F L Y’s “Stories” in music: supporting Australia’s wildlife

White Mask: F L Y in concert, February 29th, 2020

On Saturday, February 29th, 2020 the Phoenix Arts Collaboration, in association with The White Mask Project, will be hosting a special concert event in support of WIRES – Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service, located in New South Wales, Australia, and which is currently particularly focused on rescuing and caring for animals displaced or injured by the wildfires in Australia.

This very special event will comprise a concert by violinist F L Y and her guests. The event will open at 08:45 SLT, with a short opening ceremony, with the concert proper running for two hours from 09:00 through until 11:00 SLT.

F L Y (FlyQueen)

F L Y (FlyQueen) is a professional violinist who has been performing in the physical world since 2007. Based in Istanbul, Turkey, start has performed with rocks bands and jazz groups at concerts and events, and has appeared at events in Washington State, USA, performing American rock, jazz and blues music on stage at events in Redmond, Kirkland, West Seattle and Portland.

She joined Second Life in July of 2015, and has been streaming her music into Second Life as a performer since June 2019. The White Mask project was started in January 2020 as a means for  F L Y to use her talent as a professional musician to provide a realistic concert type atmosphere to listeners in Second Life, in support of causes close to her heart. Her repertoire is broad, covering jazz, rock and pop from different periods, as well as more classical music and film themes. You can find out more about her – and hear a sample of her playing the violin – on her website.

Joining F L Y for this special event will be her guests Mimi Carpenter, Zachh Cale and Maximillion Kleenem who will be playing with her in dual-stream, after her solo presentation.

Please note that this is a formal concert with seating, not a dance event. However, having heard F L Y play, I can vouch that it is an event that is not to be missed, and donations to WIRES can be made via the Koala bears located in front of the stage.

White Mask: F L Y in concert, February 29th, 2020


WIRES was formed in 1985 with the mission to actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife and to inspire others to do the same. The organisation’s main activities are to respond to individual public reports of sick, injured or orphaned native wildlife. If necessary, trained WIRES volunteers will rescue, foster, provide and treatment and care for an animal and release it back into the wild once it is healthy. WIRES operates under an authority from the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW), allowing it to rescue and rehabilitate native animals, a practice which is generally forbidden by law in Australia.

In addition to the rehabilitation of individual animals, WIRES aims to improve native animal welfare generally through:

  • Raising awareness in the community and government of threats to native wildlife.
  • Educating the public about habitat requirements, and encouraging preservation of the natural environment.
  • Encouraging and undertaking research relevant to the conservation of wildlife and habitat.

A statement from WIRES on the impact of the Australian wildfires:

In WIRES history we have never seen a concurrent series of emergencies events like those that began in November. Hundreds of fires over weeks have burnt over 5 million hectares of land in NSW alone. Many animals were already struggling with a lack of water and food due to the drought. With the fires destroying unprecedented amounts of habitat, food shortages have increased and lack of suitable habitat will be a significant long-term challenge for surviving wildlife.

It is impossible to know how many animals have perished and it will be many months before the impact on wild populations can be better understood but ecologists at Sydney University have estimated over 800 million animals have been affected in NSW and over 1 billion animals in Australia since September.

Summer is a frantically busy time for wildlife rescue and there are still burning in NSW. In January alone there were over 28,000 calls to WIRES … and volunteers accepted over 3,800 rescues. 

Event SLurl

Lab Gab #15 summary: the Moles, Patch SL17B and more

via Linden Lab

The 15th edition of Lab Gab was live streamed on Friday, February 28th and featured as guests, Patch Linden, Vice President of Product Operations, and representatives of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW), aka the Moles – Notta Mole, Alotta Mole, Squeaky Mole and Mischievous Mole. Together they discussed the upcoming SL17B celebrations, the Linden Homes and Bellisseria, the work of the LDPW and more.

A call was put to Second Life users to submit questions that could be asked of the group, and the the following is a summary of the key topics raised and feedback given. Note that items may not all reflect the chronological order in which they were discussed, but have been grouped together where appropriate. Time stamps are provided for those wishing to jump to a specific point in the official video, and the complete video is embedded at the end of this article.

[0:37-3:15] Each of the guests offers a brief introduction to themselves, their time at / with Linden Lab, and some of what they do.

