Enjoy the Dutch Golden Age in Second Life

Dutch Masters - Tyne's Fine Art Gallery
Dutch Masters – Tyne’s Fine Art Gallery

Currently open at Tyne’s Fine Art Gallery, owned and curated by Drw (Drwyndwn Tyne), is an exhibition of paintings by the Dutch Masters who came to prominence during the Dutch Golden Age, and gave rise to important new genres in painting.

It can often be difficult to bring real-world art into Second Life and have it translate well enough to be fully appreciated, particularly when dealing with the works of artists like Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Ludolf Bakhuizen, Gerard van Honthorst, and so on, whose works are so well-known. However, this exhibition demonstrates that not only can it be done, but that if handled correctly, it can present a means of presenting masterpieces from all over the world in a single exhibit which might otherwise be next to impossible to achieve, and do so in a way that is entirely faithful to the originals.

Dutch Masters - Tyne's Fine Art Gallery

Dutch Masters – Tyne’s Fine Art Gallery

Some 44 pieces are on display at the gallery, and care has been taken to ensure any copyrights held by the museums hosting the original pieces have not been violated. Each piece has also been reproduced in the precise aspect ration of the original, with an additional 15% added to allow for viewing in Second Life, thus adding to the authentic look of the pieces on display. The gallery itself beautifully reflects the look and feel of a classic physical world art gallery, with muted tones, and pictures all individually lit and presented with their own catalogue-style notes.

However, the power of this exhibition lies within the picture frames themselves. These have been scripted so that when clicked by a visitor, two options are displayed: Museum Card and Examine. The former will offer you a texture containing the notes accompanying the piece as presented by the gallery where it is displayed (and which matches the notes displayed under each of the pieces in Drw’s gallery).

Select Examine, however, and you’ll be invited to click the painting again. This will place your avatar in a seated hover position and focus your camera directly on the art (should your camera fail to orient itself after clicking the painting, tap ESC once to adjust it).

Dutch Masters - Tyne's Fine Art Gallery
Dutch Masters – Tyne’s Fine Art Gallery

Thus, you are able to examine the painting in fine detail, almost as if standing before it in a physical world gallery.

The power of this method of presentation can be appreciated when viewing any of the pieces Drw has included in the exhibition. However, I would venture to suggest it particularly  comes into its own when looking at those in the selection which might be regarded as being very familiar to the observer, such as with Rembrandt’s self-portrait (shown on the right – click for full size), the original of which is hanging in the National Gallery of Art.

This is a truly outstanding exhibition, bringing together a magnificent selection of art from the Dutch Golden Age which would otherwise be impossible to see under a single roof in the physical world. As such, it is an exhibit not to be missed.

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Second Life project updates 42/1: server, viewer, misc items

Hestium; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr Hestium (Flickr) – October 2015 – blog post

SL Server Deployments Week 42

There was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, October 13th. Also, the server maintenance package planned for deployment to the three RC channels in week #42 did not pass final testing, and the deployment has been postponed as of LL CoB on Tuesday, October 13th.

SL Viewer Updates

The Maintenance viewer, version 3.8.5.305531, was promoted to the de facto release viewer on Tuesday, October 13th. The viewer has over 90 fixes, improvements and feature requests – please refer to the release notes (link above) for details.

Group Notice Attachments

The server maintenance package postponed from deployment in week #42 comprises a partial fix for  group notice attachments failing to respond when clicked, forcing recipients to open the Group floater, search the Notices tab for the relevant notice and retrieve the attachment from there.

This problem most frequently occurs as a result of some of the data relating to the notification and the original notification users open to access the attachment being lost to the simulator after about an hour, and the fix in question is geared to correcting this. However, there can be other circumstances where the attachment fails to respond, which might be either server-side issues, or viewer issues.

“I’m pretty sure there’s a viewer issue too,” Simon Linden said, discussing the matter during the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, October 13th. “If you notice when you click on notice attachments, sometimes when it doesn’t work you see nothing at all; no UI feedback where that attachment shading changes or anything. I think in those cases the viewer is dropping the click and not doing anything at all, and it might work if it actually sent a request to the server.” He added that he hopes the RC deployment, once available, will at least improve matters.

Other Items

Accessing Crowded Regions

A question was asked at the Simulator group about whether repeated attempts to access a crowded region by repeatedly trying to cross to it from neighbouring region or constantly trying to teleport into the region, causes it any significant issues in terms of performance. There are already some HUDs on the marketplace which will automatically re-try teleports to a specific location, and the question was prompted by a feature request to Firestorm to make a similar capability within the viewer.

Simon Linden was understandably cautious in his response, pointing out that any attempts to move between regions will use up time and network traffic, but suggested that a retry system with a delay of around 5 seconds or so shouldn’t put any stress on the simulator (some of the available HUDs actually work on a faster retry cycle than this, so could be having more of an impact). It was also suggested – although not by a Linden –  that moving such a capability client-side might actually reduce a small load from the simulators when compared to using a scripted HUD.

This question prompted the idea of some kind of list managed queuing system for crowded regions, so that people attempting to reach it would be automatically teleported when there is room, and in the order they were added to the queue.

However, as was pointed out in the meeting, such an approach would require a considerable amount of work in terms of just managing the list (keeping track of who is on the list, who joins the list, who opts to log-out before a space becomes available, forcing an update to the entire list, removing people who are teleported from the list, and so on).  As such, Simon indicated he’d rather work on improving simulator performance to allow more avatars into a region, and have the viewer improved so it can better handle large numbers of avatars.

Special Events Regions

In a similar vein, there have been rumours of large events getting dedicated servers to handle the load more effectively. Commenting on this, Simon said, “We’ve talked about that, and I don’t know what might happen; but we’ve discussed the short-term need people have for regions or better performance. It’s now more in the product folks lap … they need to figure out how we would offer something like that.”

Temp Attach from Object Inventory

A question was asked at the meeting about whether anyone at the Lab was working on a means to allow a temporary attachment directly from an object’s inventory (contents). Simon noted that while no-one is currently working on this, it is on the Lab’s feature list, adding, “it’s just an idea; but the current attach process used by experiences is rez the thing, then attach. It would be better to just directly attach.”

It’ll be interesting to see if this comes about.