2020 Simulator User Group week #11 summary

The Dream of Asia, January 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken at the Simulator User Group meeting held on Tuesday, March 3rd.

Simulator Deployments

Please refer to the simulator deployment thread for updates.

  • On Tuesday, March 10th, the majority of the grid (the SLS “main” channel) updates to server release 537423, primarily focusing on improvements to make rolling the grid more gentle on the Lab’s non-simulator servers.
    • This update has some changes that may help improve vehicular-based  / physical region crossings. People are asked to check & report.
  • An RC deployment is pending for Wednesday, March 11th, but details were TBA at the time of writing this summary. According to Simon Linden, the update shouldn’t contain any user-visible changes.

Continuing Object Rezzing Issues

There continue to be reports of on-going object rezzing issues (reported and noted in past SUG meetings), some of which appear to be specifically tied to the 53743 release whilst on an RC deployment (see: Potential showstopping bug on many mainland regions. Anyone else experienced this?). The issue is again being complicated in that it cannot be easily tied to simulators specifically on that release, because – as some of the comments on the thread note – the possibly offending script calls do not misbehave consistently between different regions on the same channel / release. 

No update was provided at the SUG meeting, but within the thread, Mazidox Linden notes:

Just to chime in here that we’re aware of this issue (as mentioned up-thread it’s not particularly new unfortunately, dating back to late last year), and using the latest information you all have provided we’re able to confirm that the issue under discussion (object_rez events never fire) reproduces in the regions mentioned, but work fine in other regions running the same code. We’re not sure why that is just yet, but we’re going to do our darnedest to find out and get a fix for this behaviour in your hands as quick as we can.

Some people have also reported of a return of breedable issues which may (or may not be) related to this problem. In short, if you are seeing issues with scripted object rezzing – file a Jira.

SL Viewer

There have been no viewer updates to mark the start of the week to leave the official viewer pipelines as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.3.7.535996, formerly the Yorsh Maintenance RC, dated February 7th, promoted February 20th – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Premium RC viewer, version 6.3.8.537335, released March 3rd.
    • EEP RC viewer updated to version 6.4.0.536347, February 11th.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.3.7.536179, February 10th.
    • Camera Presets RC viewer, version 6.3.6.535138, January 24th.
  • Project viewers:
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9th, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22nd, 2019.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.3.2.530836, September 17th, 2019. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16th, 2019.

Providing a home for PAC in Second Life

Holly Kai Park: the new east side with welcome area / landing point (foreground) and updated re-brick gallery spaces in the tiers rising to the main gallery

At the start of February I blogged about the The Phoenix Artists Collaboration (PAC) and its search for a new home / partners as a change in circumstance meant the group would lose their current in-world home from the the end of March 2020 (see Seeking ownership or sponsorship: the Phoenix Art Collaboration). Since that time, a couple of things have happened that mean the group now has new opportunities beyond April 1st 2020 – and I’m pleased to say I’ve been able to play a part in bring one about.

In short, starting later this month PAC will be relocating core operations to a new location: Holly Kai Park, and there will also be an additional set of studio spaces that will be made available for the group as it expands.

The Gallery Village – 19 single and two-storey studios units for artists

After thinking about my own  – being frank – failure to ensure the arts programme at Holly Kai Park continues to move forward and so leaving the park largely dormant, and the situation PAC faced, it struck me that both PAC and Holly Kai Park could mutually benefit one another, the latter providing a home for the former, and the former providing the much needed visual arts programme for the latter. So, discussions were started, and both Nber and Mark, owners of HRE, the parent estate for Holly Kai Park, and the core leaders of PAC Luke (Marshmal), Anibrm Jung and Will (Willyharris) were equally positive about the idea, so I started putting together a more formal set of ideas and a plan to revise Holly Kai Park’s layout to better suit PAC’s needs.

One concern with this was that at its launch, PAC had no fewer than 42 exhibiting artists (see: The Phoenix Artists Collaboration in Second Life) – and the numbers had since grown. Obviously, given its location and the fact that the region on which it sits is something of a shared environment, there was no way Holly Kai Park could provide a home to such a volume of artist – and fortunately, it doesn’t have to: thanks to the support of Audie Spade, additional exhibition space is being made available on a separate sky platform.

The Park Walks remain, but have been vastly cleaned-up to form more obvious links between the east and west art areas

Instead, the park can become something of a focal point for PAC activities, provide space for artists, room for 3D and Featured Artists exhibitions within the main gallery complex, as well as a primary Welcome & Information centre serving both PAC and the Park, and provide a social venue for PAC members,

Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve bee re-working the park to better suit PAC’s needs and serve as a base of operations (hence why my blogging has been a little slower than usual). While there is still a little more work to be carried out / finalised, we’re now just about at the point were artists can start transitioning from the current PAC facilities, which will vanish come April, and the park.

