Diving into the Under The Sea Expo

I’m getting to this a little late, given everything that is going on right now, so my apologies to the organisers.

From June 20th through 26th we have the Under The Sea Expo in Second Life.

Featuring some 26 vendors covering breedables, skins, clothes, plants, and so on, the expo is sponsored by Oceania Breedable and is taking place beneath the wave of the region of Hanalei in a very imaginative and appropriate build.

Under The Sea Expo set-piece
Under The Sea Expo set-piece

In all, the participating vendors comprise: Aquatics , Amaretto Ranch Breedables, Bands of Cypher, Beautiful Freak, Boudoir, Botanical, Cerridwen’s Cauldron, The Cetelogical Museum, Curio Obscura, Evie’s Closet, FantaSea, Fantasy Flora, Fior di Perle Skins and Clothes, House of Rain, KittyCatS, LunaSea, meadowWorks, Mer-chandise Cove, The Muses, :{MV}:, NDiver, Oceania Breedables, Tarnished, Two Moon Paradise, Unrepentant and Zohee’s Mermaid Designs.

As a single-region show, Under the Sea offers a more relaxed visit than the likes of SL10BCC, and all of the vendors are within easy reach of the arrivals area, which has a good amount of signage and information about the event.

Under The Sea Expo
Under The Sea Expo

In addition to the participating vendors, the event includes an interesting little hunt, The Lost Pearls of Hanalei, the trailer for which reads:

Alina’s little sister Mishell thinks she’s been spending too much time in the Mermaid Palace and not enough time swimming in the sea where they live. To lure her out of the palace, she’s taken Alina’s favorite pearl necklace and hidden the pearls in some of her favorite underwater spots! Alina is busy preparing for a dance and she needs that necklace. Will you help her get it back?

Under The Sea Expo
Under The Sea Expo

Starting at the arrival point, where you must click on the hunt start shell, your task is to follow the hints around the expo, seeking Alina’s lost pearls, presenting you with the opportunity to gain prizes from each of the participating creators.

For those into breedables or who are curious about them, the Expo offers a unique and fun way to find out more – and to cast an eye of the wares of some of SL’s best landscape and other vendors. The undersea environment is very well presented and the various whales, dolphin,s sharks and fish swimming around all add to the general ambience of the region.

To find out more, visit the official website.

Having a whale of a time at the Under The Sea Expo!
Having a whale of a time at the Under The Sea Expo!

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SL projects update 25 (3): Nyx Linden announces SSB/A “imminent”

A note card containing a message from Nyx Linden is doing the rounds in-world concerning Server-side Baking / Appearance. The note card reads in full:

Greetings all,

Nyx Linden (stock)
Nyx Linden (stock)

Wanted to give everyone a quick update on the status of Server Side Appearance. First of all, thanks to all who helped participate in last week’s pile-on test, and a special thanks to those viewers who are already integrating the RegionHandshakeReply flag posted recently. We’ll likely be doing one more pile-on next week, targeting a smaller set of users (to avoid inventory limits that have caused attachments not to load, etc) next week. Let me know if you’d like to participate.

We currently are not aware of any major release-blocking bugs and are starting to look at scheduling the roll-out process. We have a number of QA passes and tests to run through before we can get the final greenlight to do so, so we are currently targeting July 9th as the earliest date at which we will enable SSA for a significant portion of the grid (a server RC channel). Please note that if we find additional bugs in the meantime, or run into other scheduling difficulties this date could be pushed back. We will not be going to RC before this date however.

Please consider this an official warning that this is imminent – We’ve been saying for a while that we’re getting ready for release. We hope with a solid date in mind, all viewers can start messaging to their users that they will need to update or they will start to see issues. There are a few methods by which we will be messaging to the SL community as a whole about this, but we highly encourage you to use your judgement in the best way to reach out to your users and transition them to SSA-compatible viewers.

As always, if you have any questions, or see any issues that could be worrisome if they are not fixed before release, please do not hesitate to reach out to me and/or file a JIRA. Thanks for all your work in preparing for this release!

