2018 SL UG updates #8/2: Content Creator User Group

A rally of (Animesh) raptors on Aditi

The following notes are primarily taken from the Content Creation User Group meeting, held on  Thursday, February 22nd, 2018 at 13:00 SLT. For the purposes of Animesh testing, the meetings have relocated to the Animesh4 region on Aditi, the beta grid – look for the seating area towards the middle of the region. The meeting is chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

SL Viewer

  • The project render viewer was updated to RC status on Wednesday February 21st become the Love Me Render viewer, version 5.1.2.512751. The two primary improvements to this viewer are:
    • An improvement to mesh LOD calculation (account for CTRL+0)
    • Agents that render as jelly dolls should have their attachments render at 0 LoD to prevent loading higher LoD complexity in memory thus deterring crashes. The debug setting RenderAutoMuteByteLimit has to be greater than the default of 0 for this feature to work.
  • The Nalewka Maintenance RC viewer also updated on Wednesday, February 21st, to version 5.1.2.512752.
  • The 360-degree snapshot viewer updated on Thursday, February 22nd to version 5.1.2.512774 – see my hands-on overview for more.

Bakes On Mesh

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos, clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies as well as system avatars. This involves server-side changes, including updating the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures, and may in time lead to a reduction in the complexity of mesh avatar bodies and heads. The project is in two phases:

  • The current work to update the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures on avatar meshes.
  • An intended follow-on project to actually support baking textures onto avatar mesh surfaces (and potentially other mesh objects as well). This has yet to fully defined in terms of implementation and when it might be slotted into SL development time frames.

This work does not include normal or specular map support, as these are not part of the existing baking service.

Current Status

Anchor Linden is currently working on viewer-side support, and hopes to have a project viewer, together with test regions on Aditi, available for testing “soon”.

There is a growing number of questions / concerns around this work which have yet to be fully answered:

  • How will the system avatar be masked? Via a dedicated alpha channel?
  • What creators need to do in order to leverage the capability. Essentially, the process requires specifying which mesh face gets what bake channel – but is this actually defined?
  • Will there be scripted support (seen as vital to allow continued use of normal or spec maps, for example)?
    • How might HUD systems that apply materials work in conjunction with bakes on mesh (e.g. to continue to simulate cloth textures, as seen in current clothing appliers)?
  • Has there been any attempt to reach out to and encourage the makers of popular mesh bodies / heads to engage in the project, body to understand what is being attempted and how best to ensure it is something they would be willing to leverage?
    • Alexa and Vir have both indicated that this is on the Lab’s plans for the project, once a basic project viewer is available so that people can actually start investigating what might be required to leverage the capability properly.
  • Is there a project specification people can refer to / contribute to?
    • Elizabeth Jarvinen (polysail) has offered to write a Feature Request Specification. Those wishing to contribute to it should contact her in-world.

Animesh

  • Vir is focused on bug fixes at the moment.
  • There is a potential new project viewer waiting in the wings, but this is dependent upon some of the bug fixes, such as LOD stability issues and camming problems.
  • There is still no definitive time-frame for the release of Animesh – it’s now largely dependent on the bug fixing work.

Project Arctan

This is the code-name for the project to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs. It is still in its very preliminary stages, and might, in time, lead to a change in how Land Impact is calculated and assigned. No decisions have been taken (as the data has yet to be collected and analysed and decisions made), so this not something that will be happening soon – and even when it does, it may not cause any appreciable changes for the majority of users, simply because the Lab is looking to minimise any impact which may come out of the work as much as they can.

Just what is being planned and how any negative impact on LI might be mitigated were discussed at both the week #7 CCUG meeting and that week’s TPVD meeting, and the following audio featuring extracts from both meetings will hopefully further contextualise how the work is being approached, and hopefully ally fears.

Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements, including:

  • The ability to define the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) at the parcel level.
  • New environment asset types (Sky, Water, Days – the latter comprising multiple Sky and Water) that can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others.
  • Experience-based environment functions
  • An extended day cycle (e.g a 24/7 cycle) and extended environmental parameters.

