The Freedom Project

On Sunday September 1st, the University of Western Australia, in association with Virtual Ability Inc., and the Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses announced the launch of The Freedom Project: A 2D/3D Art and Film Event.

The Freedom Project FINAL 26 Aug, 2013

This is not a competition per se. Rather this is an opportunity for artists suffering from a disability or chronic illness, or associated with those suffering from either, to demonstrate how virtual life has enabled them to engage in activities and interact with others in ways which may not be possible in the real world.

As such, the organisers are inviting artists and film makers from all over the world who self-identify as having a disability or a chronic illness, to create an artwork or a film/machinima on the theme of ‘Freedom’, showing how virtual worlds have in some way helped them or those around them.

Films and artwork can be submitted any time between the 1st of September 2013 and the 28th of February 2014. Artwork should have no more than 200 prims, and films should be around 3-5 minutes (although no hard limits on film length will be enforced). Artwork will go on display immediately at the UWA Virtual Gallery, and films will be put on the UWA Second Life Blog.

Submissions do not have to be created in isolation or alone; they can be collaborative, so long as the project leader or primary driving force behind the creation is clear. The extent of collaboration and assistance by others should be detailed in the submission note card, and credit given as appropriate.

Submitted pieces will be displayed at the UWA gallery and blog through until the end of the project, when a number will be selected by a panel to appear in a special journal marking the project, which will be made available in print and on the web.

It is hoped that the journal, along with all the artwork, machinima, and stories, will inspire others, and will demonstrate how virtual worlds can be used to help some people who may have had difficulties finding other means of expression to believe in themselves more, or to connect with others. Those artists selected to appear in the journal will each receive a copy, and machinima selections will be represented as stills and a link to their on-line presence. In addition, ten pieces submitted to the project will be selected by the panel to each receive L$10,000.

The Freedom Project organising committee (l-to-r): Gentle Heron, FreeWee Ling, Dianne Elton & Jayjay (Photo: V.Lennoire, courtesy UWA)
The Freedom Project organising committee (l-to-r): Gentle Heron, FreeWee Ling, Dianne Elton & Jayjay (Photo: V.Lennoire, courtesy UWA)

Commenting on the project during the launch on September 1st, Dianne Elton, representing the Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses said:

The Freedom Art Project invites people with illness and disabilities not only to showcase their art, but to share how SL may perhaps provide opportunities not available to them in real life. In my own case, being housebound, SL has extended my social world exponentially.  I now have many friends right around the world. No longer able to attend art galleries, I was delighted to find I could come to UWA and enjoy stunning innovative art without leaving my bed. My illness has taken away many activities I used to do in real life but as I don’t have to leave my bed, I can do things in SL including attending and facilitating bookclubs. meditation and guided relaxation sessions and I can even go dancing with hubby!

This is how SL gives me “freedom”. Freedom to be active within the limitations of my health. Freedom to interact with others from the confines of my house. I am really looking forward to seeing the artworks produced for this event and to learning how sl might give others “FREEDOM”. 

Key Details for Entering the Project

  • Artwork and film entries should reflect the theme ‘Freedom’, and should attempt to show how the virtual world has helped or how it could help
  • This event is open to all who identify as having a disability or a chronic illness (of any nature)
  • A maximum of 2 entries per artist for the art event with a 200 prim limit per artwork
  • A maximum of 3 entries per artist for film/machinima (preferred length between 3-5 minutes)
  • Entries will be received beginning 1 September 2013 until 28 February 2014. (Note that the earlier work is submitted, the longer it will be on view.)
  • Artists are additional invited to add, in 100-300 words, how the virtual world has assisted them and/or those around them, has helped create community, or has helped them to transcend difficulties and challenges real life has posed. This is an optional aspect of the project, but the organisers hope all artists opting to participate will provide such a description.

Entries should be placed Place the artwork in the receiver (drop box) for the Freedom Project at the UWA Art Challenge platform, along with a completed Artist’s Notecard form.  (No perms required, but copy is appreciated if possible.) If you have problems with the receiver, you may give artwork directly to FreeWee Ling or Jayjay Zifanwe along with the note card.

