Theatre: a story in pictures in Second Life

Diotima Leisure and Culture Gallery: Ana Oceanida

Opened on April 7th, 2019 at the Diotima Leisure and Culture Gallery, is a new installation by Spanish artist Ana Oceanida, featuring 2D images presented in a 3D space that forms a part of the overall statement for the installation, which has the simple title of Theatre.

I often discuss the idea of narrative within these reviews, the stories that so often exist with in the images presented by photographers and artists. With Theatre, the story very much is the installation, told through the images displayed, and via the broader setting itself. It is the story of the life – and ending? – of traditional theatre as a medium for teaching and telling stories; and it is a story told through the camera lens of a photographer – the images themselves taken at locations around Second Life.

Diotima Leisure and Culture Gallery: Ana Oceanida

Best enjoyed with local time set to midnight and with the viewer’s Advanced Lighting Model option enabled (Preferences > Graphics), Theatre can be very loosely split into two intertwined elements. The first is the setting itself, that of the photographer’s developing studio. It contains the paraphernalia of the photographer’s art: the chemical developers, the trays in which photographs seem to miraculously appear in their baths of chemicals, a cropping board, packs of developer’s paper, rolls of film awaiting use, scattered plastic containers of used film, and more, all bathed in the red glow of the developer’s bulb and the photographer stands before a bench carrying out her artistry.

On the walls and floor of this setting are the results of this work: a series of images that might be regarded as unframed slides, more than 40 of them, some in colour, some in black-and white. Offered sequentially, starting with 1-1A in the corner of the room above the photographer’s right shoulder and proceeding to the right, these offer an unfolding story about the theatre that winds back and forth across two walls of the studio, before dropping to the floor to finish their tale there.

Diotima Leisure and Culture Gallery: Ana Oceanida

The story perhaps isn’t easy to grasp. However, there are grab bags within the installation which contain, among other items, note cards outlining the tale.

I remember that moment, that time when, in the heat of fire started to tell stories , Stories of gods, Stories of monsters, stories of heroes, was such a fascination that I woke up among people that the cold nights became warm to the stories. Little by little you gave me a body, my first body was cold, hard, wide spaces and open-air stands but with your stories became laughed, suffering… and people. My childhood was happy.

In this, the story of the rise and fall and rise (or rebirth) of theatre down through the ages, I was reminded of Jaques‘ soliloquy and lament from As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;…” in that we are both observers of this installation and the actors within it; we play our role here in witnessing the story, and thus give theatre another breath of life.

Diotima Leisure and Culture Gallery: Ana Oceanida

And like Jacques’ view of the seven ages of man, so to is this story ultimately a lament: the passage of time has meant theatre has grown and changed over time, only to perhaps now in the digital age to face its final passing, the permanence of physical structure through bricks and mortar, of floorboards and seats, now giving way to the ephemeral flow of bits and bytes that give rise to impermanence and passing. Hence, perhaps the tear-like rain in the installation.

I’m not sure I agree with the conclusion of the piece – digital environment could be a boon to theatre – but, this is a story after wall, and the tale has its own telling and conclusion. As to the images offered, I can only say that they are fascinating studies, each one of which stands on its own, whether or not one follows the broader story, offering a unique perspective on the places Ana visited in preparing this installation.

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2019 SL User Groups 15/1: SUG; teleport disconnects

Sol Farm; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrSol Farm blog post

Update, April 10th: as per Bugsly Linden’s forum comment, the RC regions are receiving a maintenance update – 19#19.04.09.526122, which contains additional logging to help capture data on the region crossing issues.

Server Deployments

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

  • On Tuesday, April 9th the SLS (Main) channel was updated to server maintenance package 19#19.03.28.525781, comprising the simulator operating system update and EEP.
  • RC deployments – at the time of writing, there was a degree of conflict here:
    • The deployment thread states there is no planned deployment to the three main RC channels, and all three should remain on server maintenance package 19#19.03.28.525781.
    • At the Simulator User Group meeting, Simon Linden indicated there will likely be two deployments, stating:

We’re doing last-minute discussions but will likely have updates out tomorrow in the RC channels. One won’t have any visible changes, but has some logging that might help sort out the region change issue [teleport disconnect?].

The other is a maintenance release, the most interesting thing there is some additions to llGetObjectDetails() that give Animesh information.

    • I’ll update should the deployment thread be refreshed with new information.

