Fantasy Faire: a call to machinima makers

Following-on from yesterday’s blog posts on Fantasy Faire 2014, we now have news of the filming opportunities being offered to five machinima makers to gain access to the Fairelands ahead of the opening in order to create their films.

Given the popularity of the event and the number of visitors it attracts, filming machinima at Fantasy Faire can be fraught with difficulties. For this reason, five film-makers will be granted early access to the regions so that they can film their pieces without having to worry about frame rate issues, viewer lock-ups or people wandering into shot unexpectedly.

This doesn’t mean that only the five selected film-makers will be allowed to film in the Fairelands – just that they will be the ones receiving the advanced access; anyone else will be free to film once the gates have opened.

Why only five in advance? I’ll quote the official blog post:

People are still building, and each film-maker will need to work with us to ensure that they are filming what is finished (or certainly ready to film!). And as this is the first year we have done this, we want to ensure that we are able to help you to the best of our abilities.

Those interested in applying for a slot should:

  • Contact Saffia Widdershins in-world or via email at
  • Provide a brief outline of their proposed film (e.g. whether it will it be a story with actors, or something like an abstract from a travelogue, or something else)
  • Supply a link to a previous film or machinima they’ve made.

But hurry – applications need to be made by midnight SLT on Saturday April 26th.

In the meantime, I’ve included a couple of videos from last year’s Fantasy Faire, to hopefully serve as inspiration.

Keeping up with Fantasy Faire

You can keep-up with Fantasy Faire preparations and activities a number of ways:

Related Links

Videos by Designing Worlds (top) and Kara Trapdoor (lower).

Virtual Ability: Quality of Life speakers and presentations

Mental Health SymposiumOn Saturday April 26th 2014, Virtual Ability will be holding their 2014 Mental Heath Symposium, which I’ve been helping to promote via this blog.

With 24 hours remaining, before the event kicks-off on the 26th, this will be my final pre-event update.

The symposium, which this year has the theme “Quality of Life” will be held at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability island, with presentations running from 07:00 SLT through until 16:00 SLT on Saturday April 26th. Attendance is free, and anyone wishing to attend will be extended a warm welcome.

Here’s a round-up of the speakers and their presentations, courtesy of Virtual Ability.

07:00: Dr. Hillary Bogner, MD – Insights from Research: Depression Among Older Adults

H.BognerDr. Bogner is both is both a researcher and a practicing physician focusing on family medicine. During her presentation, she will discuss current and emerging research about depression among older adults, offering insight into identification, diagnosis, and management of this significant mental health issue. She will also explore how biopsycho-ecology can illuminate our understanding of depression and healthcare, and seek to answer questions such as how might healthcare processes be redesigned to reflect the specific principles identified in this research, and how might changes in practice have significant impact at the patient, clinician, and systemic levels?

Dr. Bogner currently serves as an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and as an Associate Professor of Epidemiology in Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She is also a Fellow in the American Academy of Family Physicians. Her experiences and expertise as a clinician, researcher, and educator, as well as her success as a peer-reviewed published researcher, offer a rich background for her presentation.

08:30: Teresa Goddard – Employment Equality Through Accommodation and Self-Advocacy

Teresa Goddard will discuss workplace accommodations and methods for advocating for oneself and others using the protections afforded by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Ms. Goddard will explain the stages of the accommodation process and will provide tips for navigating important steps, including making or recognising a request, exploring options, and obtaining medical documentation in support of requests.

A Senior Consultant from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) at West Virginia University, Goddard fields questions from employees and employers regarding their rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and assists in identifying accommodation solutions for employees with disabilities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology and a master’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from West Virginia University’s College of Human Resources and Education. Her professional experience includes work as an Educational Speech-Language Pathologist and as an English as a Foreign Language instructor in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, where in addition to classroom teaching, she led continuing education workshops on collaborative instructional techniques and cross-cultural understanding. Her research interests include assistive technology and cross-cultural perspectives on disability services.

