An away team mission to Planet Idun in Second Life

Planet Idun, January 2021

CK Ballyhoo dropped me a line concerning Planet Idun, a new role-play / photography region with which she has been involved, inviting me to hop over and join her in taking a look around, with region holder and co-creator Fazzy Constantine (Faisel Constantine) also on-hand to chat and answer questions.

Idun. A tropical jungle planet, set in the far reaches of the Milky Way galaxy. Featuring a full day and night cycle, dynamic weather, stunning scenery, views and hidden spots.

– from the region’s About Land description

Planet Idun, January 2021

Located on a Homestead  region, Planet Idun is the latest design Fazzy and his team have worked on under the BluShock RP group banner – a group with a role-play history that stretches back over a decade, and which has been responsible for some impressive designs, such as the ice world Vanargand, complete with its Oblivion-inspired spaceport tower, and also the world of Aegis Prime (as will as having a penchant for Norse mythology, as some of the name indicate!).

For Planet Idun, the BluShock team have opted to create a setting potentially warmer than Vanargand: a rugged, rain forested world where water in places falls from a teal sky to join with that tumbling from high cliffs into the gorge of a narrow river. Largely untamed, this is a world that does have some signs of civilisation – but finding your own way around will call for the explorer within you, as paths are not always obvious, at times relying on narrow ledges of rock.

Planet Idun, January 2021

The clearest sign of habitation is the large ultra-modern base built into the high cliffs towards the north-west of the setting. It is built around two covered landing areas for air / space craft, one of which is dominated by a monster hammerhead of a spacer I’d personally not have liked to pilot into its landing. Inside the base are comfortable living spaces as well as multiple workspaces, whilst its location is marked by both the manner in which its backs into the cliffs and the impressive communications arrays sitting on the peak above it.

However, this in not the only structure to be found within the setting. awaiting discovery on the tip of a high finger of rock pointing to the sky on the east side of the region is Idun’s Roof. A bar / house constructed of wood, presumably gathered from the local forest and reached via a long, winding stair. Elsewhere are other artificial constructs – an open-air landing pad, the region’s own landing point (complete with teleport connecting it with the Deep Space Destination Hub, a nexus for travelling between different sci-fi settings (just accept the experience to use the system for automatic teleports).

Planet Idun, January 2021

As a role-play environment, the region is intended to support free-form RP by members of BluShock and can support short RP situations created by other groups (e.g. as the location for an away team mission). There are a fair number of opportunities scattered around that can be used to built game play – camp sites, crashed vehicles, hidden walks and tracks (some obvious, others not so – as I said, you’ll need the explorer in you), and kayaks to explore the waters as well as the aforementioned bar and the cliff-side base.

Our last region, Vanargand, relied heavily on missions and events, off world time travel and so on. But this time we’ve decided to take a back seat and just build an enjoyable region. A few interested parties are also coming down from other groups to enjoy role-playing.  We’ve been inspired by a few sci-fi games – Mass Effect and Halo, for example.

– Fazzy Constantine

Planet Idun, January 2021

friendly group BluShock is also open to those interested in free-form sci-fi based role-play where the emphasis is on fun rather than an overburdening set of rules and requirements. In addition, those looking for sci-fi / fantasy-based photography may also find Idun to their liking, the dynamic custom day / night environment helps to add depth to the setting / photography.

Planet Idun will be officially opening at 11:00 SLT on Saturday, January 23rd, with a party and celebration at Idun’s Roof. However, it is currently available for general visits for those wishing to look around ahead of the official opening.

Planet Idun, January 2021

SLurl and Links

Fantasy Faire 2021: sponsor, store & performer applications open

via Fantasy Faire

Fantasy Faire, the largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, will take place in 2021 from Thursday, April 22nd, through Sunday May 9th, 2020 inclusive, with the scheduled activities programme running between April 22nd and Monday, May 3rd.

