SL project updates 31/3: TPV Developer Meeting and SL issues

A TPV developer meeting took place on Friday August 1st, 2014. The core items discussed in the meeting are reported below, with timestamps in the relevant paragraphs indicating the point at they are discussed in the video embedded here. My thanks, as always, to North for the video.

SL Viewers

[00:15] There have been no changes to the RC viewer currently in the release channel or to the project viewers. The limited release log-in viewer which is being used for some unspecified A/B testing is still in the wild as well, although this is not available for manual download via the Alternate Viewers wiki page.

The Zipper viewer (for faster installation), which reappeared as a RC viewer on Wednesday July 30th (version 3.7.13.292263), is reported as doing “pretty terribly” crash-wise on older operating systems which may not support the archive format used to zip the viewer skins for faster installation. As a result, the Lab is currently unsure as to whether the project will be continued or not. Until a decision has been made, TPV developers have been advised not to port the code.

The Oculus Rift project viewer was updated to the current viewer code base in week 30. However, it is not currently clear when any updates related to the Oculus DK2 kit will start appearing in the viewer.

As indicated in part 1 of this week’s update, the Experience Keys beta project is going well. There are some issues to be addressed, although these are describing as being “nothing major”, and it’s not clear if they are viewer-related or not.

Unsupported Operating System Versions and Windows 8.0

[38:03] A reminder was issued at the TPV Developer meeting that the Lab will no longer be providing assistance with unsupported operating systems. This includes Windows XP and, once the Library Refresh RC viewer reaches a release status, Max OS X 10.6.

[39:05] It was also reiterated that Windows 8.0 users who are experiencing crash issues with the viewer should consider the free upgrade to Windows 8.1, which has a much lower crash rate, with overall improvement in viewer stability being described as a “really big difference”. A blog post on this subject (and viewer crashes in general) was posted by the Lab towards the end of July 2014.

Group Chat

[03:00] Following-on from the discussion about group chat and the initial testing of updates which took place at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday July 31st, Oz said of the work, “we’re continuing with making back-end changes, there’ll be another roll-out of some experiments shortly and we’ll see how they go. Like I’ve said before, we’re not going to generally announce when those happen, because we don’t want to change the experiment by changing people’s perceptions.”

[10:27] Although at the moment the focus is very much on what can be achieved on the back-end services without the need for changes within the viewer itself,  Oz gave notice that the Lab may want to talk to TPVs about possible changes to group functionality and viewer behaviour at some point in the future. One of the questions being asked within the Lab is whether or not the members list needs to be displayed for all groups. Some groups, for example have a “no chat” policy and / or are only for the outward flow of information (e.g. product update groups); so are these a category of group for which the updates of people coming on-line or joining / leaving the session are no actually relevant, and could be eliminated  or suppressed, thus reducing the volume of update messages?

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Terms of Service – presentation reminder

ToS-SLBA-2
The formal announcement of the presentation

Just a quick reminder to all who are interested. As I blogged on July 24th, there will be a special presentation by Agenda Faromet on the July 2014 Terms of Service updates.

The presentation will take place on Saturday August 2nd, commencing at 10:00 SLT at the he SLBA courtroom.

Agenda is a real life attorney specialising in privacy and internet law operating out of San Francisco, and is a member of the SL Bar Association. She will be talking about both the changes made to Section 2.3 of the Terms of Service (the section relating to IP rights assigned to Linden Lab) and also on the changes to the Lab’s Skill Gaming Policy, which will be coming into effect as of September 1st, 2014 (having been previously scheduled for August 1st, 2014).

I hope to be able to record the meeting and provide a transcript through this blog for those who cannot attend.

The SLBA courtroom
The SLBA courtroom

About the SL Bar Association

The SL Bar Association (SLBA) is a group for legal professionals and others interested in legal issues in Second Life. It is registered as a 501(c)(6) organisation in the United States, and operates in Second Life from the Justitia Virtual Legal Resource Village, which serves as a resource for both attorneys and the general public, and has law offices available to rent on the square, along with general legal information on a variety of topics.  Rental units are also available at sea level.

