Mediterranean meanderings

Whenever I browse the Destination Guide, my eyes are inevitably caught by the entry for SolAria, so much so that I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d have to pay the island a visit.


Built by Maveryck Breen, SolAria seeks to reproduce an oceanside Italian / Mediterranean village suitable for SL photographers and romantics. Covering slightly less than a full region (there is an area of grassland to one side which apparently belongs to another group), SolAria achieves its aims exceptionally well.

The arrival point is a raised piazza overlooking a sheltered harbour. Here you’ll find a fountain, the local trattoria and footpaths and steps leading both up and down and between and around an assortment of houses and shops.


For the romantics, there are places to dance or to sit together and watch the world go by and waterside walks which, for the inquisitive or those prepared to get their feet wet, might lead you to more than might at first meet the eye. Merfolk in particular might well feel at home in at least part of this build.

Everywhere appears open to explore, and despite the compact size of the build, there is a lot to see once you start exploring  – such as the park on the headland, the busy dockside at one end of the island, complete with ornate bathysphere, and two fortifications facing one another across the island, with a church sitting in between as if keeping two ancient families from sparring with one another.


This is a build which really is best enjoyed when running in deferred mode; great care has been taken with the lighting, and while there is no windlight pre-set I could determine (I received no pop-up asking me if I wished to accept local windlight), a late evening setting can really emphasise the beauty of the village with the street and house lights.

For the SL photographer, the island is a real delight, leading itself to a whole range of windlight settings which in turn can produce stunning images.  There is even a modest gallery in the village where pictures of the village are on display.

If I’m honest, there are perhaps one or two places – notably inside some of the buildings – where the texturing could do with a little more attention in terms of scaling / repeats, but this is a minor niggle on my part. Certainly, I recently spent a happy afternoon wandering and camming around grabbing snaps and twiddling with windlight – as I hope the slideshow below shows!

(view slideshow full-screen)

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RFL of SL 2013 sponsorship opportunties still available

I’d missed this s shuffling through a load things, both SL and RL, so my apologies to the RFL of SL team for the late posting.

2013_RFL_LogoThere are still sponsorship opportunities available for the 2013 Relay For Life of Second Life season, with one Premier sponsorship and a number of Region sponsorships still up for grabs.

Commenting on the opportunities, Gem Sunkiller writes:

Yes, we still have many sponsorship opportunities available for the 2013 Relay For Life of Second Life season.  Our 2013 sponsors already include businesses (both from inside, and outside of Second Life), individuals, and a number of RFL in SL teams.  The American Cancer Society is one of the most visible communities on Second Life, closing in on $2,000,000.00 raised over the last seven years through Relay For Life of Second Life and other related events.  One way to participate in the ACS signature RFL of SL event is as a sponsor.

Details on the sponsorship options can be found on the RFL of SL website sponsorship page. If you are interested in reserving an option, please contact Love Kawaguichi via e-mail (lovekawaguichi -at-

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SL projects update 19 (3): server, pathfinding, materials & more

Server Deployments – Week 19

The week 19 server deployments went ahead as scheduled and as outlined in an earlier part of this report, to wit:

SLS (Main) Channel

On Tuesday May 7th, the Main channel received the maintenance package which has been running on Magnum. This project brings some new minor features to LSL, and fixes some crash modes and well as additional LSL HTTP support, as well as the previously rolled-back new AO capabilities.

In addition, this package included an additional update which was not documented in the release notes until after the deployment had been made: “Fixed a bug: ‘Orientation data for landing point is disregarded during teleport’.

This fix means that when teleporting to a place which has a defined landing point, you will arrive facing the direct determined by that landing point, rather than arbitrarily facing east. To complement this fix, there is an upcoming viewer update which will show the heading of a parcel’s landing point on the map – but no details on when that update is liable to appear.

Pointing out the fix at the Server Beta meeting, Maestro Linden added, “There’s an exception for cases in which if you have a beacon set, where you’ll face the beacon position instead. I think this is a bug.”

This lead to a discussion on the exception, in which the wider consensus appeared to be that having an avatar facing the beacon (when set) on arrival might be the preferable to automatically having the avatar facing the direction imposed by the landing point. However, this would mean people using a beacon would arrive at the landing point facing a direction other than the land owner intended, prompting Voidpointer Linden to comment, “Yeah, seems like we would only want to have you face the beacon when going to a landing point if it’s in the same region, maybe?”

It’s currently unclear as to whether the feedback from the meeting will mean this exception is allowed to continue, or whether there will be further tweaking with the landing point code in the future,

Release Candidate Channels

On Wednesday May 8th, all three Release Candidate channels (BlueSteel, LeTigre and Magnum) received server-side support for experience permissions which was running on BlueSteel in week 18. The update, as usual, will also include the changes which are going to the Main channel on May 7th, which included the new AO capabilities – release notes (BlueSteel).

SL Viewer Updates

Beta Viewer

The beta viewer as we currently know it received what might by its final update prior to the new viewer release processing coming into effect. Version was released on May 9th, and the release notes provide details on changes.

Materials Processing Project Viewer

A new version of the Materials Processing viewer – – was released on May 8th, based on the 3.5.2 viewer code. The release also appears to include a fix for MATBUG-38 (“Material with normal map but no specular map is always specular with no adjustment possible”), and which I’d described in week 18.

MATBUG-38. appears to have been fixed in Material Processing project viewer 3.5.2
MATBUG-38. appears to have been fixed in Material Processing project viewer, May 8th 2013.

The release may also include a fix for MATBUG-16 (Changing one material, or setting causes another material texture to be lost), which I’d previously noted in week 16.

Whether this latter issue is fixed is hard to judge, as it was somewhat intermittent to start with. and there have been reports that it was already less noticeable with the previous release of the viewer. However, at the time of writing, the bugs remain marked as Unresolved / Incomplete in the public JIRA (but could have been updated in LL’s internal JIRA).

I can say that I’ve so far been unable to reproduce either bug using the new release, having carried out a number of individual tests.

Continue reading “SL projects update 19 (3): server, pathfinding, materials & more”

Nin9: the making of a machinima series

Marx Catteneo is a name perhaps known to some. He’s been involved in Second Life since 2007, and has made his mark as a machinima maker with an eye for detail, as with his video of the 2012 Fantasy Faire, and a quirky sense of humour which has created Staying Alive, a somewhat different take on the SL zombie scene to that portrayed in the official promo videos…

As a successful applicant to the 2013 Artist in Residence programme, Marx opens up the doors on the machinima film-making process in May as he starts work on his new web series Nin9, and is offering SL residents the chance to see the sets of the 9-part series, which will be debuting in Spring 2013.

The Streets of Felice, Michigan - a part of a set from Nin9
The Streets of Felice, Michigan – a part of a set from Nin9

Set in the fictional city of Felice, Michigan in late 2000, the series is described as a dark and disturbing psychological thriller playing in an alternative reality and which influenced by the likes of Se7en, Twin Peaks, Hitchcock, Basic Instinct, European Graphic Novels. The introduction to the series frames the story:

Francis Maddox, lieutenant and head of the homicide division at FPD, comes across a very nasty Neko murder.  It has all signs of a serial killer’s first victim. The crime scene brings back traumatic events from Francis’ past. The investigations will lead him into the seductive world of Neko strippers. Will he be able to withstand the charms of Layla? Is she just a colleague of the first victim, is she involved herself, or is she next on the killer’s list?

Felice, Michigan – a part of a set from Nin9

The set is currently open to public viewing from now until the 15th of May, when filming the series commences. Built by Rachelle Raviprakash, it packs-in an incredible amount of detail into the comparatively small space of a single region, which beautifully renders the run-down heart of an aging city. Several of the principal locations are present, including the Police Headquarters for District 13 and the strip club where (I assume) the mysterious Layla works.

Felice, Michigan – a part of a set from Nin9

I’m not sure if the region will remain open to the public during filming, or only open between the times when shooting in going on. The LEA blog post on the project suggests the former might be the case, but without sight of a filming schedule, it’s hard to be sure.

If you do opt to pop along and filming is going on, do note that the region is rated Adult, and that Nin9 is aimed “at an adult audience (it’s not porn but there will be nudity and violence). European graphic novels have a long tradition in this kind of adult genre and many of them are on the edge of art and entertainment (Moebius, Enki Bilal, Jacques Tardi, Schuiten & Peeters).”

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