A musical [Smash] in Second Life

[Smash]; Inara Pey, July 2018, on Flickr[Smash] – click any image for full size

A good, good while ago now, reader Alana Onyett suggested I might like to take a look at [Smash], a region designed by Zoe Jimenez. At the time I did – although I’m ashamed to admit I then filed everything away without getting around to blogging about it. So this piece comes with an apology to both Alana and Zoe.

For those who like music – notably electronic dance music and indie (but by no means limited to these to genres) – [Smash] could well be the place to spend a little time sounding out (if you’ll pardon the pun!). Where one region may boast one or two venues for music, this is a region that boasts a good dozen different venues, indoors and out, set within and over what might be described and something of a post apocalyptic environment with twists of steampunk and sci-fi.

[Smash]; Inara Pey, July 2018, on Flickr[Smash]

Such is the number of venues within the region – which forms part of a larger grouping of sims – that the easiest way of getting around, particularly from the landing hub, is to use the provided network of teleport discs. These allow rapid transit between the different clubs. Alongside of these – for those arriving at the landing hub – there is also a teleport experience.

To use this, touch any of the individual signs scattered next to the landing point and which advertise the various club venues. You’ll be invited to join the region’s experience and on acceptance, will be transported to the destination advertised by the sign you touched. Thereafter, you’ll be automatically transported to any of the venues on touching the applicable sign (unless you remove yourself from the experience, in which case you’ll have to re-join it).

[Smash]; Inara Pey, July 2018, on Flickr[Smash]

However, while the teleport systems are convenient, when you’re on the ground I recommend wandering on foot, as there are plenty of opportunities for exploration and photography – although do note there are private rental homes scattered around the outer edges of the region as well. There are also stores to be found among the taller buildings, clustered towards the centre of the region, offering an excuse for shopping.

Events wise, this is a busy location – as the [Smash] website schedule quickly reveals, with around 40 DJs hosting sets through any given month, with up to seven sessions per day. Times are slightly biased towards the American side of the Atlantic, but there’s enough spread across sets for most people to manage at least one or two sets through any given week.

[Smash]; Inara Pey, July 2018, on Flickr[Smash]

Each of the venues within the region has its own uniqueness / quirks, all of which again offers a good excuse for exploration. I admit to finding The Pool a particularly novel location for a night club, given there is still water in the pool and very imaginative use has been made of the diving boards. Similarly, the Steamport, with its two venue areas – indoors and out (hit the teleport board to get into The Globe)  – sitting over the landing hub, is both imaginative and eye-catching.

My own musical preferences perhaps run in a slightly different direction to those on offer at [Smash], but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating the amount of work that has gone into the design – which really is nicely done – or the amount of effort all concerned put into bringing it to life as a centre for DJ-led music in Second Life. So, even if EDM or indie or techno aren’t to your particular taste, I’d still suggest that if you enjoy exploring places with a difference in SL and which offer opportunities for photography, you find time to hop over to [Smash] and discover it for yourself, if you haven’t done so already.

[Smash]; Inara Pey, July 2018, on Flickr[Smash]

And again my apologies to Alana and Zoe for taking a fair while to get this post out!

SLurl Details

  • [Smash] (Whiskey Smash, rated: Moderate)

2018 Sansar product meetings week #28: July release preview

The Art of Drew Struzan: The Studio Experience blog post

It’s been a while since my last Sansar product update. This has been in part due to the fact that for a time they seemed to vanish from the Sansar events listing (they’re back, but under the more generic title of “Community meet-ups”). However, the following is a summary of the meeting held on Thursday, July 12th, 2018, which was particularly focused on many of the features and updates in the upcoming July Sansar release, due in week #29 (commencing Monday, July 16th).

July Release

Custom Avatars

It will be possible to upload custom avatars to Sansar, with skeletons and avatar meshes available through the knowledge base.

  • Custom avatars have a maximum tri limit of 40K (compared to 16K for the default avatars).
  • It will not be possible to clothe custom avatars or add attachments, etc., via the LookBook – they must be outfits prior to upload, hence the higher tri limit compared to the default avatars.
    • The option to change outfits on custom avatars through LookBook might be added in the future.
  • The base tri count limit is seen by the Lab as being for testing purposes, and to potentially allow custom avatars to be dressed, etc., using the LookBook and clothing from the Sansar Store in the future, hopefully without their overall tri count becoming exorbitantly high.

As a part of the overall work on avatars – but not part of the July release – the Lab is trying to improve face deformations, etc., to allow for more realistic facial moments when mimicking mouth movements, etc., when speaking.