SL17B – The Second Life Birthday Celebration, 2020


  • Core dates:
    • Soft opening – for members of the free-to-join Second Life Birthday group: Thursday, June 18th, 2020.
    • Full opening: Friday, June 19th, 2020 – includes the Music Fest (see SL17B music festival auditions applications are open for more).
    • End of celebrations still TBD.
  • Theme: Vacations and Road Trips. Further details to come.
  • There will be more exhibitor parcels available this year (still the standard 32m on a side.
    • Buildings in keeping with the theme are welcome, but exhibitors are not restricted to modelling after it, but are encouraged to show their Second Life activities and what SL means to them, etc., either as individuals or groups.
    • Applications will open in approximately 2 week from this date, and it is important for exhibitors to give as much detail as possible in their submission.
  • There will be an SL17B shopping event to run in parallel with the festivities, and applications will open Soon™
    • There will be more cross-promotion between the SL17B festivities and the shopping event than last year, to encourage people to attend both.
    • The plan is to have “at least eight” regions in the shopping event.
  • Application for the various aspects of the festivities (Music Fest, exhibitors, shopping event, etc.), will likely open over at two week intervals, starting the with Music Fest application. Notifications of applications opening will be provided via official Second Life blog posts and through the Second Life Birthday group in-world.
  • Might the Cake Stage and Stage Left from the community-organised SLB events ever reappear?
    • Stage Left is still there, but has been renamed Main Stage.
    • The Cake Stage may reappear in the future, depending on how well it sits with a given SLB theme.
  • Will there be an Adult section at SL17B, so Adult content creators can participate and enjoy equal visibility? LL have considered this, and it may happen. However, there are logistics to be worked out – e.g. how best to handle different rating of content (Adult and Moderate / General) in close proximity to one another in a public environment). As such, a firm “yes” or “no” is still pending.

Linden Homes and Bellisseria


  • The fifth Linden Home theme was revealed / previewed on Friday, February 28th. The new theme – Log Homes (or lodge homes, if you prefer), comprises 4 styles of rural house style set within open landscapes and dirt tracks – see Previewing the Linden Home Log theme in Second Life for more details.
    • [21:48-22:48] Modifications to this theme mean that the total number of style that are available in the future may increase to as many as eight, with the mailbox rezzers updated to reflect this. A similar approach may then be taken with the other house themes.
  • How are themes chosen? Are there particular motivations, inspirations?
    • Patch believes the team responsible for Linden Homes is in tune with, and listiening to users and what user might want.
    • The new Log homes is seen as an example of this, being both something the team planned for, and something users requested.
    • Currently, the team has a “huge” list of potential themes, with the first eight either released or under construction and 2 more after those decided upon.
The new Linden Home Log / Lodge theme
  • Traditional Homes and Houseboats: Further releases of both being planned.
  • Campers and Trailers: it had been indicated that campers and trailer might be made available on 1024 sq m parcels as well as the current 512 sq m. Is this still being planned? Right now, the team hasn’t really found a way in which large 1024 sq m parcels and much smaller campers / trailers fit within the overall Bellisseria model.
  • Release schedule: while the schedule officially remains every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (holidays allowing), unofficially the team has started releasing one or more regions a day, depending on what is available.
  • Will there be more water regions around Bellisseria for sailing? There should be sufficient room for moderately-size vessels and sail boats to navigate between Joegeot and Sansara by way of Bellisseria. LL do not necessarily want to create large expanses of of water, but if there are issues, things might be revisited.
  • Is Bellisseria open for anyone to use, and are all avatar types welcome? Yes, the regions are open to everyone, only the homes require a Premium account. All avatar types are welcome, including child avatars, and subject to the normal community standards / terms of service.
  • Are there plans for a children’s playground in Bellisseria? Has not thus far been considered, but an excellent suggestion.
  • Will there be street names in Bellisseria? No. While it is a fun exercise to name the regions, all the names have to be checked for suitability, and trying to do the same for every street in Bellisseria would be too time consuming.
  • Region names come out of group meetings and idea pitching. Some of this may include names that are personal to the team.
  • Is there an opportunity for a city style of theme with apartments and commercial units?
    • This is been batted around by the team, but always tends to end up raising issues (how can you stack apartments in a parcel to ensure privacy and without having to constantly monitor LI use? What would the land layout look like with accommodation parcels vs. protected land to ensure the former have adequate LI? How can 1024×1024 parcels be arranged to allow  town houses to sit literally side-by-side?
    • However, the idea is still being considered, with no promises.
  • How will Bellisseria expand given it now links to Sansara and Jeogeot? Options are open, including working with private estates to move with elsewhere within the grid, if this becomes necessary. Where new Linden Homes regions are placed may also related to the idea of linking continents together (see below).
  • Will LL provide rolling stock for the railway? Short answer: no, not for the foreseeable future.
  • How should Bellisseria covenant violations be dealt with? A) take the good neighbour approach and talk to the violator. B) if that fails, file an AR. It should be noted that if issues are noted directly by Lindens or the Moles, then will attempt to pro-actively resolve matters.
  • [39:45-40:50] What is it with the Back to the Future references that keep popping up? In short, a region on the Bellisseria continent is a partially-completed trestle bridge in homage to the bridge seen in the climax of Back to the Future 3. So, rail travellers beware! There is more to come around this and a storyline for it.

