Home For Christmas at Calas, 2017

Home for Christmas

Open now and through until the end of 2017, is the Calas Galadhon winter regions offering visitors a traditional Christmas experience called – appropriately enough – Home for Christmas.

Spread across two regions, Home For Christmas has all the familiar touches from Ty Tenk and Truck Meredith those familiar with their Christmas arranges know and enjoy: the Christmas Pavilion, entertainment, sleigh rides, skating, balloon and reindeer tours. In addition, this year offers visitors the chance to ride Bento reindeer around the regions.

Home for Christmas

A visit starts on the southern side of the build. From here it’s a short walk to the teleport to go directly to the Christmas Pavilion; however, taking it means missing out on much of the scenery. Instead, we recommend a short walk along the path leading east from the teleport board to where the sleigh rides await.

As with previous years, there is a choice of sleighs, one for couples and the other for up to four people to share. Simply sit in a waiting sleigh, and when set, touch the back of the sleigh to start the ride. You’ll be taken around and through the regions, along the trails to eventually arrive at the Pavilion, where you’ll be dropped off. If you prefer, the balloon tour is also available short walk from the landing point, and four couples in particular be a romantic way to see the regions as you drift through the air above them.

Home for Christmas

Reindeer and horse rides can be found at barns in the regions, and I recommend that rather than relying purely on the tours and rides, people explore by taking a reindeer for a ride, or walking the numerous trails and paths between the trees and rocks – sign boards will ensure you don’t get lost. This is because there is much to see and  even if you take a tour there are places you’re going to want to stop and look around  / enjoy. There’s the snowy house, for example, offering snuggles for couples or the warmth of a fire as a break from the cold. Then there is also the old stone temple, where cuddles and dances can be enjoyed.

The core of the regions remain, of course, the Calas Christmas Pavilion, with the great tree before it in the middle of the skating lake, camp fires and seats, and Santa’s Schooner sitting just off-shore. Keep an eye out, as well, for the look-out points and the various critters around the landscape, and which bring in to life.

Home for Christmas

“Things have been crazy for us lately,” Ty informed me as we discussed the build. “It looks like, for the first time in nine years, we wont be able to turn the Calas sims to a winter theme as well. But there is plenty of snow and skating at home for Christmas, and we hope people will enjoy themselves there.”

We’ve little doubt people will enjoy a visit – and quite possibly more than one, because Home for Christmas is a fabulous place to enter into the Christmas spirit and ready yourself for the holiday season in a most traditional way.

Home for Christmas

SLurl Details

Dickens, aliens and tales for Christmas

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight 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, December 3rd, The Dickens Project

11:00: Wald Schridde Live

Wald began playing medieval, renaissance, and folk music while in high school and college. His love of this music has continued through his adult life. Inspired by the live music scene in SL, Wald dusted off his folk instruments and began performing here in 2014. His repertoire includes folk songs, traditional airs, medieval dances, and renaissance songs, performed with guitar, autoharp, dulcimer, recorders, mandolin, and penny whistle.

For The Dickens Project, he’ll be presenting sea shanties at Christmas Past Docks.

More selections from the works of Charles Dickens. This week in Christmas Present near the Three Cripple’s pub at The Dickens Project.  Look for the teleport panel at the main Landing Point. Dancing Follows!

12:00 Noon: ACRL Meeting & Tour

The ACRL Virtual World Interest Group will meet to tour the Community Virtual Library Resource Centre, Dickens Library and “shoppe”. The tour is open to anyone interested-jointly sponsored by the American Library Association Virtual Communities in Libraries Member Interest Group.

13:00: Tea-Time with Dickens

Join Seanchai Library at the Three Cripples pub to hear about parties that didn’t quite go to plan. Namely: Mrs. Quilp’s Tea Party from The Old Curiosity Shop and Bob Sawyer’s Bachelor Party, from The Pickwick Papers.

Monday, December 4th 19:00: The Alien Dark

Gyro Muggins reads Diana G. Gallagher’s one science-fiction novel.

Out of the darkness of interstellar space…

The ahsin bey, a race of catlike beings determined to expand their territory, launch six vessels into deep space to search for an uninhabited world suitable for colonization.

Tahl d’jehn commands the Dan tahlni on a decades long mission to explore the Chai-te system. Studies show that Chai-te’s planets are rich in the resource the ahsin bey need, but will their signal reach their home world in time to launch the colony ship. And what is Tahl to make of the startling discovery of a dead civilization on Chai-te Three?