As with previous years, Fantasy Faire 2021 will comprise multiple shopping regions offering space to Second Life’s top Fantasy Creators, offering the most comprehensive opportunity for fantasy shopping. In addition, there will be further regions focusing on entertainment, the Fairelands Quest, art and more.

On Friday, January 22nd, the event organisers formally announced the opening of applications for sponsor, stores, and performers.

It’s time. It’s time to turn our weary eyes from the darkness toward the approaching spring. Toward the approaching Fairelands, the promise of hope and delight.

– The Fantasy Faire Website

Fantasy Faire 2020: Autumnium

Sponsorship and Store Applications

Sponsorship options comprise:

  • Shopping regions sponsorships (as available) – LS65,000:
    • Sponsor Store with 1600 Land Impact allowance, which can be shared between 2+ merchants and located in front of the region landing point.
    • Sky platform for rezzing builds as needed.
    • Name in Region Title and on Region landmarks.
    • Region crossing recognition.
    • Sponsor spot on Fantasy Faire Radio to play during the entire month of April.
    • The opportunity for a sponsor’s brand profile on the Fantasy Faire website and prominent logo placement on the website.
  • Region Event Sponsorship – L$60,000:
    • Includes a THEMED store on a shopping region if desired.
    • Name in Region Title and on Region landmarks.
    • Region crossing recognition.
    • Sponsor spot on Fantasy Faire Radio to play during the entire month of April.
    • The opportunity for a sponsor’s brand profile on the Fantasy Faire website and prominent logo placement on the website.
  • Event Sponsorship – L$60,000:
    • Includes a THEMED store on a shopping region if desired.
    • Region parcel with name on landmark.
    • Logo placement on corresponding event poster.
    • The opportunity for a sponsor’s brand profile on the Fantasy Faire website and prominent logo placement on the website.
  • Quest Sponsor – L$30,000:
    • Does NOT include a store.
    • Logo placement on the Quest HUD and on the Fantasy Faire website.
  • Fantasy Faire Radio Sponsor – L$30,000:
    • Does NOT include a store.
    • Recognition on Fantasy Faire Radio and on the Fantasy Faire website.
  • Matching Funds Sponsor:
    • Please contact Elizabeth Tinsley for details.
Fantasy Faire 2020: Zodiac

Store options comprise:

  • Featured Creator Store + Quest Sponsor – L$35,000 (no more than 2 per region, with potential for region of your choice):
    • Featured Creator Store with 1000 Land Impact allowance, which can be shared 2+ merchants, and can have a sky platform for rezzing builds as needed.
    • Prominent placement next to Region Sponsor Store.
    • Advertising on the Hunt HUD and on the Fantasy Faire blog.
  • Featured Creator Store – L$8,000:
    • 700 Land Impact allowance, can be shared between 2+ merchants.
    • Prominent placement around region landing point.
  • Themed Store – L$2500:
    • 300 Land Impact allowance, generally of one merchant only.
    • A second merchant can be added for a surcharge.

Full details on requirements and guidelines for performers can be found on the Fantasy Faire 2021 Store Application form.

General enquiries relating to performing at the event should be addressed to Elizabeth Tinsley,

Performer Applications

Note that this is for dancers, actors, particle performers and various other artists, it is not for live of DJ entertainment, applications for which will be announced in due course (as will blogger applications).

  • The organisers are seeking fantasy themed shows (~1h in length) that are family friendly and don’t use any copyrighted material without permission to do so.
  • Performer applications will remain open through until the end (SLT) of Sunday, February 21st, 2021.

Applications should be made via the Fantasy Faire 2021 Performer Sign-up form.

General enquiries relating to performing at the Faire should be addressed to Aelva Resident.

Additional Links

2021 CCUG meeting week #3 summary

Snowdrops, November 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken from my audio recording and chat log of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, January 21st 2021 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, with dates available via the SL Public Calendar.

The venue for meetings is the Hippotropolis camp fire.

