A Sun Island in Second Life

Ilha Do Sol, June 2021 – click any image for full size

Update: Syx contacted me to assure me the villa in the north region is indeed open to the public, and encourages people to pop in to witness Bryn’s interior design!  

Ilha do Sol (literally “Sun Island”) is an estate comprising three regions designed by Syx Toshi and with touches by his SL partner Bryn Toshi (Bryn Bulloch), that between them offer a touch of Mediterranean sunshine and Californian surf in a contiguous setting that runs south-to-north through the estate.

While teleporting is open, perhaps the best place to start explorations is the middle region, the home of the little town of Ilha Do Sol itself. This huddles itself around a small bay and climbs the shoulders of the hills that cup the bay’s waters. Here, visitors are placed down within the small praça that sits on the landward side of the bay, separated from the water by a narrow ribbon of grass and sand on to which have been drawn a number of rowing boats, while a couple more sit out on the water.

Ilha Do Sol, June 2021

Featuring a traditional fishing boat of times past, the praça is home to a  modest open market that is proving popular with tourists and locals alike (the familiar static NPCs that are to be increasingly found across many public regions). The majority of the buildings bordering the square and climbing into the hills of the bay are façades, although a couple do have interior décor for those who wander the waterfront.

A tunnel sits to the rear of the praça, providing a subterranean route to the southern region, of which more anon. Passing over this tunnel is the main north-south road, which ends in a small car park overlooking the south region whilst also running north into the open country beyond the town.

Ilha Do Sol, June 2021

The north side of the town sits back from this main road, and offers more to see with little houses sitting along narrow streets, one of which forms a little cycle shop where bicycles can be rezzed and used by visitors. The local church can also be found here as well, tall and slim and with it doors open to visitors. Beyond it, the paved road twists around an upland shoulder of rock and quickly turns to a dusty track that winds into the northern region of the estate. Here, just across the region boundary is a small stable and field where visitors can rez a horse and go for a ride.

This northern region is largely open – there’s the sables, a small orchard and, climbing further into the hills, the steps of a vineyard, each held in place by a tile-topped wall, the vines fed water from sprinklers also mounted atop the walls. Having petered out prior to reaching these terraces, the track resumes to curl around them and climb up to pass close to the wall of a large villa before continuing on to the edge eastern cliffs that drop away to the sea.

Ilha Do Sol, June 2021

The villa sits within its own parcel, and while there is no sign or other indication this is the case, it gives the impression of perhaps being a private residence. As such, I didn’t pass through the gates as I didn’t want to invade privacy.

Returning to the southernmost region of the estate, this takes the form of a sweeping sandy bay facing open waters where whitecaps periodically roll into the shallows, offering the opportunity for surfing and swimming. The beach itself is home to a surf school that has its own lounge and swimming pool, while on its eastern side the sand runs between the blue waters and a number of private residences in the form of RVs, trailers and tents that sit along the edge of the region.

Ilha Do Sol, June 2021

Rezzing here is open, allowing people to use their own surfing and swimming gear, while for those who don’t have any surfing kit, board rezzers are also available. I confess that I didn’t ride the waves during my visit – but I did use the open sands to take my horse for a good gallop around the bay! Those who enjoy their surfing experiences might like to climb the sandy slope at the back of the beach to Syx’s shop as it sits with a commanding view over the bay and connects back to the town’s car park via a board walk.

There are many attractions to be found around Ilha Do Sol, and it lends itself well to photography, particularly if you take the time to try different EEP settings. However, for me, what really makes this as a setting is the time Syx has taken in order to blend traversable region with off-region surrounds to create a natural landscape. This rises from the sea to slow hills and scrubby plains and then to grass-topped foothills that join with the surrounding mountains that gives the setting a depth of design that is eye-catching.

Ilha Do Sol, June 2021

SLurl Details

2021 SUG meeting week #26 summary

Riding Zany Zen’s Railway, April 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, June 29th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. The meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and is embedded at the end of this summary.

Server Deployments

See the server deployment thread for any most recent updates / changes.

  • There was no deployment to the SLS Main channel on Tuesday, June 29th. At the time of writing, an investigation was underway to determine why some of those simulators on the SLS Main channel due an automatic re-started hadn’t received it.
  • Wednesday, June 30th should see the RC channels updated with simulator release 560819. This includes internal fixes, a fix for BUG-202864, an a further fix for BUG230881 – “llHttpRequest(): HTTP_CUSTOM_HEADER flag is ignored”, which caused an attempt to deploy the internal fixes + BUG-202864 in week #25 to be rolled back.

SL Viewer

There have been no official viewer updates to mark the start of the week, leaving the official pipelines as follows:

  • Release viewer: Project UI RC viewer, version 6.4.20.560520, dated June 14, promoted June 23 – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, dated November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, dated July 16, 2019.

