Looking at Sansar’s Social Hub

Sansar Social Hub

On January 10th, 2019, Linden Lab released Sansar update R28.3. no detailed release notes are currently available (if they are needed), but the core of the update appears to be the new Social Hub.

Available from the Atlas or via a user’s Home Space, the Social Hub is intended to be an experience where Sansar users can conveniently explore, relax, play games, and  – hopefully – meet other users. It can also (obviously) be used as a convenient meeting place when joining friends in Sansar.

Social Hub teleport portal

The easiest way for users to reach the Hub when logging-in is via their Home Space, which how includes a small teleport alcove to one side (previously marked as “under construction”). Walking into the teleport device within the portal will load the Social Hub experience and deliver you to it – no need to touch anything.

The Hub comprises five areas at present: the welcome area / arrival point; a games area;, a social area (the tree house); a kinetic sculpture (take parts and throw them to form an object) and a teleport area, all connected by a network of footpaths, with space to allow for further expansion (in fact, one area was marked as “under construction” at the time of my visit).

  • The games area offers a series of simple games that can be played in VR mode as well as (with some fiddling to get used to things) Desktop mode. I confess the 10-pin bowling to be fun – in that the bowling lane would appear to exist in its own local gravity field – when the pins are hit, the ten to fly up into the sky and then remain there until reset.
  • The teleport area has (at the time of my visit) had three touch teleport portals, each of which appears to rotate through popular experiences on what appears to be a timed basis. Hovering the mouse over a portal will display the current destination for a portal.
  • The tree house offers seating for chat, etc, with more seating at the arrival  / welcome area.

Note that when visiting the Social Hub, and as with the Home Space, the free cam capability in Desktop mode (F4) is disabled.

Given the ease of access from people’s Home Spaces, there is a potential for the Social Hub to become popular as a place to mingle and meet. Certainly during my own tour, there were around seven Greys (brand new avatars) who passed through – and interestingly, the ratio of VR to non-VR arrivals was biased towards VR (4 to 3).

Sansar Social Hub: tree house

However, the more I see Greys, the more I find myself wondering how they might dissuade people from sticking around in Sansar unless the find someone who can help them with their appearance (not exactly easy, given avatars vanish into Look Book); again, in y visit, I had two Grey approach me: one confused as to whether my avatar was “real” or an NPC, the other repeatedly asking “how do I look like you?”

Sit point indicator

A further recent addition – I’m not sure which update it came with (R28.1, R28.2 or the current R28.3), is the Home Space seating now has sit point indicators for the chair (as does the Social Hub).

These inverted triangles (or arrowheads) are displayed when the mouse is hovered over any object that has a sit point associated with it (see my R28 release overview for more on sit points), and the object itself is outlined in purple. Left-clicking on the object will cause your avatar to sit on it.

I assume these sit point indicators will become the norm as the sit point scripts are employed in all experiences – to be honest, I haven’t been in Sansar frequently enough since the R28 release to see how sit points are being used.

Feedback

The Social Hub is something that has been promised for a while, and it is good to see it delivered. Together with the log-in Home Space, it serves to make Sansar a friendlier place. Hopefully, it is a place new users will find comfortable and engaging – although a lot will perhaps depend on people being there and willing to  help out.

 

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The monochrome beauty of the female body

DiXmiX Gallery: The Huntress

Warning: the images in this article are NSFW.

Now open at DiXmiX Gallery is an exhibition by The Huntress (TheHuntressSnare) simply entitled The Huntress. It presents 15 monochrome images, all of them nude studies of The Huntress, and which stand as a celebration of the female body.

DiXmiX Gallery: The Huntress

By using monochrome, rather than colour, the images The Huntress presents a series of images that have a certain depth that might otherwise be lost. The dark background used in each tends to focus the eye and the mind much more keenly. This results in two things: it brings added life to the studies whilst also making no bones about the sheer sensuality contained within them. Within many of them, this is not only a woman comfortable with her body, she is prepared to delight in it and decorate it for her own pleasure.

The more sensual nature of the pieces displayed obviously also casts the observer into the role of voyeur. While obviously posed, there is a natural fluidity to several of the images that suggest the subject is perhaps unaware of the camera: the position of a hand over a breast as if stroking, or hovering over the midriff – as if a few more minutes would see the subject caught in flagrante delicto.

