The peaceful wilderness of [Valium] in Second Life

[Valium]; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
[valium] – click any image for full size
[valium] is the name of the latest region design by Busta (BadboyHi) and held by Valium Lavender and to which I was pointed to by fellow SL traveller, Shakespeare. Busta’s designs are always been worthy of a visit (you can find out about Yasminia here and Meraki here), so I was keen to hop over and explore as the region officially opened its doors to the public on December 21st, 2018. And once again, both Busta and Valium are providing a region that is quite extraordinary in its eye-catching design.

A full region utilising the bonus 10K land capacity available to full private regions, [Valium] is open to the public, although group membership is required. This is currently free, and will remain so through until January 7th, 2019, after which a L$250 fee will be applied. The latter is to both help with maintaining a certain sense of privacy for those renting properties on the region, and for a reason that will become clear later in this article. There are many places to be explored during a visit, but do be aware that there are the aforementioned private residences scattered around the region, so please do take care to avoid trespass when exploring.

[Valium]; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
[valium]

The Vision

To create a picturesque, rugged countryside setting with naturally beautiful nooks, twists, turns and hidden gems for public and private use. There are many public areas to explore and it will probably take several visits to see everything the sim has to offer.

– Valium Lavender, describing [Valium]

[Valium]; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
[valium]
This is a marvellously diverse setting, ranging from high peaks to coastal areas, mixing little docks, headlands, remote dwellings, ruins, and islands (albeit one or two of them being off-sim).

The landing point sits towards the centre of the region, meaning that no matter where you go, there is something to explore. A terraced area, it overlooks the low-lying western side of the region where the ruins of a church sits on the largest of the region’s islands, beckoning visits to it as it rises among the trees guarding it.

[Valium]; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
[valium]
While this island is connected to the rest of the land by three bridges, getting down to them from the landing point is a little circuitous, ensuring visitors have the opportunity to start explorations, as the route carries them over semi-paved areas, past the ruins of an old farmhouse (with one of the private residences just behind it), and on to the waterfront or for those who prefer, past an old folly and then down to the water’s edge, and second of the three bridges.

It is the multitude of footpaths that make exploring [Valium] a joy. Whether you go up or down, inland or directly (or as directly as you can!) to the coast, there is much to discover, appreciate and photograph. There’s the ruin of an old tower facing the church, for example, or the rickety cabin build out over the water to the north, caught in a local shower, or a further terrace sitting just above, and nestled below and clear of another of the private residences.

[Valium]; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
[valium]
To the south-east sits a little commercial area, with a coffee-house sitting within a converted industrial building and offering outdoor seating with views of the local lighthouse. A further coffee-house, this one also providing music and dancing, sits on a wooden platform part-way up the island’s main peak, again offering marvellous views to the south and west.

There is so much about this region that is attention-taking that walking you through it with words is really a waste; [valium] truly is a place that deserves to be visited, and which can only be truly appreciated by doing so. There’s also another reason for visiting (and paying the group dues: Valium has decided a portion of the group membership fees, etc., will be forwarded to The Nature Conservancy, as she notes in the region’s website.

[Valium]; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
[valium]

[valium], a project from initial concept to the elaborate build, was created from visions of our naturally beautiful RL world. A place to explore and appreciate. With this in mind, I have decided to support a fantastic charity, The Nature Conservancy.

3400 lindens or more (out of group fees) per month [are donated] to The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to land conservation and protection. Every acre they protect, every river mile restored, every species brought back from the brink, begins with us. Our support will help make a lasting difference around the world in 72 countries.

– Valium Lavender, describing [Valium]

 

[Valium]; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
[valium]
I believe that until the group fee is introduced, there will be a donations kiosk available at the landing point, while if visitors would like to donate directly to the Nature Conservancy, there is a link on the information board and also in the [Valium] website. Should you take photos of the region during your visit, do consider sharing them with the region’s Flickr group.

Kudos to Busta and Valium on creating such an wonderful setting.

SLurl and Link Details

2018 SL UG updates 51/2: Content Creation Summary

Whirly Fizzle’s EEP Saturn

The majority of the following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, December 20th, 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.

With the Christmas / holiday break now on our doorstep, this was a short meeting.

SL Viewer

There have been two further viewer updates:

  • The Estate Access Management  RC viewer updated to version 6.1.0.522564 on Wednesday, December 19th. See my preview of this viewer here for more information.
  • The Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) project viewer updated to version 6.0.2.522550 on Thursday, December 20th.

Hover Height / Vertical Positioning Issue

Ever since server release 18#18.10.25.521081 was deployed at the end of October / beginning of November 2018, there have been reports of a hover height / positioning issue issue for full mesh avatars of less than “normal” height. This can leave such avatars floating 0.2 to 0.3 metres off the ground if non-height related changes are made after hover height has been set (BUG-225893).

Current Status

Anchor Linden has been investigating this, but is hampered by the fact the behaviour cannot be properly reproduced with consistency. This is making a root cause determination difficult. As this work is currently Anchor’s main focus at the moment, it means the Bakes on Mesh project is somewhat on hold.

Bakes On Mesh

Project Summary

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos, clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies as well as system avatars. This involves viewer and server-side changes, including updating the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures, and may in time lead to a reduction in the complexity of mesh avatar bodies and heads.

This work does not include normal or specular map support, as these are not part of the existing Bake Service, nor are they recognised as system wearables. Adding materials support may be considered in the future.

Resources

Current Status

  • As per the notes above, Bakes on Mesh is “on hold” at present while Anchor is otherwise engaged in bug hunting.
  • There are apparently a couple of issues with BoM still to be ironed out, and there is also an internal wiki issue preventing the Bakes On Mesh documentation being published on the SL wiki.
  • Allowing for the hover height / positioning issue mentioned above and the remaining work on Bakes on Mesh (+ the QA testing), it’s possible it will be a few weeks after the start of 2019 before this project progresses again.

Environment Enhancement Project

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements allowing the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) to be set region or parcel level, with support for up to 7 days per cycle and sky environments set by altitude. It uses a new set of inventory assets (Sky, Water, Day),  and which include the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. These can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

The project also includes a new set of render shaders to support atmospheric effects such as rainbows, crepuscular rays (“God rays”), better horizon haze and fogging (but will not include rain / snow).

Resources

Current Status

  • This week has seen updates to both the simulator code (available on Aditi for test, and also on limited release on Agni via the Snack RC channel) and, as noted above, to the viewer.
  • It’s hoped that the last of the shader work (e.g. crepuscular rays) will be completed in January.
  • The set agent environment scripted controls (allowing the entire environment for an avatar to be replaced when using an experience) is now in place.
    • Documentation for this will be pushed on the wiki after the holiday break.
  • Rider Linden is working on some further UI clean-up / clarification.

In Brief

  • There has been an issue with joint aliases not being correctly supported (the “avatar_xxx” aliases were not working for all the bones in the skeleton). Vir now has a fix for this, which should be appearing in the relatively near future.
  • Date of next CCUG meeting: Thursday, January 3rd, 2019.