The beauty of steam machines in Second Life

Kondor Art Centre: Hermes Kondor, July 2020

The Tejo Power Station, located in the Belém district of Lisbon, Portugal, is regarded as one of the most beautiful examples of Portuguese industrial architecture from the first half of the 20th century.

Occupying the site of a thermoelectric plant first built in 1909 on the banks of the Rio Tejo, the building as it is seen today was first built in 1941, and provided power to the city through until the early 1970s, undergoing expansion over that time.

Kondor Art Centre: Hermes Kondor, July 2020

Encompassing architectural styles that run from arte-nouveau to classicism, the power station was declared a major Portuguese heritage centre in 1986, and in 1990 became the home of the Electricity Museum, celebrating its role in brining electrical power to Lisbon. It is in this capacity that Hermes Kondor visited it, along with his camera, retuning with photographs of the building’s machinery, some 28 of which his has placed on display at the Kondor Art Centre.

And while this may sound like a boring subject – believe me it is not. The bunkers, pressure chambers, pipes, valves and metal walkways of the station’s machinery within the museum have been lovingly restored and maintained, and Hermes’ has captured all of this in incredible detail.

Kondor Art Centre: Hermes Kondor, July 2020

Through an exquisite use of depth-of field, macro focus, angle, framing and light, Hermes presents these machines and their individual part as living entities. From threaded nut to valves to pressure vessels to the complexity of the larger machines, the crisp detail found within each photograph is stunningly exceptional.

Displayed within a modern skybox setting that itself has a clean industrial feel to it and that perfectly complements the art on display, this is a genuinely engaging exhibition that fully captures the history and beauty of these remarkable machines.

Kondor Art Centre: Hermes Kondor, July 2020

SLurl Details

Glitch Social in Second Life

Glitch Social, July 2020 – click any image for full size

Glitch Social is a public space developed by KaidenTray, owner of the Glitch brand, and who is also a region designer / Second Life photographer. Located on a 1/4 region parcel within a Full region, it is offered as beach-front hang-out for people to enjoy, complete with a range of activities to partake and places to simply sit down and relax.

The landing point is located towards the southern edge of the parcel and sits above a fast-flowing stream and right on top of a little picnic area with a bonfire that may or may not be lit when you arrive. The stream is an odd little beast, lying as it does on a raised arc of land than falls away it either end such that the stream appears to be following both eat and north before dropped down into a depression fed on its far side by more waterfalls, and south and west to were it splashes down a lip of rock into a much wider, deeper pool of water that is also served by a series of large falls erupting from the surrounding rocky hills.

Glitch Social, July 2020

This large pool offers the first hint of recreational options in the parcel. Once you’ve passed the black bear and her cub as they stand on the far side of the stream, a structure somewhat like a diving board  extends an arm over the water, dangling various rope climbs abov the waves, with poses available on them with a right-click. Rubber rings also float on the water for those who fancy a dip.

Just behind the landing point and hidden from it by bushes, a set of stone steps wind up the hill from the grassy knoll between “diving board” and picnic area. Rising along the slope in a gentle arc, it offers a way up to a large house and yard. While this may at first seem to be a private dwelling, it actually appears to be open to the public: a sign on one of the other routes up to it from the beach – of which more anon – offers a welcome to visitors as they approach the front yard area of the house.

Glitch Social, July 2020

A sprawling setting, the house squats rather uncomfortably on mesh landforms (and in one place is in need of a measure of support as it does so!) surrounded by a mix of gravel, vegetable garden, wild grass and chickens. The house is comfortably furnished, again with opportunities for couples and groups to gather, sit and chat indoors or out, those opting for the latter possibly coming under the watchful eyes of a heron perched at the edge of the large stone pond sitting on the front gravel.

Despite its elevation, the house is set far enough back on is perch so that a screen of weeping willow and maple trees hide it from the beach below, and vice versa – although admittedly the high dormer roof of the house does raise itself sufficiently enough to be seen through the trees and bushes from below. Three tiers of stone steps connect the front yard of the house with the beach, these being the way up to the house marked by a welcoming sign mentioned earlier.

