Lab Gab 23 summary: meet the EEP team!

via Linden Lab

The 23rd edition of Lab Gab live streamed on Friday, April 24, featuring Rider Linden, Ptolemy Linden and Euclid Linden, who between them form the core team behind the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP), officially released by Linden Lab on Monday, April 20th.

The official video of the segment is available via You Tube, and is embedded at the end of this article. The following is a summary of the key topics discussed and responses to questions asked.

Rider Linden is a Senior Software Engineer who has been with Linden Lab for just over five years – although his familiarity with Second Life goes back beyond that, as he is one of the many personnel LL have recruited from the ranks of Second Life users. He was responsible for initially defining the EEP project. He then went on to develop the viewer controls for EEP, taking considerable feedback from users along the way, as well as working with the rendering team during the project’s development. More recently, he has transitioned over the the simulator team, working on that side of the SL and routinely attending the Simulator User Group meetings.

Ptolemy Linden and Euclid Linden are more recent hires at the Lab, both are working on the rendering side of Second Life. Both have been Lindens for around 6-7 months, and have really cut their teeth as Lindens whilst working on EEP. Neither was a resident prior to joining the Lab, and both are now looking forward to tackling more graphics-related work within the viewer.

Euclid, Rider and Ptolemy Linden will be joined Strawberry Linden to discuss EEP

What Is EEP?

EEP is a set of environmental enhancements for Second Life that supersede th use of Windlight XML files. The primary aim of the project was to make lighting / atmospheric / water environments easier to create and use within Second Life and extend the ability to customise them to the parcel level. In brief EEP:

  • Uses environment objects that you can keep in your inventory and / or share with others – including selling (subject to the SL permissions system) via in-world stores and on the Marketplace.
  • Provides parcel-level control of environments.
  • Allows up to four different, independently controlled sky layers.
  • Allows custom textures for the Sun, Moon and clouds.
  • Provides an extended day cycle of up to 168 hours (thus allowing a 7-day, 24-hour day / night cycle to be defined, for example).
  • Means that as environments settings are simulator-side, and so by default are automatically seen by anyone using any EEP enabled viewer on entering the region / estate / parcel.
  • Still allows the use of “personal” settings seen only be the use applying them, for the purposes of photography, machinima, etc.
  • Provides additional LSL controls for environments.


Unresolved Issues

EEP was promoted to release status with 75 issues on the viewer listed as “unresolved” (viewer version Will LL continue to work to resolve these?

  • LL was focused on clearing what were considered to be major / severe issues with the system before releasing.
  • Remaining issues are viewed as annoyance / edge cases rather than things that prevent EEP from being used. These will be cleared up as time allows, but not within what might be considered a dedicated EEP project at this point in time.
  • The exception to this will be any issue which proves to be a continuing problem for users in trying to use EEP, and which becomes a source of widespread forum complaint and / or the subject of bug reports.

Can the EEP UI Elements be Reduced in Size?

Several of the EEP UI elements take up a lot of screen real estate. Can these be reduced in size in future viewers / altered so that they can be resized by users?

  • There is a wider project at the Lab to revisit a lot of the viewer UI.
  • The EEP UI elements will like fall under this work.

Can EEP Settings be Applied via a Drop-down List, Rather than Attached?

  • No, as they are contained in inventory assets.
  • However, there is another broader than EEP project to look at inventory in general, and providing the means for users to preview EEP items which may, as it matures, help.

Does EEP Affect Teleports / Region Crossings?

(Asked as a result of the April 21st issues, which were not EEP related, but part of wider Internet issues within the United States).

  • Not at all.
  • The simulators have been supporting EEP for over a year thus far.
  • The additional data carried through  TP  / region crossing due to an applied EEP asset is minimal.
  • Transitions in EEP are handle very fast, and shouldn’t interfere with physical region crossings in vehicles [it has been noted at Simulator User Group meeting that if you are travelling fast enough to pass from region to region to region before EEP can fully transition from the first the the second environment, it will skip the second and go directly to rendering the third].

Further Information on EEP

Does EEP Work on TPVs?

  • As the code is adopted by them, yes.

Will In-World Objects Need Updating to Look Right Under EEP?

