Second Life project updates 27/1: server, viewer, Experience Keys

Jasmine's Hollow; Inara Pey, June 2015, on Flickr Jasmine’s Hollow (Flickr)

Server Deployments

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

  • There was no scheduled deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, June 30th
  • On Wednesday, July 1st, all three RC channel received a re-roll of the server maintenance project from week #26, minus the problem which caused that week’s roll-back.

BUG-197, “Cannot See My Chat Only In My Region/ Region Bad Performance” refers to a problem whereby a user can’t see any of their local chat on a region or parcel, and nor can anyone else, due to a scripted object which is spamming chat so badly, the chat throttle kicks in, but no warning would be provided to inform the user this was the case. with the deployed change, the user will now get a message about the chat throttle being hit, but unfortunately, the system will not identify the spammy object (so it might be removed / returned, if possible).

SL Viewer

On Tuesday, June 30th, the Experience Tools RC viewer, version 3.8.0.302622, was promoted to de facto release status by Linden Lab. An official blog post accompanied the promotion, and I blogged an updated overview of the viewer and Experiences.

On Thursday, July 2nd, the Attachment Fixes RC viewer (Project Big Bird) updated to version 3.8.1.303130, bringing it to parity with the release viewer. The Maintenance RC viewer and the Viewer-Managed Marketplace RC viewer will also be updated in due course.

Experiences and Experience Tools

As noted above, the Experience Tools viewer was promoted as the release viewer on Tuesday, June 30th. As a result of this, a number of questions were raised during the Simulator User Group meeting that day, some of which have been asked elsewhere, and so are reproduced here:

  • Will accounts other than Premium be able to create Experiences in the future?
    • No comment at this time
  • Will it be possible to purchase additionalKVP data storage (for storing information on an experience – players, their progress, etc.) in future?
    • This has not been ruled out by the Lab, but it is something they’re decided they don’t “need to figure out yet”
  • What happens to an Experience if a Premium user reverts to a Basic account?
    • The Experience is suspended; data saved to the KVP will not be immediately deleted
  • Will it be possible to transfer an Experience to, say an alt on Premium if downgrading the account associated with the Experience to Basic?
    • This is a possible idea for the future; however the Lab are not looking at it at present, due to the complexities involved
  • Can any third-party creators to sell no mod scripts for other people’s experiences?
    • Technically, no; contributors to an Experience have to be explicitly allowed by the Experience owner
  • Can an Experience run on a mainland parcel?
    • Yes
  • Can an experience run across multiple regions?
    • Yes, so long as it is Allowed by the land owner(s)
  • Will a region restart affect the information for an Experience stored in theKVP?
    • No.

Other Items

Windlight / Environment Changes

The Lab is looking to improve windlight / environment capabilities within the viewer. No work has actually started as yet, but there has been an offer from the Alchemy TPV team to contribute code that would allow the cloud textures to be changed without having to re-start the viewer when doing so.

An idea that has been suggested is that creating and saving windlight settings as local XML files could be replaced by saving them as assets. No decision has been made on this, but it is important to note that were this to go ahead, this would not prevent people from creating their own windlights. Rather, what it would mean is that such custom settings would be saved as SL assets, rather than locally, making them easier to share with others, resulting in a more easily achieved “shared experience” to be experienced.

Avatar Complexity

The release  of a project viewer for Avatar Complexity is still stalled due to the bug that’s been introduced that renders all avatars affected by the setting as invisible, rather than as the expected “Jelly Babies”.

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Distributed Pieces of Self in Second Life

Distributed Pieces of Self
Distributed Pieces of Self

Officially opening at 12:00 noon on Friday, July 3rd, is the latest exhibition at Max Butoh’s marvellous Dathúil gallery. Distributed Pieces of Self presents a series of images by Second Life (and real life) artist and photographer Amona Savira.

