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 188.8.131.523157, dated June 11th, promoted June 23rd, formerly the CEF RC viewer – No change.
Release channel cohorts:
Tools Update RC viewer updated to version 184.108.40.2064474 on July 7th.
Arrack Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 220.127.116.114465 on July 5th.
Update: Elivon re-opened in August 2021 at a new, Full region location – see my review here. As such, the SLurl here has been modified to point to the new location.
When we first visited Elvion back in early 2019, we found it to be a magical ¼-Homstead parcel dressed as an elven retreat quite bewitching in its design and layout (see: Elvion: an elven sanctuary in Second Life). Later that year, Elvion relocated to take up an entire Homestead region, bringing with it a wholly new design that presented visitors with a setting beautifully suggestive of the open countryside of a national park, complete with distant mountains (see Elvion expands in Second Life).
Sadly, Elvion vanished from Second Life when its designer, Bo Zano (BoZanoNL) and his SL partner, Una Zano (UnaMayLi) opted to take a break from SL. However, Miro Collas, who first alerted me about Elvion back in 2019, prodded me via Twitter over the weekend to pass on the news that Bo and Una were both back in SL, and that Elvion would be opening anew on July 12th, 2020; so we scurried over to take a look.
The new landscape offers something of the look and feel of Elvion’s late 2019 design: there are the distant mountains / hills framing one side of the region, the low-lying grasslands cut by water, and familiar bridges that span said water. However, this is no reproduction of a previous design. There is a lot that is wholly unique to this iteration of Elvion that make it unique to itself and that carries with it a sense that rather than emulating a past build, this is in fact a continuation; that were we to follow the coastline far enough, or perhaps climb over the north-western mountains, we’d find ourselves once more looking out over Elvion’s past landscape.
This is also a place that offers a echo of Elvion’s more mystical elements. Tucked away behind a screen of giant oak and fir trees, for example, lie the overgrown ruins of a gigantic cathedral-like structure (a clever kitbashing of Mark Inkpen’s Chapel Ruins, a long-time favourite of mine).
Rising from among the trees, this is a place where water drops from high on the walls, flooding its lower floor even as more water bursts from rocks at the base of one wall. These rocks may one have been part of the foundational stone on which the great building had been established, but they have been rudely thrust upwards by some cataclysmic event that perhaps brought about the structure’s ruin. For those who wade across the shallow flood waters, a set of steps lead up to where a fountain awaits, doves keeping watch on the stone benches alongside it.
Away from this mighty ruin, and across the low-lying grassland and the swift-flowing river flowing through it, lies a smaller ruin, this one of an old tower. It is reached via two wooden bridges that use a long, slender mid-stream island to span the fast-flowing waters. Fed by falls tumbling from the north-western highlands, the waters of the river have a crisp, cold look to them, as if they are largely melt water originating in the snows of the mountains, so the bridges are a welcome means of reaching across them.
The eastern bank of the river shares offers space to both the tower ruin (with the curio of an old barber’s chair sitting within it) and a small summer house converted into a cosy bedroom. The latter also has a little fenced garden close by, offering one of the regions many places to sit – another can be found just to the north of the old tower, where a bench swing hangs from a high bough.
It is around the summer house and old tower that the richness of Elvion’s wildlife can be particularly found, as deer graze amidst the lush grass, watched over by birds, and heron sit patiently on the rocky banks of the river, awaiting lunch in the form of a passing unwary fish. In addition, elk can be found on the island and close to the cathedral ruins, while geese circle overhead and seagulls ride the breeze over the region’s eastern bay.
The presence of the animals and birds again echo past Elvion designs whilst adding that attractive sense of depth we like to see in region designs. They also add a tweak of humour as well – keep an eye out for a couple of members of the Rat Pack and two of the Three Stooges who are hanging around the island (I understand the third Stooge and another member of the Rat Pack might get to be added!).
Finished with a rich sound scape, and with much more hidden away awaiting discovery (do keep an eye on the region’s coastline, as there are one or two little areas of peace and solitude tucked away!), Elvion once again presents a natural setting perfect for exploration (including via a wearable horse, if you have one) and for photography.
Kody Meyers is a Second Life photographer who genuinelyneeds no introduction; his landscape and avatar studies are among the most recognisable at exhibitions across the grid. Nevertheless, it is always a pleasure to witness them on display, and just such an opportunity to do so can be found at Raging Bellls Raging Graphix Gallery.
Having opened in July 11th, the exhibition will run through the next 4 weeks, and presents some 20 pieces of Kody’s work which fully and richly demonstrate the broad approach he takes to his art.
Each picture depicts a story or is a reminder of an experience one can reflect upon when admiring it. As a perfectionist, I take the time necessary to capture the picture, experimenting with different angles, framings and windlights, until the perfect shot is created — the one that comes alive.
– Kody Meyers describing his work
The stories are brought to life not just through Kody’s technical approach to his work, but also through his eye for post-processing. In this, as he notes, he uses a variety of programmes and approaches that allow him to fully tell the story he finds within each image.
To try to describe the pictures in the selection offered in this exhibition would be a waste; each is a genuine work of art that deserves to be seen first-hand, and its story properly allowed to unfold as one witnesses both the complete picture and all of the many details Kody has captured within it and that stand as chapters – or at least lines – within the story.
So rather than me attempt to offer descriptions, do take the time to go as see for yourself – particularly if by some chance you’ve not previously seen Kody’s work. You won’t be disappointed.