  • A lot of time has been spent by the Lab trying to ensure that EEP renders objects as closely as possible to how they look under Windlight.
  • It’s note entirely one-to-one in all situations, and there may be some subtle differences. However, the hope is that for the majority of objects, EEP shouldn’t present a significantly different look.
  • If there are significant breakages in how some object look, the request is for creators to raise a bug report JIRA on them (and provide a sample to the Lab, if possible / requested).

How Can EEP Settings / Object be Created? Can they be Sold?

  • EEP settings / assets can be created in inventory with EEP-enabled viewers and experimented with.
    • For EEP viewer, the Library includes a group of settings (Library → Environments) that can be copied to Inventory and then edited and experimented with / used.
Creating a new EEP asset via the + button (1) or via right-clicking on the Settings folder and the selecting the required asset type from the create menu > My Settings option (2)

Can I Use My Old Windlights with EEP?

  • Windlight settings cannot be used directly with EEP. Windlight used XML files external to the viewer; EEP uses settings contained with SL inventory assets.
  • Windlight settings can be imported into EEP however.
Use the Import button in the edit floater to open a file picker and select the windlight to be imported

Will There Be More Rendering / Graphics Improvements for SL?

  • Rendering enhancement are on-going (e.g. via the Love Me Render project, which periodically releases RC viewers with rendering updates and fixes).
  • Id there is something specific you would like to see, please raise a feature request for consideration.

WILL SL Ever Have A New Rendering Engine?

  • Second Life cannot really adopt a commercial rendering engine, as the platform is too highly adopted to the user-generated content in-world.
  • However, as noted, it is actively being worked on for improvements, and this includes removing legacy code where it is no longer required.
    • An example of this is the EEP viewer code removes the ability to turn off the basic shaders in the viewer.
  • There are certain imperatives that are driving some system changes related to the rendering engine – such as Apple discontinuing support for OpenGL.
  • Trying to re-engineer SL to use a commercial engine also simply doesn’t make sense, as it would mean “throwing away” all that has been developed so far and practically re-engineering SL from the ground up.


A Fairelands Journey: Siren’s Lore

Fantasy Faire 2020: Siren’s Lore

Our first view of the Fairelands – both our goal and the true start of our journey – came as our vessel approached the Isle of Shadows. It was perhaps not an auspicious start to our pilgrimage: the masts of sunken ships lay scattered amongst the rocky teeth that broke the surface of the waters leading to the inner bay; but our Captain assured us that the route to anchor was known to him, and as the clouds parted, our spirits lifted at the sight of the great vessel floating among them, held aloft by the form of a great dragon – Fairechylde!

Of course tales of this great flying ship had reached our homelands – where many considered it little more than a myth – but to see it now and after so long at sea, renewed our spirits, and we gathered on the deck as our ship slowly drifted into the bay, its anchors breaking the surface of the waters. Boats were lowered, and we were carried ashore aboard them, the entire crew eager to climb the ladders and steps that passed up through the raised hull that formed the moorings for Fairechylde, eager to avail themselves of the sky-ship’s welcome.

As much as we felt the same wish, and to seek the great caverns rumoured to be here, our path lay in a different direction. A guide awaited us on the the shores of the bay, ready to guide us onwards, across the high wooden bridge to where a stone path lay across the broken lands to where the high walls of our first destination lay, wreathed in afternoon mist.

Fantasy Faire 2020: Isle of Shadows

Passing over the bridge, we paused to look back at the bay and our ship, the Fairchylde floating above, before the road dipped into the vale beyond, carrying us past a tiny town formed from the trunks and stumps of trees. Whilst lights were starting to shine from little windows, we saw no sign of who lived within these strange small houses – the inhabitants perhaps driven indoors by the sound of our clumping feet and the hoof-falls of our mounts – and I was filled with a desire to wander down along the stone paths that ran from trunk to trunk, but with the lowering Sun approaching the horizon, our guide insisted we moved onwards.

And so at length we came to those high walls. Imposing from a distance, suggestive of great strength, I expected them to be watched over by armoured guards, our way forward challenged. But as we drew close, it was clear the walls had long since become broken, gates long ago gone, and so we passed unhindered into the realm of Siren’s Lore.

Fantasy Faire 2020: Siren’s Lore

Once a great and powerful city, Siren’s Lore stood through the ages as a beacon of beauty and power, a haven to all who came to her gates. A place close to the seas, the gods of which were revered by the city’s people. Then it had been a place of great commerce, where sea and land met harmony.

