Randelsham Forest in Second Life

Randelsham Forest

Shortly after Linden Lab launched the Log (or lodge, as I tend to prefer) Homes for Premium members on Bellisseria (see Second Life: Log Theme Linden Homes released), they started to add – as they had with other Linden Homes themes – a number of public spaces. Some are on the main run of land, others sit on islands within the lakes and rivers. All offer places of escape and relaxation. Chief among them its is Randelsham Forest, intended to act as a community hub, open to those who might wish to make use of it.

We actually visited Randelsham back at the end of April. It’s a rugged location, sitting between lowlands with house and a large, semi-sinuous body of inland water. At the time, I didn’t blog about it, as it appeared the regions around it were still very much a work in progress: whilst on a stretch of the Bellisseria railway passes by and has a local station, the line doesn’t as yet connect to anything.

Randelsham Forest

This is still the case, but it’s clear that now that SL17B no longer requires the input, the Moles are returning to work on Bellisseria, so I’ve little doubt things will be properly connected up.

The focal point for the setting is a large “tree house”, in part sitting up on wooden legs from the shore of the lake to level itself with the railway station, to which it is linked by a wooden board walk. Split into two, the tree house offers a large lounge area with wooden walls with a long balcony to one side with a bubble rezzer at the far end for those who fancy taking to the air. A bridge on the other side runs down to an open-sided platform ranged around the trunk of one of the area’s great redwoods.

Randelsham Forest

Like other community areas before it, the tree house is able to be reserved as a community use space to gather with the community, your friends. socialize, hold events, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

– Patch Linden, April 27th, 2020

Lamp-lit paths await discovery, offering opportunities for people to the means to descend down to the banks of the lake, where trails further give opportunities for exploration and to find places to sit.

Randelsham Forest

The paths also offer routes up into the hills rising either side of the rail lines, to peaks where people have the opportunity to take to the air in a different way – via zip line;  although when we tried it, the ride was a little rough! The line out to the lake’s island also (at the time of our visit) leaves folk without an option to get back to shore without flapping their arms to take to the air; I assume this will be rectified as more work in the area is completed (a rowing-boat rezzer, perhaps, to connect to the little pier below the tree house?

With a path down to the houses on the inland side of the hills, Randelsham offer a perfect setting for the locals to use and hold their own events, planned or spur-of-the-moment. On a broader front, it, and the social spaces large and small that can be found throughout Bellisseria offer the means to help break-up the land and present places for explorers and visitors to discover. For my part, I’m looking forward returning and using it for a start of some more horseback explorations of Bellisseria.

Randelsham Forest

SLurl Details

DimiVan Ludwig at Kultivate Signature Gallery

Kultivate Signature Gallery: DimiVan Ludwig

Long-term Second Life resident DimiVan Ludwig – Dimi to his friends – is a man of many talents: business owner, musician and photographer. As a business owner, he created and ran the Hummingbird Café between 2006 and 2011, and is also the owner of the Duval Pub. As a musician, he was a regular performer at both, and at venues across SL, including Menorca, the first live music venue in Second Life (2005) and recently re-created in-world.

As a photographer, DimiVan works both in the physical and digital worlds, and his work from both is currently the subject of an exhibition at the Kultivate Signature Gallery.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: DimiVan Ludwig

The introduction to the exhibition notes:

He calls himself a novice, but those who have seen his photographs would say otherwise. He frames his shots with the final product in mind, editing very little in post production. He uses his Nikon d3500 to shoot real life landscapes. In Second Life, he prefers to snap portraits utilising the features provided by LUMIPro. 

On witnessing the pieces on display, I would have to agree to the first part of this statement: there is a natural framing to the pieces, whether avatar study, physical world portrait or landscape (from either realm), that presents the subject matter in singular depth that is a delight to witness and marks Dimi as having a natural eye for photography.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: DimiVan Ludwig

Presented across the three floors of the gallery space, there is also a certain thematic approach to way they have been laid out. On the lower floor, the focus is predominantly from Second Life, presenting on the one side avatar studies (although with a couple of portrait images from the physical world), and on the other Second Life landscapes. On the middle level are photos from the physical world, whilst the upper is reserved for Second Life images of a more intimate / adult nature and which should probably be regarded as NSFW.

I admit to being particularly drawn to the pictures on the mid-level. This is not to say I do not appreciate the SL photographs – I do. But there is such a depth and marvellously natural set to each of the images from the physical world, that they naturally draw the eye; in fact I’d go so far as to say that one in particular demonstrates that as well as having a flair for capturing the natural world, Dimi potentially has a keen eye for astronomical photography.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: DimiVan Ludwig

Another excellent exhibition for Kultivate, featuring a gifting artist.

