AvaCon Announces the Metaverse Cultural Series 2013

With the SL Community Convention ending in 2012, after AvaCon declined a revised contract from Linden Lab, the non-profit, volunteer-operated company has today announced the Metaverse Cultural Series 2013.

The new series will comprise, “A set of events featuring performances and lectures that highlight unique aspects of metaverse culture. The events will take place in multiple virtual world spaces and the series will showcase innovative artists, thinkers, performers, and academics whose work is on the forefront of exploring what it means to work, play, and live in the emerging metaverse.”

The focus of the series is on exploration of aspects of living, working, and playing in the metaverse which differ from other forms of online activity. As examples of this, AvaCon suggest subjects such as exploring themes such as identity play and avatars, language and customs unique to virtual worlds, or other kinds of art and expression that are only possible in the metaverse.

As well as seeking performances and presentations, AvaCon is inviting virtual world providers, grids, or venues to host a Metaverse Cultural Series event as event partner. In order to do so, venues should be able to:

  • Accommodate 30 – 50 in-world attendees
  • Permit voice and media streaming media capabilities.

Note that AvaCon will work with venues selected to participate in the series to determine technical specifications and other requirements as needed for each type of presentation or performance.

Request for Presentation / Performance Proposals

AvaCon ar currently accepting proposals for presentations / performances which fit the focus of the series as outlined above. All proposals should include an abstract describing, in no more than 500 words, the proposed performance / presentation and how it relates to the goals and themes of the Series. Reviewers will specifically be looking for proposals that explore unique aspects of metaverse culture, particularly as it differs from other kinds of online activity.

Additionally, AvaCon are accepting proposals from grids / virtual world providers / venues wishing to host an event in the Mataverse Cultural Series.

The closing date for all proposals is January 31st, 2013. AvaCon are offering a $50 stipend to all successful presentation / venue applications to cover time and expenses.

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Threaded Region Crossing pile-on test

I’ve been covering the upcoming improvements to region crossings – referred to as threaded region crossings – in my weekly SL project reports.

During the Server Beta meeting on the 13th December 2012, the subject came up for brief discussion, during which I suggested to Caleb Linden (who is heading-up the work) that perhaps a pile-on test would be an idea.

I’ve no idea if he read my suggestion, or was already planning to go ahead with such a test, but on Monday 17th December, 2012, he posted an announcement of just such a test to the Server thread of the TEchnology forums. The announcement reads in full:

In an upcoming server build, Linden Lab has changed the way agents and their attachments get carried over in the event of a region crossing. And we need your help to test region crossing in a pile-on fashion.

On Wednesday, December 19th at 16:00 PDT (Pacific Daylight Time) please join IRC (EFNET -> #sltest) to launch Second Life and join us via the following SLurl GC Test 9

The details of the tests are here


In the meantime, please let us know if you need access the test regions mentioned on the wiki or have additional questions.

How the tests will be carried out, and on the wiki page, Caleb invites suggestions to be e-mailed / forwarded to him. Currently, ideas for testing include:

  • Region crossing with regular avatar
  • Region crossing via manual TP
  • Region crossing on a vehicle (including Mesh based vehicles)
  • Region crossing while sitting on moving objects
  • Region crossing via scripted TP
  • Region crossing with attachments of varying sizes (including complex HUDs)

Issues have already been found with the new code when wearing script heavy objects during a region crossing and with repeated region crossings on vehicles, and the pile-on test looks in part to be a further investigation of these issues, as well as testing for other possible problems.

Note that this test will be on the beta Aditi grid, so you will need to be able to access that grid. If you haven’t done so in a while, you may want to check your ability to log-in, given recent issues. Also, as this is server-side code tests, it should not be required that you use a specific viewer, but keep an eye on the forum thread in case a decision is made to use a particular viewer.

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When a Sleepless Night is worth it…

My favourite time for exploring Second Life is after dark. Not after dark in SL, you understand, but after dark in RL. At the end of the day, with the house quiet and little chance of being disturbed, I can cozy down in my little study / office and go a-wandering to my heart’s content. Sometimes doing so leads me to staying up well past silly o’clock.

Sleepless Nights
Sleepless Nights

Fortunately, I work from home most of the time, which allows me to large set my own schedule; I also have a weird body which is generally satisfied with around 5 hours sleep a night before it decides I need to be up and about (and bits of it are given to complaining if I don’t get up) – although occasionally it will demand a good, solid 8-9 hours under the duvet. Even so, there are times, generally when staring at the bathroom mirror first thing after getting up, when I ask myself  just what the heck I thought I was doing sitting up to 4:00am in the morning, and whether I’m completely, certifiably bonkers.

Sleepless Nights
Sleepless Nights

Most of the time, however, it is worth it. There are so many beautiful, creative and inspiring places to visit in SL that trying to catalogue just a small selection of them in my own way makes the late nights worthwhile.

