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: Project Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 18.104.22.1685567 and dated February 5th, 2021, promoted February 17th – NEW.
Release channel cohorts:
Love Me Render (LMR) 5 viewer updated to version 22.214.171.1246118 on February 23rd.
Simple Cache project viewer updated to version 126.96.36.1996088 on February 22nd (dated February 19th).
Feint and Bone is the name of a new centre for artistic expression within Second Life that opened on Monday, March 1st, 2021. Operated by Flower Rainforest and Tarhai Breen, the facility covers a homestead region, and is curated by Bryn Oh, with Installations within it intended to run for three months at a time. For the opening – which was deliberately without fanfare – Feint and Bone presents Livio Korobase.
Orange is another of Livio’s region-wide installations that is both visually engaging and mentally stimulating, one in which the broader environment settings and the audio stream play as important a role as what is to be found within the setting.
Orange is the sacral chakra colour … composed of red and yellow in equal parts, and it is a colour of vitality and strength. Just as the sacral chakra is located in the pelvic area, orange is the area of our gut feelings and wisdom. Buddhists call this “hara”, the centre of being through which we connect with the deepest voice of the self, the deepest stillness and wisdom; this is where we find bliss.
Orange energy is very sensual. Living a life guided by orange colour transforms even the most mundane daily experiences into pleasurable experiences … [It] stands for creativity, growth, learning, pleasure; a sense of vitality and aliveness.
– Livio describing his installation at Feint and Bone
Thus, visitors are asked to ensure they use the region’s environment setting (World → Environment → Use Shared Environment) and enable the local audio stream in order to be fully immersed in the installation.
As with many of Livio’s installations, Orange makes full use of the available space both on the ground and over it, presenting a series of vignettes and individual pieces that await discovery as you explore the region, the orange colour helping to ensure individual details only become apparent as you do so, rather than being immediately revealed through a high Draw Distance setting.
What awaits explorers is is highly individualistic, delightfully interactive and quintessentially Livio.
Each vignette has something to offer, visually and through simple touch – be it climbing a gigantic giraffe’s neck, riding a levitating acrobatic rocking horse or wandering toy train, or rocking on a a dance floor. Throughout the entire installation there is vitality and life entirely in keeping with the artist’s statement on the colour orange, encouraging us to abandon ourselves to the energy of the colour and the installation.
There is something else here as well that reflects the theme of orange. As Livio notes, the colour represents creativity, and this is very much reflected throughout the installation, be it the representation of music and dance, references to the silver screen (look for Buck Rogers’ rocket ship), children’s tales (find the teleports to the cube trees), or human ingenuity (the Wright Brothers biplane, a rocket) and more besides. And if you visit with friends, you can all even hop into bumper cars and have fun that way.
The low-key opening for both the region and Orange has been deliberate because Livio tends to let his installations evolve, making changes here and there, presenting a living experience. So why not hop over to Feint and Bone and let your inner child out for some run around fun whilst taking in Livio’s unique art? And make a note of the SLurl for future visits.
Mystical Isle, a full region boasting the private island land impact bonus, is the work of Elmer Bellisserian with the landscaping assistance of Aurila Tigerfish. Having recently (I believe) opened, the region describes itself thus:
One of the latest Destinations for Merfolk, Elves, Faeries, Petites and their Admirers! All are welcome to explore this underwater and mystical wonderland. Great for dancing, photography or just hanging out and relaxing.
And the region certainly offers a lot to take in – although for those who enjoy roaming Fantasy Faire each year, it might also set some bells ringing.
I say this because the core of the region not only comprises elements created by the master of fantasy design, Elicio Ember (of Cerridwen’s Cauldron fame), who has provided many a Fantasy Faire region build but because Mystical Isle presents a strong echo of one of those designs in particular: the 2016 Otherworld build.
Surrounded by off-sim hills, the region presents a central island from which rise great pillars of granite-like rock, five stout legs on which sits a broad table of rock, spread with a lush green cloth of grass over which water flows and a giant tree of life rises still further into the sky.
Hemmed by sandy beaches, this elevated platform stands over waters rippled with a hundred colours, the waves reflect an ever-changing view of a world that lies beneath them; world hinted at by exotic flowers an other-worldly structures that break through the water’s lens, beckoning people to come and explore.
As with Elicio’s Otherworld, the landing point for the region sits within the roots of one of the great pillars. Here, within a high-ceiling cavern, visitors can obtain a mertail and AO should they need them and then plunge into the waters to explore the world that lies beneath. Or, if preferred, they can climb the crystalline stairs that promise passage to the world above.
Below these waves lies a fantastical garden of strange flowers rich in colour through which wind ancient paths suggesting this place had once been above the waves. Here, amongst aquatic life that ranges from fish to orca to crustaceans and reptiles, lie the structures that poke their canopies above the water. They sit as places where merfolk can gather an dance and play, whilst the wreck of a galleon presents a hideaway for those wanting a little quiet time.
The taller of the two structures raises around half of its height out of the water, its ornate columns and arches surrounding a pool of splashing water fed by mollusc-like fountains. An arched walkway extends landward from it, but does not quiet connect to the feet of the great pillars, so requiring a little wading to move between the two.
Along the beaches can be found decks places to sit together with a variety of single-room cabanas and huts – all of which appear to be open to the public. Also to be found tucked into the lee of the rock pillars is a house that stands apart from he rest, caught as it is with snow on its roof and porches, a fire blazing in the hearth inside.
