Of Linden themed islands

The Baronial Castle - a Linden Lab themed region
The Baronial Castle and bits – a Linden Lab themed private island

Whenever SL private islands are mentioned, it is usually in terms of unthemed full, homestead and openspace regions. However, the Lab has, for some time, offered “themed private islands” for anyone who would care to lease one.

These offer pre-terraformed regions (full or homestead) available in one of four themes: “Baronial Castle”, “Conference Centre”, “Theatre” and “Moonbase”. Each of these themed island types comes at a slight premium in terms of set-up costs (an extra $29 applicable to full regions and $20 on homesteads – both ex VAT), although tier is the same as for “regular” full and homestead regions.

There are SLurls leading to in-world samples from the various website pages offering these regions. However, as it’s been a few years since I last looked at them (which was around the time of the whole openspace / homestead fiasco – which is about when they first appeared, if I recall correctly), I decided to pay them a refresher visit.

The first up was the Baronial Castle, which is described on the website as an “imposing mountaintop residence, complete with tavern, boat and dungeon. Host the royal ball or role-playing fantasy game you’ve been waiting for, or have your friends over for an intimate chat in the tavern.”

The Baronial Castle and hillside path
The Baronial Castle and hillside path

The tavern forms the landing point for visits to the sample castle. This is located at the base of the hills atop which the castle sits, alongside a small cove wherein a large ship (all 246 prims of her) sits with sails unfurled, a smaller sailing skip sitting close by.

From the tavern, one can follow the path, lit at night by Ye Olde Iron Lampposts (must be powered by magic…), up the hill to the bridge spanning the divide between hilltop and castle. The castle itself offers a great hall, complete with hidden passage down to the dungeons (why hidden? Wasn’t a dungeon pretty much expected with castles, a sort-of medieval equivalent of today’s games room found in many upmarket homes?). A ramp leads to the upper levels, where sit a couple of bedrooms and a very narrow tower. In difference to the lampposts lighting the way up to the castle, everything within it is lit by wall-mounted torches (which some people might recognise as Ryan Linden’s handiwork and available from the Library folder in inventory).

A short hop across the water from the castle lies the Conference Centre. This offers two main venues and a smaller offshore island with an open-air venue. The landing point for this region is between the two main buildings, and connected to both by a paved foot path.

The Conference Centre
The Conference Centre

The nearer of the two buildings to the landing point, which has its own built-in waterfall, offers a large ground floor conference area and a mezzanine area for informal meetings as well as rooftop access for those needing additional space.

Across from this, the second building offers a reception area, a couple of meeting rooms and an upstairs seating area. One of the meeting rooms has positionable tables. The small offshore venue area offers open-air seating, and the design is finished-off with simple landscaping, non-functional video screens and an offshore wind farm.

The Conference Centre and the Theatre beyond
The Conference Centre with the Theatre beyond

Another short hop from the Conference Centre is the Theatre. This is the only themed region which is solely available for full regions, there is no homestead option. The reason for this is that the theatre is designed to accommodate up to 100 avatars at a time.

The landing point drops visitors in the plaza directly in front of the theatre, which is perhaps the largest of the themed region structures in terms of volume, and the one demonstrating a degree of appreciated humour: the film posters can hardly fail to raise a smile, and include The Little Molemaid, Moletropolis, Dances With Moles, and such Moleywood stars as Mole Gibson and Worm Hanks.

The Theatre
The Theatre

The theatre interior is pretty much what you’d expect: a foyer area (with the aforementioned posters on display), a lot of banked seats facing a stage / screen area, and box seats on either side. At the back of the theatre, with a good view of the stage area is a control room, complete with a scripted panel for operating the stage lights and curtains, etc., and controller for displaying the various foyer movie posters. Backstage is the dressing room, reached via hidden doors in the stage wings.

Continue reading “Of Linden themed islands”

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Sculpture in motion

Neeks Karu - Kelly Yap Art Gallery
Neeks Karu – Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Kelly Yap Art Gallery is hosting two exhibits, both of which opened on Saturday July 26th, 2014. On the ground floor of the gallery is a series of sculptures by Neeks Karu, while upstairs is Betty Tureaud latest installation.

I confess that Neeks Karu is not a name that rings bells with me – which on the strength of this exhibit, really is to my loss. On display are a dozen free-standing and wall mounted sculptures, all but one of which include a degree of moment, and many of which appear to be founded on geometry – several of the wall-mounted pieces in particular are mindful of fractal progressions.

Neeks Karu, Kelley Yap Art Gallery
Neeks Karu, Kelly Yap Art Gallery

There are no descriptions accompanying the individual pieces – or at least, none I could find in clicking, but the names are evocative: “Exclusion”, “Web”, “Safety”, “Quest” and so on. Each piece is also somewhat hypnotic in its influence; or perhaps mesmerizing might be a better term, drawing the observer into them, encouraging close-in camming in order to watch the changing forms and patterns.

