BURN2 2016: bringing Da Vinci’s Workshop to Second Life

DV-posterBURN2 2016 will be opening its gates on Saturday, October 15th, and will run through until Sunday, October 23rd 2016, culminating in the burning of the Man the Temple on the closing weekend of the event.

The theme for this year is Da Vinci;’s Workshop, which the official Burning Man website describes (in part) thus:

Burning Man’s 2016 art theme is inspired by the Italian Renaissance of the middle fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, when a historic convergence of inspired artistry, technical innovation and enlightened patronage launched Europe out of mediaevalism and into modernity. Our story will focus on the republic of Florence, for it was here, in a city-state of about the same size and population as Black Rock City, that humanist ideals, a rediscovery of science, and funding from a newly moneyed class of entrepreneurs fuelled a revolutionary cultural movement that redefined Western civilization. Five centuries later, we will attempt to recreate this potent social alchemy by combining Burning Man art, maker culture and creative philanthropy to make Black Rock City the epicentre of a new renaissance.

The plot sale is now open, as is the Plot Lottery and Juried Art Applications. You can purchase a plot for BURN2 directly from the kiosks on the playa, with parcels priced as follows:

  • 512 sq m / 117 LI – L$2,800
  • 1024 sq m / 234 LI – L$5,600
  • 208 sq m / 468 LI – L$11,200
  • 4096 sq m / 936 LI – L$22,400
Reserve your plot in-world
BURN2 2016: Reserve your plot in-world

Please ensure you read all the information on an application forms, and that you also read the
Builder Guidelines and Ten Principles before you submit your application. Aesthetics mirroring the Black Rock Desert are in effect for this event.

Plots are liable to be taken fast, so as the BURN2 press release on the event states:

Get inspired by visions of Renaissance ingenuity, Medieval machinery and the artistic, eclectic, multi-gifted genius of the great Leonardo da Vinci, and bring those creations to the virtually dusty playa – come in world and get your plot reserved as soon as you can!

Volunteers are also being sought to help with greeting, building, creating, performing, dancing, and sharing the news about BURN2. Those wishing to be a general volunteer, should fill out the application form, while those interested in a leadership role should consult the BURN2 Application for Key Roles form.

About BURN2

BURN2 is an extension of the Burning Man festival and community into the world of Second Life. It is an officially sanctioned Burning Man regional event, and the only virtual world event out of more than 100 real world Regional groups and the only regional event allowed to burn the man.

The BURN2 Team operates events year around, culminating in an annual major festival of community, art and fire in the fall – a virtual echo of Burning Man itself.

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A Beautiful 4 Seasons in Second Life

Beautiful 4 Seasons; Inara Pey, July 2016, on Flickr Beautiful 4 Seasons – click any image for full size

“This region is my labour of love :D,” Inkie (inkie Loudwater) tells me as I admire the latest iteration of her Homestead region, Beautiful 4 Seasons. “I change  it every season; it’s an ongoing process, so the more people enjoy it, the better it is!”

Looking around the region it’s hard to imagine it not being a staple part of people’s itineraries when exploring Second Life. It sits as a mostly low-slung island in the centre of a lake. Across the water and completely surrounding it, a patchwork quilt of fields recede towards misty, distant hills and rounded, grassy peaks. it’s not quite England’s Lake District – but it could be.

Beautiful 4 Seasons; Inara Pey, July 2016, on Flickr Beautiful 4 Seasons

The island forms a west pointing C, a smaller island nestled within its curving arms. A tiny hamlet sits along one arm of the C, perched on a slender finger of rock facing the waterfront to the south, with rowing boats and small craft drawn in close to the single wooden pier and stone flanks of an old harbour wall. Behind the little row of buildings forming the hamlet, stone stairs offer a way down between the rocks to where wooden bridges hop from the main island over a little nub of land poking above the waters, to the smaller island, occupied by a small summer-house and partially walled garden.

Westward of the hamlet, the land drops away gently to s small circle of standing stones, an elongated henge with lintel stones still in place to connect rough-hewn columns. Eastwards, and the land curves and climbs to its highest point, a rocky shoulder to the north-east. A house shelters in its lee of the hill as the island curls northwards, looking out over the water to the smaller of the two islands.  Below the house, the land slips gently downward and across a grassy tongue lapping at the water’s edge, where sits an intriguing camp site awaiting visitors.