This work involves simulator and viewer changes, and includes some infrastructure updates.

Current Status

  • Rider Linden is now “well on the way” to having working inventory Windlight assets.
  • Once he has finished this element of work, he hopes to put out a project viewer for use of test regions on Aditi which have the necessary support for managing the new Windlight assets – this could happen in March.
  • The will be no direct LSL support for the new assets in the first EEP release.
  • llGetSunDirection() will initially be broken as a result of the alterations to the day / night cycle:
    • The sun’s position will no longer be based on the default Linden Sun (which has a four-hour “day”), but defined by the environment itself, allowing for more physical world daylight times
    • The function will be updated to work with the new EEP capabilities before the project gets to release status.
  • Once llGetSunDirection() has been updated, sundials using it should accurately reflect the position of the Sun over a region, rather than being indicative of its general position in the sky. However, sundials using the scripted function to count the number of seconds since “midnight” in a 4-hour day cycle in order to simulate the Sun’s position in the sky will be broken.
  • Essentially, EEP should allow Windlight settings to work as we see them now, but a) as objects which can be applied from inventory; b) on the basis of agent application through an experience. It should also work closely with the planned atmospherics updates.

Atmospherics Updates

A separate piece of work in progress – albeit it related to EEP – is a set of updates to SL’s atmospheric shaders. This work is being carried out by Graham Linden, and among other things, will allow for things like Godrays, improved visual fogging, etc. There’s currently no time frame on when this work might publicly surface.

Next Meeting

The next CCUG meeting will be held on Thursday, March 8th, 2018.

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This Weekend in Second Life Dance

Cossette - February 19 2018

Hi there. R. Crap Mariner, your Dance Correspondent.

I’ll be posting dance performance schedules, similar to Inara’s posts about Seanchai Library readings. We’ll start with the weekend events for now.

Let’s get started…


(All times SLT)

Friday February 23

3:00PM – Lady Garden Cabaret

Once again the Minxettes of The Lady Garden Cabaret bring you a show dedicated entirely to the theme of the wonderful “Enchanted” event! This round we pay homage to the love story of “Beauty and the Beast”… Prepare to ‘be our guest’ and wander this poor provincial town fraught with Handsome Gastons and swooning maidens until you are the guest of the Beasts castle!! His staff of wonderful characters will awaken and enlighten you! We have some of the very finest choreographers on the grid, so don’t miss this event Friday, February 23rd at 3PM SLT, a new time!

**First established in March 2011, LGC has been a permanent star on the sky of virtual entertainment and stands for burlesque, neo-burlesque and overall fantastic dance entertainment Vegas style. Get yourself comfortable in our charming little cabaret house, as The Minxettes take you through the night with their amazing set designs and fully choreographed numbers, all inspired and executed by our most talented dancers… You’ll encounter a wide array of musical styles and virtual flavours, in 3 words: “5 star entertainment!”

NO dress code

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Pegasoi/142/109/2222

Lady Garden Cabaret - 6th Anniversary - March 31 2017

6:00PM – ELYSIUM CABARET

Elysium Cabaret – Welcome to the Weekend!

If it’s Friday, it’s Elysium Cabaret! Fancy some imagination? In The Empire Room at Copperhead Road, every Friday at 6pm SLT the dynamic performers of Elysium Cabaret take the stage to bring you a solid hour of entertainment! Featuring elaborate sets and choreography sequenced to an eclectic genre of music, Elysium Cabaret offers something for everyone. Grab your friends and get their early because the sim fills. Come celebrate Friday! Welcome to the weekend!

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Copperhead%20Road/74/64/2754

9:00PM – MONARCHS

The Monarchs presents: Adventures from Lost Island

While we prepare our next sim wide experience we offer you a chance to see where the Monarchs began…

Almost 2 years ago we went on a journey, to a magical, mystical place on the verge of conflict, and now we venture back! And you’re invited to join us as we retrace our steps all the way back to LOST ISLAND.

