Within a Lost Unicorn Forest in Second Life

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary – click any image for full size

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary is the full region component of a trio of regions we were recently pointed towards by Milo Collas. Designed by Nessa Zamora (Noralie78), it is themed after an elven fantasy setting, routed somewhat in Tolkien, but with enough departures to make it clear this is not in any way a Middle Earth clone. It is, however, one of the most visually impressive and  – when taken with its two neighbouring regions, Faerie Tale and Storybook Forest – creatively intriguing settings we’ve recently visited in Second Life.

Such is the scope of all three, that I’m devoting a couple of posts to them, with this one focusing in Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary and Faerie Tale. I’ll look at Storybrook with a follow-up article in the near future.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

A journey begins towards the north-east of Lost Unicorn, within a stone tower. Beyond it, an entire world awaits visitors. Distinctly elven in design as noted, it feels somewhat Sindarin in nature: rich woodlands with tall trees that support the flets of elven tree-houses.

A more direct Tolkien symbol faces south-east: the great Argonath, the Pillars of the Kings. Carved in the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion in Tolkien’s mythology, they stood on either side of the River Anduin, guarding the northern borders of the realm of Gondor. Here, the great figures stand either side of a river much narrower than the great Anduin, and which winds its way inland, one of three that cut the region into several landmasses, each connected to the next by bridges that invite visitors to explore them all.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

Across the landscape unicorns roam, keeping watch whilst resting under the eaves of trees or in the shafts of sunlight rotating through them. Within the water, mermaids swim And which may trap you in the water if you’re not careful – just look for the whirlpool, and great sea beasts raise their heads from the coastal seas.

Throughout this landscape, coloured by plants and the changing colour of leaves overhead, paths and trails wind their way. The more obvious lead to the tree-houses, others point the way to secret glades and places hidden among trees and hills,  awaiting the chance to delight the eye. Some of these – such as the entrance to the crystal cavern – again carry hints of Tolkien (the gate into Moria). Others draw on other realms of fantasy, such as faery gardens.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

Not all of these places are necessarily easy to find, so there are teleport points also waiting to be found offering a short route through the region. For those who prefer other means of travel, a flying horse rezzer can be found close to the landing point.

However, I strongly recommend taking the time to walk along trails and climb steps lest you miss things along the way. This is certainly the best way to reach the great council house to the north-west. Located above falls that tumble into a slender pool below, this can only be reached on foot by climbing up into the flets of the elven tree-houses. Watched over by dragons circling overhead, it is a place of rest and serenity, a kind of inverse Imladris, sitting above the lands, rather than hidden in a valley below them.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

Nor is this all; close by the landing point tower, at the end of a short path, a rowing boat can be found. Sit in this, and you’ll be transported across the waters to Faerie Tale, one of the neighbouring regions, and home to the Lost Unicorn Gallery. Here you’ll be delivered to a wooden wharf within a great cavern, with signs inviting you to ascend by stair, platform and bridge – although for those who prefer there is a bubble car rezzer or  – for part of the way up – a rope climb. At the top of the climb is the gallery: a fairytale castle sitting on a great finger of rock around which a great dragon is coiled, apparently at war with a powerful unicorn.

This is a magnificent setting, designed by Jennifer May Carlucci (JenniferMay Carlucci). An entire story unto itself, time should be spent camming around it and appreciating it. The halls of the castle form an exhibition space for art. Climbing through the different levels of the castle are displays by Iruki Levee, Aleriah, Ursula Floresby, Pretty Rexen (prettyparkin Rexen), Freyja (Freyja Merryman), Natalie (Natalie Montagne), Luka Henusaki and Efinyn Jinx. Together they provide a wonderfully mixed exhibition of landscape and avatar studies.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

However, the gallery isn’t purely about displaying art, it also serves to support First Book, an organisation dedicated to providing access to new books for children in need, and which since 1992 has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. A portion of all donations made to the Lost Unicorn Gallery go directly to First Book.

Should you opt to make your way back to Lost Unicorn, there is a path running south that will take visitors by bridge and tower to Storybook Forest – but that is a journey for another blog post.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

For now I’ll leave you with thoughts of visiting Lost Unicorn and, should you enjoy it as much as we did, I hope you’ll consider a donation towards the upkeep of the regions – and perhaps in support of First Book.

SLurl Details

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 2018: the full season

via Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Across Second Life

Some 1.7 million women – and men – were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, the most recent year for which detailed statistics are available. It is currently believed that the figure remains around the 1.6 million mark world-wide, which equates to around 270,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer per year in the United States and around 55,000 in the UK alone.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is a signature event by the American Cancer Society to raise awareness of, and funds to counter / treat breast cancer, and it is marked in Second Life very October with the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (MSABC) Across Second Life event.

For 2018, MSABC Across Second Life will be holding an expanded season of events through October, a couple of which I’ve previously blogged about, and on which ACS and the MSABC team issued more information on Friday, September 7th, 2018.

In all five events are planned for the month, offering a broad range of options by which Second Life users can donate money that will expressly go into the work involved in treating and researching breast cancer and its causes. Full details of the events can be found on the MSABC Across Second Life website, and I’ve summarised the key points below.

Photos For A Cure

  • Dates: now through until Sunday, September 30th, 2018.
  • Theme: The Rat Pack
  • Sponsor: SKYY Games

Photographers across Second Life are invited to share their artistic talents by submitting a photo that they feel best reflects the Photos For A Cure theme to the MSABC Across Second Life Flickr group.  A prize pool of L$22,500  is available for the photos judged as best reflecting the theme. For contest rules and details, visit the Photos For A Cure on the Making Strides website.

Out-Shop Breast Cancer

  • Dates: Monday, October 1st through Wednesday October 31st, 2018.
  • SLurl: all across the grid – HUD based.

Get your shopping HUD at the American Cancer Society Island, then visit the variety of stores who have committed to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. The more you buy, the greater the funds raised for MSABC.

Out-Shop Breast Cancer and Parade of Homes

Parade of Homes

  • Dates: Monday, October 1st through Wednesday October 31st, 2018.
  • SLurl: all across the grid – HUD based.

Collect a Parade of Homes HUD from the American Cancer Society Island and use it to hop to the participating designs and discover your dream home for Second Life. This is a perfect opportunity to discover some of the great home designers in Second Life, get your new home, and fight breast cancer – all at the same time.

The parade of homes will conclude with a special live auction for a L$90,000 dream home, donated by Slash Hansome, owner of AXL pro – check the MSABC website for details in October!

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk-A-Thon

  • Date:  Saturday, October 20th, 2018.
  • Registration opens: Saturday, September 15th, 2018 (walkers); Sunday, September 16th, 2018 (sponsors).
  • SLurl: check the MSABC Across SL website.

Get your walking shoes ready and join other walkers at the 2018 Strides Walk track. The Walk-a-Thon will take place between 10:00 to 18:00, with walkers invited to join in throughout for as long as they can. Music will be provided throughout the event, and there will likely be an after-walk party.

Walkers will be provided with tools to track the number of laps they complete around the track, allowing them to collect pledges from their supporters. Awards will be presented for Top fund-raiser, most laps completed, most sponsors (pledges), and Overall Top Walker.

Registrations, once open, will be available through the MSABC Across SL website.

Breast Cancer Gala

The annual gala event will celebrate breast cancer patients, survivors, and pay homage to loved ones that are no longer with us. This is a chance to meet new people,  reconnect with old friends, and share stories with others about your personal connection to breast cancer. This is a formal attire event with special live performances. Donations are encouraged throughout the event.

Meet the Challenge

In 2017, the Making Strides campaign raised over US $10,000 for the American Cancer Society. For 2018, the MSABC team would like to beat that total – so why not be a part of the efforts by taking part in one or more of these events throughout October?

About Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer or MSABC is the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the United States, uniting more than 300 communities across the country. Every breast cancer walk run during the MSABC’s season is seen as an incredible and inspiring opportunity to honour those who have battled breast cancer, raise awareness on how the risk of breast cancer can be reduced, and to raise money to help the American Cancer Society fight the disease with research, information, services and access to mammograms for women who need them.

High Fidelity sets new local concurrency record

via High Fidelity

Yesterday I gave slightly late (my bad, it slipped my mind!) notice of the September 7th 2018 High Fidelity avatar concurrency load test.

The aim of these events is to enough as many people as possible to sign-up / join-in with an event held in a single contiguous space within High Fidelity (no instancing or sharding) and see how the system stands up to the load. The programme is part of what High Fidelity refer to getting “one billion in VR”, and it was hoped that the September 7th event would break the company’s previous record of 256 avatars, set during the August load test.

As it turned out, the record wasn’t just broken – it was shattered.

From 256 to 262 – before the September 7th 2018 load test had officially started

People had been encouraged to register and turn up ahead of the official start of the event at 13:30 PDT on September 7th, and a few minutes before the official kick-off, High Fidelity were able to announce the August record had been superseded with 262 avatars in The Spot.

That wasn’t all, by the end of the event, some 356 avatars were in the event region, raising the August record by 100 – not bad for a Friday afternoon when large swathes of the USA are liable to be at work, and many in places like Europe might be out and about at the start of their weekends.

