A Brand New Colony in Second Life

Brand New Colony; Inara Pey, September 2017, on FlickrBrand New Colony – click any image for full size

Update, January 1st 2018: Brand New Colony has relocated. The SLurls given here have been updated to reflect the new location, and a tour of the new build is available here.

Brand New Colony is an Adult-rated homestead region designed by Bunny Blessed (Svelte Blessed) and Mimara Blessed (Mimara) which is open to visitors to explore and enjoy – and it is a wonderfully picturesque setting in which to spend time.

Divided into three islands linked by bridges and surrounded by surf, the region sits in a broad channel of water sitting between two rugged mountain ranges rich with fir trees on their flanks. A visit begins on the plateau of the northernmost island, which extends a slender finger westwards, stone steps offering the way down from the gazebo in which visitors arrive. This sits above a large pool of water feed by an arc of waterfalls. Bridges span the water to the gazebo, which is also carried away by falls which drop down the side of the plateau to feed a large pool and a stream below.

Brand New Colony; Inara Pey, September 2017, on FlickrBrand New Colony

Footpaths run either side of the stream, bridges connecting them one to the other, both offering ways to explore the island, and  to reach the summer-house sitting on wooden legs above the stream. Rich with flowers and the shade of trees, with benches and swings to be found along the paths overlooking the water feature, the island on its own offers a picturesque setting in which to spend time. However, there is more to be found in the region.

Just down from the arrival gazebo is a wooden bridge spanning the channel between this island and the larger of the two to the south.

Brand New Colony; Inara Pey, September 2017, on FlickrBrand New Colony

A villa with whitewashed walls and a red-tiled roof sits on the plateau forming the central peak of this second island, steps near the bridge offering a way up to it. Sitting beneath the villa and visible from the arrival point is a sandy beach, complete with a tiled pool set back against the rocks of the plateau,  reached by a grassy path sloping down from the villa’s hilltop location.

Two further sets of stone stairs curl their way down the west face of the plateau, allowing explorers reach a stone bridge offering a way to the smallest of the three islands. This is home to the adult aspect of the region: an old (but functioning) lighthouse has been converted into an adult club – so, for those not fond of such things, proceed with care.

Brand New Colony; Inara Pey, September 2017, on FlickrBrand New Colony

There are many points of beauty within this region. The three island have been designed with care, and their rocky nature is entirely natural in look and feel, as are the many water features. Trees and plants are used with equal care and finesse to present a setting which is not just picturesque, but also serene. This is a place to be explored and enjoyed at leisure, with plenty of places to sit and relax – or cuddle. It’s also a place which demands photography.

As noted, Brand New Colony is adult rated, and a part of it does have an adult theme; but this doesn’t in any way detract from the sheer allure of the region.  All-in-all, a delightful visit.

Brand New Colony; Inara Pey, September 2017, on FlickrBrand New Colony

SLurl Details

Sansar product meetings 2017: week #35

People gather for the Sansar Product Meeting, Friday, September 1st

The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meetings held on Friday, September 1st. These meetings are held every Friday at 9:30am PDT and 4:00pm PDT, and are open to all. There is no set agenda (currently), and the meetings are a mix of voice and text. Venues change on a weekly basis, and are announced in the Meet-up Announcements. The September 1st meeting took place at Maxwell Graf’s Rune, which is one of five parts of his Rustica “grand experience”. The official meeting notes published the week following each pair of meetings.

The meetings are chaired by Jenn (aka Xiola Linden) from the Community Team, and feature various members of the Sansar teams.

August / September Release

The next release was pushed back from August 31st as a result of a couple of last-minute issues which required fixing. The release is now being targeted of Wednesday, September 6th.  This is in keeping with the Lab’s approach to making major (feature) updates at the end / start of a month, with smaller interim releases focused on bug fixes and patches being rolled out as required between these major releases.

