The beaches of Carolina in Second Life

Carolina, July 2019 – click any image full size

Warm sandy shores and tropical environs welcome you in this land filled with wildlife, relaxing beaches, and grassy areas. I hope you enjoy your stay and please remember to pick up after yourselves when you go.

– Arol Lightfoot, describing Carolina

Carolina, July 2019

Region designs by Arol Lightfoot are always guaranteed to generate a lot of interest, and so it is with her latest Homestead design, Carolina.

As Arol’s description of the region indicates, this is a very rural, open island setting. Three houses sit within its sandy banks and beaches, two on the coast and the third a little more inland. They sit amidst circling birds while Flamingos strut over the more grassy aspects of the island and horses stroll under the haze-heavy sky.

Carolina, July 2019

The surrounding waters cut into the island to form bays and channels, giving the low-lying land a richly natural look, grass and sandy mingling easily, waterfowl sitting among the piers and rocks that help define the landscape. A curious mix of trees – oaks, palms and Lebanon cedar – rise above smaller trees with bent trunks as if bowed under the weight of their boughs and leaves, but together they help further define the island’s look.

This is a genteel landscape where cats mix easily with dogs, donkeys and goats, all of whom add their own personalities to the region – some quite cheekily so. The only oddity within the setting is the battered and ageing humps of an old roller coaster. It’s not the kind of ride you’d want to take, given the state of the rail-less tracks, despite the cars being present – but it does made an interesting focal-point for photography.

Carolina, July 2019

Photography is very much a raison d’etre for Carolina, again as the About Land description notes. Rezzing in the region is open, but as auto-return is turned off, those who take advantage of it are asked to remember to pick their items when they are finished.

Peaceful, with multiple places to sit and relax and with its wildlife rounded-out by the presence of otters, sea lions – and pandas, Carolina makes for a quiet visit for those so minded, a cosy island with opportunities to explore, to sit and to contemplate – just mind the sharks if you go for a swim!

Carolina, July 2019

SLurl Details

  • Carolina (Margarita Isel, rated Moderate)
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2019 SL User Groups 29/2: Content Creation summary

Jilin Estates; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrJilin Estates, June 2019blog post

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, July 18th 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.

Viewer Update

The current Maintenance RC viewer, Umeshu (version 6.2.4.528492 at the time of writing) is now considered “very close” to promotion to release status, with Vir linden noting that if SL viewer users notice they get a message to update “that’s very probably it.”

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.

Resources

Current Status

  • There have been a couple of further issues show up during internal testing of Bakes on Mesh related to local appearance when editing an avatar’s appearance – changes don’t always resolve consistently, particularly with regards to texturing non-rigged meshes with bakes.
  • Transparencies on the Bake Service aux channels: after meeting with mixed expectations on how this should be handled (see recent previous CCUG summaries in these pages), the Lab is anticipating supporting two cases:
    • If a creator wants the aux channel to be opaque – this will require the placement of an opaque texture at the bottom of the bake stack (e.g. a skin-like universal), and setting Alpha Mode for the object (Edit > Texture) to None.
    • If a creator wants to have a translucent layer with portion of it see-through – this will likely require a universal wearable that just has transparent textures, and setting the Alpha Mode to Alpha Blending.
    • Vir noted that it is possible to have other combinations of textures and Alpha Mode settings, but these can give unpredictable results.  To help avoid this, the plan is to get some better documentation put together ready for when BOM reaches release status.

Note: there is an internal Bakes On Mesh review meeting scheduled for Friday, July 19th, at which the issues mentioned in the first bullet point will be examined. If these are determined to be edge cases, and no other issues are noted, the Bakes on Mesh project is liable to be moving to release status “very soon”. Creator wishing to test the capability are therefore asked to download the Bakes On Mesh RC viewer and use it and report and bugs or issues they encounter “right away”.

Animesh Follow-On

  • Vir is working on a project viewer in support of the new LSL functions that can be used to set visual parameters for Animesh objects.
    • It had been indicated that the capability would allow parameters to be looked up by name or ID, which is a little inconsistent compared to how things usual work (via using integer constants). It’s therefore been decided to support all of the applicable visual parameters by means of a set of corresponding constants.
    • There is no current time frame on when a project viewer may appear – this is dependent on the viewer being build and then passing through the Lab’s internal testing / QA.
    • Obviously, when the project viewer is released, it will be subject to further testing – including the impact updating the parameters for multiple Animesh objects (making them taller or shorter or fatter or thinner, etc) has on a region / viewer performance.
  • These commands will likely be throttled to prevent the mechanism being used as an alternate (and potentially impactful) means of animating Animesh. Concerns have be raised that the throttle could be set too low.Vir has requested that discussions on throttling wait until a project viewer is available, so they might b properly tested and discussed in terms of possible changes.
  • There are still requests for Bakes on Mesh for Animesh to be included in this project. This is unlikely, as it would require further extension of the BOM project before it has even gone live. Which is not to say Bakes On Mesh for Animesh might not be (part of?) a future project.
  • Attachment points for Animesh, however, may be something that is looked at “fairly soon”, possibly as a later part of this current Animesh follow-on.

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”).

Resources

Current Status

  • A further version of the RC viewer (6.4.0.529247) was issued on Monday, July 15th, but overall, testing is still on-going.
  • It’s been reported that the “forced sky update” ability in EEP could adversely impact performance. This is due to by looked at be the Lab.