UWA art and machinima challenge: show how you Pursue (the) Impossible

Image courtesy of UWA
Image courtesy of UWA / Eliza Wierwight

On Saturday August 1st, 2015, the University of Western Australia (UWA) announced the opening of their 2015 Grand Art and MachinimUWA Challenges. Jointly entitled Pursue Impossible, between them, they feature an opening prize pool in excess of L$400,000.

The Challenges are sponsored by Tom Papas & SciFi Film Festival, Reign Congrejo & BOSL, LaPiscean Liberty & SL Artist, AviewTV, Pixel Bits, Virtlantis, Phillip Vought, Carolyn Steele & York University (Canada), Taralyn Gravois, UWA Marketing & Communications, as well as the UWA Virtual Worlds Project.

Pursue Impossible invites entrants to consider what their “impossible” might be. Is it the goal they have achieved or which they’ve seen achieved by their loved ones, friends, family  or heroes achieved and which has sought to inspire them? What have they overcome which they once thought to be impossible? How do virtual environments empower people to visualise, create and push the boundaries of the possible? What are those things we deem to be impossible, but which we may still pursue and conquer as individuals or collectively? What are the impossibilities of the mind or heart or soul? Do we see the seemingly impossible and try to overcome it, or do we allow it to overpower us?

Jayjay
Jay Jay Jegathesan (Jayjay Zifanwee in SL), discusses Second Life and the achievements it has brought in a special video marking the launch of the UWA’s new brand, which is reflected in the new Grand Art and Machinima Challenge

“Those who pursue what may at first seem impossible are the ones who keep the world turning,” UWA’s Jayjay Zifanwe, Manager of the School of Physics at the university states of the theme. “What if Ghandhi did not believe he could overcome the impossible for his country? What if Dr Fiona Wood did not believe in second skin for burn victims? What if Professor Barry Marshall did not believe in himself and use himself as a human guinea pig for the benefit of mankind?”

The theme is also a reflection of a new brand launched by UWA in May 2015, which featured Jayjay’s work in developing a UWA presence in Second Life, and which is promoted by the university in video which may help get entrants to the Challenge thinking as well.

Please refer to the official UWA blog post for the major rules and considerations in entering the Challenge, and to find out about the prizes in the art and machinima categories. However, in summary:

  • Each category (art and machinima) currently has a prize pool of L$195,000, with a L$50,000 first place prize, and 11 prizes overall
  • Entrants are free to submit entries to either the art or the machinima categories, or to both if they wish
  • Art entry notes:
    • Art entries are limited to one per entrant, should preferably by submitted with COPY permissions, and must not exceed 150 LI, and must be free from any copyright issues – if third-party content is used in an entry, permission must and been sought and granted from the creator for its inclusion in the Challenge
    • Sounds, lighting, particle effects, etc., should be scripted to turn off when not in use. You may be asked to provide a revised entry if it is too intrusive or interferes with the display of other works
    • Exceptionally large or complex builds will be placed on platforms above the gallery with a teleport (TP) device and poster on the gallery floor and a return TP on the platform. You may provide a TP object and/or poster (no more than 2 LI) or we can place one for you. TP objects should be set to copy/mod and given to FreeWee Ling to add scripts and to place
  • Machinima entry notes:
    • There is no limit to the number of machinima pieces an entrant might submit; and while not a “hard” rule, machinima entries should preferably be no more than 4 minutes and 30 seconds in length, although this is not a “hard” rule
    • All submitted machinima must be made specifically for this challenge, and must include “For The University of Western Australia’s MachinimUWA VIII: Pursue Impossible” in the opening credits
    • Machinima entries do not have to be filmed within the UWA’s Second Life regions, but there will be a special prize available for a film which starts at the Winthrop Clock Tower and Reflection Pond, the starting pond for the UWA’s own Pursue Impossible video (above)
  • All entries to the challenge should be able to be interpreted by the casual viewer as representative of the theme.If the link is difficult to ascertain within a piece of art, it should be referenced in a note card accompanying the work; if it is difficult to ascertain in a video, it should be referenced in the notes accompanying the film on the web.
Never Say Never - Love Trasncends Borders, by Sharni Azalee, the 2014 Transcending Borders 3D Art Challenge Grand Prize winner - will you be this year's winner?
Never Say Never – Love Transcends Borders, by Sharni Azalee, the arts category Grand Prize winner in the 2014 Grand Art and MachinimUWA Challenge – will you be this year’s winner?

Art submissions should be made via the art entry receiver at the UWA Art Challenge Platform in Second Life, accompanied by a note card which includes your name, city, name of artwork and a description of artwork.

