E-scape with Whiskey

I’ve blogged previously about Whiskey Monday’s fabulous artistry, which has been (rightly) the focus of many SL-related blogs and which last year made the transition into real life as well.

Starting on Wednesday May 15th, a selection of her work, hand-picked by Whiskey, and entitled “E-scapes” will be on display at he the Kelly Yap Art Gallery in Healy.

Whiskey Monday at the Kelly Yap Art Gallery
Whiskey Monday at the Kelly Yap Art Gallery

This show will run through until the 15th July, and features a number of Whiskey’s landscape shots, captured in-world. All of them are intended to evoke a feeling of solitude, although Whiskey herself has resisted added any text (or subtext) to the images she’s chosen to display, preferring to let them speak directly to the heart of those looking on them.

If you’ve never seen Whiskey’s work first-hand, I urge you to go along and see the exhibition; I’ve little doubt you’ve find yourself drawn-in to her work and very probably leaving with a couple tucked under your arm (you can buy any of the pieces on display).

Healy-2_001

For those who are particularly drawn to her work and wish to enjoy it in real life, you can do so through Fine Art America, where a further range of Whiskey’s work is on offer.  And don’t forget her Flickr stream and blog (see the links below).

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Bobbiekins on Designing Worlds

On April 25th, I blogged about a unique collaboration called BobbiekinWorld which brings together a range of talent connected with Second Life and which includes Tony Dyson (best known for creating Star Wars’ R2D2), machinima maker Chantal Harvey, Slim Warrior and Dawny Daviau, in order to create a series of interactive children’s books which utilise Second Life as a medium for telling and filming elements of the stories.

Currently the subject of an Indiegogo funraiser, BobbiekinWorld will be the subject of a segment of Designing Worlds to be recorded on Tuesday May 14th, 2013, and Second Life users are invited to be a part of the audience.

Both Tony Dyson and Chantal Harvey will be on-hand to talk about the project, and will also be taking questions from the audience about the project.

If you’d like to attend the recording, please make sure you’re at the Designing Worlds studio no later that 13:00 SLT on Tuesday May 14th, when filming will commence.

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Server-side Baking / Appearance: key questions answered by the Lab

On Monday May 13th 2013, Troy and Nyx Linden appeared on a segment of Designing Worlds to discuss Server-side Baking / Appearance (SSB/A), alongside Brooke and Oz Linden, who were there to discuss Materials Processing.

Troy Linden is a Senior Producer at Linden Lab, who has been working on high-level server-side baking, and Nyx Linden is a Senior Software Engineer at the Lab, who has been working with the technical aspects of SSB/A and has been very much the public face of the project. Together, they answered a series of questions on the project put to them on behalf of users (the questions having been requested in advance of the show being recorded) by the Designing Worlds hosts, Saffia Widdershins and Elrik Merlin.

The following is a summary of the questions asked and answers given.

Nyx Linden (l) and Troy Linden (r) on Designing Worlds
Nyx Linden (l) and Troy Linden (r) on Designing Worlds (image courtesy of Wildstar Beaumont / Designing Worlds)

Saffia Widdershins (SW): Let’s start with the basics: what is baking, and how is it being handled now?

Troy Linden (TL): Baking is a process where we take all the information that involves your avatar – how it looks – and we combine it to deliver a finished avatar. Currently, how it’s handled right now [is] your computer, the individual’s computer, handles all of the processing involved in determining your avatar’s appearance, and it sends all the result back to our servers. So it’s a pretty involved process and there’s a bunch of time that it takes to do all that.

SW: So how is that going to be changed in the future … and will it simplify it?

TL: Server-side baking is our new system. It’s where we actually stand up a new service that will handle all of the baking process on our end. And what this actually does is it takes the load away from your computer, the individual user’s computer, and the results are a faster, more consistent experience during the whole baking process in Second Life.

Elrik Merlin (EM): Just to be clear about this … in the new system, what will be handled by the server and what will be handled by the viewer, exactly?

TL: The new viewer will be sending the server and [be] the recipient of all the avatar data, while the server does all the calculations required. So your viewer will download the results [of the baking process] over a lot faster HTTP connection.

EM: So that’s the basics of how it works, so to speak; how would you summarise the benefits to users?

Designing Worlds hosts Saffia Widdershin and Elrik Merlin
Designing Worlds hosts Saffia Widdershin and Elrik Merlin (image courtesy of Wildstar Beaumont / Designing Worlds)

TL: Well, simply put, it’s a much faster, more reliable avatar rendering experience. So hopefully you’ll see less avatars being stuck in their clouded state as well as being stuck untextured. So they’ll actually appear the way the user actually intended much quicker.

SW: So it will be an end to that problem where you half-rez but, (laughs) your make-up is blurred so you look as though you’ve been having a really heavy night!

TL: (Laughing) That’s the plan. We’re actually seeing some great results so far, so we’re very excited.

SW: Are there likely to be any downsides? There will be less impact on peoples’ machines, is that what you’re saying, or could there me more?

Nyx Linden (NL): The one downside to the new system is, because it is such a big change from how we have done things in the past, everyone is going to have to update their viewer. It will be a mandatory update. Users who don’t update will start to see even more avatars fail to load. Fortunately, we have the viewer that people need to download released, and users who use any actively maintained third-party viewer should be able to download an update presently as well. As long as users do update, they won’t see any downsides.

EM: This is obviously nearing completion and we’re nearing implementation. Can you tell us a little about where the project is, what its current status is, and what the time scales are for introduction are going to be?

NL: Absolutely! So, we’re in a multi-stage release; at this point we have our first viewer out the door. So the next stage is that we’re going to be standing-up the service that is going to be doing all the work for rezzing your avatar. Over time we will slowly roll-out the new system across the grid. That’s going to take some time, and we’re going to be following-up through our blogs and forums to let people know how that process is going, but we want to take our time with that process, to make sure that everything is working as well as we think it is.

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