I don’t have an exact SLURL at the time of publication. Watch Dance Queens Calendar for an update.

10:00PM – GUERILLA BURLESQUE

Our special Pit shows in the round are fast becoming an audience favourite and are under the direction of Chrissy Rhiano! Join us because it’s fun, it’s clever, and it would look better with you being part of it! Can’t give away too much, but its exciting dancing and extraordinary concepts! Doors open at 9 pm and the show starts at 10 pm, seating is limited, please arrive early!

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Idle%20Rogue/107/189/33

Saturday February 24

12:00PM – OASIS AND DEBAUCHE

Oasis Dancers and Debauche together at stage

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Puntarenas%205/82/111/22

Oasis - January 14 2018

1:00PM – ELYSIUM MATINEE

Elysium Cabaret is thrilled to present a matinée show for your entertainment pleasure, starting at 1pm! Featuring the very “Best Of” the past month’s shows plus special guests! We look forward to sharing our love of music and dance with you!

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Copperhead%20Road/74/64/2754

3:00PM – MONARCHS

The Monarchs presents: Adventures from Lost Island

While we prepare our next sim wide experience we offer you a chance to see where the Monarchs began…

Almost 2 years ago we went on a journey, to a magical, mystical place on the verge of conflict, and now we venture back! And you’re invited to join us as we retrace our steps all the way back to LOST ISLAND.

I don’t have an exact SLURL at the time of publication. Watch Dance Queens Calendar for an update.

6:00PM – WHYMSEE NOIR

For the Let’s Dance show, we trade in our sets for MORE dancing and LESS wait time between songs! There will be lots of wiggling, dancing, physics, and a little dazzle thrown in for good measure! Dance along with us or have a seat in our comfy chairs, we like it when you watch! No naked avatars, just dancing. Come to the show and see what all the fuss is about!

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Whymsee/96/192/3286

7:00PM – MOULIN ROUGE

LIVE – Soundtrack Favourites Dance Show

Take a trip back through all your favourite movies of the past as we present your favourite soundtracks set to dance. Our wonderful dancers and talented choreographers have come up with a new, original show that will delight and tantalize your senses and take you on a magical journey as if up on the big screen. Hope to see you there!

Semi-formal or formal is always acceptable or dress within theme of the show for the night. Thank you!

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Moulin%20Rouge/172/131/31

Moulin Rouge - September 2 2017

7:00PM – DESIRE ARTS

Desire Arts Dancers do a monthly “after hours” show. Starting at 7pm SLT. We bring you the performance quality at our Saturday shows, with more skin… little less costume. Some acts do contain adult content.

As an “Arts” theatre (and gallery) Desire Arts will be a venue perfectly suited for SL Performers wishing to express themselves through live performances, through Dance, Art Exhibits, Performance Art as well as Dramatic Presentations.

Also, Presentations of a controversial nature (including those involving sex, politics and/or religion) will be presented separately from the Dance Program.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Hell%20Lust/174/78/21

7:00PM – DANCE XCETERA

Hi Fans! Welcome to our 2018 performing season! We’ve got some pretty awesome shows scheduled this year and we can’t wait to bring it to the stage for you!

We love starting off the year with our “After Hours” adult themed show. Held only twice a year, our directors tap into that steamy sensual side, and create some amazing performances. Some may be naughty, some may be nice but one thing is for sure, our show is a great way to say goodbye to February 2018, the month of love.

We are also happy to introduce the directing début of DX member Selene Dovahkin and performing débuts of Victory Mueller, & Everleigh Vollmar! Make us your date destination this weekend! Hosted by Ms. Aryanna Draken.

Rated: A for Adult. No children please. We hope to see you there!