10:00:  Dr. Nicolas Rüsch – Well-being Among Persons at Risk of Psychosis: The Role of Self-Labeling, Shame, and Stigma Stress

RuschDr. Rüsch is a consultant psychiatrist and Professor of Public Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry II, University of Ulm, Germany. He received his clinical training in Freiburg, Germany, and Rome, Italy, and spent two years working with Prof. Patrick W. Corrigan on mental illness stigma research in Chicago.

In his presentation, Dr. Rüsch will share insights from his recent research, which focuses on young people at risk of psychosis who may label themselves and may be labeled by others as mentally ill due to early signs of the disorder or due to interventions.

Until now, empirical data on the link between labeling, stigma and well-being in this group were lacking. Dr. Rüsch’s research assessed self-labeling, stigma variables, well-being and psychiatric symptoms among 172 young people at risk of psychosis in Switzerland. Results suggest that perceived public stigma, shame about having a mental illness and self-labeling are associated with increased stigma-related stress and with reduced well-being, independent of age, gender, psychiatric comorbidity and symptom levels. In addition to clinical early intervention programs, the research suggests a need for strategies to address the shame and stigma associated with at-risk states and early psychosis.

11:30: Dick Dillon – Super-good: Why People Serious About Addiction Recovery can become “Weller than Well”

DillonThe CEO of Innovaision, LLC, Dick Dillion has been in the mental health field for over 30 years in a variety of clinical, management and administrative positions. He was the co-founder of the Substance Abuse Services Department of a large Missouri hospital and developed that project to be one of the premier medically based programmes in a multi-state area.

His alter-ego, avatar Coughran Mayo, has spent more than seven years actively involved in Second Life, working for the NonProfit Commons initiative and building and hosting the Preferred Family HC region. He has made numerous presentations and been interviewed on Metanomics,  Rockcliffe University’s “Inside The Avatar Studio” program and other in-world news and issues programs. Innovaision LCC is dedicated to helping nonprofits realize the potential of using virtual worlds and other technologies and assisting behavioral health organizations to leverage their abilities using innovation and social and digital technologies.

In his presentation, he will offer information and ideas on how addiction recovery can offer a “super-good” outcome.

Continue reading “Virtual Ability: Quality of Life speakers and presentations”

SL projects updates 17/2: Group chat, group bans

Server Deployments week 17 – recap

There was only on server deployment in week 17, and that was to the Magnum RC. It comprised the same server maintenance package as deployed to it in week 16, but with an additional fix for BUG-5763 (“AGENT_MOUSELOOK flag is often incorrect when llGetAgentInfo() is called within control() event”). There have been no reports of further issues, so it is anticipated that this package will be deployed to the other channels in week 18 (week commencing Monday April 28th).

SL Viewer


On Thursday April 24th, the Sunshine / AIS v3 RC viewer updated to version, (download and release notes), while the SL Share 2 project viewer updated to version (download and release notes).

LSL Support for Materials

This has been an oft-requested feature, and has been under informal review within the Lab. However, some confusion was caused when the release notes for the SL release viewer version (promoted on Monday April 21st, and formerly the VoiceMO RC), apparently listed MAINT-3531 (“Feature Request: LSL support for material texture maps”) as resolved.

However, this is an error. So far, there has still been no actual work on the capability.

Group Chat Optimisation

There was a further test of Simon Linden’s ongoing group chat optimisation work at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday April 24th. This followed the usual pattern of multiple messages being sent by those at the meeting across two chat groups, with people sending message from different regions as well as Morris, where the Server Beta meeting is held. From my own perspective, I had no noticeable issue in switching between local chat and one of the group chat sessions, even with a lot of messages passing through the latter, and didn’t appear to result in any message loss or significant delay.

