On Wednesday February 6th, the Linden Endowment for the Arts announced the opening of applications for the fourth round of the Artist-in-Residence (AIR) programme. The announcement, as allows, reads in part:
The LEA AIR programme seeks to promote and nurture the arts in Second Life, through providing limited term full-sim land grants to be used for creative projects and art installations over the course of a few months. Recipients can be individuals or groups interested in creating or curating art, or proposing cultural projects which would require/utilise a full-sim build and can be completed within the allotted time frame (5 months). The LEA is able to offer land grants through the generosity of Linden Lab.
Up to twenty regions, donated by Linden Lab and managed by the LEA, are generally offered under the land grant programme, and successful applicants will be granted the use of one full region for a period of six months. The region may then be used on an individual or group basis for such diverse activities as:
Full sim exhibitions and / or immersive installations
Curated projects, especially those which have a connection to physical exhibitions and events (augmented reality)
Applications are not limited to visual art but are welcomed from all areas of artistic expression, including performance, music, and film.
Preference is for submitted works to be original in nature, although curated projects may present extant works. Successful applicants will have up to four months in which to execute their build, and must have it open for public viewing for at least the last two months of the grant period. Artists may alternatively use the land for multiple exhibits, but it is imperative that projects will be ready within four months from acceptance, and this time-frame should be considered (and reflected) in applications.
Applications open: February 5, 2013
Application deadline: February 19, 2013
Sim handover and public announcement: March 8, 2013
End of round: July 31, 2013
Applications forms can be found at the end of the LEA website announcement for Round 4, together with all other necessary information.
Lumiya has gone through a series of updates recently, cycling rapidly through versions 2.4.0 and 2.4.1 (the latter to fix an OpenSim teleport issue) on January 31st, and arriving at 2.4.2 on February 4th to fix some issues with mesh clothing uncovered by yours truly.
These releases see Lumiya introduces key features users have been waiting for, and start paving the way for future SL support. Taken together, the core updates comprise:
Support for mesh objects and clothing
Support for RLV
Support for server-side baking
Mesh support works well with in-world objects, as the following image demonstrates.
Mesh clothing was a little more problematic with the initial 2.4.0 / 2.4.1 release, for both rigged and non-rigged mesh clothing. While some would render correctly, other items would not, exhibiting issues with arms and / or legs, and even rendering as being worn back-to-front.
The issue appeared to be with how the SL software treats both rigged and unrigged mesh. I’m not a technical expert (as most know), but was able to carry out a series of tests which gave Alina Lyvette, Lumiya’s developer, a start on carrying out her own investigations which resulted in her fixing the issue – hence version 2.4.2 appearing.
With the latest release, it appears the majority of problems have been solved, although there have been some reports of mesh attachments such as hair still failing to render correctly.
Certainly from my perspective, and while I admittedly have what is a far less than extensive mesh clothing wardrobe, the issues which all gave me problems while using the 2.4.0 and the 2.4.1 releases of Lumiya all now appear to be resolved, and my mesh clothing now all renders correctly for me, and I’ve had no problems with the likes of mesh footwear so far.
One side effect of this is that the mesh support has slightly impacted the positioning of avatar attachments with Lumiya. Alina has had suspicions that there might be a problem with attachments and the avatar skeleton which may affect Lumiya, and now the issue has been confirmed, it’s on her list of things to update.
A new setting is also provided within Lumiya for users to define the quality of mesh rendering on their device – useful if using an older, less capable GPU. The options can be found under 3D View on the Settings menu (device menu key > Settings), and comprise five settings: High Quality, Medium Quality, Low Quality, Lowest Quality and Disabled.
Lumiya, from version 2.4.0 onward, provides RLV / RLVa support. As with a traditional viewer, RLV must be explicitly enabled by the user via the Settings menu (device menu > Settings > Tap RLV enabled to check and turn on). Also, as with a traditional viewer, a restart is required once RLV has been enabled the first time.
Once enabled, behaviours are as seen with an RLV-enabled viewer: locked items are non-detachable; restricted options are removed from menu options; movement restrictions enforced etc.
RLV Support Notes
As Lumiya does not currently support particle rendering in the 3D view, chain links, etc., will not be rendered
Similarly, because Lumiya does not currently support windlight, any windlight controls / restrictions related to RLV will no be applied to the in-world view
There is currently no #RLV shared folder support
Disabling RLV in Lumiya will turn the functionality off without a need to re-log (all restrictions on detachment, menu options, etc., will be lifted).
Lumiya now provides support for Server-side baking (SSB, also referred to as avatar baking), and so is ready from when the new service is deployed to the main grid.
While there is a test area for SSB on Aditi (the Beta grid), I have encountered issues with logging-in to that grid using Lumiiya, and so have been unable to test and obtain images for this review.
Additionally. versions 2.4.0 through 2.4.2 add the following to Lumiya:
Avatar direction indicator added to Mini-map (a small arrow is displayed over your avatar, indicating the direction it is facing)
Animation requests are no longer auto-accepted
Fixed display of outfit folders in inventory
Fixed duplicate messages in chat
Fixed inventory appearing empty after teleport
Fixed broken teleports on OpenSim grids.
Another series of updates which see Lumiya move even closer to matching viewer-based capabilities, making it even more a genuine alternative for those on mobile / tablet devices who wish to access Second Life / OpenSim while on the move. Both mesh rendering and RLV support are liable to be popular additions, and the server-side baking should stand it in good stead for upcoming changes to Second Life.
For those using an Android device, there simply isn’t a better means of access your virtual world.
While checking to see if there have been any further updates on resolving the various issues affecting the Marketplace and merchants (the last update having been in November 2012, and the progress sticky has bow been removed), I came across the following.
On February 5th, Commerce Team Linden posted an announcement that user’s e-mail preferences for the Marketplace have finally been updated and expanded. The announcement itself is brief, reading:
Marketplace now supports the ability to set email preferences. You will now be able to turn emails on or off. In addition, new emails have been added and work has been done on stability to prevent delays in email delivery. Please see the Release Notes or the Knowledge Base articles for Merchants or Shoppers for more information.
The new e-mail notification options can be found by logging-in to the Marketplace and going to My Marketplace (menu bar, top right of the page) > My Account > E-mail Settings (options on the left side of the page). The updated settings allow both shoppers and merchants define when they receive e-mail notifications, as follows (note that all options are “on” by default):
Purchase notification email – sent after delivery and payment complete on an order or these fail to happen
Redelivery notification email – sent when Support or the merchant redelivers an item
Review alert email – sent when any changes are made to a review on an item in the merchant’s store
Flag alert – sent when an item is removed or blocked as a result of being flagged
Order confirmation email – sent when an order is completed
Gift notification email – sent when someone received a gift from someone else
Redelivery notification email – sent when the Merchant or Support redelivers a purchased item
Revenue distribution notification email – sent when a shopper get a revenue distribution from a purchase in another Merchant’s store
Revenue distribution addition/removal email – sent when a Merchant adds or removes a revenue distribution to the shopper.
The review and flag e-mail notifications are liable to find particular favour with merchants (indeed, they are already, given some of the comments in the thread), as these have been oft-requested by merchants.