RFL: Springfest is coming

  This year’s RFL Springfest will take place between Friday, April 3rd through Sunday, April 5th inclusive, and is being presented by the Tribute City Relayers.

The event, which will kick-off at noon on Friday, will have a distinctly futuristic look and feel, with four main activity areas set out across the region.  Over 20 RFL teams will be participating throughout the weekend either directly or through vendors placed in the two event mall areas.

Planned activities across the weekend include paintballing, bumper boats, 7 Seas fishing, music and entertainment from DJs and live performers, all of which will take place across the four event areas.

Everyone is invited to drop by throughout the weekend and join in with core activities or try their hand at whatever else might catch their eye within the region. What’s more, 100% of all money raised through the course of the weekend will go directly to RFL of SL.

Team run events are listed in the Springfest event schedule, and you should refer to that for any last-minute updates. However, at the time of writing, they comprised:

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

  • The 7 Seas Fishing Area:
    • 13:00-15:00: Civil War RP
    • 16:00-18:00: Love Life Relay
  • The Space Carnival:
    • 13:00-15:00: Tribute City Relayers
    • 15:00-17:00: Rays of Hope
    • 17:00-19:00: Team Mingan for Relay For Life
    • 19:00-20:00: Liberty Falls Media
  • Moonlight Dancing:
    • 18:00-20:00: Starry Night Ball
  • Space Skyclub:
    • 14:00-16:00: Relay Ravens
Springfest 2015: Moonlight Dancing
Springfest 2015: Space Mall

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

  • The 7 Seas Fishing Area:
    • 12:00-14:00: Team Mystic Wolfe
    • 14:00-16:00: LV Silver Screeners
    • 17:30-19:00: Tribute City Relayers
  • The Space Carnival:
    • 12:00-14:00: Civil War RP
    • 14:00-14:00: Second Life Cheerleading
    • 16:30-18:30: Team Shadow
    • 18:30-20:00: Harmony of Hope
  • Moonlight Dancing:
    • 12:00-14:00: Fire and Ice Racers
    • 14:00-16:00: BYOK Event with DJ Sandie
    • 18:00-20:00: Relay Ravens
  • Space Skyclub:
    • 12:00-14:00: Starlettes Take A Stand
    • 14:00-16:00: Civil War RP
    • 18:00-19:00: Team Mingan for Relay For Life
    • 19:00-20:00: Liberty Falls Media
RFL Springfest: beneath the Space Skyclub
Springfest: beneath the Space Skyclub

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

  • The 7 Seas Fishing Area:
    • 14:00-16:00: LV Silver Screeners
  • The Space Carnival:
    • 14:00-14:00: Cherubs For A Cure
    • 18:00-20:00: Love Life Relay
  • Moonlight Dancing:
    • 12:00-14:00: Team Mystic Wolfe
    • 14:00-16:00: Civil War RP
    • 16:00-18:00: Team Mingan for Relay For Life
  • Space Skyclub:
    • 12:00-14:00: Tribute City Relayers
    • 14:00-16:00: Torch Warriors
    • 18:00-20:00: Feed your Soul, find A Cure.

Main and Additional SLurls for the Weekend

Main SLurls

The primary SLurls for each of the main event / activity locations in the region are:

Team vendor areas:

Springfest 2015: Moonlight Dancing ballroom
Springfest 2015: Moonlight Dancing ballroom

Additional SLurls

Additional activities and information kiosks can be found at the following SLurls:

 

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What dreams might come when you visit Pandora’s Box?

Pandora's Box of Dreams, Diamond Bay; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Pandora Box of Dreams, Diamond Bay (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Note: this vision of Pandora Box of Dreams is closed.

Dreams are our mind’s creations, places where  mind takes us to relax, to enjoy and to ease from rest of the world. Come dreamer, let the slumber take you, close your eyes and just focus on the weight of body easing away with each breath you take, and with each breath you become less here and more in our dreams…

So, in part, reads the welcome which is ethereally whispered to those arriving at Pandora Box of Dreams, in the Homestead region of Diamond Bay. Designed by Lokhe Angel Verlack (Jackson Verlack), this is a place where, as the introduction suggests, Dreams are encouraged. The greeting is given at the arrival point, high in the air over the region, as you pass through a series of veils to come to a bed located among shrubs heavy with leaves of green and red and gold, and among them, slender boughs bearing white sakura blossoms. Climb on to the bed, let your dreams take you, and you’ll be transported to a land rich in colour and filled with the sounds of nature. Pandora's Box of Dreams, Diamond Bay; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Pandora Box of Dreams, Diamond Bay (Flickr)

Your journey through this land – a series of beautifully sculpted islands rising on rugged cliffs and rocks from the waters below –  starts within a modest Japanese bath house. Do make sure you have local sounds enabled prior to leaving it; if you don’t you’ll be missing out on the full ambience of these tranquil isles.