Sometimes I stumble upon a place, sometimes it is recommended to me or I stick my finger into the Destination Guide and see what comes up, sometimes reading other blogs piques my curiosity and off I trot to poke a nose into things. Whatever I find, there has to be a certain something which “clicks” with me. If I’m honest, it doesn’t always happen; there are many places in SL I’ve visited and not blogged about because, while they are in their own way amazing or fun or immersive, I personally don’t find that indefinable something which grabs me.

Sleepless Nights
Sleepless Nights

Sleepless Nights, the home of :Fiction and Chaos and [House of Usher] is one of those places which definitely has “it” for me. I first came across it in Honour McMillan’s blog, and her images were enough to convince me this was a place I had to visit. Honour is someone I read daily and whom I admire for her skills with both the written word and with SL photography. She’s also someone I tend to find I’m frequently following around SL, as there are times when we are drawn to the same regions even within me finding inspiration in her blog pages, and Honour is invariably 3 or 4 steps ahead of me, so I invariably put a planned post back on the shelf for a bit, so posts don’t clash :).

Sleepless Nights
Sleepless Nights

I love regions with a focus on water wat the best of times, and so in some ways, it’s hardly surprising Sleepless Nights appeals to so much. It has been brilliantly and evocatively framed, and I confess to having gone a little snap happy the other week during my visit, pumping out shot after shot to my profile feed. Pity I initially made such a pig’s ear of things.

A couple of weeks back LL finally got the snapshot tiling issue somewhat fixed. It’s not a perfect fix, as issues can still occur if you push your graphics card too hard, but it does allow those impacted by the issue to take snaps at significantly higher resolutions than perhaps they’ve been able to for quite a while.

Sleepless Nights
Sleepless Nights

I’d spent the days following the release happily bimbling around SL, revisiting old favourites and seeing how much better things look at 3500×2134 compared to the maximum of 1440×900 I’ve had to use pre-fix. So it was with huge delight that I arrived in Sleepless Nights, whapped up my snapshot floater to 3600×2195 and started posting away to my feed. The problem being that at the time I was using Firestorm – which doesn’t yet have the tiling issue fix.

Cue curses and a number of feed reposts, followed by a late-night revisit to re-work the images also saved to disk.

Sleepless Nights
Sleepless Nights

Leaving that crisis aside, there really isn’t much I can say about the region. Not because there isn’t anything to say about it, but simply because it speaks very eloquently for itself, as anyone arriving will immediately see for themselves. Suffice it to say that is it one of the most evocative I’ve visited, and I look forward to the day when I have a viewer / PC combination (and the skill) to really do it justice through photographs.

The region is minimalist in style and water-focused (something which will immediately attracted me, as I love water-based regions). The default windlight is enough to generate a deeply atmospheric feel and is absolutely ideal for SL photography. Together they combine to present a place which demands you simply experience it and let your thoughts roam free.

Sleepless Nights
Sleepless Nights

It’s also a place which can be quickly tweaked using viewer-side windlight options to create some truly remarkable frames – as I hope some of my offerings here go some way towards showing.

If you’ve never visited Sleepless Nights, I really recommend you do.

A song of ice and fire
Sleepless Nights: “A song of ice and fire”

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Linden Lab release “Creatorverse Lite” on the iOS Platform

LL logoOn Monday 17th December, Linden Lab announced the release of “Creatorverse Lite” on the iOS platform.

The new product is available for through the App Store for the iPad, iPod Touch and the iPhone. The press release announcing the release states:

This free version of Linden Lab’s shared creativity app allows users to explore and play with the entire Creatorverse galaxy – every creation made and shared by users of the full Creatorverse app on any platform. To remix others’ creations or create and share their own, users will continue to need the full, paid version of Creatorverse.

Creatorverse - now available in a free "Lite" for the iPhone and iPod Touch
Creatorverse – now available in a free “Lite” for the iPhone and iPod Touch

The press release doesn’t make mention of the “Lite” version being available for the Android / Kindle platforms, but it would seem likely that whither the iOS version goes, the Android / Kindle offerings will follow. We’ll doubtless find out in the new year.

In the meantime, the full version for both the Android and Kindle platforms has been updated to version 1.1.1 as of the 15th December, placing it once again on a par with the iOS version, with object shadows, etc.

GP-statsWhat is to be made of this move? Clever marketing ploy to encourage more take-up of the application, or indicative that while early interest was strong, things may have waned somewhat in terms of interest / purchases? Figures for sales / downloads aren’t available on either the Apple App Store or Amazon, so the take-up on those platforms is hard to judge. Google Play does provide a graphical indication of downloads; while this is very generic, it does show that after an initial strong interest in the product, installs do appear to have plummeted. However, this may be indicative of nothing more than the fact the application is somewhat less popular on Android devices, the majority of which tend to be mobile phones with small screens rather than tablet-sized devices, and Creatorverse is not so ideally suited to these (although the flip side to that, of course, is the same can be said of the IPhone and iPod Touch).

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