Firestorm ready to launch Gateway; MadPea join as partners

The Firestorm Gateway: partnering with MadPea Games
The Firestorm Gateway: partnering with MadPea Games

I recently covered the soon-to-be-launched Lab trail progamme which will see a new set of community gateways active within Second life and geared towards helping incoming new users get to grips with the platform more positively, and help them to start to engage in activities, thus hopefully improving the chances that they’ll “stick”.

The Firestorm team are one of the groups invited by the Lab to be a part of this new trial programme, and as I reported earlier in October, they will be launching their Gateway on Saturday, October 31st with a special party followed by a month-long Spooky Nights hunt which will take place across the five core regions of the Firestorm Gateway.

What I couldn’t reveal in that article, but am able to now, is that MadPea Games have agreed to partner with Firestorm to help get new users engaged in Second life.

madpea-logo
A number of MadPea games will be available in the Firestorm Gateway regions

In a press release on October 28th, MadPea confirm they are providing Firestorm with a number of their vintage games which income new users will be invited to play free-of-charge, in order to present them with even more opportunities to learn about and engage in Second life.

Commenting on the partnership, Kiana Writer, CEO and Queen Pea of MadPea Games says, “We are all very excited about the opportunity of working with Jessica and her team and waving the flag for what is achievable for user-created content on the grid. There’s a huge learning curve when you enter SL for the first time and we believe Firestorm, along with their partners, are best placed to help guide new users through that arc.”

Jessica Lyon, speaking for the Firestorm team, said: “We are super excited to announce that we’ve formed a mutually beneficial partnership with MadPea Productions! Essentially MadPea will install some of their older games as free play in our environments, and in exchange new residents will learn about MadPea Games to become potential new customers. MadPea will also then be able to send their new users to our installations to learn how to play MadPea games.”

The Firestorm Halloween Party stage area
The Firestorm Halloween Party stage area

The Firestorm Halloween Party will kick-off at 13:00 SLT with a series of live performances running through until 16:00, when things will switch over the DJs, and the Spooky Nights Halloween Hunt will launch.

Topping the bill for the party are:

  • 13:00 SLT – Mankind Tracer
  • 14:00 SLT – Nance Brody
  • 15:00 SLT – The Changhigh Trinity Sisters Fireshow
  • 14:00 SLT onwards – DJ Quad

Over 150 well-known Second Life merchants have contributed to the hunt, and you can read a list of participating creators on the Firestorm post on the party, and also catch photos of some of the prizes on offer.

Four landing points will be in operation for the party, as follows:

For further information on the party and the Firestorm Gateway, please refer to the Firestorm blog post, or to find out more on the Gateway and the new Gateway programme, please refer to the articles in this blog.

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SL project updates 44/1: server, viewer, attachment points

Loch Noble, Pinewinds; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr KiLu, Majorca (Flickr) – blog post

Server Deployments – Week #44

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

On Tuesday, October 27th, the Main (SLS) channel received the same  server maintenance package as deployed to the three RC channel in week #43. This comprised server-side improvements for delivering group notice attachments, together with some simulator crash fixes and code to prevent the uploading of “hacked” mesh content (e.g. mesh items which show a LI of 1 no matter what their actual complexity, or which spoof a creator’s name).

On Wednesday, October 28th, the RC channels should be updated as follows:

  • BlueSteel and LeTigre will each receive the same new server maintenance package, comprising a simulator crash fix
  • Magnum will also receive a new server maintenance package, comprising the same simulator crash fix as BlueSteel and LeTigre, together with a fix for a security issue.

SL Viewer

On Monday, October 26th, the Notifications viewer was promoted to the de facto release viewer. Version 3.8.6.305981 comprises the new floater for managing incoming notifications (Group, Transactions, Invitations, System).

The notifications viewer became the de facto release viewer on Monday, October 26th.
The notifications viewer became the de facto release viewer on Monday, October 26th.

Also on Monday, October 26th the HTTP release candidate viewer updated to version 3.8.6.306549, which includes fixes for the following issues:

  • MAINT-4952 Replace old http client usage with llcorehttp
  • MAINT-5283 Viewer doesn’t connect to Facebook
  • MAINT-5693 [Project Azumarill] Avatar often bakes fails on Azumarill
  • MAINT-5732 [Azumarill-RC] Viewer actually crashes when connection is lost instead of disconnecting.
  • MAINT-5780 Viewer crashes when trying to create webprim
  • MAINT-5788 Secondlife has stopped working error, after canceling TOS
  • MAINT-5791 Terms of service are not loading.

Other Items

Rigging Mesh to Attach Points – BUG-10543

In my last project update, I reported on asset upload validation checks, and the Lab’s work to move them from the viewer to the simulator (e.g. checks to ensure animations are what they say they are, further checking of mesh uploads to ensure they can be rendered correctly, etc.). the overall aim is to improve reliability in SL. However, one impact of these changes is that once implemented,  it will no longer be possible to upload mesh items weighted to attach points.

While the Lab  has never regarded this as a supported means of handle mesh attachments, it has nevertheless been widely used by creators in SL. So much so that when Firestorm removed the ability to upload such meshes from their viewer, it caused some consternation (see FIRE-17144).

Once implemented, the change should only affect new uploads of mesh weighted to attachment points, and not affected any items already uploaded and in use within SL. However, a JIRA on the matter has now been raised directly with the Lab on the issue (see BUG-10543), in which creators who use the technique can provide input and use-cases to the Lab on why the approach is used (if you wish to leave a comment, please try to make it constructive and provide examples / reasoned argument, as these work better than rants).

Commenting on the JIRA, Troy Linden has said, “We realise that there will be a lot of residents/assets affected by this and currently looking into it. Sorry for the inconvenience and worries it caused. Please stay tuned.”

Adding to this at the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, October 27th, Oz Linden said:

Up until a couple of days ago, we didn’t know anyone was doing it. You’d be amazed how often that happens. So please allow us a little time to digest what we’ve been learning. It’s actually one of the great things about working on SL. While we don’t always love how people apply their creativity, we all just love seeing how creative our users are.

Region Edge Issues

There has been an occasional problem encountered along the edges of simulators in which, when terraforrming and using the Smooth option, a very thin “cliff” can be raised into the air (see BUG-5979), or where when an avatar gets close to a region, it falls  through a “gap” (see BUG-242).

Various reasons have been identified for this – as noted in the bug reports – and at the Simulator User Group meeting, Simon Linden said, “I think I found the cause of those odd region edges you sometimes see, where you can’t move in the areas you think you should at the edge of the land. It’s actually not the navmesh [which had been thought to be one of the possible causes] but it is the physics shape of the land.”

Essentially, the simulator, where no longer connected to a region which might once have been next to it, gets confused as to what it thinks should be alongside it. It then attempts to match the physics and land to what it thinks is in the “neighbouring” region,  rather than simply resetting itself.