The Garden of Absentia on Second Life

Garden of Absentia; Inara Pey, November 2017, on Flickr Garden of Absentia – click any image for full size

Established on November 7th, 2016, Garden of Absentia this month celebrates its anniversary, marking the time as an ideal opportunity for a visit to this Homestead region managed and designed by Filo Tani and Sage (Sage Allegiere) which serves a very special purpose in Second Life.

“We take pride in raising awareness for autism, bullying, domestic violence, depression and cancer,” Sage and Filo state in the information note card available from the landing point. “The cancer memorial offers candles to light for loved ones as a remembrance, for those fighting and survivors.”

Garden of Absentia; Inara Pey, November 2017, on Flickr Garden of Absentia

However, far from being preachy or specially designed as a memorial, Garden of Absentia presents visitors with a park-like environment, surrounded by tall green peaks, and seemingly caught at that time when summer is fading and autumn is on the rise. It is a place to be explored and shared, with trails and paths meandering through the shade of tall trees or climbing the slopes of  rugged hills to where cabins and camp fires and lookout points await. And for those who do wish to remember, the opportunity to enjoy quiet solitude at one of the many locations ideal for sitting and resting, or to visit the memorials and perhaps light a candle to a loved one or friend.

The landing point sits towards the north-east side of the island. Given this lie of the land, it is fairly centrally placed for reaching the major points of interest – and where you wander from it is entirely up to you. Just a short walk to the north-eat sits a beautiful green house sitting before a walled garden, lit by lanterns strung from the boughs of trees, the grassy open space below – when open to the public – suitable for dancing as birds chirp from the branches. Follow the walls around the outside of this garden, and you might happen across a picnic spot or pass under fairy lights among the trees, before spying a red-roofed lighthouse sitting on a small islet and offering a place for quite cuddles.

Garden of Absentia; Inara Pey, November 2017, on Flickr Garden of Absentia

Walk north and west from the landing point, and you’ll pass long the base of the broad ridge forming the island’s spine to where a camp site overlooks the water, a tree platform close by. Or, if you prefer, you can turn away before reaching the camp site, and follow the hiking trail offering a way up onto the ridge itself.

This path also offers a choice of routes for the willing explorer. There’s a log-stepped climb up to the top of the ridge, where a cabin and look-out point sit, and a stone arch spans the gorge separating the ridge from another upland region to the south-west. Or, for those who prefer, a narrow ledge-like paths curls around the north-west side of the ridge to run southwards, passing over a wooden bridge spanning the gorge to reach the same, more southerly upland area. Here sits another cabin overlooking the waters below, a path nearby leading back up to the rocky arch across the gorge to complete the circular hiking route.

Garden of Absentia; Inara Pey, November 2017, on Flickr Garden of Absentia

This second upland area forms a ring around a shallow canyon which hides a little secret. Simply cross the covered wooden bridge westward of the landing point just beyond where another rugged path leads up to the tops of the ridge, to find out what this might be.

Travelling directly south from the landing point will bring you, by way of a pleasant little open-air café, to a lovely tiered wall garden, complete with an old cup-and-saucer merry-go-round. Alongside of this garden sits a little headland where a table is set for a tea party and a little nod towards a certain children’s tale.

It is just beyond this tiered wall garden, snuggled into the south-east corner of the region that you can find the memorial area and take the opportunity to light a candle to a loved one or friend lost to cancer, heart disease or diabetes. There is no charge for doing so, and instructions on how to have a candle placed out on the water are provided on the signs at the bridge leading to and from the memorial island.

Garden of Absentia; Inara Pey, November 2017, on Flickr Garden of Absentia

With the opportunity to explore two more small islands on the south side of the region from the memorial island, the chance to commemorate those we’ve loved, the freedom to explore, dance, sit, take photos and simply enjoy the time spent visiting, Garden of Absentia makes for a fulfilling visit. Should you go, do consider sharing your photos via the region’s Facebook group if you can (an odd choice, given the overwhelming popularity of Flickr), and do please consider a donation towards the continuance of the region.

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SL project updates 44/1: server, viewer

Pandora Resort; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrPandora Resortblog post

Server Deployments for Week #44

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 31st
  • leaving it on package #17.10.06.509394.
  • On Wednesday, November 1st, the RC channels should be updated with a new server maintenance package, #17.10.25.510119, comprising internal fixes – notes still to be posted at the time of writing.