Nyx Linden

[link and all emphasis mine]

If you want to avoid seeing increasing numbers of grey avatars and / or avoid people telling you, "you're a cloud" when you appear perfectly fine to yourself, update to a version of a viewer supporting SSB/A
If you want to avoid seeing increasing numbers of grey avatars and / or avoid people telling you, “you’re a cloud” when you appear perfectly fine to yourself, update to a version of a viewer supporting SSB/A

As previously noted in this blog, the plan from the Lab has been to deploy SSB/A gradually. Speaking on this at the TPV Developer meeting on Friday June 14th, Nyx indicated the deployment would be a small group of regions prior to moving to a Release Candidate channel (either in whole or in part) and then progress from there.

However, with the preliminary date for this work to commence, and given that almost all maintained SL viewers are now SSB/A-ready (Dolphin and Exodus are the only exceptions at the time of writing), there really is no excuse for people not to update their viewer. The choices are arleady available:

  • Those who prefer the v1-style of UI have the choice of Cool VL Viewer and Singularity
  • Those who prefer the V3-style have the choise of the SL viewer, Catznip, Firestorm, Kokua, Niran’s, and RLV.

In addition, the Lumiya, Meltabolt and Radegast clients are also SSB/A ready.

With thanks to mona Eberhardt

SL10BCC: My picks of the day – Friday June 21st

Apologies to anyone receiving an earlier notification of this piece being published. A mis-click on my part.

SL10BCC is well underway, with lots to see and do. Given the size of the event, trying to review everything on offer simply isn’t feasible, and some hardware issues at my end mean that I’m not in a position to do the kind of “region round-ups” I did last year.

So instead, I’m offering some personal picks from what’s on display by way of suggestions as possible stop-off points in your explorations.

Main Installations – the Cake Stage

Straddling the four regions of SL10B Astound, Enchant, Fascinate and Pizzazz, the SL10BCC cake stage is, as is the tradition, huge. A very organic design by Donpatchy Dagostino, it offers wealth od detail which has already kept photographers across SL very busy – as can be witnessed via the SL10BCC Flickr group.

The SL10BCC Cake Stage
The SL10BCC Cake Stage

If I’m completely honest, I much prefer this year’s design over that of SL9B; it is attractive and draws one in to it in a very natural way. As such, it forms an eye-catching centrepiece to the celebration regions which forms the perfect backdrop for photos of other exhibits or for shots across the sims themselves.

Inside the build is a wealth of detail, including the dance floor itself and, suspended above it, a very delicious-looking birthday cake!

The Cake Stage
The Cake Stage

Even if you’re not into shaking various parts of your anatomy in time to music, the cake stage is still very much worth a visit and a look around. Use the official SLurls:

Kirstinlee Cinquetti – Bobbekins Back and Forward Game

I’ve covered Bobbekins a couple of time in this blog, and it is great to see them participating in SL10BCC.

For those not in the know, Bobbekins World is a series of children’s e-books which use advanced animation and combine video, music and still images of cute little characters called Bobbekins, which are created using a range of media – including Second Life.

The bobbekins Back and Forward Game
The Bobbekins Back and Forward Game

The Bobbekins Game is a fun piece which helps promote the project (which is something worthy of this kind of promotion) in an interactive and entertaining way.

Definitely not one to be missed when exploring SL10BCC in a small group. Just grab a space hopper, click “roll dice” and off you go! Don’t forget to click the info givers as well to discover more about Bobbekins World.

Gravie Garzo – Avatar Evolution

Garvie Garzo - Avatar Evolution
Garvie Garzo – Avatar Evolution

While we’re all out celebrating Second Life, parting, looking back over the past and looking forward to the future, it’s easy to overlook the very thing which, next to the viewer itself, really allows us to enjoy SL in all its forms and which gives us the real power of personal self-expression in-world: our avatar.

Gravie Garzo fixes that with a clean, easy-on-the-eye exhibit which takes us right from the beginning of things (a pre-animate blob!) to the Primitar, and then steps us through the various stages of SL avatar evolution to the modern full-body mesh avatars of today, now complete with added materials chewiness!