General Items

  • [18:01-18:35] With the Sansara-Bellisseria-Jeogeot link-up, are their plans to link all of the continents together? Maybe. There are more connections coming.
  • [21:07-21:45] Will Premium Plus offer larger land parcels than the 1024 sq m available to Premium members? There are plans to present a Linden Homes offering to Premium Plus members. This is not open for detailed discussion as yet.
  • [28:50-29:53] What is the 5-year plan for the LDPW? For the next three years: Linden Homes. Alongside of this are projects related to the new user process, Premium benefits, cyclical work such as the SL Birthday, a lot of marketing support work etc.
  • [31:27-32:19] When will the Second Life Rail Road (SLRR) get an overhaul? Maintenance of the Mainland SLRR system is constantly in progress. However, any larger-scale project depends on time being available & what is meant by “overhaul” – e.g. going through and updating the entire track layout would be a multi-year project, and so not currently on the cards. There are also some core differences in design with the Bellisseria system (e.g. tightness of the bends) that mean it is not 100% compatible with the SLRR.
  • [36:20-37:04] Will the old 512 sq m Linden Homes be refreshed? No. The intent remains that once a critical mass with the new Home take-up has been reached, the old Linden Homes mini-continents will start to be retired and removed.
  • [38:00-39:43] A discussion on what each of the moles would build if their had free reign to do so: pooled ideas were:
    • An amusement park – Moley World.
    • A water world / park.
  • [42:53-43:55] Are there plans to update the Mainland in general, e.g. high resolution terrain textures, improved landscaping, etc? Has been talked about; could be something that’s undertaken beyond the 3-year plan for Linden Homes.

SL17B music festival auditions applications are open

On Friday, February 28th, 2020, Linden Lab issued an invitation to live music performers to apply to be a part of the Second Life 17th Birthday celebration’s Music Festival.

2020 marks the sixth such festival the Lab has organised, and will take place during the SL17B festivities – which this year will have the theme of Vacations and Road Trips – and will specifically run over the course of Friday June 19th and Saturday June 20th (note the music and songs do not have to be in accord with the overall celebration theme).

The Lab is looking for at least a dozen performers, both veteran Second Life musicians and those new to the scene, to provide the music for the event. So if you’d like to be a part of the event – sets have in the past run to 60 minutes per performance – then please be sure to complete the audition application form and submit it before the end of Monday, May 18th, 2020.

As with previous Music Fests, all performers will be asked to take part in an audition process, which will be used to select the final acts for the event. However, for 2020, the audition process will be slightly different to previous years.

For SL17B, there will be a series of public audition events that will be held every other week at the the Bellisseria Fairgrounds, and as applications are received, performers will be asked to attend one of these auditions to perform. Every audition event will be open to the general public to attend, and details will be made available ahead of the first such audition via a Second Life blog post, with each audition session additionally advertised through the following in-world groups (both with open enrolment):

  • Second Life Birthday.
  • Bellisseria Citizens.

Both can be found and joined via an in-world search.

The official blog post on the SL17B Music Fest call for submissions can be found here.

Previewing the Linden Home Log theme in Second Life

The new Linden Home Log / Lodge theme with the Log 2 to the right, Log 3 to the left and log 4 partially visible to the left

The fifth in the 1024 sq metre Linden Homes that are available to Premium members, was unveiled on Friday, February 28th at a special region sitting adjacent to the main American Cancer Society (ACS) region in Second Life. The site was selected as a combined result of ACS home the 2020 Home And Garden Expo in support of Relay for Life, and in recognition of the strong ties between ACS Relay for Life and Second Life / Linden Lab.

The new theme is referred to a the Log Home theme – or if you prefer, lodge theme, a further distinctly rural theme well suited to woodlands, lakes, mountains and remote spots, joining with the Campers and Trailers theme to offer such a rural opportunity. As such they stand apart for the more urban styles of the Traditional and Victorian homes, whilst also offering a chance to blend the the Houseboat type.