The title of the exhibit – chosen by Amona – is inspired by a line from 5th stanza of the 2004 poem Over Time, by Martha Collins:

Moon covered, un-
covered again, cold.
Cold and hot, very and both.
Disturbed the Sea of Tranquility.
Distributed by the Moon Shop.
Distributed self in pieces.
Oh my broken.

Distributed Pieces of Self
Distributed Pieces of Self

On offer is a series of image, each evoking a mood or style or approach, or a combination of all three; self-portraits in full or in part, each emoting both a story and a response.

The settings are minimal – Amona indicates she tends to use her own sets, although some of the images in this exhibit were posed using a set by the talented William Weaver. Post-processing is used with each image; again, Amona regards such editing, tuning and refining of her raw images as an integral part of her artistic intent.

Distributed Pieces of Self
Distributed Pieces of Self

The rest is a series of highly individual pieces that perfectly fit the title of the exhibit, and which offer the observer a glimpse into the world of the artist-as-subject. Each image presents an individual frame of life which, depending on how you view them and what comes to mind, might either by seen to complement one another, offering a collage, if you will, of images and emotions that come together to lend a “whole” to the “distributed story”. Or perhaps they remain framed in one’s mind as individual pieces, each standing alone in its narrative, moments frozen and distributed across time.

All told, this is another fascinating exhibition highlighting the work of a talented SL photographer (Amona also has a Flickr photostream I would suggest you check-out). If you like the works you see within this exhibit, do check Amona’s permanent exhibit spaces at East Art Gallery or at Harmony Garden Gallery.

My thanks, as ever, to Lucy and Max for allowing me to preview this exhibition, which will remain open through until the end of July, 2015.

SLurl Details

 

High Fidelity launches US$15,000 STEM VR Challenge

HF-logoFew people involved in VR and augmented reality are unconvinced that these emerging technologies will have a profound effect on education and teaching. As has been seen in both Second Life and Open Simulator, even without immersive VR, virtual environments offer a huge opportunity to education.

Now High Fidelity is joining in, and is doing so in a novel but enticing way: by offering up to three US$5,000 grants to teams or individuals who want to build educational content within High Fidelity.

The new of the opportunity, which the HiFi team is calling the “STEM VR Challenge” (STEM being the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in education), was made via a blog post on the High Fidelity website from Ryan Karpf. In it, Ryan says:

High Fidelity recently had the pleasure of showing off our open source virtual reality platform to educators and technical integrators at the ISTE conference in Philadelphia.

To demonstrate one way educators can use our platform, High Fidelity worked with DynamoidApps to develop an interactive model of an animal cell that can be explored on one’s own or with an entire class. The vast alien looking environment goes beyond just showing the parts of the cell, also showing some of the processes taking place. Travelling around with your classmates and teacher allows for real time question and answers and sharing of ideas.

If you want to visit this animal cell, login and go to cellscience/start, and fly towards any cell you see to begin your journey. Hitch a ride on a motor protein and jump off at one of the huge mitochondria along the way!

The interactive model of an animal cell created by High Fidelity, working with DynamoidApps (image courtesy of High Fidelity)

The model itself, in keeping with High Fidelity’s open-source approach to their platform, is being offered free to any who wishes to modify it, with the companying hoping it will become the first of a catalogue of educational units created within High Fidelity.

To further kick-start things, High Fidelity are inviting educators, be they individuals or groups, to take up the STEM VR Challenge, to submit proposals for educational content in High Fidelity which meets the criteria set-out in the Challenge website, namely that the content is:

  • HMD (e.g. Oculus Rift) featured
  • High school age appropriate
  • STEM focused
  • Social (can be experienced by >3 people together)

Proposals meeting these criteria and abiding by the rules and are eligible to enter the Challenge, should be submitted via e-mail to eduvrgrant-at-highfidelity.com. On offer are up to three grants of US$5,000 apiece to help further develop the selected ideas. In addition, awardees will have direct access to High Fidelity’s technical support, and have their content hosted by High Fidelity. To find out more, follow the links to the High Fidelity blog and the STEM VR website.

Related Links

With thanks to Indigo Mertel for the pointer.