Second Norway and Sailor’s Cove East – status update

Second Norway, March 2020

Update, April 27th: Second Norway is now under the management of Luxory Estates, read more in Second Norway: the future is bright.

I recently reported (with updates) on the situation with Second Norway and Sailors Cove East (SCE), both of which were facing possible closure due to physical world issues, including the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic – see: Second Norway & Sailor’s Cove East: rumours & statements.

On Friday, April 3rd, Ey Ren, founder of Second Norway contacted me to request that people wishing to keep up-to-date with developments on both estates refer to his Bad Elf Blog, and I’m only too happy to point those concerned about the situation to that blog.

In particular, Ey has posted three updates, all dated April third, and summarised below:

24 SCE regions to Transfer Ownership

A transfer ticket for 24 of the 45 Sailor’s Cove East regions has been submitted today. Original co-founder of Sailor’s Cove, Patrick Leavitt, has stepped up to ensure that over half of the estate continues to exist.

See Ey’s full blog post on this topic, which includes a list of the affected regions.

Ey is Still Working to Secure a Future for Second Norway and the Rest of SCE

As per the notice presented by Mialinn Telling in her profile (again, see: Second Norway & Sailor’s Cove East: rumours & statements), Ey is seeking to secure a viable future for the estates and the regions within them. In particular he notes:

  • Outside of the SCE regions that will be transferred to Patrick mentioned above, there should be no significant changes to either estate before May 2020. In particular:
    • No regions should be taken off-line in April 2020.
    • Rental payments are suspended until such time as the future of the regions within each estate is determined and / or regions are transferred to new ownership (at which point rental agreements will need to be entered into with any new owners).
  • Ey is actively engaged in seeking new ownership to secure the future of as many regions as possible, and investigating the means to finance those regions which cannot be transferred to new owners. However, due to his personal situation, it is possible that some regions that cannot be transferred to new ownership could eventually be removed from the grid.
  • He also wishes to extend thanks to Linden Lab for all they have done in expediting the unlocking of his account and in providing leeway for him to seek alternative arrangements to try to save as much as possible of both of these estates.

For full details on all of the above points please refer to Ey’s posts All Good Things Must Come to an End and No Tier Payments Until Changes are Made.

 

Again, if you are a tenant of Second Norway or SCE, or wish to be kept appraised of the situation directly be Ey, please make sure you bookmark or subscribe to his blog.

2020 Content Creation User Group week #14 summary

Garrigua, February 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken from my audio recording and chat log of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, April 2nd 2020 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are are available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

A large part of the meeting concerned options for what might be done when handling complex avatars that fall outside of what is currently being done through ARCTan, including esoteric discussions on when things like impostering should occur in the download / rendering cycle, etc. Discussions also touched on the sale of Sansar (see elsewhere in this blog) and SL’s uptick in user numbers as a result of the current SARS-Cov-2 pandemic.

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.

Resources

Current Status

  • Is caught on a couple rendering bugs related to Linden Water and how the water / things under water are rendered by EEP.
  • The plan is still to have EEP promoted before any other viewer project is promoted to release status.

ARCTan

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

  • Internal testing is awaiting a Bake Service update related to the issue Vir identified that was causing issues in gathering data.
  • In the interim, Vir has been looking at the tools available for manipulating viewer performance (e.g. imposters, the Jelly Dolls tools, blocking, etc.). He’s specifically been looking at “peculiarities” in how the various options work and raising internal questions on possibly re-examining aspects of how they work.
  • One point with imposters / Jelly Dolls is that while the settings may be used – and as was raised as a concern prior to that project being deployed – is that rendering data for all attachments on an impostered or jelly dolled avatar is still downloaded to the viewer, which is not optimal.
    • Removing attachment data could improve performance, but would also make jelly dolled avatars in particular look even more rudimentary.
  • A bug with the  Jelly Doll code means setting an avatar to never render causes it to load more slowly than just lowering the complexity threshold so it doesn’t render. This is viewed as a known bug.
  • There have been suggestions for trying to limit access to regions (particularly events) based on avatar complexity.
    • Right now, this would be difficult, as the simulator does not have authoritative information on avatar complexity – it’s calculated in the viewer, which in turn is based on data the simulator doesn’t even load.
    • This means there would have to be a significant refactoring of code before the simulator could be more proactive around avatar complexity. Given the cloud uplift work, this is not something the Lab wishes to tackle at this point in time.