For the complete set of rules and technical requirements for the project, please refer to the UWA blog post announcing the project.

About Virtual Ability and the Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses

Virtual Ability

Many disabilities in the real world can be a barrier to entry into the digital as well. People may have difficulties in dealing with the keyboard due to illness or disability; others many be reliant upon voice recognition software, and so on. Virtual Ability, Inc. helps people with these kind of challenges get into and become successful in virtual worlds like Second Life.

From an individual skills assessment undertaken during a unique intake process, Virtual Ability inc., are able to refer clients for help with assistive hardware and software as appropriate, and provide customised training and orientation. Once clients are in-world, Virtual Ability Inc., helps them integrate into the virtual society, and provides an ongoing community of support.  The community offers members information, encouragement, training, companionship, referrals to other online resources and groups, ways to contribute back to the community, and ways to have fun.

The organisation runs a number of in-world centres, which can be read about on their website.

The Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses

The Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses provides resources, support and guided relaxation sessions, for people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Gulf War Syndrome, and other invisible illnesses.  They host general and research discussions once a week on Mondays at 18:00 SLT, and guided relaxation sessions every day, twice a day, at 08:00 and 20:00 SLT, in the Centre to help people manage their illness.  This Centre is open to all, and all are welcome, including anyone with an illness, their families and carers to meet here and help each other. The Centre is located in Curtin University in Second Life.

Related Links

With thanks to Jay Jay Zifanwe.

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I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth …

I had some genuinely “free” time to myself today; no RL worries, nothing to rush to or get done in-world (well, nothing that couldn’t wait…), so I gave myself an hour of pure indulgence. It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to take to the air in SL, but this is September, and while there are still a few days still to go before the 15th, I decided that heading over to Santa Catalina’s Hollywood Airport and putting my Spitfire IX through its paces sounded like a good idea.

I’ve reviewed the aircraft – a quite generous gift from the creator, Eric Gregan – in the past, so am not going to do so again here. Suffice it to say, I think it is once of the best aircraft I’ve flown in SL, and I’m totally in love with it.

Post start-up checks, getting ready to taxi, Hollywood Airport
Post start-up checks, getting ready to taxi, Hollywood Airport

Having run through pre-start-up checks, I hit the ignition and waited as the big Merlin coughed, paused, coughed, and then with a snort of flame from the exhausts, roared into life. Confirming all my switches were set, I ordered the chocks away and opened the throttle a touch more and eased the plane around for taxiing.

Heading over Crows Nest
Heading over Crows Nest

I was admittedly a little leery about taking off; coming out from the other side of the airport was a humongous great US air force bomber (which, given the little avatar running frantically along side of it as it turned out onto the runway, may have forgotten / lost someone…). As I didn’t fancy impersonating a leaf in autumn and back flipping in the jet wash from the beast, I gave it plenty of room before turning out myself and pushing the throttle all the way to the stop and giving the engine a little bit of boost.

Flying out of Hollywood airport can at time be a little ugly. The end of the runway is the region boundary, which can make things a tad interesting when the grid is in a mood. Not this time, however. Letting the tail come up, I eased back and to the right on the stick and started a climbing turn to the west, wheels coming up tidily.

Somebody call for a low-level pass?
Somebody call for a low-level pass?

Continuing west, I passed over Crows Nest and the Fastnet light house, one of the great landmarks of Blake Sea, then dipped the nose for a fast pass over Half-Hitch. This took me over Barbarossa as well, And I spent some time flying around the two before heading back east towards Santa Catalina, before finally turning south and then west to put down at Honah Lee Surf.

Happy to oblige!
Happy to oblige!

