Fantasy Faire: as the gates open, are you ready for amazing sights, role-play and more?

Enter the Dragon - one of many to be found at Fantasy Faire - at YoZakura, designed by Nya Alchemi
Enter the Dragon – one of many to be found at Fantasy Faire – at YoZakura, designed by Nya Alchemi

Bloggers across the grid had their first opportunity to witness the regions of this year’s Fantasy Faire. And the verdict is already in:

Amazing.

No fewer than thirteen regions await the arrival of visitors to the Faire, which runs from Thursday, April 23rd through until Sunday, May 3rd inclusive, all in aid for Relay for Life. And even before the gates have officially opened, this year’s Faire has already raised L$1,559,776 ($6,239) as of 12:00 noon on April 21st.

Ichi-go Ichi-e designed by Sharni Azalee & Marcus Inkpen
Ichi-go Ichi-e designed by Sharni Azalee & Marcus Inkpen

This year, the Faire brings a host of new activities and opportunities for everyone to get involved in the biggest fantasy event fund-raiser in virtual worlds today, together with the return of popular activities from previous years.

Role-play will once again be a feature of Fantasy Faire in 2015, with three unfolding role-play stories taking place within the Fairelands.

The Rickety Wesels will be trying to save Poppetsborough, designed by Luna Barak, Alrunia Ahn, Kyra - will you lend a hand?
The Rickety Wesels will be trying to save Poppetsborough, designed by Luna Barak, Alrunia Ahn, Kyra Reiter – will you lend a hand?

The Rickety Weasels have once more returned to the Faire, and this year have set-up house in the  station at Poppetsborough, the wonderful town of paper created from the pages of a book when a mouse accidentally sneezed upon it. Not only that, but the town appeared with its own inhabitants, the kind-hearted and magical Poppets, complete with a magic train capable of carrying passengers to any story, despite only travelling in a circle.

But Poppetsborough and the Poppets are frail, being made only of paper, and now tears and holes are appearing in the pages of Poppetsborough, which are corrupting the stories with wickedness and drawing others into nothingness. Can it be stopped? Can Poppetsborough be restored – the Rickety Weasels are determined to try to mend the Tears of Poppetsborough – will you aid them?

The Spires of Andolys, designed by Jaimy Hancroft, hosts The Origins of Sanctuary: Lut's Story
The Spires of Andolys, designed by Jaimy Hancroft and Eowyn Swords, hosts The Origins of Sanctuary: Lut’s Story

Meanwhile in the Spires of Andolys, the dark role play of The Origins of Sanctuary: Lut’s Story will unfold. Long ago Lut, the Sultan of Sanctuary, made a deal that tore the realm from God’s judgement. This deal Lut has never had to answer for until now. The dark Sultan will be placed before judgement for this deal he made. Will he be found innocent and justified, or guilty and be destroyed because of it?

Finally, and having started on April 15th on the NeoVictoria region,The NeoVictoria Project bring their latest role-play event to the Fairelands  and the winter City of Aurora. In The White Wedding, a despairing fae scientist, cursed to bring winter wherever he goes, the Sidhe empire for Aurora. But fate and love are not so easily abandoned.  The shade of his human wife seeks the help of the NeoVictorians and they bring her to the Fairelands, to find her spouse and end the curse.

The winter city of Aurora, designed by Asil Ares, will play host to
The winter city of Aurora, designed by Beq Janus, will play host to “The White Wedding” NeoVictoria role-play

Continue reading “Fantasy Faire: as the gates open, are you ready for amazing sights, role-play and more?”

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SL project updates week 17/1: server, viewer, Avatar Complexity

221B Baker Street; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr 221B Baker Street, circa 2012-2015, as seen in the BBC’s series Sherlock – and in Second Lifeblog post

Server Deployments, Week 17

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest updates.

