Be a High Fidelity helper and earn HFCs

A High Fidelity Load Test. Credit: High Fidelity

High Fidelity’s next concurrency load test is due to take place on Saturday, October 6th, 2018. These monthly events are designed to drive avatar load testing within in a single continuous space within High Fidelity, providing the platform with a rigorous test as avatars meet, mingle, play games and generally have fun. The load tests are also a small part of High Fidelity’s The Road to One Billion in VR programme – seeing 1 billion people in VR environments (not just HiFi).

As I’ve previously reported, the events offer participants rewards in the form of High Fidelity Coins (HFCs) or a gift card or an Amazon credit – or, as with the September test, even have their rewards donated to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as a fiat money contribution.

Rewards are offered on a sliding scale, based on the number of participants, with the minimum value being equivalent to US $10. However, with the Saturday October 6th, 2018 load test, High Fidelity are offering some 15 volunteers to earn up to 30,000 HFCs (equivalent to Us $30) if they are willing to offer a maximum of 2 hours of their time in helping manage the event, by ensuring people participating are properly checked-in, and the company explains:

High Fidelity needs help checking-in all the people who signed up for the Road to a Billion event on Oct 6th.

Your job will be to roam the crowd and ask people if they signed up for the event and if so, check to see that they have automatically been checked in.

If they have not been checked in, your job will be to give them instructions on how to retrieve their Eventbrite ticket number so that you can manually check them in. We will provide you with the app to do all of this. Also, you will be given an avatar or shirt that will designate you as an official helper so that you are easy to spot and easy for us to tell people to find you.

This job pays 1500HFC an hour, and we need you to work for two hours. We advise you use Desktop mode to make this job easier.

Applicants need a good network connection, confidence using the High Fidelity client and a great attitude as you will be meeting lots of people!

If you’re an experience High Fidelity user, you can volunteer to help with checking-in participants by completing this volunteer form.

Philip Rosedale at the August 2018 load test in High Fidelity

In the load tests thus far, High Fidelity have gone from 197 to 356 avatars all active within a single space, and the company is hoping to have more than 500 on-board on the October 6th, 2018. To encourage this, the event will include new games, plus a Best Avatar contest with a 30,000 HFC first prize.

Those wishing to join the fun can register via Eventbrite (separate registering to the check-in volunteers noted above), with the event officially kicking-off at 11:00 PDT (although people generally turn up earlier than that).

To find out more about these tests, read  High Fidelity CEO Philip Rosedale’s blog post on them.

Lab calls for 2018 Creepy Crawl venues in Second Life

Arranmore; Inara Pey, August 2016, on Flickr What spooky places will the Creepy Crawl visit in 2018? Pictured: Arranmore, 2016 (blog post)

Halloween is approaching once again, and so too is the annual Second Life Creepy Craw, a time when those from the Lab, together with residents, go hopping around the grid in an avatar answer to trick-or-treating.

Now in its third year, the event will take place on Wednesday, October 31st, starting at 10:00 SLT. As with previous years, it will feature locations suitably Halloweeny in décor suggested by Second Life users, as the community blog post on the event explains:

Are you ready to have a screaming good time with fellow Residents – all in the name of the spirit of Halloween? While this holiday may not be shared the world over, it is a tradition in Second Life to dress up in your Halloween best and come out haunting for the annual Second Life Creepy Crawl and Costume Contest!

It’s going to be a monster mash-up at our Creepy Crawl – where we hop from venue to venue and enjoy some thrilling conversation and fun – with a de-frightfully fun Costume Contest twist!

If you’d like to host a stop along the Creepy Crawl, own a spot that will be decked out for the holiday, and don’t mind if a parade of Residents and Lindens come through, then you might be just what the witch doctor ordered. We’re looking for spots that have entertainment (we like to dance around in our costumes!), are appropriate for general and moderate audiences, and can handle a crowd.

If the event is run along the same lines at 2016 and 2017, selected venues will likely be visited for around 30 minutes at a time (although this is subject to confirmation), and people will be welcome to join the entire Creepy Crawl, or drop in and out of it as they wish.

Here’s how to submit your venue for consideration:

2018 SL UG updates #38/3: CCUG – EEP! the sky!

Whirly Fizzle casts her magic, blotting the Sun with EEP. Credit: Whirly Fizzle

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on  Thursday, September 20th, 2018 at 13:00 SLT.  These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements, including:

  • The ability for region / parcel owners to define the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) at the parcel level.
  • New environment asset types (Sky, Water, Days that can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others.
    • Day assets can include four Sky “tracks” defined by height: ground level (which includes altitudes up to 1,000m) and (optionally) 1,000m and above; 2,000m and above and 3,000m and above, plus a Water “track”.
  • Experience-based environment functions
  • An extended day cycle (e.g a 24/7 cycle) and extended environmental parameters.
  • There are no EEP parameters for manipulating the SL wind.
  • EPP will also include some rendering enhancements  and new shaders as well (being developed by Graham Linden), which will allow for effects such as crepuscular rays (“God rays”)
    • These will be an atmospheric effect, not any kind of object or asset or XML handler.
  • The new LSL functions for finding the time of day according to the position of the windlight Sun or Moon have been completed, and are more accurate than the current options.
  • EEP will not include things like rain or snow.
  • It will still be possible to set windlight local to your own viewer.