Beautiful 4 Seasons; Inara Pey, July 2016, on Flickr Beautiful 4 Seasons

The entire impression here is of a small, possibly private, holiday island; a place where people can escape the hassle of everyday life, sitting beyond the distant hills, and simply wander and relax. It’s a place where bikes and scooters are popular – but which is best explored on foot. It’s the kind of place where even strangers are on first-name terms within minutes of meeting, and where the entertainment, going by the makeshift outdoor theatre, is as home-made as the bead in the bakery.

There is also subtle mystery of stories awaiting visitors here. The bakery is well-stocked, the summer-house is set for dinner while the deck outside invites people to sit and have a drink; across the water; the camp site shows signs of use, and here and there, washing hangs on the lines. But where are the locals? As busy as the little island seems, the houses sit unfurnished, motor scooters sit deserted, and dogs stand and stare into the distance, as if waiting on someone’s return. Are the locals all off across the water? If so, where might they have gone for the day? Or are we, as a part of our visit, “the locals”? And if so, what might our stories be as a part of this little community?

Beautiful 4 Seasons; Inara Pey, July 2016, on Flickr Beautiful 4 Seasons

Beautiful 4 Seasons is, in a word, charming; the kind of place I could happily holiday within; so much so that I wish I’d seen some of the earlier iterations of the region. It is, however, quite firmly penned-in to my list of regions to revisit in the future. but that’s the join of Second Life, isn’t it? The chance of discovering / hearing about new places to visit, explore and photograph.

SLurl Details

Dying detectives, alien missions and blueberry summers

It’s time to kick-off a week of story-telling in voice, brought to our virtual lives by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s Second Life home at Bradley University, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, July 31st 13:30: Tea Time at Baker Street

Tea-time at Baker Street returns for the summer, featuring a new location – 221B Baker Street at the University of Washington in Second Life, and a return to His Last Bow.

A 1917 anthology of previously published Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the volume originally comprised seven stories published by The Strand Magazine between 1908 and 1917. However, later editions of the book saw an eighth story included, The Adventure of the Cardboard Box, originally published in 1892. This week sees Holmes and Watson engaged upon The Adventure of the Dying Detective.

Sherlock Holmes is dying. That is the shocking discovery Doctor John Watson makes on being called to 221B Baker Street. The Great Detective has apparently contracted a contagious and rare Asian disease while on a case in Rotherhithe. Mrs. Watson confirms Holmes has not eaten or taken a drink in three days.

Wanting to assist his friend, Watson finds himself forced to wait – the contagious nature of Homes’ illness preventing him from carrying out an examination – until six o’clock that evening, when Holmes reveals the name of the one man who can save him, one Culverton Smith. Unfortunately, Smith may not be predisposed to lending assistance, as he is not a doctor, but a man Holmes once implicated in a murder.

Before Watson departs to bring the man to Baker Street, Holmes makes a mysterious request: once he has secured Smith’s agreement to come to Holmes, Watson ensures he returns to Baker Street quite independently of Smith. Confused, but determined to help his dying friend, Watson sets out on his mission …

Plus a special Bonus: Mrs. Hudson’s Case by Laurie B. King

When Sherlock Holmes retired to the Sussex Downs, his long-time (and long-suffering) housekeeper, Mrs Hudson, went along to run his life. But when the house is invaded, shortly after his meeting with Miss Mary Russell, Mr Holmes refuses to turn his mind to the problem, leaving Mrs Hudson herself to solve the case.

Monday August 1st To the Vanishing Point

vanishing pointGyro Muggins continues his Monday Night treat of sci-fi with Alan Dean Foster’s To the Vanishing Point.

When Frank Sonderberg insists his family make their annual vacation a road trip, his wife and kids are less than impressed. When he pulls over to the side of the road to pick up a beautiful young hitch-hiker apparently stranded in the desert, his wife definitely isn’t impressed.

But no sooner has the young woman, calling herself Mouse, boarded their motor-home than reality changes – and not necessarily for the better. Mouse, it turns out, is an alien on a mission and in picking her up, the family is inextricably joined with her in that mission. The universe, with all its many realities, is coming apart because the Spinner, the creator of those realities, has a headache. Mouse has the cure, but in order to give it, she must reach the Vanishing Point – and she needs the Sonderbergs to get her there.

Tuesday August 2nd, 19:00: Blueberry Summers: Growing Up at the Lake

Kayden Oconnell reads from Curtiss Anderson’s classic coming of age memoirs.

BlueberryBorn in 1928 in Minneapolis, Curtiss Anderson grew up in an extended family of Norwegian-Americans, among whom the highlight of the year was time spent among the lakes of northern Minnesota.

