Metamorphosis: looking through the eyes of Escher

Metamorphosis - Beq Janus
Metamorphosis – Beq Janus

Beq Janus is an artist clearly inspired by the work of Maurits Cornelis (M. C.) Escher. For RFL of SL 2013, she produced models of  Waterfall and Tower of Babel. In 2014, she offered Metamorphosis, inspired by Escher’s pieces of the same name, and which included additional influences and themes drawn from Escher’s life, as a symbol of the promise as we journey towards a cure for cancer.

Now Metamorphosis is now back, located over the Quarry Hill region of New Babbage, and it is a veritable masterpiece of art, rich in symbolism as well as capturing so many elements and nuances of Escher’s work – and also, if one looks around, Beq’s previous Ecsher-inspired builds.

Metamorphosis - Beq Janus
Metamorphosis – Beq Janus

The most prominent influence from Escher in the piece, as Beq notes, is that of the artist’s 1939 wood print Metamorphosis II. However, elements of both Metamorphosis I and Metamorphosis II can also be found. Also evident, again reflecting Escher’s work and the influences in his life, are elements of the little Italian town of Atrani – most notably the church and surrounding houses.

“Recreating a two dimensional work in three dimensions has its challenges, and more so when the work is deliberately faking the third dimension,” Beq notes of the challenges in bringing Escher’s work into the digital realm. But there are also opportunities, as she also notes, “it also gives you freedom to play with the unseen areas. I have tried to make the sim explorable, with tunnels and caves that lead you through the rocks, past stalactites and back round into the central square. I am sure that there are places I have not intended to make still waiting to be found.”

Metamorphosis - Beq Janus
Metamorphosis – Beq Janus

As such, this is a fascinating build to explore, one filled with many paths one might follow through it, originally intended as a reflection of the RFL of SL 2014 theme of journeys; both the global journey towards finding the ways and means to eradicate cancer from our lives, and the individual journey those of us afflicted by cancer, or who support those struck by cancer, take in dealing with the disease. In fact, one might also say the installation resonates with this year’s RFL theme as well; offering us a walk through art inspired by the past as we look to the future and a world without cancer.

This is also a build which makes fascinating use of light and shadow, encouraging the visitor to experiment with windlights, sun position and the camera.

Metamorphosis - Beq Janus
Metamorphosis – Beq Janus

If you didn’t get to see Metamorphosis last year (which I sadly didn’t), I cannot recommend a visit to Quarry Hill highly enough.

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SL project updates week 13/1: server, RTLP and misc news

Server Deployments Week 13

As always, please refer to the deployment thread in the forums for the latest updates / news.

  • On Tuesday, March 24th, the Main (SLS) channel received the server maintenance package deployed to the three RCs in week 12, comprising updates which allow the Lab to make various configuration changes without having to necessarily run a rolling restart when they have done so. It contains not actual functional changes to the simulator software
  • On Wednesday, March 25th, the three RC channels should all receive the same new server maintenance package, which is focused on inventory loss issues, and provides the Lab with better error detection and logging, improving their ability to look at some of the failure places and the removal of unused code.

SL Viewer

On Tuesday, March 24th the Avatar Hover Height (AHH) viewer, version became the de facto release viewer. Avatar Hover Height is a new feature that allows you to adjust the vertical position of your avatar within some preset limits. This is a purely graphical tweak that does not affect your position for physics purposes. For it to work properly, both you and observers watching you need to be running a supported viewer.

You can find out more information view the wiki page and / or via my overview of AHH.

Now in the release viewer: Avatar Hover Height provides a means of adjusting your avatar's graphical height above the ground / floor / objects, as seen by yourself and others
Now in the release viewer: Avatar Hover Height provides a means of adjusting your avatar’s graphical height above the ground / floor / objects, as seen by yourself and others, on-the-fly

A very slight peculiarity with AHH, which seems to work very well, that if you have camera angle moved to the “default” view looking out from behind your avatar by hitting ESC to reset your camera angle, and use the AHH function, it can also change your camera angle. However this doesn’t happen if you’re using any other camera position at the time you alter your height using AHH. This appears to be because there is some interact between the avatar’s height and the default camera position which might be expected behaviour, and may be looked at again in the future. In the meantime, it doesn’t impinge on the overall functionality of AHH.

Restore to Last Position

Note that the RC update is does not include any deprecation of the server-side message used by the restore to last position code (RLTP) used by TPVs.

Commenting on the status of any removal of the server-side support for RTLP (see here for background on this) during the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, March 24th, Simon Linden said, “We haven’t done anything about RTLP  and it’s still officially unsupported.   There’s a long list of issues that would really make that feature work.   It would be really nice, but it’s not just fix-one-bug.”

Oz Linden then added, “We won’t disable it completely without fair warning at the TPV meeting. What I’ve done so far is just ask questions – it doesn’t count as fair warning :-).”

 Other Items

Mesh Uploader

There is currently a mesh uploader project viewer (version, which includes various improvements to the uploader, and which will most likely be progressing through to RC status and to a release status over time. However, there are still further requests for the uploader to be improved in terms of the information it displays, two of which are:

  • Better capabilities for zooming the model preview window after using the scale option, so that if the preview image is enlarged the user can zoom out further than is currently possible
  • The ability to provide an actual LI calculation while using the custom physics model upload, rather than just a convex hull measurement (see VWR-28177 “Enable Prim physics-shape-type physics weight display in upload floater”).

Both of these were raised at the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday March 24th; which doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily be acted upon, but while the Lab is tinkering with the uploader, it does bring both matters back to the Lab’s attention.

Meet the Lindens, Wednesday, March 25th

Back in November 2014, the Lab held a get-together with residents at  Meauxle Bureaux, the official home of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW) moles. It proved to be the first of a growing number of social events, which have also included the return of the Lab / residents  winter snowball fight.

On tuesday, March 24th, Xiola Linden posted a Twitter message offering a further invitation for residents to get together with Lindens. This will again take place at Meauxle Bureaux, this time on Wednesday, March 25th, between 12:30-13:30 SLT.

The next meet-up with Linden folk will take place on Wednesday, March 25th, between 12:30 and 13:30 SLT at Meauxle Bureaux
The next meet-up with Linden folk will take place on Wednesday, March 25th, between 12:30 and 13:30 SLT at Meauxle Bureaux

So, if you’ve missed previous get-togethers, make a note of the time and place!

Meauxle Bureaux Ye Olde Abner Mole Pub could be seeing some heavy custom (Lindens are said to like their rum, rum, rum, rum, rum ...!)
Meauxle Bureaux: Ye Olde Abner Mole Pub could be seeing some heavy custom (Lindens are said to like their rum, rum, rum, rum, rum …!)

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