SL Viewer

The current Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 5.0.9.329707 on Monday, October 30th. All other viewers in the current pipelines remain as per the end of week #43:

  • Current Release version 5.0.8.329115, dated September 22, promoted October 13 – formerly the “Moonshine” 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):
    • Wolfpack RC viewer,version 5.0.9.329478, 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 5.1.0.508209, dated September 5.
    • Voice RC viewer, version 5.0.8.329250, dated September 1.
  • 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.

 

Sansar Friends release overview

Courtesy of Linden Lab

On Tuesday, October 31st, Linden Lab updated Sansar with the Friends release, the October end 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.

The title of the release is intended to convey the idea that the update is intended to make social interactions easier – such as identifying avatars in Desktop mode and searching for other users. However, the release covers a lot more than this, with improvements to scripting, searching, the Store, publishing experiences and getting information.

Identifying Avatars in Desktop Mode

The Friends release adds the capability to identify avatars in Desktop Mode in a similar manner to that used by VR Mode.

With this release, users in Desktop mode can now hover the mouse pointer over an avatar to display the Avatar Name and Avatar ID. A left-click on the avatar will additionally display buttons to audio mute them, or add them as a friend. If the avatar in question is already a friend, the second button will allow them to be removed as a Friends, if desired (as shown in the image below, right).

Identifying other avatars in Desktop mode

Finding People

The People app within the client now includes the ability to search for people, allowing you to make friends with others without necessarily having to be in the same experience to connect with them.

To locate another user / avatar, open Chat in the Sansar client, and then click on the People button to display the People app. Click on the Search tab to open the search bar (circled below left), type in the Avatar ID for the person you wish to find and click Search. Note that this has to be the Avatar ID not the Avatar Name because the latter are not unique to a particular user. Also, do not include the “@” preceding the Avatar ID.

Providing an accurate Avatar ID has been entered, it will be displayed below the search bar. Clicking on it will display the options to Friend or Audio Mute the avatar in question (the Message option will be available once a Friend offer has been accepted.

The new People Search option

Experience Sorting

It is now possible to sort experiences in both the Client Atlas and the Web Atlas. Entries can be sorted in A to Z order, by recently created or recently updated. The search options are available on the All and Sansar Studios tabs on both versions of the Atlas (it is not available of the Client Atlas Featured tab or the Web Atlas Home tab), and can be found in the top right corner of the Atlas.

The Atlas sort options in the Client (top) and Web Atlas

Also, and with reference to reference to the Web Atlas, the Search bar on Sansar Atlas, Store and Help web pages have been enlarged to make them more obvious.

In-Client Access to Controls Documentation

Controls Info option

The Friends release adds a new option to the client allowing users to directly access the Sansar controls top-level page, which in turn provides links to Sansar’s Keyboard shortcuts, Game controller buttons and VR controls.

The new option, called Control Info can be accessed via  the Client More Options, available from both with experiences (shown on the right) and from the Atlas display.

Script Updates

The following scripting updates are included with the Friends release:

  • Trigger collision events on animated and static objects: it is now possible to trigger collision events against animated objects, and it is no longer necessary to set objects to dynamic to trigger collision events with them.
  • New Reflective base class: to allow different scripts to work more efficiently together.
  • Script property metadata attributes: scripts now have added support for the following attributes: Default, Range, DisplayName.
  • Script event/messaging passing: new APIs SubscribeToScriptEvent and PostScriptEvent make it easier for scripts to communicate using the new Reflective class. See the ScriptBase page.

Other Updates of Note

The Friends update also includes:

  • Voice chat adjustment:  to make voices more audible in Sansar.
  • Revised experience publish flow: refer to the updated publishing guide for more.
  • New Featured tab in the Store: listing store items the Sansar editorial team have selected.

In addition, please refer to the release notes for a full list resolved / known issues, new and updated Knowledge Base articles.

A Note on The Events Feature

Originally planned to be a part of the Friends release, the new events feature which will likely form a part of the Web Atlas, is now slated to appear “soon after” this release.

Feedback

A useful release, particularly for those who prefer using Sansar in Desktop mode, where the ability to identify other avatars has been sorely lacking. The new / updated scripting capabilities are likely to see plenty of use and make for some interesting new options within experiences. I’ll likely have more feedback on this release following the product Meeting on Friday, November 3rd.