2020 Simulator User Group week #29 summary

The Empire of Dreaming Books, May 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken during the Simulator User Group meeting of Tuesday, July 14th, 2020.

Simulator Deployments

Please refer to the server deployment thread for news and updates:

  • On Tuesday, July 14th, the majority of the grid was updated with server release 544419, first deployed to the RC channels on Wednesday, July 8th. This should resolve issues with off-line inventory offers and group notice attachments, although a viewer-side update is also required, which is in the current Arrack RC viewer.
  • On Wednesday, July 15th, the RC channels should be updated with server maintenance update 544832, designed to resolve issues with some internal service updates, chat range improvements and capability improvements.

SL Viewer

There have been no official viewer updates to mark the start of the week, leaving the current pipelines as follows:

  • Current Release viewer version, dated June 11, promoted June 23, formerly the CEF RC viewer – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
  • Project viewers:
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version, June 30.
    • Mesh uploader project viewer, version, June 11.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version, November 22, 2019.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, September 17, 2019. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version, July 16, 2019.

Cloud Uplift

I don’t know if any of you have looked at AWS, but it’s a huge and complex system, so the learning curve on how to build servers, get them deployed, set up networks, security, etc etc etc is pretty tough … Not a surprise, just a lot of learning and work.

– Simon Linden, SUG Meeting, July 14th

Two publicly-accessible regions  – Morris and Ahern – on Aditi (the beta grid) are now running in the cloud. Aside from outbound HTTP messaging and e-mail, they should function with no discernible difference to regions within the Lab’s co-lo facility.

Ahern and Morris on Aditi (the beta grid) are now operating from the cloud

Commenting on the HTTP messaging / e-mail situation, Oz Linden stated:

There are abuse constraints in AWS that we need to make sure we don’t violate. Both outbound HTTP and Email are ways that scripts could cause problems. We have a way to regulate HTTP out that we’re pretty sure of, and which you should be able to test fairly soon on main grid simulators. llEmail may get some new constraints and/or more severe throttles … still studying that one. When we have some updates on that, we’ll post in the LSL forum.

– Oz Linden, SUG Meeting, July 14th

It is believed that the current HTTP / e-mail out issues should not affect HTTP / e-mail between regions. The issue also shouldn’t affect llTargetedEmail, since the caller cannot specify an arbitrary email address.

Virtual Cities and an Awakening in Second Life

Third Eye Gallery: Michel Bechir

The Third Eye, curated by Jaz (Jessamine2108), is a new open-air gallery space that opened on July 11th, 2020. Located on a sky platform, the gallery is described as “a place that is designed to showcase art, particles, inspire stories, and offer a quiet place to relax and rejuvenate. It is the culmination of my many dreams – to create a place that nurtures and helps the growth of all types of creative endeavours – be it words, pictures, or particles.”

For the opening exhibition, the gallery features a selection of art by Jaz, entitled Awakening, coupled with Virtual Cities, a selection of pieces by Michel Bechir.

It is only right that I open the gallery with Michiel as the guest artist, as he was the one who introduced me to SL photography.

– Jaz (Jessamine2108)

Third Eye Gallery: Michel Bechir

For Virtual Cities, Michel presents some 18 pieces focused on urban living within Second Life. It’s a rich mix of images spread across Michel’s time as a Second Life photographer, starting in 2009 and extending to the present day. Within them, he captures the many different ways in which cities and living spaces can be represented in-world, from shining cities with gleaming skyscrapers to cities in decay, from Mediterranean waterfronts to the cramped confines of the favela, and from cobble streets to paved sidewalks.

Not only are the pieces here attractive for their breadth of representation of urban spaces, they also hold the eye because of the richness of style and finish they each have.

Third Eye Gallery: Jaz (Jessamine2108)

Sitting across the landing point from Virtual Cities, Jaz offers 21 pieces that see states are something of a departure for her.

The series “Awakening” is about my changing perception of SL – to the possibilities that it offers and to be able to see beyond the surface. I am stepping out of my comfort zone to communicate using the creations of designers rather than use landscapes and avatars. I would like to thank the mesh creators Harry Cover and Karthikeyan Engineer with their quirky and cool creations that helped me grow as an artist.

– Jaz (Jessamine2108)

This is an intriguing and engaging collection of images, rich with colour, each one perfectly framed to draw the eye into it. There are four pieces within this collection that might be called “traditional” landscapes – or at least focus on subjects Jaz has more familiarly covered. However, this doesn’t put them at odds with the rest of the pieces on display, rather it grounds them as a further expression of her art and growth.

