SL project updates 43/1: server, viewer, exploits

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

Server Deployments for Week #43

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

  • There was no deployment or restart for the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, October 24th, leaving it on package #
  • On Wednesday, October 25th, the RC channels should be updated with a sideways roll to server maintenance package, #, comprising internal fixes, cuerrently deployed to the Main (SLS) channel.

SL Viewer

On Tuesday, October 24th, the current Maintenance RC viewer updated to version All other viewers in the current pipelines remain as per the end of week #42:

  • Current Release version, dated September 22, promoted October 13 – formerly the “Moonshine” Maintenance RC.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Wolfpack RC viewer,version, dated October 20 – 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 5.
    • Voice RC viewer, version, dated September 1.
  • Project viewers:
  • Obsolete platform viewer version, dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Exploits Update: No Copy Items

One area of concern / upset for content creators has been the use of server exploits to generate copies of No-Copy items. These have been frequently used to fold the Market with illicit copies of gacha items. The Lab has been aware of this, and some of the recent server-side updates (which are now grid-wide on Agni) have been to address these problems, as Simon Linden explained, relaying Mazidox Linden’s comments made at the Server Beta Group meeting on Thursday, 19th October:

Some of our recent internal fixes included changes to our back-end systems which will no longer allow certain exploits used for duplicating no-copy content, and make it easier for us identify when anyone uses similar techniques in the future. We haven’t solved all the problems outright, but we’re making good strides.

Simon went on to add, “There is more work to be done, and we want to do it.”

Obviously, the Lab is always interested in learning about potential exploits within the platform. Anyone identifying such an exploit – such as a means to deliberately crash a simulator – is asked to file a SEC (non public) JIRA detailing the exploit. There is a new region on Aditi (the beta grid), called Crash Me, which can be used to test  / demonstrate ways the simulator might be crashed.

If a creator notices that there are endless amounts of their items on marketplace, and they suspect their items have been exploited, and JIRA Bug report should be raised.


Khodovarikha’s lonely beauty in Second Life

Khodovarikha; Inara Pey, October 2017, on Flickr Khodovarikha – click any image for full size

Serene Footman, the man behind Furillen, (see here, here and here for more) and La Digue du Braek (see here) opened a further region in August 2017. Once again it is an atmospheric setting based on a location in the physical world.

Khodovarikha, a Homestead region, is modelled after the spit of land going by the same name which projects eastwards into the Pechora Sea off the coast of north-west Russia. As you might expect from this description, it is a lonely and desolate place – and such places hold an appeal with Serene. In 2015, the area was the focus of a Russian Television documentary, Arctic Limbo, and this appears to have served as Serene’s inspiration in designing the region.

Khodovarikha; Inara Pey, October 2017, on Flickr Khodovarikha

Serene’s vision of Khodovarikha captures the desolate isolation of the area perfectly – and provides a magnificent  reproduction of its most notable landmark: the great wooden lighthouse. This ceased operation in 1996, but played an important role in guiding the convoys bringing supplies and munitions to Russia during World War Two. Within Serene’s setting, the lighthouse is both operational and truly dominates the landscape, but otherwise closely resembles the original right down to a hole in the tower’s base.

The region itself is split into two, with a slender finger running west-to-east to the north, a narrow channel of water separating it from the larger land mass to the south, where the lighthouse resides. The landing point is towards the western end of the northern finger of land, and the easiest route around the island is clockwise, following the rough wooden board walk pointing east from the landing point. This leads visitors over sand and past ageing buildings to where a large wooden warehouse-like structure topped by the dome of a Doppler radar system faces the lighthouse across the neck of water, an old wooden bridge linking the two.

Khodovarikha; Inara Pey, October 2017, on Flickr Khodovarikha

The loneliness of the island is encapsulate in the spread of the building and their generally dilapidated state. The detritus of human living – oil barrels scattered across the sand, sanding in untidy groups or part-buried, sacks of rubbish left to freeze outdoors, and the spoils of collapsed walls and bonfires – all add to the sense of isolation. This is not a place where appearance and neatness matter.

