a pointer to the region offering a chance to sooth whatever stresses you might be facing.

With thanks to Shawn Shakespeare for the tip.

SLurl Details

  • Pancea (Ember Vale, rated Adult)

 

2021 SUG meeting week #3 summary

Angels Nest, November 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, January 12th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting.

Server Deployments

At the time of writing,the release notes for the week had yet to be produced. However, Rider Linden described the RC release planned for the week thus:

So.  We rolled SLS today with the same version that we had put up on RC last week. We don’t have any plans to roll a new RC this week, but we’re targeting one for next week.

– Rider Linden

SL Viewer

There have been no changes to the current crop of official viewers, leaving them as:

  • Current release viewer version 6.4.11.551711, formerly Cachaça Maintenance RC viewer promoted on November 12 – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
      • Project Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 6.4.12.553798, January 7, 2021.
      • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7, 2021.
      • Dawa Maintenance RC Viewer, version 6.4.12.553723, December 15.
  • Project viewers:
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.12.553511, issued on January 7, 2021.
    • Simple Cache project viewer, version 6.4.11.551403, November 12.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

In Brief

  • Map Tiles Fix: this is now “in progress”, but ETA on when map tile updates will resume . “normal” operations.
  • Lindex data feeds: are reported as being “overloaded”, regularly generating status 502, 503, and 504 errors, and sometimes returning blank documents for both in-world requests and when accessing the Lindex via the web. This is another issue LL are aware of.
  • There are assorted reporting of region performance (FPS rates and % scripts run) falling. It’s not clear if the issue is across-the-board or limited to specific channels (e.g. the Main SLS channel).