Reached via the crystalline stairs from the landing point as they pass by way of platform and sinuous spiral, the table-top of the setting is richly thatched by oak and fir, the hewn-out trunk of the tree of life rising from their heart, the tunnel through it pointing the way from the stair top to a great pavilion sitting alongside a broad pool of water fed by falls dropping from basalt columns and watched over by winged stags.
This is the land of elves and fae, where paths wind through trees to glades and pavilions, the ways lit by lanterns; a forest where not even the darkest of nights can threaten thanks to the list strung in branches and the great crystal lights dripping from the massive boughs of the tree of life. There is also much to discover here, from the exotic plant life to the pavilions and wildlife and mystical glades, through to the various places to sit and share, be they a camp site or a canopied bed or simple stone bench (to offer but three).
Whilst offering that echo of 2016’s Otherworld, Mystical Isle nevertheless is unique and engaging in its presentation and design, offering a lot to see and appreciate. And in you don’t fancy walking, keep an eye out for the teleport disks that offer the means of hopping between locations.
This came in the form of the red and white markings on the mission’s supersonic parachute. Intended to provide data on how the parachute unfurled and performed, it also contained a message in binary code – something hinted at by Allen Chen, the Entry, Descent and Landing lead for the mission whist referencing the parachute’s performance during the February 22nd press briefing I reported on in the second of the two articles noted above.
In addition to enabling incredible science, we hope our efforts in our engineering can inspire others. Sometimes we leave messages in our work for others to find for that purpose, so we invite you all to give it a shot and show your work.
– Allen Chen, the Mars 2020 EDL lead, February 22nd
The message, in binary code, was cracked in six hours, proving to the saying Dare Mighty Things, a phrase attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States and the adopted motto of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, responsible for the mission, together with the latitude and longitude of JPL’s offices in Pasadena, California.
Nor is the only coded message the rover carries. While its wheels are of an improved design over those used on the Curiosity rover – which celebrated 3,000 days of continuous operations on Mars on January 12th, 2021 – the wheels on Perseverance also carry the letters “JPL” cut into their treads in Morse code.
Other curios carried by the rover include a “family portrait” of NASA rover types that run from tiny Sojourner, which arrived on Mars in 1998 as a part of the Mars Pathfinder mission, through the twins of Spirit and Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover mission, to Curiosity and Perseverance. Like a plaque to healthcare workers around the globe, this is something of a decorative / commemorative piece.
Another of the commemorative piece son the rover is a panel on which are mounted the three microchips that contain the names of the 10,932,295 people who applied to have their name included in the mission (you can also apply to have your name included in future missions), which located on the rover’s aft cross-beam, above its nuclear power supply.
Some of the curios also fulfil a practical use. For example, the SHERLOC ultraviolet Raman spectrometer mounted on the rover’s robot arm includes five samples of materials that may be used in future spacesuits that may be used on Mars.
The intent of these samples is to test how the materials in them react to the Martian environment; however one of them – made of the materials used in helmet visors contains behind it a geocache inscribed with the address of the instrument’s fictional name-sake (221B Baker Street).
Mounted on the deck of the rover is a camera calibration target. Located between the colour and reflective marks on the outer ring of the calibration target are a series of symbols representing life on Earth which is intended to reflect the mission’s primary goal of looking for evidence of past life on Mars, whilst the Mastcam-Z system on the rover includes the massage:
Are we alone? We came here to look for signs of life, and to collect samples of Mars for study on Earth. To those who follow, we wish a safe journey and the joy of discovery.
– from the Perseverance rover
Since its arrival at Jezero Crater, Perseverance has returned thousands of images of its surroundings, commissioning and testing continues. It’ll still be another couple of weeks or so before the surface mission properly commences. These have revealed that in coming down roughly 2km from the mid-point of its landing area – a remarkable achievement in itself -the rover has found itself in a rich geological playground, including features formed by both the passage of water and wind.
Some, such as “Seal Harbour Rock” – most likely formed by the passage of wind – already has geologist excited.
Are these volcanic rocks? Are these carbonate rocks? Are these something else? Do they have coatings on them? We don’t know – yet. We don’t have any chemical data or mineral data on them; but, boy, they’re certainly interesting, and part of the story about what’s going on here is going to be told when we get more detailed information on these rocks and some of the other materials in this area.
– Jim Bell, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University
China Starts Preparations for Rover Landing
Having arrived in Mars orbit the week before Mars 2020 made its Martian debut, China’s Tianwen-1 mission as entered a temporary parking orbit around Mars in anticipation of landing a rover on the planet’s surface in the coming months.
Comprising an orbiter vehicle, a lander and the rover, Tianwen-1 is China’s first interplanetary mission, Tianwen-1 will remain in its new circular orbit for around 3 months. During this time the orbiter, alongside of its main science programme, will collect high-resolution images of the surface of Mars, notably of the proposed landing site for the lander/rover combination.
The landing itself will follow a similar profile to those of NASA’s Pathfinder and MER missions: after entry into the atmosphere, the lander/rover will be slowed by parachute, with the final part of the decent using rocket motors to reduce speed before airbags are inflated to protect the vehicles through landing.
If successful, the lander will deploy the solar-powered rover, which will collect data on underground water and look for evidence that the planet may have once harboured microscopic life.