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Burning%20Embers/112/97/3602

Sunday February 25

6:00AM – CLUB IMAGE

OPEN 5:30 AM SLT, START 6:00 AM SLT

We have beautiful dance shows on Sundays at 6 am SLT. Join us at Club IMAGE ! It’s worth getting up early! Grab your friends and morning coffee!
Enjoy one of the finest dance shows on Second Life.

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Laem%20Singh/193/28/2021

9:00AM – MUSE DANCE COMPANY

Fiddler on the Roof, a musical

Fiddler on the Roof returns to the Muse Theatre! This Tony-winning production, being presented by the | muse | dance company features stunning movements and dance by choreographer Anu Papp. Mark your calendars! You don’t want to this all time favourite show!

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Whymsee/118/7/2019

Muse Theatre - Fiddler on the Roof - February 18 2018

12:00PM – SPIRIT LIGHT DANCE COMPANY

Spirit Light Dance Company Presents Showcase 2018

Once a year we encourage members of the company to stretch their wings and present a piece of their own work. Each entrant must choose their music, create the set, get it in a rezzer and on the stage. They either make or source their costumes for their dance. They run the dance HUD and often the mover as well, or if an operator is needed they must train the operator. In all cases they are encouraged and mentored by senior members of the company. This is not a competition but rather an opportunity to strive for personal excellence–to be the best that they can be.

We invite you to join this full cast presentation of 11 outstanding examples of choreographic skill and creative spirit. We recommended that you arrive early to secure a seat and to cache the sets and the animations. Please keep your scripts to 50 or below.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rockcliffe%20I/120/82/3602

12:00PM – INANNA BURLESQUE

Inanna Burlesque provides a monthly show of sexy ladies that have intoxicating dance moves that will ensure an hour of entertainment. We show a variety of well-choreographed dance movements that will keep you enthralled and wanting more.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Somerton%20Greenwich/100/193/1502

Inanna Burlesque - January 28 2018

12:00PM – LUXE GIRLS AT ELYSION

The Elysion region is a members-only region, so you’ll need to pay a fee to join the group. They have a variety of mixers, deejay events, parties… and when there’s not a show, the region itself is gorgeous and well worth visiting.

5:00PM – MISFIT FOLLIES

Misfit Dance & Performance Art presents: Misfit Follies – A showcase of Theatre Dance Art.

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Metanomics/53/173/3073

5:00PM – WINDS OF THE SAHARA

Each Sunday we have a shiny, new show at Winds of the Sahara Theatre. Our dances range from burlesque to performance art and you are sure to be amazed at all of the wonder that sets, costumes and music can create. We’ll put sparkles in your eyes and leave sequins on your shirt collars.

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Aladona/124/193/2001

Winds of the Sahara - February 18 2018

6:00PM – KIKI’S HOUSE OF BURLESQUE

Treat yourself and your partner to a day out at our lavish playhouse. Beautiful, dancers swaying to a variety of tunes. Professionally choreographed dances and sets with a wide range of costumes. Entertainment, Topless, Adult, Shows, Cabaret

https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LORII%20CAPRONI%20ISLAND/134/179/24

7:00PM – DANCE XCETERA

Hi Fans! Welcome to our 2018 performing season! We’ve got some pretty awesome shows scheduled this year and we can’t wait to bring it to the stage for you!

We love starting off the year with our “After Hours” adult themed show. Held only twice a year, our directors tap into that steamy sensual side, and create some amazing performances. Some may be naughty, some may be nice but one thing is for sure, our show is a great way to say goodbye to February 2018, the month of love.

We are also happy to introduce the directing début of DX member Selene Dovahkin and performing débuts of Victory Mueller, & Everleigh Vollmar! Make us your date destination this weekend! Hosted by Ms. Aryanna Draken.

Rated: A for Adult. No children please. We hope to see you there!

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Burning%20Embers/112/97/3602


Please check with the Dance Queens event calendar for updates and additions to the weekend’s schedule, as well as the many events that happen during the week.

