Maderia Springs in Second Life

Maderia Springs; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrMaderia Springs

Maderia Springs, a Homestead region designed by Thaihiti Baroque, is a curious place; so much so that while we visited it over the weekend at the suggestion of Shakespeare and Max, it’s taken me a few days to settle my thoughts and write about it. Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t be writing about it now had it not been for the fact the region I had been in the middle of blogging was summarily closed to public access by its owner literally just as I was finalising my write-up!

The reason for my having to settle my thoughts is that while Maderia Springs has plenty of photogenic elements to it, it doesn’t, at the the first glance, exactly have a feel of a cohesive whole. Oh, certainly, elements are nicely linked in places: the landing point, the waterside shack and the large central house for example, while the house across the water feeds into this setting rather nicely, as do the cattle and horses. But the region also has a feeling of being more a set of discrete vignettes, rather than an individual whole, the roads and tracks more a convenient means of connecting them rather than being part of a landscape.

Maderia Springs; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrMaderia Springs

Thus, I’ve found the region a little hard to quantify in trying to describe it. In the end I decided to treat it as it appears: a grouping of vignettes, each ideally suited to photography; sets, if you will, just awaiting their subjects. Which is not to say a wander through the region along its meandering roads is without reward. Rather the reverse, there is a lot of detail here to be enjoyed, whether it is around the aforementioned central house with its little gardens on either side and to the rear, or among the horses to the north or the wedding chapel up on one of the region’s two high points, or within the numerous little settings awaiting discovery.

Whether or not the chapel see any weddings is immaterial; its open sides and the tables and benches set with food and drink make for an ideal celebratory setting; the blossoms and doves  perfect accompaniments to the bunting and lanterns. All that is missing, perhaps, is a dance system.

Maderia Springs; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrMaderia Springs

Down from the chapel on the south side of the region are a couple of waterside settings. Both reflect a love of dogs that can be found throughout the region. One offers a simple picnic style setting with blankets and chairs and sun shades, the other is built around a small summer-house which, going by the easel and paints out on the deck stretching a finger over the water, would appear it be the getaway for an artist. This is in turn watched over from a little cottage sitting on a low hill to the west, a place where tea and refreshments can be partaken on the low-walled terrace, obtained via the van parked there.

The refreshments van reflects the fact that vehicles are very much another theme within the region. They are parked near houses, occupy some of the rutted tracks, and even provide a little lover’s nook among the bushes.

Maderia Springs; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrMaderia Springs

One of the aspects that adds to the attraction of Maderia Springs is the choice of windlight. It takes only some minor tweaks to frame images of the landscape pretty much perfectly. In this, the windlight environment is perhaps the thing that does brig the various elements within the region together as a cohesive whole; with those minor adjustments made, it is possible to see the region as a pastoral setting, a place of open countryside where cattle, sheep and horses roam, and farmers tend to them and the land; a place that is perhaps the location of holiday visits, with the large main house offering the perfect escape.

With a suitably rural sound scape, filled with the sound of birds, the occasional bleat of lamb or moo of cow, Maderia Springs does very much come to life as you explore it, while the scattered places where visitors can sit and relaxed offer a further incentive to tarry a while and enjoy the location.

Maderia Springs; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrMaderia Springs

For those who do take pictures, a Flickr group is available should you want to share your views of the region, and should you enjoy your visit, keep an eye out for the little windmill donation points, and consider offering assistance towards the region’s upkeep so that other might enjoy it as well.

SLurl Details

Maderia Springs (Maderia Springs, rated: Moderate)

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2019 SL User Groups 9/1: Simulator User Group

Endless; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrEndlessblog post

Server Deployments

Please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest news.