In Brief

  • The issue of scripted objects rezzed by other scripted object experiencing a 2-3 second delay in start-up is still being felt, and the Lab continues to investigate the problem. Commenting on the situation, Rider Linden stated:
It is frustrating, and we are looking at a few things that we hope will make the issue better. But no ETA on when to see the changes. I have a test object that has been running for quite some time to try and catch that problem. It’s gone through roughly 3M rezzes at this point and seen one failure (which I was able to correlate with a region crash). 

It has been noted that if the parent object is *not* in the land group, it will work so long as the owner is nearby and wearing the group tag, but will stop working in the owner leaves the region / parcel.

  • Region crossings: LL plan to carry out a “re-evaluation” of region crossing, but this may not happen until 2022.
  • The engineering team was asked what is being worked on (a common question at SUG meetings), and Mazidox Linden (QA lead for the simulator / servers) replied thus:
Plenty is in the works right now.. Most of it is still under wraps, and a fair bit of it is on backend services that you’ll never notice, except for “Oh, I don’t crash as much” or “Oh, my inventory fetches faster/more reliably” (just as random examples of backend work that we don’t generally broadcast).

In addition, Rider Linden re-iterated that a major area of work is upgrading all of the back-end tools the Lab have at their disposal for system management / monitoring (and presumably better leveraging the additional tools / monitoring AWS offers).

  • Some people still seem to be under the impression that texture and object data is passed to the viewer via the simulator. This actually hasn’t been the case since the Lab introduced asset data handling via CDNs in 2014 and later expanded to include all asset types, as Simon Linden noted:
The server doesn’t really do much with texture [or other asset] transfers It sends the IDs and lets the viewer decide what to download or read into the texture pipeline
  • Responding to a question, “Do server still host multiple regions in the same fashion as before uplift? One CPU for full regions, 4 for homesteads?” Simon Linden responded:
I’m going to be really vague to answer that, but it’s both mostly the same thing and also totally new. Comparing a CPU from our old servers to what’s in AWS … from the start, it’s hardware CPUs vs their  [AWS}‘virtual CPU [vCPU].

While Rider Linden added:

That is mostly unchanged… but we’re not looking at the same kind of CPU so it is a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

The use of vCPUs, coupled with Amazon’s overall approach to billing for services, is a big part of why *it’s complex” is a general reply to question on how things operate and are billed within the AWS environment.

  • There have been requests for larger script sizes to be allowed in Second Life. While this hasn’t been entirely ruled out (although there are currently no plans to introduce anything), Mazidox Linden noted:
Larger scripts would probably come with trade offs that would make them unpalatable, like a small limit on the number you could have in a linkset or only region owners being allowed to use them, just as examples off the top of my head.

Symmetry in art in Second Life

Kultivate Signature Gallery: JudiLynn India

Recently opened at the Kultivate Signature Gallery, curated by Johannes and Trempest Huntsman is Symmetry, an exhibition by physical world artist JudiLynn India.

With a lean towards abstract art, JudiLynn has been drawing and painting for as long as she can remember, and studied art at high school before moving to graphic design at Tyler School of Art/Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Since the turn of the century she has focused on working in acrylics and digital painting, joining Second Life in 2009 and embracing the platform as a means to reach a broader audience with her work.

Spread across the three floors of the gallery is a series of paintings by JudiLynn that speak directly to the title of the exhibition through their use of symmetry as well as her trademark depth of colour, a factor that always gives her work a vibrant sense of life.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: JudiLynn India

Abstract they may be, but there are strong subliminal elements to be found in these paintings, some suggested by the titles of individual pieces, others by the titles placed around the walls of the gallery and which echo the essence of symmetry: balance, harmony, equilibrium. Some of these may help the eye and the mind to construct a frame of narrative in each piece, while the others, the flow of colour and shape might suggest a tale that sits quite aside from any given title.

Viewing the pieces in turn, I was particularly struck by the manner in which several suggested to me they could so easily have had a fractal origin, rather than being traditional paintings. These pieces (Dark WebEmperorColour of Life and Confetti Fun as examples) give an additional twist to this collection: whilst fractal art is created mathematically as an intersection between generative art and computer art, JudiLynn’s pieces present a sense of generative art that has entirely natural origin. Thus, these pieces might be said to offer a unique statement on the fusion between human and digital art forms.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: JudiLynn India

Enticing, attractive, and rich in colour, Symmetry is another engaging exhibition by someone I regard as one of Second Life’s foremost abstract artists.

SLURL DETAILS

The Project UI viewer: a look at the new user Guidebook

via Linden Lab

In  May, the Lab issued the Project UI RC viewer, part of the work to overhaul the new user experience and provide greater context and support for incoming users when getting to grips with Second Life and – in this case – the viewer.

At  the time it was issued, I  provided an overview of the viewer based on my own walk-through of the viewer as it was at that time, and notes supplied by Alexa Linden (see: Lab issues Project UI viewer aimed at new users).

Since then, the Project UI viewer has progressed through the RC process, and was promoted to de facto release status in week #25. Along the way, it saw some revisions and additions, including a Guidebook to help new users find their way around the viewer. And it is that Guidebook I’m taking a look at here.

