Second Life to have a smashing time with Titmouse

logos © and ™ Linden Lab, Titmouse and Lightbox Expo

On Tuesday, September 8th, Linden lab announced their latest partnership event intended to offer fun for existing users and to encourage those why may not have tried the platform or who have been absence a while to have a go in a party-like environment.

For this latest event – which will take place on Saturday, September 12tth, the Lab has teamed up with animation studio Titmouse Inc., to host the virtual equivalent of the Titmouse Smash Party, to be held in conjunction with the 2020 Lightbox On-line Expo.

Titmouse, Inc., is a North American animation studio operating out of Los Angeles, New York, and Vancouver. Since 2000 they have been producing animated television programmes, feature films, music videos, title sequences, commercials, and short films for clients like Nickelodeon, The Cartoon Network, Disney, Netflix, Adult Swim and most recently, CBS Television for whom they have been working on the Star Trek: Lower Decks series others. However, for 20 years they also gained a reputation for hosting an annual Smash party.

The party allegedly started as an experiment in catharsis for Titmouse employees, after one of the founders of the company heard about a Japanese restaurant that offered clients an unusual service. To help diners get over the cost of their expensive meal, diners could, let off steamby going to a room in the restaurant and smashing a US $1,000 vase to pieces. True or apocryphal, I’ve no idea – but Titmouse reproduced the idea by setting up a basement room for staff where, if they were feeling stressed or suffering a creative block, they could go down to and smash the living daylights out of anything in the room (except other employees, obviously).

This basic idea took on a life of its own, evolving into an annual event for Titmouse staff, family and friends, with fun, music, noise and at its heart, The Cage, a place where attendees could – you guessed it – smash whatever was tossed / placed inside it to smithereens.

In the 21st century these types of activities are frowned upon. The Smash Party is a night where one can experience the visceral catharsis that our cave-person brain secretly desires without the stigma of our repressed society’s judgement.
Some companies do trust fall retreats. Some do bowling. Some do theme park trips. We, traditionally, have smashed.

– Titmouse owner Chris Prynoski, talking to WNW in 2019

Nothing is safe from The Cage – old toilets, broken (or even working TVs), furniture – anything that doesn’t constitute a serious risk or life or limb – and be placed inside and await its fate.

After 20 years, the real-life Titmouse parties were “retired”, Prynoski and his teams deciding they would rather end on a high and have people talking fondly about past parties, rather than responding to the news of the next party with, “What? Is that really still a thing?” or similar.

However, the company has found new ways of hosting the parties – through VR and now, thanks to Linden Lab, within Second Life.

Anything can (and probably will) happen at this virtual world gathering where participants are invited to smash, bash and crash one of the hottest parties of the year held by independent award-winning animation production company Titmouse.
Attendees of the Lightbox Expo and the Second Life community are invited to attend this year’s festivities, which include a combination of music, art and overall anarchy. At the centre of the event is an interactive smashing cage where attendees can smash objects with a variety of different weapons. You can also meet and take a photo with Titmouse mascot, Mr. Chirps.
Rumour has it that the region is filled with more than a few Easter eggs so don’t be surprised when you encounter everything that is weird and wonderful — all springing from the imagination of the Titmouse team.

– from the official Second Life blog post

Those interested in  finding out more can do so via the official blog post, which includes a link to a FAQ written specifically for those new to Second Life to help them get started and find their way to the event.

Be sure to save the date – Saturday, September 12th, and catch the promo video below as Patch Linden gets an early start on having a smashing time.


2020 Simulator User Group week #37 summary

Eris Isle, July 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the September 8th Simulator User Group meeting.

Simulator Deployments

Please refer to the server deployment thread for news and updates. However, there are no planned deployments for week #37.

SL Viewer

On Tuesday, September 8th, 2020, the following viewers were updated:

  • The Bormotukha  Maintenance RC viewer updated to version
  • The Mesh Uploader RC viewer updated to version

The rest of the viewer pipelines currently remain unchanged from the end of week #36:

  • Current release viewer version, dated August 11, promoted August 17, formerly the Arrack Maintenance RC viewer – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Jelly project viewer (Jellydoll updates), version, issued August 26.
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version, June 30.
    • 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.

Region Crossings

The recent updates to region crossings have generally improved things, but they’ve also led to a lot of “interesting” – to use Simon Linden’s term – side effects and some unpredictable behaviour.