EEP Documentation

The complete EEP documentation is now available on the SL wiki. Published on the 19th September 2018, and still subject to update, it provides information on:

  • Types of Settings – skies, water, day cycles.
  • Creating and editing EEP settings objects.
  • Applying environments and settings.
  • Command commands for EEP objects.
  • Setting fixed skies and water.
  • Images of the new inventory options, the new UI options (My Environments, etc.).

Test Viewer

The test viewer was made available on Thursday, September 20th, available for OS X, and Windows 32 / 64-bit. Testing is only available on Aditi, and the land there is limited; so for the time being the viewer download links are not generally available – but check the Alternate Viewers wiki page for its general availability in the near future.

And for those who have been eagerly awaiting it – the EEP viewer has options for setting the length of day at either region and / or parcel level, and the number of hours offset from GMT the cycle should be. Day lengths can be the default 4 hours, through to a maximum of 168 hours, equally to a week-long cycle

General Points

  • EEP testing is limited to one region on Aditi for the time being. Parcels are offered for sale at L$1 each (money on Aditi is automatically provided for users, so this is not a personal cost). Users are requested to only purchase one parcel apiece.
  • Parcels can only be purchased via the EEP test viewer.
  • There is not currently a forum thread, as this is only the initial test period for EEP, but a thread will be opened once the project moves to Agni, the main grid.
  • It is hoped that EEP will move rapidly to project viewer status, and will be available on Agni in the near future – particularly now that the AIS service updates have completed.
  • There is a single water track per parcel, so it is not possible to set different looks for water at different altitudes as you can for the sky (and anyway, most would be unseen at higher altitudes).
  • Items still to be considered or to be completed:
    • Offering users the ability to override the time of day/sun position within their own viewer irrespective of the permissions on the EEP settings pack.
    • The shader atmospherics have still to be added.
    • Scripting support has yet to be added – some scripts are available and awaiting inclusion, but it was always Rider’s plans to add scripting after the initial test / project viewers were available.
    • The scripting work will include options for setting the environment on agents participating in an experience.
  • To help with initial testing, Rider has produced a “sundial” that can be obtained in the Aditi test regions. This contains all the available functions and is designed to be used for determining the positions of the Sun and the Moon.
  • The Sun and Moon move entirely independently to one another, allowing both to be in the sky at the same time, and their size can be enlarged or reduced, depending on requirements / texture being used to replace them (so you could have a massive planet hanging in the sky, as if close by, or a little moon that appears much further away).
A simple 5-minute demo (including uploading the textures) creating a sky object, using it to replace the Sun and Moon with Mars and Jupiter respectively, then adjusting their respective sizes and putting them in the same quadrant of the sky before applying the setting to a parcel of land. Note the windlight clouds drifting in front of Mars. Not visible in this image is the fact that with ALM in the viewer enabled, the stars twinkle as though with atmospheric distortion. Click for full size, if required

Continue reading “2018 SL UG updates #38/3: CCUG – EEP! the sky!”

It’s Dog Food Day at the Lab!

Eating your own dog food is a colloquialism that describes a company using its own products or services for its internal operations.

The Second Life team already do this to some extent – as a geographically split company on both coasts of the United States (operating out of both San Francisco and Seattle on the West Coast), and having a support centre in Georgia, the company frequently uses its own platform for staff meetings and the like. There are also, of course, the various in-world weekly user group meetings that hold as well.

However, starting on Friday, September 21st, the Lab is starting on what they are calling their Dog Food Days.

It’s not clear how frequently these will be held, but the idea is for members of the Second Life team to use the platform in ways outside of what they might normally do, and see things more from the perspective of users – including the pain points people might feel when using the platform or learning about it; as well as how the limits of the platform are being pushed creatively.

Alexa Linden, as one of the instigators of the idea, offered an example of her thinking around it:

One of the reasons I wanted to have Dog Food Day … it that a lot of people [at the Lab] have still not gone through the process of meshing up their avatar … I’ve done it on all of my alts, and it’s a learning process; it’s not an easy thing to do. And it’s something we need to understand as new users come in, it’s important for us to understand their frustrations, the learning curve, what people are creating, what the quality of content is, etc.

– Alexa Linden, Product Supervisor, discussing the Lab’s Dog Food Day idea

Given this, Alexa is interested in receiving constructive suggestions for what might be considered for inclusion in these Dog Food Days. One suggestion already put forward was to have Lab staff run through the SL sign-up and on-boarding process from end-to-end, including going to the Learning and Social island and experience the entire process from a user’s perspective – and this has been taken on-board.So, if you do have a suitable idea, please consider dropping Alexa a note card.

Also, every Tuesday, Alexa runs an in-world tour of public places on the grid for Lab staff. She’s always interested in appropriate recommendations – places where staff will feel comfortable going, etc., – and welcomes suggestions on possible visits as well (I’ve actually passed on a few myself). So again, if you have ideas for interesting / photogenic / fun locations, drop her a note card with landmarks.