Oriental mornings in Second Life

Tatakai Tochi; Inara Pey, April 2016, on Flickr Tatakai Tochi – click any image for full size

I was drawn to Tatakai Tochi for two reasons. The first is that it features the work of Shen Molinaro. The second is that it offers an oriental theme, something guaranteed to attract my attention much like a moth to a flame 🙂 .

A homestead region held by Regina Mills, (heatherfury) Takakai Tochi literally means “land of flight”. In keeping with this name, it presents visitors with rugged highlands pushing their way into a misty sky, an early morning sun just edging over the highest peaks.  Sitting atop the shoulders of several of this craggy hills are flat-topped plateaus occupied by traditional Japanese houses and buildings which overlook the deep slices of the valleys and gorges dividing up the land.

Tatakai Tochi; Inara Pey, April 2016, on Flickr Tatakai Tochi

Water flows through these deep valleys, fed by high, tumbling falls and winding its way out towards the surrounding sea. Several of these channels are bordered by wooden board walks or stone footpaths, offering the traveller paths through and around the region and a chance to explore it in detail.

“When I set out to make this sim,” Regina says of Tatakai Tochi in the notes presented to visitors on arrival, “My intention was to create a peaceful and serene place where I could come and hang out with my friends without any distractions or bothers.” For a time she toyed with the idea of adding rol-play to the region, but in the end decided to offer it as a place others could visit, enjoy and photograph without the added distraction role-play might have brought with it, and Shen Molinaro, Regina’s friend, and who designed the equally atmospheric and stunning Suomi, a place I wrote about in early March.

Tatakai Tochi; Inara Pey, April 2016, on Flickr Tatakai Tochi

While described as a Japanese themed region, Shen has drawn on both Japanese and Chinese influences – as is fairly common in many oriental themed regions in SL – whilst building Tatakai Tochi. The former is by far the more dominant of the two, but the latter eases into the consciousness as one comes across the occasional giant panda or when encountering a Foo Dog (Chinese imperial lion) standing guard at a fork in a walkway.

This is a place for quiet contemplation as well as exploration. Walk through the meandering valleys and gorges and you’ll pass through bamboo groves or under the gently rocking arms of blossoming trees to small shrines and past figures of Buddha, very occidental wrought iron benches offering places to sit and listen and think.

Tatakai Tochi; Inara Pey, April 2016, on Flickr Tatakai Tochi

From the bay alongside the landing point, visitors can embark on a walk around the island, following one of the wooden walkways mentioned earlier, before these also turn inland. For the energetic, there are also various paths to be found up to the high regions – and climbing quickly reveals the more panoramic nature of the region.

Tatakai Tochi is a picturesque region, beautifully capturing the orient from which it draws inspiration, and offering some excellent photographic opportunities, making for an ideal visit. You may need a little time to explore all of it, but it is more than worth the effort.

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SL project updates 16 14/1: server, viewer

Noire'leans; Inara Pey, April 2016, on Flickr Noire’leans – blog post

Server Deployments Week #14

There was no scheduled deployment to the Main (SLS) channel this week. All three RC channels received the same server maintenance package, comprising a fix for (non-public) BUG-11163 llHTTPRequest returns 400 from some sims and not others, and some minor improvements. Assuming nothing goes sideways with this update, it should be promoted to the Main channel in week #15 (commencing Monday, April 11th).

It is currently not clear if there will be a further update to the TC channel in week #15; this will apparently be determined on work being carried out over the next few days.

SL Viewer

Current Release Version – HTTP / Vivox Updates

The HTTP  / Vivox RC viewer was promoted to the de facto release viewer at the end of week #13. Version 4.0.3.312816 (dated March 23rd) presents a complete replacement of the under the hood HTTP infrastructure, replacing the self deleting responders with coroutine implementations for improved performance and stability, and to provide finer grained concurrency allowing the Viewer greater control over the numbers and types of HTTP requests that can be simultaneously outstanding.

The HTTP changes affect all areas of the viewer that use Sim Capabilities. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Asset upload (Images, Meshes, Animations)
  • AISv3 inventory manipulation
  • Viewer Managed Marketplace
  • Simhost event polling
  • LSL script compilation
  • Experience management (blocking, allowing, creating)

Alongside of this work, undertaken by Rider Linden to extend Monty Linden’s previous work on HTTP, this viewer sees the removal of  a considerable amount of deprecated and unused code, and a range of Voice fixes and improvements.

Remaining Viewer Channels

The promotion of the HTTP / Vivox viewer leaves the remaining viewer channels as follows:

  • Release candidate cohorts:
    • Quick Graphics RC viewer, version 4.0.2.312297, dated March 11th – awaiting update to bring it to parity with the release viewer
  • Project Viewers:
    • Oculus Rift project viewer updated to version 3.7.18.295296 on October 13, 2015 – Oculus Rift DK2 support (download and release notes)
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, dated May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7 – expect this viewer to potentially vanish once TLS 1.2 is implemented.

 

When art inspires stories in Second Life

Stories at the Park - Holly Kai Park
Holly Kai Park – Stories at the Park

On Sunday April 3rd, and in collaboration with the folk at Seanchai Library, we launched the first in a new series at Holly Kai Park called Stories at the Park.

Arising from a discussion about the arts in Second Life between myself and Caledonia Skytower, Stories at the Park is a companion to out Art at the Park exhibition series. The idea is that at each Stories at the Park event, members of Seanchai Library and their guests will read, in Voice, stories or poems inspired by selected works of our Invited Artists currently on display at the Park’s hilltop exhibition area. Each story must be precisely 100 words in length, no more, no less (known as a “drabble”), while poems can be of any form, so long as they do no exceed 100 words.

To start the first session, Caledonia Skytower and Kayden Oconnell presented a total of 25 stories and poems inspired by the work of our Invited Artists for February / March: Io Bechir, Goodcross, Hana Hoo, Mistero Hifeng and Sisse Singh.

Holly Kai Park: Art at the Park and Stories at the Park
Holly Kai Park: Art at the Park and Stories at the Park

The event took place at the stone gazebo (from here on called the storyteller’s gazebo 🙂 ), located in the middle of the hilltop exhibition space at the park, a short walk up the hill from the landing point. Over 15 people attended the readings, with some arriving early to look at the art on display, before taking their places at the tables in the gazebo or on the cushions located around the low wall or simply standing out on the grass.

Cale and Kayden opted to read their stories and poems in groups of 3 apiece, offering a nice ebb and flow of readings between them So nice, in fact, I became so wrapped up in their tales, I forgot to take any photos of the gathering! Afterwards several stayed on to wander through the park and chat about the event and the art on display.

For those who didn’t make the event, Caledonia and Kayden kindly agreed to allow their stories and poems to be reprinted on the Holly Kai blog. The pieces are presented by artist, complete with an image of the art which inspired each of them, and some include an audio reading as well. So do please follow the links below and enjoy the crop of the first round of Stories at the Park.

 

Note: all written works by Caledonia Skytower ©2016 by Judith Cullen and all works by Kayden Oconnell © 2016 by Kevin Lee. Reproduced with the permission of the authors. If you plan to reblog any or all of the poems and stories, please ensure you have the authors’ written consent first.