Isla Pey: year-end changes

Isla Pey

Back in April 2018, I returned Fallingwater – albeit somewhat modified to better suit our needs – to Second Life, redesigning Isla Pey around it in the process. Since then, we’ve been very settled, and the need to fiddle around with things hasn’t really come up.

However, in facing north and out over the “edge” of the grid, we may well see nothing but open seas, but we also miss a lot of the passing surface traffic; something that can be attractive to watch. Making a big move with the house wasn’t something I particularly wanted to contemplate (and not something the shape of the land would really tolerate). But, it did occur to me that by swinging the house through 180-degrees and cutting the island in two, something might be done…

Isla Pey

And so as Caitlyn reached for the hard hats, I started playing. Again.

As the parcel holding Isla Pey is rather long and slender, and given we already had a “north” and “south” end, linked by a large pond, stream and waterfall, cutting the land in two was easy enough. Out went the water, the falls and the surrounding mesh landforms creating the basic landmass was created.  Then, by swinging the house around and moving it southwards, there was room to add a fair-sized back garden – the landscaping made easier (again) by the re-use of the lawn design from the “old” island design.

Isla Pey

This, expanded with the use of Alex Bader’s superb Tiered Garden Wall Building Set, providing room for the art from Ciottolina Xue and pieces from Morgan Sim Designs that have long been features of our garden, while the JIAN Koi Pond Gazebo I’d modified for use with the “original” garden pond helped fill-out the space in the garden.

The southern end of the parcel, now an island in its own right, needed no real changes. It’s still home to our little folly from Trompe Loeil (actually the Amelie pavilion), just a section of HPMD cliffs needed to be added.

Isla Pey

This little island, also home to our sculptures from Silas Merlin, affords the house retain some privacy (one of the reasons I’ve tended to site houses at the north end of the island rather than the south is to help give a sense of privacy whilst being able to see passing ships). But, we needed a way to reach it.

The easiest way to do this was to extend the boat moorings under the house (actually the Botanical Edged Brick Park Path with a little re-texturing), using them as a kind of footbridge while also offering more room for boat / seaplane rezzing in our own little bay. The added room meant I could also add a couple of favourites to our vehicle rezzer that had been missed, the bay offering the perfect area in which to rez them.

Isla Pey

Fiddling with the island home is fun. But with the April changes (which I have nicely stored in a rezzing system 🙂 ) and now this reorganisation, means we probably won’t be making massive changes in the future, unless we opt to move elsewhere.

Just don’t hold me to that statement 😀 .

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December 2018 at La Maison d’Aneli

La Maison d’Aneli: Lam Erin

Now open at La Maison d’Aneli Gallery, curated by Aneli Abeyante, is a new ensemble art exhibition, one which offers a rich mix of virtual and physical art and photography in what is an eclectic but engaging display. On offer are pieces by  Lam Erin, Renoir Adder, Bump Squeegee, Layachi Ihnen, Chapichapo Delvalle and the inimitable Moya Patrick (Moya Janus).

For those unfamiliar with Moya (Patrick Moya in the physical world), he has been a part of the artistic movement Ecole de Nice, and throughout his career has been as the forefront of artistic expression through all forms of media and technology, including virtual spaces. He is an early pioneer of video art, and was quickly drawn to the potential of virtual spaces like Second Life, in which he has been involved since 2007 and where he continues to maintain his Moya estate of four regions. He was also one of the first artists to actively promote Second Life in the physical world, with Rinascimento Virtuale, hosted by the museum of Anthropology of Florence, in 2009.

La Maison d’Aneli: Moya Patrick

Entitled Carnaval et fêtes populaires (literally “Carnival and popular festivals”, but given the English title “Carnival and popular traditions” in English), it is a typical piece from Moya, full of vitality, reflecting elements of his physical world art. Within it is – as one would expect – his alter-ego of Moya, familiar by his Pinocchio-like nose, and little Dolly, inspired by the cloned sheep of the same name. Frivolous, engaging, with some subtle motifs, Carnaval et fêtes populaires is a colourful piece, well in keeping with the time of the year.

Below it, on the lower floor of the gallery are three exhibition spaces presenting the physical world art of three very different artists: Renoir Adder, Layachi Ihnen and Bump Squeegee.

La Maison d’Aneli: Renoir Adder

I confess to being unfamiliar with Layachi’s art, which is offered here as the largest of the three displays. A profession of mathematics, Layachi started painting in 1969, and since 1999 has focused on mixed media, combining digital painting on computer with traditional techniques. For this exhibition, he presents pieces that reflect this mixing – notes the faces in many of the paintings -, all offered in a unique and distinctive style.

As an artist, Renoir Adder straddles genres. Within his pieces can be found elements of post-impressionism, potentially influenced by the like of Van Gogh; suggestions of Picasso; and impressionist leanings.

La Maison d’Aneli: Renoir Adder

Much of this is in evidence in the 15 pieces displayed at La Maison d’Aneli, in the midst of which are, to my eyes, three absorbing painting of Geishas which exhibit a unique and eye-catching style that focuses the attention marvellously, encouraging the observer to work outwards from them and take in the rest of the paintings in turn.

Bump Squeegee’s collage art is, for those familiar with it, instantly recognisable. Rich in colour and style, the dozen pieces here are a marvellous selection of Bump’s work. By their very nature, these are pieces for which description is meaningless; they deserve to be seen first-hand in order to appreciate them fully.