For the first part of your exploration, you’ll need to follow the steps up under the Torii gates, as this is the route to access the rest of the islands or, if you prefer, make an initial descent to the water’s edge deep within one of the gorges separating the islands. Once you have passed the gates on the far side of this path, however, where you roam is up to you; just as our dreams are free to lead us where they will, so to are visitors free to wander wherever their feet might take them. Pandora's Box of Dreams, Diamond Bay; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Pandora Box of Dreams, Diamond Bay (Flickr)

Perhaps you’ll make your way down to the waters of the deep gorges separating the islands one from another; or perhaps you’ll take the bridges spanning them to explore the other grass-covered isles and make your way to the little open house made from converted railway carriages and rest awhile.

Maybe you’ll travel further, and make your way down to the water’s edge by way of tree-lined steps and past a wooden platform where Japanese delicacies await and a great stone harp stands, and thus come to the flooded cherry blossom garden. If you’re wise, you’ll give yourself time to do all of these, and discover everything else the islands have to offer, and allow them to wrap their magic around you like a comforting blanket. For those taking photographs, and there is a lot here to photograph, don’t forget you are invited to share them in the Pandora Box of Dreams Flickr group. Pandora's Box of Dreams, Diamond Bay; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Pandora Box of Dreams, Diamond Bay (Flickr)

Such is the design of the region that when it comes to photography, experimenting with windlight settings and the time of day slider is an absolute must; this is a place which lends itself naturally to a wide range of lighting, making it a wonderful subject for pictures. As with many places in SL, moving between windlights can cause a particular scene to magically and quite unexpectedly transform itself before your eyes. But here, the sensation when it does, is like slipping from one part of a dream into another, a feeling which enhances the overall theme of the region.

Do note as well that if you want to rez props for photography, you can join the local group – there is a nominal fee of L$50 for doing so, and an invite should be sent to you on your initial arrival in the region. All told, Pandora’s Box of Dreams is a visual delight; a place guaranteed to soothe the soul and / or get the camera clicking. The design is simple yet elegant, uncluttered and serene, and harmonious in its presentation. Highly recommended.

High Fidelity moves to “Open Alpha”

HF-logoIn what is not an April Fools joke, the rumours of an announcement having been doing the rounds for the last few days, High Fidelity  announced on April 1st, 2015 that they are throwing wide the gates on an “Open Alpha” phase for their nascent virtual worlds platform.

The announcement came in the form of a blog post from Philip Rosedale, which reads in part:

This is a very early release, and High Fidelity is still very much a work in progress.  The look and visual quality is far from complete, and big things like avatar movement animation and physics are still not in place.  There are lots of bugs to fix, and content formats will continue to change.  But enough systems are now functional to make us feel that High Fidelity is useful for some types of work, experimentation, and exploration. Having run a small and controlled early alpha to iron out the really show-stopping bugs, we’re now eager to engage a larger group and recruit open source contributions from other developers working on building the metaverse.

The post is full of a lot of useful information for those who have been waiting to slip into Hi Fi and find out what it might be about – such as how to obtain the Interface (client) to access worlds within Hi Fi, and how to download the Stack Manager, should you wish to create your own world.  Both the Stack Manager and Interface currently require one of Windows (7 with SP 1 or later), Mac OS X or Linux, although the blog post notes High Fidelity is working on a GearVR / Android version as well.

In mentioning both the Interface and the Stack Manager, it’s worth noting that there are also a number of tutorial videos available which may also be of use, including one covering downloading and installing the Stack Manager and another on running the Interface for the first time (although this doesn’t include downloading and installing it). I’ve added the URLs for the all of the tutorials at the end of this article.

Another aspect of the platform that’s mentioned is that of the Marketplace, which was also recently featured in a High Fidelity video. However, before you get excited about buying / selling goods on Hi Fi, keep in mind the platform doesn’t as yet have any for of currency / token / micro-transaction support. Thus, the marketplace is purely for freely sharing creations with other Hi Fi users – although the company again notes that getting a payment system sorted out is also on their list of priorities.

The most important thing to remember, should you opt to try High Fidelity out for yourself, and haven’t kept up with the news, is that it is very alpha. This means that it is not going to look like Second life in any way shape size or form, and the Alpha is about getting a feel for things, participating in High Fidelity’s development. As such, change is to be expected, as Philip Rosedale warnings in the blog post:

You can expect continuous and substantial changes as we complete new features; we will likely break content as we continue to design and experiment.   The transition from ‘alpha’ to ‘beta’, which we expect will happen over a year or so, will signal greater stability in the content formats.  But as an open source project with contributions from many developers and with a broad set of features working, we think the time is right to open things up completely for early use.

Obviously Hi Fi also doesn’t run the same way as SL or OpenSim, so there will be a lot of nuances you’ll need to get used to. It’s also currently very small – although the High Fidelity home page may help you get started with finding places to visit (see Up and Running on the home page).

There is also a lot of good stuff in the platform as well which may be fun for some people to play with – the physics system works, 3D audio is operational, there is support for some bleeding-edge VR technology (for those who have the necessary toys!), and so on. The blog post includes some animated GIFs of some of the physics capabilities in action. models can also be imported (.FBX format), and JavaScript is the scripting medium.

If you are interested in giving High Fidelity a try, please do make sure you read the blog post in full, as it will help to give you a better feel for what you can expect. You can also catch a series of videos from the High Fidelity team on their You Tube channel.

Related and Useful Links