Fantasy faire: previewing a fabulous week

ff13_posterno2_724x1024Fantasy Faire 2013 gets underway on Saturday, 20th April 2013 in a week-long celebration of all things fantasy and fantasy role-play in Second Life and in direct support of Relay for Life of Second Life.

This year brings together another set of stunning regions created by some of SL’s top designers and packed full of lots of goodies from content creators right across the grid. And the builds themselves really are amazing to see – so even if you’re not into fantasy or fantasy RP yourself, I really do recommend that you find time to go along and have a look at the eight themed regions as photos and words simply do not do them justice.

Fairelands by Saiyge Lotus

You can start your visit at Fairelands, where you’ll find a lush woodland by Saiyge Lotus, complete with teleports within tree trunks to whisk you to any of the eight themed regions. When you want rest and respite from the rushing around the Faire, come back here to sit and rest and renew among the trees or in the tall grass or sitting at the water’s edge…

Fairelands
Fairelands

Here’s an overview of each of the regions, together with a list of stores within them and some pictures I hope will whet appetites. I’ll be looking at some of the regions themselves in more detail over the next few days.

Lotus Valley Dream by Marcus Inkpen and Sharni Azalee

“The spirit world touches the material plane in this garden of bonsai trees and waterfalls surrounding an ancient pagoda.  With such mystical elegance everywhere you look, this is a place to still your mind and connect with the magic within.”

LV-1_001
Lotus Valley Dream

Sponsored by: The Looking Glass; featuring: Hoof It!; ezura Xue; Quest for the Golden Prim; FALCONROSE; Raven’s Heart; Demons & Angels; and with themed stores: SAKIDE; Pin Me Down; Caverna Obscura; Kouse’s Sanctum; Affinity Boutique; Ari’s Neko Retreat; NAMINOKE; 2Xtreme; Star Journey; Flecha Creations; TRU Textures.

Lotus Valley Dreams
Lotus Valley Dreams

Lumenaria by Kayle Matzerath

“A vast city with lots of colourful houses, shops and a huge castle where the main streets meet. A tribute to the sun and all the golden harmony it brings, the city of Lumenaria is a beacon of hope to any who seek refuge from the dark.”

Lum
Lumenaria

Sponsored by: Solarium; featuring: Dwarfins; Garden of Dreams; Kittycat’s Creations; ND/MD Skins & Shapes; Mythos; Pyewicket’s Myths; and with themed stores: Old World; Oran; *~ Dream Things ~*; Panda Express; Luas; Quixote’s Dream;  ~The Library~; ::{Elysium}::; 22769; Bare Rose; Meeroos.

Lumenaria
Lumenaria

Magnificat by Alia Baroque

“The Relay Royales kindly invite you to their summer palace and gardens for a week of diversions, plays, games and leisure to celebrate life and magnify your souls.”

The Magnificat
The Magnificat

Sponsored by:  Fallen Gods Inc; featuring: Evie’s Closet; Lilith’s Den; Living the FantaSea; MacMoragh & Muse; House of Rfyre; Wasabi Pills; and with themed stores: Frippery; Balderdash; Ankle Biter; Yabusaka; Musa; Skinthesis; Sax Shepherd Designs; Decadent Courtesan; Heartistic; Gwen’s Hearth; Forest Feast.

The Magnificat
The Magnificat

Ravenshard by Mayah Parx

“Where beauty has lost its perfection to a collection of twisted shards reflecting the wondrously literalistic minds of Burton, Pratchett, and Dahl. The lands will be distinct. The shops anything but square, and some may even have feet! Be warned. It’s funky, it’s fun, and it’s anything but straight!”

Ravenshard
Ravenshard

Sponsored by: Epic Toy Factory; featuring: F*cking Ninjas; Epic; United InshCon; Bentham Manor; Fae Fantasy Creations; FuubutsuDou!; kisetsu; Simply Fae; and with themed stores: Lupoaica; Almost Wonderland; Grim Bros.; Stuff Xavian Made; Madpea Productions; .:CoLLisions:.; ~SWAN~;  Feyline Fashions; [europa]

Ravenshard
Ravenshard

Titans Hollow by Elicio Ember

“The cliff city of Caras Calar dangles high above ground, suspended from the fickle rock formations. The Structures are made of a filigree of crystal, wood and metal, and hung with gigantic chains from the columnar cliffs giving the appearance from below of huge floating lanterns. The sunken valley over which the city hangs is forested with strange vegetation and irrigated from waterfalls plunging from the sheer cliffs. Legend has it a battle between ancient gods created this strange scenery.”