  • On Tuesday, April 20th, the Main (SLS) channel received the server maintenance package deployed to all three RC channel in week #16, which comprises internal server logging changes and new flags for llGetObjectDetails()
    • OBJECT_BODY_SHAPE_TYPE – returned list entry is a float between 0.0 and 1.0. Anything > 0.5 is male, otherwise female; -1.0 if the avatar is not found
    • OBJECT_HOVER_HEIGHT – returned list entry is a float, -1.0 if the avatar is not found.
  • There will be no deployment or restart on the three RC channels on Wednesday, April 22nd.

This means there will be no Main channel roll in week #18, but there should be a new RC update, although this is still being worked on.

SL Viewer

The Avatar Layer Limits RC viewer updated to version 3.7.28.301019 on April 20th. This viewer allows users to wear up to 60 wearable layers (jackets, shirts, tattoo, alpha, etc.) in any combination and any number per layer up to the overall maximum of 60, rather than each individual layer being limited to a maximum of 5 items.

The Tools Update RC viewer has been performing very well since the last update (April 15th), and there has been something of a debate in the Lab as to whether or not to promote it to the de facto release viewer. While there is no hard-and-fast rule about when an RC is promoted to release status, very often the Lab prefers to leave two weeks between releases unless something is urgently required. Sticking to this would mean the viewer won’t be promoted until week #18 (week commencing Monday, 27th April); however we’re still early in the week, and things might change.

Viewer Managed Marketplace Beta

The Viewer-Managed Marketplace (VMM) officially started an open beta test on the main grid, which is scheduled to last for about a month for details see:

Avatar Complexity

Avatar Complexity is the term the Lab has settled upon for the upcoming functionality which provides greater control to user to define how other avatars are rendered in their world-view.

The idea is that as avatars can often be the single biggest impact on the viewer in terms of rendering, particularly in crowded places, so  Avatar Complexity will present a means by which avatars which require a load of render processing by your GPU can be rendered as a solid colour instead, which should help with performance on lower specification systems. Due to their solid colours, avatars rendered in this way have already been dubbed Jelly Babies or Rainbow People.

At the Open-source Developer’s meeting on Monday, April 20th, Oz Linden explained that “Avatar Complexity” has been chosen for the name of the capability to distinguish it from avatar imposter rendering, which will remain in the viewer alongside Avatar Complexity when it arrives. The difference between the two can be summarised as:

  • Avatar impostor rendering is a simplified and less frequent rendering of avatars further away from you, while those close to you remain fully rendered
  • Avatar Complexity renders any avatar exceeding the value set within your viewer as a single, solid colour, regardless of the avatar’s distance from you.
Avatar complexity is intended to help those who may hit performance issues as a result of their GPU struggling to render complex (hight render cost) avatars, by rendering such avatars as solid colours.
Avatar complexity is intended to help those who may hit performance issues as a result of their GPU struggling to render complex (hight render cost) avatars, by rendering such avatars as solid colours.

Oz further indicated that Avatar Complexity will be managed via the Advanced panel in Preferences > Graphics, and will initially be enabled / disabled in the official viewer based on your GPU’s benchmark (the value use to determine the viewer’s default graphics settings when first installed). Some TPVs may opt to leave the capability disabled by default (once the code is available for inclusion in TPVs), and allow users determine whether they wish to use it or not.

Currently, work at the Lab is focusing on a couple of aspects of the functionality:

  • Toning down the colours used by the viewer when rendering avatars in this way – as the functionality can currently be tested via two debug settings within the viewer, there have already been strong criticisms of that “Jelly Baby” rendering on account of the brightness of the colours
  • Server support is being added to pass on the counts of avatars that are and are not rendering to those using Avatar Complexity.

It is also probable that before the capability appears in a project viewer, it will also be set to  display notifications when you change your own complexity, and when the number of avatars not rendering you changes.

If you wish to experiment with the settings are they are at the moment, go to Advanced > Debug Settings and type-in RenderAutoMute. Select RENDERAUTOMUTEFUNCTIONS and set it to 7, then experiment with values under RENDERAUTOMUTERENDERWEIGHTLIMIT (start with 100,000, and increase or decrease it to alter the number of avatars around you rendered as solid colours (lower values = more avatars rendered as colours).