Fantasy Faire 2020: nominations for king, queen and chancellor

via Fantasy Faire

One of the fun elements introduced to Fantasy Faire in 2015 was the opportunity to nominate and then vote for the King and Queen of the Fairelands and their (strictly non-human) Chancellor. Nominations came from across all realms of fantasy, with the top five for the positions of king and queen (human or human-looking nominations only) and chancellor, went forward for a public vote-off during the course of the Faire.

The event has since become a staple of the Faire, and it is once again back for 2020, with nominations now open. It’s important to note that this has nothing to do with avatars or people per se, but is a fun election purely for characters from works of fantasy, with the “winners” announced at the end of the Faire.

Nominees can be from written fantasy, graphical novels, cartoons, films, television or radio series, and from genres such as fairy tales, high fantasy, magical stories, urban fantasy, vampire sagas or steampunk, etc. The only major requirements are that nominations for king and queen must be human (or human-type) characters, whilst nominations for chancellor are restricted to non-human (or non-human type) characters, and that the winners from the previous year are no eligible for re-election.

How It Works

  • Nominations are made between now and the end of Saturday, April 25th, 2020(23:59 SLT), using the form below.
  • The top five nominees for each role – king, queen and chancellor – will be selected for a final vote-off.
  • During the Faire, people will have the opportunity to vote for their favourites.
    • There is a fee payable for voting, but all money raised will go to Relay for Life.
  • The winners will be announced at the Fantasy Faire Live Auction on Sunday, May 3rd.

Past Winners

  • 2019: king: the Goblin King (Labyrinth – 2nd time); queen: Ser Brienne of Tarth (Game of Thrones); co-chancellors: Falkor, the Good Luck Dragon (Neverending Story and Kalessin of Earthsea (Earthsea novels). Not these are not eligible for nomination again in 2020
  • 2018: king: Gandalf; queen: Galadriel; chancellor: Totoro.
  • 2017: king: Serverus Snape (Harry Potter); queen: Leia Organa (Star Wars); chancellor: Rhiow (Book of Night With Moon).
  • 2016: king: The Goblin King; queen: October Daye; chancellor: The Last Unicorn.
  • 2015: king: Havelock Vetinari; queen: Granny Weatherwax; chancellor: Greebo the Cat.

Additional Links

Previewing Lab Gab 22: Caledonia Skytower

via Linden Lab

The next edition of Lab Gab will be live streamed on Friday, April 17th, 11:00 SLT, and while it is not a show featuring a member of the Lab’s team, I’m mentioning it here because it will be featuring someone I consider to be an exceptionally talented woman, whose work oft runs entirely under the radar for most users  – and the amount of work she puts into Second Life is incredible.

Caledonia Skytower is the director of Seanchai Library in Second Life, a post she has held for as long as I’ve known her, and in which she organises, frequently hosts and often designs, the groups activities and events.

For those not familiar with Seanchai Library, it is perhaps the longest-running group in Second Life devoted to bringing stories, literature, poems and more to life in Second Life and beyond through the spoken word. Founded in 2008, Seanchai Library has presented thousands of storytelling events across the grid, and in the process has raised thousands of US dollars for numerous charities. The group takes its name, which it formally adopted in 2010 two years after being founded, from seanchai (pr. Shawn-a-kee – a traditional Irish storyteller/historian).

As well as bringing a weekly series of readings and events at their headquarters at Holly Kai Park, Seanchai Library has also made numerous immersive storytelling presentations across Second Life, including their annual Christmas trip to Victorian England with The Dickens Project, and events such as an immersive telling of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, to name but two. In addition, Seanchai Library lends its skills to events and activities run by others across the grid.

The timing of Strawberry’s interview with Caledonia couldn’t be better, as this year marks Seanchai Library’s 12th year of activities in Second Life (They’ve also built a presence in Kitely), and next week they will again be supporting Fantasy Faire.

Caledonia Skytower (l) with Strawberry Linden on the Lab Gab set

Cale herself is a gifted theatre producer, writer and storyteller. She has also – whilst via in Second Life – brought the virtual and the physical together with a joint presentation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatesby with the Tacoma Little Theatre, which allowed audiences attending a stage performance based on the book to go into a virtual environment designed by Cale and Seanchai Library, and learn more about the novel, the period in which it was set and F. Scott Fitzgerald himself.