SLurl Details

2020 viewer release summaries week #26

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, June 28th

This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
  • Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release viewer version, dated June 11th, promoted June 23rd, formerly the CEF RC viewer – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Arrack Maintenance RC viewer,, issued on June 24. This viewer uses Viewer Manager 2.0.538279 and contains logging to check for Vulkan graphics support in Windows systems.
    • Tools Update RC viewer updated to version, June 25. This viewer is built using VS 2017 / a recent version of Xcode, and Boost.Fiber. It contains no user-facing changes.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers


  • No updates.


  • Cool VL viewer stable branch updated to 1.28.0  on June 27th. Deprecates all previous stable / experimental versions – release notes.

Mobile / Other Clients

  • Speedlight updated to support name search (Friends/IMs). No version number available.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Sunday: SpaceX and a rapid round-up

Starship SN7 rises briefly through a cloud of super-cold nitrogen gas after the base of the tank ruptured during a deliberate over-pressurisation teat, June 23rd. Credit: LabPadre

SpaceX has had a busy week. Following the loss of the Starship prototype SN4, the company has been pushing ahead with the construction of prototypes SN5 and SN6 – one of which is likely to complete the first flight tests for the vehicle.

These prototypes look a little odd to some, resembling little more than steel cylinders. This is because SpaceX is currently focused purely on the vertical ascent / decent capabilities of the vehicle, and for this they only need the section of the hull that contains the fuel tanks and the raptor motors. Experience in flying the smaller Starhopper vehicle demonstrated there is no need to include the vehicle’s upper sections or the dynamic flight surfaces – although these will be added as the test flights become more ambitious and broader in scope.

Starships SN5 and SN6 under construction at the SpaceX Boca Chica Midbay building: Credit: SpaceX

Also following the destruction of the SN4 prototype, the company started work on the SN7 vehicle. This caused some speculation as to where it might fit in the test vehicle series. Might it be the start of a prototype that does go on to include the said upper sections and flight surfaces? Was it being built in case SN5 or SN6 went the way of SN4 and SN3?

As it turned out, SN7 was constructed specifically for further tests on tank pressurisation. On June 15th, 2020 the tank, mounted on a test stand was filled with liquid nitrogen (used in testing because it mimics the super-cold temperatures of the propellants the tanks will eventually contain, and so exposes the tank to the same temperature stresses, but if the tank ruptures, it will not explode) to its maximum pressure. It resulted in a slight leak developing, which was repaired. Then, on June 23rd, the tank was once more filled with liquid nitrogen – but this time to a pressure well beyond it would have to face when in use during a launch.

With nitrogen gas still roiling on the ground, Zeus, the robot dog (arrowed) goes in to check the area around the wrecked SN7 tank. Credit: LabPadre

The results were spectacular: an initial rupture occurs in the lower half of the tank, instantly expand into a tear along its base seam that released the liquid nitrogen in such bulk and pressure that it instantly vaporised en masse, venting with a force that lifted tank and test stand sideways off the ground. Immediately after the incident, SpaceX deployed their newest team member, Zeus.

A robot “dog” developed by Boston Dynamics (which they generically call “Spot”), Zeus is being used by SpaceX to assess potentially hazardous situations around the Boca Chica test site – in this case, the ground conditions following exposure to so much liquid nitrogen that took time to completely boil off. In typical SpaceX humour, the company has even erected a large Snoopy-style dog house on the grounds that’s allegedly the robot dog’s home.

And aerial view: the remnants of SN7 can be seen on their side, the test stand attached. The grey area “below” it is the concrete base on which it stood. A second test stand sits “above” the wreck. Credit: RGV Aerial Photography

One of the reasons for taking the test beyond limits was to check the steel used in SN7’s construction. Earlier versions of the Starship prototypes had been built with 301 stainless steel, but the company has opted to switch to the stronger 304L, and the degree to which the tank stood up to the test is being seen as indicative that the 304L is structurally a better choice.

Also during the week, NASA announced that the Crew Dragon currently docked with the International Space Station will likely return to Earth at the start of August 2020, with its crew of Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. Its return will pave the way for the first “operational” crew Dragon launch, which will carry astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker (commander) and Soichi Noguchi to the ISS at the end of August or early September.

Starship prototype SN5 being raised on to its test stand. In the foreground is the Spacehopper. Credit: BocaChicaGal

In a separate announcement, the agency further indicated that in a change to their requirements, they will in future allow SpaceX to make use of re-used Falcon 9 first stages in Crew Dragon launches. Previously, the agency had specified that each crewed mission must take place using a new Crew Dragon and new Falcon 9 launcher. The change came after a second Falcon 9 first stage successfully completed its fifth launch and landing.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: SpaceX and a rapid round-up”