2019 viewer release summaries week #20

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, May 19th

This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
  • Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version 6.2.0.526190, formerly the Estate Access Management RC viewer, dated April 12, promoted April 17 – see my EAM overview for more information.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • EPP RC viewer updated to version 6.2.3.527250 on May 16th.
    • Teranino RC viewer, version 6.2.2.527221, re-issued on May 15th.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer updated to version 6.2.2.527021 on May 13th.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5/V6-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

Additional TPV Resources

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Sketches, paintings, photos and sculptures at La Maison d’Aneli

La Maison d’Aneli: Giovanna Cerise

La Maison d’Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante, is hosting another intriguing exhibition of 2D and 3D art. With its opening having taken place on May 15th, the exhibition features Giovanna Cerise, Delalune Ella, McGrafite, Vroum Short, Tshirtkikill Straaf and Mathilde Vhargon.

For her 3D installation, Giovanna Cerise uses a quote from Italian writer and poet, Alda Merini, One lies on the back of the world and feels. It is the final line from Merini’s poem I like the verb “to feel”, one of a series of reflections on words, and the theme of the poem – that of feelings – is the core reflection of the elements of Giovanna’s installation.

La Maison d’Aneli: Giovanna Cerise

These start with a sculpture of a woman lying on her back bearing, appropriately enough, Ci si sdraia sulla schiena del mondo (“one lies on the back of the world”). Around this are pieces with titles intended to evoke emotional states: Waiting, Transcendence, Solitude, Eros. All of these are placed within a series of monochrome geometric forms that echo some of Giovanna’s previous installations and is something of a motif of her work.

Also on the same level of the gallery as Giovanna’s installation is a selection of Mathilde Vhargon’s digital paintings that mix an abstract approach with geometric pieces, most of which are created more-or-less as a stream of consciousness approach, rather that any “premeditated” approach, as Mathilde herself notes:

My paintings suggest themselves to me a little at a time without conscious planning. I often use small sections of them as materials to develop into new paintings … I love strong colours and flowing abstract forms. You will often find ambiguous suggestions that lead the viewer to imagine various possibilities and interpretations.

La Maison d’Aneli: Mathilde Vhargon

Sharing the same level of the gallery is another stunning selection of drawings by McGrafite, also known as Marisa Camelo, MC.

A physical world artist focusing on pencil-based drawings, I was first introduced to her work at the end of 2018 (see The art of MC Grafite in Second Life), when I noted there is only one word that can be used to describe it: striking; the selection of art presented at La Maison d’Aneli fully reinforces this fact.

Beautifully produced, with marvellously clean lines and presentation, these are drawing rich with life and vitality and – in the case of a couple at least – a hint of menace. Such is the beauty of McGraphite’s drawing I admit to being an admirer of her work since that first introduction in December 2018.

La Maison d’Aneli: McGraphite

Beautifully produced, with marvellously clean lines and presentation, these are drawing rich with life and vitality and – in the case of a couple at least – a hint of menace. Such is the beauty of McGraphite’s drawing I admit to being an admirer of her work since that first introduction in December 2018.

On the upper level of the gallery is an exhibition of art and photography by Lune (Delalune Ella). Again split between the main floor and the galleried mezzanine, the lower part of the exhibition features seven pieces of Lune’s digital art. These have a spiritual element to them, which is perhaps most noticeable in the pieces that include mandala-like rosette forms. Rich in vibrant colours, these are modern pieces that quickly captivate and engage.

La Maison d’Aneli: Dellalune Ella

Above them, Lune presents 13 photographs that appear to reflect some of Lune’s travels around the world, and within which a love of water is evident. Again, these are evocative pieces, expressive in their tone and presentation.

Across the hall are twelve pieces by yogib33r (Tshirtkikill Straaf). These are perhaps the most unusual pieces of art I’ve recently come across in Second Life, reproductions of yogib33r’s physical world art. Pen and ink (I believe), these are whimsical pieces that completely defy description, but have a unique charm and attraction about them that allows them to stand as pieces of modern art.

La Maison d’Aneli: Tshirtkikill Straaf

Rounding-out this ensemble exhibition is Mirrors a 3D installation by Vroum Short of Vegetal Planet fame. When visiting, it is essential you have the Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled in your viewer (Preferences > Graphics > make sure Advanced Lighting Model is checked – you do not need to turn on shadows as well), and to set your viewer’s time of day to midnight.

As the name suggests, this is an installation – split between two levels – representing mirrors and reflective surfaces. The installation comprises a series of halls with mirror-like rooms containing static and animated pieces, some of which are designed to physically mirror one another. Created through the use of projectors, these are visually stunning effects – providing you have ALM enabled, as noted above. For those who are interested, the installation includes teleports to Vroum’s Vegetal Planet art region.

La Maison d’Aneli: Vroum Short

A further intriguing ensemble exhibition from one of my favourite SL galleries.

SLurl Details

Space Sunday: Moon talk

An artist’s impression of an unpiloted commercial lander leaving a scaled-back LOP-G for a descent to the surface of the Moon ahead of a 2024 human return to the lunar surface.Credit: NASA

On May 13th, 2019, NASA announced that the Trump Administration had requested a US $1.6 billion bump to the space agency’s 2020 budget, to assist it in its efforts to return humans to the Moon by 2024. If approved, the increase will be used by NASA as a “down payment” – or more correctly seed money – that will in particular be put towards studies and projects related to the development of a human-rated lunar lander.

Given just how much needs to be done, US $1.6 billion really isn’t that much; in 2019, NASA was allocated US $4.5 billion of a US $19.2 billion to put towards its lunar efforts, most of which was used in the development of the initial Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ongoing work in developing the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Capsule, with small amounts being allocated to studies such as the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G) station, and development of a new generation of lunar-capable space suits.

But these capabilities are just a part of the infrastructure NASA needs to build if it really is to achieve a human return to the Moon by 2024. This includes the LOP-G itself, the need to carry out more extensive robotic exploration of the lunar south pole, the selected location for the landing, the development, testing and deployment of these robot missions, the development of the technologies NASA have touted as being required for a long-term human presence on the Moon (not all of which will be required in the initial phases of the return, admittedly). And, of course, there is the need to develop and test the lunar lander itself.

The Lockheed Martin Orion MPCV Ground Test Article (GTA), a version of the vehicle constructed specifically for testing under simulated conditions to demonstrate the environmental integrity and operational capability of the craft. Credit: NASA / Lockheed Martin

The announcement was used by NASA to springboard a series of new PR videos to help promote their lunar aspirations, including one narrated by William “James T. Kirk” Shatner – are upbeat whilst being light on details. Even so they are useful watching for those wanting to have the agency’s aims painted in the broadest of brush strokes.

Part of this PR drive included the confirmation of the lunar programme’s official title: Artemis. The daughter of Zeus and Leto, Artemis was the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, and chastity, the patron and protector of young girls, and was worshipped as one of the primary goddesses of childbirth and midwifery.

However, in this instance, the most important aspect of Artemis’ legend is that she was regarded as the goddess of the Moon – and the twin sister to Apollo. As such, the name is clearly intended as a way to indirectly echo the can do attitude that marked the Apollo era.

NASA’s plans to send humans to the Moon by 2028 had three parts that could be launched, in part, by commercial rockets, and which used a fully operational LOP-G. If the White House target date of 2024 is to be met, these plans must be vastly accelerated – and NASA budget will require a committed year-on-year increase from the US government. Credit: NASA

With one billion of the additional budget request being specifically for use in lunar lander development, on May 17th, NASA confirmed that it has selected 11 companies to begin studies and initial prototype development of portions of human landers intended for use in the 2024 (and beyond) missions.

Some US $45.5 million has been set aside by NASA in support of all 11 companies, each of which is expected to make its own contribution  – up to 20% of the total cost of their study / prototype programme to the development work. The awards are part of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) programme, a series of broad agency announcements that support public-private partnerships to develop technologies needed for NASA’s exploration plans.

The 11 companies selected comprise Aerojet Rocketdyne, Blue Origin, Boeing, Dynetics, Lockheed Martin, Masten Space Systems, Maxar Technologies, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, OrbitBeyond, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX.

Given Lockheed Martin have been working on their own proposals for a lunar lander for some time (see Space Sunday: Moon, Mars, and abort systems), and Blue Origin recently unveiled their own lander, Blue Moon (see Space Sunday: a Blue Moon, water worlds and moving house), their inclusion in the list is unsurprising. Neither is the inclusion of the likes of SpaceX, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Northrop Grumman. What is perhaps surprising is the inclusion of start-ups like OrbitBeyond (founded in 2018), which was initially granted a Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract by NASA, allowing it to bid on delivering science and technology payloads to the Moon, rather than being involved in the development of human-rated lander vehicles.

Blue Origin, who recently revealed a full-scale model of their Blue Moon lunar lander, are one of 11 companies selected by NASA to carry out initial work into a human-rated Moon lander. Credit: Blue Origin

The awards require companies to pay at least 20 percent of the overall cost of each study or prototype project, with the work to be completed in six months. To allow the companies to start work immediately, the participating companies are allowed to start work while the contract terms are still being negotiated.

However, it’s not all good news. The 2020 federal budget has yet to be passed by Congress, and on May 16th, the House Appropriations Committee released an updated 2020 federal budget proposal of their own. This includes an additional US $1.3 billion in spending for NASA – but almost none of it is earmarked for NASA’s exploration programmes, which encompass a return to the Moon. Instead, under the House proposal, that programme is effectively cut by US $618 million.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: Moon talk”