The last couple of times I took to the air things were not that pleasant when it came to region crossings. This time, while I encountered three rough moments (one of which I actually recovered from by editing the plane and dragging it back to the middle of a region after getting snagged on the Blake Sea Arabian / Blake Coast regions), things were very smooth, and even rapid and repeated region crossings while flying in a tight circle caused few problems. About the only major issue I did have was in trying to fly the plane and position the camera for a decent snapshot …

All-in-all it was a good trip and fun to be back in the air – although I need to brush up on my landings. A couple were decidedly rough; there’s an art to alanding atail-dragger I’ve not quite mastered – but plenty of time to get better! I can say that I certainly didn’t miss finding myself sitting at 0,0,0 sans ‘plane and thinking”?!?” this time around :). I think I even pleased someone with a couple of low fly overs!

Climbing sunward ...
Climbing sunward …

September 15th is approaching, so I’ll be airborne again to mark the day; hope I can do something a little special.

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Kokua and Singularity updates

Both Kokua and Singularity issued what amount to maintenance releases in the latter half of week 35, with Kokua releasing version 3.6.4.29422 on August 28th,  and Singularity releasing version 1.8.2.4929 on August 29th.

Kokua 3.6.4.29442

The release keeps Kokua on a par with LL’s code base, being built on the 3.6.4 code. The release notes identify a potential issue for Linux users with the last release, with Nicky reporting that:

A user on an older version of Linux reported an auto update issue that resulted in no working viewer. Kokua recently updated build systems from Debian Squeeze to Wheezy. While great for users that move ahead of the pack in updating their Linux distributions it left one user (and maybe more) without a working Kokua on their system. So, the request to upgrade was acknowledged and new Kokua was installed. But, it would not run then, when the old Kokua was tried it was stuck wanting to update.

Further testing revealed the issue appears to exist within LL’s Linux build as well, and a JIRA – OPEN-186 has been raised as a result.  In the interim, the team have reverted to building using Debian Squeeze.

This release also sees Kokua gain two potentially useful features – one for mentors / helpers, the other for builders.

Kokua can now optionally display the age of an avatar in the name tag. The option is off by default, and can be enabled via Preferences > Kokua > General > Show each avatar’s age in their name tag. When enabled, the option defaults to showing the age for avatars up to 28 days of age. However, this can be increased / decreased as required, with 0 meaning avatar ages will always be displayed.

The idea behind this is to make it easier for mentors and helpers identify new starters in a welcome area, so that greetings and offers of support can more readily be made.

The new avatar age display in name tags (Preferences > Kokua > General) and the new button for duplicating values for size, offsets, etc., on maps
The new avatar age display in name tags (Preferences > Kokua > General) and the new button for duplicating values for size, offsets, etc., on maps

This release also sees Kokua implement a Duplicate Values button in the Texture tab of the Build floater. This allows the settings for the size, offsets, repeats, etc., set for a texture / normal / specular map to be immediately duplicated to the other maps on an object / object face, saving the need to manually set them in turn when applying maps. If there are no additional maps applied to an object / objects face (e.g. a diffuse map, but no normal or specular), the button is disabled.

The remaining updates for the release include:

  • Sit Here or Stand Up options are now only shown in the right-click context menu for objects
  • A Teleport Here option has been added to the context menus to go with the Sit Here option
  • OXP backup crash fix to prevent selecting individual object(s) from a linkset, rather than the selecting the entire linkset, from causing an immediate viewer crash
  • Links no longer include the trailing “?” in the link when asking to load the indicated web page in notifications
  • Fixed a variable scope bug in LLVOVolume::getApproximateFaceNormal().

Please refer to the release notes for further information.

Singularity 1.8.2.4929

The Singularity release comprises a substantial list of tweaks and updates, including a change to the .DAE and .OBJ export permissions when using the viewer on OpenSim, such that if the grid on which the viewer is being used does not support explicit “export” permission, the exporter now follows the rules set by the original Imprudence exporter.