The Log 1 style of Linden Home, showing the recessed balcony

As per usual, four styles of the new home are available for Premium users to choose from, all four selectable from the wooden mailbox that accompanies each parcel. The four styles, as shown at the preview, didn’t have individual names, but were called simply, Log 1, Log 2, Log 3 and Loge 4, with each featuring:

  • Log 1: 2 front aspect entrances, 3 open-plan ground floor rooms, one overlooked by the galleried upper floor that forms the bedroom area, complete with a balcony recessed into the roof and offering a side aspect view.
  • Log 2: semi A-frame, with full height picture window to the front aspect, and a porch running across the front under the A-frame roof, and part-way down one side to the front door. Three rooms on the ground floor, the front room overlooked by the galleried upper floor bedroom.
The Log 3 Linden Home
  • Log 3: full length front porch, 1/2 length rear porch. Three rooms on the ground floor, 2 open-plan, with one of the latter overlooked by a galleried landing providing access to two bedrooms.
  • Log 4: 2 entrances to the front aspect, 3 ground floor rooms, 2 open-plan, stairs to upper floor with two bedrooms, one with en-suite bathroom; further stairs up to an attic space with windows to all four aspects.

The preview region featuring the houses offers a feel for how they will look when in situ in Bellisseria, once they become available. Like the Campers and Trailers theme, the landscaping features open spaces, trees, water and dirt tracks. As all parcels are, in keeping with the Linden Home house builds, 1024 sq m (Campers and Trailers are currently 512 sq m), individual footprints for the 4 styles of home offer plenty of scope for outdoor options as well – and these homes would appear especially well suited to those wishing to have somewhere to place a small stables and fencing and provide a home for their horse.

The Log 4 Linden Home

The preview region will be available for viewing through until the end of the Home and Garden Expo on Tuesday, March 3rd. Currently, I do not have a date as to when the new theme will be available in Bellisseria.

SLurl for the Preview

American Cancer Society (rated: General) – follow the signs

Previewing Lab Gab 15: Patch, the Moles and the New Linden Homes theme

via Linden Lab

The 15th edition of Lab Gab will be live streamed on Friday, February 28th at 11:00 SLT (19:00 UK; 20:00 CET). For those who have not seen the official blog post about it, the segment will feature Patch Linden and members of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW) – the famous Moles, resident builders who undertake Mainland infrastructure and other projects on behalf of Linden Lab, and who have been spending a lot of time over the last 12 months building-out the Linden Homes continent of Bellisseria, and who also provide the regions and infrastrucutre / core builds for SLB event, including this year’s SL17B.

Part of Patch’s responsibilities at the Lab covers the work of the LPDW, although his remit is far wider than that.

Patch Linden. Credit: Linden Lab

Originally a Second Life resident and business owner who joined the platform in 2004, Patch joined the Lab in 2007, initially working as a support agent and then as a support liaison. From there he moved to the Concierge team, eventually becoming that team’s manager.

Following this, Patch shifted focus to the role of Operations Support Manager for a year prior to pivoting away from support entirely to join the Product group, the team responsible for defining the features, etc., found within Second Life, where he developed the Land Operations team, which includes the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW).

In 2019 he was promoted to Vice President, Product Operations and joined the Lab’s management team. The role continues to see him managing all of the Lab’s user support operations (some 5 teams), including the LPDW. He also forms one-third of the “troika” (as Grumpity Linden has called it) overseeing Second Life’s continued development, working closely with Grumpity and Oz Linden, both of whom also joined the Lab’s management team alongside of Patch.

Patch and the Moles will be responding to questions put forward to them by users – and there is still time (just!) to submit yours.

So, if you would like to know about Patch’s role, how support works, what might be coming to SL as a part of the Product Operations team’s work, how you might become a Mole, or have questions concerning Linden Homes and future plans – including the 5th Bellisseria Linden Homes theme – or what might be coming with SL17B this June, then drop them via the  Lab Gab Episode 15 Questions form!

The programmed will be streamed via YouTube, Facebook, Mixer, or Periscope, and if all goes according to plan, I’ll have a summary of the video (and the video itself) available soon after the the broadcast, for those unable to watch live.

Some of the LPDW moles and Patch, as they appeared at the SL16B Meet the Moles event.

What’s That? “New Linden Homes Theme”?

Yes, one hour before Lab Gab airs, Patch and the LPDW, in conjunction with Relay for Life of Second Life and the American Cancer Society, will be revealing the next new Linden Homes Theme, as announced by ACS:

What might the new Linden Homes theme be? Find out when LPDW and RFL of SL / ACS reveal all on February 28th, 2020

The American Cancer Society is excited to host the 5th Linden Home Reveal as part of the 2020 SL Home & Garden Expo. Residents are welcome to take a tour of the new Linden Home theme that will become available at 10am SLT on Friday, February 28, 2020. Residents can land on the American Cancer Society Island and walk to the Reveal region following the directional signs from there.

