Firestorm re-opens their preview group

firestorm-logoThe Firestorm team have announced the re-opening of their Second Life release preview group, for those who are interested in assisting the team with identifying potential issues / bugs with new releases of the Firestorm viewer.

The announcement, entitled “Feeling Brave?” from Jessica Lyon, reads in part:

“The perfect understanding of an event after it has happened, often when you realize too late what you could have done to avoid it.” We had one of those moments shortly after our last Firestorm release when we discovered that quite a few users were experiencing a bug that made their screens pink. This bug had slipped past our Quality Assurance team and went out in the official release. The hindsight is that we could have offered a pre-release to a larger number of users than what we have in our beta group. Chances are they would have discovered the bug, we would have fixed it and it would not have been released with that bug.

Jessica Lyon: call to the brave - and those willing to follow the rules!
Jessica Lyon: call to the brave – and those willing to follow the rules!

With this in mind, the Preview group has been re-opened in order to try to ensure potentially obvious bugs don’t slip through the net in future and, as with all Firestorm groups, is on open membership. However, as Jessica notes, there are some rules those joining are asked to abide by:

  1. We need your feedback. Please do not just grab the pre-release and run away. That would defeat the purpose of what we are doing, and we will not do it again. Remain in the group and report issues you’ve found. It’s especially important that you report them to our JIRA. Not familiar with or comfortable using the JIRA? We have a wiki page and a Reporting Bugs class to get you acquainted with it.
  2. Do not give the viewer download link out to anyone outside the group. That kind of thing goes viral very quickly, and if we discover during the pre-release test phase that there are some major bugs or worse — exploits — we will have already lost control of the build. If your friends want to use the viewer, the preview group is open to them, as well. The rules apply to them, too.
  3. Re-read rules #1 and #2.

So, if you have an interest in test-driving viewers, and are willing to abide by the stated rules, the Firestorm Preview group might be a group to consider.

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It’s a feast of stories at Storyfest!

storyfest-3Storyfest 2013 arrives a Bran on Sunday, March 24th, and with it comes a host of storytellers with tales to delight and enthrall.

This year marks the third anniversary for this one-day event, presented by Branwen Arts and Stories Unlimited.

“Stories help us feel connect and unique all at the same time.  They can provide both the questions you want, and the answers you seek,” Says Caledonia Skytower, one of the organisers of the event, “At their very core, they delight and inspire.  There’s a mushroom or a rustic bench waiting for you!”

The even will kick-off at the Story Circle in Bran at 09:00 SLT, and all donations made during the course of the day’s events will benefit War Child North America.

Event Schedule

Please refer to the Storyfests SL blog for any last-minute revisions. All times SLT.

09:00 – Lycanthia Wolfhunter

Lycanthia-WolfhunterLycanthia will be presenting her own original works, some of which may comprise Adult content.

“Once you have heard one of Lycanthia Wolfhunter’s original stories, you never quite forget it.  They are gruesome, sensual, and posses a righteous sense of justice that is delightfully unique. Today she will be presenting mixture of Gothic, humorous, and slightly off the wall erotica.”

10:00 – Dubhna Rhiadra & Caledonia Skytower

Dubhna-CaleDubhna and Cale present Granny Weatherwax ~ Equal Rites.

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is soaked in magic – but even with magic there are rules. The most fundamental rule is that women can’t be wizards. They can be witches, but that’s different. When a dying wizard seeks out what he thinks is the birth of an eighth son of an eighth son to pass on his wizard’s staff, this rule is broken, and his staff passes to a girl, Eskarina. Granny Weatherwax has the job of helping her find her way in the world of magic.

11:00 – Em Jannings

Em-JanningsEm reads from James Joyce’s Araby &  Ernest Hemingway’s Soldier’s Home.

“Joyce’s Araby, written in 1914, immerses the reader  in the drab life that people live on North Richmond Street, which seems to be illuminated only by the verve and imagination of the children.  Even though the conditions of this neighborhood leave much to be desired, the children’s play is infused with their almost magical way of perceiving the world 

“In Soldier’s Home, Hemingway explores the experience of one veteran of WWI, returning to his Kansas home and trying to express himself to his friends and neighbors who are not of a mind to listen – even to the truth.”

11:30 Crap Mariner

CrapCrap brings us more of his fabulous 100-word stories.