Details of SLBA talks and presentations can be found on the SLBA website, together with further information on the association and its members.

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Return to a radiant dawn

Dawn of Radiance, Lost Forest; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrDawn of Radiance, Lost Forest, August 2014 (Flickr)

My first visit to Dawn of Radiance, Silvermoon Fairey’s marvellous homestead region, was back in November 2013. Back then, the region was in the grip of winter. Roll forward eight months, and the region is not only basking in summer colours, it has once again been beautifully remodelled, and from the high rocky buffs to the riverside grasslands, it  offers a veritable smörgåsbord of visual delights for those who visit.

A rocky cove in the south-east corner of the region forms the arrival point, a narrow shingle beach between waves and cliffs; with a tall brick lighthouse casting its eye out to sea nearby as a fishing boat rides the breakers a short distance offshore. The little beach offers places to sit, but walk along it and you’ll come to a slope leading you up between the cliffs where eagles have nested, and on to a grassy meadow, which in one direction leads you down to a farm where horses graze.

Dawn of Radiance, Lost Forest; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrDawn of Radiance, Lost Forest, August 2014 (Flickr)

If you go in the other direction from the first meadow, you can make your way up to a rocky plateau dominated by the angular form of a church amidst the ruins of what might be an old castle. A switch back path hugs the cliffs here, the single link between ruins and another sheltered beach below.

Wander through the farm and you have a choice: you can follow the track leading out to the big windmill standing sentinel-like on the headland; or you can take the bridge over the river and explore the grasslands on the far side and walk up to another meadow where more horses graze; or you can follow the track inland.

Dawn of Radiance, Lost Forest; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrDawn of Radiance, Lost Forest, August 2014 (Flickr)

The latter route may take you through a rain shower and some undergrowth, but trust me when I say it’s very much worth taking, whether you turn right and cross the river over the little wooden bridge, or continue onwards, further in the heart of the island; both routes will lead you to places of whimsy and fantasy. Keep an eye out, as well, for another route up to the church and ruins …

Nor is that all; the north side of the island hides another beach, while up on the hills and down between their shoulders lie places to sit, either alone or with a close friend, and simply watch the world go by – or forget about it completely.

Dawn of Radiance, Lost Forest; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrDawn of Radiance, Lost Forest, August 2014 (Flickr)

Such is the design of the region that exploring it feels like you’re on an island that is bigger than an individual region, and providing you don’t set-out to discover everything all at once, it presents a series of delights; just when you think that you’ve seen it all, you turn a corner or pass around a bush and trees, only to find something new and quite unexpected. Hence why I’ve not described some aspects of the island here (although admittedly, one photo is perhaps a bit of a giveaway to what you might come across!); I don’t want to spoil the pleasure of discovery too much.

There is a marvellous blending of elements here as well, which encourages you to feel as if you’re walking through a more expansive landscape; the use of elevation not only physically sets apart the farm from the church with its surrounding ruins; it gives an added sense of distance to your explorations as you find your way up to the heights, climbing above the tree-line and grasslands and into the rocky preserve of an ancient site.

Dawn of Radiance, Lost Forest; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrDawn of Radiance, Lost Forest, August 2014 (Flickr)

The same can be said of the use of hills and woodland to enfold the heart of the island and separate it from farm and ruins; following path or river into the interior not only again heightens a sense of exploration and discovery, it encourages a feeling of stepping into another, hidden realm  – the digital equivalent of stepping through the wardrobe.

With its regional windlight set to the first light of dawn, much in keeping with the region’s name, it almost goes without saying that Dawn of Radiance is a photographer’s delight, and lends itself to a wide range of windlights and sky settings. If you do pop over to take photos, I believe I’m right in saying that joining the group via the board at the landing point will give you rezzing rights for props, and there is a 30-minutes auto-return limit.

Dawn of Radiance, Lost Forest; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrDawn of Radiance, Lost Forest, August 2014 (Flickr)

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