It’s a light-hearted but clever piece which serves to remind us, all grumblings aside as to the underlying faults with the basic design, just how our avatar has actually evolved, and how it has tended to keep pace with other aspects of SL’s evolution.

Gravie Garzo - Avatar Evolution
Gravie Garzo – Avatar Evolution

Th exhibit also offers you the chance to take part in the avatar parade, and complete three little polls about SL and the avatar, and collect a boxes of goodies which includes your own Primitar action figure (yes, I’m aware the real thing can be obtained elsewhere in SL but – it’s an action figure collectible! who could pass-up on that? :D).

Continue reading “SL10BCC: My picks of the day – Friday June 21st”

SL projects update 25 (2): server, materials

Update June 21st: A new Materials Support and Tips thread has been started by Creator Linden in the Building and Texturing Forum (with thanks to Daniel Voyage for the poke).

Server Deployments – Week 25

As always, please refer to the week’s forum deployment thread for news, updates and feedback.

Second Life Server (Main) Channel

On Tuesday June 18th, the SLS main channel received the interest list improvement project which have been previously deployed to Magnum (week 22) and BlueSteel and LeTigre (week 24).

Release Candidate (RC) Channels

On Wednesday 19th June, all three RC channels (Magnum, BlueSteel and LeTigre) received the same server maintenance package, designed to fix a number of crash modes and address an issue with neighbouring region visibility. In addition this package:

  • Contains the new LSL pathfinding property CHARACTER_STAY_WITHIN_PARCEL, and the new LSL object return functions designed to assist land owners with the return of objects under controlled conditions
  • Provides fixes for A fix for an issue in which LSL HTTP-in scripts would sometimes see the incorrect URL (BUG-2833) and for Bug 2850 (Cannot rez objects in Bluesteel and LeTigre parcels which disallow object entry).

The neighbour region visibility issue fixed by the deployment is for SVC-8019, which is related to issues with regions failing to communicate with their neighbours for up to an hour are a restart, causing communications issues (e.g. LSL chat) across region borders, rather than being related to the issue of diagonally adjacent regions not being visible to one another (SVC-8130), which is still an issue on the main grid.

The fix deployed to the Release Candidates does not address issues of diagonally-adjacent regions failing to render to one and/or the other
The fix deployed to the Release Candidates does not address issues of diagonally adjacent regions failing to render to one and/or the other

Commenting on the latter issue while testing it with an alt during the Server Beta meeting on Thursday May 20th, Maestro Linden said, “It looks like some kind of false communications timeout in the remote region, where it disconnects your viewer.” Currently, there is no proposed fix for the issue, although the Lab keep poking at it.

Materials Processing

matbug-715-a
Objects using transparencies as rendered with ALM off in the materials viewer (click to enlarge)
matbug-175-b
The same items rendered with ALM active in the materials viewer (click to enlarge)

The Materials Processing project reached a release status on Wednesday June 19th, with the release of Second Life viewer 3.6.0.277516.

However, problems continue to be reported with transparencies rendering as black when using the viewer, (see MATBUG-175, MATBUG-193 and a similar bug, MATBUG-186).

Two possible workarounds for these problems have been suggested, which may work, depending on the precise nature of the issue, if you’re experiencing it:

  • Going into Preferences > Graphics and unchecking Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) before click OK to apply, then going back into Preferences > Graphics and enabling ALM once more
  • If you have water reflections set to Minimum in Preferences > Graphics, try setting them to a higher value and then unchecking / rechecking ALM.

Some of these issues were known well in advance of the viewer reaching a release status, which promoted comments of surprise during the Open-source Developer meeting on Wednesday June 20th that the viewer had been released. Commenting on this, Oz Linden responded:

I’m not at all surprised that people found combinations of visual attributes we hadn’t tested that were busted, really. There are a staggering number of combinations – after you factor in all the possible settings changes on top of them, the number is absolutely not even close to something we could test. The “black issue” makes it sound simple…. we probably had a dozen bugs during development that had that same symptom for different reasons. I’m sure we’ll get it sorted out.

Continue reading “SL projects update 25 (2): server, materials”