Striding out against breast cancer in SL

making-banner

September 1st through October 31st 2014 will mark the 2014 Strides Against Breast Cancer across Second Life season, as a part of the Relay for Life of Second Life 2014 fundraising activities.

Details of the events planned for the season are a little scant on the ground at the moment – but with the official website now up and running, that is sure to change. The theme for this year’s activities is Seasons of Pink, and right now the organisers are looking for support in a number of areas.

seasons

Support Volunteers

The 2014 Committee is looking for dedicated and customer oriented people to help throughout the fundraising season If you are interested in helping with either outreach activities or as a member of the marketing and events staff, please fill out the volunteer form.

Sponsors

Sponsorship packages for  the 2014 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Across Second Life Event Season are now available, starting at L$5000 for a Bronze package. Sponsorship opportunities are available to individuals, groups, businesses, and organisations.For full details on the range of packages available please visit the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer across SL website sponsorship page. All questions relating to sponsorship should be addressed to Committee chair jessii2009 Warrhol in-world.

Hunt Participants and Gifts

The I feel, You Feel hunt will run from September 21st to October 31st, and the Making Strikes organisers are looking for creators and businesses willing to participate in the hunt and donate gifts. Items do not have to be all pink, and those wishing to provide clothing are asked to consider making both a male & female gift or a unisex item, as the hunt is for everyone. Those stores and businesses wishing to participate in the hunt are asked to complete the hunt application form, and to address any questions to Earth Nirvana in-world.

Fundraising Activities

Those wishing to run fundraising events on behalf of Making Strides are asked to read the event fundraising and donations guidelines ahead of contacting the organisers.

About Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer or MSABC is the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the United States, uniting more than 300 communities across the country. Every breast cancer walk run during the MSABC’s season is seen as an incredible and inspiring opportunity to honour those who have battled breast cancer, raise awareness on how the risk of breast cancer can be reduced, and to raise money to help the American Cancer Society fight the disease with research, information, services and access to mammograms for women who need them.

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SL projects update 33/3: TPV Dev meeting: HTTP, avatar height offset

The following notes are taken from the TPV developer meeting of Friday August 15th. A video of the meeting, provided by Chakat Northspring is included below. This report represents an overview of items discussed at the meeting which are liable to have the broadest interest among users. Timestamps are given against items and paragraphs for ease of referencing what was said within the video for those who wish to listen to the entire conversation on a given subject.

Note that subjects are not necessarily presented chronologically when compared to the video, but has been grouped under common headings.

My thanks, as always, to North for her recording of the meeting and linking to this blog post.

SL Viewers

[00:30] There have been few visible changes with the RC and project viewers this week. The library refresh viewer and the experimental log-in viewer remain unchanged, and while the Experience Keys project viewer has been updated, this has yet to appear in the Alternate viewers wiki page.

Oculus DK2 and Project Viewer Updates

Oculus Rift: the Lab now has the DK2, so work will be resuming on the project viewer
Oculus Rift: the Lab now has the DK2, so work will be resuming on the project viewer

[00:50] The lab has received around half-a-dozen of the Oculus Rift DK2 headsets, and so it is anticipated that further work will be progressing with the project viewer, and updates will be emerging over time. As noted in week 32, there are some substantial differences between the DK1 headset and the DK2, which currently make the project viewer largely incompatible with the newer headset.

Texture Statistics Logging

[19:15] With the roll-out of the 3.7.7 the Lab unfortunately broke the texutre stats reporting debug option LogTextureDownloadsToSimulator. As this is off by default (set to False) it has not been noticed by most users. However, the recommendation is that users do not set this option to True, as it will cause the viewer to immediately crash on start-up, at the next attempt to run it. This issue is common to all viewers using all code releases subsequent to 3.7.7 as well.

Viewer Build Process

[40:24] The Lab is shortly going to commence the process of upgrading the tool chain they use in the viewer build process (e.g. switch to Visual Studio 2013 for Windows and Xcode 5 for Mac) and switching over to the new version of autobuild. This work may also eventually help pave the ay for 64-bit builds of the official viewer. However, this is not currently the focus of the changes, as no decision has made as yet within the Lab on producing 64-bit builds of the viewer; the current aim of these changes is to improve the overall viewer build process.

[47:23] There are two points of note here. The first is that the new autobuild process includes changes which self-compilers must adhere to if they are using it, and details are available on a wiki page. The second is that it is probable that Windows viewers built using Visual Studio 2013 will not run on Windows XP. The Lab has already dropped Windows XP support, which is as much as it will currently say in terms of future viewers built using the new tool chain running on XP.

Group Chat

[02:00] The work on group chat has temporarily halted due to those working on it either being on vacation or working on other projects. Given this, and with a degree of ironic timing, there have been increasing reports of group chat issues over the last several days, including one chat server apparently becoming completely non-responsive.

It’s not clear to the Lab as to what may be causing the problems, but they have been noted. In the meantime, informal advice is that if your group chat is consistently failing, to contact support, provide them with the information on your group (name, etc.), and the issues you’re having, and request the chat server is restarted.

