A Moochie winter in Second Life

'Tis the Season - Winter Wonderland at Moochie; Inara Pey, January 2019, on Flickr
‘Tis the Season – Winter Wonderland at Moochie – click any image for full size

As thoughts among many in SL turn towards spring now the New Year is here, I thought I’d be a little contrary and pay a visit to a region still caught in the depths of winter – at least for the time being.

Maia Gasparini’s Homestead region of Moochie currently presents itself as a winter wonderland, even to the point of still showing the last vestiges of Christmas in places. It is a simple setting in terms of content, elegant and very snowy – although be warned that the amount of snow falling from the sky might adversely affect viewer performance.

'Tis the Season - Winter Wonderland at Moochie; Inara Pey, January 2019, on Flickr
‘Tis the Season – Winter Wonderland at Moochie – click any image for full size

Set within a broad wilderness, ‘Tis the Season – Winter Wonderland at Moochie lies richly wooded and blending neatly with the hilly, snowy sim surround. The landing point sits to the north of the region, alongside an old railway track emerging from a tunnel and with a couple of rail cars parked on it. Here visitors can get a map (texture) of the region that records points of interest. For romantics, the board also offers a walking rezzer. The landing point also advises using the local windlight setting, although I admit I flicked over to one of my preferred Annan Adored settings for the photos here.

This is a place where words of description are really superfluous; the natural beauty of the setting, coupled with its design and presentation means that the best way to appreciate it is to simply wander and discover. When doing so, do ensure local sounds are on, as the region is matched by an ambient sound scape that adds depth and can have you thinking about slipping into warmer clothes if you’re not already dressed for winter – as should be the case!

'Tis the Season - Winter Wonderland at Moochie; Inara Pey, January 2019, on Flickr
‘Tis the Season – Winter Wonderland at Moochie – click any image for full size

Among the things to discover whilst exploring are both ice skating and sledding, while the outdoor café (couple with little market) offers a place to sit and relax with a hand-warming drink while watching others skate or sled. Follow the sounds of singing, and you’ll be led to the local chapel, where a service appears to be in full swing.

Scattered throughout the region are places to sit and cuddle or chat, from sleighs to the backs of carts to sheltered seats or a camp site warmed by a blazing fire. But, as I said, this is a setting that’s best visited – particularly with a close friend or loved one – rather than described; therefore, I suggest that if you do feel like basking in another touch of winter, be sure to visit soon!

'Tis the Season - Winter Wonderland at Moochie; Inara Pey, January 2019, on Flickr
‘Tis the Season – Winter Wonderland at Moochie – click any image for full size

SLurl Details

Lab working on a Second Life iOS client?

Logos © and ™ Linden Lab and Apple Inc

We’re in the early discussion stages, so Grumpity and I – Grumpity who heads-up Product here for Second Life – we talk quite a bit about what it would mean to invest in a mobile Second Life experience or product. So we’re trying to figure out how to validate the idea, and how much would it take to do it, and what could the value be to us and to customers to do it.

– Ebbe Altberg, April 20th, 2018 Town Hall meeting

I’m leading with the above quote because in the early hours of Wednesday, January 9th, 2019 (UK time), Whirly Fizzle directed me towards a Linden Lab code repository on Bit Bucket, which reveals that work has apparently started on an iOS client for Second Life.

The repository has been posted by Brad Linden, and shows some initial code segments Brad has been working on.

Brad Linden’s Bit Bucket repository for the iOS Client. Note I’ve redacted his given last name and some other information in respect of his privacy (although I understand it has also been posted to the forums)

That the Lab could start work on a mobile solution has in some ways been heralded over the course of the past 12 months, with Ebbe and senior SL managers openly discussing thoughts and possible options.

In his April 2018 discussion, for example, Ebbe pointed out that at that time, there were still issues the Lab wanted to address in trying to develop a mobile client, including what kind of investment it would be, both monetarily and resource-wise, and what the return on investment might be gained for the effort, as well as trying to figure out how such a client might be used.

I think the main question is if it would really primarily be a companion for existing users, so therefore increase the time spent in engagement and commerce. Or would it be an opportunity to actually reach users who don’t even have PCs and Macs, and would that be an addressable market, is something we have to wrap our heads around.

– Ebbe Altberg, April 20th, 2018 Town Hall meeting

By June, and the SL15B Meet the Lindens talks, it was clear that the Lab was thinking long and hard about the merits of both mobile and streaming solutions, with Grumpity and Oz openly discussing both.

– Grumpity and Oz Linden discussing mobile / streaming options at SL15B, June 2018

Both the question of how a mobile  / streamed solution might be developed and used was also a topic Ebbe returned to in his SL15B session in June 2018. Like Oz and Grumpity, he pointed to a previous streamed solution, SL Go (Grumpity and Oz referenced Bright Canopy, which was founded after SL Go had ceased to be available).

– Ebbe Altberg  discussing mobile / streaming options at SL15B, June 2018

Whether the repository indicates the Lab has now answered those questions and is ready to go ahead with an iOS client, or whether it is another aspect of testing the water and seeing what can be done, code-wise is unclear. I also freely admit to being insufficiently versed in code to guess whether this work is geared towards a dedicated iOS client, or part of a larger streaming option.

Turning to the man who is fronting the project, Brad Linden joined Linden Lab a the time of the Windlight integration over 11 years ago, and since that time has been focused on viewer development, specifically in the area of viewer stability.  Interestingly, the first indication that the Lab might be ready to move beyond talking about a mobile client came in December 2018, when Brad changed his Second Life Display Name from Brad Linden to Mobile Brad.

Brad Linden changed his display name to Mobile Brad in December 2018

I have contacted the Lab about the repository and what might be coming out of it placed with the Lab, and will update should a reply be received.

In the meantime, until such time as Linden Lab do clarify the work, it shouldn’t be assumed any kind of iOS client is about to be released in the immediate future. However, that the Lab is working on code would appear to be a positive sign, again given Ebbe’s words at the April Town Hall.

I hope will come to the conclusion to jump in soon; so more to come on that.

– Ebbe Altberg, April 20th, 2018 Town Hall meeting

2019 SL User Groups 2/1: Simulator User Group

Let It Snow!; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrLet It Snow!blog post

Server Deployments

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest updates and information.

  • There was no deployment wo the SLS (Main) channel on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019, leaving the channel on server release #, comprising a voice service adjustment and internal fixes. However, regions on the channel were restarted in keeping with the Lab’s 14-day restart policy.
  • On Wednesday, January 9th the RC channel updates are slated as being:
    • Magnum and LeTigre are slated for “no roll” and to remain on server release 18#, first deployed to it on December 12th, 2018.
    • BlueSteel should be updated on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019 with server maintenance package 19#, comprising logging improvements, including “logging to gather baseline information on simulator performance in various areas of interest”.
    • Snack should remain on EEP simulator version 18#, first deployed on December 17th, 2018.
    • All RC channels should be restarted, again in keeping with LL’s 14-day restart policy.

SL Viewer

  • Current Release version, dated December 5, promoted December 13. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version, December 19.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version, December 18. 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.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version, December 18.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version, 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, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Pathfinding Revisited?

Pathfinding is a capability deployed to Second Life in 2012. For those unfamiliar with it, pathfinding was intended to provide a means to allow a range of automated characters – people, animals, monsters, mobile objects (“mobs”) to be created and set into motion within Second Life with greater ease than had been possible.

Using various tools and LSL commands, together with the “navmesh”- a representation of a region’s geometry generated and used by the Havok physics engine to determine paths for pathfinding characters – these characters would be able to navigate their way around obstacles, follow roads, climb inclines, etc. Yoy can read more about it in my 2012 Pathfinding overview.

Unfortunately, and due to a number of reasons – not all of which were entirely fair – Pathfinding never really gained significant use (in fact, many region holders disabled the capability out of fear concerning performance issues.

With the arrival of Animesh, however, there is potentially a new opportunity for Pathfinding to find a use. However, in the time that’s elapsed since the original deployment, there are things that need to be looked at – the wiki documentation, for example, appears to be somewhat out-of-date (and was always a little confusing). Also,Pathfinding itself can also be somewhat unpredictable, while some of the capabilities could possibly do with update.

Whether or not Pathfinding will be revisited by the Lab or not is currently an open question; however it has been a topic that has been raised at a number of user group meetings (Simulator can Content Creation), so it is something the Lab is aware of as being of potential interest to users / creators.