“We are always grateful for our relationship with Linden Lab and are honoured to host the Themed Home Reveals,” says Stingray9798 Raymaker, American Cancer Society staff Director in Second Life. “We hope to use this opportunity as a way to educate the residents of Second Life that the American Cancer Society is here to help cancer patients and caregivers from around the world, and to give our Second Life community a means to fight back against a disease that has taken too much.”

This marks the 5th Linden Home theme that will be added to the Bellisseria community, alongside the previous 4 themes: traditional, trailers, houseboats, and Victorian.

– from the official ACS announcement about the new Linden Homes reveal

I’ll also have more on the new Linden Homes theme following the reveal.

2020 Content Creation User Group week #9 summary

The Cold Rose, January 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken from my audio recording of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, February 20th 2020 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Environment Enhancement Project

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements (e.g. the sky, sun, moon, clouds, and 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.


Current Status

  • Final review of issues is due on Friday, February 28th. If the project passes this review, the EEP will be cleared for promotion to release status.
  • There is a viewer build that the Lab has internally that is liable to be the release version; it’s not clear if this viewer will go to RC prior to promotion or be issued as the de facto release viewer .
  • It has again been noted that EEP will not give a precise one-to-one rendering of absolutely every environment (sky, lighting, etc.) in SL when compared to Windlight, as EEP uses a completely different and updated set of shaders, but it is hoped that most will be “very close”.
  • Once EEP has has reached release status, it is anticipated that their will be a “fairly rapid” cycle of viewer promotions to clear the remaining RC viewers in the pipelines (i.e. one new promotion every other week).


Project Summary

An attempt to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs to make them more reflective of the actual impact of rendering both. The overall aim is to try to correct some inherent negative incentives for creating optimised content (e.g. with regards to generating LOD models with mesh), and to update the calculations to reflect current resource constraints, rather than basing them on outdated constraints (e.g. graphics systems, network capabilities, etc).

As of January 2020 ARCTan has effectively been split:

  • Immediate viewer-side changes, primarily focused on revising the Avatar Rendering Cost (ARC) calculations and providing additional viewer UI so that people can better visibility and control to seeing complexity. This work can essentially be broken down as:
    • Collect data.
    • Update ARC function.
    • Design and provide tool within the viewer UI (i.e. not a pop-up) that presents ARC information in a usable manner and lets users make decisions about rendering / performance.
  • Work on providing in-world object rendering costs (LOD models, etc.) which might affect Land Impact will be handled as a later tranche of project work, after the avatar work.
  • The belief is that “good” avatar ARC values can likely be used as a computational base for these rendering calculations.

Current Status

  • Vir believes he has a fix for the appearance  / Bake Service issue that has been causing problems with ARCTan testing. This has yet to be QA tested. Should it pass, then it will mean internal testing can resume.
  • UI tools: one of the issues with the current ARC capability is how the information is presented and how it is interpreted. The question was therefore asked (by Vir) about possible ARC-related tools that could be incorporated into the viewer.
    • There are tools already in the viewer (Max Complexity Setting, Always Render Friends, etc.), although how well these are used is open to debate.
    • A concern with added further tools is that they could just additionally confuse for users (“more options and sliders!”) or just be ignored.
    • Automated  / semi automated means of adjusting complexity settings was favoured by some at the meeting.
    • The problem with full automation could be difficult to implement due to the broad variance in hardware used to access SL, the complexity of existing content (avatar heads, bodies, etc.), plus people’s personal preferences, etc.
    • A mechanism for adjusting  / bypassing an automated process could be provided, but then it defeats trying to automate as people will just opt to bypass a the process and ramp up settings.
    • An alternative might be to make the current tools more intuitive / easier to access and also more granular, then gradually move towards greater automation (with overrides) as people gain more familiarity with the whole issue of optimised content and performance.
    • A suggestion from the Lab was to have some form of “temporary” thresholds: such as when teleporting into a busy region switches to some form of frame-rate threshold / asset load prioritisation that helps to maintain a reasonable frame rate whilst also prioritising CPU cycle use to speed up the initial loading period, then switching back up when done. The complication with this approach is, not everyone has the same bottleneck areas, so a threshold setting that works well for some, might not show any benefit for others.
  • Bound up with this is the question of educating users as to:
    • What tools are available and how they work (e.g. a capability one of those at the meeting was espousing as something that would be “nice” to see in the viewer, has in fact been a part of it for almost five years).
    • What actually is impacting their experience with SL (it is so easy to blame “the servers” and “LL” when actually many of the problems are in fact viewer-side and could be better managed by a user than might otherwise be the case).