La Maison d’Aneli: Layachi Ihnen

Back on the upper level of the gallery is a selection of physical world photography by Chapichapo Delvalle. Another artists with whom I was unfamiliar, Chapichao’s work focuses on nature and natural settings, varying from full landscape pieces to focusing down to things like a small branch of pine cones set on the stonework of a footpath, offered as a series of studies in colour and style.

Colour is a major element in these images, and might be said to be a physical reflection of Chapichao’s vibrant view of Second Life.

La Maison d’Aneli: Lam Erin

Lam Erin, in providing full disclosure, is one of my favourite Second Life landscape artists, although I only discovered his work less than two years ago. As a virtual artist, Lam takes images captured within Second Life and transforms them into the most fantastic digital works of art, so rich in detail, you feel as if you can see the individual brush strokes in an original piece of art.

One of the hallmarks of Lam’s work is his presentation of cloudscapes. These cast a dramatic, even foreboding, look to the skies of his art that brings an added depth of realism and narrative to his paintings that is utterly remarkable. It is this attention to his clouds and skies that also makes his art redolent of some of the great masters of landscape painting.

As always from Aneli  and La Maison d’Aneli, an engaging exhibition of works by talented artists, and not one to be missed.

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Sansar 2018 Product Meetings #50

The following notes were taken from the Sansar Product Meeting held on Thursday, December 13th, the last such Product Meeting for 2018. As usual, Eliot, the Sansar Community Manager hosted the meeting, with Ebbe, Landon, Aleks, Leslie, Kelly and Julia from the Lab.

High-Level Outlook for 2019

Plans are still being finalised for 2019 and Sansar, so there is some reluctance to talk in-depth about what is likely to be coming and when, however, some high-level bullet points for the platform mentioned in the meeting were:

  • Avatar improvements (e.g. face sliders, custom skins).
  • World (experience) creation easier.
  • Making it easier for people to collaborate and group themselves around “things”.
  • Improving the ability to make interactive content and games.
  • See Sansar be more event-driven.
  • Continue to ship updates at a high rate (the average for 2018 being one update per month).
  • Accelerate the rate of change that is being made with updates, as per that last three releases of 2018.
  • Continue to be responsive to feedback to updates and changes.

A major review of plans is taking place over the final working week of 2018, so early 2019 should see the Lab in a better position to offer some insight into what the year may be bringing to Sansar.

Attending Events

Sansar recently hosted its first ticketed event (sadly at a time far too late for most of us in Europe – hint, hint, Linden Lab) – Comedy Gladiators, hosted by Steven Hofstetter (read more here).  The event apparently went well, with the audience spawning multiple instances and able to see the activities on stage. However, one problem did arise in that people wishing to attend the same instance of the event at times found they couldn’t. The Lab is aware of this and looking to make changes that will allow people access the same instance of a popular event like this, and enjoy it together.

One idea is a “party up” system, that allows a party of named individuals access an instance together. This could be extended to things like team-based games / puzzles / activities, where you need to work as a group and / or work best with limited numbers – so each party of players accessing the game / experience would be delivered to a different instance, thus avoiding interfering with others who already have a game in progress.

In Brief

  • Sansar / Steam Desktop mode issue: there is an issue running Sansar via Steam in Desktop Mode that leaves the audio sliders in Settings non-responsive. This is being investigated by the Lab.
  • Improved camera(s) for 2019? a frequent request through 2018 has been better camera options for filming in Sansar. Idea put forwards include a true “flycam” mode that allows for free filming and avatar movement of the part of the person filming; the ability to create multiple (scripted) camera objects within a scene for filming (and the ability to cut between them when recording); having “flyable” scripted cameras, etc. Such ideas are being discussed by the Lab with no commitment (at present) on what might be delivered or when.
  • Freecamming when using a Sit Point: it is not currently possible to freecam (F4) when seated using the Sit point capability introduced with R28. This will be fixed.
  • “Bigger” Experiences: currently, the upper limit on experiences is 4km on a side (the equivalent area to 256 SL regions). There are currently no plans to expand beyond this, as it is the limit at which the physics aspects of the engine start to break down, and the Lab does not want to get into a Second Life scenario with having to work out how to stitch scenes / experiences together and cater for physically crossing being them.
    • Even working to the 4km upper limit is questionable at present, as Sansar does not have any means of LOD (level of detail) handling within it.
  • Finding Sticky Grab: the new “sticky grab” option introduced with R28 to prevent people picking up guns and then throwing them, rather than firing them (left mouse click), is currently a little obscure when setting it in Edit mode, so it is liable to be better surfaced in an upcoming release.
  • Improved Moderation: an upcoming point release (possibly to appear before Christmas) should allow user-to-user blocking (so not only can a troublemaker be muted, they can be blocked and vanish from your view  – and you vanish from their view).
  • In-client Store Improvements: it is hoped that 2019 will see the in-client Sansar Store achieve parity with the web version of the store (filters and filter options, etc).
  • Steam “Fall-off”: A lot has been made about the fall-off in incoming numbers of users from Steam. This was in some way expected, as at the launch on Steam, Sansar was featured on the Early Access home page (actually how I saw it had been launched), and also on the Steam VR section home page. Since the launch, Sansar is no longer front-and-centre on either page.
  • Avatar Rig: this will likely see changes in 2019. Work is already in hand to try to simplify it; other improvements will be made over time.