SL project updates 41/1: server, viewer

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

Server Deployments for Week #41

As always, please refer to the server release thread for updates and the latest news.

  • On Tuesday, October 10th, the Main (SLS) received the server maintenance package previously deployed to the RC channels.  17#, intended to address the unintended returns issue of two weeks ago – see The Return of the Living Objects: A Pre-Halloween Horror Story for more.
  • On Wednesday, October 11th, the RC channels should be updated as follows:
    • BlueSteel and LeTigre should be updated with a new server maintenance package, 17#, containing internal fixes
    • Magnum should also receive a new server maintenance package, 17#, also containing internal fixes.

Neither of the RC updates should have user-visible changes.

SL Viewer

There have been no viewer updates thus far this week, leaving the pipelines as follows:

  • Current Release version, dated August 9th, promoted August 23rd – 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):
    • Voice RC viewer, version, dated September 29.
    • Maintenance RC viewer, version, dated September 22nd.
    • Wolfpack RC viewer,version, dated September 22nd – this viewer is functionally identical to the release viewer, but includes additional back-end logging “to help catch some squirrelly issues”
    • Alex Ivy 64-bit viewer, version, dated September 1st
  • Project viewers:
  • Obsolete platform viewer version, dated May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Touch, Camming, Experiences, Avatars and Feedback

Note: the following is not indicative that the Lab is considering behavioural changes in Second Life at this time. The topics were simply raised with a view to generating discussion and feedback.

There are a lot of things  we can do in a region which might not always be in the spirit of what is intended by the region owner, particularly if the region is designed for a specific purpose, such as an experience or game. We can, for example, cam ahead, seek out secrets, identify traps or hazards and find ways to avoid them. We can also reach across a region to touch things when perhaps it would be better if we could only do so up close.

There are various ways to limit some of this – scripts can be used to limit touch, as can RLV, for example. But for things like experiences and games, it might be better if the region owner had the option to perhaps enforce limits on how far away from their avatars people can cam or touch.

However, this has to be balanced against those situations where camera and “long-distance” touch can be essential. Shopping at a crowded event, for example can be made much less of a fight against crowds and lag by using Area Search, the camera, and far touch to obtain specific items (even flycamming and far touch can make shopping a lot easier in any situation). Ergo, there’s a risk that imposing limits on either could have a more detrimental effect on people’s willingness to shop in popular locations.

Given that crowds themselves are a problem, would it be worthwhile limiting the number of avatars seen within a region in some way? Perhaps a limit set through the estate controls, or by some method within the viewer such that avatars / imposters beyond a certain radius aren’t rendered / have updates ignored by the Interest List until they come within the specified distance – just like people can move in and out of view in a real crowd.

Again, how something like this might work – should it really be a control at estate level, or would it be better as an option users could tweak (which would get my vote) – would have to be thought through in detail. Particularly given we already do have some control over the rendering, at least, of the avatars around us through various methods (e.g. render friends only, derender selected avatars, CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-4, avatar rendering, etc.); while although each of them might not be perfect, they can give flexibility of control to individual users.

As noted, the Lab aren’t planning any changes specific to any of the above  – but by throwing questions out and listening to feedback, concerns, alternative ideas, they are perhaps pulling ideas and thoughts into the melting pot on how SL might be refined and offer better controls and means to improve people’s individual and joint experiences.

Autumn comes to La Vie in Second Life

La Vie; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrLa Vie – click any image for full size

La Vie has reopened! Please come pay a visit! And don’t forget to put your pics in the Flickr group. I can’t wait to see you and all of your art!

Thus read the invitation Krys Vita sent out to members her group a few days ago, inviting folk to drop into her homestead region of La Vie and enjoy its new look, and with an additional prod from Max and Shakespeare, Caitlyn and I hopped across to see how things had changed. The last time we were in the region, it was a tropical paradise designed by Krys and TreMeldazis; for this iteration, Krys has once again collaborated with Arol Lightfoot.

La Vie; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrLa Vie

“It was time for a change I think,” Krys said as we arrived. “La Vie has been around a long time!” Seasonal changes are not uncommon within Second life regions, and with this rebuild, Krys and Arol have embraced the look and feel of autumn – with just a hint here and there of Halloween, some obvious (such as the pumpkins dotted around), others perhaps not so (such as the ghost-like blankets hanging in the windows of a barn!).

On arriving, visitors find themselves close to a farm-house and the aforementioned barn. A pick-up truck and tractor are parked close by, just off the track running by the farm. This offers explorers a choice of directions in which to most obviously head: east or west. Follow it east, and it quickly curls to the north, taking you by grassy banks, a little stall perched atop of them selling apples, to a box bridge crossing the narrow vee of a sluggish stream.

La Vie; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrLa Vie

Another pick-up truck is sitting on the rack beyond the bridge, a trailer hitched to its tow bar, the track itself coming to an end a short distance beyond it. Across a short expanse of long grass and under the lee of gnarled trees, the old stone walls of a graveyard beckon – perhaps another nod towards Halloween, with the mist gathering about the aged tombstones and a raven keeping a cocked eye on those who visit.

The graveyard is overlooked by the back of a tree house with adjoining artist’s studio, both of which sit just above the ground on the splayed fingers of strong branches. Connected to one another by a quaint little wood and rope bridge, they look northwards across a quiet pond where swans and geese share the water with cormorant and heron. More rugged and wooded land lies westward of these tree houses, deer roaming beneath boughs still heavy with yellowing leaves, before the landscape opens a little, offering a quarter corner for a single trailer camp site, before the track resumes its meander back to the farm.

La Vie; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrLa Vie

This is a place of muted colour, where gulls wheel, fishing boats and nets lie offshore, and farm animals wander and graze. Away from the main track, explorers may find little nooks and places to sit – a little camp fire here, and old picnic bench there, or cosy tree hut hidden among branches and leaves, a swing slung beneath…

Saddled horses also roam the land, or sit and lie in the shade of trees. Touching any of them will allow you to haul yourself up into the saddle and then take a ride around the land; when you dismount, the horse will be content to wander or lie down once more.

La Vie; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrLa Vie

Finished with another fitting sound scape, Lie Vie in autumn is the latest in a series of wonderful designs by Krys and Arol, and a setting that shouldn’t be missed.

SLurl Details

  • La Vie (La Vie, rated; Moderate)