The Park retains some “permanent” 3D exhibits, notably the interactive Ice Castle by Giovanna Cerise (above) and Frankx Lefarve’s Reflections at Midnight

I’m not going to bore you with  litany of changes, instead I’ll just say that the park now comprises three distinct areas for visual arts:

  • East side: retains space for boat moorings and provides 4 individual studios for artists, together with Caitinara Bar and a new landing point / welcome centre (which I freely admit I ripped from the “skytower” home design I put together for Isla Pey).
  • Centre: the Holly Kai Gallery, retained for feature exhibitions and a further with eight east-facing artist studios built-in to the hill on which it stands, while the lawns to its front façade have been re-worked to provide space for up to 2 3D art exhibitions.
  • West side: the Art Village, with nineteen individual studio spaces in two designs, with open spaces and boulevards so as not to feel overcrowded.
Another look at the landing point / welcome centre (r) that will be housing information on the park, PAC and exhibitions as well as teleport options to go directly to any given studio gallery, with Caitinara Bar, (l)

At the same time, much improved links between the east and west sides of the park (including via Holly Kai Gallery) have been put in place whilst retaining the park like feel to the north and south of the gallery hill. Improvements have also been made to the park / Seanchai Library space so that the latter feels and looks to be more included in the park as a whole.

For artists who have exhibited at PAC’s original venue, the spaces at Holly Kai park are admittedly smaller, and the LI allowance per head has been reduced as a result, but the hope is this will encourage more variance / update in and of displays within the studios. Discussions are currently in hand as to how best to handle studio allocations and display periods, and to ensure a good flow of traffic between PAC at Holly Kai Park and the upcoming sky platform space.

A view of some of the gallery spaces tiered under Holly Kai Gallery. The bridge to the lest links directly with Seanchai Library, as does the path under it, which also connects to the west side Gallery Village

With the potential to offer space to up to 35 artists at a time, together with representation by Seanchai Library – with whom it is hoped joint events such as Stories at the Park can be (re)initiated, and with Caitinara Bar as a possible social centre for PAC, we  – the PAC Board of Trustees (of which I’m also now a member) and the HRE management team – Holly Kai Park will hopefully become a worthwhile home PAC artists and activities.

I’ll have more about any formal re-opening / exhibition launch in the near future. In the meantime, anyone wishing to visit the Park is welcome to do so via the SLurl below – but please keep in mind it’ll likely be another week or so before art starts to be displayed there.

The lawns to the front of Holly Kai Gallery now offer better space for 3D art installations

SLurl Details

Wizardhat Studios: longevity and beauty in Second Life

Wizardhat Studios, March 2020 – click any image for full size

We’re all familiar with the news of regions that disappear from Second Life – I’ve reported on a few that have announced closure myself. These disappearances can often be high-profile, leading too public upset and, and times, a reason for some pundits to blog about how they are further signs of SL’s “demise”.

What often goes unnoticed, however, are the regions that endure, sitting quietly tucked away, offering a place for people to visit year-on-year, unsullied by time. They remain a constant in the face of change over the passing of time, but can so easily pass notice by bloggers as we rush to seek the latest or new region design or setting.

Wizardhat Studios, March 2020

Take Wizardhat Studios, for example. I made my first visit to it almost seven-and-a-half years ago, in October 2012 (see: Wizardhat: dance, explore, contemplate, admire). At that point in time the region was already entering its fourth year, and it became a place I tended to jump back to semi-frequently over the next few years – although I confess that other than that one 2012 blog post, I’ve never actually written about it again in detail.

This fact had been playing on my mind over the course of the last week or so, a nagging feeling that as it’s been about 4 years since I last dropped, I should pop over and take another look. It’s a thought that was reinforced when reader and friend Miro Collas poked me via Twitter about the region. So, off I hopped.

Wizardhat Studios, March 2020

Designed by Karencreek Melson as the home of artist Wizardhat Mornington, the region is an atmospheric mix of reality, and fantasy, making excellent use of region surrounds and off-sim elements to create a great sense of depth. The default Windlight is perhaps a little bleak – I again found myself flicking to one of my preferred custom presets, but that’s about the only “complaint” I have with the region.

This is a place of coastal castles – one a home to Wizardhat’s photography and art, the other set as a home (but open to the public), where rough-faced cliffs climb to one side, water tumbling from them in places. This cliffs form a semi-circle enclosing the lowlands, their waterfalls forming streams that split the land with its mix of woods, flowers, and cart tracks, as the waters make their way to the sea.

Wizardhat Studios, March 2020

It’s also a place of whimsy: a steampunkian flying submarine floats alongside one of the castles, its interior perhaps triggering thoughts of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus and its vast undersea voyages. Not far away, polar bears take a moment in the sun, stretched out on the western beach; apparently the benefactors of a lottery win. Other animals roam free in the form of scripted agents, some of whom I recall from past visits, such as Happy Camper, others of which may well be new – or at least, relatively new. They wander about the lowlands and / or frolic in greeting while birds wheel overhead.

The animals are not the only perambulating occupants of the region. As you explore, you may notice that a couple of the trees appear to be locating themselves. Wait long enough, and you’ll see this is precisely the case, as one or another of the pair calmly uproots itself and goes for a wander, both of them again being scripted agents. It’s clear that these arboreal wanders are an accepted part of the landscape, as an owl is content to sit in the boughs of one as it takes to its roots and scurries across the land.

Wizardhat Studios, March 2020

What is particularly attractive with this region is that while it retains almost all of its original looks (for those of us familiar it from past excursions), it is also home to subtle changes that both maintain its look and appeal whilst also in part renewing it and making it worthy of return visits. Take the hillside turret to the north; once it looked out towards a storm that seemed to be approaching, now it faces stern-faced faced mass of rock sitting just off-sim.

Eclectic, rich in detail, with lots of opportunities for exploration, photography and dance, Wizardhat Studios remains an engaging visit, one given the added fact it is a place now into its 13th year in Second Life.

SLurl Details