DiXmiX Gallery: The Huntress

Obviously, such voyeuristic leanings, coupled with the level of nudity on display might put some off; on the other hand there is no denying the artistry involved in these images: the posing, the lighting, the angle and cropping. Each is in itself a study in the art of photography. They are also, possibly somewhat autobiographical, reflecting the artist’s own freedom from, and acceptance of, self.

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Petit Lac Des Cygne in Second Life

Petit Lac Des Cygne; Inara Pey, January 2019, on Flickr
Petit Lac Des Cygnee – click any image for full size

Petit Lac Des Cygne (“The Little Lake of Swans”) is a private estate that recently opened to the public for several days of each week (it is closed to public access on Mondays and Tuesdays). This is a stunning Full region utilising the 30K LI allowance designed by Cougar (Cougar Sangria). Were I to sum it up in two words, they would be: quite magnificent.

The setting in modelled after the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-west France, and is stated to lie some 100 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean and 50 kilometres from the Spanish border with France – both as the crow flies. Originally located on a Homestead region, the setting had only recently located to this Full region, and has been expanded upon by Cougar in the process to provide a rich setting, in which resides the lake of the title, a château, and plenty more to explore.

Petit Lac Des Cygne; Inara Pey, January 2019, on Flickr
Petit Lac Des Cygnee

The introductory note cards, provided automatically at the landing point, might read a little forthright, but the requests made within them are not unreasonable, and do state matters clearly. The region is open to rezzing props for photography; those who do so are asked to ensure they pick up their items after the fact, with repeat offences not being tolerated. A backstory for the setting has been written in two parts, and is available here (part 1) and here (part 2) on Cougar’s blog; I recommend reading both as they add further immersion to a visit.

Surrounded by the peaks of tall mountains free of the grip of snow, and whose slopes roll down to meet the region’s edge, this is a setting that very much has the feel of being located on the French side of the Pyrenees in, as Cougar points out in her backstory, the département Pyrenees Altantiques (which is also the adopted name for the region’s simulator).

Petit Lac Des Cygne; Inara Pey, January 2019, on Flickr
Petit Lac Des Cygnee

A track winds its way from the landing point, lazily meandering between tall grass and trees. It present a route around a local farmhouse (actually the Le Petit Café Cygne – about which you can read more here), complete with outdoor produce stalls, to the walls and gates of the château. Of modest size, this is nevertheless a fine house, with large courtyard to the front and formal gardens to the rear.

The path to the lake is to be found within the château grounds, and despite its name, it is of a reasonable size. Here, swans gently pass the time on the water, sheep graze along the lake banks, and a little outdoor café offers refreshments as it extends out over the water. All of this is watched over by a pavilion and a folly, standing as silent sentinels either side of the water. The latter is the studio for an artist, the former the setting for a small formal area amidst the wilder grasses, complete with astrolabe, statue and seating.

Petit Lac Des Cygne; Inara Pey, January 2019, on Flickr
Petit Lac Des Cygnee

The château is elegantly furnished, wonderfully representative of a house that has been restored with care and love, again in keeping with the region’s backstory. The formal gardens are carefully laid out, a modern swimming pool set back and below the main house so as not to spoil the period feel, while chess can be found on one of the side lawns. Close by, a summer-house perhaps offers space for formal balls or receptions, the doors thrown wide in summer, allowing music and laughter to drift over the gardens.

Cougar describes the region as a labour of love for her; one that has taken several moths to achieve. This is very evident in the care and attention to detail that has been taken throughout the design. There is a natural look and feel to Petit Lac Des Cygne that is simply sublime; perfectly topped by an ambient sound scape (do make sure local sounds are enabled); it is beautifully presented, whether your interest is in exploring, photography  and / or simple admiration. Places to sit can be found throughout, and make for welcome spots by which to pass the time.

Petit Lac Des Cygne; Inara Pey, January 2019, on Flickr
Petit Lac Des Cygnee

While there is a lot going on within the region that might affect viewer performance, Petit Lac Des Cygne is a destination that rewards patience, and which really should not be missed.

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