General Discussion

  • Arbitrary skeletons: The question was raised on SL allowing entirely custom / arbitrary skeletons.
    • This again would be a complex project, one that was rejected during the Bento project due to the risk of considerable scope creep.
    • There is already a volume of available humanoid mesh avatars, each operating with their own (mutually incompatible) ecosystems of clothing and accessories that can already cause confusion for users. Adding completely arbitrary skeleton rigs to this could make things even more complicated and confusing.
  • The major reason there is little work being put into developing new LSL capabilities is because the majority of the LSL development resources are deeply involved in – wait for it – cloud uplift work.

Next Meeting

Due to the Lab’s monthly Al Hands meeting, the next CCUG meeting will take place on Thursday, April 16th, 2020

Sea Brook’s haven in Second Life

Sea Brook, April 2020 – click any image for full size

A full region using the full region land capacity bonus, Sea Brook is a remarkable setting that offers a stunning location that forms a rich, eye-catching, highly-photogenic haven of a destination that offers a tour de force of what can be achieved with vision and considered execution in region design in Second Life.

The work of Muira (Angelique Vanness) on behalf of Rahnn Parker (Rahnn) and Carrie Parker (Cari2017), the region is a tour de force demonstration of Muira’s remarkable eye for region design, something I first noted in 2019 after visiting Season’s Cove (now closed, but see The magic of Season’s Cove in Second Life). As with that design, this is one that again feels far bigger than its 256m on a side size. In this instance, the sense of size and space is made all that more remarkable by the fact that much of the centre of the region is given open to open water.

Sea Brook, April 2020

The water takes the form of an extensive lake fed by falls that drop from a massive up-thrust of rock that rises to the north-east of the region in great granite or basalt blocks, topped by high fir trees. A broad, paved footpath winds its way around the lake’s shoreline in a loop, connecting three small terraces that thrust their own out into the clear blue waters. One of these terraces  forms the regions landing point, whilst all three present impressive views over the lake. At one end, this footpath connects to an imposing lodge that whilst grand in size, utterly fits with its surroundings. To the other end the path gives way to a rocky path – one of two in fact – that switch-backs up to the top of the high plateau.

Between the lake and the waters beyond the edge of the region, the land is entirely-low-lying with the exception to the huge plateau. Theses lowlands are rich is detail and  – if I might use the term again – present an expansive setting. Rich in tall Scots pines, they are marked by gravel tracks that run around the outside of the paved path around the lake, the woodlands between pavement and gravel cut through with winding trails that allow visitors to wander and discover all that lies under the shade of the trees: ponds, little camp sites, a children’s playground, picnic spots – the list is extensive without – the setting ever feeling crowded.

Sea Brook, April 2020

The paths also provide links to other locations within the region. These include a west side beach, tucked between two headlands. One of these is home to the ruins of an ancient church that now offers a cosy retreat. A second, intact chapel forms a book-end to the ruins, sitting on a low hills on the other headland, resting atop a low hill that allows it to look north across the beach towards the ruins of its companion.

East and south, behind the great lodge – which appears to be open to the public and itself offers an impressive place to explore – the land opens a little as at sits between rocky highlands and a growth of mangroves that surround one of the smaller islands sitting just off the coast. This little island is home to an old gazebo that offers a place to dance. Across the narrow channel separating the gazebo from the lodge, sits a little fenced meadow, a place where visitors can rez a horse to ride around the region – something that is well worth doing.

Sea Brook, April 2020

Atop the plateau there is yet more to discover, the switched paths leading up to it connected one to the other by gravel trails that wind across the plateau, separating the woodlands to offer obvious paths for people (and horses) to follow and which take visitors past table-top games, and along an arched path to another dance area that offers an elven theme.

As with the lands below, the plateau is also cris-crossed by wooded paths that reveal more secrets among the trees, and which I’m not going to spoil by mentioning here. However, I will say that look carefully enough and you will find a zipline that runs down to the little finger-like island rising from the middle of the lake and where bumper boats can be rezzed by those looking for a little fun.

Sea Brook, April 2020

Nor is this all; below the plateau, and nestled in the roots of the cliffs, are wooden doors awaiting discovery. They lead to a network of tunnels and chambers that run through the rocks from on side to the other. With paved floors and faced stone walls, these tunnels and the halls and rooms that open off of them make for an intriguing point of exploration on their own; one looks like a former wine cellar, others present more intimate spaces.

A truly stunning design, Sea Brook is absolute perfectly set within the encircling region surround of high mountain peaks that – with the right windlight – give it tremendous depth, this is not a setting to be missed. It has a huge amount to discover (I’ve only scratched the surface here), and is finished with a matching sound scape.

Sea Brook, April 2020

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