Celebrating Fran’s life, Saturday, May 11th 2019

Fran Swenson (Fran Seranade) and her daughter Barbara Richard (Barbi Alchemi) – image courtesy of San Diego Union-Tribune / Bill Wechter

On March 7th, 2019, I sadly wrote about the passing of one of Second Life’s most recognised residents, Fran Seranade (Fran Swenson in the physical world).

Fran, a Parkinson’s Disease sufferer, came to prominence in Second Life and in the media due to the remarkable positive effect her involvement in the platform had on her condition. I had the privilege to write about Fran’s story far back in 2013 in Of Parkinson’s, Second Life and a story worth reading, after coming across an on-line article by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Her situation became both the focal point of studies into the benefits of virtual worlds on a variety of physical and mental conditions, and was the trigger for Fran’s daughter, Barbara Richards (Barbie Alchemi in-world), with the help of her brother (AlmostThere Inventor in SL), to establish Creations for Parkinson’s, designed to  raise funds to support the work of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and to provide an in-world meeting place for those stricken by the illness and those seeking a sense of community and support.

Event schedule

At the time of Fran’s passing, it was noted that an in-world memorial event for her was being planned – and this has now growth into a celebration of Fran’s life and times, which will take place throughout Saturday, May 11th, 2019.

Commencing at 11:00 SLT and running through until 21:00 SLT at the Savoy Ballroom in Creations Park, the event will feature the voices and talents of some of Second Life’s best-known performers, many of whom knew Fran directly, by both performing at her 90th birthday celebrations two years ago, and in performing in support of Creations for Parkinson’s events.

As with all events at Creations Park, the celebration will present people with the opportunity to show their support for the work of the MJF Foundation by offering donations to Team Fox, the official fund-raising arm of the Foundation.

Those who cannot attend the event, but who would like to commemorate Fran’s life and the work of Team Fox / the MJF Foundation can do so by donating through any of the kiosks at Creations Park or by visiting the following web page:

In addition, and planned to be available by June 1st, 2019, a memorial honouring Fran and this celebration will be established at the Savoy Swing Era Museum, and will be available online at SavoyBallroom.org/fran.

Additional information and links to performer details can be found at: https://www.savoyballroom.org/may-11.html.

2019 SL User Groups 19/2: Content Creation summary

Ukivok; Inara Pey, March 2019, on FlickrUkivokblog post

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, May 9th 2019 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.

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 includes the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. The assets can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

Due to performance issues, the initial implementation of EEP will not include certain atmospherics such as crepuscular rays (“God rays”).


Current Status

  • The next viewer RC update is “close”. This should:
    • Include a batch of shader updates that will hopefully improve things “considerably”.
    • Be merged to the current LL release viewer (version at the time of writing, promoted May 7th).
  • An issue of late has been that of new bugs popping up as existing ones are dealt with.
  • A recently noticed issue has been with day cycles – cloud scrolling across the sky will suddenly “hiccup” slightly in their motion, rather than scrolling smoothly throughout.

Animesh Follow-On

  • Vir continues to work on adding shape support (or similar) to Animesh, specifically on the infrastructure requirements for being able to send slider parameters for Animesh objects to and from the viewer.
  • No decision has as yet been made to whether to offer full body shape support or to use individual parameters, but the underpinning infrastructure requirements for both are more-or-less the same.
  • The focus is therefore on developing the infrastructure (messaging, etc), to a point where both can be tested as a decision made on the basis of that testing.

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, but 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.


Current Status

  • There is a simulator change pending. This includes a means of accessing BOM UUIDs.
    • These were changed in the last back-end update as a result of underlying asset property issues. If there is BOM content using the old UUIDs, this will have to be updated.
    • The simulator update is intended to allow access to the texture UUIDs without having to do so numerically, as is currently the case. This should re-enable the ability to access them via their name abbreviations.
  • There is also a further Appearance Service change pending, deigned to correctly handle tattoo layer with partial transparency (currently, if a tattoo with partial transparency is sent for baking via the new BOM channels without any underlying opaque layer, then the alphas are not correctly resolved). This is with the Lab’s QA team.
  • There are no BOM-specific updates pending to the RC viewer, but this will, as per the Lab’s viewer release policy, be updated to maintain parity with the latest release version of the viewer ( at the time of writing.
  • Given the overall status of BOM and EEP, it would appear likely that BOM could be promoted ahead of EEP as a released project and viewer.