But that was before the Fall, its reason lost in time, but it left the city broken, towers and buildings crumbling, the  streets vanishing beneath the waves. And yet the citizens survived, and whilst the glory of the city’s former build was forever lost, so was a new Siren’s Lore born; a place where the Protectress still stands watch over the city’s remains and the the merchants, patrons and visitors who walk the wooden paths that have been lain to replaced the once sunlit streets that ran straight and true.  

Fantasy Faire 2020: Siren’s Lore

For Siren’s Lore, both lost and found, is once again a place of commerce, and we passed by many shops offering all manner of goods. It is also a place rich in mystery, and magical ruined beauty, all enhanced, I left as we passed along the wooden paths as the Sun reached the horizon and cast long shadows across the overgrown ruins of what might once of been a great palace or fortress.

And so it was that we came to the end of our first day within the lands of the Faire, strangers to these realms, yet welcomed, ushered to a place of refreshment and rest, where we could renew ourselves with a peaceful night’s sleep unbroken by the roll and creak of an ocean bound vessel. And as I settled upon my pallet in readiness for sleep, my mouth still tingling at the exotic taste of the foods we had been offered, I wondered what strange places we might find as we continued our journey on the morrow.

Fantasy Faire: Siren’s Lore

Isle of Shadows designed by Aelva & Emme Eales and sponsored by Seanchai Library.

Siren’s Lore designed by Syn Beresford and sponsored by Petrichor and Elysion. Featuring stores by: Ars Hokori, Belle Epoque, Celeste, Dragon Magick Wares, En Pointe, Harshlands, Living the FantaSea, LuluB!, Poet’s Heart & Mermaid Treasure Boutique, Poseidon, [QE] Designs, Romin Creations, RVi Design,[][]Trap[][], Valkyr RP, Voodoo, and Witchcraft.

Total raised on Day 1: L$1,829,351 (US $7,317).

SLurls and Related Links

Regions are rated Moderate.


2020 Kultivate Spring Arts show in Second Life

Kultivate Spring Art Show 2020

The 5th Annual Kultivate Spring Art Show opens it doors on Friday April 24th, 2020, and will run through until Saturday May 2nd.

Carrying a Parisian theme, complete with the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, and with art studios sitting with French style town houses fronted by cobblestone walks, the Spring Show also marks the re-launch of Kultivate Magazine, the April 2020 edition of which is currently available.

The event featured 2D and 3D artists, entertainment with live performers, give away events with special prizes, juried and non-juried art contests, hunts, storytelling and cabaret.

Kultivate Spring Art Show 2020

The artist participating in the event comprise: AlexAvion, Angyel Resident, Anouk Lefavre, Danielofangel, Eucalyptus Carroll, Freedom Voix, Ilyra Chardin, Jamee Sandalwood, Johannes Huntsman, Judilynn India, Juliette Rainfall, Kacey Macbeth, Kapaan, KodyMeyers Resident, Leaf Mia Lone, Michael Lysios, mth63, Myra Wildmist, Paineful, Rory Torrance, Sabine Mortenwold, SandyBlackCloud,  Sheba Blitz, Skye Joubert, softandred, softandred, Solana Python, Syphera Inaka, TaraAers, Tempest Rosca, Vanessa Jane, Veruca Tammas, ViktorSavior,  Whata Conundrum, and Zigmal.

In addition, there are special exhibition by Debauche Dance, Dirty Pretty, & The Art Loft.

Hunt information can be found on the information boards within the event grounds, close to the landing point.

The Photo Challenge

Open to all visitors to the Kultivate Spring Art Show, the Photo Challenge offers a prize pool of L$5,000 shared between the four selected winners, with the winning images published on the Kultivate website.

To enter, all you have to do is take a picture of yourself whilst visiting the show (moderate or pg/g in rating), and then upload it to the contest Flickr group. Make sure you include the SLurl of where you took the image in the Flickr description, and that your image is uploaded to the Flickr group before 23:59 SLT on Thursday, April 30th, 2020.

Full guidelines and rules can be found on the challenge page on the Kultivate website.

Kultivate Spring Art Show 2020

Event Schedule

Times, where given, are SLT. Note that there may be further give away prizes at events.