Highlights of the upcoming release include:

  • Terrain Editor (first pass): ability to edit the current terrain options; the ability to upload custom textures to follow.
  • Scripting Updates and Improvements, including:

  • Ambient Occlusion (AO): allowing things like indirect lighting shadows. This should not require creators to re-visit and update the Global Illumination (GI) bakes for their experiences, as the AO will be a real-time effect.
  • Avatar updates, including:
    • Selling Avatar Attachments: creators will be able to upload and sell their own avatar props (attachments) through the Sansar Store – more on this below.
    • Having been removed from Sansar due to speed issues when seen in VR mode, the ability for avatars to run will be returning in the next release.
    • Further improvements to avatar customisation, e.g. adding nail colours.
  • Ability to upload multi-part objects: there will be some limitations placed on this, which will be specified in the release notes.
  • Object Animations: animated objects created in Maya, 3D Studio Max, or Blender can be imported them into Sansar.
  • Media updates, including:
    • Support for custom music and live streaming via Shoutcast, Icecast and similar services. OGG should be supported via web links, although AAC will not be supported with this release.
    • The ability to play back s£ movies within experiences.
  • Bug fixes.

Some of these features may yet be subject to final testing by the Lab, so please refer to the release notes once the update has been made for details and links to supporting documentation. The release notes will form an e-mail to Sansar users and be available in the Release Notes section of the knowledge base.

When the release is rolled out, it will mean down time for the platform, and this will be announced through the forums and on the log-in screen, etc.

Sansar Product Meeting, Friday, September 1st

Avatar Attachments

As noted above, creators will be able to make, upload and sell avatar attachments in Second Life through the Sansar Store with the next platform release. However, because the initial provision of attachment points on the avatar lead to some outsized (non-resellable) props being made, there will be a number of initial limitations placed on the props which can be uploaded and sold, including:

  • Uploaded props will not initially be allowed to exceed a 1m x 1m x 1m size.
    • Existing props which are larger than this can continue to be used, but creators will not be able to sell them.
  • Attachments will be limited in terms of total triangles they can contain.

Full details of the limits and upload requirements will be documented in the Avatar Attachments knowledge base article once the release is public. Some of the limitations may be relaxed over time.

Contest Announcements

Partially to mark creators being able to upload and sell avatar props through the Sansar Store with the next release, and because Halloween in approaching, Linden Lab has launched two Sansar contests. On offer are five prize packages featuring Oculus Rift + Touch bundles. In addition, the Halloween themed contest includes a US $10,000 grand prize. Details can be found on the official Sansar blog, and on my blog.

HUDs and Web Support in Sansar

Second Life users are all familiar with the concept of HUDs to enhance users’ abilities to interaction with other scripted objects (usually attached to an avatar) and / or interact with external web services. Specific scripting support for HUD objects (and the ability to attach them to the Sansar UI) isn’t at present being worked on by the Lab.

Some broader web support, is being developed. This includes the ability to display web pages and media on objects in an experience (again, in SL parlance, the equivalent of media on a prim). There will also be some form of web browser capability within the Sansar UI, but there is currently no time frame on when this is likely to appear or what it will look like.

Request have been made to provide Sansar with a similar scripted functionality to LLHTTPRequest to enable more complex interactions between Sansar and external web services. Provision of such a capability has not – as yet – been discussed  for Sansar.

Avatar Sitting

The ability for avatars to sit on objects within and experience is not the roadmap, but will not be part of the next release, and may yet be further down the road, possibly as much as six months hence – although this needs confirmation from the Lab.

Continue reading “Sansar product meetings 2017: week #35”

Detectives, super humans, Indians and summers

Seanchai Library, Holly Kai Park

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 home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, September 3rd 13:30: Tea Time at Baker Street

Caledonia Skytower, Corwyn Allen and Kayden Oconnell once again open the pages of The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, the final set of twelve Sherlock Holmes short stories first published in the Strand Magazine between October 1921 and April 1927.

This week: The Problem of Thor Bridge.

“The faculty of deduction is certainly contagious, Watson,” Holmes informs his good friend one October morning after Watson had arrived for breakfast expecting to find Holmes in a depressed mood, wanting for a good, solid case, but finding him instead practically full of the joys of spring.

The comment comes in response to Watson’s observation that such a good mood could only mean that Holmes did indeed have a case. Even so, it is not until after breakfast that the Great Detective reveals the situation.

“You have heard of Neil Gibson, the Gold King?” he said.

“You mean the American Senator?”

“Well, he was once Senator for some Western state, but is better known as the greatest gold-mining magnate in the world.”

“Yes, I know of him. He has surely lived in England for some time. His name is very familiar.”

“Yes, he bought a considerable estate in Hampshire some five years ago. Possibly you have already heard of the tragic end of his wife?”

“Of course. I remember it now. That is why the name is familiar. But I really know nothing of the details.

