Lab announces Oculus Rift DK2 project viewer available

On Wednesday May 21st, Linden Lab publicly released the Oculus Rift project viewer, offering initial support for the Oculus Rift DK1.

Things have moved on since, most notably with the release of the Oculus DK2, versions of which the Lab received in July 2014, and have been using to update the project viewer to provide DK2 support.

Oculus Rift: Lab launches project viewer with DK2 support
Oculus Rift: Lab launches project viewer with DK2 support

On Monday October 13th, the Lab announced that the updated version of the viewer is now available.

The blog post announcing the update reads:

A few months ago, we released a Project Viewer that made it possible to use the first generation Oculus Rift development kit (DK1) anywhere in Second Life.

Since then, Oculus Rift has released a second generation development kit, DK2. The new hardware offers an even more immersive experience when used with Second Life – there’s less likelihood of feeling motion sick thanks to the motion-tracking features, and less of the “screen-door effect” on the visuals, thanks to higher resolution and brighter display.

We’ve integrated the DK2 with Second Life, and today are releasing a new Project Viewer so that virtual reality enthusiasts with the DK2 can use it anywhere in Second Life, just as DK1 users can.

Unfortunately, though, there are still some bugs impacting the experience, which we won’t be able to fix until we receive the next SDK from Oculus Rift. Because Second Life uses OpenGL in its browser, we cannot support direct mode in the Rift until Oculus releases a version of the SDK that supports that.

In addition, juddering is an issue (as it is with most DK2 demos).This can be significantly improved on Windows by turning off Aero, which allows the Rift to use its full refresh rate rather than being limited to the refresh rate of the primary monitor. This refresh rate is a major factor in the judder and turning off Aero can significantly improve your experience.

We’ll continue to fix bugs and improve the experience as quickly as we can once we get the next SDK, but in the meantime, we wanted to get this Project Viewer out into testers’ hands. If you have an Oculus Rift development kit, you can download the new Project Viewer here.

The update includes an expanded HMD configuration panel, which can be accessed via Preferences > Move and View > click on the Head Mounted Displays button.

The expnaded HMD configuration panel
The expanded HMD configuration panel

As with the original project viewer, this configuration panel can also be accessed via a dedicated toolbar button.

The release notes for the viewer include some additional hints and tips:

  1. In Windows 7 turn OFF Aero (go to Windows Basic setting in the “Personalize” right-click menu on the desktop).
  2. In the Windows display settings, adjust the refresh rate on the DK2 to 60hz rather than 75hz.
  3. Make sure your Oculus config runtime and firmware are up to date.
  4. Make sure the power cable is plugged in to the Rift.
  5. If using an NVIDIA card, update to the latest drivers, which have some Oculus/VR specific optimizations.
  6. Turning on Triple buffering in the NVIDIA control panel may help in some cases. Results may vary.
  7. To increase framerate try reducing the Second Life Viewer draw distance and/or disable Shadows and the Ambient Occlusion.
  8. On the HMD setting panel in preferences try experimenting with turning low persistence mode on and off. We’ve found that is some cases it can exacerbate ghosting and jitter.
  9. If you’re in Mac OS X, it is recommended that you exit HMD when uploading files, such as images or models. There is currently an issue that can get your viewer stuck in a bad state if you attempt to upload files while HMD Mode is enabled.

Key Controls

  • Enter HMD mode – CTRL + SHIFT + D
  • Align to look – Q
  • Center Mouse Pointer – Z
  • Action key – X
  • Camera Mode – M (Press multiple times to cycle through 3rd Person, HMD Mouse look, and 1st Person modes)

The blog post from the Lab also includes the video released at the time the original Oculus Rift project viewer was launched.

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ART for you: bid for an actor to give you a command performance

ART-logoFrom now through until Friday, November 7th, the Avatar Repertory Theatre is holding a very special auction, the proceeds of which will go towards meeting the company’s running costs.

As one of the oldest theatre companies within Second Life, the Avatar Repertory Theatre (ART) operates from their theatre in Cookie, and has been at the forefront of bringing  diverse, live theatre to a widening audience through virtual performances.

Productions have included first-time realisations of works by living playwrights, through to major immersive productions such as their own adaptations of the classic Greek Drama Oedipus Rex and the works of Lewis Carroll via Alice in WonderSLand and Through the Looking Glass. In addition, the company’s theatre has played host to many and varied events and performances, including Seanchai Library’s The War of the Worlds, which I reviewed during its initial run in 2011).

