The fourth annual Castle, Home and Garden contest will take place in Second Life from June 3rd through June 24th inclusive, in aid of Relay for Life of Second Life. Registrations are open for both contestants and merchants – but spaces are filling up!
Using the building tools provided within Second Life, RFL Teams and individuals are invited to build a one-of-a-kind original build castle or home, with or without an associated garden, or design a garden setting, in one of 14 themed regions. The completed builds are then opened to the public to explore, and are voted upon by a both a panel of judges and the public at large.
Winning entries as decided by the judging panel can with up to L$200,000 (castle) or $100,000 (Home or Garden design), and L$100,000 for the popular vote competition, with all prizes being paid into the winning RFL Team’s RFL kiosk (and thus to RFL of SL) or to a general RFL kiosk in the case of individual entries. In addition, all of the houses and castles included in the event are then offered up for auction to the highest bidder, with all proceeds from the auction also going to RFL of SL.
Note that is order to be auctioned, all home / castle builds must be transferable. Also note that entrants will be required to run at least one event at their build when the regions are open to the public.
The 14 themed regions for the contest are: Atlantis, the Sunken City; Beauty and the Beast; Bedrock (Flintstones-style theme); Bikini Bottom (Spongebob Squarepants inspired); Christmas Town; Game of Thrones: King’s Landing; Game of Thrones: Winterfell; Halloween Town; Harry Potter: Hogsmead; Lord of the Rings: Rivendell; Labyrinth; Springfield (Simpsons inspired); Star Wars: The Death Star; 1984.
Those wishing to sign up should refer to the Castle Home and Garden Contestants Sign-up Form for all requirements and rules of entry.
In addition, there is a region – It’s A Small World – dedicated to merchants and vendors, as well as merchant locations throughout the 14 theme regions. Shops are available for free, but merchants can also opt for one of a number of sponsorship packages, which offer both more space and additional benefits.
Full details on the Merchant requirements and sign-up information can be found on the Merchants Sign-up Form, and a full breakdown of the sponsorship packages can be found on the Sponsorship Levels Google document.
Finally, the Castle Home and Garden team are seeking help and volunteers. If you would like to assist in running the event, please check the description of roles available on the Volunteer Sign-up Form and – sign up!
You can keep up-to-date with the event, including information on events, entertainment, etc (as the latter are arranged in time), through both the official website and the official blog.
Light Reflections is the name of a full region installation in Second Life by Venus Adored. Spanning six levels, it is, as the name suggests, an experiment in light and reflections.
Visitors start at the top of the installation, where sit instructions on how to set the viewer to best enjoy the experience. Unfortunately, the most important instruction is absent: visitors must have Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled via Graphics > Preferences in order to see the installation correctly. Failing to do this will leave some of the levels apparently devoid of detail.
Each of the levels below the instructions provides an environment in which lighting and projected lights are used in different ways. In the first level, for example, visitors can fly around in soap bubbles (use the WASD / arrow keys for movement, and PAGE UP / PAGE DOWN to change height), and project lighting pattens on to the walls and floors of the room as they approach them.
Another level offers a set of different scenes, each within its own cube, where light and particles are again used to add ambience to the environment. Another offers an entirely monochrome setting, while the final (ground level) presents a landscape enhanced by projects lighting. Through the entire piece are interactive elements – the soap bubbles mentioned above, a paper boat visitor can rez and sail at the ground levels, and diamonds offering which will animate an avatar when touched in others.
Light Reflections is an interesting piece offering a good demonstration of projected lights in use, although I couldn’t help be feel some of the levels might have been combined (particularly the three introductory levels of instructions). However this doesn’t detract of the installation; if you enjoy seeing or an curious about projected lighting effects, Light Reflections is a worthwhile visit and will remain open though until the end of June.
This summary is published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:
It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog
By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
Official LL Viewers
Current Release version: 18.104.22.1681958, dated December 1, promoted December 5 (no change) – formerly the Project Bento RC viewer download page, release notes.
The end of January / beginning of February is a time of pause and reflection for the American space programme and NASA. A span of five days, spread across a 36-year period, mark the three greatest tragedies of US human space flight, and so this period is always marked as a time of remembrance.
I’ve marked these three events – the Apollo 1 fire of January 27th, 1967, the Challenger disaster of January 28th, 1986 and the loss of the Columbia on February 1st, 2003 – in past Space Sunday updates. However, January 27th, 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire, which claimed the lives of Command Pilot Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White II, and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee in just 16 seconds. To mark it, and the start of NASA’s period of remembrance, the US space agency unveiled a new Apollo 1 tribute in its visitor complex at the Apollo/Saturn V Centre.
Grissom, White (the first American to walk in space during the Gemini 4 mission in 1965), and rookie Chaffee were participating in a “plugs out” test of the Apollo Command module intended to determine whether the vehicle was fit to fly at a time when many in NASA – Grissom included – felt it was not (Grissom had once famously hung a lemon in the Command Module simulator during training to signify his dissatisfaction with the state of the vehicle’s development).
It should have been a routine launch pad test of the vehicle the crew were due to fly in the first crewed test of Apollo in the run-up to a lunar landing. Instead, a spark from faulty wiring combusted the oxygen-rich atmosphere, causing a flash fire. This, aided by the many flammable materials used in the construction of the vehicle caused the air pressure inside the vehicle to rapidly rise, sealing the cabin’s inward opening hatch so that the crew could not open it themselves.
The deaths of these three men ultimately made Apollo – and the US space programme itself – far safer for those going into orbit. Flammable materials were all but eliminated from designs wherever possible; the atmosphere used within vehicles was altered so as not to be oxygen-rich, reducing the risk of fires rapidly building up and spreading; exit hatches were all changed so they would open outward, and the mechanisms for opening them either from within or without a vehicles were designed to be as simple and direct as possible.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the fire, NASA has placed the most significant part of the Apollo 1 vehicle – the hatch – on public display, with the full blessings of the surviving members of the astronaut’s families. It is a belated addition to similar exhibits of both the Challenger and Columbia accidents were placed on public display over 18 months ago in order to more fully commemorate those incidents.
All three disasters are commemorated at the Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Centre. However, while both Challenger and Columbia are also marked by memorials at America’s Arlington National Cemetery, no similar memorial currently exists for Apollo 1 (although Grissom and Caffee are interred there – White is interred at the West Point Cemetery). So, as a further mark of the 50th anniversary of the fire, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) has re-introduced a bill to Congress to have an Apollo 1 memorial established at Arlington.
Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia, together with a loss of life which occurred during the Soviet manned space programme, serve as a reminder to all of us that space exploration is still a dangerous undertaking, despite all of the “shit sleeve” images we see of people working aboard the International Space Station. But then, all acts of expanding the human frontier carry with them inherent risks and the potential for loss of life.
This doesn’t mean we should shirk such activities or retreat from them; the rewards are simply too great, not only in terms of our potential to learn and grow and ensure our continuance as a species, but also to out ability to mature as a species and reach beyond the petty nationalisms and narrow-minded thinking which plague so much of what happens in the world today.
NASA’s official Day of Remembrance will be held on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017. With it comes the opportunity to not only look back to the sad events of January 27th, 2967, January 28th, 1986 and February 1st, 2003, but also to look forward to what might yet be achieved for all of human kind. Which is why I’m once again quoting Francis “Dick” Scobee, Commander of Challenger mission STS-51L, lost on that cold January morning in 1986.