Given this, she will make an engaging guest on the show and offer people a real glimpse inside the work of Seanchai Library. As usual, the programme will be streamed via YouTube, Facebook, Mixer, or Periscope, so be sure to tune in!

My thanks to Berry for responding so positively to the suggestion Cale is approached to appear on the show.

Bright Canopy, the streaming service for SL, discontinued

I admit I’m getting to this somewhat late, although I don’t recall seeing it reported elsewhere among the blogs, etc., I try to read.

In January 2020, Bright Canopy, the one remaining streaming service for Second Life (and OpenSim) ceased operations. I’m actually a little embarrassed by not having noticed the change, given that I played a very small role in it getting started.

While possibly not a well-known service, Bright Canopy was officially launched at the end of August 2015, having come about (at relatively high speed) as a result of the folding of the SL Go streaming service. SL Go had, in turn, been the first functional SL streaming service, put together with LL’s help by former game streaming company OnLive. It established a small but loyal following before it came to an end after OnLive was forced to sell its IP to Sony as a result of not being able to generate the revenue through its various services (including SL Go) it needed to remain viable.

At the time of SL Go’s demise, I ruminated on the potential of the Lab running a streamed SL service through Amazon AppSstream (see: Could the Lab use Amazon AppStream to “replace” SL Go?), and that prompted Second Life user and app developer Bill Glover to comment:

Let’s just do it ourselves! You really got me thinking. I’d can launch a service right now if I get enough folks for Beta.

Bill and Jeri Glover: creators of the Bright Canopy service

Bill and his wife, Jeri, set about working on the idea whilst user Nebadon Izumi, also picking up on my ruminations, started his own tests using AppsStream,. I reported on his work a few days later (see: Using Amazon AppStream to stream a viewer – although sadly Nebadon’s video that originally accompanied that article was later removed from You Tube), and as a result of that article, Nikola Bozinovic, founder and CEO of Frame, a cloud-based service focused on delivering Windows applications to users, suggested his service could be used to deliver Second Life through the cloud.

Nikola Bozinovic, founder of Frame, worked with Bill and Jeri to make Bright Canopy happen, with Frame eventually acquiring Bright Canopy as a service in June 2016

Bill and Nikola quickly got their heads together, and within 24 hours, they had their own proof-of-concept running, delivering the official SL viewer over Frame via Amazon (as an aside, even while Bill and Nikola were in discussions, I tried Frame directly for myself).

As a streaming service, Bright Canopy did incur a cost for users – initially US $17.00 a month (necessary as operating costs from both AWS and Frame needed to be covered), but it continued where SL Go left off, offering both the official viewer and Firestorm to users for the same quality of graphics delivered to almost any computer / device as offered directly by the viewer. Over time the service expanded, adding Singularity to the list of viewers available, together with Blender and Gimp for those who might want CPU / GPU horsepower for their content creation work.

I actually lost track of Bright Canopy in the years post 2016, but it continued to be available, and several friends continued to use it as an away-from-home alternative to their viewer. My interest was stirred again in late 2018, when I caught the news the Frame itself had been acquired by Nutanix, as I was curious as to what it might mean for Bright Canopy. But as nothing appeared to change, I once again lost track of things.

However, as Jodi Serenity – who used the service on occasion – informed me, things did change at the start of 2020, with Nutanix discontinuing Bright Canopy and an offering. No reason (such as lack of subscribers) has been given, and Jodi informs me she has no recollection of any e-mail that may have been circulated ahead of the suspension of the service.

The ending of Bright Canopy means that currently, there is no longer a streaming service for Second Life. However, the landscape for accessing the platform without resorting to a full blown viewer has also changed in the years since SL Go and Bright Canopy first arose. Apps like Lumiya have shown what can be done in terms of client apps that can also render the world, and we currently have Speedlight the Android / browser client with its nascent world rendering capability, while LL themselves have hinted their own iOS  / Android client may eventually progress to world rendering.

Bright Canopy running Second Life through Frame, offering those on low-specification computers to enjoy the full graphic richness of the platform with (allowing for network vagaries) low latency

Of course, none of these options render Second Life to a fidelity that can be achieved by a streaming service – but they have the advantage of being offered at a lower price. That said, the cost of streaming is also slowly changing, and even the Lab has been pondering whether they might want to offer a service at some point in the future – so it is very possible (if not probable) that Bright Canopy’s passing is not the last we’ll hear of a Second Life streaming service.