For young Curtiss, growing up in the 1930s and 1940s, these were especially idyllic years. Time spent in the farmhouse among this extended family presented an opportunity for him to escape the strained and troubled relationship he had with his parents and enjoy the company of others, aunts and uncles, the loving care offered by family friends Leigh and Clara, the companionship of the family dogs – and the chances to experience young love of his own.

Through the tales he relates of these summers, so Anderson also explores the notes and letters he wrote as a boy, carefully produced on a hand-me-down typewriter. Missives and notes which, although he never realised it at the time, were in fact his first forays into what would blossom in his adult life into a distinguished career as a writer, editor and publisher.

Wednesday August 3rd: Women Going Wild in the West

With Trolley Trollop.

Thursday, August 4th: 19:00: Gaslight & Grimm

Steampunk faerie tales with Shandon Loring – also in Seanchai Kitely.


Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule.

The featured charity for July-August is WildAid: seeking to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection.

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Crossworlds Gallery in Second Life

Crossworlds: famous faces by BryneDarkly Cazalet (can you name them?)
Crossworlds Gallery: famous faces by G.E. JAM (BryneDarkly Cazalet) – (and just for fun: can you name them?)

Crossworlds Gallery, co-owned by Nerd Bert and Fabilene Cortes, is designed as a “bridge between RL and SL art”, presenting – as one might expect – a rich mix of art from both the physical and the virtual / digital.

Spread across seven levels (although one was empty at the time of my visit), Crossworlds comprises four main display areas for six of the levels, with the uppermost given over to the Bryn Oh Garden. Movement between the levels is via teleport stations unmistakably placed in the central hallways which dissect the display areas on each.

Crossworlds Gallery: Pixivor Allen
Crossworlds Gallery: Pixi (Pixivor Allen)

At the time of my visit, the first level featured art by Hechos, Pixivor Allen, Feathers Boa, Consuela Caldwell and Scottius Polke; the second art by ByrneDarkly Cazalet, MarieLou DeCuir, Walt Ireton and Sabbian Paine; the third Olimpiadelarte (who came to Second Life specifically to display her art in-world), Sheba Blitz, Sil Brandi and Munroe Snook. The fourth level is devoted in part to Eternal Contemplation, an interactive / spiritual exhibition by BellaLuna Xigalia, with separate displays by Hijinks Blaukempt and Ronin1 Shippe; the fifth floor hold art by June Clavenham and MillyWH.

The art on display is amply diverse in style and presentation, ranging from in-world photography through paintings, abstracts, photography, digital art, collages, and drawings, all with an equally diverse range of subject matter. In fact, if there is one thing at all I’d say in general about the art on display, is that in places there is perhaps a little too much; I couldn’t help but feel that some of the display areas might benefit with a little more “wall space” between images so as to allow one to focus more fully on individual works.

Crossworlds Gallery: Feathers Boa
Crossworlds Gallery: Feathers Boa

A case is frequently made that art from the physical world displayed within Second Life “doesn’t work” or isn’t as “successful” as art both produced and displayed in-world, and often the argument is made that it is down to the limitations of upload resolutions. I don’t tend to hold with that view, but sway towards the issue being more a case that we are perhaps more open to viewing art which as it origins in-world than that produced out-world, a bias which perhaps extends into the world of blogging about art in Second Life in general.

Certainly, there are many demonstrations that art from the physical world can be effectively presented in the virtual, a far few of which I’ve attempted to cover in these pages. Crossworlds is very much one of these, bringing together a rich pool of talent from both sides of the physical / virtual “divide” offering an equally rich mix of art. While I may have commented on the volume of art on display in some of the sections, this should be seen as a reason to defer a visit: Crossworlds very much makes for a worthwhile and enjoyable visit.

Crossworld Gallery MiraBelle Artist (MarieLou DeCuir)
Crossworld Gallery MiraBelle Artist (MarieLou DeCuir)

SLurl Details

Crossworlds Gallery (Rated: General)

The famous faces are singers Joan Jett, Neko Case, Kate Bush and Siouxsie.

 

SL project updates 16 / 30: server, TPVD, Bento

Hestium; Inara Pey, July 2016, on Flickr Hestiumblog post

Some of the notes in this update are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, July 29th. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update. My thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

Server Deployments – Recap

  • There was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, July 26th.
  • A new server maintenance package was deployed to all three RC channels on Thursday, July 27th, which comprised “minor internal logging changes”

It’s liable that this update will be promoted to the Main (SLS) channel in week #31 (commencing Monday, August 1st). However, we’re liable to be in a quiescent period, sever-wise for a while, doubtless in part due to it being vacation season.

