There is no planned Main (SLS) channel deployment / restart planned for the week. On Wednesday, March 16th, the three RC channels should be updated with an improved server maintenance project comprising script fixes and internal improvements.
The lack of recent deployments remains down to ongoing infrastructure updates occurring across the Lab’s simulator servers.
It is anticipated that an RC viewer – mostly likely either the current Maintenance RC or the HTTP / Vivox RC will be promoted to the de facto viewer this week. However, at the time of writing, the list of official viewers still stood at:
Current Release version: 184.108.40.2060054, dated January 15th – formerly the Maintenance RC viewer
Release channel cohorts:
Quick Graphics RC viewer, version 220.127.116.112297, dated March 11th
Maintenance RC viewer, version 18.104.22.1682269, dated March 10th
HTTP updates and Vivox RC viewer, version 22.214.171.1242094, dated March 9th
I’ve previously written about my passion for pianos, both in the physical world and the virtual (where I can indulge my fantasy of owning a concert grand). Over the years I’ve shifted from the Musical Alchemy grand by Persephone Milk, through Ample Clarity’s 1 prim / LI PrimPossible sculpted grand, to the current piano gracing the music room at home, the 8 LI Lisp mesh grand.
On March 12th, 2016, Ample launched his latest piano. It’s again a model with just a single LI, but this time it is presented in mesh, and he was kind enough to pass over models for me to take a look at.
The new piano is s collaborative piece, Ample tells me, and on rezzing it is certainly striking. Not only is it unsurprisingly less taxing, rendering-wise, than its sculpted predecessor, the details and style are a lot more refined. The keyboard is one of the best I’ve seen in terms of attention to detail, and there is a nice little touch with a reflection of the keys in the open lid.
Controls are straightforward: touch (left-click) the piano once to initiate it. This presents the menu controlling the music selection (15 classical pieces, although a further 9 are included in a separate book which can be mounted on the music stand), the piano’s appearance (change the textures and / or shine and also switch between either a 3D cast iron plate for the harp, or one of 9 different soundboard / strings / plate textures), set general access permissions for the piano, etc.
Left-clicking a second time will seat you (and add a 1LI invisible “pose shell” around the piano to allow the pose system to work). When seated, the animation / pose menu is opened, with the PG version offering some 400+ individual and couples animations, while the Adult version offers a further 400 “XXX” rated animations (again, individual and couple). A permissions option can also be used to limit access to this menu.
The playing poses are split between male and female and offer several playing styles, and all poses can be adjusted, as one would expect. Music playback is as good as any other high-end piano available in SL, although there is on occasion a slight distortion during intense passages – but again, this can be found in other models as well. When seated, the top boards automatically close to facilitate the animation system (which makes use of the top of the piano). To open it for playing again, type “open lid” (sans quotes) in local chat (you’ll have to STOP the system via the menu and then re-sit if you later wish to use the animations as part of the same session).
Given this is a 1 LI item (2 with the pose shell, as noted above, and which is required for the piano to work in SL), the amount of detail and capabilities packed into this piano is remarkable. However, the fact that the piano is just a single mesh has led to one or two minor compromises in detailing which for me had the annoying habit of attracting my eye once noticed, leaving me feeling that perhaps the use of a second mesh (the 1 prim approach of PrimPossible notwithstanding) might have avoided them.
But that said, the PrimPossible mesh piano is a stylish, ultra-low LI design. The L$950 price tag for both No Copy models equates to that of most Copy versions of other upmarket SL grand pianos, but few others have the range of animations associated with this model. The Copy versions, meanwhile are priced at L$2,400 (PG) or L$2,800 (Adult).
I’ll be honest and say that the PrimPossible mesh piano hasn’t persuaded me away from the Lisp at home, but it certainly now adds an extra grace at Caitinara Bar. Certainly, those who like their pianos to give something a little extra beyond music will be hard pressed to find a piano to match this one, while those operating on an LI budget who want a really nicely style grand piano simply won’t find better.
Ironwood Hills, designed by Cyrus Knight (josman2088) and Jestyr Knight (Zeke Jestyr), is perhaps not the neighbourhood we’d ideally like to pick to live. When I last visited, the town appeared to be deserted, caught within a forever twilight of swirling mist and rains, thrall to the soulful wailing of forgotten sirens.
Now occupying a new location, the story of Ironwood Hills continues – and the darkness shrouding it has not lifted; and as with the last build, this is a design which makes superb use of space, creating the feeling that the region is much larger than the supplied 65,536 square metres.
It is also a place where anyone who visited the last instalment of the town will, on arrival, feel an immediate sense of déjà vu. This may be a different location and the sirens may no longer be audible, but it is clearly part of the same town. Rain still falls from the heavy sky, lightning flickers, and the down town streets still offer the last vestiges of working electric lights amidst the decay. Here, however, water flooded the streets and alleys, perhaps the result of the same disaster that inundated the fairgrounds of the older Ironwood Hills build.
The flood presents the visitor with a problem. How to explore the streets without having to wade through the water and perhaps risk injury? Fortunately, the answer is supplied by a rowing boat sitting by the arrival point, allowing us to make our way around the ruined streets, past guttering street lights and the wrecks of cars and trucks; the broken windows of stores in places staring back at us like empty eye sockets.
With careful navigation, it is possible to reach a route up to drier land, a route which will carry you past a church. But this may not be a the place for spiritual restoration as one might expect. Carved stone figures, faces hidden under the hoods of their robes stand menacing guard at the church gates, while alongside the entrance a sign offers Ready or Not, Jesus Is Comingmore in threat than in promise of salvation.
Beyond the church, the road continues upwards, climbing to a plateau sitting just above the roof tops of the down town area. Here, behind a protective wooden palisade, sits a cliff side residential area. Beyond the houses nestled here, the rooftops of the taller down town buildings show more signs of habitation: a makeshift hospital here, a bar and still there, little huts, the gaps of alleyways separating them bridge by wooden planks while ladders connect roofs at different heights.
But where are the survivors now? To find that out, you must make your way between the houses and follow the road and it winds further up into the hills, the way getting darker, the warnings more grim as you progress. I’m not going to say any more here, because to do so would spoil the element of discovery.
Suffice it to say that there is as much to seen below ground here as there is above, and that the coiled snake of tunnels that leads you beneath the hills perhaps stands as a metaphor for the twisting descent into darkness taken by those who once survived here.
All told, this is another superb design by Cyrus and Jestyr, one that adds a further chapter to the dark legend of Ironwood Hills. If you like your explorations of Second Life to have something of an edge to them, this is definitely a place to visit; and if you have enjoyed the town in its earlier incarnation, then this latest chapter is certain to be one you will not want to miss.