There is also a wealth of detail to be found here that further adds to the remoteness of the setting, particularly inside several of the buildings, where care has been taken to reflect the lonely lifestyle of Khodovarikha’s one full-time inhabitant, Slava, and the work involved in keeping things running – if that’s the right term. The air of untidiness around some of these work spaces perhaps offers a subtle suggestion of  Slava’s one-time assistant, Ustin, moving listlessly around the scattered buildings, carrying out assigned tasks during his year-long stay, missing his family and home.

Khodovarikha; Inara Pey, October 2017, on Flickr Khodovarikha

There is a gentle beauty always present in Serene’s builds, and this is certainly the case here. The overcast sky fading to a distant horizon haze, softens the setting and adds to the mystery. Looking out towards that distant horizon, it’s not too difficult to imagine the research vessel  Mikhail Somov looming out of the mists on its annual visit to deliver supplies to Slava. Or, for the more imaginative mind, to see the faint, distant shadows of the wartime convoys slipping past in the distance, ghostly shadows within the grey-blue haze.

Khodovarikha is a magnificent build, reflecting its physical world namesake almost perfectly. It is hauntingly beautiful rendering of desolation and loneliness, richly echoing the RT documentary. It is a perfect destination for those who – like Slava – wish to escape the world (at least for a while). And for those who do, there are plenty of opportunities not just for exploration, but for sitting and pondering or talking, indoors and out – some of which are quite imaginatively placed for the keen-eyed.

Khodovarikha; Inara Pey, October 2017, on Flickr Khodovarikha

This is a place most definitely deserving of a visit, and you can find out more on the background of the build and on Khodovarikha in general by reading Serene’s own blog post on his inspiration in designing the region, which delves into things like the meaning behind the big building with its striped radar dome and the inclusion of a half-finished Rawin Dome on the south side of the island, all of which adds further depth and context to the build.

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Elemental drawings in Second Life

Elemental – San (Santoshima)

“The exhibit is in celebratory recognition of the 9-year anniversary of Play as Being (PaB) in SL, and as such, is part of a year-long series of solo exhibits by PaB Guardians.” So reads – in part – the introduction to Elemental,  a set of photo drawings by San (Santoshima) on display at the Art of Being gallery through until the end of October, and to which I recently received a personal invitation to visit from the artist.

A total of 10 image boards are presented within the gallery space – six on the circular outer wall, four on the square central walls. Each panel contains multiple images, which can be viewed in turn by clicking on the panel (for the four images ranged on the sides of the central walls, click the left or right edges).

Elemental – San (Santoshima)

Thematically, the panels are similar in the images they present; the six outer panels focus on images of birds in flight and a figure with an umbrella. The colour wash in all of them suggest a breezy, perhaps rainy environment the birds and figure and flying / walking (drifting?) through each; thus we get – in part – the title for the exhibit: Elemental. The time of day which appears to suggest different times of day as well, perhaps adding to the title.

The inner four all share the same set of images showing a garden sitting with plants, rocks and trees, again taken at different times of the day. The natural setting for each image, combined with the watercolour-like tones, again suggests the images are Elemental in approach. As you click on the panels to page through the images, it is possible to By clicking on them to page through the images each holds, it is possible to form a story for each.

Elemental – San (Santoshima)

It’s important to note this is not just a visual exhibition. San has included a special sound scape to accompany the images, so it’s important to have local sounds enabled when visiting in order to enjoy the exhibition to the fullest. “[The] live sound recordings were made in a southern Gulf Island, British Columbia,” San explains. “Outside my cabin door; a raven pair conversing, raven parents with three fledglings, various small birds, and Pacific tree frogs.”

Also, as noted in the introduction to the exhibition, Elemental forms part of a celebration of Play as Being, an in-world group which describes itself as, “exploring reality by using our own life as a laboratory. A thought experiment to see what is left if we put down what we have, to see who we are.” More information on the group, together with a schedule of their events, can be found on their wiki page.

Elemental – San (Santoshima)

Elemental is a fascinating exhibition – and a peaceful one; a visit prior to closure is recommended.

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