The Drax Files Radio Hour blog launched

radio-hourI blogged recently on the upcoming Drax Files Radio Hour, which launches on January 10th, 2014. At the time, I remarked that the show has a Facebook page and that I hoped it’ll also gain a website as well.

Well it has. Launched today is The Drax Files Radio Hour blog, complete with an introductory message in voice and text by Draxtor.

A major element for the new show is that of community involvement – getting input and feedback from all of us who engage with Second Life and virtual worlds and who are active users. As such, the new blog is very much a part of the show, and the first post invites people to drop a note to Drax and Jo on what they might discuss in the inaugural broadcast.

They’ve also done a lot to make it possible to contact them at the show:

You can even contact them via an in-world avatar account, The Drax Files Radio Hour (draxfiles), and leave an IM or voice message. Here’s some more from Drax on the show (also in the show’s initial post):

As regulars here will know, Drax and I regularly discuss matters raised as a result of the highly successful The Drax Files video series. What probably isn’t known is that the discussions are very far-ranging and cover a huge amount which never gets into print. As such, I’m confident that The Drax Files Radio Hour will bring the same breadth and depth  – and, most importantly balance to the table and all things to do with Second Life and virtual worlds are discussed, analysed, taken apart and put back together again.

The broadcast time for each episode will be 07:00 SLT every Friday, starting on January 10th, 2014. As mentioned last time, I’ll be following the show closely (if not more  than just following 😉 ), and the show’s blog is now listed in my blogroll (right).

Related Links

Xmas Expo 2013 and Breedables Fair in support of RFL of SL

Xmas Expo 2013
Xmas Expo 2013

The 2013 SL Christmas Expo is underway. While the official Relay For Life Second Life 2013 events season is officially closed, the Expo is in support of RFL SL, and is being held on four regions adjacent to that of the American Cancer Society. Proceeds will be donated directly to the RFL of SL 2014 campaign.

The Expo, which runs through until December 15th, brings together merchants and entertainers from across the grid to help us prepare for the holiday season and get in the mood for Christmas as the New Year, and features a number of special events and activities.

Running alongside of the Expo is the 2013 Magic of Christmas Breedables Fair, which is being held on two regions which are linked to the Expo via the RFL Christmas Festival region, which adjoins the American Cancer Society’s HQ in Second Life.

The 2013 Xmas Expo – click to enlarge

The Expo regions are laid-out so as to be as low-lag as possible, with shops arranged around the outside of each of the four regions to form a continuous street scene with a Victorian feel to it, with cobbled road surfaces and gas lamps providing the light along the footpaths at night. There are 84 content creators with stores along the streets, each of whom has at least one or two RFL vendors selling selected items the proceeds of which go directly to RFL of SL. In addition, scattered through the Expo region are market stalls and also special RFL vendors offering a range of items, the proceeds of which also go directly to RFL of SL.

In the middle of each of the four regions are the special event areas, including a frozen lake for ice skating (free skates available for both Big ‘Uns and Tinies) the event stage, where entertainment will be provided throughout the length of the Expo, and the Expo Theatre, which will, on December 11th and 12th, be hosting a special production of Wit, Margaret Edson’s first play which, in 1999, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (see more below).

Xmas Expo 2013

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SL projects update: week 49 (2): Oculus Rift Support “soon”

Maestro Linden (foreground) leads the Server Beta meeting. The colony of bats to his left is Voidpointer Linden, who is working on the Oculus Rift project
Maestro Linden (foreground) leads the Server Beta meeting. The colony of bats to his left is VoidPointer Linden, who is working on the Oculus Rift project

Server Deployments week 48 – recap

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

  • Main channel, Tuesday December 3rd: received the maintenance package deployed to BlueSteel and LeTigre in week 47

Issues with Main channel deployment

Two issues were discovered post-deployment of the Main (SLS) channel  updates:

  • BUG-4637 “”Can’t rez object at { x, y, z } because the owner of this land does not allow it”when rezzing any object from Library”
  • BUG-4635 “”Selected / sat upon:” incorrectly shows objects that are not actually selected or sat upon. “

Maestro has verified a fix for the latter issue, which he described as occurring with vehicles which get into a “funky” state, ” The vehicle gets ‘bad’ if it loses the passenger right at region crossing,” he said by way of explanation, leaving them appearing to have somebody sitting on them per parcel accounting rules, but who is effectively a “ghost rider”.

