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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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).
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:
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.
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).