SL project news: week 2 (2): Server deployments and network issues

Update:  The Interest list release to Magnum has been postponed due to a last-minute bug being found. Magnum has instead received the same code  as deployed to Bluesteel and LeTigre, containing the threaded region crossing update.

Server Deployments for Week 2

Server deployment recommenced this week, with a main channel roll-out on Tuesday 8th January, which saw that channel get the same code as released to the RC channels just before the Christmas / New Year break and as reported here.

Wednesday January 9th will see two major deployments to the RC channels. LeTigre and BlueSteel should be receiving a package which includes threaded region crossing code while Magnum gets Andrew Linden’s work on Interest Lists.

The threaded region crossing code should help improve simulator performance when avatars are region crossing to and from a region. However, and as previously noted, while the code did give clear improvements when crossing between regions on foot, the results were less positive when using vehicles during a recent test. Whether this has been improved as a result of those tests remains to be seen.

Release notes are available for both for LeTigre and Bluesteel, and the forum discussion thread is available for feedback / questions.

Interest List Deployment

The Interest List work should reduce the bandwidth usage of viewers due to object updates, and should improve simulator performance, especially in sims with many connected avatars and which is busy in terms of object updates.

This is the first phase of work planned around interest lists and object caching as a part of the Shining project. Andrew’s work has primarily been focused on improving the manner in which object updates are handled, etc., in order to provide improved performance. However, even with this initial phase of the work, there should be some improvements in the actual order in which objects appear in world (those closer to your camera position appearing prior to items further away – although there is far more work to be done in this regards before the project is finished. 

As it stands, there are already some updates to the work in the offing, as Andrew indicated at the Simulator User Group meeting on the 8th January, saying, “I’ve got some interest list work that didn’t quite make it into the Magnum RC … this work is almost ready for testing, so I’ll be trying to get it into a maintenance branch or something for a follow-up release.”

Interest list updates should be deployed to the Magnum RC on Weds 9th Jan.
Interest list updates should be deployed to the Magnum RC on Weds 9th Jan.

The new interest list code will see the final removal of the “legacy cloud” layer (at around the 170-200m mark). While this has been disabled viewer-side since around the introduction of Viewer 2, the data relating to the legacy cloud layer has still been sent out by the servers, allowing viewers which still incorporate the necessary code to render the clouds in-world. However, the server-side code relating to legacy clouds has been removed from the interest list code, so viewers will no longer be able to render the clouds.

The Magnum release notes are available here.

Continue reading “SL project news: week 2 (2): Server deployments and network issues”

A rose misted garden in Second Life

Not long ago, Honour McMillan wrote an article on the matter of griefing and potentially criminal activities in SL. I actually quoted her in my own piece on the same subject. The images she used with the article were of a place called Rosemist Isle – which I admit to having been entirely ignorant of until I read Honour’s article and found myself not only in full agreement with her thoughts, but also captivated by the images themselves. As a result, Rosemist Isle immediately went on my “must visit” list for SL destinations.

I just didn’t expect to be visiting the region quite so soon as happened to be the case.

Rosemist Isle
Rosemist Isle

Honour visited Rosemist Isle to calm her temper and immerse herself. After having something of a crappy weekend (partially my own fault for being a bit of a twit with things I’m not going to bore you with), I felt that anything which captivated Honour would more than likely do the same for me.

It did.

Rosemist Isle
Rosemist Isle

The description for the region , designed by Nila Byron for the Rosemist Management group of KJ Kiranov, Xyza Armistice and Light Kaestner, reads in part, “The sim is dedicated to the Wonderment of Life, and the pursuit of Peace and Tranquility,” which is followed by an invitation to explore and enjoy the beauty of the isle.  And truth be told, there is a lot to explore and enjoy here, both when exploring on your own or with like-minded friends.

This is a place deserving of time taken to immerse yourself within it. If you are fortunate enough to be able to run your viewer in deferred mode, I strongly recommend you do, even if you leave shadows & lighting set to none. Make sure you have in-world sounds enabled as well to further enhance your experience. There is an audio stream as well, but whether you turn it on or not, I leave to you.

The region has its own windlight setting, but for the majority of snaps I took, I opted to use Annan Adored Realist Ambient, as it softened some of the glow used within the region and which, if I’m honest, I felt in places made some shots look over-exposed.

Rosemist Isle
Rosemist Isle

One of the things I love about Second Life is the freedom it provides to simply just be. A great deal of my time in-world is actually spent on my own, exploring places like Rosemist Isle. This is not necessarily because I’m particularly anti-social (although I am very definitely very insular); rather it is more because when exploring on my own I have the freedom to really experience a place and both escape pressures (RL or SL) and also find space to listen to myself as well as letting my imagination run free in response to whatever I discover.

Rosemist Isle is perfect for this; the woods invite one to roam and put cares off to one side, while the various places were one can sit naturally invite one to stay and simply contemplate. Which is not to say it should be experienced alone; the very nature of the region does much to also encourage companionship, be it wandering or sitting together.

Rosemist Isle
Rosemist Isle

The imagination can certainly take wing here: there are unicorns in the woods, a tall ship, her gun ports open, lying in the lee of the isle, and carvings of dragons abound, all of which add to the fantasy feel of the isle and suggest stories waiting to be told.

And lets face it, anywhere which features dragons is liable to get a big tick in my book!