Continue reading “SL projects update 33/3: TPV Dev meeting: HTTP, avatar height offset”

Adrift on a Sea of Cubic Dreams

The Sea of Cubic Dreams
The Sea of Cubic Dreams

The Sea of Cubic Dreams is a new installation by the ALEGRIA Studio team. It is an intriguing piece, a preview, perhaps, of a much larger work which will be opening in the same region in due course, entitled Theatre Night’s Dream.

This prelude piece presents the visitor with a rich blue environment – it’s really best appreciated with the default windlight – penned on two sides by tall blue mural-like walls, the remaining two sides open to the surrounding sea.

The Sea of Cubic Dreams
The Sea of Cubic Dreams

floating on, under, or over the waters here are a series of differently sized black, blue and teal cubes which make good use of materials on their surfaces. They come in several different sizes, and if you get close enough to one (trying standing on the really big ones) you can sit down, give it a shove, and you’ll set off floating across the region until you opt to change direction with another shove, slow to a halt, or collide with another cube. The latter can, depending on the size of the cube you are sat upon, send you tumbling around (and up into the air or underwater), allowing you a bounce around the space.

Some of the cubes you collide with will also react, sliding off on their own or rolling over gently, depending on their size. Controlling your direction takes a little practice, and a set of three transparent region-wide prims stop you from colliding with the region boundaries or flying up off up too high. and it has to be said that bouncing around when someone else is using the cubes can be fun!

The Sea of Cubic Dreams
The Sea of Cubic Dreams

Theatre Night’s Dream is apparently being developed higher up in the air and sounds as intriguing as Cubic Sea of Dreams appears. “This is going to be the new ALEGRIA’s adventure,” the team say of the piece. “A surrealistic CG New Media Art installation inspired in the theatre and fantasy culture, the role of the hero in modern video games era, the Cloud Atlas film and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Theatre Night’s Dream opens the gate between the real and fictional sides of its characters, all members of the cast of a theater production, as short stories where their real lives merges with their roles in the play during its release. Two worlds that blend into a night dream where they will have to face their tragedies and fears to become sublime.”

The Sea of Cubic Dreams
The Sea of Cubic Dreams

There’s currently no opening date for Theatre Night’s Dream, but doubtless one will be announced through ALEGRIA’s website and via the LEA blog when the productions starts. In the meantime, visitors are free to enjoy Cubic Sea of Dreams, and Ultraviolet Alter will be performing for the official opening at 14:00 SLT on Saturday August 16th.

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SL project updates week 33/2: server recap, inventory, region crossings

Le Botanique, Mirriam Brown; Inara Pey, July 2014, on FlickrLe Botanique, Miriam Brown, July 2014 (Flickr)

I’m busy playing catch-up due to a number of things going on at the moment, so my apologies for late-running reports. The following notes were taken from the Server Beta meeting of Thursday August 14th.

Server Deployments week 33 Recap

  • On Tuesday August 12th, the Main (SLS) channel was updated with the server maintenance release previously deployed to the RC channels in week 32, so placing all four channels on the same simulator version
  •  There were no RC deployments for the week.

HUDs Detaching / Reattaching Following Teleport

Following the week 32 report on HUDs detaching / reattaching following a teleport and issues with attachments scripted to use llDetachFromAvatar to detach on a region change being reported as “worn on invalid attachment point” by the viewer, JIRAs have been raised on both issues (BUG-6925 and BUG-6908 respectively). Maestro Linden has been looking into both, with mixed results.

Maestro has difficulties in reproducing the HUD detaching / reattaching issue (BUG-6925) and so is working from logs supplied by the reporter. However, one line of thinking is that higher ping rates to the server might be indicative of the problem – those who have high ing rates (and those “longer” update times seem to be more readily able to reproduce the issue than those with lower ping rates.

The belief at the lab is that the BUG-6908 issue is likely to be a race condition, and investigations are continuing.

Gestures, Calling Cards and Region Crossings

During the discussion about BUG-6925, Maestro pointed-out that having a large number of active gestures associated with your avatar might be a contributing cause of region crossing issues. This is because the information on each active gesture has to be handed-over from one simulator to the next, and this might slow things down / interfere with things, possibly exacerbating things like HUDs dettaching / reattaching during a region crossing, etc.

While there was a degree of uncertainty as to whether it is the case or not, Calling Cards might also contribute to region crossing problems as they are updated between regions with the online / offline status of other avatars. Simon Linden is best placed to speak to whether this is the case, but he is currently on vacation.

Large numbers of active gestures (and Calling Cards) can also slow-down the log-in process (hence the often-given advice to delete unwanted Calling Cards from inventory).

 Inventory and Inventory Updates

A correlation between large “flat” inventories (i.e. inventories with relatively few folders beyond the system folders,  and each folder containing a lot of items) and log-in issues has been recorded. Oz Linden’s recommendation to reduce such issues is to have a relative deep tree of folders, with each folder containing fewer items.

As the inventory “skeleton” (which contains your inventory folder hierarchy) is only fetched by the viewer when you log-in, “flat” inventory structures don’t impact regions crossings. However, if you do feel you are experiencing a long log-in period, and you have a large, relatively flat inventory structure, you might want to consider re-organising things and seeing if that helps to improve matters.

