The mystery of Calas Galadhon’s MAZE in Second Life

Calas Galadhon MAZE; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrCalas Galadhon MAZE – click any image for full size

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 saw the public opening of the 2018 Calas Galadhon Halloween tour, and once again it is a stunning setting – possibly the best that Tymus Tenk and Truck Meredith and their Calas team have created.

Covering two regions, the Calas Galadhon MAZE is a stunning setting designed to lead visitors on a journey of exploration.

Calas Galadhon MAZE; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrCalas Galadhon MAZE

Decades ago a group of explorers woke to find themselves in the middle of a large seemingly impenetrable Maze … They set-up a base camp with supplies that had been left for them. In time, a group set out to explore what lay beyond and [find] a way out.

They never returned.

The remaining few, when supplies ran out and with no way to gather more, eventually perished. 

– Introduction to Calas Galadon MAZE

Calas Galadhon MAZE; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrCalas Galadhon MAZE

Visitors arrive at the setting in an underground location, where they’ll find the introduction and a few helpful hints. Visits are best enjoyed using the region windlight setting, which is suitably dark, and the adventure begins at ground level. This is reached via an elevator or stairways. From here it is a short walk to the base camp – by way of a station where survival backpacks, torches  and helmets can be obtained for those wanting to get fully into the spirit of exploration and discovery.

I don’t what to go into specifics of the maze itself, that would be to spoil explorations. However, I will say that things are laid out in such a way as to keep visitors engaged for a considerable amount of time – and rightly so. As the notes in the regions indicate, a good place to start is to take the boat ride from close to the base camp.

Calas Galadhon MAZE; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrCalas Galadhon MAZE

This will take you on a journey around the ground-level areas of the regions and present you with the opportunity to see some of the places you’ll be exploring on foot  – and some places you otherwise might not see.

The boat tour follows waterways running through both regions before running explorers to the base camp and the opportunity to start their explorations on foot. A footbridge offer the way to the first part of the maze – which is literally that, a maze running through towering walls and with hidden surprises. It’s not difficult to get through, but it does provide access to the rest of the mysteries that might be found.

Calas Galadhon MAZE; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrCalas Galadhon MAZE

And that’s as far as I’m going to comment on the regions – other than to say that things don’t just exist on the ground. In keeping with past Calas Galadon seasonal designs, there are also places to be explored in the sky as well – and I will say that I found these particularly enjoyable and put together the care and eye for details that made Ty and Truck’s designs engaging and fun to explore.

Calas Galadhon MAZE will remain open throughout October in order to allow people to enjoy the Halloween season at their leisure. There is a lot to see and enjoy, so when planning a visit make sure you allow plenty of time to explore and appreciate – and keep an eye on the Calas blog for details of special events that may be taking place within the regions while they are open.

Calas Galadhon MAZE; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrCalas Galadhon MAZE

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The portraits of Rofina Bronet in Second Life

Diotima Art Gallery: Rofina Bronet

Currently open at the Diotima Art Gallery curated by Redi (Red Bikcin), is an exhibition of avatar portraiture by Rofina Bronet.

I confess that prior to receiving an invitation to view this exhibition, I was unfamiliar with Rofina’s art, and that having visited this exhibition, I find her approach to presenting avatars intriguing.

On display are eighteen portraits in a mix of colour and monochrome images that are striking in their presentation. The approach taking with each of them is to focus closely on the subject’s head, an approach that in many of the images offers a unique perspective on the individual in the picture.

Diotima Art Gallery: Rofina Bronet

At times this can be a little disconcerting in the way it gives prominence to facial features and the shape of the subject’s head. The result can be a little jarring when viewing the images, but the result is also visually striking, drawing  – challenging, even – the observer to closely study each image.

Many of the images – notably those in monochrome – offer the subject as the sole focus of the image, and have been taken in such a way that the subject is not looking at the camera. Rather, they are either looking to one side of the camera, or ignoring it completely, as if something out-of-frame has captured their attention.

Diotima Art Gallery: Rofina Bronet

This gives an added depth to the studies that is captivating. By having them appear as if they are focusing on something other than the camera, the portraits take on a unique and personal life of their own. Rather than appearing posed and framed, they come across as pictures taken in the moment; a chance event. Combined with the above-mentioned perspective carried within each image, this approach draws the observer into both studying the subject more deeply and create a narrative around that “moment in time” in which  the image seems to have been captured.

Alongside of these images are a number – notably in colour – are several in which the subject is looking at – or towards – the camera. These images are presented against a broader backdrop, one which combines with the subject to again create a narrative within the image; one that also brings the subject naturally to life.

Diotima Art Gallery: Rofina Bronet

This is a fascinating exhibition, and for me, an engaging introduction to the art of Rofina Bronet, one I enjoyed receiving.

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2018 SL UG updates 40/1: Simulator and Governance

[Eclectica] A New Dawn; Inara Pey, August 2018, on Flickr[Eclectica] A New Dawnblog post

Simulator User Group

Not a lot to report this week; some discussion on documenting throttles on various LSL requests (i.e. updating wiki entries to indicate those functions that have throttles, rather than providing specific throttle information), and the inevitable region crossing chatter.

