Monthly Archives: August 2016

Lab confirms Sansar’s title and issues first Creator Preview invites

Sansar Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr Sansar (TM) Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr

On Wednesday, August 31st, Linden Lab issued a press release indicating they have issued the first of the invitations to successful applicants to join the Sansar Creator Preview programme. This has been picked-up by various media and blogs – but what I’ve found particularly interesting (and others seem to have missed) is that the press release confirms the new platform is to simply be called “Sansar”.

Until now, Linden Lab has referred to their new platform as “Project Sansar” (see their press releases from April 2016 and August 2015 as examples). However, in the press release, the Lab refer to it as “Sansar“, suggesting this may now be the platform’s official name, thus:

Linden Lab® today announced that the first invitations to the Sansar™ Creator Preview are being sent this week. Select applicants will be invited to create their own social VR experiences with the new platform, slated for public release in early 2017.

As further indicators that Sansar is now the official title, the press release included a new logo, and the URL for the Sansar website has been updated to “www.sansar.com”.

The new Sansar logo (courtesy of Linden Lab)

The new Sansar logo (courtesy of Linden Lab)

When I contacted Peter Gray, the Lab’s Director of Global Communications to ask if the terminology was deliberate and a reflection of the platform’s official title, he replied with two words:

Good eye 😉

So I’m taking that as a “yes” 🙂 .

The new name shouldn’t really be a surprise – after a year or so of referring to it as “project Sansar”, to the media and the VR public, changing the platform’s name to “Sansar” is a lot easier and less confusing than trying to effectively rebrand the platform, even if it hasn’t yet been formally launched.

Sansar Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr Sansar (TM)  Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr

In terms of the Creator Preview applications Bjorn Laurin (Bjorn Linden), the company’s Vice President of Product, indicates in the press release that over 6,500 people / groups / organisations applied to join the Creator Preview – which remains open to applications. How many of these are content creators / designers based in Second Life is unknown, nor is the number of people admitted in this first round.

A closer look at the Sansar Avatars (courtesy of Linden Lab)

A closer look at the Sansar Avatars (courtesy of Linden Lab)

Those initially invited into Sansar are people whose skills and projects are the best fit for Sansar’s capabilities as they stand at the moment, and who can best provide feedback on the platform and its capabilities which will help the Lab with its development. As Sansar evolves and the capabilities are extended, the Lab plan to broad the scope of those being invited into the preview programme.

To go alongside the press release, the lab have also opened a Flickr account for Sansar, which, at  the time of writing, was populated with four new images – presumably more will be added as Sansar’s content grows, with the Flickr group presumably being a reference point for media outlets requesting images from the platform.

One of these new images features  Sansar avatars, and has been reproduced and enlarged on the right – again, remember that avatar work in Sansar is still in the preliminary stages, and so images like this should be taken as indicative of the “final” Sansar avatar look. Nevertheless as a yardstick, they offer us something a feel for the new platform.

I’ll have more on Sansar in future articles.

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2016 SL project updates 35 (1): server, viewer

Crystal Gardens; Inara Pey, August 2016, on Flickr Crystal Gardensblog post

Server Deployments

There are no scheduled deployment for week #35. If you have a region you believe is experiencing issues, the advice is to contact support and request a restart or, for specific issues, file a bug report.

It is expected that the current dearth of simulator deployments will be coming to an end in the near future, as the current round of infrastructure / operating system updates comes to an end and the summer vacation season winds down.

SL Viewer

As expected, the Visual Outfits browser RC viewer was updated to version 4.0.8.319143 on Tuesday, August 30th, largely to correct an elevated crashed rate, as reported in my last TPV Developer meeting update. The VLC Media plugin view is also expected to receive a further RC update for the same reason. Until it does, the current list of the remaining official viewers remains as:

  • Current Release version 4.0.7.318301, dated August 8th promoted August 11th – formerly the Maintenance RC viewer
  • Release Candidate viewers (refer to my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • VLC Media Plugin RC viewer, version 4.1.1.318504, dated August 15th – replaces the QuickTime media plugin for the Windows version of the viewer with one based on LibVLC
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Bento (avatar skeleton extensions), version 5.0.0.318969, dated August 25th – final updates and tweaks prior to a move to RC status
  • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847, dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

SL Wiki

As noted under a separate article, the SL wiki remains locked for general editing by users.

Visiting Crystal Gardens in Second Life

Crystal Gardens; Inara Pey, August 2016, on Flickr Crystal Gardens – click any image for full size

Crystal Gardens, designed by Sandi Beaumont (Sandi Benelli) is presented to Second Life travels as a place for photography and exploration, offering visitors a ruggedly beautiful pastoral seam which is stunning in its simplicity and looks. This is my third visit to Sandi’s designs, having previously written about her work with her partner, Mikal, in February and July 2015.

A homestead region, Crystal Gardens currently comprises three north-south oriented islands separated by a channel of water. The more westerly pair form a finger of land, the tip of which has been sliced off by a further, narrow channel spanned by a log bridge. Both are low-lying and somewhat rugged – the smaller island to the north decidedly more so than its southern cousin. On it sits a conservatory with a distinctly French feel to it, offering visitors comfortable armchairs in which to relax, a small selection of drinks at a small bar, and the promise of possible entertainment, given the microphone and amplifier. It’s a place which hints at being a refined little club, tucked away where only those in the know might find it.