“Long ago, he swore an oath to write a 100 word story every day until the day he died. He’s not dead yet.Always unpredictable and irreverent, no subject is too sacred, no cow too holy for Crap not to pull it out, examine it, and bang it on the table a few times before putting it back where he found it – albeit slightly crumpled.  He’s a man with a mission!”

Midday – Gyro Muggins

gyroMy Object All Sublime by Poul Anderson (as published in 1961 in Galaxy Magazine)

“Gyro once again brings us another gem from his vast collection of superb classic Science Fiction: One quiet night, two businessmen discuss crime and punishment, as it might have already occurred in some very far future.”

This reading should last approximately 30 minutes and will be followed by a 30-minute intermission.


Accept posterA special presentation of ACCEPT, by the independent Ballet Company, staged at the Branwen Arts Center Theater – Music and Story on Stream.

“In ACCEPT, four young women struggle with their sense of self and their place in the world around them.  They are united by one thing – their love of dance.  ACCEPT follows the journey of these young ladies as they are each uniquely challenged, and as they come together. They learn lessons of tolerance, compassion, and empathy as they come of age as dancers, and as women.”

14:00 – Lani/Kaikalani

laniLani presents Island Tales.

“Lani (Kaikilani) is a native Hawaiian Writer and Storyteller and was among the very first live presenter of stories in Second Life in her first avi, Lehua Lamington in 2005. She will present stories/chant/poetry which will include her native legends, and stories written by others and herself. Her rich voice adds depth and vibrancy to tales rich in her culture’s heritage and traditions.  She has traveled widely, bringing Story to many countries. There is always something new to discover with one of Lani’s stories … they find their way to your soul.”

15:00 – Freda Frostbite

FredaFreda read from her work in progress Adventures of a Fat Lady Who Sings

“Freda Frostbite is Stephanie Mesler in The solid world.  A life long person of size, she will read from her work in progress: Adventures of a Fat Lady Who Sings.   Ms. Mesler has no clue what this work will turn out to be, but the stories here have demanded to be told.  What can an author do but heed the inner voice?”

15:30 – BigRed Coyote

BigredBigRed brings us St Lucy’s School for Girls Raised by Wolves

“From a collection of short stories by author Karen Russell,  we are introduced to the ghostly and magical world of the Florida Everglades.  Here wolf-like girls are reformed nuns, a family makes their living wrestling alligators in a theme park, and little girls sail away on crab shells.

“Big Red presents the title story: The story of one class of wolf girls sent  by their parents to a school run by nuns.”

16:00 – Singh Albatros

singhSelected Original Works

“Join Singh for a feast of his best recent short international fiction from Britain, America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Some titles include:  The Upside Down Cartographer, Tea Cup, Loving the Mustard Goddess, The Boy Who Would be Bird, Welcome to Geekosity, Dinner Party Wars, Wordscape with Ganja, Letters to the Emperor, Heard it Through the Pumpkinvine, Singing the Black Dog, followed by The Nutmeg Saga, the poetic narrative of a lost Javanese king who returns to tell his story. Singh reads, sings, plays music and adds effects to lend more ambience to each unique tale.”

About Storyfest SL

StoryFest Events produces four annual festival events on the Second Life grid: StoryFest (March), Bard on the Virtual Beach (August), BOOFest (October), and recently debuted  The Dickens Project (December) in the hopes of making it an annual event.

ALL Presentations are Live in Voice, unless otherwise noted.

Related Links

SL projects update week 12 (3): viewer, CHUI, SSB, materials and releases

SL Viewer Updates

The SL beta and development viewers saw end-of-week updates in week 12, with the beta viewer rolling to release and the development viewer, both on March 22nd.

The beta update is primarily focused on CHUI, and may be the final beta release for CHUI before the it appears in an official release version of the SL viewer (see below).

On March 20th, the Sunshine project viewer (Server-side Baking) updated to release, which may be the last releases of the SSB code as a project viewer prior to the code arriving in the SL beta viewer – see the SSB section of this report (below).

Communications Hub User Interface (CHUI)

As indicated above, the Lab is hoping that CHUI, the Communications Hub User Interface, is now in its final beta viewer run with the release of, and that the code should be appearing in the release version of the SL viewer, possibly later in week 13 (week commencing Monday 25th March).