The details are that the wife of the aforementioned J. Neil Gibson had been most cruelly murdered by none other than the family’s governess, Grace Dunbar. The evidence in the case couldn’t be more clear, nor Miss Dunbar’s guilt more sure.

So the letter Holmes has received protesting her innocence despite all the evidence indicating otherwise, sets the Great detective a pretty riddle. Particularly as it has been written by none other than J. Neil Gibson himself …

Monday, September 4th 19:00: More Than Human

Gyro Muggins reads Theodore Sturgeon’s genre-bending 1953 novel which brings together three of her earlier works   to weave a story about people with extraordinary abilities which can be combined – “bleshed” (itself a blending of “blend” and “mesh”) to make them even more extraordinary.

Take, for example, Lone, the simpleton who can hear other people’s thoughts and make a man blow his brains out just by looking at him; or Janie, who moves things without touching them. Then there are the teleporting twins, who can travel ten feet or ten miles, and Baby, who invented an anti-gravity engine while still in the cradle, and Gerry, who has everything it takes to run the world except for a conscience.

Six people struggling to find who they are and whether they are meant to help humanity, destroy it, or represent the next step in evolution, the final chapter in the history of the human race. Through them, Theodore Sturgeon explores questions of power and morality, individuality and belonging, with suspense, pathos, and a lyricism rarely seen in science fiction.

Tuesday, September 5th 19:00: One Summer, America 1927

The summer of 1927 was, for the United States, a signature period of the 20th Century. On May 21st, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to make a non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in an aeroplane when The Spirit of St Louis arrived at Le Bourget airfield, near Paris.

Through that summer, Babe Ruth was setting his record for the number of home runs in baseball, while one of the most infamous murder trials in New York’s history took place: that of  Ruth Snyder and her married lover, Henry Judd Gray. They stood accused – and were eventually found guilty of – garrotting of Snyder’s husband in what was a tabloid sensation case.

Meanwhile, in the south the Mississippi burst its banks, leading to widespread flooding and a huge human disaster. Far to the north, Al Capone continued his reign of criminal terror in Chicago, while on the west coast, history was being made with the filming of the world’s first “talking picture” in the form of Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, released in October 1927.

All of this  and more is charted by Bill Bryson, in a book written with his characteristic eye for telling detail, and delicious humour. 1927 was the year America stepped out onto the world stage as the main event, and One Summer transforms it all into narrative non-fiction of the highest order. Join Kayden Oconnell for a trip through history as seen by Bryson.

Wednesday, September 6th 19:00: Calahan’s Crosstime Saloon

Corwyn Allen reads Spider Robinson’s 1999 anthology.

callahansThe titular saloon is a haven for lost souls; a place where the patrons come for one drink and a chance for a second – but only if they offer an unburdening toast at the fireplace. Mike Callahan, the owner, never judges but sometimes advises in as few words as possible.

In the first story in the collection, Callahan thinks he’s heard it all until one day, The Guy With The Eyes comes in.

He spends an hour nursing his first drink, then steps up to the fireplace and unburdens himself with the news that he’s an alien, a harbinger of doom for Earth, who will be returning home in just a couple of hours. But when he does, his masters will destroy the planet, convinced human kind is a cancer. Only he’s no longer convinced that this is true, and no longer wants to see the world destroyed…

Also presented in Kitely (hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/108/609/1528).

Thursday, September 7th:

19:00 The Last of the Mohicans

The wild rush of action in this classic frontier adventure story has made The Last of the Mohicans the most popular of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales.

Deep in the forests of upper New York State, the brave woodsman Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo) and his loyal Mohican friends Chingachgook and Uncas become embroiled in the bloody battles of the French and Indian War.

The abduction of the beautiful Munro sisters by hostile savages, the treachery of the renegade brave Magua, the ambush of innocent settlers, and the thrilling events that lead to the final tragic confrontation between rival war parties create an unforgettable, spine-tingling picture of life on the frontier. And as the idyllic wilderness gives way to the forces of civilization, the novel presents a moving portrayal of a vanishing race and the end of its way of life in the great American forests.

With Shandon Loring. Also presented in Kitely (hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/108/609/1528).

21:00 Seanchai Late Night

Finn Zeddmore presents contemporary Sci-fi & fantasy!


Please check with the Seanchai Library’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule.

The featured charity for August and September is Little Kids Rock, transforming lives by restoring, expanding, and innovating music education in schools.