However, the second group did cause the viewer to lock-up for up to 20-30 seconds at a time when switching to it, and appeared to be linked to the fact that one test participant was repeatedly pasted a veritable wall of text in to the group chat (which, while pushing the viewer, was probably not representative of how most people engage in group chat sessions). Both Simon and Maestro Linden believe the extended pauses were viewer-side, rather than anything in the back-end chat servers, with Maestro observing, “My guess is that the typesetting of all that text, profile icons, etc., is taking a lot of time.”

There’s still no news on when testing with larger groups will commence on Agni, although Simon hopes this will be “soon”.

Group Bans

Baker Linden, ironing-out the remaining issues with Group Bans
Baker Linden, ironing-out the remaining issues with Group Bans

Baker Linden has been working on the group ban functionality – notably the viewer-side code, although there have been some server-side updates as well. He had a new test viewer available for people to poke at during the Server Beta meeting, and which includes the latest updates found in the release viewer, as well a various fixes.

One of the latter is a fix for the issue whereby only the first name on a list of people being invited into a group would be checked to see if that person had been previously banned (and thus prevented from joining); anyone else further down the list would had been previously banned would be allowed to re-join on receiving the invitation.

Baker also noted a message has been added as well for these situations, “so you should get a notice saying some people in your invite list are banned from the group and weren’t sent an invite,” he said prior to testing. “I’ve noticed this to be a pretty sporadic thing, but I don’t think it’s something I can easily fix — the code showed that it was sending every time.”

While no formal testing was carried on with the latest updates to the viewer, it was noted that there appears to be an issue with the people picker option, in that it failed to locate people for banning – even when they were standing alongside the person with group ban powers. This will doubtless be looked into further.

Those wishing to test the group ban functionality can do so by downloading the test viewer and running it on Morris on Aditi.

Fantasy Faire: come gather and tell your tales – or join in with others!

Towards the end of Fantasy Faire 2013, a story competition was held, inviting people to weave a tale of their own focused on one – or all – of the Faireland regions, with the winners appearing in a special edition of Prim Perfect magazine.

This year will see another short story contest  – with the addition of a poetry competition as well. Full details have yet to be announced, but if you feel inspired to weave a tale or compose a verse (or more) on this year’s Fairelands, then your words might well be immortalised by the balladeers and storytellers from the Kingdom of Prim Perfect magazine!

Lumenaria, Fantasy Faire 20134 by Inara PeyLast year, the Faireland regions were used as the inspiration  / settings for a short story competition run is association with Prim Perfect magazine – will this year’s region inspire you to write a story or verse – and perhaps see your work appear in a future edition of Prim Perfect magazine?

Machinima Opportunities

At Fantasy Faire 2013, Draxtor Despres produced some special preview videos of the regions, including this one of Mayah Parx’ Ravenshard.

This year, there will be special advanced access granted to the Faireland regions for five machinima artists, allowing them to film in peace ahead of the Faire opening. Details on how to be involved in this unique opportunity will be announced soon.


But if story writing and verse or machinima are not your forte? Then how about joining-in with the tales started by others? As noted in my last update, this year there will be three role-play groups located in the Faireland regions, and each one is inviting visitors to join-in with their various tales and goings-on.

The Revenge of Professor Timmons

A renegade aristocrat and an evil scientist with revenge on their minds are using illicit Strand-world technology to create a murderous clockwerk automaton.  After damaging the power-center of the NeoLondon Cathedral, they decamp to Planet Asperatus and the NeoVictorians follow to bring them to justice! Beginning on 1 May in NeoVictoria SIM, they will be bringing the story to the Fairelands on Monday, 5 May when their intrepid band of roleplayers land in the sky-city of the Fairelands: Asperatus!

Presented by the NeoVictoria Roleplay Group.

Trade Wind Pirates

A group of desperate pirates have found themselves stranded in Blackwater Glenn, desperately seeking funds to repair their ship. What lengths will they go to accomplish their goal? You’ll certainly find a warm welcome in their impromptu tavern – but will you also find your pocket lightened?

