Encountering King Arthur and Beowulf in Second Life

Beowulf and King Arthur
Beowulf and King Arthur

In June I wrote about the non-profit Literature Alive! project operated by Desideria Stockton and Royce Sommer, and their Canterbury Tales Virtual Pilgrimage. They now have a new literary adventure for people to enjoy.

Beowulf and King Arthur is hosted on the Lingnan Drama Island by Brant (MrK Kas). The title itself pretty much explains what the installation is about: an exploration of the legends and times of Beowulf and King Arthur. And if this sounds an odd combination when one considers Beowulf is an Old English epic set in Scandinavia while King Arthur really came to literary prominence as a romantic figure in the 11th and 12th centuries, keep in mind both are firmly rooted in Anglo-Saxon times, and thus the pairing is apt.

As with Canterbury, Beowulf and Arthur is an interactive investigation of both legends, this one set within a huge castle structure. Entering the courtyard of this will bring the visitor to a famous image: Excalibur stuck fast in a great stone. Paths leading either side of this serve as introductions to the two legends – left for Beowulf, right for Arthur. From here, one can explore on foot, passing through the Beowulf section and on to the Arthurian section, or a teleport board provides access directly to Arthur, and one can then progress to Beowulf from there.

Beowulf and King Arthur
Beowulf and King Arthur

Given this is interactive piece, there is a lot to click on throughout; with Beowulf, blood spatters on the floor of the castle hall and on the tables provide information on his legend, while visitors can also learn about Anglo-Saxon times in Britain, paganism and Christianity (which sit as uneasy partners in the Beowulf legend) by clicking on wall displays, flowers, and so on.

Moving through the hall leads the visitor increasingly toward Arthur and Arthurian legends, notably Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a reference to Myrddin (Merlin) prior to his fusion into Arthurian tales, and thence a climb up to Arthur’s hall, where sits the round table and an opportunity to learn about the code of chivalry.

Both elements of the installation include quizzes and puzzles and the opportunity to win prizes (keep an eye out for the quiz chests scattered around). As with Canterbury, this is an engaging exploration of literature, and one that appears to be part of a bigger project. Outside of the castle sit a series of Tudor style houses which look to be in the process of being set-up to offer insight into other works of literature; this is something I’m hoping to talk to Desi and Royce about in the near future.

Literature Alive!
Literature Alive!

In the meantime, if you fancy the opportunity to find out more about two classic mythologies and the times in which they are set, Beowulf and King Arthur offers an interesting and easy-to-follow means of doing so.

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Reminder: Second Life VMM migration set to commence

secondlifeUpdate, July 30th: The lab has issued a new version of the VMM viewer, and the links to the download in this article have been updated accordingly.

A reminder that as recently announced by Linden Lab (and as I reported here), automated migration of Direct Delivery items on the Marketplace to the Viewer- Managed Marketplace capability commences on Thursday, July 23rd, 2015.

All Marketplace merchants will receive an e-mail at the start of the migration process, and another when it has completed. In addition, those with 5,000+ listings will receive an e-mail related to the scheduling of their store migration.

Operations will run from 21:00 SLT through to 09:00 SLT on weekdays, starting on Thursday July 23rd, and will continue in this manner until all stores on the Marketplace have been migrated. Merchants will not be able to modify their stores while their items are being migrated, but sales of items that are not in the process of being migrated will continue.

Note that Magic Box items will not be migrated during this process; they will require a manual migration, and no date has yet been given as to when support for Magic Boxes will discontinue.

The Viewer-Managed Marketplace ideally requires a viewer updated to support VMM in order to make managing items easier. At the time of writing, viewers supporting VMM are:

Non-VMM viewers will display VMM items in a Merchant Listings folder - do not delete this folder or its contents! folder
Non-VMM viewers will display VMM items in a Merchant Listings folder – do not delete this folder or its contents! (Shown in Singularity.)

Note that if you are a Merchant using a viewer that does not have VMM support, once your store has been migrated, you will have an additional folder in your inventory display called Marketplace Listings.

This is the controlling folder for VMM, and should not be deleted, or have contents deleted or moved (it will be hidden in the majority of viewer with VMM support).

While it is possible to use this folder to continue to add new VMM items to your Marketplace store (providing you create the required folder structure, etc.), as Whirly Fizzle notes on the VMM migration forum thread, this is not a recommended approach given that it might lead to mistakes or confusion.

It had been indicated that VMM migration would not commence until after the viewer code had been promoted to release status. As such, the sudden announcement of the start of migration ahead of such a promotion has caused understandable consternation with TPV developers and merchants, prompting the Commerce Team to comment:

As many of you noticed, we did shorten the time line to get Merchants migrated to VMM. This is due primarily to the need to get Merchants off of Xstreet, as it was down for a weekend in early July, forcing us to accelerate our dates.

Those who are concerned about the migration process should refer to the migration forum thread, linked-to above. I also have a high-level overview of VMM (written when the project viewer first appeared), including a look at manual migration.

The Lab’s own resources on VMM can be found here: