Best wishes for 2016!

Happy New Year 2016
Happy New Year 2016 – please click for full size

May 2016 bring you every happiness, and be a year of peace and prosperity for us all.

My thanks again to everyone for your support throughout the year.

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Avatar studies in Second Life

Bellisimo Gallery - Addison Summerwind, December 2015
Bellisimo Gallery – Addison Summerwind, December 2015

Madalynn Rose recently contacted me about Bellisimo Gallery at Vivara, which offers free space to artists on a month basis. Currently on display are pieces by Ryanna Foxclaw, Broderick Logan, Wheelerwood Oppewall, Addison Summerwind, Astrid Zhangsun and Indieskies Almodovar, who provides a series of 3D pieces.

There doesn’t appear to be a set theme to the exhibition, but given the greater proportion of the images feature avatars, one might consider it something of an avatar study, even allowing for the landscapes, 3D work and images from the physical world which mark this as quite an eclectic exhibition.

Bellisimo Gallery - Addison Summerwind, December 2015
Bellisimo Gallery – Ryanna Foxclaw, December 2015

On entering the gallery, I found my eyes immediately drawn to the artwork of Addison Summerwind (topmost images), who presents a series of very evocative images covering a range of themes: portraits, fantasy, sensual … each one with a story to tell, and each one instantly captivating. Among these are six landscape images, smaller in size to the avatar studies, but no less appealing.

A thread of a theme connects Addison’s display with that of Broderick Logan, and given the current blockbuster movie on release world-wide, it’s in some ways quite topical: in the midst of Addision’s pieces sits Sith, whilst within Broderick’s sits the opposite side of the coin – Jedi.

Broerdrick’s display area is shared with the work of Rynna Foxclaw (immediately above). Again, both artists present an intense series of avatar studies in which sit single landscape pieces to offer contrast.

Bellisimo Gallery - Wheelerwood Oppewall, December 2015
Bellisimo Gallery – Wheelerwood Oppewall, December 2015

Addison Summerwind also shares a link with Wheelerwood Oppewall through the Obsession Exposed Studio and gallery.  Wheelerwood also offers up a series of avatar studies, striking in both style and finish, both Skip and Hania capturing my attention, constantly drawing me back to them as I wandered the gallery.

Astrid Zhangsun presents something entirely different: a set of photographs from the physical world, which make a striking contract to the studies of the other artists, while Indieskies Almodovar, as noted, provides a series of 3D pieces together with two paintings.

As noted, this is something of an eclectic exhibit in some respects, albeit it with some very compelling images which will remain on display through until January 8th, 2016.

SLurl Details

Bay City New Year 2015 prim drop

Prim Drop PosterThursday, December 31st 2015 will once again see a great Second Life tradition take place, with the Bay City “prim drop” set to mark the start of a new year.

Festivities will be kicking-off a 23:30 SLT at the Bay City Fairgrounds in North Channel. Marianne McCann will be providing the music and fireworks, and food and drink will be provided.

The theme for the event is a wintertime soirée; black tie attire is recommended, and all SL residents are invited to attend.

This will also be the final opportunity in 2015 to donate to Child’s Play Charity,  a US 501c3 non profit organisation offers on-line communities such as Second Life an opportunity to help seriously ill children around the globe during their hospital stays with the purchase of games and gaming equipment. As of December 24th, Bay City had raised L$122,189 for the charity through a series of events, including the annual silent auction and tree lighting concert, a Christmas tree sale, and other events. Hopefully, the Prim Drop will see this figure increase still further!

About Bay City and the Bay City Alliance

Bay City is a mainland community, developed by Linden Lab® and home to the Bay City Alliance. The Bay City Alliance was founded in 2008 to promote the Bay City regions of Second Life and provide a venue for Bay City Residents and other interested parties to socialize and network. It is now the largest group for Residents of Bay City.

Second Life Home and Garden Expo 2016 announced

A Maven Home featured at the 2014 Home and Garden Expo
A Maven Home featured at the 2014 Home and Garden Expo

The 2016 Second Life Home and Garden Expo  has been announced and will run from 14th February through to 6th March 2016.

Spanning nine regions, the Expo will feature the very best in home and garden design, furnishing and decor, all to help raise money for Relay For Life of Second Life (RFL of SL). In particular, 2016 will see the Expo under new management and featuring a fresh new experience: The Festival of Hope, together with an art exhibition and gachas, as well as the Expo hunt.

Registrations have now opened for interested exhibitors and artists, with the following point of note:

  • Those willing to be exhibitors at the expo are asked to offer two items for sale with 100% of proceeds being donated directly to RFL of SL. These must new items, and offered exclusively to visitors to the Expo for the duration of the event.
  • The art exhibition will be split into 3 groups, with artists in each group exhibiting for a period of one week. During this time, they must offer one item for sale with 100% of proceeds of sales donated directly to RFL of SL.

Gachas are a new opportunity to the Expo this year, and 50% of the proceeds from these will be paid to RFL. One gacha machine is included in all exhibitor packs. A limited number of non-exhibitor gachas will also be available.

Those wishing to apply to be either an exhibitor or artist at the 2016 should complete the application form. Full details of exhibitor pricing is available, and all applicant should ensure they have read the notes on intellectual property and the rules and requirements for the Expo.

Further details on the event can be obtained through the Home and Garden Expo 2016 website,  where blogger registrations will be opening in the near future. In the meantime, press enquiries can be made in-world to Kaerri Rae and /or Reven Rosca.