Providing you’re not completely hypnotised by Neeks’ work, make your way upstairs and you’ll find Betty’s latest work, rendered in her hallmark rich colours. This also uses geometry and movement in a piece which is quite deceptive when first perceived, and actually requires a little time (and perhaps a little careful camming) to appreciate fully.

Betty , Kelly Yap Art Gallery
Betty Tureaud , Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Floating in the multi-hued space are five brightly coloured frames. These wash back and forth along the length of the space, as if to the ebb and flow of the tide – or tides, as each frame can move both faster and slower than the others in a seemingly random pattern, and can suddenly reverse direction or pause. Depending on the rate of motion and speed of change, every so often the frames come together to brief nest one within another within another, largest to smallest. Or, if not all of them, then perhaps three or four of them, while the remaining frames slide away in one direction or the other, as if unwilling to be a part of the orderly gathering.

Careful camming is in order because when viewed from certain positions, such as either end of the room in which they sit, the frames use distance and perspective in an optical illusion familiar to all of us, but which is nevertheless fascinating to witness. Depending on their positions relative to one another, their sizes appear to be reversed: the largest may appear to be medium-sized, a medium-sized frame appears much smaller and the smallest suddenly appears to dominate the rest. Only when they reach their nested equilibrium as they slide along their shared path, is the truth of their relative sizes revealed.

Betty T, Kelly Yap Art Gallery
Betty Tureaud, Kelly Yap Art Gallery

All told, two interesting and complementary exhibits.

SL projects update week 31/1: server, group chat

The Lab's Battery Street staff (image: Ebbe Altberg, via Twitter)
The Lab’s Battery Street staff (image: Ebbe Altberg, via Twitter)

Server Deployments Week 31

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest news and updates.

Main (SLS) Channel

On Tuesday July 29th, the Main channel was updated with remaining recent feature changes and bug fixes previously deployed to the RC channels. Namely:

  • Fix for “Temp Attachments are sometimes not removed on the viewer when detached from a region change event.”
  • L$ transactions from llTransferLindenDollars or llGiveMoney now include a “Description” field with the object’s name in the L$ transaction history section of the website.

See the release notes for further information.

Release Candidate Channels

There will be no Release Candidate channel deployments in week 31. This means there is unlikely to be any main channel deployment in week 32 (week commencing Monday August 4th), although RC channel deployments are anticipated for that week.

Experience Keys

There is a little more news on the Experience Keys beta, which Oz Linden, attending the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday July 29th,  indicated was going well. A possible extension to the beta had been sort-of hinted at in previous meetings, but Oz indicated that whether this will or won’t be the case has yet to be decided.

It was also indicated at the meeting that the idea fees which may be associated with the use of Experience Keys by creators may also have had further discussion within the Lab.

The idea of charging creators a nominal fee for the use of Experience Keys was first discussed at the Experience Keys preview during a TPV Developer meeting. A nominal fee or some restriction on accessing the tools (e.g. such as having to be a Premium member) was seen as a means of perhaps discouraging those who might otherwise use the capabilities with intent to grief harass others. While at the time it was admittedly an exploit of the original Advanced Content creation permissions system, the June 2012 incident did demonstrate how someone with access to the tools might use them to cause upset.

Commenting on the likely charges (if any) which may be levied and whether they have been agreed internally, Oz Linden said at the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday July 29th, “We don’t discuss pricing here… not our area. I believe they have, but I don’t know details.” Simon Linden then added, “We can’t talk about any details like that until they’re officially announced.”

llSetLinkAlpha Updates Issue

BUG-1786 has been around for over a year, and takes the form of multiple prims in a linkset randomly failing to update correct when using  llSetLinkAlpha. For example, you have a cube made up of a number of smaller cubes so that when clicked, the entire linkset should switch from solid to transparent or back again, but only some of the prims in the linkset appear to change on being clicked. with some remaining solid when they should be transparent. The problem has been reported as being more noticeable on linksets of 34 or more prims, but has also been reported on smaller linksets.

The problem seemed to first occur with the 26th February 2013 server deployment 13.02.15.270481, and the issue has been thought to be server-side. However, the problem seems to be more prevalent with lower bandwidth settings (e.g. 500 or lower – 500 being the SL viewer default), and can vanish with higher bandwidth settings (e.g. around 1200-1500), suggesting the issue might be related to packet loss, particularly if there are a lot of simultaneous updates going on, or a possible race condition within the viewer.  A sample object has been passed to the Lab to let them poke at things further.

Group Chat

The group chat test which suffered cancellation at the July 24th Server Beta meeting may get to be run at the upcoming meeting on Thursday, July 31st.

The Next Simulator UG Meetings

Simon Linden is on vacation next week, and may not be able to attend the week 33 Simulator UG meeting either, due to other commitments. He’s hoping to get someone at the Lab to cover for him at both meetings.