I’ve got interviews and drafts in progress for the following:

  • Paramount Grand Theatre and Desire
  • Debauche
  • Guerilla Burlesque’s Cirq

Second Life 360-degree snapshots hands-on III

Credit: Linden Lab

Update: The 360 snapshot viewer was updated to version 5.1.6.515934 on June 6th.

On Thursday, February 22nd, Linden Lab issued a further update to the 360-degree snapshot project viewer. While version 5.1.2.512774 brings with it some updates and changes, it still fair to say this is more an interim update than the set of improvements and capabilities some of us had been hoping for.

As with the previous update, released in June 2017 – see my Hands-on II review here – this viewer:

  • Uses the Alex Ivy viewer code base (only the release code, this time, obviously), and so is available for Windows (32-/64-bit) and Mac OSX; there is no Linux version at present.
  • Handles the “stitching” of a captured set of images into a single equirectangular 360-degree image ready for upload to suitable suites supporting 360-degree images.

However, what’s new with this viewer is that it:

  • Moves the 360-degree photo option from the snapshot floater to its own floater.
  • Sets the 360-mage resolution to 4096×2048 (no more “small”, “medium” or “large”).
  • Includes the required meta data for images to auto-display in Flickr’s 360-degree viewing mode, so you no longer have to manually set the equirectangular tag

So, how does it stack-up?

On the positive side, the new capture UI  does a credible job of easing the capture process and in offering preview of the 360-degree image. Hopefully there will be some further options added to it in the future – such as image size.

On the negative side the current  4096×2048 resolution could still do with improvement – Alexa Linden informed me that this work is in-hand – as it can exhibit a very definite fuzziness.

Taking the Shot

  • Position your camera at the centre point of your 360 shot.
  • While it is not specified, I would suggest camera in a circle to encourage the scene to load before capture.
  • Use Menu > World > Environment Editor > Sky Presets > Edit Presets to set your desired Windlight and use the Clouds tab to freeze cloud movement. Avoid the use of Depth of Field.
  • Press CTRL-SHIFT-C to display the 360-image capture floater.
The new 360 snapshot floater – default mode
  • Click Capture 360 to commence the capture process.
  • The floater will display some basic messages as the images are being captured and process, and the Lab have indicated these may be improved, depending upon feedback.
  • Once image processing is complete, the floater will expanding to show an auto-rotating previewing of the captured image. As with any 360-degree image, you can press and hold the left mouse button while over the image and scroll around it.
The 360-degree image preview
  • Note that there is currently an issue with the preview on Mac systems which can leave it black. If this happens, click Save Local and then Cancel. This should force the preview to displayed correctly.
  • If you’re unhappy with the preview, you can re-start the process by clicking Capture 360 again, or you can save the image using the Save Local button. This will save the image in equirectangular format to a location of your choice on your computer, from where yo can upload it to photo sites supporting 360-degree equirectangular images.

As noted above, images captured in this version of the viewer should automatically display in 360-degree viewing mode in Flickr without the need to meta tag them manually. They also should display in the WordPress  “VR” shortcode, placed within square braces (“[“, “]”) and in the format:

vr url=path-to-photo.jpg view=360

This should yield a result like this:

Feedback

A welcome update to a project viewer that was a little long-in-the-tooth: obviously, as well as the 360 snapshot changes, this version also brings the viewer up to par with all of the most recent viewer releases.

I was a little disappointed that there’s no support for uploads to Second Life Place Pages with this iteration of the viewer – something that had been indicated as being on the horizon in some recent user group meetings; apparently, and like the overall image resolution, it requires further work. As the 360 image captures now has its own floater, I’d also personally like to see it gain a dedicated toolbar button as well. CTRL-SHIFT-C isn’t a taxing short cut to remember, but buttons can make for convenience.

That said, the thing to remember here is that this is still only a project viewer – it still has a good way to go before being ready for prime-time use, which is something the Lab fully acknowledges. So, while it is worth taking it for a drive and having a play, expect to see further improvements and added functionality appearing in – hopefully not-too-distant – future updates.

Download and Release Notes