Black Dragon 2.4.4.6

Blackdragon logoBlack Dragon, the v3-style viewer by NiranV Dean updated to version 2.4.4.6 (aka version 4.0.1.36965) on Tuesday, December 29th.

The update primarily comprises a re-working of the viewer’s preferences floater, with Niran noting, “while the display preferences tab has gotten quite some upgrades and consistency changes, all the other panels were left out… until now.”

The most noticeable change is that several more of the tabs now have a slider to the right, the result of options which had previously been presented in two columns now appearing in a single column. As well as this, some options have been moved around to present a more logical top-down flow, as has previously been seen in the Display option tab, and with radio buttons replaced by combo boxes.

Niran has been re-working the Black Dragon Preferences floater, offering an approach to the tabs which matches the top-down flow seen within the Display options tab (click to enlarge)
Niran has been re-working the Black Dragon Preferences floater, offering an approach to the tabs which matches the top-down flow seen within the Display options tab (click to enlarge)

The result is a more logical flow, but currently comes at a cost  – the aforementioned increase in sliders on the right of some of the tabs. However, and here’s where an assumption on my part comes in – I do wonder if this might only be an interim thing, and whether Niran will be adding  expanding sub-tabs, again in the same style as the Display tab – as possibly evidenced by the inclusion of one such sub-tab in the Sound and Media tab.

The Sound and Media tab includes a sub-tab expansion option - a sign that expansion capabilities are to be added to the Preferences tab
The Sound and Media tab includes a sub-tab expansion option – a sign that expansion capabilities are to be added to the Preferences tab

Niran also notes that this release was to have contained the Project Bento avatar skeleton updates, but these have been left out. This is probably a wise decision; Bento is still in formative beta testing, and could be subject to changes throughout the next few months, as such the viewer code (and server-side support) could undergo change. As it is, Bento support is best witnessed on Aditi.

This is clearly a tidying-up, rather than a major update. however, it continues Niran’s work in offering a consistent presentation of the UI within his viewer. Also, given that the Lab prefers TPVs do not make significant releases over the holiday period, keeping the updates to UI clean-up is probably no bad thing.

And it certainly makes a nice little Christmas present for Black Dragon users.

Additional Links

2015: a look back – part 3

Kaleidoscope; Inara Pey, December 2015, on FlickrKaleidoscope (Flickr) – blog post

Christmas is upon us, and following not far behind, the year’s end, which is often a time of reflection as we look back over the old before pausing to await the arrival of the new. It’s become something of a tradition in these pages to look back over the virtual year’s events as I’ve seen and reported them through this blog, and offer a chance to revisit the ups and downs and the good and the bad the last twelve months have brought us.

To make things easier, I’ve been once again breaking thing down into three parts, this section look through the months of September through December. You can find January through April here and May through August here.

The Lab

Following-up on some comments made at the SL12B Meet the Lindens events, I spoke to the Lab about the (still) upcoming return of the community gateway programme on a trial basis. In October, I followed this up with a look at their focused web landing pages, designed to attract users from specific market verticals.

A part of the education landing page, which includes links to details on the education discount, the SL education wiki,
A part of the education landing page from the Lab, one of a series of targeted ad campaign landing pages designed to attract new users to SL, in operation since around June 2015

The Lab added “Latest Photos” to their blog in September and a photo contest was launched, offering the winning entrants the opportunity to have their images used in a Second Life marketing campaign. The latter was followed in October / November by a Halloween themed contest, this one with the usual L$ prize pool.

Also in September, those using credit and debit cards to make payments directly to the Lab were advised to update their payment information as the Lab transitioned to a new payment system. Was this the first indication of what was to come?

In November, and thanks to the initial sleuthing by Vick Forcella, I was able to report on – and speculate about – the Lab’s new payments and compliance subsidiary, Tilia Inc.

Also during November, we saw the launch of their revamped corporate website.

The Terms of Service get updated, and a fair few people get upset … about things that haven’t actually changed, but to which their attention has been drawn as a result of the things which have changed. In December the Lab also made what seemed to me to be an odd offer; fortunately, several people helped me understand things a little better 🙂 .

Second Life

While regions continued to fall off the grid, September seemed to be the month when some more notable region known to SL travellers vanished, such as The Forgotten City and Steelhead. News also came that the wonderful Mont St Michel would be passing, although it was still going in November (and still open at the end of the year).

The abyss Observatory re-opened its doors after being threatened with going permanently off-line
The Abyss Observatory brought news it had re-opened its doors after being threatened with going permanently off-line

On the technical front, the work on improving inventory management started to see the light of day, and the latest batch of HTTP updates reached project viewer status in September. Avatar complexity and the graphics pre-sets continued not to reach release status as the Lab continued to tweak things and splat bugs. The Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) work for media, however, did get to project viewer status.

In October, attachment and Interest List issues became a focus of attention, and the Lab blogged about upcoming SL improvements, which I looked at in a little more detail.

In November came the surprising  announcement that land set-up fees were reduced and changes had been made to the policy and fees involved in transferring grandfathered regions to a new owner. At the time, I suggested the former would have little real impact, and this seems to have been the case. That month also saw further update on upcoming server-side validation checks intended to help reduce problems users might experience, although some of these were delayed after niggles in the system were found, with deployment finally taking place at the end of the month.

The new range of "Classic" human avatars for Second Life, released by the Lab in November to broadly positive feedback
The new range of “Classic” human avatars for Second Life, released by the Lab in November to broadly positive feedback

Continue reading “2015: a look back – part 3”