A forthcoming viewer update, STORM-2034, contributed by Jonathan Yap, will provide support for “older than” inventory filtering, allowing users to filter their inventory either before or after a given age. This should make locating older inventory items a lot easier when it comes to wanting to delete or box items which are no longer used. There’s currently no ETA on when this change is liable to appear, but there is another Snowstorm viewer iteration due, so it might be in that, depending on the code’s current status.

The existing inventory filter options (l) and the proposed update to the time-based filtering option (r)
The existing inventory filter options (l) and the proposed update to the time-based filtering option (r)

Other Items

Avatar Bakes and  Rigged Mesh

A question was asked at the Server Beta meeting on whether it would ever be possible to apply to other objects, which quickly focused-down on using them in conjunction with rigged / fitted mesh. Responding to the question, Maestro Linden said:

It would be cool if you could stack layers of diffuse textures on objects, but it would be a pretty big project. Hmm. I guess that would depend on how it’s implemented … If you just had a way for an attachment to reference its owner’s currently baked texture, then that may not be too difficult, but I think that if you were to say “any object face can have multiple textures, which use the baking service, such that you can have up to ~150k baked textures in a region”, that would be a whole other beast :).

A suggestion was made to limit the number of bakes that could be applied, in the same way as texture layers are constrained on the avatar at the moment, prompting Maestro to agree, “if the object faces are just referencing the same textures which are already baked on an avatar, you could even implement that as a viewer-side change: ‘if object diffuse texture is $magic_uuid, render its owner’s upper-body baked texture on it (or maybe default to grey if the bake is unavailable)’.”

Avatar bakes are currently limited to 512×512. Whether that would be regarded as sufficiently high enough for use on rigged mesh is open to question. n the meantime, a JIRA proposing something similar, aimed at the removal of scripted appliers (BUG-5893) has already been triaged and accepted by the Lab for further investigation.

SL Go: SL Share for Flickr, Twitter and Facebook also now included

SL go logoImportant note: The SL Go service is to be shut down on April 30th, 2015. For more information, please read this report.

On Friday August 15th, I posted about OnLive announcing that their SL Go viewer for Android devices & low-end computers  / laptops had been updated with a fix to enable it to render fitted mesh items correctly.

The update saw the viewer updated to Linden Lab’s 3.7.12 code base, and while the OnLive e-mails didn’t mention this, it meant the viewer also gained some additional capabilities and updates. Perhaps the most notable of these is the inclusion of the SL Share 2 feature for sharing photos directly to Facebook or Twitter or Flickr, together with the default post-process filters.

I had been a little curious as to whether this would work or not (I did wonder if there would be an authentication issue, given everything is running via the OnLive servers). However, now I’ve had a chance to give things a go, I can say that they do indeed work as expected. Well, at least where Flickr and Twitter are concerned;  I don’t use Facebook, so have been unable to test that side of things, but there is no reason to assume it won’t work.

Testing the Flickr upload from SL Go, on FlickrTesting the Flickr upload from SL Go – a quick snap of the house in SL, August 2014, using the snapshot floater’s vignette filter  – click for original

That said, trying to authenticate SL Go with Flickr did admittedly have an initial hiccup; I got stuck on Flickr’s “Bad Panda!” (aka, “oops, something stuffed up, sorry”) page the first time. However, second time around, it worked as expected, and I was duly connected. Given the issues with Flickr over the last couple of days (as those using Firefox or Internet Explorer may well still be muttering about), I point the finger at Yahoo as the cause of the hiccup.

After that little problem, everything worked as anticipated. I was able to upload a snapshot  (using the Spotlight filter, as shown above), which quickly appeared in my photostream.A follow-up test with Twitter so no problems in authenticating, and the snap (this time using the Sepia filter) and text uploaded fine.

Some might notice a couple of rendering issues in the images. These are not related to the uploads. In particular, because access to the Advanced menu is disabled in SL Go, RenderVolumeLOD is locked-in at a relatively low number (1.25?), so some sculpts refused to render properly, and can be seen semi-rendered in the images. As this was just a quick-fire test of the uploads, I wasn’t that fussed about arranging things so the sculpts were properly “popped-out”.

And the same shot from SL Go uploaded to Twitter, but using the Sepia filter

There is still no capability to save snapshots locally. This isn’t surprising, given SL Go is a streamed service, rather than something running locally with access to the local hard / flash drive, and so is likely going to take a lot more banging on things before it works – if it can be made to work. In the meantime, the SL Share options (particularly Flickr) might at latest offer an additional alternative for saving photos alongside the existing inventory, profile and (my preferred method with the SL Go) e-mail.

Although the viewer is listed as based on the 3.7.12 code base from the Lab, it does not include the Group Ban functionality, which reached official release status on August 4th, 2014. However, as a 3.7.12 based release, it should include all of LL’s updates to the viewer code up to 3.7.12.

All-in-all, a tidy little update which sees a major glitch (fitted mesh) corrected, and the addition of a useful feature in the shape of SL Share 2.