Goal achieved; time to level up at the next event!

Must of those attending had a good time; however, the event wasn’t all plain sailing.

Some people reported arriving and being unable to see any avatars at all.  Philip Rosedale acknowledged the problem was at High Fidelity’s end of things, and they are working to address the issue.

Oopsie to be fixed!

The One Billion in VR road tests are a monthly event with High Fidelity, and gift card / HFC rewards on offer to those attending. To help boost numbers, events from October onwards will be held on the first Saturday of the month.

This means the next load test will be on Saturday, October 6th, 2018 at 11:00 PDT, and those wishing to participate  can find the details and register via Eventbrite.

2018 SL UG updates #36/2: TPV Developer meeting

Bellefleurs; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrBellefleursblog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, September 7th, 2018. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

This is another short TPV Developer meeting, with a lengthy discussion (roughly from 7:00 to 13:15) on the Estate Access Management project viewer, the majority of which is covered by my overview of that viewer, and so not repeated here. There are also some extended silences on the video.

SL Viewer


The Rakomelo Maintenance RC viewer updated to version on September 5th.  The remaining viewer pipelines remain as:

  • Current Release version, dated August 14, promoted August 20. Formerly the SL Voice RC viewer – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Animesh RC viewer, version, August 24.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version, released on August 20.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version, August 7. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version, 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, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes.

Assorted Notes on the Viewer Pipeline

  • The Bugsplat RC viewer is still awaiting a further update (to bring it to parity with the release viewer), and this update will include some Mac improvements.
  • A second viewer with further round of rendering updates will be following on the heels of the current Love Me Render RC viewer.
  • EAM Project Viewer:
    • The next update to the EAM viewer may see it promoted to release candidate status.
    • This update will include the ability to set time-based bans on individuals (i.e. banning someone for a period of time, after which they are automatically unbanned).
  • The snapshot viewer is still awaiting internal resources at the Lab to be able to resume working on it.
  • Both the Bakes on Mesh and Environment Enhancement Projects continue to await the AIS update (see below for more).
    • The Bakes on Mesh project also requires both a simulator update (as does EEP) and an update to the Bake Service. These  will take place some time after the AIS update has been deployed,
    • [7:51-8:49] As a sidebar to the Bakes on Mesh and EEP work, it was found that the existing viewer code did not handle inventory assets types very well if it could not recognise them. This has now been corrected with one of the updates in the Rakomelo RC viewer, so viewers with this code, but which do not have the BOM and EEP code should handle the new asset types delivered by the simulator / CDN for these projects a lot more gracefully than has previously been the case with adding new asset types.
  • [6:16-7:00] The Animesh is now down to a small number of must-fix bugs before it can roll to release status; additional bugs have been tiraged and flagged as “fix later”. As noted in my most recent CCUG update, there will be a behavioural change to add a scale limit to the existing translation limit such that Animesh objects can’t become too large or too arbitrarily placed.

AIS Update

[4:00-4:34] As noted above, the AIS (Advanced Inventory System) update contains changes to support both the Bakes on Mesh project and the EEP project. However, it is primarily aimed at running the inventory services on a newer version of their operating system (the Lab is currently engaged in updating the operating system used across their servers, as noted by Simon Linden at the week #36 Simulator User Group meeting). This OS update is also one of the foundational requirements need to start moving more of the SL services to a cloud based infrastructure in the future.

The AIS update has now cleared the Lab’s QA testing, and is expected to be grid-wide in the next week or so.

ARCTan and Viewer Texture Caching

[13:30-14:40] ARCTan and the viewer texture caching updates have been on hold, the former because of the effort being put into the rendering updates in the Love Me Render RC viewer (and presumably its follow-up viewer) and the EEP project. Both ARCTan and the viewer texture caching project are expected to resume “real soon nowTM“.

In Brief

  • A reminder that the SL Voice .EXE in the current release viewer ( is incompatible with earlier versions of the viewer, and cannot be used with them.
  • There is also a report that viewer can disconnect voice when teleporting a lot more frequently that previous releases. This is to be the subject of the bug report.
  • A reminder that the fixes for ensuring off-line Group messages and Friend requests are correctly delivered at log-in by the new HTTP capability can be found in the Rakomelo RC viewer.
  • [21:27-22:10] There is still no confirmed date as to when the inventory UDP messaging will be turned off at the simulator end. All inventory messaging switched from UDP to HTTP earlier in 2018, and it had previously been indicated the UDP support would be switched off on the server end in late summer / autumn 2018.  This is in part due to the discovery the messaging system is being used by some “other things”, and this need to stop before UDP messaging can be disabled.