Cica’s Stars in Second Life

Cica Ghost; Stars

Thursday March 4th saw the opening of Stars by Cica Ghost. Occupying a Homestead region, Stars is once again an interactive setting that makes for fun exploration.

Caught under a blanket of starfish-like stars (make sure you have your viewer set to use the Shared Environment), the setting has something of a Steampunk feel to it in general appearance, incorporating many echoes of Cica’s past installations waiting for those who are familiar with her work.

Cica Ghost, Stars

The town is laid out in something of a grid, with the landing point pretty much at its centre. laid out around it are squares and road and assorted buildings, some of which stand as a frame for the setting, other of which can be entered into and explored, or offer places to sit and chat.

Some of these houses resemble the tall slender houses found in the likes of Burlap and Sunny Day, or echo the look of those seen within Bridge and Donkeys or seen painted in Rocks and Drawn Town. Among these are fish and seas creatures, some hanging from pipes or forming strange wheeled sculptures and vehicles or sitting at rooftop decoration;  whilst very different in tone, these nevertheless tickle fond memories of Under the Sea, while echoes of places like Little Town and more also await discovery.

Cica Ghost, Stars

Which is not to say Stars is not a unique environment – it very much is; but these little touches, which include Cica’s stick man on his bicycle still fighting the wind and the rabbits from from Burlap forming a part of the town’s puppet theatre and the keys on the wall of the house interior, add depth to the setting that can be very personal to those who have followed Cica’s work.

This is a place that introduces new characters as well, notably in the form of the wheeled, tin hatted robots rolling back and forth on their single wheel, or offering music to dance to under the stars. And throughout the entire setting are places for visitors to dance or sit or ride (from swings to vehicles) and simply have fun together. And when exploring, do be sure to check the terrain covering – it offers some  art of its own.

Cica Ghost, Stars

Rounded with a quote by Charles A. Beard (or Ralph Waldo Emerson, depending on your choice of attribution, together with Martin Luther King Jr., and others in a slightly altered form), Stars is another richly engaging place to explore – do be sure to have the local stream enabled when exploring! And should you find them as engaging as I did, Cica’s robots at their friends can be purchased from the store in one corner of the region.

SLurl Details

  • Stars (Meropis, rated Moderate)

March 2021 SL Web User Group summary

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes are taken from my recording of the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021. These meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the SL public calendar.

When reading these notes, please keep in mind:

  • This is not intended as a chronological transcript of the meeting. Items are drawn together by topic, although they may have been discussed at different points in the meeting.
  • Similarly, and if included, any audio extracts appearing in these summaries are presented by topic heading, rather than any chronological order in which they may have been raised during the meeting (e.g. if “topic X” is mentioned early in a meeting and then again half-way through a meeting, any audio comments related to that topic that might be included in these reports will be concatenated into a single audio extract.

Web Properties Updates

  • General post-Uplift work is continuing, much of it internal to the Lab. This means that it is likely to still be a while before new features and capabilities (including the Marketplace) start to be worked on again, although issues will continue to be addressed.
  • Name Changes: the next refresh of Last Name options will likely be in June 2021, around the time of the Second Life birthday. This should also see the list of last names put into alphabetical order.
  • As noted in my UG meeting summaries in week 8, the Land Store was re-enabled after encountering post-AWS transition issues. Further problems were encountered over the last weekend of February 2021, but is believed these have now been fully resolved.
  • A new link has been added to the secondlife.com home age + related pages. T-shirts and Gifts will take people directly to the Lab’s physical world merchandise store hosted by Red Bubble.
The new link to the SL / LL merchandise on Red Bubble can be found in the footer of secondlife.com and associated pages.
  • There have been non-user visible updates to the back-end of the communities services pages, and the World API has been updated to correct an issue with information being fed to the viewer splash screen.

Marketplace

  • A lot of work has been put into the Marketplace back-end systems.
  • This work includes:
    • Correcting the delivery delay issues that were being encountered.
    • Fixing a 404 error appearing on some pages.
    • Fixing a error with store managers being unable to open the correct management page.
    • Correcting the need for Support to clear Unavailable Item errors.
    • Updates to the French language pages.
    • Fixing an issue with new users being unable to log-in to the MP.
  • MP updates used to be published to the forums, but it has been suggested making them available more as release notes might be beneficial. This will be looked into.
  • BUG-230262 “Marketplace Website Bug/Error” causes people to be randomly logged-out of various web properties (notably the Marketplace). It is not clear if this is related to single sign-on confusion or a problem that is more generic or browser-specific.
  • It has been suggested that reviews on MP purchases be subject to a timed delay (e.g. you cannot leave a review for, say 24 or 48 hours following an MP purchase), to allow the purchaser time to contact the creator in the event of problems / confusion, etc., and act as a deterrent against bad reviews airing from simply misunderstandings, etc. The Lab have requested this be made as a formal feature request so that it can be properly reviewed / considered.

Single Sign-On

  • Single sign-on is now in place across many of the Lab’s web properties.
  • This means users with multiple accounts cannot have different accounts signed-on to these pages at the same time.
  • See Single Sign On, Coming Soon for more.
  • This should not be confused with Two-Factor Authentication (2 FA), which is still in development / discussion and no deployment date is currently available.

Premium Plus

  • Roll-out of Premium Plus was delayed in 2020 for a number of reasons, including the AWS migration work and the impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
  • The feature is currently being re-evaluated, including whether it should be rolled-out as originally planned.
  • In addition, further work may be required as a result of the migration work.
  • In short:
    • Work on the feature will be resumed in due course.
    • There is no identified date for when this might be, or when roll-out may commence.

Mobile Client

  • iOS Version:
    • Issues resulting from the last round of Apple Store testing (apparently related to how chat / communications are handled) have been addressed.
    • These fixes are currently subject to internal testing at the Lab. Providing this is successful, the app will be passed back to Apple for further testing at their end.
    • It is hoped the latter will occur towards the end of March 2021.
  • Android:
    • Development is still behind that of iOS.
    • However, the Lab now has devices to allow internal testing of the Android flavour of the app, although it will still be a while before anything becomes visible for users to test.

In Brief

  • User-created grid-wide experiences are still on the cards, but again, the capability is not being worked on at present, and there is no available time frame on when work will resume nor any indication of potential deployment.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, April 7th, 14:00 SLT.