2018 SL UG updates 39/1: Simulator User Group

Missing Melody; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrMissing Melodyblog post

Server Deployment Plans

There are no planned deployments for week #39.

SL Viewer

The Bakes on Mesh project viewer updated to version 5.1.9.519785 on Monday, September 24th. Otherwise the start of the week sees the majority of the current official viewer unchanged:

  • Current Release version 5.1.8.518593, dated August 14, promoted August 20. Formerly the SL Voice RC viewer – No Change.
  • Release channel cohort:
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 5.1.9.519462, September 10. 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.
    • Rakomelo Maintenance RC, version 5.1.9.519298, September 5.
    • Animesh RC viewer, version 6.0.0.518949, August 24.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 5.1.8.518751, released on August 20.
  • 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

Those who have been testing EEP have been raising JIRAs on the test viewer, and Rider Linden is about to pass an updated version of the simulator code to the QA team for testing.

It will address some validation where FS had much larger ranges of values than the Lab did. [And] I’ve dealt with a cloud speed issue that had annoyed me and I forgot to get in before we sent out the preview. Internally no cloud motion was 10,10… it will now be 0,0 this means some clouds will suddenly appear to go faster

– Rider Linden on the EEP simulator update

Region Crossings

Joe Magarac (animats) continues to poke at the viewer side of region crossing issues, and has apparently come across a contributing factor to some crossing issues: essentially, on a double region crossing (ie briefly crossing into the corner of a region from another before moving on to the next region) the simulator seems to be sending the viewer an object kill message for the vehicle at the very beginning of region crossing. The viewer sees the message unexpectedly and reacts to it, causing the region crossing issue referred to as a half unsit (he avatar is stuck in the region, unable unsit, move or teleport, and requires a relog as a means to recover). The issue could be down to a race condition in messaging, but  Joe has been using additional logging in a version of Firestorm, and can consistently catch the kill message.

Region crossings currently aren’t being looked at by the Lab, although Simon Linden keeps hoping to get back to looking at the code in the future. In the meantime, Joe continues to log his findings on BUG-214653.

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No Spectators 2: a return to SAAM in Sansar

No Spectators 2: The Temple by David Best

In July, I wrote about the opening of a Sansar experience celebrating No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, an exhibition of art created for the annual Burning Man experiment in community and art held in the Black Rock Desert of north-west Nevada. The experience is a reproduction of a physical world exhibition of the same name, hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) at their Renwick Gallery in Washington DC between (effectively) April 2018 and January 2019 as a part of an overall effort by Intel and SAAM to digitise many of the museum’s 157 million objects and present them through the virtual medium as transformative and engaging educational / cultural experiences.

After the publishing of that review, Jason Gholston, Head of Sansar Studios, indicated to me via Twitter that the experience would be expanded over time, and on Monday, September 24th, the official Sansar Twitter account announced the Second Floor of the No spectators experience has now opened to public visits.

No Spectators 2: The Temple by David Best

The centrepiece of the new exhibition is a reproduction of the interior of the 2018 Temple, as designed from laser cut wood by artists David Best. It is an intricate, beautiful design, the original – as are all Temple builds at Burning Man – put to the torch at the 2018 Burning Man event.

David Best is actually responsible for the designs of around half the Temple built at Burning Man, having created the very first in 2000, working with Jack Haye. At the time, Best had been attending Burning Man for about three years, and wanted to present a piece of art. He was also working with a group of young artists who would be attending that same year. One of these young artists was Michael Hefflin, a 28-year-old motorbike enthusiast who was killed not long before the event, and that first temple became something of a memorial to him and to others.

We built this thing and it became obvious that we were building a tribute to Michael. And as we were making it 100 people came by and added the names of people they’d lost. Then we put some diesel on it and burned it.

– David Best, speaking to The Guardian, February 2015

In 2001, Best was asked by the event’s organisers to build another Temple, and given the Black Rock “city” of the festival had just about everything else except a place of meditation, and he took up the offer, and built upon the what had happened in 2000.

I thought, ‘What would I dedicate a temple to?’ Not having any religion – and not being very fond of religion – I thought how in some faiths you can’t be buried in a cemetery if you’ve committed suicide. So since Burning Man welcomes so many things, the most sacred place, in the centre of the temple, should be in honour of those who’ve lost someone to suicide. By the end of the week 500 people had put names in the centre and 10,000 had put names elsewhere in the temple, the names of people they’d lost.

– David Best, speaking to The Guardian, February 2015

In keeping with this, the interior of the piece in No Spectators faithfully reproduces the names and messages left during the 2018 Burning Man festival. Even when visiting the experience in third person desktop mode, these notes, left on Post It sheet, postcards, scrawled on the wood, give an almost tangible emotional depth to the design. So much so that I had another of those rare (for me) moments when I wished I had a VR headset of my own to experience the full immersiveness of the setting while reading them.