CHUI: probably making a final appearance in the SL beta viewer prior to appearing in the release viewer
CHUI: probably making a final appearance in the SL beta viewer prior to appearing in the release viewer

However, TPVs are still considering how best to tackle CHUI in terms of integration and deployment in their viewers. Part of the problem here is that for some TPVs, the CHUI user interface changes conflict with changes the TPVs have themselves made, and so consideration needs to be given as to which parts of the UI updates and changes a given TPV wishes to adopt. A wider issue, however, is that CHUI also includes a large about of v3 code refactoring, all of which needs to be considered for implementation into views, particularly those which are v3-based.

Further, as most TPVs have been focused on SSB updates, it may take a while before CHUI itself appears either in whole or in part, in some third-party viewers.

The CHUI updates don’t only impact TPVs – there is a knock-on effect with some of the upcoming changes / code contributions flowing into the SL viewer code as well. For example, the viewer side of the request teleport feature (STORM-1838), which I originally commented on in week 4, has been delayed while it is re-worked in light of CHUI-generated changes.

Server-side Baking

Viewer-side SSB Code

Following-on from the recent pile-on / load tests carried out using the official viewer (Thursday March 14th) and Firestorm (Friday March 15th), the Lab believes that the viewer side of the code is doing “quite well” in testing, with both tests recording very similar results, including hitting the same problems related to inventory fetching / rezzing issues for attachments.

As a result of this, the Lab have been looking at releasing the SSB viewer code to the SL beta viewer (with CHUI integration) on or around April 1st (week 14). However, the discovery of a bug with the latest version of the SSB project viewer code ( version, may delay matters.

SUN-57, raised by Tonya Souther, reports a fix for earlier issues (non-public JIRA SH-3941 and SH-3954), now appears to cause avatar bake fail issues when running the viewer-side SSB code on regions using the current avatar baking mechanism. Whirly Fizzle has been able to reproduce the issue when using pre-saved outfits in her My Outfits folder, and describes it thus:

Replace outfit with a ready saved Outfit A from My Outfits folder (Right click -> Replace current outfit). Relog Usually, but not always, I will see part of my baked textures as grey with this certain outfit A. This session my torso texture appears grey to me. My torso fully rezzed without needing to rebake in about a minute.

[Now] Replace outfit with Outfit B, which is a ready saved outfit from My outfits folder (Right click -> Replace current outfit).Outfit B bakes fast & looks correct to myself.

Wait 30 secs or so [and] replace outfit again with outfit A. My avatar will then show the correct head and lower baked layers from outfit A but my upper/torso layer will be that of outfit B.

The SUN-57 issue, as defined by Whirly Fizzle: left - Outfit A from her My Outfits folder replaces whatever she was previously wearing, and appears correct; centre - after a relog, she repalces Outfir A with Outfit B, and again, everything appears correct; right - she replaces Outfit B with Outfit A, but her skin fails to bake correctly, the head and legs showing the skin associated with Outfit A, the torso still showing the skin from Outfit B (shown naked for clarity) - images courtesy of Whirly Fizzle / JIRA SUN-57
The SUN-57 issue, as defined by Whirly Fizzle: left – Outfit A from her My Outfits folder replaces whatever she was previously wearing, and appears correct; centre – after a relog, she replaces Outfit A with Outfit B, and again, everything appears correct; right – she replaces Outfit B with Outfit A, but her skin fails to bake correctly, the head and legs showing the skin associated with Outfit A, the torso still showing the skin from Outfit B (shown naked for clarity) – images courtesy of Whirly Fizzle / JIRA SUN-57

Whirly further reports that the issue doesn’t resolve itself after several minutes, and rebaking using CTRL-SHIFT-R has no effect (other than reducing her to a cloud in other people’s view), while using Edit Appearance also fails to clear the problem.

Again, this issue only occurs when using viewers incorporating the latest SSB code, and only on regions which are not themselves running the server SSB code. It is of concern because the viewer code is designed to work with both the current baking mechanism and the upcoming SSB mechanism, and will be expected to do so during the SSB deployment to the main grid, when there will be a period when both the “old” and “new” baking services will for a time be running side-by-side as the latter is gradually rolled-out.

Continue reading “SL projects update week 12 (3): viewer, CHUI, SSB, materials and releases”