SL Viewer

The Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 4.0.7.318189 on Thursday July 28th. This release includes an update to prevent the viewer using the deleted LLEventPollImpl upon rapid teleports. This is now the most likely candidate for promotion to release status, assuming no significant issues are found with this latest RC.

Thursday, July 28th also saw the VLC Media Plugin viewer achieve Release Candidate status with the release of version 4.1.1.318152. This viewer replaces the QuickTime media plugin for the Windows version of the viewer with one based on LibVLC. The RC release brings with it several additional fixes:

  • MAINT-6481 [Win LibVLC] MOAP mp4 mp3 playback missing video controls
  • MAINT-6502 [Win LibVLC] some .mov files play in LibVLC windows viewer
  • MAINT-6503 [Win LibVLC] some media file types prompt to download instead of play
  • MAINT-6527 [Win LibVLC] viewer plays MOAP video at maximum volume 50m away
  • MAINT-6577 [Win LibVLC] No sound in MOAP or browser video
  • MAINT-6578 [Win/Linux LibVLC] When media is enabled, many other textures in the scene get flipped upside down.

This viewer current has “very, very very” few users on it, thanks to the focus on the Maintenance viewer RC, although this should now start to change. It has apparently worked well as a project viewer, and would seem likely for promotion some time after the Maintenance RC and ahead of anything else which has yet to make it to RC status.

All other viewer remain unchanged thus far in the week:

  • Current Release version: 4.0.6.315555 (dated May 23rd), promoted July 5th – formerly the Inventory Message RC viewer
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Bento (avatar skeleton extensions), version 5.0.0.317597, dated July 14th – incorporation of final skeleton and slider updates from the test viewer
    • Visual Outfit Browser viewer, version 4.0.6.316422, dated July 1st – ability to preview images of outfits in the Appearance floater – a further update to this viewer (possibly an RC release) had been expected, but it is currently awaiting a further fix for a bug discovered by the Lab’s QA team
  • 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.

Upcoming Viewers

There is no set time frame for this, but the following viewers should have project version appearing in the future:

  • The 64-bit Windows and Mac versions of the viewer. There is no working version of this viewer at present, and while the developers working on it are keen to see it running, it does not share the same priority as various other viewer-related activities at this point in time, delaying it from reaching project viewer status – something which will change once wthe viewer does get a project release
  • A further Maintenance viewer with updates and fixes
  • The new Voice viewer update, which is part of a series of changes being made the voice service by both the Lab and Vivox (see my last TPVD report). This viewer should be backward compatible on Mac and Windows, allowing TPVs to adopt it, and will include a new codec which should improve Voice quality for those using the update. This update may include some additional code for monitoring connections issues and failures, so the Lab can gather more informed statistics on these issues, although determining root causes for them is difficult, given the complexities of the connections between viewer, simulator and voice servers.

Project Bento

Vir is still on holiday, and will return on August 4th. Until then, the project is on a holding pattern, with time being taken to test the new skeleton updates and for AvaStar and MayaStar to complete their updates.

A further viewer update is expected, but not until after Vir has returned.  A bug has been filed against jaw bone issues resulting from the most recent set of updates (see BUG-37546), and general feedback on the new skeleton continues to be made via the forum thread. Expect in-depth reports to resume from week #31.

Other Items

Presenting Inventory in the Viewer

During the July 29th TPV developer meeting, Oz indicated that if any developers who have ideas for presenting inventory in a more usable, user-friendly manner within the viewer, the Lab would be “more than happy to take a look at it”, acknowledging that the current method of presentation isn’t the most user-friendly.

Lumiya 3: welcome to a new Lumiya

lumiya-logoUpdate: July 30th: Alina has released version 3.0.2, which should fix the issue of exporting conversations to the Android Documents folder, and which provides the ability to drag a visble HUD on your screen to reposition it.

Lumiya, the go-to Second Life / Open Sim client for Android has been extensively updated, with version 3.0 released on Wednesday, July 27th, and a further 3.0.1 release with additional fixes, options and requests, hitting Google Play on Thursday, July 28th.

For those unfamiliar with Lumiya, it is an extensive Android client offering all the essential functionality found in the viewer: ability to chat, IM, carry out group functions, manipulate  inventory and outfits, manage transactions, interact with objects (including viewing & editing scripts, permissions allowing), teleport to places, view the map, and so on. And, for those who wish a more immersive experience on their android device (providing it has the processing power), Lumiya provides a real-time scene rendering capability, allowing you to see the world and other avatars, touch objects, operate your camera, walk, fly, and so on.