Crystal Gardens; Inara Pey, August 2016, on Flickr Crystal Gardens

A bar area also comprises part of the southern island, located on the terrace of a Mediterranean villa which appears to be someone’s studio. Bee hives close by offer the promise of fresh honey, while a rowing boat tied up at the wooden jetty offers couples the chance for a little dalliance on the water.

The twin of this rowing bow sits alongside the jetty across the narrow channel separating the largest of the islands from the others. It is here, outside a row of little beach huts that visitors first land. A cooked breakfast awaits anyone feeling peckish on their arrival, and a raft hints at possible adventure at one end of the jetty.

Crystal Gardens; Inara Pey, August 2016, on Flickr Crystal Gardens

Beyond the beach huts, the island opens out into a gently undulating scene ripe for exploration. To the south sits a small farm of distinctly Tuscan design, whilst northwards, over the low hill marking the centre of the island, a narrow rugged bay cuts deeply into the land, a distinctly modern, open-sided summer-house overlooking it, with horses grazing close by. The summer-house might belong to the occupants of a converted workshop sitting on the east coast of the island. This has been converted into a comfortable home, while the ramshackle pier on which it sits suggests both have seen a hard-working life in the past.

Watched over by two lighthouses, one to the north-east, and the other to the west and off-sim, Crystal Gardens suggests itself as a small, private island lying just off the coast of somewhere like Scotland or perhaps the Canadian coasts (although I couldn’t help but picture it lying Lundy-like in the Bristol Channel). It is ruggedly beautiful, with an air of serenity about it which naturally encourages visitors to tarry.

Crystal Gardens; Inara Pey, August 2016, on Flickr Crystal Gardens

For photographers there is much to be found here. While entirely natural in look and feel, and flowing as a considered whole, Crystal Gardens also offers the locations and scenes scattered across its rocky isles and around its coastline as individual vignettes, ripe for the camera – and I hope some of my efforts here show. So attractive is it for photography, it is very easy to lose track of time when taking pictures!

Whether looking for somewhere to take pictures, a place to explore or somewhere to simply pass the time of day, Crystal Gardens has everything you could need. Beautifully conceived and executed by Sandi, and topped with a matching ambient sound scape, it’s a place which should be on every SL traveller’s itinerary.

Crystal Gardens; Inara Pey, August 2016, on Flickr Crystal Gardens

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Peace is a Choice: expressions of art in Second Life

Located on the north coast of Nautilus and occupying almost the entirety of a region, sits the Peace is a Choice Gallery, founded and curated by Dove (TheDove Rhode). It is the home to an art display collected / provided over some nine years, from installations and artists past and present. As well as the gallery spaces, Peace is a Choice provides an event venue and an associated dance studio / meeting place.

Originally founded as the S&S Gallery of Fine Art, the current gallery is centred on a huge steel-and-glass building of sleek, modern design, and which is home to both 2D and 3D art. Outside of this, on the surrounding waters and the shoreline behind the gallery, larger pieces of 3D art can be found, together with the other facilities offered here.

The cross-section of art on display is astonishing, with pieces from Francis Bagration, Mona Byte, Giovanna Cerise, Treacle Darlands, Asmita Duranjaya, Russel Eponym, Duna Gant, Cica Ghost, Instincta and Stem van Helsinski, Stem van Kicca Igaly, Pol Jarvinen, Gleman Jun, Livio Korobase, Daco Monday, Robin Moore, Moya, Nessuno Myoo, Fuschia Nightfire, Bryn Oh, Cheen Pitney, sChan Resident, Spiral Silverstar, Miso Susanowa, Ub Yifu, Noke Yuitza, and Jedda Zenovka. Such is the diversity of the of the art on display, it’s very easy to lose track of time wandering through the gallery and exploring outside.

Whether you start your explorations inside or outside the gallery is entirely a matter of choice; there is no set path to follow, and Dove has wisely placed the art so that there are no assigned areas for individual artists. This allows for some interesting juxtapositions of art, technique and expression, allowing visitors to gain a strong feel for contrasting styles among artists in Second Life. That said, the interior of the gallery building can be a little bewildering: during one of my trips to the gallery, a fellow visitor candidly admitted in IM that he had been admiring two pieces of art on one side of the gallery, only to realise they were part of a small stage area for musicians!

Peace is a Choice Gallery - Livio Korobase

Peace is a Choice Gallery – Livio Korobase

I’m fortunate enough to have a SpaceNav, so I initially cheated with the art outside, flycamming around (although doing so does give a unique perspective for viewing 3D pieces of art). For those restricted to shanks’ pony, there are invisiprims set over the water, allowing visitors to examine the works up close without fear of vanishing under the waves.

The outdoor display also encompasses events area outside of the galley structure, where music events are regularly held. Another way to see the outdoor art is to catch a teleport to the neighbouring dance studio – still part of the overall complex – via one of the boards displayed around the gallery. From there, it is possible to stroll out onto the beach and appreciate the art (or take a dance lesson, if you’re also so inclined!).

Peace is a Choice Gallery - Bryn Oh (foreground) and Francis Bagration

Peace is a Choice Gallery – Bryn Oh (foreground) and Francis Bagration

Peace is a Choice makes for a fascinating visit, offer a lot to see. For those into sailing or boating, it’s location makes it reachable by water as well, although I didn’t spot any mooring facilities – so if you do visit boat, the teleport limo may well be needed when leaving. However, you do opt to visit, please consider a donation towards the continued existence of the gallery.

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