The end-of-year Shop and Hop event, organised by Linden Lab, has opened its doors to shoppers for 2018.
Following the success of recent in-world shopping events organised by the Lab, the Christmas 2018 event provides a similar – but expanded – setting that includes some lessons learned from previous events. It features around 100 merchants and creators, a full list of whom can be found in the opening announcement for the event.
The holidays are upon us, and for many that means baking, wrapping, peppermint lattes, and shopping! We’ve gathered 100 Merchants for a very exciting shopping event! … this shop-stravaganza spans 5 full Regions … All 100 Merchants have provided a free gift (and in some cases more than one per stop) and some generous discounts on some of their most popular products.
This 2018 Shop and Hop is located in five regions (two up from previous events). These are Aurelian, Gilded, Golden, Halycon, and Tinseled, all of which will be open through until the end of the event, on January 4th, 2019.
In addition, the five shopping regions are bordered north and south by two further regions apiece. These effectively act as overspill regions for each of the shopping regions. So, for example, if you try to teleport to Aurelian, but it is already loaded down with avatars, you may be redirected to the landing areas of Aurelian North or Aurelian South, where you’ll be greeted by the message:
Sorry, but you are in an overflow region. Feel free to cam around and window shop while you wait for a space to be available.
This is actually a nicer touch than simply finding your teleport fails with a Region is too full message.
This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:
It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
Note that test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are not recorded in these summaries.
Official LL Viewers
Current Release version 126.96.36.1992263, dated December 5th, promoted December 13th. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer – NEW.
Occupying a quarter region, Nevgilde Forest is a cosy corner of Second Life co-owned by Neaira Rose Allegiere (Neaira Aszkenaze) and Sarge Red. It offers a very outdoors setting, complete with an element of shabby chic.
Although it contains “forest” in the name, this is not actually a densely wooded setting; outside of the landing point in the north-east corner of the parcel, which is hemmed in by trees and shrubs, the land is mostly open, affording good views out over the sea to the west and south.
The woodland hides not only the landing point, where the local group joiner can be found together with a donations box and information giver, but also a little camp site nestled under an old hut raised on wooden legs to resemble a ramshackle tree house, backed into the surrounding trees and shrubs, some of which have found their way through the loose boards of the walls to invade the interior.
Between the camp site, with its circle on places to sit or sleep ringed around the fire setting, and the landing point sit an old tractor. It points its blunt snout along a track that winds between the trees to the more open landscape. Short in length, the trail exits the trees at the foot of a rocky, moss-and-grass coated hillock on which sits the most curious little cabin.
A single room in size and based on Cory Edo’s Garden Bard Abode), this presents a strange façade to the world: one side of it made up of a variety of wooden window frames, all glazed and joined together to form a wall and part of the roof. Single- and double-hung window frames sit with sash and casement, while picture and skylight join them in a mosaic of plan glass and wood; a strangely attractive hodgepodge design that just … works.
The cabin looks from north to south across the open landscape of grass and shrub, separated from it by both elevation and by two dry stone walls that seem to curve protectively around it. A large barn looks back towards the cabin from the eastern tree-line, whilst also keeping watch on the sea. It offers a further cosy setting for sitting and chatting (the cabin itself has wine on offer as well as music and chairs and stools).
Southwards, the parcel ends in a low, flat table of rock and a pocket of sandy beach. The rocky table offers music, both via a DJ’s deck and also via a careworn grand piano, with the beach presenting plenty of room for dancing, with baked clams available close by, together with multiple places to sit and / or cuddle. This area will apparently be the location for local events, due to start in January 2019, and those interested in attending are invited to join the local group to receive updates and news.
The shabby-chic element to the region comes in all the little “untidy” touches: the bicycles lying or propped around as if abandoned; the overturned cart; the carcass of the old tractor (a second tractor appears to have been almost reversed over a step of rock that might have put an end to its useful career); the bathtub and old cooking range seemingly tossed out of the cabin; and so on. While these might all at first appear to be the abandoned detritus of human habitation, they actually add a certain, well, charm to the setting; their presence adds an air of this place being lived in, rather than simply another little set piece.
This is a place where socialising and spending time is welcome, be it at the camp site, in the cabin (or alongside it) or in the barn or on the sand or grassland. The group description emphasises this, as does the introductory note card available via the giver at the landing point (click to receive; it won’t spam you). Photography is welcome, and picture can be shred via the Flickr group.
