Premium Wilderness: a new experience

So, I’m browsing the Destination Guide, looking for a suitable place to cover in my “Virtual Destinations” series, when I come across a new set of premium-only regions labelled “Premium Wilderness”.

First look – the Destination Guide

The regions appear aimed at another Premium membership promotion, and to showcase some of the new pathfinding capabilities coming to SL. At the time I started my explorations, the blog post had yet to appear, so intrigued by what I’d seen in the Destination Guide, I read the byline in the Destination Guide Jump into the adventure that is the Premium Wilderness and set sail for adventure in this new experience – and jumped.

My first stop was Tapir – although as the six regions are all grouped together and have a common theme, you can start in any one of them.

I arrived on a small pier on the edge of a river. A click me sign provided me with the following information:

Welcome to the Jungle! Feel free to explore at your leisure.

Boat Ride:
Take a boat ride and enjoy the scenery. Just click on the boat when it arrives at the dock and enjoy the ride!

Explore:
Follow the paths, you never know where they might lead!

Interact:
Click on the things you see, you never know what you will find!

Sitting on the dock of the jungle: arriving at Tapir

There is a lot to click and play with – touch a multi-hued frog and it will hop around you and then lead you away from the pier…then disappear into the reeds at the edge of the river. There’s a boat that swings by which you can catch for a cruise along the river, or there are inner tubes you can paddle and diving kit for the really adventurous.

How you get about is up to you – walk, ride, swim – and there is plenty to see along the way, with the 6 sims forming a dense jungle-type environment complete with ancient ruins,  brought together in a very atmospheric mix – moreso if you can run with shadows enabled.

Ancient ruins

The experiences within the regions vary widely in content and use. You can, for example, meet a jaguar and play “fetch” with it, or wrestle with a crocodile, or play round-up with a herd of capybaras and corral them. There are also places where you need to watch your step.

Interestingly, when encountering things you can touch, you’ll often get a chat message, such as:

Acoustic Guitar – po: Look in your inventory for Guitar. It should be in your Object folder. Or click on the Recent Items tab at the top to locate it. Right click and select Wear. Right click and select Detatch to take it off.

One assumes this is for the benefit of those new users who have chosen to take the plunge and sign-up directly for Premium membership as a part of the promo offer.

Playing fetch with a jaguar

The regions appear to be intended as a social experience as well – there are numerous places for getting together and chatting / sharing. Some of the experiences are also geared towards sharing – the boat rides through the sims, the  Tahr racing on the beach or Tahr rides through the jungle, using, I assume, the pathfinding capabilities.

Thoughts

While visiting the regions, I was surprised to see comments start popping-up in Group chats that were somewhat negative – including one that suggested the regions are a means for the Lab to “recycle” abandoned land, which strikes me as cynical.

In terms of presentation, the regions are very atmospheric – and I recommend a visit with shadows enabled if you can, especially if you are using Exodus with HDR  / Gamma Correction or Niran’s with its advanced rendering options.

In terms of experience, I have to admit it’s a mixed bag. The regions are immersive, and offer a lot to see and do – but there were some oddities. While accepting that this might be another example of the “publish-test-polish” approach seemingly beloved of Rod Humble – but it does seem odd that other new capabilities coming to SL are seemingly ignored. The game of fetch with the jaguar, for example, requires you accept a stick into your inventory each time you touch the jaguar – and one wonders why the capability to attach the stick to your avatar, bypassing inventory altogether wasn’t used. Particularly as you are repeatedly prompted to accept the stick from the jaguar after each throw, leading to a possible small accumulation of sticks. But this is a minor niggle in the scheme of things.

Overall, the regions offer an interesting diversion for those with a Premium account who might like to spent time exploring something a little different. So why not give it a try?

Parcel encroachment live across the grid

It appears that parcel encroachment is now active across the grid (with thanks to Nalates Urriah).

The feature, which allows objects encroaching on one parcel from another to be returned, has been rolling-out across the grid for a while, and was turned-on last Thursday.

The feature has some guiding parameters to help manage / control the return of objects, which should provide a reasonable level of control, including:

  • For private regions, the feature must be turned on at a per region basis
  • Return is based on an object’s physical shape, not its visible shape, so while an object may appear to encroach on a region boundary, it may not actually be returned orthat it may not appear to encroach, but is still returned. LL currently list the objects most likely to suffer such mismatches as:
    • Trees and grass
    • Sculpt and flexiprims (and, one assumes, mesh)
    • static objects using the llTargetOmega() feature — they appear to be spinning but are not spinning in the physics engine
  • “Estate content” and public works content (Mainland) is protected against return (so, for example, items on a parcel that are owned by an Estate Manager / owner will not be returned)

Phantom and Volume Detect objects will still collide for encroachment. At the time the feature was first documented (January 2011), cross-region encroachment was under development. Whether this is still the case is unclear.

Some of the details as to how the feature works – and how to enable it – may change when the wiki page on the feature is updated.

No blog post / forum post appears to be on the horizon to announce the change. However, those wishing to find out more may want to keep an eye on the wiki page for updates.

Viewer release summary 2012: week 11

Updates for week ending: 17 March, 2012

Updated 20th March to reflect Niran’s, Firestorm and Phoenix releases. Also, review links will take you to a library page for those viewers / clients I’ve reviewed more than once.

Changes since the last Round-up shown in green.

SL Official Viewers

Available for: Windows, Linux, Mac

V3.2-based TPVs

V1-based TPVs

Text-based Clients (New)

This is intended to be a weekly round-up of current public SL ciewers / clients (of which I’m aware / for which I have information / which I can run (Windows / Android)). As few Viewers are static, and releases are made according to individual development cycles, further versions of any given viewer / client may well be released between these updates, and as such the information here may become out-of-date as the week progresses. Please check with the relevant download pages.

Related Links