2018 SL UG updates #39/3: CCUG summary

“All these worlds are yours….” An alien sky by Cube Republic, using the EEP test viewer

The majority of the following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, September 27th, 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.

SL Viewer Update

The Rakomelo Maintenance RC, version 5.1.9.519298, dated September 5th, was promoted to de facto release status on Wednesday, September 26th. This means all other viewers currently in the pipelines will be merged with this code and updated in the coming days.

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, Day 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.

Resources

Current Status

There will be a formal LL blog post on EEP testing at the start of week #40, which will include links to the current versions of the test viewer and also the SLurl for Aditi testing. I’ll be updating this summary with the details once officially made public. These will include the latest iteration of the viewer

Those who have been fortunate enough to attend the CCUG meetings have been able to get some advanced testing done, and there have been a number of additional bug reports and feature requests raised – use the EEP Jira filter to review all raised issues / ideas.

The latest version of the test viewer (made available at the meeting) will result in visible changes to cloud speeds. This will cause clouds in settings created using the initial version of the test viewer to travel much faster and to the north-east.

Another simple EEP demo showing how different textures used on the Sun or Moon within individual sky settings can be blended together when creating a day cycle & some of the motion effects – in this case the Sun (as Mars and Jupiter zig-zagging gently up and down). Oblateness is due to manual recording ratio, and is not representative of the texture shapes when seen in-world.

Cliff Notes on EEP

  • Graham Linden’s shader work has yet to be added to the viewer (so no crepuscular (God) rays, etc., as yet).
  • Firestorm uses a broader range of setting for atmospheric / water effects (haze, density, etc.) than the official viewer. This has led to windlights imported into EEP settings not displaying correctly (see BUG-225537) Rider had increased the settings range in EEP to match Firestorm.
  • Rider and Graham are discussing how procedural texturing might work in EEP(!)
  • EEP does not support the ability for anyone to create a new EEP settings object simply by saving the one they are viewing ( as can currently be done with legacy windlight settings). However, existing windlight settings stored locally in the viewer can be imported to EEP and converted.
  • EEP will break RLV controls on windlight.
  • The EEP test viewer can be used as an ordinary viewer on Agni (the main grid), but EEP settings cannot as yet be applied, and it may lead to a duplication of the EEP Settings folder when switching back to the test region on Aditi.

Cloud Perturbation

Rider hopes to be able to add a means to provide a degree of perturbation when non-seamless cloud textures are used, so that they don’t appear so tiled when viewed in-world.

Continue reading “2018 SL UG updates #39/3: CCUG summary”

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Frog Hollow: a garden of delight in Second Life

Frog Hollow; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrFrog Hollow – click any image for full size

Note: Frog Hollow has closed and Stella has created Winter’s Hollow – read here for more. Because it has closed, I’ve removed the SLurl reference from this review.

Frog Hollow, occupying the north-east corner of the Full region Blue Nile, is a 8176 sq m parcel that has been exquisitely landscaped by Stella Mahogany and offered to the public as a place of exploration and rest. It is also another shining example of why a full-sized region (Full or homestead) isn’t required to create something special and personal in-world.

Bounded on three sides by tall cliffs, Frog Hollow has a nice – but not overpowering – feeling of an enclosed garden, a personal space to be enjoyed without due worry about others looking in. To the west, it faces open water, where a wooden deck sits as the landing point for visitors. Lily pads below the decking offer a place for frogs to hop as lanterns drift on a slow breeze overhead.

Frog Hollow; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrFrog Hollow

A single trail leads inland from here, winding between banks of wild flowers and the trunks of silver birch whose leaves are turning golden in reflection of of the changing of the seasons in the northern hemisphere. Fallow deer are to be seen among the tree trunks, and further inland, wander along the looping path or curiously exploring the spaces available for visitors to enjoy.

The largest of these spaces can be reached a short way among the path, where a little bridge branches away to arch over a dry steam bed and arrive at a set of gabled gates. Beyond these is a large brick-and-glass pavilion (another superb design from Cory Edo, for whose work I have a particular fondness).  This is presented as a romantic, magical place. An old grand piano sits at its centre, sheets of music floating and tumbling magically above it as if Harry Potter has recently been by in a playful mood. Cats play under the piano’s lee, and close by a painting, easel and paints await the return of their artist.

Frog Hollow; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrFrog Hollow

To one side of this pavilion sits a small terrace, itself bordered by vines turning to gold, home to a setting for afternoon tea. A further befountained terrace lies to the pavilion’s rear, a paved path winding into the trees beyond. Also reached by a grassy path passing under a Rowan arch and alongside another snug little seating area with cosy bric-a-brac, the paved path leads to yet another patio, marked by a smaller, curtained pavilion presenting a place of rest and comfort.

Whilst all relatively close to one another, these little spots have been designed with considerable care; an eye for the considered use of space and for studied design ensuring that they do not feel clustered one atop the next, whilst also allowing each of them to have its own unique nature.

Frog Hollow; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrFrog Hollow

Nor is this all; facing the front of the pavilion is a further paved area, complete with open fireplace and neatly set out for a formal meal as delicate little lanterns float overhead.

Should you opt not to cross the little bridge into the brick pavilion’s domain but instead follow the path onwards, it will carry you under bough and around twist and turn to a second bridge, and a further enchanted area. Here a chandelier hands from a stout tree branch, and a giant game of chess is set before comfortable armchairs, watched over by more fallow deer even as the trail winds onwards through an old metal gate – and arrives at the brick pavilion.

Frog Hollow; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrFrog Hollow

In this the further genius of Stella’s design is revealed: no matter which route you take when following the path, it will take you through the garden to reveal all the major points of interest before looping you back the to landing point. Along the way you’ll pass many places where you can sit and talk and / or cuddle, engage in a game of chess, listen to, or play, a piano, observe the local fauna – and simply appreciate the beauty of Frog Hollow and Stella’s creative skill and eye for detail. And keep in mind that there are a lot of little touches to be found throughout I’ve not mentioned here (just observe the little pumpkin at the landing point for a couple of minutes, and you’ll see what I mean).

Magical and marvellous, Frog Hollow is a true delight – but it will apparently only be around as long as the leaves are falling. So don’t miss the opportunity to visit and share in the enchantment.

Frog Hollow; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrFrog Hollow