Additionally, the update includes:

  • Additions:
    • Ability to save textures from the inventory menu
    • An option to open inventory folders in a new separate window
    • An option to show landmarks on map
    • An option to hear speakers at the same volume unaffected by position
    • Show Profile button on teleport and inventory offer notifications
    • Ability to show only legacy names for speakers (in Adv. Chat > Chat UI preferences)
  • Fixes for:
    • The German translation where login notifications appeared as ‘[FIRST] [LAST] is online’ instead of showing the actual avatar name
    • The crash when opening Bumps, Pushes, and Hits floater
    • Windows, audio volume control for plugins is now working allowing gradual falloff in volume for prim media objects that are farther away
  • Improvements:
    • Updated Spanish translation
    • Legacy (pre-multiwear) wearables on some grids showed as (body part) shapes. Clothing (not body parts yet) now show with a (new) red question mark icon in the inventory, and can be used again
    • Animation uploads save the values for ease-in/out parameters for future uploads
    • Disable/Enable UI shortcut changed to Ctrl-Shift-F1 on Linux since the default Ctrl-Alt-F1 is used for switching virtual consoles. The same has been done for the other ctrl-alt-F# shortcuts on Linux
    • Imported changes from Linden viewer to introduce consistent ground texture generation and fix crashes in mesh upload.

For details on the contributors for the above, please refer to the release notes.

Related Links

Viewer release summary 2013 week 35

This summary is published every Monday and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Viewer Round-up Page, a list of  all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware) and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy
  • By its nature, this summary will always be in arrears
  • The Viewer Round-up Page is updated as soon as I’m aware of any releases / changes to viewers & clients, and should be referred to for more up-to-date information
  • The Viewer Round-up Page also includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.

Updates for the week ending: September 1st, 2013

Official LL Viewers

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V3-Style

  • CtrlAltStudio issued an Alpha version with initial Oculus Rift support, with version 1.1.0.34244 appearing on August 25th and 1.1.0.34256 on Sept 1st – core updates: “forward” is now the direction the headset is facing; ability to enter “Riftlook” without a headset connected; lighting rendering fix; ability to turn while seated (download & release notes)
  • Kokua updated on August 28th to version 3.6.4.29422 – core updates: parity with LL 3.6.4 code base; confirmation of Linux Squeeze / Wheezy build issue (with LL viewer as well – see: OPEN-186); ability to copy size, offset and rotation between texture maps; assorted tweaks  (release notes)
  • Restrained Love Viewer updated on August 25th to version 2.8.5.5 (all versions) – core update: on-the-fly “z-offset” height adjustment fix; Linux and Mac version also updated to 2.8.5.5 (release notes)

V1-Style

  • Cool VL updated on August 31st to:
  • Singularity updated on August 29th to version 1.8.2.4929  – core updates: translation updates; Export permissions adjusted for OpenSim; Show Profile button added on teleport and inventory offer notifications; animation uploads save the values for ease-in/out parameters for future uploads; Imported changes from Linden viewer to introduce consistent ground texture generation and fix crashes in mesh upload; + more  (release notes)

Other Clients

  • Group Tools Installer updated to version 2.2.21.0, September 1st (no release notes supplied)
  • Lumiya updated to 2.5.3 on August 27th – core updates: advanced rendering; limited windlight (clouds, stars, time of day), anti-aliasing; ability to buy goods in 3D world view; improved small item selection capability; Adreno GPU fixes (2.5.0 release notes – core updates) – Google Play , Android Pit
  • Mobile Grid Client updated to version 1.21.1194 on August 26th – core updates:IM auto answer functionality if app is in background or screen is off (enabled via settings); small bug fixes and improvements (release notes)

Additional TPV Resources

Depreciated / Discontinued Viewers

  • Niran’s Viewer – discontinued as of version 2.2.0.2701 & superceded by Black Dragon
  • SLiteChat removed from listing; no updates since 2011, removed from TPV Directory & no response from developer
  • SL Second Life Beta viewer – depreciated as of version 3.6.2.278491, July 15, 2103
  • SL Development viewer – depreciated as of version 3.5.2.274629 April 24, 2013
  • Zen Viewer – discontinued by developer and no longer available, January 27th, 2013
  • Phoenix viewer – development and support ended on December 31st, 2012

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