Science fiction, mystery, and the literary greats with Seanchai Library

It’s time to kick-off another week of storytelling in Voice 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.

Monday, January 23rd 19:00: Desertion

Gyro Muggins reads Clifford D. Simak’s 1944 short story with a twist of transhumanism in the form of pantropy  – of which it is perhaps the earliest example.

desertionKent Fowler is the head of a human mission to Jupiter, a planet found to be inhabited by creatures called “lopers”, which have adopted to Jupter’s hostile environment. With the technology at their disposal, the human researchers are able to transform volunteers into “lopers”, so they might more readily explore Jupiter. But something has apparently gone wrong.

Of the first four transformees sent out from the research facility, none have returned. When one more also fails to return, concerns are raised that the transformation process may be flawed. Rather than risk anyone else, the head of the expedition opts to have himself changed into loper form, together with his dog, whom he hopes will keep him company.

Once transformed and “on” Jupiter, the Fowler discovers he has considerably greater ability than provided by his human form, as does his dog. The two are able to communicate telepathically, exchanging ideas and observations gathered during their time in human and canine form. Both feel their enhanced state leads them to a greater calling than that of the humans’ original mission…

Tuesday, January 24th 19:00: A Monstrous Regiment of Women – Part 2

Begins with Caledonia Skytower.

Wednesday, January 25th

14:00 – Explore the World of John Steinbeck in Kitely (grid.kitely.com:8002:EXPLORESeanchai)

The World of John Steinbeck - the Steinbeck Gallery, Kitely (grid.kitely.com:8002:EXPLORESeanchai)
The World of John Steinbeck – the Steinbeck Gallery, Kitely (grid.kitely.com:8002:EXPLORESeanchai)

From January 20th through February 5th, Tacoma Little Theatre, Tacoma Washington State, presents Of Mice and Men directed by Niclas Olson. Based on Steinbeck’s 1937 novella of the same name, the play will once again be supported by Senchai Library as a part of their Explore the Arts series, hosted on the Kitely OpenSim grid (grid.kitely.com:8002:EXPLORESeanchai), where a special World of John Steinbeck has been created.

On Wednesday, January 25th at 14:00 SLT / PDT, virtual world users are invited to join in with a Hypergrid Safari to Explore the World of John Steinbeck, led by Caledonia Skytower. The tour will feature all of the facilities built by Seanchai, and cover their work in supporting the Tacoma Little Theatre’s production of Of Mice and Men, and explain how the partnership between the theatre and Seanchai Library, through the use of virtual spaces, encourages attendees of the play to explore more of Steinbeck’s life and work, and experience the history of the times about which he wrote.

There will be a special article on The  World of John Steinbeck in this blog in the near future.

19:00: The Atrocity Archives

atrocity-archives“Bob Howard is a low-level techie working for The Laundry, a super-secret government agency. While his colleagues are out saving the world, Bob’s under a desk restoring lost data. None of them receive any thanks for the jobs they do, but at least a techie doesn’t risk getting shot or eaten in the line of duty. Bob’s world is dull but safe, and that’s the way it should have stayed; but then he went and got Noticed.

“Now, Bob Howard is up to his neck in spycraft, alternative universes, dimension-hopping Nazis, Middle Eastern terrorists, damsels in distress, ancient Lovecraftian horror and the end of the world.

“Only one thing is certain: it will take more than control-alt-delete to sort this mess out…”

Join Corwyn Allen as he delves in The Atrocity Archives, the first volume of the Laundry Files, by Charles Stross.

Thursday, January 26th

19:00: An Evening with Hemingway, Tolstoy and Saki

With Shandon Loring.

21:00 Seanchai Late Night

With Finn Zeddmore.


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 January / February is Heifer International, working with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.

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Lumiya 3.4 goes Bento

lumiya-logoOn Friday, January 20th Lumiya, the Android client developed by Alina Lyvette gained the latest in what has been a flurry of updates for the client, with the release of version 3.4. This sees Lumiya gain support for the Project Bento skeleton extensions and rendering of associated avatar meshes and accessories.

All of the Bento updates are under-the-hood; there are no UI changes, and no Reset Skeleton options as seen in Bento-supporting viewers. As Alina explained to me in discussing the release, Lumiya’s approach to rendering should generally result in Bento avatars and accessories rendering correctly in the 3D world view.

Medhue Simoni's Bento MEGAwolf, as worn by my alt and rendered in Lumiya's 3D view
Medhue Simoni’s Bento MEGAWolf, as worn by my alt and rendered in Lumiya’s 3D view

For the vast majority of times, this is indeed the case. You can select and wear a Bento avatar or Bento accessory such as a head and wear / unwear it without any problems.

However, as was noted during Bento’s development, when swapping between quadruped avatars, which can involve severe deformation of the avatar skeleton,  and bipedal avatars, there can be times when your avatar doesn’t always resume its proper shape in the 3D world view, resulting in the avatar appearing deformed in your view (see below, right.

deformed
Very occasionally, when swapping between avatars – say quadruped to biped, you might encounter your avatar appearing deformed in Lumiya. Simply exit and restart the 3D view

These occurrences tend to be very intermittent / rare. As with their occurrence in a viewer, they might be the result of race conditions and / or missed appearance messages.

As Lumiya does not have any Reset Skeleton options, the problem can be fixed in one of two ways:

  • Tapping the actions menu icon (top right of the screen) and selecting Stop Avatar Animations. This will generate an appearance update, and should correct the problem
  • Exiting the 3D world view, and then enabling it again. This will again force an appearance update, and correct any deformation.

Note that in testing, these kinds of deformation issues didn’t extend to other avatars changing their form within viewing range of Lumiya 3.4, and they always rendered correctly following a change. However, should other avatars appear deformed in your 3D world view, try exiting and re-started the 3D view and see if they then render correctly.

Outside of this, Bento HUDs, where supplied can be added and used in the usual manner with Lumiya – attach the HUD, then select it via the on-screen HUD button.

You should be able to use Bento mesh HUDs as you would any other HUD in Lumiya
You should be able to use Bento mesh HUDs as you would any other HUD in Lumiya, via the HUD button & selection (lower left corner of the screen

As well as the Bento update, Lumiya 3.4 includes a couple of bug fixes:

  • Avatars should no longer get stuck in the non-animated pose (“T” pose).
  • Avatars should no longer flash when loading rigged mesh attachments.

Feedback

Given the nature of things, the code may yet require further nips and tucks, but on the whole, and outside of the rare deformation issue mentioned above, I didn’t encounter significant issues  – although my selection of Bento items is admittedly narrow, and my testing could not in any way be comprehensive.  All told, another great update to SL’s most cost-effective and feature-rich mobile client / option.

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