However, while operating a theatre company in a virtual world is a lot more cost-effective than doing so in the physical world, it is by no means free. Tier and other costs need to be continuously met. The Shakespeare By Request Auction offers Second Life residents the opportunity to bid for a member of the Avatar Repertory Theatre company to perform a selection from the works of William Shakespeare, with all money raised through the winning bids going directly into meeting ART’s ongoing costs. Bidders can be specific or as general as they like in their choice of the piece to be performed, by:

  • Simply indicating the play they want, and let the actor find something from it, or
  • Choosing a specific scene from a specific play, or
  • Requesting a favourite monologue that they’ve always wanted to hear their chosen actor perform.
The Avatar Repertory Theatre Company's reproduction of the Globe Theatre in Second Life
The Avatar Repertory Theatre Company’s reproduction of the Globe Theatre in Second Life

Winning bidders will have a week to finalise their choice following the ending of the bidding period on Friday, November 7th, 2014, and will be invited to attend the performances at the Company’s popular Plays Around event scheduled for Friday, November 21st at 17:00 SLT, at the company’s theatre.

To place a bid, visit the patio area outside of the theatre building, where you’ll find bidding panels for the actors participating in Shakespeare By Request. Simply touch the board for the actor of your choice and make your bid. If you’d like to sample the company’s work before you place a bid, you can do so by attending one of the company’s Plays Around performances scheduled for Friday, October 21st and Friday, November 7th, both at 17:00 SLT.

place your bids for Shakespeare By Request
place your bids for Shakespeare By Request

ART is a programme run by New Media Arts, Inc, a registered 501 (c) (3) tax exempt non-profit organization in the United States, which has recently released its first Go Fund Me Video in support of their mission to develop graphical, theatrical, literary, educational, library and other fine and practical arts on the internet, in 3D graphical user interfaces, multimedia, new generation computing devices, and other electronic and digital communication media.

further information on ART can be found at the Avatar Repertory Theatre company’s website and via  Facebook and Google+.

Viewer release summaries: week 41

Updates for the week ending: Sunday October 12th, 2014

This summary is published every Monday and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version 3.7.16.294959 (Monday October 6; formerly the New Log-in Screen RC – core updates: simple and clean login screen for new users, and a corresponding update for returning users) (release notes)
  • Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • No Updates
  • Project viewers:
    • No Updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V3-style

  • Black Dragon updated to version 2.4.0.2 Beta on October 6th – core updates: bug fixes (change log)
  • UKanDo updated to version 3.7.17.28056 on October 11th – core updates: partity with Lab’s 3.7.17 code base, new official log-in screen updates, FMODex updated to 4.44.41 (release notes)

V1-style

  • Cool Viewer Stable Branch updated to version 1.26.12.20 and Cool Viewer Legacy Branch updated to version 1.26.8.78, both on October 11th – core updates: please refer to the release notes.

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

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In the palace garden

Sansouci Park
Sansouci Park

Sanssouci Park is an airborne recreation of Frederick the Great’s 18th century villa-like summer palace, Sanssouci (from the French sans souci, “without worry”).

Located in Potsdam, Germany, the palace was the Prussian king’s summer retreat, and formed the centrepiece of a major series buildings, gardens, water features (not all of the latter successful) and parklands making up Sanssouci Park which Frederick the Great established and Frederick William IV later expanded. The palace, based on drawings by the king himself, was initially realised by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, and is regarded as one of the most important work of Northern German rococo architecture, also referred to as “Frederician Rococo”, as developed by von Knobelsdorff.

Sansouci Park
Sansouci Park

The version in Second Life is the work of Claire-Sophie de Rocoulle (tjay007 Resident), who has sought to recreate the vineyard terraces, the facade of the summer palace (with a small interior set), together with some of the formal gardens. A small commercial area, screened from the gardens and terraces by trees and hedgerows offers a range of stores selling period items to suit the setting of the location, and under these is an exhibition hall providing more background information on the original palace and grounds, and the times in which it was built. Also on display here are photo comparisons between Claire-Sophie’s build and the original – which serve to show the care taken in trying to offer an accurate reproduction.

The garden is home of various role-play events suitable for the period of the park’s heyday (and which include balls, picnics, etc.). Information on specific events is available through the Sanssouci Gardens RP Group, while a note card giver located in the foyer area outside the exhibition hall outlines requirements for play – most of which appears to be casual. Those wishing to hold their own (presumably period) events on the park are invited to contact either Claire-Sophie or Sofia von Essen (HHdoctorRaven Resident).

Sansouci Park
Sansouci Park

For those who wish to explore the park in costume, free clothing and wigs are also available in the foyer area outside the exhibition hall, as is a teleporter to the Charlottenburg Palace ballroom, the venue for role-play balls.

If hunts are of interest to you, the park offers one of its own. Simply locate 15 of the jewels scattered around the garden and terraces to claim the prize. Those who enjoy a little fencing can also enjoy themselves in one of the shaded alcoves to one side of the gardens.

If you’re looking for an 18th century period setting for a photo shoot, or simply enjoy exploring historical recreations in SL, then a visit to Sanssouci Park might be worth your while.

Related Links