The Rickety Weasels

In Wiggenstead Mooring, between the lagoon and the tavern, live a group of feral kids who call themselves “The Rickety Weasels”. They ferociously protect the four Guardians of the Elemental Stones, which keep the balance of the Fairelands.

(Don’t forget as well, that the Sanctuary RP Community are this year sponsoring the Fairelands Junction region, and Safe Waters Foundation are an event sponsor.)

And There’s More …

As well as the story and poetry competition and the role-play opportunities, this year’s Fantasy Faire will see a number of other special activities, including:

  • A special ballet production: in advance of the opening of the Faire, a special ballet will be staged and recorded. You’ll be able to see this on Fantasy Faire blog and elsewhere in the days leading up to the Faire.
  • A photography competition: the Faire organisers are looking for the photographs that best capture the spirit of each of the eleven regions of the Fairelands, which will be included in a RL calendar (with credits for the photographers) to be sold to raise money for Relay for Life. But … eleven sims … eleven months. What of the twelfth? That one will be the photograph that – in the opinions of the judges – best encapsulates the spirit of the Faire. Not only will it be the image for the twelfth month – it will also appear on the cover of the calendar.

Details of all these activities can be found in the Fantasy Faire blog.

Keeping up with Fantasy Faire

You can keep-up with Fantasy Faire preparations and activities a number of ways:

Related Links

Your gateway to the LEA

LEA_square_logo_60Most people in SL are familiar with the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) at least in name, if not in purpose.

The LEA is a collaborative venture between Linden Lab and the arts community, established to help create a center of arts activity in Second Life. It is committed to providing access to engaging experiences in the arts for the SL community, through exhibitions, programmes and events, all helping to foster awareness of artists’ contributions to our virtual world and encouraging others to get involved or to be inspired.

While the regions used by the LEA (some 29 in total) are provided by Linden Lab, the LEA itself is run by a committee of SL artists and residents, supported by an advisory board. However, given the LEA does have 29 regions, all playing host to a range of art installations (some permanent fixtures, others representing the LEA’s Artist In Residence programme or other dedicated activities), finding one’s way around all the regions and knowing what is going on at any given time isn’t always easy.

One of the art pieces (by Maya Paris)  at the new LEA gateway
One of the art pieces (by Maya Paris) at the new LEA gateway

True, there is the LEA blog, with notifications of upcoming openings and events, and there’s the LEA website, for information on the various LEA programmes, and the regions almost always offer visitors the opportunity to grab a HUD to help them navigate their way around all the exhibits. However, there has never really been anything resembling a central gateway, a place where visitors can go to and find out what is going on and where, ask questions, and have the means to teleport to anything that interests them, and then back again should they wish to continue their explorations.

Until now.

A part of the new LEA3 gateway
A part of the new LEA3 gateway

LEA Committee member Honour McMillian recently blogged on behalf of the LEA that LEA3 is being re-purposed as a gateway / hub for the LEA regions. The work is being carried out by LEA committee members and volunteers (of which more in a moment), and while it has yet to be completed, much is already in place.

Central to the gateway is a map to all 29 LEA regions, complete with teleport links, while nearby is an event board listing all upcoming events and activities. A short walk from this is a set of information givers which provide note cards on the various installations within the LEA. Around these areas is a mixed land / water park wherein a number of pieces from various SL artists are displayed and open to be explored. The selected items will change over time, helping to reflect the diverse range of art on offer within the LEA regions.

The information boards
The information boards at the LEA gateway

The welcome area will be staffed, as time an availability, by the LEA Volunteers, overseen by Honour herself. Although there are over 40 volunteers already, they undertake a variety of tasks, including providing guided tours of the regions, assisting the artists using the regions, helping with opening events and other activities, and so on. As such, new recruits are always being sought; so if you’re of a mind to volunteer your time, contact Honour in-world, and she’ll get you into the group and onto the training and orientation course.

As noted above, there’s still more work to be done at the gateway, but it as now open, so if you’re thinking of exploring the LEA regions, there’s now an even easier way to get yourself started!

Related Links