Oh Deer: a taste of Heavenly Waters in Second Life

Oh Deer, Heavenly Waters; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrOh Deer – click any image for full size

Update: Oh Deer has closed, and Bambi now operates Missing Melody – see here for more). SLurls have therefore been removed from this article.

Oh Deer is the name Bambi (NorahBrent) has chosen for her Homestead region of Heavenly Waters. Designated as “under construction” at the time of our visit, the region already demonstrates a charm and romance perfect for the Second Life photographer.

“What started as an intimate sweet café grew into an Autumn Dream,” Bambi says of the design, “with the leaves crackling under your feet and the wind blowing in your hair. It’s a place to enjoy this magical season.” And the leaves do indeed pattern the ground and swirl on the occasional gust of wind as this little corner of Second Life sits beneath a cloudy evening sky.

Oh Deer, Heavenly Waters; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrOh Deer

Visitors arrive in a small square lined on two sides by buildings and the third by a red brick wall. The fourth, reached via a short flight of stone steps, looks out over waters reflecting the evening sky towards a little group of islets and floating wooden walkways. A fountain splashes before this waterfront view, formed by a quay-like section of foot path running east-to west across the scene. Steps are also cut into the seaward side of the wall, suggesting perhaps moorings for boats might be added, and with them, a way to reach the offshore islets.

Of the buildings in the little square, these are split between commercial properties on the east side, sitting with portico’d town houses. More shops occupy the west side of the square, extending around to the north facing water front. Centre stage among this little parade, and facing the square, is a glass-roofed café with seating indoors and out. It is a delightfully cosy setting – cosy enough for someone to apparently be settled in for the evening, blanket and cushion draped on a chair, book and magnifying glass on the table alongside a huge mug of cappuccino and a rack of warm toast – and knitting awaiting attention in a carpet-bag occupying another of the chairs at the table.

Oh Deer, Heavenly Waters; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrOh Deer

The windows to the rear of the café offer an intriguing view out to a small alley and courtyard, dominated by the green and yellow flank of an old electric tram. But how does one reach it? There is no door from the café  to either the ally or the courtyard.

The answer instead lies in the florist’s next door to the café. Equally as cosy, and with doors flung wide, it offer a route through to the courtyard and a chance to examine the tram and wander the short distance to the door of what was called – at the start of our visit, at least! – Deer Beer, a micro brewery occupying the building directly behind the café. I say “at the start of”, because by the time we were ready to depart, the sign had vanished in a demonstration that things really were still under construction!

Oh Deer, Heavenly Waters; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrOh Deer

Beyond the high wall at the back of the courtyard stands a tall ribbon of woodland – doubtless the cause of the leaves which swirl and flutter their way across the stones of the courtyard and square. Many of these are eventually blown to the waterfront, where they fall to draft lazily on the calm waters below; islands without substance, drawing the eye to the little group of islets further out over the water.

At the time of our visit, these could only be reached by flying – although I hope a rowing boat or two (perhaps a rezzing system?) gets added for reaching them. Connected by wooden board walks floating serenely on the water, and which meander from isle to isle, this little group has much to offer, from cuddle spots and seating areas, to little climbs up hills –  and even a touch of gentle autumn rain.

Oh Deer, Heavenly Waters; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrOh Deer

Oh Deer is always an idyllic setting, even though apparently not yet complete. There are some minor little bumps that need smoothing, but nothing which detracts for the serenity of the setting, or which unduly protrudes into a visit.

For the photographer there are many opportunities to be found here, and rezzing is allowed (30 minute auto-return, but do please clear up for yourself afterwards!). Those who do take photos here are invited to share them on the region’s Flickr group. Should  you enjoy your visit, please consider a contribution towards the region’s upkeep via one of the tip jars scattered through the scene.

Oh Deer, Heavenly Waters; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrOh Deer

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Rally to Rescue supporting Operation Delta Dog

Rally to Rescue – October 1st through 20th, 2017

Running through until October 20th, 2017 is the fourth Rally to Rescue event in Second Life in support of Operation Delta Dog.

