2016 OpenSimulator Community Conference December 10th / 11th

Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference
Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference

The 2016 OpenSimulator Community  Conference is in progress over the weekend of December 10th / 11th. An annual event, the conference focuses on the developer and user community creating the OpenSimulator software.  It is organised as a joint production by Core Developers of OpenSimuator and AvaCon, and this year is sponsored by University of California, Irvine, Institute for Virtual Environments and Computer Games, Rockcliffe University Consortium, and Virtual Outworlding together with a host crowdfunders.

The conference this year once again features business presentations, talks, panel discussions, workshops, social events and hypergrid activities, covering a wide range of subject areas, including education, social VR, using virtual worlds and environments for historical recreations – and much more besides.

You can find the full schedule of events on the OpenSimulator Community Conference website, together with instructions on how to log-in and join and of the sessions.  The latter are also being streamed for those unable to attend via avatar.

Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference
Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference

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Bryn’s Hand in Second Life

Hand - Bryn Oh
Hand – Bryn Oh

Hand, Bryn Oh’s latest full region installation officially opens in Second Life on Saturday, December 10th at 12:00 noon SLT. It offers visitors an immersive experience which mixes art and storytelling with a touch of mystery and discovery.

On arrival, visitors are asked to accept the experience HUD (which will initially be blank) , and which can be minimised by clicking the dancing figure icon. As there is a lot of text to be read as one progresses through the experience, the HUD can also be further enlarged by clicking the Extra Large Text button on the HUD.

Hand - Bryn Oh
Hand – Bryn Oh

Instructions for viewer settings are also provided at the landing point. These are geared towards Firestorm and specifically the use of Phototools. Those on other v4-style viewers will find the settings under Preferences > Graphics and the Advanced Settings… button (Advanced Graphics Preferences floater). Bryn also uses Firestorm’s client-side windlight by altitude capability, so those on other viewers may need to manually change windlights (listed in About Land) as they move up through the installation.

From the landing point and instructions, a teleport sphere carries visitors to an underground tram station, and their first encounter with the principal character of the piece, Flit – or as she is sometimes known – Flutter. It is her story we are invited to follow, the narrative (and the way through it) indicated by Flit herself, as she stands within certain scenes or points the way along the route we should follow – such as walking a collapsed aerial mast like a tightrope walker, or standing on a stairway as if waiting for us to join her and continue up them.

Hand - Bryn Oh
Hand – Bryn Oh

This journey takes us through a strange, broken urban setting with decaying, collapsing buildings; a place where adults are almost (but not entirely) absent, apparently leaving their children to fend for themselves. Technology is still active – drones flutter and buzz or projects adverts on walls and floors for whoever might watch them, and lights flicker and play. Walking through the streets and buildings I seemed to come across nods to dystopian sci-fi: a hint of Soyent Green here, a reference to rampant consumerism there. While Flit and the other children brought to mind shades of And The Children Shall Lead, minus the space alien angle.

Whether any of this was Bryn’s design or simply my over-active imagination, I’ve no idea – but Hand’s narrative naturally invites you to fill in the blanks: what has happened here? Why have the adult withdrawn? Why is the city so ruined? Lack of maintenance because there are no adults  – or something else (there are hints to be found pointing to a fear of nuclear war). Thus, in experiencing Hand, we also extend it, by exploring carefully and letting the hints  – posters, objects, etc. – suggest things to us.

Hand - Bryn Oh
Hand – Bryn Oh

There are also links and hooks into Bryn’s other work to be found here as well. Some are present within the story, others may be harder to find. As Bryn states, don’t be afraid to touch things as you explore. Take the lacewing beetle, for example; touching it will introduce you to Scissors a machinima by Bryn. Elsewhere, a broken cellphone lying on the kerb might lead you skyward to poignant piece of art based on an equally poignant image; and so careful exploration is required.

Byrn produced a trailer machinima for the installation (below), featuring music specially composed by Phemie Alcott. Phemie was due to perform at the opening of Hand, but Bryn reports that as her Phemie’s mixer decided to commit suicide, the performance will now not take place until 14:00 SLT on Sunday, December 18th. Bryn isn’t sure how long Hand will remain in place – so be sure to visitor sooner rather than later, and please consider a donation towards Immersiva’s continued existence.

SLurl Details

  • Hand (Immersiva, rated: Moderate)

A Petrovsky Flux gone from Second Life

A Petrovsky Flux - no longer in Second Life
A Petrovsky Flux – no longer in Second Life

A Petrovsky Flux, the stunning, ever-changing cluster of devices that would assemble themselves and grow almost organically, only to blow apart and rebuild themselves over and over again, taking on a new form each time – has gone from Second Life.

Designed by Cutea Benelli and blotto Epsilon, the installation had, since 2010, been curated by the University of Kansas at their Spencer Art Museum region in SL, where it had over the years been a popular draw. However, at a time when eyes were all on the opening of the Horizons regions (see here) and return of Mont Saint Michel to Second Life in November 2016 (see here), the Spencer Museum of Art region quietly slipped away from Second Life, pretty much unnoticed.

It wasn’t until Chantal Harvey contacted me about the possible status of the Spencer Art Museum region that I found out something may had changed.  “I’ve been trying to get there for weeks now,” she informed me via IM, “I was filming there. but it seems it is gone, do you know?”

A quick check on the map confirmed the region had indeed gone from the grid, and a check through Tyche Shepherd’s excellent Grid Survey summaries showed it had been removed from the grid during the week ending Sunday, November 13th, 2016.

It’s not clear if the removal is permanent or not – as I reported in 2014, the region came close to vanishing from Second Life, due to something of a miscommunication involving the Spencer Art Museum, the University of Kansas and the artists. As a result of that situation, I’ve written to Stephen Goddard, the Spencer’s Associate Director/Senior Curator of Prints & Drawings. He was responsible for the Museum’s presence in Second Life, so hopefully, he can shed some light on what has happened. Should he reply, I’ll offer and update.

In the meantime, here’s Toxic Menges’ 2010 machinima of A Petrovsky Flux to remind us of this fabulous build.