Fantasy Faire: treasure the memories

Fantasy Faire 2015: Vallacia; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Fantasy Faire 2015: Vallacia April 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

The Westering sun is starting to draw longer shadows across the hills and valleys and rivers  and roads of the Fairelands, and soon they will once again be taking their leave of us.

Truth be told, I’ve once again failed in my intent to wander the Fairelands as much as I had wanted, seeking stories and writing of fair folk and the wonderful realms within their borders. Fantasy Faire is always special, and this years it again seems even more so, and I once again find myself regretting allowing other things to limit the times I have been able to spend there. Because once the Fairelands has passed into the West at the end of each year’s Faire, all we are left with are photos and memories of the spirit that once wrapped us in its embrace that year.

Fantasy Faire 2015:  Tangleshimmer Grove; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Fantasy Faire 2015: Tangleshimmer Grove April 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Which is why, no matter how much time we have or haven’t spent wandering these beautiful worlds, meeting others, engaging in role-play, enjoying the many and varied entertainments – and in the process (and at the time of writing, the total is still rising!) raising almost L$6 million (almost US $24,000) for Relay for life – there is now a new way to keep the Spirit of the Faire alive and with us as the Fairelands themselves fade into memory.

The beautiful Spirit of Fantasy Faire pendant designed by
The beautiful Spirit of Fantasy Faire pendant designed by Kaelis Ember and available through Shapeways.com

Writing in the Fantasy Faire Blog, Sonya Marmurek brings word that Kaelis Ember has designed a beautiful pendant representing the Spirit of Fantasy Faire, as envisioned by Alia Baroque for the 2015 Fantasy Faire poster.

Made of polished brass with a choice of 14k, and 18k gold plating or Rhodium finish, the Pendant is a beautiful reminder of all that Fantasy Faire represents and can be yours from just US £59.90 / €69.01 (both including basic shipping, and Euro price inclusive of VAT) when you order via Shapeways.

The description of the pendant reads:

This gorgeous piece of original art will hang proudly around your neck, a tangible token of your efforts to end the hold cancer has over the lives of so many. A Relay for Life of Second Life event benefiting the American Cancer Society, the Fantasy Faire brings together people from all around the globe who share a love of Fantasy and a united belief that a cure for cancer doesn’t have to be a fantasy forever. Join us and show that you too believe in the strength of Fantasy to shape our reality. Whether it’s for yourself or a loved one, this pendant will always be a reminder of the strength of what we can do together when share a common dream.

Such has been my lot that I sadly couldn’t even stay awake for the May Day Masked Ball as witness the crowing of the first King and Queen of the Faire, together with the appointment of their Chancellor. With the votes all tallied, it was a clean sweep for Discworld, with Havelock Vetinari crowned king, Granny Weatherwax as Queen, with Greebo the Cat as their Chancellor.

All hail the Fantasy Faire 2015 King and Queen, and their Chancellor!
All hail the Fantasy Faire 2015 King and Queen, and their Chancellor!

Although my own votes went to Tyrion and Maleficent for king and queen, I confess that I’m also glad Havelock and Granny won. A world without Sir Terry Pratchett isn’t quite what it once was, and so this is a fitting way to top-out the commemoration of his life and work which was also a part of the Faire this year.

One thing I did manage to squeeze in this year was a little bit of filming. While my efforts don’t span the visual delights of ColeMarie Soliel’s magnificent tour through all 13 regions of the Fairelands, I managed to complete some filming in Ichi-Go Ichi-E, which I used in a post earlier in the week, and also at the Spires of Andolys, which I offer below.

Another activity I really enjoyed was the opportunity to walk through this year’s remarkable hunt – The Lost Lands. The creative effort that went into this is quite extraordinary, and everyone involved is deserving of congratulations. From all the chatter I’ve seen in the FF groups, the hunt has been greatly enjoyed again this year, and I was pleased to be able to play a minor role in things.  But – how did you find the hunt? the organisers would like to know so that they can start planning for 2016. So, if you completed or only tried the hunt, please give your feedback.

Fantasy Faire 2015: Vallacia; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Fantasy Faire 2015: Vallacia April 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

There is still much to see and a lot to day at the Faire, so be sure to check the events pages and announcements. But time is passing! Don’t miss your chance to gather memories of the Fairelands, and then let the Spirit of the Faire help you to recall them once this year’s Faire has passed into the West.