  • Friday, April 24, 2020
    • Exhibition opens.
    • Photo Contest and Art Quest begin.
    • Judging of Juried Categories Begins.
    • Entertainment:
      • 16:00-17:00: live performer Wolfie Starfire.
      • 17:00-18:00: live performer SaraMarie Philly.
  • Saturday, April 25, 2020
    • 16:00-17:00: White Party with live performer Aislen Sings
      • Photo background HUD and & Fotoscope Fotostudio give aways.
    • 17:00-18:00: White Party with live performer Melenda Baptiste
      • The Camden Photo Studio Build by Maven Homes give away.
  • Sunday, April 26, 2020
    • 13:00-14:00: Sam Quenda.
    • 14:00-15:00: live storytelling with Seanchai Library.
  • Monday, April 27, 2020
    • 16:00-17:00: Spring Art Ball with live performer Holly Giles.
      • Trompe Loeil L$1,000 gift card give away.
Kultivate Spring Art Show 2020
  • Tuesday, April 28, 2020
    • 17:00-18:00: Audience Participation Cabaret with Whymsee.
      • L$1,000 give away.
  • Wednesday, April 29, 2020
    • 16:00-17:00: live performer Savannah Rain.
      • TEMPLAR Poses give away.
  • Thursday, April 30, 2020
    • 16:00-17:00: Kultivate Magazine relaunch party with live performer Mavenn
      • LumiPro give away.
    • Photo Contest Entries Due
    • Judges Selections Due
  • Friday, May 1, 2020
    • 16:00-17:00: live performer Max Kleene.
    • Palette Hunt and Art Quest end.
  • Saturday, May 2, 2020
    • 13:00-14:30: Closing Party.
      • Juried winners announced & awards ceremony.
      • Photo Contest winners announced.
      • Event ends.

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A journey to Orkney in Second Life

Endless 58-58N, April 2020 – click any image for full size

Orkney is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, about 16 km from the coast of Caithness, comprising some 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited, the largest being simply called Mainland. It is now also the subject of the latest region design by  Sombre Nyx called Endless 58-58N – in recognition of both her Endless region builds and Orkney’s northerly latitude (58º 58′ north).

Presenting an archipelago within an area just 256m on a side is not easy, but Endless 58-58N does so quite magnificently. True, there are off-sim surrounds that can help give the sense of depth to a location, however, how well they work can be a matter of debate. Here, by combining them with a hazy Windlight environment, Sombre has created a setting that perfectly captures the sense of being within a group of islands caught within the hazy coolness of the North Atlantic.

Endless 58-58N, April 2020

Thus Endless 58-58N is an engaging representation of Orkney’s gentle rugged beauty, with the focus on the South Isles as then encompass the natural basin of Scapa Flow, once the home of Britain’s Grand Fleet, and the place where the German Imperial German Navy was scuttled in 1918, the vessels that could not be salvaged becoming  – along with a number of sunken British ship – a popular dive spot.

That the region appears to be a representation of Scapa Flow and the larger islands surrounding it comes not only from region’s introductory note card, by by the shape of the largest island in the region, which has the look of part of Mainland, Orkney’s largest island. Also, the tall finger of rock that rises from the south-west side of the second largest island carries with in a suggestion of The Old Man of Hoy, another of the islands that surround the bay.

Endless 58-58N, April 2020

Orkney has a long history of occupation dating back to Mesolithic and Neolithic times. Much evidence of this can still be found among the island, including the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. To reflect this, Endless 58-58N includes its own standing stones, watching over the sheep that graze on the slopes below them.

There is no set route to exploring the region – from the landing point, visitors can wander where they will. As with Orkney and the wilds of Caithness, this is an open, rolling setting with few trees, but with coastal areas raised in hard, rugged cliffs. A small fishing wharf with piers and boats sits at the foot of one of these cliffs, just over a cottage-topped hill from the landing point. A single road runs back from this little port to where a deck sits out over the waters of the bay, offering a place to sit and appreciate the view.

Endless 58-58N, April 2020

Getting to the other two islands of the region is a case of flying, there being no obvious ferry or rowing boat to take. Do note, however, that there is a separate parcel to the south-west of the region sitting between the large island and its two small neighbours that has ban lines active, so care should be taken in that area.

Endless 58-58N is a region that deserves to be seen first-hand; minimal yet rich in detail, perfectly set within its windlight environment and with subtle celebrations of Orkney’s history, it is genuinely a delight to visit and photograph. Keep an eye out for the local seals as well!

Endless 58-58N, April 2020

With thanks to Shawn for the pointer!

SLurl Details