  • Some are reporting a possible increase in avatar / vehicle collisions when crossing into regions with damage enabled.
  • Others are reporting issues of crossings “hanging” – the vehicle vanishes, the avatar is unable to move, communication, teleport, stand, etc., while the user is still able to cam around but is unable to to cleanly log-out.

This second issue apparently particularly noticeable when the region being entered is not visible at the time of the crossing (see BUG-229312), although this factor may be a separate issue to anything related to region crossings.

Group Chat

People continue to experience issues with group chat disconnecting / failing following a transition to a different region via vehicle or teleport (see BUG-229219).

There is a potential fix for this issue in the works, but whether or not it solves all of the issues currently being experienced or not is an unknown until it is actually deployed.

In the meantime, the group chat issue may be related to to issues being experienced with bots using group chat becoming unresponsive,sometimes after little more than an hour of running.

All of these issues appear to date from a period of back-end updates made in early August.

Cloud Uplift

Questions continue to be asked about changes that will / may be made to simulator services as a part of or immediately following the uplift work to get simulators transitioned to AWS services.

As has oft been stated by the Lab (and reported in these pages), the Lab’s focus is on successfully transitioning all of their services  – including simulators “as is”, without making substantive changes at this point in time. As  Oz Linden stated during the meeting:

Uplift is trying very hard not to make any changes we don’t _have_ to make … A big driver for getting simulators uplifted is that then we can start selling regions again … believe me, that’s pretty great motivation.  When and whether we’ll make other changes to optimize or exploit the cloud is later on.

–  Oz Linden, September 8th, 2020


The dunes of La Vie in Second Life

La Vie, September 2020 – click any image for full size

After receiving a poke fro Shawn Shakespeare, I was surprised to note that it has been over two years since our last visit to La Vie, the Homestead region held by Krys Vita and previously dressed by her and Arol Lightfoot. As such, following on Shawn’s suggestion, we hopped over to take a look at the region in its latest iteration.

This design is the work of Krys and her SL partner CarterNolan, and is beautifully minimalist in  presentation, whilst offering an attractive and photogenic setting.

La Vie, September 2020

The easiest way to describe it is simply to say that given the current worldwide climate of uncertainty around SARS-COV-2 and so on, La Vie represents the kind of idyllic location many of us probably would like to run away to and spend time appreciating without the the pressures of the world intruding,

Sitting as a series of sand flats that poke their heads above an azure sea, the region has the feel of a place perhaps at high tide – at least on its western side, where wind breakers usually put out for sunbathers sit partially submerged in rippling waves, a pelican watching over them and possibly wondering why the silly humans didn’t move them before the water rose…

La Vie, September 2020

Raised board walks run across the sands and also connect them, their presence perhaps suggesting that at certain times in the year a lot more of the setting might be waterlogged – although for now there is enough sand and low dunes to make wandering well beyond the board walks easily manageable – not that the channels cutting through the landscape are particularly deep. At least not until you get to the east side of the region that is.

It is on the east side that the region places host to signs of civilisation: a tidy mesh of piers and moorings for boats and sail craft, most of the wharves stout and broad enough to carry wooden buildings on their backs. These are mostly commercial in nature and include workshops and sea-related places of business, although a couple of units offer the opportunity to work off the extra kilos that might be added to one’s weight following frequent visits to the Salty Dog Café.

La Vie, September 2020

There’s a strong sense of this all being a local, family-run centre given the frequent use of the “Saltwater” name.  Perhaps the house at the centre of the piers and wharves being the base of operations for whoever runs things. It’s also something of a tour de force of building with AustinLiam’s designs as well, an approach that lends further authenticity to the feeling this really is a place put together by a single group of people working to create a unified presence, rather than a place that has grown over times with many different hands and views. I’ll also admit that seeing AustinLiam’s Captain’s Retreat in the region gave me a case of itchy fingers, as it is a design I’ve long wanted to fiddle around with and make into a cosy home.

With more marshy land off to the south sitting under the spread of a huge oak tree and a pair of monkeypod trees, and open sands to the north that carry the suggestion of strong winds sometimes visiting the land, this is a setting watched over by an old lighthouse to one side and an equally old forest-style look out tower on the other, both offering vantage points from which to suss out the best sunbathing spots on the sands below.

La Vie, September 2020

Completed by multiple places to sit and enjoy the setting – including a swing for watching the local sea turtles – and finished with a gentle sound scape, La Vie in this iteration really does offer a welcome sense of escape and freedom.

SLurl Details

  • La Vie (La Vie, rated Adult)