No Spectators 2: Hybycozo by Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu

Also in the new exhibit area are reproductions of Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone (Hybycozo for short) models from Burning Man 2014 and 2015. Designed by Yelena Filipchuk and  Serge Beaulieu. Rather than having something to do with Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, Vogons or the destruction of the Earth, these large structures are, in the artists’ words:

A series of large-scale polyhedral installations and artworks that investigate geometry through light, shadow, and perception. The project is inspired by the intersection of math, science, technology, geometry, material, and light.

– Yelena Flipchu and Serge Beaulieu on Hybycozo

However, it’s hard not to escape the feeling that Adams and his classic radio series and books / records (and the spin-off TV series and film) didn’t have some influence the project’s title…

Next to the Hybycozo display is a hall featuring four Gamelatron Bidadari. Again seen at the 2018 Burning Man, these were actually a recreation of  2013 set of instruments created by Aron Taylor Kuffner. Each features 10 Trompong kettle gongs, 12 Reyong kettle gongs, Klentong, Kempli, 4 hanging gongs, 2 ceng-ceng and 4 Kopyak from Bali and Java, all fitted with mechanical mallets on 4 powder-coated and hand-gilded steel mounts. They are genuine musical instruments, designed to be played, and the versions in Sansar are animated, producing a range of chimes in keeping with their physical world counterparts.

No Spectators 2: Stymen Lumen by FoldHaus Art Collective

The final hall of the exhibition area features three Strumen Lumen, large-scale Origami mushrooms that morph into different shapes when activated by visitors, designed by the FoldHaus Art Collective. Animating them is achieved by touching or clicking on the circular buttons on the floor by each of the Strumen.

As well as having a dedicated experience URL, the upper floor of No Spectators can be reached from the lower floor by wither touching the teleport sign at the foot of the stairs in the entrance hall, or by just walking up the stairs (which will also activate a transfer between the two experiences. Similarly, a transfer to the lower floor can be activated by touching a sign at the top of the stairs, or by starting to walk down them.

I’d personally like to see a little more thought given to the way this material is presented in order to become fully engaged throughout. Much of the art at Burning Man is both mechanical / interactive and / or carries a story with it – as with the Temple builds. As such, it would add to the sense of engagement being able to hear the story of the Temple build, perhaps in David Best’s own words, or to here a complere loop of music Aron Taylor Kuffner has composed / played on the Gamelatron Bidadari.

That said, there is enough in this extension to make No Spectators worthy of further visits, and I hope the Lab / SAAM will resume tours of the experiences in the future. Certainly, it was enough to encourage me t see how video filming works in Sansar, using both of the main exhibition spaces, and the “outdoors” area.

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A further trip to The Galleries in Second Life

The Galleries Museum

The Galleries, curated by Ernie Farstrider is an extensive gallery complex ideal for those wishing to explore many of the rich facets of art in Second Life. As I last wrote about the complex nearly a year ago, I thought it about time I talked a little more about it, this time taking a look at the Ground level facilities of The Galleries Museum.

Modelled on New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright, the building is very much a gallery space, despite the “museum” in the title, and at the time of my visit had just opened a new exhibition of art by Violetta Carolina, who returns to the gallery for the first time in five years.

The Galleries Museum

The exhibit features Violetta’s 2D the 3D art, the former presented as a series of bold paintings, rich in colour, leaning towards an abstract look, but each piece individually striking in tone and look. With a distinctly modern cast to them, the sculptures offer both contrast and compliment to the 2D pieces,  making this an unusual (in the positive sense of the word) and imaginative exhibit.

Beyond it, in the great atrium section of the building, are exhibition spaces given over to multiple artists,  all of which can be toured by climbing the familiar ramp up from the lowest level (or, if you prefer, but taking one of the elevator teleport to the uppermost level and then winding your way back down).

The Galleries Museum: Violetta Carolina

The atrium provides space for at least eight artists on the ramp itself, with additional space on the lowest level, and the range of large on display mixes images captured in-world and creations from the  physical world uploaded for display in Second Life. I’m not going to offer a cast list of artists exhibiting their work at the time of my visit, simply because I’m not sure how quickly displays change, and all too often such lists can look more like the reading a cast list. However, I did enjoy seeing images by Graham Collinson, and Kayly Iali during my visit, as I’ve always enjoyed their work.

Located outside the front of the building is a teleporter that will carry visitors up to the sky complex of galleries, where a further exploration of art can be enjoyed  – see my review from October 2017, but please keep in mind the artists on exhibition may well have changed.

The Galleries Museum: Graham Collinson

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Georgiana, home of The Galleries, is rated Moderate.