Titans Hollow
Titans Hollow

Sponsored by: Cerridwen’s Cauldron; featuring: FATEwear; Dragon Magick Wares; L’Uomo; Spyralle; Mermaid Treasure & Boutique; FANTAVATAR & MOONSTRUCK; and with themed stores: Dreamscaped Designs; Sterling Artistry; [][]Trap[][]; [Gauze]; [ni.Ju]; Arx Loricatus; AZE Jewelry; Bliensen + MaiTai; Southpaw; yo bailo.

Titans Hollow
Titans Hollow

Crimson Fields by Laufey Markstein

“The field of Oblivion will be built as an homage to Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series, and will feature a central, gothic and ominous dark tower, in a wide open field of overgrown thorns and scarlet red roses. The store builds will hint at the long-gone remains of similar gothic structures, roof-less, with time-eroded stone walls entwined in overgrown rose thorns.”

Crimson Fields
Crimson Fields

Sponsored by TRIDENT; featuring: lassitude & ennui; [ContraptioN]; Satyrs Moon; FallnAngel Creations; meadowWorks; Unzipped; and with themed stores:  The Muses; Vengeful Threads; Psst…Here Kitty, Kitty; Kishi Creations; ImpWerks; – NaLa –; MysticHope Design; TempT; The Elegant Goth; De La Soul.

Crimson Fields
Crimson Fields

The DragonSpire by Khyle Sion

“A barren land of stone and crystal, hiding its lavish secrets beneath the shell of the earth. The native Goblins, Drow, Dwarves and Nixies reside in the fruitful tunnels, lorded over by a Dragon and his horde. Veined with phosphorescent ores, freshwater streams and exotic fungi, these deep caverns hold remnants of a lost civilization.”

DragonSpire
The DragonSpire

Sponsored by: The Arcanum; featuring:Dark Goddess Designs; Curious Kitties;Favourite Genes; Black Veil Outfitters;The Golden Thorn; ~Refined Wild~; and with themed stores: Niekra’s Dreams; Wilds of Organica; Tayren’s Fantasy Fashions; Sparkle Skye Designs; Elvenbreath; Dysfunctional Designs; *.:!Completely oBVious!:.*; Talevin’s Designs; Whatz; Analog Dog Hair.

Evensong Woods by Searlait Nitschke

“Resting in the treetops of is the elven enclave of Yuale Nura. Bathed in moonlight, the homes glow warm in the deep blues and purples of a winter’s night. A light dusting of snow gives the impression of undisturbed slumber, but perhaps all is not as quiet as first impressions suggest.”

Evensong Woods
Evensong Woods

Sponsored by Roawenwood; featuring: Boudoir; ~*Star Kindler Designs*~; Illusions; Mystique; Mindgardens Creations;ThatChick; and with themed stores: Swings Paradise Furnitures; Unique Obsession; Kotori; +Half-Deer+; {Lemon Tea}; An Lema; EagleHeart Designs; ~Sa-eela~; ~ Mystic Sky ~; .:EMO-tions:.

Evensong Woods
Evensong Woods

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Creatorverse for Android and Kindle now free

LL logoUpdate February 20th 2014: Linden Lab discontinued Creatorverse on February 19th, 2014. As such, links to the Creatorverse website, various app stores, etc;, have been removed as no longer valid.

April 19th saw the Android and Kindle Fire versions of Creatorverse made available for free, following in the footsteps of the iOS version.

Interestingly, the move has been without any formal announcement from Linden Lab, although the Creatorverse website has been updated to note the app is now free on all three platforms. I actually only found out as a result of an update message appearing on my device on April 19th. Of course, there’s not much to say on the matter which hasn’t already been said with the iOS announcement – but it’s hard not to escape the feeling than the lack of any bell-ringing concerning the Android / Kindle move pretty much suggests that Creatorverse is now not so much a “fire and forget” product as a “fired and forgotten” product where the Lab is concerned.

The update brings with it a slight change to the user interface, which now includes a shopping basket for in-app purchases of “add-on” packs.

The updated Creatorverse UI with the new shopping basket for in-app purchases (top right)
The updated Creatorverse UI with the new shopping basket for in-app purchases (top right)

The first three of these are a Rocket Tool, priced at £0.64 ($1.00), a Power Pack, a Forces Pack and a Portal Pack, each priced at £1.29 ($), which appear to have superseded the original “Advanced Creator Pack” referred to in the original LL press release marking the pricing restructure. For those who have previously purchased Creatorverse, the Power Pack, Forces Pack and Portal Pack are all denoted as “Purchased” in the shopping options, as they all form a part of the original Creatorverse release.

