Lab opts to temporarily continue Quarterly Premium plan for new sign-ups

via and © and ™Linden Lab

On May 29th, 2019, Linden Lab issued a blog post outlining a number of changes to fees charged in connection with Second Life (see Land Price Reductions, New  Premium Perks and Pricing Changes). In particular, for the purposes of this article, the Lab’s post indicated the Premium subscriptions would be increasing after June 24hth 2019 as follows:

  • Monthly subscriptions will be increasing from US $9.50 per month to US $11.99.
  • Annual subscriptions will be increasing from US $72.00 per year to US $99.00.
  • Quarterly subscriptions will be increased from US $22.50 to US $32.97.

In that blog post, it was also indicated that from both Monthly and Quarterly subscriptions would be applicable to user in EU countries, while Quarterly subscriptions would be discontinued as an option from June 24th for those upgrading to Premium after that date, but would remain available for those already subscribed to that option.

These changes, and the others announced in the Lab’s blog post have generated considerable feedback. Some of this feedback, voiced through forum discussions and via assorted blog posts (see my own Dear Ebbe II” (on the subject of Basic account changes) resulted in the Lab reversing a decision to decrease the Basic account group allowance in favour of an increase in the same allowance for Premium members (see: LL reverse planned Basic account group limits reduction).

However, on Monday, June 10th, in responding to the comments left in the forum thread on the subject of the changes, Grumpity Linden indicated the Lab were making a temporary adjustment to the planned Premium fee changes, stating that the Quarterly subscription plan will now remain available to new premium sign-ups through until the “all-new membership level for those who want to get the absolute most out of their Second Life” is officially announced. The original blog post has been updated to reflect this.

Grumpity Linden’s forum comment on the short-term continuance of the Quarterly Premium subscription plan for users upgrading to Premium

This doesn’t offer much to those still feeling aggrieved by the fee changes as a whole (although – at the risk of earning a degree of ire – such changes are going to remain inevitable if the Lab is to maintain its ability to generate revenue whilst also meeting demands to lower virtual land tier), however, it does offer those wishing to upgrade to Premium but who are uncomfortable with playing the annual fee a further option to do so, albeit at the increased rate after June 24th, 2019.

Also, as can be seen in Grumpity’s reply, the Lab will try to address matters around the fee changes through their annual Meet the Lindens sessions that form a part of the Second Life Birthday events. As always, I will endeavour to provide a summary of these sessions, with audio extracts where relevant, as soon as possible after each session.

Advertisements

The tropical splendour of Lotus Bay

Lotus Bay; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrLotus Bay, June 2019 – click any image for full size

Lotus Bay is a new homestead region design by the combined talents of Maria Kobaiernen (Dreamy Lebed) and Aydenn Palazzo (Aaydenn29) that recently slipped into the Destination Guide, and in doing so caught our attention.

Described as “a luxurious tropical island with a hedonistic resort vibe”, this is a quite marvellous design rich in content and detail. Admittedly, the amount of mesh and texture present can take something of a toll on a computer if you happen to like running with a lot of the viewer’s options active; however, this does not mean Lotus Bay should be avoided by the keen SL traveller, as doing so would rick missing out on seeing a very special place.

Lotus Bay; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrLotus Bay, June 2019

Rising from the sea with beaches to the west and east offering a buffer between land and water, Lotus Bay sits atop a magnificent table of rock. Sheer cliffs on all sides seem at first to rebuff visitors. However, the stone steps carefully cut into them just a short walk from the landing point give the lie to this.

Winding upwards and slightly inland from the beach, these steps lead the way to a lush plateau, rich in foliage and colour, and home to a large, whitewashed house with a distinctly colonial look to it.  Old and with its walls patched and the home to strands of vines, it is nonetheless furnished inside, witnessing its occupancy while the presence of the piano in the wooden-floored courtyard perhaps gives an indication that the rainy season here is very predictable.