All told, a nice little retreat, well put together and photogenic. Just as a final note, while Nevgilde Forest is on an Adult rated region, the owners request that visitors kindly treat it as a Moderate setting. My thanks (as always) to Shakespeare for the pointer!
On Sunday December 16th, 2018, the Firestorm team issued Firestorm 6.0.1, which includes Animesh support.
Note that this update is being classified as a “public beta”, because further Firestorm-specific Animesh optimisations are being planned. This means there will be a further “full release” is being planned for January 2019.
However, while Firestorm 188.8.131.52538 may be classed as a”beta”, it should be considered as stable and as bug-free as any previous release.
In keeping with my usual approach to Firestorm releases, what follows is an overview of the release, highlighting some of the more significant changes I feel will be of most interest to users.
Please use the table of contents on the right to jump to any specific topic of interest. Full details of all changes, and contributor credits can be found in the official release notes.
There is no need to perform a clean install with this release if you do not wish to.
Do, however, make sure you back-up all your settings safely so you can restore them after installing 6.0.1.
Note that as a beta release, Firestorm 184.108.40.206538 will not overwrite any existing release version of Firestorm you may have installed, but will be installed into a separate folder / location. However, note that swapping back and forth between this beta and another version of Firestorm will wipe your cache each time.
Lab Derived Updates
This version brings Firestorm up to parity with Linden Lab release viewers through to version 220.127.116.110636 (Animesh), including the recent Rakomelo, Quinquina and Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil Maintenance viewers, and incorporates Vivox Version 4.9.0002.30313 (Mac and Windows).
For those who may be unaware of it (!), Animesh allows the avatar skeleton to be applied to any suitable rigged mesh object. This, together with suitable animations and scripts placed within the contents of the object, allow it to be animated in much the same way as the Second Life avatar. This opens up a whole range of opportunities for content creators and animators to provide things like independently moveable pets / creatures, and animated scenery features.
While Animesh is likely to primarily be used by content creators, it has been designed so that any suitable rigged mesh can be converted to Animesh directly from the Build / Edit floater (see below, left). Do be aware, however that simply converting an object will not cause it to start animating – you’ll need suitable animations and a script to run them.
Like any other object utilising animation, this is done by adding the animations and scripts via the Edit > Contents tab for your converted object.
How To Get Started With Animesh
The best way to get started with Animesh is to use the available resources. These include:
Derender Animesh: Despite the hoped-for performance improvements Animesh might allow when compared to alpha flipping, these will be the potential for performance impacts in regions / parcels with a large number of Animesh objects moving around.
To help mitigate this, Firestorm 6.0.1 includes an option to derender all Animesh in a scene (Developer menu > Rendering > Derender All Animesh).
Note: Derendered Animesh will reappear after a teleport or re-logging.
Also, Firestorm includes a number of other Animesh tweaks:
Auto-scaling amortisation of the new Animesh dynamic bounding box calculations. This fix limits the overhead of the new dynamic bounding box calculations to AvatarExtentRefreshMaxPerBatch per AvatarExtentRefreshPeriodBatch frames. The default is 5 avatars per 4 frames, so in a busy region, 25 avatars would take 20 frames to refresh the bounding boxes.
Performance tweaks by reducing Matrix operations per render pass.
More JointMatrix Palette caching tweaks:
The cache has been moved to drawable for more benefit (reduces CPU overhead when rendering shadows and materials by caching the jointmatrixpallette).
Sacrifices some potential cache locality but savings seem to outweigh this.
Other Lab-Derived Updates
Additional Lab updates worth noting are:
BUG-216339 – Add a Click to: action to the Build / Edit floater to disable clicking objects that can be set per-object in a linkset – see Left-Click None Option, below, for more.
BUG-216416 – Add a transparency indicator for invisiprims. When “Highlight Transparent” (CTRL+ALT+T) is used, invisiprims will now be highlighted in green.
BUG-225670 – Include the full Windows 10 build number in Help > About Second Life and logs
TextureLoadFullRes setting no longer persistent, to avoid issues with accidentally setting it on systems which cannot handle the memory load.
The CTRL key must be held when dragging inventory folders into in-world objects. This change was primarily made to address accidental inventory “loss” by dragging a folder of no copy items into an in-world object.
Fix for your avatar not standing up after pressing Shift+Alt+S keyboard short-cut.