Machinima entries should be uploaded to any publicly accessible location, preferably  YouTube or Vimeo, and the details of the entry (name, creator, location, etc.) supplied to Jayjay Zifanwe and LaPiscean Liberty in-world or by e-mailing the details to Jayjay (jayjayaustralia@hotmail.com).

The closing date for entries is midnight SLT, on October 31st, 2015. Winners will be announced in December 2015.

When entering, do please note that as with all the UWA’s public programmes, an entry may not be accepted if it is deemed to be excessively abusive, violent, offensive, bullying, harmful, insulting, or contains inappropriate material or excessively foul language. Depictions of explicit sexual activity, as well as material deemed offensive based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation are not appropriate for the Challenge, and may be rejected. Final decisions in these matters will be made by the UWA Cultural Precinct.

As with the UWA’s Grand Challenges, there will also be a set of audience participation prizes available. The pool for this currently stands at L$15,000 apiece for the two categories (art and machinima), and I’ll have more details on how you can enter this aspect of the challenge in due course.

Above: Tutsy Navarathna’s Grand prize winner in the Machinima category 2014 Grand Art and MachinimUWA Challenge

Over the last few years, it has been a delight and pleasure for me, through these pages, to help showcase the UWA’s work benefiting the arts in Second Life. Entries to their Challenges a special arts programmes have always been of an incredible standard, and I’ve enjoyed viewing them as a both a member of the public and more recently as a member of the judging panel. It is in this latter capacity that I’m looking forward to seeing the diversity of entries submitted in both categories this year, and would like to offer all those who do enter, the very best of luck!

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Upcoming changes to land damage in Second Life

secondlifeAs previously reported in these pages, in April the Lab made some changes to the behaviour of Damage settings on land. At the time, the changes caused a certain amount of confusion in the way they limited people’s abilities to set Damage compared to previous behaviour.

As a result, a number of bugs were filed against the changes, including BUG-9098BUG-9253 and particularly BUG-9422, prompting the Lab to acknowledge there are issues, and promise to look into matters to see if anything could be done to improve things.

As a result of this, the Lab has now come up with a proposal on how Damage can be managed at both the region and the parcel level (there are no plans to offer Damage settings at the estate level) in order to provide region and parcel holders the greatest flexibility on how Damage can be managed on their land, as identified in the various use cases offered through the bug reports.

One of the issues resulting for the April changes to Damage: if the Allow Damage option is disabled at the region level, it could no longer be set at the parcel level - click to enlarge (image courtesy of Whirly Fizzle)
One of the issues resulting for the April changes to Damage: if the Allow Damage option is disabled at the region level, it could no longer be set at the parcel level – click to enlarge (image courtesy of Whirly Fizzle)

The proposal was unveiled by Oz and Grumpity Linden at the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, July 31st, and the detailed discussion of the changes can be heard via the meeting’s video (11:16 through 19:16). However, in essence, it is being proposed that:

  • The current Region / Estate > Region > Allow Damage function will remain, and is set to off by default – so damage will be disabled at the region level by default
  • A new setting, Allow Parcel to Override Damage will be added to  Region / Estate > Region, which will allow parcel owners within a region to set Damage for their land, even if it is disabled at the region level via Allow Damage. This will be set to on by default
  • The About Land > Options > Safe (No  Damage) option will be unchecked by default – so Damage will by default be on at the parcel level by default.

Thus, under this approach, and by default, parcel owners can still have Damage enabled if they wish, while the region owner can have it disabled in order to make places like public areas safe from unintentional Damage, for example.

However, region owners will be able to retain overall control for setting Damage on a region by unchecking Allow Parcel to Override Damage. This will cause the entire region to obey whatever is set via Allow Damage, and the Safe (No Damage) option in About Land > Options will be disabled / greyed-out for all parcels, preventing parcel holders from changing it.

In addition, further changes will be made to the viewer so that it will only display Damage icons in regions / parcels where Damage is enabled.

Currently, there are no times scales for when these changes (which will involve updates to both the simulator code and to the viewer) might be implemented; the idea at the moment is to gain feedback on the proposal as it stands. Furthermore, the Lab is still examining how they might ensure that any current settings for Damage people have on their land are correctly preserved when any changes are eventually rolled-out (although it is likely some people may have to manually readjust the Damage settings on their land once changes have been made, even with the best efforts on the Lab’s part to avoid this).

Once the changes have been finalised and time tabled for implementation, the Lab will hopefully communicate them ahead of release via a blog post / announcement and through the viewer’s MOTD. I’ll also be covering the changes when they are ready to be deployed.