Server Deployment Plans

  • On Tuesday, October 2nd, the SLS (Main) channel was updated with server maintenance package 18#18.09.20.519894, comprising the simulator update for Bakes on Mesh.
    • I believe this update still requires a Bake Service update (support for 1024×1024 textures).
  • On Wednesday, October 3rd, the three main RC channels should all be updates with service maintenance package 18#18.09.24.519940, comprising internal fixes.

SL Viewer

The following two viewers were updated on Friday, September 28th:

At the start of week #40, all other viewers remain as follows:

  • Current Release version 5.1.9.519298, dated September 5, promoted September 26. Formerly the Rakomelo Maintenance RC viewer – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • 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.
    • 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. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes.
Rider and Simon Linden, seated, at a Simulator User Group meeting, with Mazidox Linden in between. Note Mazi is wearing Shrek ears – the Lab’s office and in-world indicator that someone committed an “oopsie” – in his case, testing the wrong thing.

Governance User Group

Governance User Group (GUG) meetings are generally held on alternate Tuesdays at 13:00 SLT. They are intended to provide a forum for the discussion and education of issues involving Governance.  They are chaired by the GTeam supervisor, Kristen Linden and are open to the public. Details on dates, times and location can be found on the Governance User Group wiki page.

The Governance Team is responsible for dealing with Abuse Reports, in-world abuse, forum reports, Marketplace reports, etc. It is not responsible for issues with accounts being compromised, account subscription delinquency, fraud, IP infringement, etc.

  • These matters cannot be discussed at the GUG meetings.
  • Issues relating to them should be reported through the recommended channels (e.g. Support for account-specific issues, via the DMCA process for IP infringements, content theft, etc).

Similarly, individual cases involving Governance issues (e.g. the outcomes of abuse report filings), cannot be publicly discussed.

Resources

Meeting CliffsNotesTM

  • General comment on L$ reclaims: somewhat related to fraud, despite notes above. If someone receives L$ amounts as a result of fraud or similar issues, when those amounts are reclaimed via the Lab, they will show up as a transaction record in the user’s account transaction history.
  • Visitor trackers – are these a violation? the Governance Team is aware they exists, and generally do not action reports relating to them (radar systems report more-or-less the same information, available from the mini-map).
    • Similarly, the Governance Team tends not to get involved with tar jars that record tippers names / amounts. The suggestion for those who do not wish to have their name recorded when tipping is to tip directly, avatar-to-avatar.
  • Warnings / Suspensions / Termination: Tommy Linden pointed out that the reason someone is receiving a warning or a notice of suspension / termination will receive “a specific reason” on why the action is being taken in the e-mail notifying them of the warning / suspension.
  • Bans and Termination: the Governance Team only ban / terminate as a result of in-world issues related to platform governance. However, users can be banned / terminated by other LL teams (e.g. fraud, legal / IP), depending on the nature of the infraction / activity.
  • Can SL users be banned for things placed on external blogs, etc? As far as the Governance Team is concerned – no.  It is recognised that the team have no jurisdiction over mediums and services outside of those owned by Linden Lab.
    • Users who believe their personal data is being incorrectly publicised via the likes of blogs, etc., on other services, or believe they are being defamed, are advised to go through the complaints process native to the platform in question, and not file an Abuse Report with the Lab.
    • Issues the Lab have with external services, websites, etc., that are felt to be violating things like the company’s brand usage, trademarks, or which might be seen as defamatory, are dealt with by the legal department.
  • Personal questions: asking personal questions – even repeatedly – is not actionable as an AR. No-one has to answer questions, and other avatars can be muted / block if they persist. However, if someone does repeatedly harass a user with personal questions, etc., even beyond blocking, the an AR for harassment can be raised.
  • 24/7 coverage: the Governance Team is “not totally” active on a 24/7, but are deliberately unpredictable in hours kept so that times when Governance may not be available can be easily calculated by potential troublemakers.
  • Does the GTeam track those banned from regions / parcels? No. The region / parcel capability is there for region / parcel holders to use. However, ARs can be a means to identify serial griefers.
  • Does the simulator save a copy of the simstate when an AR is filed? No, however, the logs, etc are available for review during an investigation  – providing the AR is filed within a reasonable time of the incident occurring.
  • Should specific sections of the TOS / Community Standards be quoted in an AR: they can be, but it is not a requirement. A clear description of the incident, with all relevant information and an accurate AR category filing is far better.
  • ARs against copybotting, IP infringement: these are not investigated, but attempts are made to educate on how to file a DMCA.
  • Nudity on Moderate regions: generally considered OK, but nudity with sexual connotations (e.g. sexual acts or a naked male avatar with an erection, in public places) can be AR’d.
    • Region / parcel holders are free to specify no nudity and / or no sexual acts on their regions, regardless as to the rating.

Next Meeting

Subject to confirmation on the Governance User Group wiki page, the next meeting should be on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018. However, the location may change.