Experience Interactions Changes

The July release should enable experience creators to define smoother interactions with objects in their scenes.

  • Dynamic objects / bodies will be completely responsive to physics; however, if multiple avatars are interacting with the same object  / body, it might vacillate between them.
  • With scripting, physics will be immediately applied in the client, so there may be an increase in perceived lag, as interactions make the client-server-client round trip.
  • These changes will be iterated upon and improved in future releases.

Scene Editor Updates

  • Selecting an object within the scene editor will display the triangle count for the object in a display similar to the diagnostics tool.
    • This may eventually be expanded to display further information – creator, etc.
  • The Scene Settings panel should no longer conflict with the Properties Panel.
  • It will be possible to select multiple objects in the scene editor, and apply something like an audio material across all of them, rather than having to apply it individually to each one.

Auto Decimation Changes

The June release included automatic decimation, which was later disabled. With the July release, it will be re-introduced, but made optional.

  • By default, any scene object (static or dynamic) being imported into Sansar will be set to auto decimate.
  • This can be disabled via a drop-down panel option.
  • The auto decimation will not apply to clothing or avatar attachments.

Script Updates

  • New scripts added to inventory: further scripts will be available in inventory by default (exact scripts TBA). Some of these will be packaged with the client, other may only be in specific folders (e.g. the Script API folder).
  • “Simple script examples”: a small library of approximately a dozen script examples designed for use by non-scripters to allow them to achieve object interactions, etc., and which can be stacked together within objects to achieve combined results.
    • These include things like a mover script (for opening / closing doors, moving platforms, etc.), a switch script (for light switches, etc.), a sound management script, etc.
    • They will be in the drop-down menu of an object-properties.
  • HTTP API: an http: API will be included in the July release. This will mean that data such as avatar name, avatar UUID, an avatar’s location within an experience, will be shareable with external databases.
  • .FBX animation imports: .FBX files with multiple animations can be imported and have scripts applied to them.

In Brief

  • Avatar comfort zones: The July release will include comfort zones, allowing people to define how close other avatars can come to their own avatar, depending on whether or not the other avatar is a friend or not.
  • People Search Update: the ability to search for other avatars within the People app is currently limited to using the Avatar ID. With the July release, this will be expanded to allow searches by avatar name, and using partial avatar IDs.
  • Copy chat: it should be possible to copy text from the chat window with the July release.
  • Panel positioning persistence: the client should remember the placement of any re-positioned panels between sessions, and re-open them at the “last used” position, rather than at their default screen location.
  • Bug fixes: the release will of course include a range of bug fixes.

Other Items

The following were discussed at the meeting, but are not part of the July update.

  • Hand Controller / Keyboard Mapping: further work is to be carried on custom keyboard mapping, which will hopefully encompass headset hand controllers, allowing experience creators to define custom operations to keys and buttons (e.g. for use in games, etc.).
  • Events: there will at some point be an update (or updates) to Events to add many of the requested functions to events management (e.g. set recurring events, etc.).
  • Permissions system: this is still being worked on, with the Lab getting “closer” to having something ready to present, but no time frame on when it will appear.
  • User-to-user S$ transfers: this is also being worked on, and it is hoped to will appear “pretty soon”.
  • Aspirational roadmap: it’s been suggested that Linden Lab might follow the example of other platforms and provide an “aspirational roadmap” – a guide to what they’d like to achieve with Sansar’s capabilities over a broad range of periods (e.g. “short term”, “medium term” and “longer term”) which are tied to specific date ranges / time frames. This idea is being taken back the Sansar marketing and product teams for discussion.

Sansar Dollar Bundles

A relatively recent (I believe) update is the addition of purchasable Sansar dollar bundles, available at fixed prices, and which will be immediately delivered to your account on payment, rather than waiting for Sandex orders to be filled.

Sansar dollar bundles are available for purchase by those who do not wish to use the Sandex. This list of available bundles can be access by clicking on your account balance when logged-in to the Sansar website (arrowed, top right).
  • Click on your account balance (top right of the Sansar web pages when you are logged-in) to display a list of available bundles.
  • Click on the relevant red payment button to buy  a bundle – if you don’t have a payment method on file, you’ll be asked to provide one.
  • Note that the prices for bundles are not necessarily as competitive as buying through the Sandex, as the bundle prices are static.
  • A link at the bottom of the list of available bundles will take you to the Sandex (which is no longer listed in the website’s top menu).