Rosemist Isle
Rosemist Isle

Regular readers of these pages will know that music plays an important role in my life; it is something I have with me almost constantly, and while my tastes might be eclectic, music if often a favoured companion. Sometimes the initial impact of a region is much greater for me as a result of the music I happen to be listening / is playing on the region stream to when I opt to make a visit (although there are times when the look and feel of a place suggests suitable music to me).

When I teleported to Rosemist Isle, I happened to be listening to Passacaglia by Bear McCreary. Nothing unusual in this, as it is a piece I listen to a lot – McCreay’s work is genius. However, with Rosemist Isle, the fit seemed to be perfect for me given my mood, and I confess that rather than exploring on foot, I found myself simply sitting in an armchair and camming slowly though the region, allowing my imagination to create scenes and stories to me as I “roamed”.

Rosemist Isle
Rosemist Isle

Even without music – streamed or personal – Rosemist Isle offers the perfect means of calming ruffled nerves and soothing the mind of stress, as such I have no hesitation in recommending it as a destination well worth a visit. It certainly eased my mood and raised my spirit.

Rosemist Isle
Rosemist Isle

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And the award goes to …

The hoverboard and L$1000 still available on Amazon - but at the "full price" of $9.95
The hoverboard and L$1000 still available on Amazon – but at the “full price” of $9.95

Tateru Nino follows-up the news of SL’s launch on Amazon with feedback from the Lab as to why the “special offer” on the Starter Vehicle Pack comprising a hoverboard and L$1,0000 (equivalent of about $4.00 USD) was withdrawn within a very short time after the Amazon drive was formally announced on January 4th.

In a written reply to a query from Tateru, The Lab’s spokesman, Peter Gray (Pete Linden in-world) stated:

“This offer was terminated early due to repeated attempts to circumvent the one-per-customer limit, but we saw great demand for the deal and hope to be able to offer similar special promotions in the future”

As Tateru goes on to state herself:

It seems to me that “repeated attempts to circumvent the one-per-customer limit” – for a free pack that contained currency that could be converted and withdrawn in USD – would perhaps rank it very highly in a short-list of the most easily predictable events of 2013.

She’s right. Yet that is precisely what happened; no-one at the Lab could see the patently obvious.

Therefore, even though the days of the year have yet to reach double digits, it is my great honour to announce the inaugural “SL Palme d’Face Award” goes to: Linden Lab’s Amazon “Vehicle Starter Pack Promotion” & whoever was behind it.

lindenbear-facepalm

With thanks to Tateru Nino, and apologies to the Cannes Film Festival.

Quite a (new) year for stories

It’s a new year full of new evenings and afternoons for telling tales and reading stories at the Seanchai Library, and time for me to belatedly return to my round-ups of their weekly gatherings.

As always, all times SLT, and unless otherwise stated, events will be held on the Seanchai Library’s home on Imagination Island.

Monday January 7th, 19:00: Quite a Year for Plums

plumsAnyone who has read the best-selling Mama Makes Up Her Mind or listened to Bailey White’s commentaries on NPR knows that she is a storyteller of inimitable wit and charm. Now, in her stunningly accomplished first novel, she introduces us to the peculiar yet lovable people who inhabit a small town in south Georgia.

Meet serious, studious Roger, the peanut pathologist and unlikely love object of half the town’s women. Meet Roger’s ex-mother-in-law, Louise, who teams up with an ardent typographer in an attempt to attract outer-space invaders with specific combinations of letters and numbers. And meet Della, the bird artist who captivates Roger with the sensible but enigmatic notes she leaves on things she throws away at the Dumpster.

Kayden Oconnell begins this series of selections in voice tonight, to be joined by Caledonia later in the month.

Tuesday January 8th / Wednesday January 9th, 19:00: Inkspell

Faerie Maven-Pralou reads the first part of Cornelia Funke’s young adult which forms the second part of her Inkworld trilogy. The books chronicle the adventures of teenager Meggie Folchart whose life changes dramatically when she realizes that she and her father, a bookbinder named Mo, have the unusual ability to bring characters from books into the real world when reading aloud. Mostly set in Northern Italy and the parallel world of the fictional Inkheart book, the central story arc concerns the magic of books, their characters and creatures, and the art of reading.

In Inkspell, a year has passed since the events related in Inkheart, the first book in the series. Not a day goes by without Meggie thinking of Inkheart, a book that has characters that come to life. Resa is back. The fire-eater, Dustfinger, wants to go back to his wife daughters-who are in the story. When he finds a crazy, self-absorbed psycho storyteller, Orpheus, who can read him back into the book, he goes into the pages. Soon Farid convinces Meggie to read him into the book so he can warn Dustfinger of Basta. But Meggie has figured out how to read herself and Farid into the book Inkheart.

Thursday January 10th, 19:00: Kona Legends

konaIt was in 1866 that Eliza Maguire first heard these stories from old Hawaiians on Huehue Ranch in the Kona district on the island of Hawai’i. Many years later she translated them into English. First published in 1926, they are simple tales shared among the people of Kekaha, the barren, desolate section of North Kona that has often been ravaged by Pele, the Volcano Goddess. Included in this collection is the tale of ‘Akahipu’u, in which mischievous menehune try to steal the top of a hill, and the story of the cave of Makalei, which has provided water to generations of Kona residents. This updated edition of Kona Legends includes a new cover and artwork by Eva Anderson. We hope that this book will lead you to a richer understanding of the Kona area, its history, and its people.

Join Shandon Loring as he delves into these rich and fascinating tales.

Note that throughout January and February donations made to the Seanchai Library SL will go to the real world charity Doctors Without Borders! Have questions? IM or notecard Caledonia Skytower.

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