Tuesday, December 5th

12:00 Noon Russell Eponyn

Stories, poetry, and songs (on stream) on Church Street at The Dickens Project.

19:00 Hans Christian Andersen Tales

With Faerie & Gina.

Wednesday, December 6th, 19:00: Secrets of a Christmas Box

Enter the magical festive world of the Christmas ‘Tree-Dwellers’, as Larry, a Christmas snowman, wakes up after the long sleep in the Christmas box, to find his brother is missing.

Desperate to find him before Christmas, Larry, along with his girlfriend Debbie, a newcomer Splint, and Larry’s companion Tinsel, break the laws of the ‘Tree-Elders’ and escape down the tree and away into the house, to look for clues.

Away from the safety of the tree and in an unfamiliar world, the Dwellers stumble upon a dark and sinister secret that threatens their entire world. Can Larry and the group make it back to the tree in time to warn the others, and finally uncover the truth behind the Secrets of a Christmas Box?

Also presented in Kitely (hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/144/129/29).

Thursday, December 7th 19:00: In Time for Christmas

At a time when interest in the Christmas holiday was waning, Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol and inspired the world.

But now, history is changing, and the book is never written. When the Council for Temporal Studies asks time travelers Simon and Elizabeth Cross to “save Christmas,” they think he’s joking.

However, it’s anything but a laughing matter. Simon and Elizabeth must go back to 1843 London and convince Dickens to write his endearing story, or the Christmas holiday we all know and love will cease to be–forever.

Shandon Loring concludes reading Monique Martin’s story. Also presented in Kitely (hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/144/129/29).

The Dickens Project

Now in its fifth year, Seanchai Library presents The Dickens Project for Christmas 2017, now open through until December 30th.

Celebrating the work of one of the masters of 19th Century literature, whose humanistic voice continues to be a relevant one in our everyday culture.

Featuring a period setting, performance art, music and – of course – readings from A Christmas Carol, Dickens’ seminal tale for the time of year – and for all of us. Programme schedule.

Visit The Dickens Project.


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.

Sansar Product Meeting 2017 week #48: user events + Fashion release

Anu by AnuAmun

The following notes are taken from the 4:00pm PST Sansar Product Meeting held on Friday, December 1st. Product Meetings are usually held every Friday at 9:30am PST and 4:00pm PST, and are open to all. There is currently no set agenda, and the meetings are a mix of voice and text. The official meeting notes are published in the week following each pair of meetings, while venues change each week, and are listed in the Meet-up Announcements. and the Sansar Atlas events section.

Events Calendar: Submitting YOUR Events

As I’ve previously reported, the last Sansar updated included the basic framework for an events calendar in the Web Atlas. Initially, this only highlighted events organised by the Lab, but the ability for Sansar users to submit their own events for inclusion was promised, together with further updates to the calendar itself (e.g. including it in the Client Atlas).

On Friday, December 1st, Linden Lab provided details on how Sansar users can submit their events for possible inclusion in the events calendar, with the caveat that all submitted events are subject to the event team’s approval at this time, and no guarantee is given that all events will be added to the calendar.

Event Calendar Submission Process

  • You should allow at least one week for your event to pass through the submissions process.
  • Send an email to events@sansar.com requesting to add your event into the events calendar. This e-mail must include the following information:
    • A title / name for the event.
    • The URL for the experience which will host the event.
    • The time of the event (PST).
    • A short, concise description of the event (which may be edited by the events team).
  • Note that no other URLs / links can be given, other than the host experience URL.
  • You receive an email confirming your submission, indicating it is being reviewed by the Sansar events team.
  • You may be contacted and asked to provide further information (e.g a revised description for use in the event calendar).
  • If the event is accepted by the team, it will be added to the events calendar and remains active until the time of the event has passed.
  • Note that due to the current limited display space for events, and depending on the number and dates of events in the calendar, your event may not appear in the Atlas until any immediate events have passed.

Fashion Release

Still on target for a mid-December deployment, the Fashion release remains focused on clothing and fashion, but will also include other updates as well. Both fashion and non-fashion updates in the release are bullet-pointed below.

Fashion Related Updates

Not that this is only an initial fashion release. Capabilities will be enhanced.