With version 3, Alina Lyvette, Lumiya’s developer, has completely overhauled the client, and while there are still some little niggles, the result is once again quite astonishing.

The Interface

For regular Lumiya users the most obvious change is to the client’s UI. This has been completely re-worked top-to-bottom, offering a far more intuitive, mobile device style approach, incorporating things like pinch / zoom screen actions, sliding menus, and a much cleaner look and feel. By default, Lumiya now launches in its blue / white appearance, with the blue / black an option, alongside a new pink appearance option. In addition, the 3D mode has been overhaul to make use of mobile device gestures such as pinch / zoom and drag, and the buttons have been revised and improved to give the in-world view a much cleaner look.

The log-in screen retains much of the “old” look, with short cuts to select the details of any account previously used to log-in to SL with Lumiya & auto-populate the user name / password fields, and to access the client’s settings, together with a drop-down to access the grid selector (where you can also add new grids) or to show your password in text when logging-in.

The clean, cool blue UI with the android menu icon now used for accessing Lumiya's main menu, and the inclusion of profile images for places, contacts, etc.
Lumiya 3 uses the blue / white UI by now the default, although the blue / black (and a pick / white) option remains available for those who prefer it

Once logged-in, the UI is in conversation mode, with local chat open  the conversation screen opens. This has two points of particular interest: the first is the Android menu icon in the top left corner of the screen  (see above), which replaces the Lumiya icon. tapping this will display the Lumiya menu (which can also be displayed with a simple left-to-right swipe of the screen).

The second is that profile icons are now displayed in the chat and contact tabs throughout Lumiya – in the image above, for example, the profile picture for Preiddeu Annwn is displayed in the image above.

The Lumiya menu can be displayed either by clicking the Android menu icon, or via a finger swipe from the left
The Lumiya menu can be displayed either by clicking the Android menu icon, or via a finger swipe from the left, and can be scrolled up / down, if required

The new UI design does mean there are some significant changes to where some options might now be found which will take users a little time to get used to; however many of these changes make Lumiya feel more “viewer like” in its approach. For example, group options have all now been brought together under the group profile display, rather than various menu / drop-down options. What’s more, they now allow group roles to be created and assigned, and member’s abilities edited.

So, accessing a group profile is now a matter of clicking Group tab in the Chat window, then tapping the required group and tapping the Profile icon in the top right of the group message display. The group’s profile is displayed in a layout similar to that of many TPVs, with individual tabs accessing various options. Thus, people can be invited into the group from the Profile tab (providing you have the ability to invite new members); roles can be added / edited from the Roles tab; and members can be operated on from the Members tab.

With group, you can now invite new members through the group's profile windows (left) view group roles (centre) or members; create new role (via the + button, centre), assign / remove abilities to / from roles (right) and changes members' roles or eject members etc (not shown above). Click for full size, if required.
With group, you can now invite new members through the group’s profile windows (left) view group roles (centre) or members; create new role (via the + button, centre), assign / remove abilities to / from roles (right) and changes members’ roles or eject members etc (not shown above). Click for full size, if required.

Given the extend of changes to the IU, the easiest way to familiarise yourself with them is to spend time using Lumiya. Keep an eye out for changing icons, and things like the Android three vertical dots icon (generally top right of the Lumiya window), indicating when further options are available within in given screen.

The 3D View

The other very noticeable change to Lumiya for existing users is the 3D world view (Lumiya menu > 3D View). As noted above, this now uses Android pinch and drag gestures to manipulated the camera by default, leaving the (redesigned) on-screen buttons for avatar movement and flight. However, for those who prefer to toggle the movement buttons between avatar and camera movement, it can be reinstated via Lumiya menu > Settings > 3D View, and then checking Show Camera Button. note that even with the camera button enabled, you can still use Android gestures to manipulate the camera as well. For ease of reference, screen captures here show the camera button.

3D-1
The updated 3D View in Lumiya

The two overlay buttons – Chat and Outfit – do just that: overlay the in-world view with your chat options or Outfit folder, allowing you to converse or change outfit, as per previous versions of Lumiya.  However, the two buttons which are likely to be of particular interest in the new 3D view are the HUD button (lower left) and the Target Picker (top right of the Lumiya window).

Continue reading “Lumiya 3: welcome to a new Lumiya”