UDP  Asset Messaging Deprecation

It was indicated in the week #14 deployment notes that 19#19.03.28.525781 would contain the removal of UDP Asset message handling from the simulator code, meaning that anyone using very old viewers still reliant on UDP messaging for assets will not be able to receive any updates for the following: animations, body parts, clothing, gestures, landmarks, meshes and sounds.

However, testing after the deployment of this package suggests that UDP messaging is still being handled through older viewers (notably the SL Linux Spur and Obsolete Platforms viewers) and on regions on any of the RC channels or the SLS (Main) channel. Whether this is due to a back-end issue (a stale cache?) or something else, is unclear. Commenting on the situation, Simon Linden noted:

I’m not sure what’s going on … it was _supposed_ to be disabled with the update that went to the full grid today.

SL Viewer

There have been no updates to the current SL viewer pipelines, leaving things as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.1.1.525446, formerly the Love Me Render RC viewer, dated March 26th, promoted April 2nd.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.2.0.525891, April 4th.
    • EEP RC viewer version 6.2.0.525808, April 1st.
    • Bakes on Mesh RC viewer, version 6.1.1.525409, March 26th.
    • Teranino Maintenance RC viewer version 6.1.1.525401, March 20th.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17th, 2017 and promoted to release status 29th November, 2017 – 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. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes.

Teleport Disconnects

Teleport disconnects continue to be a problem, and the Lab is continuing to investigate, having issued a blog post on the matter on April 8th. Commenting on the situation at the Simulator User Group meeting, Simon Linden said:

Currently we know that the 2nd region and the viewer aren’t communicating as they should when it fails … it seems like you get transferred to the 2nd region OK, but the viewer just doesn’t get connected properly … The first region thinks all is well and it’s done, the 2nd gets the TP data but never starts talking right with the viewer.

Following the Simulator User Group meeting, a stress test was attempted, with groups of people teleporting between a group of three regions, with mixed results (some reported disconnects, others had no issues).

15-minute Disconnects

Older viewers have additionally been suffering with “regular” disconnects roughly every 15-minutes, which may be related to the deployment of the latest simulator operating system updates, and might be getting conflated with the teleport disconnects to some degree. However, for Singularity users, there are fixes in the works, and the suggestion is that, if possible, people try installing one of the more recent nightly builds.

Lab blogs on SL teleport / region crossing disconnects

(Copyright Linden Lab)

As I’ve been reporting in my weekly Simulator User Group meeting summaries and my Third-Party Viewer Developer meeting updates, there have been widespread issues with disconnects during region crossings – both via teleport and physical region crossings (e.g. via boat or aircraft or on foot).

Various theories have popped up over the weeks as to why the problem is occurring  – with fingers most often being pointed at the server-side deployment of the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP). Whether or not EEP is responsible or not is hard to judge.

As I noted in my March 30th TPVD meeting notes, one of the problems with the issues is that they appear to strike randomly, and cannot be reproduced with any consistency; were a single cause behind them, it’s not unreasonable to assume that investigations would lead to a point where some degree of reproduction could be manifested.

It has been suggested by some users that de-rendering the sky (CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-6) before a teleport attempt can apparently ease the issue – although this is hardly a fix (and certainly no help to aviators and sailors), nor does it appear to work in all cases.

As trying to get to the root cause(s) of the problem is taking time, on Monday, April 8th, Linden Lab issued a blog post of their own on the matter, which reads in full:

Many Residents have noted that in the last few weeks we have had an increase in disconnects during a teleport. These occur when an avatar attempts to teleport to a new Region (or cross a Region boundary, which is handled similarly internally) and the teleport or Region crossing takes longer than usual.  Instead of arriving at the expected destination, the viewer disconnects with a message like:

Darn. You have been logged out of Second Life.

You have been disconnected from the region you were in.

We do not currently believe that this is specific to any viewer, and it can affect any pair of Regions (it seems to be a timing-sensitive failure in the hand-off between one simulator and the next).  There is no known workaround – please continue logging back in to get where you were going in the meantime.

We are very much aware of the problem, and have a crack team trying to track it down and correct it. They’re putting in long hours and exploring all the possibilities. Quite unfortunately, this problem dodged our usual monitors of the behaviour of simulators in the Release Channels, and as a result we’re also enhancing those monitors to prevent similar problems getting past us in the future.

We’re sorry about this – we empathise with how disruptive it has been.

As noted, updates are being provided as available, through the various related User Group meetings, and I’ll continue to endeavour to reflect these through my relevant User Group meeting updates.