Lotus Bay; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrLotus Bay, June 2019

While open to visitors, this house nevertheless raises questions: is it a primary residence or a holiday home? Certainly the nature of the island suggests it was never the centre of something like a working plantation. The log marked trails that extend away from the house at various points to make their way through the foliage and between rocks, suggest that the house is a vacation retreat, a Second Life Necker Island, if you will.

These paths, running snake-like and often branching to offer choices of route, provide access to swimming pools and  open-air decks where people can relax and sit or dance. They offer the way to other steps leading back down to the golden sands of the beaches below, or to where a hot tub sits under the shade of rocks and palms. However, all of these little touches, each beautifully executed and presented, also speak to the idea that this is a resort more than a private location; a secret getaway for the well-informed.

Lotus Bay; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrLotus Bay, June 2019

This feeling of paradise delight is furthered down on the sweep of the east-side beach, where a deck awaits those wishing to partake of a Second Life wedding. There is also a little cluster of cabins built over the water, each one offered for rent by those wishing to extend their stay on the island as a vacation away from the rest of SL. Rates for both cabins and weddings can, I understand, be obtained by contacting Maria.

The care put into the design of Lotus Bay is evident throughout. The use of space, the placement of rocks, trees, paths, buildings, and so on has a perfectly natural feel that greatly enhances the sense of immersion; Lotus Bay feels like a place in which the building and structures have been placed to both take advantage of the landscape and utilise available spaces, rather than the landscape feeling it has been designed to fit around the buildings and locations within it.

Lotus Bay; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrLotus Bay, June 2019

The landscaping itself also has a wonderful eclectic feel to it: temperate shrubs and bushes mix with Junipers and cacti and palm trees in a glorious mix that gives Lotus Bay no fixed location, but the ability for it to be anywhere we might wish to imagine it – off the coast of central America, or an Indonesian island, or somewhere sitting off the coast of Vietnam or China, and so on.

For me, and despite the differences in local plant life, I was put in mind of the forests in Dambulla region of Sri Lanka and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve further to the south of that country. While there is nothing specific to the landscape at Lotus Bay to align it with Sri Lanka, I was nevertheless put in mind of walking through forest trails there, and reminded of the care with which some resort spaces in those places have been blended into their surroundings.

Lotus Bay; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrLotus Bay, June 2019

But wherever you might wish to place this setting, the important thing is that you go and see it, because it is a true delight for the eyes. Photographers can obtain rezzing rights for props by joining the local group. Photographs themselves can also be submitted to the region’s Flickr group.

SLurl Details

SL Legacy Profiles project viewer

In February 2019, it was indicated in a Third-Party Viewer Developer (TPVD) meeting that an upgrade to the system powering user profiles seen in the viewer, on the web, together with the  feeds, etc., was in the pipeline (see 2019 SL User Groups 7/3: TPV Developer Meeting).

At the time of the announcement, it was indicated that the overall impact of the update on the feeds has a whole had yet to be determined. However, it was also made clear that the current web-based profile floater seen in the Lab’s viewer would in the coming months be replaced by a “legacy” style profile floater (e.g. the type seen within the Firestorm and Cool VL viewers).

On Wednesday, June 5th, the Lab took the first public step towards this by issuing the Second Life Legacy Profiles project viewer, version 6.2.3.527749. This viewer offers a first pass at the re-introduction of the “old” style profile floater to the official viewer, utilising code originally contributed by Kadah Coba of the Firestorm team.

The new Legacy Profiles project viewer replaces the current web-based profile panel (left), with an “old-style” profile floater panel (right)

With this viewer, it is important to note a couple of things:

  • This is an initial release of the viewer with the profile floater. As such, it may be refined / altered / fine tuned as the viewer progresses towards release.
  • There are a number of known issues with this initial release – see the release notes for a list of these.

As TPV user – notably (but not exclusively) Firestorm – I’ve always tended to find the legacy style of profile floater to be preferable: it tends to be faster loading, and (to me) has a more user-friendly means of navigation. As seen within the project viewer, the “new” floater is perhaps a little large in its default size, but adjusting it is easy enough – although having it a little smaller by default perhaps wouldn’t go amiss.

Those interested in trying this project viewer can do so via the Alternate Viewer page.