A further change in the UI is that the forces button is removed from the left side of the screen – which has led to at least one mistaken report that the forces capabilities, etc., have been “removed” from the application and must be repurchased. This isn’t the case as indicated above. Rather, a new set of buttons for defining forces, etc., can be accessed at the bottom of the screen. For those obtaining The updated version of Creatorverse for the first time, one assumes these new buttons will only become available as the additional packs are purchased.

The new in-app purchase capability
The new in-app purchase capability which recognises the fact I already have a “paid” version of the app, and so marks the appropriate optional packs as “purchased” for me

Back when Creatorverse was made free on iOS, I ruminated if it might not be a canny move on LL’s part – or the last attempt to eek a return out of a floundering app. My preference was for the former; however, users don’t agree, and reading through some of the comments left on Google Play and the Apple App store, reaction has been negative.

For my part, I admit I gave up on Creatorverse a while ago. That is not in itself an indictment of the application – it didn’t have any major appeal for me to start with. Rather, it is a reflection of the fact that I’m more interested in other offerings from LL.

Not that you’d guess that from the contents of this blog :D.

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Fantasy Faire: a Drax Files special

ff13_posterno2_724x1024This weekend marks the start of Fantasy Faire 2013 in aid of Relay for Life Second Life. Ahead of the opening, Draxtor Despres brings us a special segment of The Drax Files, focusing on the event, as seen through the eyes of one of the principal movers and shakers for the event – Zander Greene. It’s a wonderful and moving insight to the event and one which – once again – speaks to the heart of what Second Life can, and does represent.

Zander’s involvement in Fantasy Faire and RFL came as a direct result of the loss of his father, and anyone who has lost a loved one through cancer cannot fail to identify with his opening comments. These remarks, coupled with his views on the incredible potential and capabilities inherent in Second Life which, can for me, lift this segment of The Drax Files to new heights.

Fantasy Faire 2013: opening on April 20th
Fantasy Faire 2013: opening on April 20th

“Relay for Life of Second Life is probably the most cost-effective fundraising effort on the planet,” Zander observes, in discussing the effectiveness of SL as a practical medium. “You can’t imagine the scale of something like Fantasy Faire being done in the physical world. The cost would essentially be the cost of nine big-budget feature films plus a nine-day convention. There is no overhead [in Second life] except the time we donate, and we’re bringing thousands of people together who are separated by so much distance, we’d likely never have even know of one another’s existence … and a virtual world just erases all those barriers and gives us the means to do something that is really good.”

He goes on to make a number of valuable and thought-provoking comments which, given the recent moves to relaunch LL’s “become your avatar” campaign are particularly relevant and worth future discussion. However, as this is a preview video, and I’ve banged-on quite enough about promoting Second Life over the past few years, I’m not going to diving into a long diatribe here.

Instead, I’m going to leave you to enjoy another excellent segment of The Drax Files, together with some very pertinent words from Drax himself, “Thousands will come together this week in order to celebrate life, humanity and free expression while at the same time battling the dark forces of a deadly disease in a way that has tangible, measurable REAL WORLD impact!”

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SL projects updates Week 16 (3): server, viewer, and Aditi summaries

Server Deployments week 16

  • On Tuesday April 16th, the SLS Main channel received Monty Linden’s HTTP updates, which were deployed to BlueSteel and LeTigre in week 15, after having previously been on Magnum for testing – release notes
  • On Wednesday April 17th, the three Release Candidate channels (BlueSteel, LeTigre and Magnum) all received the same package after a planned deployment to BlueSteel and LeTigre had to be abandoned due to scheduling issues. The package deployed included the new server-side LSL Animation Override capabilities, including a fix for BUG-2164 wherein the new capabilities could conflict with built-in animation poses in chairs, etc., as discussed in my week 15 updates. The Magnum release are linked to for reference.

Following the SLS Main channel deployment there were a number of reports of significantly higher ping rates with regions being reported on the deployment thread, which prompted Monty Linden to comment, “There was a significant networking event today that has cleared.  Back to normal at this point…” Other than this, and reports of animation issues, which again may have been the result of server-side work, the deployments appear to have rolled-out smoothly and without significant issue.

SL Viewer Summary

Materials processing: the project viewer gained a further update on April 17th, with the deployment of release 3.5.1.274082, which includes bug fixes and some work on alpha masks. The bug fixes are hard to relate to public MATBUG JIRA items, as they all reference NORSPEC issues, which is LL’s internal materials JIRA reference. A further update to the project viewer is anticipated on either Friday 19th April or Monday, April 22nd.

