In a week where many eyes are going to be focused on Fantasy Faire, it’s worth remembering that April 20th through 29th 2013 also marks Bay City Fashion Week.
Now it its second year, the event is a week-long celebration of style and design in SL hosted at the Bay City Fairgrounds, North Channel. This year, the selected theme is The American Urban Experience 1940-1965, and will feature displays from a selected cadre of designers, together with fashion shows and other activities.
The designers taking part in this year’s event include Schadenfreude, Sonatta Morales, Misha Kerang Designs, FIN, Robin (Sojourner) Wood, Eclectica, Volstead, 1-800-BETTIES, Ingenue, Purplemoon Creations, Rhapsody, Vita Bella, Delicate Sensibilities, and Pure Poison. They were selected on the basis of their designs fitting the theme for this year’s event, which is perhaps best typified by Chicago circa 1950, and marked by a distinct deco influence.
In a week which is going to be dominated by Fantasy Faire, the Bay City Fashion Week offers a possible escape to a more intimate affair, and is certainly a must-see visit for those into vintage fashion designs – so why not pop over and take a look?
Further information on the event can be obtained from Marianne McCann in-world.
About Bay City
Bay City is a mainland community, developed by Linden Lab and home to the Bay City Alliance. The Bay City Alliance was founded in 2008 to promote the Bay City regions of Second Life and provide a venue for Bay City Residents and other interested parties to socialize and network. It is now the largest Bay city group, and home to most Residents of Bay City.
An updated beta viewer was released on April 19th (188.8.131.524264, with release notes here), which contains a range of updates, including several for SSB/A. Speaking at the TPV Developer meeting on Friday, 19th April, Oz Linden indicated that the current plan from the Lab is that this is likely to be the last beta viewer release for the SSB/A code unless a major blocker shows up. Assuming this doesn’t happen, then it is more than likely the SSB/A will move to the SL viewer release channel and arrive as a viewer update towards the middle of week 17 (week commencing Monday, 22nd April), which should hopefully be an automated update for most users on the SL viewer, given the majority appear to keep that option active on their viewers.
Given us, it is liable that we’ll start seeing more TPVs updates appearing in the near future – and people using TPVs are going to need to start installing and using those updates rather than remaining with older versions of their viewer if they are to avoid the “grey people” syndrome as the server-side of SSB/A is deployed.
The precise means by which the server-side will by deployed is still not absolutely clear. As noted a number of times in this blog, Nyx Linden is hoping that things will progress somewhat cautiously, possibly starting with a set of “carefully selected and constrained regions on Agni” as the viewer code reaches the SL release viewer. This still appears to be the case, but it is possible that it will not – as Nyx has previously hinted – roll through the Release Candidate channels.
“I don’t know whether it will go through the normal RC process,” Oz Linden commented at the TPV Developer meeting, “Because it’s not actually a server software change; it’s a configuration change, so they don’t need to deploy it through the RC progression. All they have to say is, ‘Yes, throw the switch!'”
If this approach is taken, it’s currently not clear whether or not it will require a region restart.
In terms of time frames as to when this might happen, things are similarly unclear at this point – a lot depends on how well the testing on the selected Agni regions progresses. However, Oz suggested that the time frame in which the “switch may be thrown” to be anything between 2 and 6-8 weeks from when the viewer-side code appears. His analogy was that of a bell curve, wherein the switch-over could occur at the top of the curve – but could, if circumstances dictate, occur at either end of the curve.
It is still hoped that there will be a concerted effort on the Lab’s part to communicate server-side baking ahead of any server-side flipping of switches. A blog post is apparently in preparation, which should go out when the SSB/A code is issued in the release viewer; whether this will be supported by other means of communicating the changes is unclear.
However, communications on the whole is not easy – even with the TPVs also liable to be spreading the word through blogs, etc., (as Firestorm have already). This is because even with the official blog, TPV blogs and blogs such as this one, the vast majority of SL users do not read blogs.
Matters are also further complicated by the fact that there are over 1700 different viewer strings which are used to connect to SL (even if not on a daily basis). These not only include the official viewer and current versions of TPV-registered viewers, but also many instances of older versions of TPVs, Snowglobe (1.x) based viewers, several versions of the official 1.x viewer (some of which date back over 5 years), viewers which are not registered with the TPV directory, self-compiled versions of various viewers, and so on.
As such, whatever the effort made to communicate the arrival of SSB/A is liable to be missed by a good number of users and people are going to find themselves facing grey avatars as a result of the switch to SSB/A, because many of these additional viewer strings will not have the necessary viewer-side code. This inevitably means that there is going to be some disruption and upset. While this in turn doesn’t mean that attempts to communicate the coming change shouldn’t be made – but it does mean that even with the best efforts of the Lab and TPVs combined in communicating SSB/A, there is going to be an outcry. So anything all those who are aware of the upcoming changes can do to communicate it to others – particularly when there is a visible log post from LL on the matter which can be referenced – can only help lessen the volume of that outcry.
Those of us who spend the majority of our time in Second Life are just starting to get our heads around materials and opportunities it presents for enhancing mesh, prim and sculpt builds and attachments. Now OpenSim may not be that far behind, as Marcus Llewellyn commented on this blog, and has himself explained on Bearly Written, where he tells us:
Dahlia Trimble, one of the core developers of OpenSimulator, has begun work on a module that gives OpenSim support for new materials on prim, sculpt, or mesh builds. The module that enables it is really more of a demonstration right now; it has issues setting materials, and they will only persist until a region is restarted …. Still, it’s a start, and an exciting one!
The work is still at a very preliminary point right now, as Marcus points out, with the server-side code still very much in its infancy. The work is also hampered by the fact that the only viewer currently capable of rendering materials is a project viewer from Linden Lab which isn’t actually intended to be connected to OpenSim (due to Havok licensing restrictions). However, this latter aspect should change once the code reaches a point where it is suitable for merging into third-party viewers.
Both of these point mean that there is still much more work to be done – but Dahlia, with assistance from Marcus himself and Nebadon Izumi has made a good start on things, and the simulator code is already available for those who want to give it a go or help-out with the work.
Marcus has more information on the project over on his blog, and I refer you to him for a good overview of the project. IN the meantime, here’s a video of Dahlia’s work. Kudos, Dahlia!