  • There was no deployment to the SLS (Main) channel on Tuesday, February 26th, leaving it on server maintenance package 19#19.01.25.523656. As regions on the channel were restarted in week #8, there was no restart this week.
    • The planned deployment was cancelled due to a list minute issue being found, and also led to the planned RC deployment(s) being postponed.
  • No deployments are planned for Wednesday, February 27th, 2019, leaving the RCs on the following simulator versions:
    • BlueSteel and LeTigre: server maintenance package 19#19.02.16.524516 EEP).
    • Magnum: server maintenance package 19#19.02.16.524515, comprising further internal fixes.
    • Simon indicated at the SUG meeting that regions on the RC channels might be restarted, although this is unclear, as the channels have not hit the 14-day restart barrier.

SL Viewer

There have been two recent RC viewer updates:

  • On Tuesday, February 26th, the BugSplat RC viewer updated to version 6.1.0.524670.
  • On Friday, February 22nd, the Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer updated to version 6.1.0.524240.

The rest of the viewer pipeline remains as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.0.1.522263, dated December 5th, promoted December 13th. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 6.1.0.524348, February 13th. 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 6.0.2.523177, January 16th.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17th, 2017 and promoted to release status 29th November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Inventory UDP Messaging Deprecation

The planned deployment to Magnum (cancelled for this week) should include the updated simulator code that removes all asset fetching UDP messaging from the simulator code. Once deployed, this will mean anyone using really old viewers that do not have HTTP asset fetching on regions running on the Magnum RC channel will no longer be able to obtain responses to asset requests – and this will increase as the code is deployed to the remaining channels.

It’s not clear yet if the two “legacy” viewers currently offered by the Lab (the Linux Spur viewer and Obsolete Platform viewer) will remain available after the update has been fully deployed, as both will be unable to fetch assets.  Those wishing to test older versions of viewers against the updated simulator code can do so on Mesh Sandbox 3 on Aditi.

The Question of Script Load

The core of the SUG meeting revolved around the question of scripts and simulator loads. The discussion started with a request to make scripts run % data accessible to SLS, so scripters might coder periodic, intensive scripts hold off loops of execution if they can see a region is busy.

This spun out to a discussion of making information on scripts (as seen at the region level via Top Scripts) available at parcel level. However, a concern here is the risk of unnecessary drama: if X on parcel Y can see top scripts across the region, and sees A’s scripts on another parcel gobbling script time, it could lead to an assumption (right or wrong) it is the scripts that are responsible for all issues X is experiencing, resulting in potential local drama.

Another idea put forward is to make script use tied to parcel size (as is the case with land capacity / impact) in an effort to make script usage fairer within a region (see BUG-225391). While potentially good in theory, such a “fair use” approach has some potential issues:

  • Script usage isn’t balanced by parcel within a region. It is possible to have multiple parcels using little or no script time, and one using more than its “fair share”. Currently, this means things can balance out within a region, but with a capped script use, the “high use” parcel could be penalised when there is no need. As Oz Linden noted, “We could do that, but suppose we did. In many places people would see a big script performance drop even though the region had lots of idle time.”
  • Scripts are the only thing that can impact local performance: Physics Time, for example, can be over-used and impact performance, leaving very little script time per frame.
  • There is a difference between in-world scripts and attached scripts, so there is a question of how would the latter be accounted for? Making them part of the parcel allowance isn’t necessarily fair, as the parcel owner has no direct control over others without something of a draconian approach (depending on parcel size) – upping the potential for drama / upset.

Simon Linden also pointed out that there is pretty significant overhead moving between the scripts versus running actual bytecode (that is figuring out what to run against actually running it), so monitoring everything could add more of an overhead than actually letting scripts run – although there have been discussions on how to improve this. But, he also cautioned that adding further checks would have to be a “real clear win”.

There are some reports that the percentage scripts run seems to be falling across Mainland, without a noticeable increase in script count, which if true, would indicate something is going wrong. But as pointed out at the meeting, without data, it is hard to tell what is going on. Is a slow-down a case of having too much useful stuff going on for the available resources, or is it a case of someone going compute-bound in their script, lagging a region.

This is likely to be a discussion that will continue.