Materials porject viewer: second update now available, third update to follow soon.
Materials project viewer: second update now available, third update to follow soon.

Server-side Baking / Appearance: speaking at the OpenDev meeting on Wednesday 17th April, Oz Linden indicated that SSB will have at least “one more spin” in the beta viewer before appearing in the SL release viewer. A further update was made to the SL development viewer (3.5.2.274273) on Thursday April 18th, so the beta update is liable to be appearing very shortly.

Further viewer updates: once SSB moves to the release viewer, it is likely that the FMODex update will move into the beta viewer; this should also include a fix for the issue with the Mac version of the viewer wherein it crashes whenever headphones are unplugged (and which, incidentally, is the most widely reported crash issue with the Firestorm viewer).

Aditi Issues

While Aditi has received attention recently in order to overcome logging-in and inventory issues, it still as a way to go before everything is “fixed”. Commenting on this at the Beta Server meeting on April 18th, Monty Linden commented, “[The] beta grid is going to get some attention in the login/inv area. But [I] don’t have a date. The problems are (mostly) understood.”

The password-change-to-update-your-Aditi-inventory might be changing as things are looked at and further updated / corrected. Commenting on this at the Beta Server meeting as well, Simon Linden said, “That trigger was done as a quick-and-easy way to stop having to ask a Linden to import your account.”

In discussing the asset system and inventories, Simon re-iterated that while there is a central asset system, it is really one very large storage system, and that, “The real magic isn’t the asset system, it’s your inventory database. Your inventory is what says which assets are yours.” It is syncing the inventory databases between Aditi and Agni which had become an issue, and also somewhat labour-intensive for LL but for the password change trigger.

Monty, with tongue firmly in cheek, suggested an alternative as to how the inventory / asset system works: “Inventory is recorded onto Post-ItTM notes and optically scanned at rez time.” Which, on reflection, is likely to confirm suspicions many have had!

Other Items in brief

Monty Linden
Monty Linden

HTTP Work

The next round of HTTP work is still being defined within the Lab. When asked what this might comprise, Monty replied, “Mesh download is going to get attention. It currently shotguns our services without really performing well.”

He went on, “Might do an experiment or two with pipelining. – but no promises, still setting priorities.”

It is the last remark which is important: things are still being decided in terms of further work and priorities where HTTP work is concerned. This was further underlined again by Monty when he indicated that “phase 3” of the work (the immediate follow-on to the last block of work) may well be “all viewer-side”, given that the initial work (texture fetching) was primarily viewer-side work and the last batch of work was exclusively server-side. So this appears to be a case of wait and see which route he and the Lab opt to take.

Advanced Creation Tools Permissions

July saw the launch of the first phase of the Advanced Creation Tools, also referred to as experience tools. Following problems with an initial deployment of the tools in June, which resulted them being exploited as a means of griefing, the “first phase” of the release saw the tools implemented with existing permissions system in place, with the intention of updating the permissions system to allow the tools to be more fully used “in the future”. Work on the new permissions system was stalled for a number of months, but has recently been getting more attention and work. The current situation appears to be that the permissions system may well be ready, but those working on the project are still, “sorting out how and when that’s going to be made available.”

Diagonal Region Rendering Issues

While fixes have been deployed to assist with issues with regions sometimes taking a long time to correctly handshake and cache with one another following a restart, this issue of regions which are diagonally opposite one another sometimes failing to render remains. Simon Linden had indicated that a potential fix for this issue was with QA as long ago as week 8; however it appears that the work may have hit problems or actually be stalled. In replying to a comment on the forum deployment thread relating to the issue, Maestro Linden replied with a simple, “Correct, that bug has not been fixed”.

No fix yet; status unclear
No fix yet; status unclear

 

Firestorm video tutorials

firestorm-logoAhead of the upcoming Firestorm release – which will be available Real SoonTM, (sorry, I can’t say when as Jessica would douse me in catnip and set the moggies on me 🙂 ), Jessica has been busy on a new set of video tutorials for users.

Some of the videos are specific to the upcoming release, and one is for those still using Phoenix and who wish to make the switch to Firestorm. This is something which has been covered before in Firestorm tutorials (and something I’ve attempted to cover myself in the past), but as things have moved on somewhat since those days, the new video has been produced.

The Firestorm 4.4.0 video cover features which are both new to the upcoming release, and which are updated in the upcoming release in comparison with earlier releases of the viewer – such as with object de-rendering, as per the video  below.

The current list of updated videos comprises:

All of these are available on the Phoenix Firestorm You Tube channel, and Jessica informs me that more will be added as and when time permits.