SL project updates 2017-7/1: server, viewer, “blue world” bug fix

Anduril, Anduril; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrAndurilblog post

Server Deployments

In short, there are no deployments scheduled for this week. The Main (SLS) channel will remain on release 17#17.01.27.323172.

While there had been an RC release planned, it apparently didn’t clear QA in time, so all three RC channels will remain on 17#17.01.27.323172 as  well.  However, all three channels will be restarted on Wednesday, February 15th, in keeping with the Lab’s policy or restarting channels every two weeks, whether or not there is an associated deployment.

SL Viewer

The Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 5.0.2.323567 on Tuesday, February 14th.  As reviewed in this blog, this viewer includes a number of updates and new features, including the ability to select your own preferred folders for uploading image, animations, sounds and mesh models.

Outside of this update, the viewer pipelines remain as per the end of week #6:

  • Current Release version: 5.0.1.323027, dated January 25, promoted February 3 – formerly the Maintenance RC viewer.
  • RC viewers:
    • Love Me Render RC viewer version Version 5.0.2.323361, dated February 9th – rendering pipeline fixes and improvements
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Alex Ivy (LXIV), 64-bit project viewer, version 5.1.0.501863 for Windows and Mac, released on January 10
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer updated to version 4.1.3.321712 on November 23, 2016 – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review.
  • 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.

Nvidia Driver 64-bit Viewer “Blue World” Bug

As I reported in week #4, Nvidia’s release of their 378.49 driver on January 24th resulted in many 64-bit viewer users (TPVs and the Lab’s own Alex Ivy 64-bit project viewer) seeing their Second Life world view turn decidedly blue when running with Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) disabled.

The Nvidia 378.66 driver should fix the
The Nvidia 378.66 driver should fix the “blue world” issue for those using 64-bit viewers with ALM disabled

On February 14th, Nvidia release the 378.66 driver package, and this reportedly fixes the SL issues.

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The Gardens by the Bay in Second Life

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay

Now open to visitors is the Gardens by the Bay, a full region installation by Maddy  (Nibby Riddler), who is perhaps best known for her Eclectica homestead region designs (which you can read about here and here). It is a stunning installation, rooted in the physical world, but with its own unique flavour, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say it is a must see.

The inspiration for the design comes from Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, a nature park spanning 101 hectares (250 acres) of reclaimed land in central Singapore. First announced in 2005, it is designed as Singapore’s permier outdoor recreation space, and a spearhead in the drive to transform the city-state  from a “Garden City” to a “City in a Garden”.

Gardens By the Bay
Gardens By the Bay

Working with far less than 250 acres, Maddy has beautifully captured the essence of the Gardens by the Bay, reproducing many of its iconic elements. Central to the design is the magnificent Supertree Grove. Vertical gardens in their own right, rising up to 50 metres (162 ft) into the air, these massive structures are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and bromeliaceae. They also perform a variety of functions to support the gardens around them. Just as an elevated walkway connects them in the physical world, so to does a similar walkway loop Maddy’s Supertrees, allowing visitors to gain a panoramic view of the gardens below.

Linked by a series of paths, the ground level gardens bring together elements found across all three of the major areas of the original, encapsulating so much of beauty, fauna and architecture without the region every feeling overcrowded, A note card is provided at the landing point to help visitors navigate around, and I thoroughly recommend taking it and reading it before starting any exploration.

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay

Another aspect of the original offered to visitors is a representation of one of the massive greenhouses, home to a rich and colourful spread of flora. The famous Audemars Piguet Floral Clock, unveiled on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Singapore independence in 2015, is also represented, as are the giant silvery ants which younger visitors to Singapore’s gardens find so irresistible – and so much more.

With places to sit and admire, opportunities to dance and capturing the essence of all three major areas of the original, Maddy’s Gardens  by the Bay is – in a word – magnificent. While the images here are all taken with minor tweaks to the default windlight for the region, the gardens lend themselves perfectly to other windlight settings, and are exceptionally photogenic.

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay

Absolutely not something to be missed, Gardens by the Bay will remain open through until the end of June 2017. My thanks to Maddy for the personal invitation she extended to Caitlyn and I to pay a visit.

SLurl Details

February 14th: will you be a hugger, a dunker or both in Second Life?

