SL project updates week 35/1: server, viewer

Les Reves Perdus; Inara Pey, August 2017, on Flickr Les Reves Perdusblog post

Updated, September 2nd: to reflect the Maintenance RC viewer 5.0.8.328612 being replaced by version 5.0.8.328812 on Thursday, August 31st.

Server Deployments Week 35

Please refer to the deployment notice for the week for latest updates and news.

  • On Tuesday, August 29th, the Main (SLS) channel received the server maintenance package previously deployed to the three RC channels in week#34, #17.08.11.328152, comprising the MIME type changes for HTTP.
  • On Wednesday, August 30th, the RC channels were updated with a new server maintenance package 17#17.08.22.507928 comprising some tool changes made to the simulator software build systems, which should not change functionality anywhere.

Dual Region Restarts

For around the last month, it appears that some regions have been undergoing unintended double restarts: the first sees the region comes back on-line on the same simulator version as before the restart, but on a new host. The second restart – occurring roughly an hour later – sees the region restart on the new simulator version, but still on the same host as the first restart.

This is not normal behaviour, and JIRAs are request – with logs – from anyone witnessing their region doing this following a weekly deployment,.

SL Viewer

On Thursday, August 31st, 2017, the Lab released a new Maintenance RC viewer, version 5.0.8.328812, comprising a wide range of bug fixes.

This RC has been pulled due to BUG-134213, [Maint: Moonshine] breaks clickable functionality for certain HUDs.

The rest of the viewer release pipelines remain unchanged from the end of week #34:

  • Current Release version 5.0.7.328060, dated August 9, promoted August 23 – formerly the Maintenance RC
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
  • Project viewers:
  • 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.

Animation Syncing

Much of the Simulator User Group meeting of Tuesday, August 29th, focused on animation syncing. Animations are largely handled by the viewer, and there are minimal user control over how animations sync (e.g. couples animations when dancing, except when loaded. There have long be calls for more granular levels of user control over animations – such as a scripted means of pre-caching (such as can be done with sounds) to help with smoother playback, and better syncing control.

Firestorm offers a degree of individual user control of animations through the resync animation command / button. However, there’s no easy way to synch animations between viewers to ensure everyone is seeing the same thing – which can be an issue when dealing with the likes of games and things, and could complicate matters with animated objects / animesh.An interim suggestion might be for the Lab to adopt the Firestorm resyc function, were it to be contributed.

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Cica’s Fairy Tale in Second Life

Cica Ghost – Fairy Tale

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again,” so reads the quote from C.S. Lewis which Cica has selected for her latest installation, Fairy Tale, which opened on August 29th, 2017. It’s part of a dedication he gave to his God-daughter after writing The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. While Cica assures me she wasn’t aware of the full dedication when picking the quote, it is nevertheless the most salient part of Lewis’ comment – and fits this installation perfectly.

Across an undulating landscape, columns of rocks stack their way into the sky, vying with denuded trees and the surrounding hills for height. Only one of the hills is topped in grass – the rest of the land appears hard and dry. Reached by a set of steps formed by more rocks, it is home to a little red house sitting in a tiny garden. A plethora of cats occupy the house, most taken by the bed sitting towards one end of the single room, although one is attentive to the young woman who also stands inside the house.

Cica Ghost – Fairy Tale

The hill looks across the region, over the stacks of rocks, the trees and a group of standing stones to where three dragons proudly sit, surveying the world around them. One, perched high on a shelf of rock, is winged. “He’s the male,” Cica told me as we chatted about the build. “The other two without wings are female.”

One of the latter seems to have wandered a little from her nest, where patterned eggs awaiting hatching. another nest lies in a hollow of the ground a little further away. The second female offers a clue to the shell-like objects also scattered across the landscape. She is sitting on top of one, as if claiming it. “The dragons use the shells as caves,” Cica said. “They live in them!”

Cica Ghost – Fairy Tale

Scattered throughout the setting are sitting points, some with the addition of dances and other animations. Check the tops of some of the rock stacks and the little – but tall – island lying just off-shore as well in order to find them. All offer views out over this region and the opportunity to cam around or take photos.

Fairy Tale is another whimsical  installation from Cica. It is also a curio: just what do we make of it as we travel through it? What should we make of the dragons’ use of giant shells, and what of the original occupants of the shells? Where does the woman and her cats in the house fit within all this?

Cica Ghost – Fairy Tale

The clue to these and other questions lies best in the quote from C.S. Lewis: we are all enthralled with tales that give flight for the imagination, but somewhere along life’s path, we often lose the will to use our imaginations as fully as we might. Fairy Tale is perhaps presents a chance to recapture that willingness, to let out imaginations roams across this landscape as freely as our feet, and let imagination fill-in the blanks of the story.

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Second Life: the future is bright – by Linden Lab

Ever since Sansar was announced in 2014, many have seen it as a sign that it is intended to be a “replacement” for Second Life – or if not, that the Lab is diverting all of its resources into Sansar at SL’s expense.

