The Machinima Expo 6: showcasing machinima from around the world and from SL

machin-expo

Update November 19th: As per Pixie Rain’s comment, Tutsy NAvArAthnA’s Narcissus, the only Second Life entry to be make it to the Expo’s Jury-selected showreels, went on to win the Jury Grand Prize. Congratulations to Tutsy!

Linden Lab brings word of the 6th annual Machinima Expo which will be taking place on-line on November 17th, 2013.

Showcasing 38 films varying in length from just over a minute to over an hour in length from all over the world and filmed in various formats, the Expo is a showcase event for machinima makers of all genres.

Second Life features in a number of the Expo Screening Reels, with pieces such as Steve G. Hudek’s Simulacra, Hypatia Pickens’ Slow Light (see below), Episode 2 (Jo Yardley) of The Drax Files by Draxtor Despres, Joe Zazulak’s The Mirror Lies and Inevitablity of Fate by Iono Allen, to mention a few.

Second Life also made it into the Expo Jury Reels as well, with Tutsy NAvArAthnA’s Narcissus (see the English version below) in with a chance of winning a Jury Award, further demonstrating the recognition the platform has as a medium for machinima making.

All of the showreels can be seen at the Machinima Expo 6 uStream page, while further information on the event as a whole can be found on the Expo’s website. Events on November 17th commence at 10:00 SLT and run through until 17:00 SLT. They will  include presentations on various aspects of machinima making, the Jury award announcements and more. Everything can be seen on-line via the Expo’s uSteam feed (see the link above) or via the Expo’s Facebook page.

Following the on-line event, there will be a special Machinima Expo party in-world in Second Life, which will be starting at the unusual time of 17:20 SLT.

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LL seek to improve Marketplace security and issue update

secondlifeOn Monday November 11th, Linden Lab issued a Commerce blog post indicating that there were changing the requirements which much be met in order to sell goods via the Second Life Marketplace.

The move, clearly aimed at preventing the ease with which suspect accounts can create a Marketplace presence and start selling goods which may have been ripped from elsewhere was announced thus:

To increase security for Merchants and shoppers alike, all new Second Life Marketplace Merchant accounts will be required to enter payment information on file (PIOF). If you would like to check your account to see if this requirement has been met, please see the Mesh Upload Status page.

Only newly created accounts will be required to meet this requirement at this time, and existing Merchant accounts will not be affected. However, we strongly recommend that all merchants complete the steps necessary to meet this new requirement.

If you have difficulties completing these steps, please file a support ticket or file a JIRA.

Unfortunately, the announcement was immediately followed by confusion and negative feedback, largely as a result of the system not appearing to work as advertised, and being relatively easy to circumvent.

I contacted Peter Gray, the Lab’s Director of Global Communications about the announcement and confusion, and received the following reply:

Hi Inara,

Thanks for your email. We’ll be adding the below to the blog post on this topic momentarily:

Thanks to reports from Merchants, we have discovered a bug in the system that determines whether an account has payment info on file. We are working now to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and expect to release a fix in the next couple of weeks.

In addition, we have had some questions about the 5-day age requirement for accounts trying to become Merchant accounts. This requirement is not new, and there are no current plans to change it. 

best,

Peter

This update has now been appended to the original blog post, and will hopefully help alleviate immdediate concerns, although it may also lead to further questions as to why the update was not more thoroughly tested.

Ziki Questi’s “Lost Second Life”

Luminaros Divide - Ziki Questi, Lost Second Life
Luminaros Divide – Ziki Questi, Lost Second Life

To anyone reading this blog, it’s pretty obvious I like taking pictures of the places I visit in-world.  I’m the first to admit that I have an awful lot still to learn in terms of technique and in post-processing (where required). However, I have to admit that the ego in me does sometimes wonder what it would be like to put on an exhibition.

The reality is, of course, that I am just a happy snapper; therefore exhibitions are best left to those who know what they’re doing and who create some of the most memorable, creative and eye-catching images of their in-world experiences. People like Ziki Questi.

Ziki Questi: Lost Second Life
Ziki Questi: Lost Second Life

Ziki is rightly well-known and admired by many (including me) across Second Life for her incredible photographs which capture scenes and regions in amazing detail, and which are presented in a format and style she has made her own. Her blog is a veritable travelogue for Second Life residents, constantly offering rich and evocative images each and every time she posts, while pointing readers to places to visit and witness for themselves. Her gallery, which recently relocated, is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys her work or who wishes to see some of the most eye-catching SL photography available.

Some of Ziki’s work can also now be seen at Anita Witt’s gallery space on her region of Dryland. The theme for the exhibit was also suggested by Anita, “Lost Second Life“, which Ziki admits to both intrigued her and worried her at the same time, as she reveals in the exhibition notes:

I thought it would be easy, just sifting through images and selecting a few here and there, but it turned out to be a surprising challenge. For starters, there were more than 15,000 photographs to look through … And then there was the title itself: Lost Second Life somehow implied a comprehensive survey of all that had come and gone, and that’s not really what either Anita or I originally envisioned.

Ziki Questi: Lost Second Life
Ziki Questi: Lost Second Life

The result certainly isn’t a comprehensive survey; it’s far more than that. It is a very personal look back through those 15,000 images to present a fascinating look back at regions and builds which will be both familiar and new, but all of which have now passed into history as Second Life continues through its own evolutionary process. By carefully curating the images used for the exhibition, Ziki is allowing visitors not only a window into SL’s past, she is also presenting a means by which memories can be shared as we come across places that we’ve visited and can now see again through her eyes, making this a very intimate exhibition.