Founded in 2013, Operation Delta Dog, a non-profit organisation, uses with experienced trainers and positive-reinforcement methods, rescues homeless dogs from Massachusetts shelters and breed rescue groups and trains them to work as assistance dogs with local veterans who are suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

It was founded by Trisha Blanchet after she read reports that as many as 22 US service veterans a day were taking their lives after serving their country in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, then finding themselves unable to readjust to private life due to PTSD / TBI. At the same time, she was aware that up to 50,000  dogs a year in Massachusetts alone wind up on the streets – and as many as 50% of them are destroyed as homes cannot be found for them. Given that trained assistance dog supporting veterans with invisible disabilities were in short supply, Trisha saw a means to form a link between the plight of homeless dogs and the plight of veterans, and offer a brighter future for both.

Organised by the Ghost Bullys Motorcycle Club is Second Life, Rally To Rescue is a shopping event featuring 32 designers, all of who are offering items for sale with 100% of all proceeds going to Rally to Rescue and thence to Operation Delta Dog.

There are shapes, accessories, fashion and furnishings to be had, together dog kennels for the discerning SL dog owner, motorbikes and things for Halloween. Some of the items have a canine theme, and all are presented in a pleasant meadow-like environment high above the GBMC’s headquarters. In addition, those who prefer can donate through the kiosk boxes intermingled with the vendor boards.

Rally to Rescue – October 1st through 20th, 2017

So, don’t forget to hop along to Rally To Rescue before October 20th and, at the very least, drop a few Lindens into the donation boxes for a worthy cause. Help a homeless dog get the home it needs, and a veteran get the help they deserve.

SLurl and Links

Sansar Discovery release overview

The Discovery Release. Credit: Linden Lab. Location; Colossus Rising

On Wednesday, October 4th, Linden Lab updated Sansar with the Discovery release, the September / October end of month / start of month major release for the platform. I’ve had a quick opportunity to try things out, and the majority of this article is intended to provide an overview of the key features of the release.

Sansar Store Policy Update

Before getting down to the details of the update, the release notes came with some announcements and reminders, including a pointer to the recently updated Store Listing Guidelines and policy, which came into effect on Monday, October 2nd.

However, there has been some negative feedback on the policy change around the requirement for creators to have payment information on file with the Lab (e.g. a credit / debit card).  As such, the policy announcement was updated on Monday, October 2nd, to read:

Following helpful feedback from Sansar’s creator community, we will not be enforcing the credit card requirement at this time.

Requiring sellers to have payment information on file will help us to combat undesirable behaviour in the Store, but we understand that creators around the world may not have a credit card for a variety of reasons.

We are working to support other payment methods, such as PayPal, and plan to revisit this requirement for sellers once we have more available options.

Atlas Updates

The Atlas in both the client and on the web has been updated.

The Client Atlas now has a new Featured tab, and the ability to search experiences (the latter matching the web Atlas).  Search allows users to search by full or partial experience name, creator name, etc. As with the web Atlas, results are ranked in order of closest matching (so for, example, searching “Maxwell Graf” will return a list of Maxwell Graf’s experiences, followed by experiences /creators with partially matching names).

The Client Atlas with the new Featured tab (arrowed) and Search option (circled)

Te Featured tab lists all those experiences selected by the Sansar editorial team, again in the same way as the web Atlas.

The Web Atlas similarly gains a Featured tab, which sits alongside the All and Sansar Studio tabs in the top left corner of the Atlas, which now has a cleaner look and feel.

Desktop Mode Object Interactions

Desktop users can now interact with objects in an experience. Simply move the mouse pointer in an area where there might be objects available for interaction. Any objects you can “pick up”, will be highlighted in blue. Left click on an object you want to “pick up” and it will move to float in front of you.

Desktop Mode object interaction: hover the mouse pointer over objects. Any object highlighted in blue – like the pith helmet here – can be “picked up” with a left mouse button click. The object will jump to float in front of you (shown with the book in the inset image). Left click again to drop the item, or left-click / hold to throw it – the longer you hold, the further you’ll toss it

As you walk and turn, the object will move with you. To stop “holding” the object, LEFT click it again. A quick click will “drop” it, but if you press and hold the left button, you can throw the object – the longer you hold the button, the further you’ll throw the object. See the Sansar Keyboard Shortcuts documentation for more.

There is still some work to be done on this – avatars will eventually be able to hold objects they pick up, so this is only an initial step in interaction. However, I would request the Lab do something about the direction sharp, pointy things float – as shown below, “health and safety” didn’t exactly spring to mind 😉 .

“Is this a machete that floats before me, the sharp bit towards my throat?” The Desktop mode interaction is only in its first iteration, and will have features added. However, it can raise eyebrows over health and safety! 🙂 (With apologies to W. Shakespeare esq, for the misquote.)

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