  • Will allow clothing uploads and sales through the Sansar Store.
  • Clothing uploads will be handled in the same manner as accessories, via the avatar customisation editor.
  • This initial release will not include cloth physics. Instead the baking service will continue to handle clothing as is currently the case, until such time as some optimisation updates for experiences have been implemented, as cloth physics can be resource intensive.
    • It will still be possible to use the character models within the customisation editor, clothing physics just won’t at this time be baked with the clothing  / avatar within an experience.
  • Subject to further confirmation, this update will probably not include avatar shape sliders.
  • The avatar mesh models will be provided via the Knowledge base.
    • These will most likely be supplied as .FBX files, rather than a blend file – but this is still TBC.
  • As has been previously stated, the character models will have pre-baked underwear as a part of the avatar skin (and so cannot be removed).
    • The Lab is still working on this, and how much of the avatar the pre-baked underwear will cover.
    • The idea is that those wishing to make their own underwear or items such as swimming outfits, will be able to mask the pre-baked underwear.

Some concerns have been raised by designers familiar with Second Life over the complexities of rigging in Sansar, and whether additional tools might be required (e.g. to ease the workflow in Second Life, Blender uses can employ Avastar and Maya users MayaStar to ease the rigging process and obtain an “SL-ready” Collada file). The hope is that the .FBX files supplied by Linden Lab should be sufficient to handle rigging in either Blender or Maya using their native capabilities, rather than being reliant on third-party plug-ins, although sets of weightings might be useful.

Product Meeting, Friday, December 1st, 2017, Anu by AnuAmun

Non-Fashion Updates in the Release

  • Improvements to uploading assets to experiences in Edit mode: the button for uploading items currently in the Inventory panel is to be moved to the  tool bar in the upper left corner of the Edit screen.
  • Ability to upload custom height maps
  • Addition of the event calendar to the Client Atlas:  this is being planned, but at the time of writing, still TBC as being in the release.
  • Experience access controls: a first pass at experience access control, allowing experience creators to set their scenes for either public access, or limiting access to only the people on their Friends list.
    • Access controls will be expanded in future releases to include whitelists, ban lists, etc., and give more granular control to experience creators.
    • If an experience is set to Friends only (or controlled by a whitelist, once available), it will not appear in the Atlas listings for anyone who cannot access it.
  • Media Previewing: the December release will include the ability for experience designers to preview audio and video streams when building their scenes in Edit mode (they’ll no longer need to publish and switch to Runtime mode to  hear / see media).
  • The Materials Editor will be able to modify objects post-upload:
    • This applies only to in-scene objects (both a creator’s own items and those purchased from the store).
    • Changes cannot be saved back to inventory, and only persist as long as the object is in the scene / experience.
    • This capability does not apply to clothing / accessories.
    • Concern has been raised about implementing this before a suitable permissions system has been implemented to allow creators to control whether or not their items can be modified. While a permissions system most definitely is required, given this update will not allow user changes to objects to be saved back to inventory, the concerns raised did come across as a little over-wrought; however, the feedback is being taken back to the Lab.
  • Audio improvements:
    • Audio materials for terrain.
    • Voice quality improvements, including gating to reduce the amount of background noise being capture when people are speaking or leave their microphones open (people leaving their microphones constantly open is perhaps the biggest irritation with Sansar, particularly when they are off furiously hammering their keyboard for minutes at a time, or sitting and filling their faces with food. A polite application or OS toggling of their microphone would be appreciated).
    • Audio normalisation has been disabled, to help ensure that audio uploads retain their intended levels / quality.
    • Users in experiences will be able to adjust the sound levels within an experience.
  • Scripting improvements: still TBC, but should include better memory management, and updates to reflective handling.

Other Items

  • Avatar attachment size increase: the Lab is still investigating what to do with the current 1m x 1m x 1m avatar attachment size limit. It’s currently not clear if this will be changed with the Fashion release or not.
  • Ability to update Store items and distribute to customers: this is mow being targeted for an end of Q1 2018 release.
  • Custom terrain textures: will not be in the next release or “any time soon”,  due to unspecified issues. So more likely to be later in 2018 than sooner.
  • Inventory updates: not in the next release, but being development, and may include a folder capability or similar hierarchy capability.
  • Water Editor: there are no plans at present to release a water editor.
  • Wish lists: as the audiences between the community meet-ups, the Product Meetings and the Sansar forums are somewhat different, Jenn has started to occasionally write-up unofficial “top ten” wish lists of things people at the community meet-ups would like to see, which can then be checked again feature requests on the forums and topics raised at the Product Meetings, and feed into the Lab’s general thinking.