The SL9B Story

With all the focus on the central SL9B activities made possible by Dreamseeker Estates, Fruit Islands, KityCatS and our anonymous region donor, attention does tend to get drawn away from other SL9B events that are taking place next week around the grid to mark Second Life’s ninth anniversary.

So I’m rather pleased to have received a poke about the SL9B Story.

The Great Big Story Book

Second Life is a powerful medium for storytelling, be it machinima, the spoken word, the written word, acting, or a combination thereof. The SL9B Story calls upon SL writers and storytellers to come together in a collaborative effort and contribute to the Great Big Story Book. The Destination Guide entry for the piece describes it thus:

“Once upon a time…” That’s how all the best stories begin, but what happens next is anybody’s guess — that’s where the Second Life community comes in. To celebrate SL’s 9th birthday, writers and storytellers of every kind are invited to contribute to The SL9B Story. See what other residents have created, then continue the story by writing in the Great Big Story Book, carrying on from where the previous author left off.

The entrance to the SL9B Story

The story book itself is located on Penny Lane; it has been created by Serendipity Haven, and sits alongside her in-world gallery. The book uses Media On a Prim (MOAP) to display a related blog, SL9Bhaven. Contributors are invited to add to the story using the comments section of the blog page – which can be opened either in the Viewer’s built-in browser or your web browser, dependent on your preference. Comments will also display both on the blog page and be visible on the book in-world, allowing it to be followed / read from both.

Note that comments are currently closed and will remain so until SL9B kicks-off on the 18th June.

Some submissions have apparently already been made – I assume as a part of testing the site and the book – so it will be interesting to see what appears on the book’s pages once comments are opened, and those which have already been received are displayed.

Given the theme of SL9B is that of community, this is a clever approach to asking the community to work collaboratively together, and I’m looking forward to reading what appears in the book, and of hopefully contributing to it myself. I hope other writers and aspiring writers in SL will take the time to do so as well, and help the story to grow through the week.

Will you add to the tale?

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Kokua and Firestorm: moves and views

It’s been relative quiet on the Viewer front of late. However, there is now news emerging about two TPVs: Kokua and Firestorm.

Kokua

Nicky Perian has updated the Kokua code on Bit Bucket to release 3.1.1.22989(Beta-1), dated June 11th. Available for Windows and Linux, it is unclear as to how “official” this release is  – there is no blog post associated with the release, nor does it appear on the Kokua wiki download page. Notice of its arrival has, however, been doing the rounds on Twitter.

I’ve not had a close look at it as yet, but it appears the release is more about bug-fixing and general enhancements of the current code (with fixes code that addresses both SL and OpenSim) more than prepping a major release and shouldn’t be treated as such – or even as a recognised experimental until the team release further information. As it stands, the release still references itself in places as the “Second Life Viewer” rather than Kokua, again indicative that this is very much still a work in progress. One thing it does do away with is the console window that would open on starting the Windows version of Kokua (and which you had to keep open while logged-in to SL in order to avoid the Viewer crashing).

I’m not recommending the release be put to general use – that is down to the Kokua team; rather I’m reporting that the version’s availability has been reported on via Twitter. Those wishing to know the exact status of the project should keep an eye on the Kokua blog, where hopefully there will be an update soon.

Firestorm

After an extended period of quiet from the Firestorm end of things, I recently noticed Jessica Lyon logging back in to SL once more after what appeared to be something of a period of absence. She’s provided a blog post at Firestorm entitled “Progress Report” , which indicates that the team had in fact  eased off from development; with some taking an outright break from things, as burn-out was becoming a factor.

The announcement highlights three things:

  • The team has new developers in the form of Holy Gavenkrantz, who has been a regular code contributor to both Firestorm and Phoenix, and Armin Weatherwax who, co-incidentally enough given the information on Kokua above, was formerly a lead developer on that project
  • And update on the status of the Firestorm 4.1.1 release, which is still officially labelled “coming soon” but which will include various requested tools and capabilities including Growl support, an LSL pre-processor, additional Windlight effects an “improved build floater”, and a host of goodies
  • The news that the team is branching development for Firestorm between Second Life and OpenSim.

This last point is interesting, as Firestorm has been gaining popularity among OpenSim users (Kitely even set it as their default Viewer).

The use of Viewers to access both SL and OpenSim has been the subject of much debate in the last couple of months since Linden Lab announced they were sub-licencing elements of the Havok physics engine. This requires that any applicable Viewer using the licenced code to only connect to LL’s own servers. In May, Jessica gave a hint that the Firestorm team were considering their options vis-a-vis SL and OpenSim, commenting on SLU that:

There is the possibility that we could have Havok code disable when the viewer is not logged into the SL grid. I have asked Oz if this would be acceptable and he is looking into it. If it turns out this is NOT acceptable, we will provide two versions of our Firestorm viewer. One for SL and one for everything else.

While she has not followed-up the comment with further information directly, it would appear from the blog post that – for whatever reason – the Firestorm team has opted to take the route of developing two flavours of the Viewer. It will be interesting to see how this actually plays out.