Neither assessment is accurate – asthe Lab has repeatedly tried to state. In fact, over the last three years, the Lab has continued to invest in Second Life, both in terms of features and improvements and in an overhaul of the Second Life infrastructure: hardware, network and so on.

On Tuesday, August 29th, Ebbe Altberg, CEO at linden Lab and the Second Life team outlined the future for the platform. Hopefully, it will further help further quell the doubts surround the Lab’s intentions for Second Life.

The blog post opens:

It’s been an exciting summer at Linden Lab. Second Life celebrated its 14th anniversary, and shortly thereafter we also opened Sansar’s creator beta to the world. In addition, we are thrilled to announce a set of investments into Second Life and its communities that will include enhancements to our engineering support, customer support, billing systems and upgrades, and customer acquisition outreach. In all, we’ve budgeted many millions (USD, not L$…) in the coming year to make SL even better, and we’ll keep everyone up to date on improvements as they roll out (or sooner).

The post then goes on to bullet-point some to the core aspects of these investments, some of which – such at animated objects / mesh (“Animesh”) and the Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) to extend SL’s Windlight capabilities, I’ve been covering in the pages of this blog (see my Content Creation User Group meeting notes and my initial write-up on EEP).

The blog post also notes forthcoming new Premium account benefits will be announced soon. Hhowever, the two biggest aspects of the news are infrastructure updates and a new grid-wide Experience.

The infrastructure work has been on-going for some time – most recently the Lab has deployed a new simulator build using a more recent version of Linux, and a further operating system update will also be forthcoming. However, what is interesting about this blog post is that it confirms something first mentioned publicly by Landon Linden at SL14B – the infrastructure updates include moving Second Life to the cloud.

This work will not be short-term, but if successful, the Lab hopes for a number of benefits, including:

  • Making Second Life more performant for Residents across the world from us.
  • Possibly allowing the Lab to introduce new products with more flexible pricing.

The new Experience may not appeal to everyone, but it will see a new capability added to Second Life: grid-way experiences. This will initially be in the form of a new grid-wide game developed by the Lab; whether or not it will – in time – allow interested region / parcel owners participate in grid-wide Experiences of their own making remains to be seen.

However, the continued investment in Second Life infrastructure which perhaps stands as the greatest demonstration of the Lab’s commitment to Second Life, and I hope to be able to follow the work through these pages as the Lab provides updates and news.

Seven Wonders in Sansar

Sansar: Seven Wonders

I’ve often commented on Sansar’s potential for historical recreation, and there are  number of fledging experiences cultivating this idea: Sansar Studio’s Egyptian Tomb and Ortli Villa, for example or the builds by IDIA Lab’s Mencius Watts. Another example, which approaches things from an  imaginative angle, is Seven Wonders, which I visited just before the Creator Beta was launched.

Designed by Ancient (of SL’s Mole fame), Seven Wonders presents the novel idea of a theme park in which have been gathered together the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. From the spawn point –  a little rocky amphitheatre caught under a bright, sunny sky – a brick paved path points the way through an ivy-lined tunnel. Walking through this brings visitors to a coastal walk raised above  golden sands. A broad wooden pier runs out over the sand – but this is not what catches the eye. Standing off-shore is the gigantic figure of the Colossus of Rhodes.

Sansar: Seven Wonders

As the path reaches the pier, so to does it branch, one arm rising inland, the other forming a gentle incline over a more rocky part of the coast, skirting the unmistakable stepped foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza. At the top of this coastal rise, the path splits again. To one side, the arch of a great bridge spans a small inlet to where the Lighthouse of Alexandria stands on a broad rocky promontory. The bridge itself offers excellent views of the lighthouse, the Colossus and the rising peak of the Great Pyramid.

Beyond the bridge, the path dips through another rocky tunnel before rising and turning inland, passing the lighthouse to lead the way first to the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus then to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, again by way of the Great Pyramid. The latter sits in a desert-like setting, complete with a small Sphinx and a number of obelisks gathered around it, with palm trees offering shade. It is from this sandy setting that paths may also be found to the remaining two Wonders: the Temple of Artemis and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.

Sansar: Seven Wonders

Set under a bright summer’s sky, Seven Wonders presents each of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World in its own mini-setting.  The walks around and through the park are pleasant and offer a very fair feeling of being in a theme park, with bench seating, balloons, rubbish bins – and even detritus of human passage where the bins have been ignored. However, this is a static experience – at least for those in Desktop mode. This may lead to a temptation to dismiss it as something that could just as easily be built within Second Life (space permitting). It’s also true the structures aren’t all accessible.

Nevertheless, the experience does stand as a demonstration of what might be achieved as Sansar’s capabilities grow and people become more adept at using it and presenting models and information within their scenes and experiences. It’s not that hard to imagine visiting somewhere like this immersively in the future and gaining a virtual tour of each of these ancient monuments, complete with audio tour and visual aids, and the chance to witness what some of them may have looked like from within.

Sansar: Seven Wonders

In the meantime, Seven Wonders offers an interesting diversion and the chance to spend a pleasant time wandering under the virtual Sun.

Experience URL