It is hoped that these fixes will form a RC release together with some additional small updates prior to the no change window / code freeze kicking-in on Monday December 16th.

Animation fixes

Commenting on the llGetAgentInfo() update deployed to the RC channels at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday December 5th, Maestro Linden said:

The only change which should be visible normally is a fix for avatars with crouch / crouchwalk animation overrides. Previously, the llGetAgentInfo() LSL function would only return AGENT_CROUCHING if the avatar was playing the default crouch or crouchwalk animations, so if your avatar had an AO which replaced those animations, (either with llSetAnimationOverride() or possibly with classic AOs too), scripts couldn’t tell when you’re crouching. But with the fix, the function is looking at whether you’re actually crouching, regardless of which animations are playing.

He went on to note that there is a similar issue with ground sit, wherein if you sit on the ground, the viewer only presents the ‘stand’ button if your avatar is playing the default ground sit animation. Originally, llsetanimationoverride() allowed the ground sit animation to be replaced with something else, but this led to situations where a seated avatar could not stand up.

To fix this latter issue, Kelly Linden implemented a workaround for this problem by making “ground sit” play two animations, the default ground sit and any custom ground sit specified by the user, with the priority of the default ground sit hopefully being low enough not to clash with any custom animation also used. The change was viewed as a compromise to make the AO system compatible with viewer 2x/3x, and is why the SL wiki alludes to in ‘ State “Sit on Ground” will play the default animation in addition to any override set. This is required for correct viewer behaviour. ‘

SL Viewer

The Fitted Mesh project viewer was updated to version on December 5th.  The update addresses:

  • LL internal JIRA MAINT-3311 (Skinning to some collision volumes is broken)
  • STORM-1985 (Mesh garments don’t adapt to changes in avatar shape)

In addition, it includes the updated avatar_lad.xml and avatar_skeleton.xml  file developed by Jeremiah Linden in accordance with his notes on FITMESH-2 (notes dated December 2nd, 2013).

Oculus Rift Support

Oculus Rift: release of a "feature complete" viewer with Rift support "soon"
Oculus Rift: release of a “feature complete” viewer with Rift support “soon”

Also attending the Server Beta meeting, Voidpointer Linden reported that support for Oculus Rift is feature-complete and should be released “soon”.

There will be a formal announcement when a viewer with Rift support is released (no date as to when this will be as yet), however, a few clues were given out during the meeting:

  • The same viewer can be used in both a “normal mode” and a “Rift mode”
  • There will be no apparent changes to the viewer / UI when in “normal mode”
  • Frame rates when in “Rift look” will be very much down to the user’s own hardware  (unsurprisingly). Voidpointer apparently attended the meeting using a Rift headest and reported that he was getting frame rates ” pretty comparable to normal,” but also noted he has a good machine on which to run SL.

Details on the presentation of the UI, etc., were not provided, as these are apparently still under wraps. In the past, it had been indicated that the UI had been set to be floating “overhead”, just outside of your normal point-of-view, so you had to look up to see them. Whether this is still the case, remains to be seen.

There have been reports of people using the Rift (in general, not just with SL) suffering from nausea and motion sickness. Commenting on this, VoidPointer said, “I’ve been using it for a while now and I don’t really have problems with nausea at this point. [But] the Rift is very sensitive to frame rate, vsync, and other things.   Before the rendering was fully hooked up or optimized,it wasn’t as fun, I’ll say that.” He also revealed the Rift headset can be somewhat adjusted so it can be worn over glasses, if necessary.

As the Rift is not currently commercially available, those with the headset and SDK will be able to make use of the new viewer once released, and will require a DVI cable connected to the headset and their system for the video output and a USB connection for the head tracking capability (so the screen view follows the wearer’s head move to present them with the expected view). Commercial versions of the system will use HDMI for the video.

Rod Humble tries out Oculus Rift in a photo released on July 18th
Rod Humble tries out Oculus Rift in a photo released on July 18th

There was a lot of additional talk about possible future options for presenting in-world views with the Oculus Rift, however, as Voidpointer advised, “Heh, let’s get Rift support first, then talk about more :).”

Whether support for the Rift will be announced before or after the end-of-year break remains to be seen.