On Tuesday, August 2nd, the Lab blogged about recent and forthcoming updates to Second Life. It’s a curious post, offering a potpourri of news, some of which is liable to be familiar to many, some of which might be new / surprising / interesting, even for those of us covering Second Life to the best of our abilities.
First up on the post is Project Bento – the project to greatly enhance the avatar skeleton for use with mesh bodies and bits (human and non-human). I have, and am, covering this project through my Bento updates, so please excuse me if I refer you to those reports for specifics, if you’re unfamiliar with the project and want to know more. If you’re completely new to Bento, you might want to start your reading here.
Bento is still very much a beta project – the viewer-side code has yet to make it to Release Candidate status, with the project viewer still being worked on by the Lab. However, Bento is an interesting project, not only because of what it can bring to mesh-based avatars, but also because of the way in which it has been very much a collaborative project between the Lab and content creators and animators.
The Visual Outfits Browser (VOB) is next to get a mention. Again, this has a way to go to make it into a release viewer, but was issued as a Release Candidate on August 1st (version 126.96.36.1998263). Simply put, this viewer allows you to use the Appearance floater to capture / upload / select images of your outfits and save them against the outfits in a new Outfit Gallery tab within the floater.
Also getting a mention is the QuickTime for Windows replacement viewer, also known as the VLC plug-in viewer, which sees the QuickTime media plugin for the Windows viewer replaced with a plug-in based on LibVLC. At some point in the future, LibVLC will also be used to replace QuickTime in the Mac version of the official viewer. I’ve previously covered both the VOB and VLC viewers in these pages., so feel free to follow the link to read more.
Other updates which are mentioned comprise the use of Experience Keys in the new user Social Islands, which I blogged about in April; the recent TLS 1.2 update, which affects using the viewer’s built-in web browsers for web cashier interaction – see my post here on the subject; the improvements to group bans to eliminate the problem of people banned / removed from a group still being able to use an active chat session; of the ongoing work with Marketplace search, the recent core HTTP updates, viewer and server bug-fixes and the ongoing work to improve server robustness.
However, the two items most likely to be of interest are the new e-mail verification (all new users must new verify their e-mail address with the Lab in order to receive updates, etc), and the new Gaming Islands.
The latter are designed to introduce users to Skill Gaming in Second Life by providing demonstration games to play, information on Skill Gaming – what it is, who can play, who cannot play and why, how to get your account set to play Skill Games – and finally, a set of portal providing access to regions providing Skill Games in SL, which will be the subject of an upcoming article.