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SL project updates week 18/2: TPV Developer meeting

Server Deployments Week 18 – Recap

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

SL Viewer

[00:30] All of the viewers currently in the release channel as RCs are currently being updated to match the current release viewer, version 3.7.28.300918, which uses the new viewer build tool set.

Experience Keys / Tools

[02:06] The Lab is still making headway on the back-end issues they wish to clear before they promote the Experiences RC viewer to the de facto release viewer.

Attachment Fixes

[02:20] The attachment fixes project viewer (Project BigBird), currently at version 3.7.28.300856, is expected to appear as a release candidate viewer very soon – most likely in week #19. It is thought this viewer fixes all of the attachment issues associated with AIS v3, although there are some attachment issues which occur server-side which it does not correct, such as failures with requests to attach multiple items (such as during an outfit change).

Oculus Rift Project Viewer

[07:22] As noted in my last TPV Developer meeting report, the Lab is resuming work on the Oculus Rift project viewer. The focus on this will be to ensure the viewer works with the latest Oculus SDK (it is currently running behind SDK releases), and also up to the latest viewer source.

Once this has happened, it is likely that the viewer will enter the release channel as a release candidate viewer, so that it can keep pace with updates to the release viewer, and from there progress to release status. How quickly this will happen is dependent upon a lot of different factors, and it is likely to remain the last in line to become the release viewer for a good while, partly because it is unlikely the Oculus Rift will be available as a consumer item until 2016, and so there will be other things entering the release channel which have broader usage within the SL community, and will therefore be promoted more quickly.

Viewer-Managed Marketplace

There was a Viewer Managed Marketplace meeting on Friday, May 1st, immediately prior to the TPVD meeting, and a transcript of that meeting, with recording, is now available.

VMM meeting May 1st, 2015 – video and transcript

On Friday, May 1st, Brooke Linden chaired a Viewer-Managed Marketplace (VMM) feedback meeting to address any issues so far uncovered during the current beta testing and answer questions from Merchants.

The meeting was recorded by Chakat Northspring, and the video is embedded below, with a transcript of the Q&A session. My thanks, as always, to North for providing the video. The transcript picks-up after Brooke has made her opening comments thanking people for their attendance, etc. Questions / comments from attendees are show in italics, timestamps are provided at the start of replies so that those interested can jump to the relevant part of the video and list to the answers directly.

Note that during the meeting, there were some questions which were returned to as a result of additional comments. Where this is is the case, either: a) the question is given in the transcript at the point at which the major discussion on the subject took place, or b) subsequent comments and replies have been listed at the point at which the main answer to the question was given.

[01:34] Brooke Linden (BL): So I’m going to go over a little bit of how it works, and talk to you about some of the decision-making process and then I’d mainly like to focus on people who have experienced VMM and get feedback from them on the process and how it’s working for them, and then we can deal with high-level concerns.

So, what we had been doing with Direct Delivery is having people put items into a Merchant Outbox, which sent inventory items to the Marketplace, and then Merchants would then list those items, and those items would get delivered to their customers in-world. With Viewer-Managed Marketplace, we are getting rid of an extra step … and we are allowing deliveries to occur directly from the Merchant’s inventory.

Many of the Merchants we talked to are storing copies of the items they’re selling in the Marketplace in their inventory. Some of them are doing this in box form due to concerns over inventory sizes; and one of the things we did do is we spent a lot of time talking to out internal groups that have worked on and maintained large inventories for some of our customers to evaluate whether or not there was risk involved in increasing the size of some existing inventories.

The feedback we got from them is that the problems aren’t necessarily with large inventories, they are with situations where somebody has 10,000 folders or objects at the root of another folder [aka a “flat” inventory structure]. Now there are a handful of people on the Marketplace who have this many listings, and we’ll be working with them to help make sure that their old listings that are no longer in use get deleted.

One of the things that we changed with Direct Delivery is that we made it much easier to delete listings; so now if you want to delete a Direct Delivery listing, it will put your inventory back into your unassociated items folder, so you can return it to yourself in world … One additional thing we did as a part of Viewer-Managed Marketplace as a result of feedback … is that when an item runs out of stock [No copy items], it needs to be removed from the Marketplace … so we have changed the behaviour in Viewer-Managed Marketplace to unlist items that run out of stock.

We basically tried to fit-in related issues that made sense with the change to VMM. And one of the things we also did was to meet with some Merchants to talk about versions, and how they want to manage those versions, and how they typically manage them in their inventory. and we worked to create a hierarchy in the viewer-Managed Marketplace to support the ability to store more than one version under a listing and choose which one is the current active one.