This feeling of intimacy is further increased by the mix of older works from Ziki’s collection with more recent pieces. In presenting both, Ziki shares her evolving approach and style to SL photography with us, something which draws us into each of the pieces on display here.

In a similar way, Anita’s gallery design means that the pictures are displayed in relatively small spaces on three floors. This helps create a feeling of a more intimate space which is aided by the warm colours of the default windlight, both again drawing us even closer to the pictures Ziki has chosen to share.

Fallingwater from the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum, 2010 - Ziki Questi, Lost Second Life
Fallingwater from the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum, 2010 – Ziki Questi, Lost Second Life

Lost Second Life opened on November 12th, 2013. I’m not sure how long it will run, but I do recommend that when you get the chance, you go and see it. When you do, make sure you grab the note cards from the info board at the arrival-point; not only do they provide background to the exhibition as a whole, they also provide notes on each of the pieces, together with links to Ziki’s original blog posts where each is featured.

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SL projects update week 46 (1): Server releases, SL viewer updates, general items

Server Deployments week 46

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

Main channel: Tuesday November 12th

No deployment.

Release Candidate Channels, Wednesday November 13th

  • BlueSteel and LeTigre should receive the maintenance package originally scheduled for deployment to all three RC channels in week 45, but which was cancelled as a result of a last-minute issue being found. This package comprises further infrastructure changes for the yet-to-be-announced Experience Keys (experience tools) project
  • Magnum should receive a new server maintenance project this week.  This project fixes some bugs, including BUG-4152 related to vehicles crossing region boundaries, as described in this thread; and which also includes some changes around script behaviour, comprising:
    • The fix to allow objects rezzed by sat-upon objects should have a fresh auto-return and temp-on-rez timer, This will allow them to last the full ~60 seconds (for temporary) or parcel auto return time. This should help is situations where combat vehicles in regions with short auto-return times can have their ordnance immediately returned when a weapon is fired, and any temp vehicles are unable to rez attachments, even when sat upon
    • Fixes to  prevent estate managers / owners being teleported home through a misuse of llTeleportAgentHome(), and to prevent estate managers / owner  being affected by “Trojan” objects manipulating  ESTATE_ACCESS_BANNED_AGENT_ADD
    •  Updates to the grey goo fence do that it is stricter for large object rezzes in a further attempt to limit the ability of griefers to bring down a region through multiple rezzing of large objects
    • More robust handling of inventory management within objects
    • Cleanup of controls-grabbing in LSL scripts (no functional changes).
A simulator UG meeting (stock)
A simulator UG meeting (stock)

SL Viewer

The SL release viewer updated on Tuesday November 12th to version 3.6.10.283403, formerly the Maintenance RC comprising finer access control for estate/parcel owners; CHUI: toggle expanding Conversations by clicking on icon; GPU table update + more.

It is thought the project viewer containing the last of the current viewer-side updates for interest lists should be appearing very soon now. After recent setbacks in getting the viewer publicly visible, the time frame for its arrival had been noted to be unlikely before November 12th. However, speaking at the Simulator User Group meeting on the 12th, Andrew Linden indicated he believed the viewer may well be out in the next few days.

Other Items

Andrew Linden’s Bug Fixing

Andrew Linden
Andrew Linden

Andrew Linden has been taking time to fix a some unusual bugs. The first, which is not generally visible, he describes as, “In some cases our servers will upload an asset multiple times before it successfully creates an inventory item (on take to inventory for example). Which creates garbage assets in the asset system.” This issue could also result in multiple notifications being sent to the avatar uploading the item, if they remained in the same region.

The second issue he’s fixed is that of “ghost objects” appearing in the viewer but which are not present on the region server. This issue appears to have been caused by a race condition which could occur under certain situations such as deleting the objects too fast on a region crossing, so they’d be removed server-side, but not from the viewer. Both of these fixes should be appearing in an RC soon.

Group Management and Culling

Request have been made to have the limit of banned avatar lists raised from 500, particularly for regions that are popular with users. Whether there is a widespread need for this is entirely open to debate, but during the discussion of the problem being faced by a particular estate, suggestions were put forward by which such lists might be made easier to manage, including:

  • Auto-culling from all ban lists of any account name banned from the grid
  • Such auto-culling to take place only as a ban list approaches its upper limit
  • Add a feature by which  would  allow the removal from a list any avatars that have not logged-in to SL for a given period of weeks / months / years. If implemented, this could either take the form of a selectable set of options (e.g. something like 6 months, 1 year, 2 years), or possibly be a free-format field the owner can use to specify as the time period.

Whether any of these options eventually get implemented, remains to be seen (and doubtless on whether feature requests are filed).

This conversation was also bound-up with matters of group chat and group chat lag. Various suggestions were put forward for trying to address this as well, ranging from replacing the current group chat mechanism with something like IRC and whether it would actually work / scale any better, through to implementing a server-side change so that when someone leaves a group chat, the channel is actually closed, rather than messages still being sent to the viewer, which just disregards them, as is currently the case. Commenting on the status of group chat in general, Simon Linden stated, “Just FYI, practically speaking we’re not going to be re-writing the chat system any time soon.”