Further Dreams in Space in Second Life

Dreams in Space 2

In 2013, Sculptor Barry Richez presented Dreams In Space, an immersive arts / story environment focusing on a group of survivors who escape the poisoning of life on Earth and establish themselves as a small colony in the M51 galaxy.

Now he presents the sequel to that installation, Dreams in Space 2, currently open through until the end of June 2018. It builds on the original, utilising elements from that story – the pyramid on Earth; the (now flourishing) colony at M51. It’s a multi-level setting, commencing on the ground and moving up into the sky. It’s also, to start with, a little bit of a mystery in that visitors must find their way from the landing pint to a hidden teleporter.

Dreams in Space 2

On arrival, visitors are advised to set their time of day to midnight (if their viewer doesn’t accept the local windlight) and enable local sounds and particles. The arrival point is within the pyramid, on three of the internal walls of which scroll texts (in French), one of which focuses on the Buddhist Sutta Nipata and another from Confucius. The exit from the pyramid sits opposite the landing point, with a couple of airlocks and stairs leading to the surface.

Here one passes into the alien environment the Earth has become – a place of night and glowing plants and trees through which a path winds, passing through further airlock type doors. These offer access and egress to / from a biodome – possibly the attempt by the colonists to re-introduce flora and fauna to Earth which, as the story notes from 2013 (provided in the introductory note-card) indicate.

Dreams in Space 2

The path eventually comes to an end – but the journey is just beginning. From the end of the path, follow the red arrow and flashing lines, and with patience visitors will reach a conical structure in which sits the teleporter to the rest of the installation. This offers access to five areas:

  • City Arts – an orbital environment, in which elements of Barry’s art can be found travelling through tunnels and airlocks.
  • Gallery Alphalune Creations – a space station where more 2D and 3D art is on display. Note that to access it, you’ll need to join the local group (follow the instructions from inviter by the station’s entrance, then touch the door keypad, followed by touching the door).
  • Theatre – a retrospective of Barry’s 2015 Othello, the Moor of Venice, also know as Desdemona, Killed By A Pool Cue.
  • Flying Arts – a space offering further destinations via a second teleport, including the opportunity to fly, Inspire Space like. Note this second teleporter will also take visitors back “downstairs” through the different levels.
  • Colony – the human colony in M51, waiting to be explored.
Dreams in Space 2

With around 27 teleport destinations, 2D and 3D art elements and  experiences, Dreams In Space 2 makes for a mixed art / experiential style environment which makes for an interesting and intriguing visit.

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A touch of Scotland in Second Life

MindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrMindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim – click any image for full size

When first encountering its name, MindPillars, a Scottish Themed Sim would appear to give itself away from this title: a region with a Scottish lean in its design. However, this still leaves a number of questions open  – where in Scotland? Highlands? Lowlands? islands? When in Scotland? Modern times? Times past? These, and questions like them, demand people pay the region a visit to find out; and the truth is MindPillars has touch of Brigadoon about it, as well as a twist of Scottish legend and myth.

The landing point, while set, is not enforced. However after Caitlyn and I spent an hour exploring, I do recommend you use it, as per the SLurl above, as it will deliver you to Geata Fhoingail (Fingal’s Gate) towards the western side of the region. An arch cut through living rock, the landing point features a map of the region ( and sharing the same west-east orientation), highlighting the 30 points of interest located across the region. In this, Fingal’s Gate is appropriately named: geata fhoingail might also be translated as “foyer gate”.

MindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrMindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim

It worth noting that the 30 points of interest draw on a broad range of locations from physical world, myth, history and legend – and not all of them are necessarily Scottish in nature. Penn an Wlas, for example, translates as “Land’s End” – a location in England’s Cornwall.  Touching the map will present you with a series of options, including a note card, Storyteller’s HUD,  and a copy of the map of the region. Available in English and German, the HUD will attach to the top left of your screen, where it will initially remain passive.

Where you go from here is up to you – there are trails and paths winding throughout the region – although you might want to keep an eye on your location via the region co-ordinates displayed at the top of the viewer: the region joins “seamlessly” with the outlying surround – complete with paths appearing to wind off into the distance – so you can end up walking into a region boundary if you’re not careful! The effect, however, is to make the region look and feel a lot bigger – as well as give it a feeling of being in the middle of Scotland.

MindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrMindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim

As you explore, you’ll come across signs (and sometimes rocks) highlighting each of the 30 points of interest around the region. If you’re wearing the HUD, proximity to these signs will trigger a text chat invitation to tell you a story about the location. However, with or without the HUD, you can touch them to display a menu offering you the map, the HUD and a note card with the location’s story. Some of the signs also include a lamp labelled Public Transport Available. Touching these will either rez a donkey and cart you can ride in, or offer a choice of routes before rezzing the transport.

Setting out along the paths will reveal the setting is broadly medieval in tone – as seen in the clothing of the “locals”. As well as the village, there are a number of other buildings to explore, such as Gorm Coinneach Maineir to the south-east, or Crow’s Court in the mist, or the ruins of a castle. There are also hidden places to be found – such as in the graveyard – for those willing to follow the suggestion given in About Land to click on things. I’m just not sure that accepting a tankard of whiskey is a good idea; not if you’re planning to keep walking or want to avoid the charge of being drunk in charge of a donkey cart … or flying dragon… 🙂 .

MindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrMindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim

Designed by Gaelle Ravenheart (Gaelle Joubert) and Carsten Ravenheart, MindPillars is ideal for those seeking something a little different by way of region design, and a hat tip to Shakespeare for dropping me a landmark.

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2018 UG updates #22/1: Simulator User Group meeting

A Little Bit of Soul; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrA Little Bit of Soulblog post

Server Deployments

The was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018.

RC Roll-back and Deployments

On Friday, May 25th, the deployments to the Magnum and BlueSteel RCs channels were rolled back from update #18.05.14.515432, which included server-side support for an upcoming capability to deliver estate information to estate owners and managers, to #18.05.07.515224. the roll-back was due to an unspecified bug.  The updates have remained deployed to the LeTigre RC.

There is due to be a further RC deployment on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018, but at the time of writing, details were still TBA. Commenting on the overall situation at the Simulator User Group on Tuesday, May 28th, 2018, Simon Linden said:

Let’s see … for server news, we had a roll-back last week of the RC channels for a bug. we’re going to have updates out tomorrow that have that fixed … and possibly another release that has a few other items in it. It’s all internal changes, as far as I know.

Upcoming Server-Side Maintenance Periods

The Lab has announced a series of upcoming server-side maintenance periods over the next several days (including the RC deployments these are set for:

  • Wednesday, May 30th, 2018 from 06:00 SLT (and rolls into the RC deployment window).
  • Thursday, May 31st, 2018 from 06:00 SLT.
  • Monday, June 4th, 2018 from 06:00 SLT.
  • Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 from 06:00 SLT (and presumably rolling into any planned Main (SLS) channel deployment planned for week #23).

During these maintenance periods residents may be logged off and will not be able to log in until maintenance is complete. In addition, residents may temporarily be unable to send messages or initiate group chats until the maintenance is complete.

Please refer to the Grid Status Page for more.

SL Viewer

There have been no further updates to the current SL viewers in the pipeline for the start of the week, leaving the list as:

  • Current Release version 5.1.4.515016, dated May 7, promoted May 16 – formerly the Ouzo Release Candidate.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 5.1.5.515528, dated May 22.
    • Pálinka Maintenance RC viewer, 5.1.5.515527, dated May 21.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

I’m plugging away at the first project viewer for EEP, and as soon as I get a blocker out of the way we’ll be able to get something into people’s hands.

 – Rider Linden, discussing EEP at the Simulator User Group meeting, May 28th

We have a blocking problem on the back-end at the moment … once we’ve gotten that fixed, we’ll deploy the back-ends that it depends on (simulator and inventory at least), and then put out a Project Viewer. y hope/expectation is that the Project stage will go well and we’ll get feedback quickly … Once we’ve responded to that, it’ll advance to RC, and at that point we won’t object to TPVs integrating it … The good news with respect to that is that the closer we get, the higher its priority gets, and the blocker is even higher priority for other reasons, so prospects are good.

– Oz Linden discussing EEP at the Simulator User Group meeting, May 28th

The meeting exhibited some lack of understanding on how EEP will operate. In brief EEP is a set of environmental enhancements, including:

  • The ability to define the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) at the parcel level.
    • Includes  arbitrary paths for both the sun and the moon.
    • Day cycles consist of a series of fixed skies. Each sky has a sun and a moon position.
    • In transitioning from sky to sky the sun or the moon will follow the great circle from one position to the next.
    • Can, howver be overrideen by the viewer (as per current “local” windlight settings.
  • 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 scripted functions.
  • An extended day cycle (e.g a 24/7 cycle) and extended environmental parameters.

This work involves simulator, as well as viewer changes, and includes some infrastructure updates. The document linked to above (by Rider Linden) provides a summary of the document, and I attempt to offer updates through these Simulator User Group meeting notes and my Content Creation User Group meeting notes, as and when updates from the Lab are made available.

Grid-Wide Experiences

Work on grid-wide experiences is currently at a lower priority that other work currently being carried out (e.g. EEP), and so progress is slower. As with existing experience creation, only Premium members will be able to create grid-wide experiences. However, anyone will be able to accept and participate in them.

On-Line Friends Not Showing as On-Line

The is a recurrent bug that can affect people at different times and on different regions – all friends for the affected person appear as off-line. sometimes it can be rectified by IM’ing someone known to be on-line,forcing the Friends list then re-populates itself correctly. Simon Linden acknowledged the bug with the following comments:

It’s not caps fail – it’s a lost packet. There’s work going on to convert that to a cap so it’s more reliable, I believe. A work around is to tell folks to open up the web site and look at the friends on-line list there – that should be more reliable … The fact that you get an inaccurate list when you log in, and maybe a different one if you log out/in again, is due to packet loss. When you first land at a region, it needs to look up all your friends and status and send (or not) them the “is on-line” message, and also send a list to you. At the same time you’re getting updates for all the world around you, all your off-line IMs, etc. So there’s way too much traffic at once.

– Simon Linden, Simulator User Group meeting, May 28th

There also appears to be a similar issue that can be region-specific (see BUG-7557). This generally requires a region restart to resolve, and the underpinning causes still seems to be unknown.