Isle of View
Isle of View

The Isle of View, the “official” destination for Valentine’s Day reappeared on the grid earlier in the month, and on Tuesday February 14th, the Lab will be host a “Hug and Dunk” session wherein people visiting the isle can opt to either hug a Linden – or dunk them in the water (or both!).

The event forms part of the ongoing in-world meet-ups between Linden Lab staff and users, and will take place between 10:00am and 12:00 noon and 14:00-16:00 SLT on Valentine’s Day. As well as hugging and dunking, expect some music and dancing and lots of conversation!

The get-together was  announced on February 10th in a blog post from Xiola Linden, which reads in Part:

Bring your friends, bring your family, bring your one and only – when else are you going to get the chance to cosy up to a Linden or send one shrieking into the depths of a dunk tank? An opportunity like this comes around about once a year — so don’t miss out.

Love is a complicated creature — inspiring poetry, prose, songs, and art of all kinds since the beginning of time. Despite her many facets, love still trumps the alternative — and there is no better place to appreciate the beauty of amor than at the Isle of View.

Isle of View: will you be a hugger ...
Isle of View: will you be a hugger …

The Isle of View covers four regions, forming a classic love heart and offers opportunities for walking, taking a romantic boat ride, dancing – and even sending a gift of virtual roses and chocolates to that special loved one.

To join in with the hug and dunk session, just make your way to the Love Pavilion (following the illuminated signs). You’ll also find the gift kiosk there as well.

Isle of View: ... or a dunker?
Isle of View: … or a dunker?

SLurl Details

Isle of View (rated: Moderate)

 

Visiting Hobbiton in Second Life

Hobbiton, Dragon Island; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrHobbiton – click any image for full size

“Mae govannen! So good to have you here with us!” Zephira (Gidgette Adagio) greeted as Caitlyn and I explored her homestead region, Hobbiton. “I must confess, I am still working on texture terrain in Region details. I am a noob to this, but have wanted to do this for a long time and finally got the courage to try!”

Truth be told, Zephira undersells herself. Hobbiton is a picturesque region beautifully brought together and welcoming to visitors. Inspired by Tolkien’s Middle Earth, it contains many touches and nods towards his tales without actually being specifically placed with a single realm of Middle Earth. So it is that Hobbit holes sit alongside (and beneath!) wizard’s towers while the houses of Big Folk can be found amidst the green, rolling landscape I have little doubt Tolkien would regard as being a slice of Middle Earth were he able to see it.

Hobbiton, Dragon Island; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrHobbiton

This is a place of delight and natural beauty, full of little touches which make careful exploration a must. Light role-play is allowed (but not required) and the region is home to one or two people – so don’t be surprised if you bump into locals who are in character. As well as Zephira, we had the pleasure of bumping into Robin Brandybuck, a second cousin (once removed) to the famous Meriadoc Brandybuck!

Visitors are advised to use the region’s default windlight when exploring, and this casts the landscape into the shadows of evening, giving it an added air of mystery. However, such is Zephira’s design, it is well suited to a range of windlight settings, and for the purposes of the images here, I used one of my preferred pre-sets.

Hobbiton, Dragon Island; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrHobbiton

There is no set path for exploration – simply follow wherever your feet take you. As the region is home to some, there are one or two places that are off-limits to visitors, but the majority of the land is open to wandering, whilst there are also several places where visitors can simple sit and observe the comings and goings of others.

Some of the highlights of the region are easy to find: the wizard’s towers, the Hobbit holes, the follies, and so on. However, when wandering, keep an eye out for all the little touches which both bring the landscape to life and reflect the tales which inspired it.

Hobbiton, Dragon Island; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrHobbiton

For example, Smeagol can be found in one direction, hunched on a rock and wearing his Gollum face. Elsewhere a walk through the more wooded parts of the region might lead to an encounter with an Ent or two – although at least one (Treebeard himself?)  – can easily be missed if you hurry by too quickly. Elsewhere, a little mine reminds us that Middle Earth is the home to Dwarves as well, while a dragon stands watch on a rocky peak, and – across the waters – a single Eye stares out from the high tower of Barad-dûr.

Hobbiton makes for a delightful visit. My thanks to my region spotter, Shakespeare, for passing on word about it, and thanks from both Caitlyn and I to Zaphira for both sharing her vision with Second Life explorers, and for the warm greeting and time spent with us during our visit.

SLurl Details

Hobbiton (Thunder Dragon Island, rated: Moderate)