So that’s a high-level overview with some of the thinking and some of the problems we tried to address while we were working on Viewer-Managed Marketplace. So, those of you who have tired Viewer-Managed Marketplace, are there questions or concerns or feedback that you have for us?

Why the sudden change when the Merchant Outbox is working fine?

VMM replaces the Merchant Outbox with the Marketplace Listings panel, which allows merchants to carry out a number of Marketplace-related tasks from within the viewer
VMM replaces the Merchant Outbox with the Marketplace Listings panel, which allows merchants to carry out a number of Marketplace-related tasks from within the viewer

[07:39] BL: The merchant Outbox isn’t working fine for everybody, and the Merchant Outbox also does not support  the group of Merchants who sell items that they do not have Copy rights on … in order to sell those, we had to make some changes to the way that Direct Delivery worked, and because we were going in to do this, we looked at the problems and feedback that we had received on Direct Delivery, and made some improvements there.

Overall, the number of times you move something between systems or people, the greater the risk of there being some kind of problem. And so we really wanted to minimise that. There are come people who have had their Merchant Outboxes stuck in initialising, and haven’t been able to put things on the Marketplace, and that’s something out support team is able to help with, but this is the kind of thing that we wanted to address.

Can you confirm the exact time line before auto migration starts so that we know how long we have to migrate ourselves if we wish?

[09:23] BL: We’re trying not to give exact dates, because one of the things we want to do is make sure that we have time to address any bugs or issues that come up before we start moving everybody.

So we will not be officially launching into production until the viewer is the released viewer. We’re planning to put the viewer into the release process hopefully in the next week or two [the viewer is currently a project viewer]. We’re working on getting the updates localised. So however long that takes  – and you all know it can take a month or so to get a new viewer out.

So at that point, will will have launched to production, and we’re planning to have users in production for probably about a month, to give them a chance to start moving things over manually if they would like to. We are going to be getting some volunteers who will let us migrate them early-on, and we might even want to migrate a couple of them during the beta period. We’ve already started testing migrations for some of our internal test accounts.

Once we’ve done those tests and dealt with any issues that come up, then we’ll begin the automated migration process.

[11:04] For very large stores [with] a few thousand or more listings, and if people are Premium members, we’re going to be allowing them to work with us to schedule a night where we can do the migration work. We’re going to do most of the migrations overnight Pacific Time, because that’s when our lowest traffic is on the Marketplace.

Other people who aren’t scheduled will get an e-mail at the start of the migration with an estimate of how long it will take for your store [to be migrated], we’re trying to be conservative, and then an e-mail at the end of the migration, letting you know that the migration is complete.

During the migration process your stores will not be available because there’s just so much risk for things to get messed-up. We expect it to be milliseconds per listing, 500 milliseconds at the most So hopefully that answered that question.

While transferring from the old system the new listings don’t automatically activate. They have to be listed even though it says “active”.

Kurt Linden (via chat): We are aware of this issue and working on a fix.

Continue reading “VMM meeting May 1st, 2015 – video and transcript”

Visions of Hope – a silent auction supporting RFL of SL

Officially launching on Sunday, May 3rd, but open for preview now is a very special silent auction taking place through until the end of May in aid of Relay for Life.

Vision of Hope is being hosted at Hope Haven Heroes, where the survivors and caregivers support groups meet. It comprises pieces donated by some of Second Life’s top photographers and visual artists including Boudicca Amat, Tomais Ashdene, Skippy Beresford, Bijou, Randy Firebrand, Morgan Kincess, Em Larsson, Ziki Questi, Ricco Saenz, Hillany Scofield, Bear Silvershade, and Trinity Yazimoto.

Visions of hope
Visions of Hope

All of the pieces on offer to the highest bidders are in large format, and have a reserved starting bid of just L$400 (bidding can be increased in L$100 increments). As this is a silent auction, bids will be tallied and the winners announced on May 31st. 100% of all proceeds from the bidding will go to RFL of SL.

To mark the auction’s formal launch, there will be a special party on Sunday, May 3rd, kicking-off at 13:00 SLT, featuring the music of DJ Cupric. An open invitation is extended for people to attend.

Vision of Hope
Visions of Hope

All the pieces that have been donated are unique to the auction, making this a one-time opportunity to obtain some really superb artwork while also raising money for RFL of SL. So be sure to make a note of the event in your diary, and do pop along to the Hope Haven Heroes gallery during May.

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