SL Viewer

The Dawa Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 6.4.12.555058 on Wednesday, January 20th signalling the issues within the build process that had stalled viewer updates have been cleared. However, at the time of writing all other viewers in the current pipelines remain unchanged:

  • Current release viewer version 6.4.11.551711, formerly Cachaça Maintenance RC viewer promoted on November 12 – 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 Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 6.4.12.553798, January 7, 2021.
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7, 2021.
  • Project viewers:
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.12.553511, issued on January 7, 2021.
    • Simple Cache project viewer, version 6.4.11.551403, November 12.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

Viewer Caching

  • LL are in the process of overhauling and improving the viewer’s cashing mechanisms.
  • There is already a Simple Cache  project viewer that is available (see the viewer list above). This will be progressing to RC status soon.
  • A further project by Callum Linden is to improve the caching and loading of textures within the viewer. No ETA at present as to when a project viewer for this will surface.
  • Mention was made in 2020 about detaching the viewer UI rendering from scene rendering in order to improve viewer performance. This work is still in the discussion/ initial development stages.

Viewer Rendering Situation (Moving from OpenGL)

Work on updating the viewer’s rendering API to something more recent than OpenGL (which is to be deprecated by Apple anyway) has hit an issue. Vulkan had been looked to as a replacement for OpenGL. However

  • Logging added to the viewer to assess the capabilities of users’ home systems has revealed that around 20% of existing Windows users have systems that cannot support the Vulkan API (e.g. due to their GPU – notably those with Intel graphics). However, this figure is mixed:
    • It may be conservative, as there are users who are accessing SL with older viewers without the necessary logging, so it could be higher, or
    • The data isn’t currently granular enough to to differentiate between users running on hardware that cannot support Vulkan and those who have suitable GPUs, but simply haven’t updated their drivers.
  • This means the work on any potential move to an API change has paused while LL assess options.
  • One course of action might be to add some form of abstraction layering in the viewer, such that those able to support a more recent API do so,whilst older systems continue to use OpenGL – but decisions of direction / options have yet to be finalised.
  • Another issue with updating the rendering API is the risk of content breakage if an incoming API handles some rendering features in a substantially different manner to OpenGL.
  • One aspect related to systems used to access SL lies within LL’s own Recommended specs page, which continues to list GPU options that are well out-of-date. For example, the basic “recommended” Nvidia GPUs are listed as GeForce 9 series / GeForce 200 series, which ceased being supported by Nvidia in 2016.

ARCTan

Project Summary

An attempt to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs to make them more reflective of the actual impact of rendering either in the viewer. The overall aim is to try to correct some inherent negative incentives for creating optimised content (e.g. with regards to generating LOD models with mesh), and to update the calculations to reflect current resource constraints, rather than basing them on outdated constraints (e.g. graphics systems, network capabilities, etc).

As of January 2020 ARCTan has effectively been split:

  • Viewer-side changes, primarily focused on revising the Avatar Rendering Cost (ARC) calculations and providing additional viewer UI so that people can better visibility and control to seeing complexity.
  • Work on providing in-world object rendering costs (LOD models, etc.) which might affect Land Impact will be handled as a later tranche of project work, after the avatar work.
  • The belief is that “good” avatar ARC values can likely be used as a computational base for these rendering calculations.

Status

Focus on this project was reduced due to the to concentrate on the Uplift project work, so the last couple of months of 2020 saw little direct progress. Vir hopes to be able to turn his attention back to it “before too long”.

In Brief

  • As is common for the start of a year, priority lists are currently being reviewed and updated.
  • Graphics updates: as well as the current LMR 5 project viewer with fixes for graphics issues, the Graphics team are also working on other issues, such as rainbows having the colour spectrum inverted  (i.e. appearing as VIBGYOR rather than ROYGBIV). However, it is until to fix the sorting issue that causes the Moon to appear in front of rainbows.

Date of Next Meeting

  • Thursday, February 4th, 2021.