Third Eye Gallery: Jaz (Jessamine2108)

SLurl Details

Coming to Second Life: Gen Con “the best four days in gaming”

The VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience pre-event Welcome Centre

Gen Con is the largest tabletop-game convention in North America, by both attendance and number of events. Covering everything from traditional pen-and-paper games to computer games by way of role-playing games, miniature war games, strategy games, board and card games, live-action role-play and more.

Founded in 1968 as the “Lake Geneva Wargames Convention”, since 2003 Gen Con has taken place annually in Indianapolis, Indiana, where in 2019 it attracted almost 70,000 attendees.  However, as with a lot of physical world events, Gen Con in 2020 has been hit by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic; but rather than being abandoned, the event is switching to offering itself on-line through a number of services and platforms – and as a part of this, solution provider VRazeTheBar is creating a special venue in Second Life.

Courtesy of Gen Con OnLine

VRazeTheBar is an organisation dedicated to providing virtual experiences to complement both physical world events and other on-line activities, including conferences, seminars, conventions and trade shows. They have partnered with Gen Con to provide a multi-region environment within Second Life that will offer those wishing to capture the atmosphere of the convention the opportunity to do so virtually, through VRazeTheBar Virtual Gen Con Experience.

Taking place alongside the rest of Gen Con Online over the four days of Thursday, July 30th through Sunday August 2nd, VRazeTheBar Virtual Gen Con Experience features four regions in Second Life that will host a full schedule of activities for gamers and attendees, which might be summarised as:

  • Tabletop Role Playing sessions run by experienced in-world game masters.
  • Panel and group discussions – such as the Game Designers Fireside Chat, featuring game designers and experts in the field.
  • In-world game creation sessions and tournaments.
  • Open gaming sessions that you and your friends can explore and discover new experiences.
  • Social events and activities – such as the Virtual Dragon Riding Rave, featuring a live mix DJ playing fantasy and sci-fi based electronic dance music.
  • A chance to meet the creators and designers of the virtual world.
The VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience pre-event Welcome Centre

To help make full use of the available space, the event’s regions have been collectively divided into themed areas defined by altitude:

  • Ground level (Sierra level): presentation area and historical.
  • 500m (Lima level): modern / present day – down-town Indianapolis.
  • 1000m (Echo level): apocalyptic.
  • 1500m (Golf level): game play environments.
We’re building this over four private regions; [it’s] fairly small scale … But it allows us to do things well in terms of performance and offering an awesome social experience, which are important to us. So is the idea of recreating, as closely as possible, the actual venues that gamers feel comfortable as familiar hang-outs and social spaces when spending time in-world.

– Ron Clifton (RCArchitect in-world), VRazeTheBar’s Technology Lead

Each level will have specific features and attractions. For example, the ground level will include the main landing point and Welcome Centre. As the first location those attending the event will encounter, this serves a number of purposes:

Courtesy of VRazeTheBar
  • It provides general information on the event itself, such as the schedule of activities.
  • For those who are not familiar with Second Life, it provides basic tutorial on using the viewer to move, communicate, and sit (and which is supported by additional introductory info on the VRazeTheBar website), together with general information on SL.
  • For those unfamiliar with table-top gaming in Second Life, it provides simple introductory games visitors can play to understand the essentials – such as using a game HUD.

Above this, on the Lima level is a photo-realistic reproduction of down-town Indianapolis that features the venues that host Gen Con in the physical world, intended to give gamers familiar with those venues a sense of recognition and comfort in where they are in-world.

Attendance at the event is largely free (although there is a nominal US $2.00 fee for some special events, mandated as a part of Gen Con Online’s registration requirements) – however, attendees must all register via the Gen Con website.

We’re really excited to have this opportunity with Gen Con. It’s very much a proof of concept to show what we can do in Second Life to recreate some of the Gen Con social experience.

– Alesia Clardy (AleisaPM in-world), VRRazeTheBar’s Creative Director

I’ll be covering more on the event over the course of the next couple of weeks in the run-up to doors opening, including some sneak peeks at the various event levels and what they’ll be offering.

In the meantime, Second Life users interested in finding out more about VRazeTheBar Virtual Gen Con Experience can do so by dropping into the pre-event Welcome Centre currently open on the Mainland. This will remain available to visitors through until the event kicks-off on July 30th, and as well as providing the introductory information outlined above, this version of the Welcome Centre also provides details on how to register for the event and offers links to join the in-world group where updates and information can also be obtained.

My thanks to Ron and Alesia at VRazeTheBar for their time in the preparation of this article.

Links and SLurl