Glitch Social, July 2020

A third way from / to the house sits on its north side, where a rock path slopes down to a cinder path and boats docks. The path pushes through a narrow ravine of rock to link up to a meadow sitting back from the beach as it curves east and north around the land. The north western end of the docks are marked by a squat lighthouse that appears to be hiding behind a tall shoulder of tock, rather than giving warning of its presence.  Alongside of it, the cinder track turns sharply inland to climb up the hill before the cliffs, passing between them and the house.

The top of this climb is marked by a café / music venue built over a shelf of rock and looking down onto the large pool – so much so, in fact, that the daring can use the platform extending over the water from one side of the venue’s deck to do some spectacular high diving into the waters. For those less inclined to daring-do, the deck and café offer a further place for relaxation and passing the time.

Glitch Social, July 2020

With bumpers boats available in the waters by the beach, a camp site in the meadow and little details tucked away here and there, Glitch Social has much to recommend it, all wrapped in pleasing sound scape.

SLurl Details

2020 Simulator User Group week #30 summary

Frogmore, June 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 21st, the majority of the grid was updated with server maintenance update 544832, designed to resolve issues with some internal service updates, chat range improvements and capability improvements.
  • On Wednesday, July 22nd, the should be a single RC deployment comprising “a few internal changes (mostly logging)”. At the time of writing, the server deployment thread had yet to be updated with the release notes reference.

SL Viewer

The Tools Update viewer, version 6.4.5.544639, was promoted to de facto release status, Friday, July 17th. This viewer uses the new viewer build tool chain, but does not include any user-facing updates outside of bug fixes.

The remaining official viewer pipelines remain as follows:

  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Arrack Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.4.5.544465, July 6th.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.4.5.544028, June 30th.
  • Project viewers:
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.5.544079, June 30th.
    • Mesh uploader project viewer, version 6.4.4.543141, June 11th.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9th, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22nd, 2019.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.3.2.530836, September 17th, 2019. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16th, 2019.

Further Regions in the Cloud

Following from the announcement concerning Ahern and Morris on Aditi, the beta grid, being in the cloud (see my previous Simulator User Group update),  most / all of Blake Sea has been cloned to Aditi and is now running in the cloud, specifically for the purposes of  region crossing tests with vehicles.

Again, just to emphasise, this is Aditi, the beta grid, only (at least one person has reported on region crossings on Agni (the main grid) in relation to this announcement). For more information, refer to my blog post Blake Sea in the cloud on ADITI.

Blake Sea is now on Aditi and running in the cloud for those wishing to test vehicle region crossings

What is Simulator “Sleep Time” and how are Scripts Processed?

The viewer provides a set of stats related to both itself and the simulator your user is on (CTRL-SHIFT-1). Most of the stats proved in this window are relatively self-explanatory, although some can cause confusion or can be misrepresented. One area of confusion  – what is simulator “sleep time”  – was raised in the forums recently, and Rider Linden took the time to explain it and a couple of other things in the stats panel. As his reply may help others, I’m including it in full here:

The short answer is that sleep time is the mean amount of time in ms per simulator frame that the simulator has spent idling over the last minute.
The long answer is that the simulators attempt to keep a constant number of processing frames (one cycle through the main loop) per second. This number is displayed in the statistics window as Sim FPS. This value is not the same as the Viewer’s FPS. When the Sim FPS starts to fall below 45 you will begin to see lag events like delayed movement and rubber banding, among other symptoms.
A single frame should take about 21ms. (21ms * 45) = ~1 second (less about 50ms overhead). If a single simulator frame takes less than that 21ms we need to add a few extra ms in order to maintain the constant rate. This extra time is reported as “Sleep Time” and tracks closely to “Spare Time”.
Every frame on the simulator is divided into a number of phases. The big ones are network message processing, advancing the state of the physics simulation, processing agents in the region and updating their interest lists, and executing scripts.
The amount of time allowed per frame to execute scripts is capped. The simulator will attempt to execute all the scripts in the region in that allotted time slice, if it can not make it all the way through the list it will stop and pick up where it left off on the next frame (this gives you the “Scripts Run %” statistic.) Since the time for script execution is capped you can see situations where the % of scripts executed per frame begins to fall even though there is idle time reported on the simulator.

Rider Linden, July 23rd, 2020