Before getting to it, however, a quick recap on the changes within the viewer previously covered:

  • A new menu option called Avatar, and streamlined / revised right-click avatar context menus.
  • Improvements to the Inventory panel.
  • An updated Places floater.

All of these are looked at in the blog post linked to above.

New User Guidebook

The Guidebook appears to be a case of taking an idea first seen in the Basic version of Viewer 2.0 a decade ago, and greatly enhancing it.

In 2011, the was to provide new users with a simple guide to tackle basic actions such as walking and chatting through a pop-up How To guide accessed via a toolbar button. The problem was that the idea was never really followed through: the How To guide was brief to the point of being ignored, and never fully leveraged.

The new Guidebook takes the same initial approach as the old How To, using a button within the toolbar to open a dedicated panel, samples of which are shown below.

The pages of the new Guidebook relayed to avatar / camera movement –  click for full size

However, it is at this point that all similarities with the How To approach ends, as the Guidebook dives a lot deeper into basic needs – walking, communicating, interacting with objects, an overview of avatar customisation and using avatar attachments, finding where to go in SL and where to meet people. It also offers pointers to various viewer menu options and how things like right-click context menus work.

On first being opened, the Guidebook will display the first of the pages dealing with avatar movement, with each page including “next” and/or “back” buttons. Pages display information clearly and concisely, and good use is made of illustrations.

The Guidebook menu

All of the topics covered by the Guidebook can be accessed directly at any time via the three-bar Menu icon in the top-right of panel, then clicking on the desired topic. This index also includes an option to teleport to a Welcome Back Island – a duplicate of the new Welcome Islands incoming users may arrive at, giving those already in SL the opportunity to hop back to an environment where they can gain a refresher. In addition, some sections within the Guidebook also reference locations within the Welcome Islands that also help new users gain familiarity with Second Life and the viewer controls.

Obviously, not everything can be covered in a single guide like this, and people will doubtless have their own views on what “should” be included. However, what is provided should provide incoming users with a reasonable grounding in finding their way around the viewer. It’s also worth remembering that these updates may not be all that’s coming by way of viewer UI updates and/or simplification.

A further aspect of the new user experience is that the Welcome Islands will use an Experience, which in turn uses web page links, it is possible there are yet-to-be revealed elements accessed as new users explore / travel through the new Welcome Islands that may actually give further context to the viewer. As such, any final judgement on what is available in the viewer as released might be premature. Given this, I’ll likely / hopefully be returning to these updates to the viewer as an when the new user experience comes on-stream.

In the meantime, the Project UI is available as the default official viewer download, and the updates it contains will, as usual, be a core part of all future viewer updates and releases from the Lab.

2021 viewer release summaries week #25

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates from the week ending Sunday, June 27th

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

  • Release viewer: Project UI RC viewer, version 6.4.20.560520, dated June 14th, promoted June 23rd – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Fernet Maintenance RC, updated to version 6.4.20.560398 on June 22nd.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V6-style

  • No updates.

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

A Cloven Forest in Second life

Cloven Forest, June 2021 – click any image for full size
A quiet calm and stillness will comfort your soul as you wander beneath a canopy of trees and explore the spellbound forest at Cloven. Enjoy photography, horseback riding, the stone circle, hot springs and more.

So reads the description of Cloven Forest, the Full region design by Nova Murray that lies surrounded by mountains and offers a wooded landscape suggestive of great age, and where feet (and hooves can wander freely.

Naturally set beneath a night sky – I’ve opted to use daylight settings in the images here – the region may include the LI bonus available to Full private region, but the setting doesn’t in any way feel overloaded. Instead, it presents a landscape that undulates gently beneath that canopy of trees, shadowed avenues passing beneath their cover.

Cloven Forest, June 2021

These avenues are largely natural in nature, broad swathes of grass unburdened by track or paved surface. Periodically lit by by flower-shaped lanterns, these natural trails are easy to follow on foot and ideal for riding if you have a wearable horse.

Towards the centre of the region there rises a gentle hill, crowned by mature oak trees, and from which the two streams that cut through the land issue, presumably sourced by an underground aquifer. Whilst spanned by bridges, neither of these fast-flowing streams presents a real hazard to navigation, although the splashing waters of one has attracted a small family of black bears, a small sample of the wildlife scattered throughout the forest.

Cloven Forest, June 2021

The sense of age to be found here is not only offered by the great height and maturity of many of the trees, but also in the ruins to be found as one explores. These range from the remnants of what might have been a fortification crowning the flattened top of a hill to the west and what is left of an  old church and grave yard occupying the lowlands below, to an inner garden where the trees have been draped in lights, and a stone conservatory and fountain stand, both carrying a hint of fantasy to them that contrasts nicely with the more medieval look to the ruins.

Marked by a drystone wall with a single circular entrance guarded by two aged trees, this garden is just one of a number of places within the forest offering places to pass the time. Another such space come with pagan elements in the form of tree trunks craved into the form of a couple joining in matrimony, the fire and circle of seats nearby bracketed by barrels of wine or mead to one side and a small natural alter to the old gods on the other.

Cloven Forest, June 2021

Other places to sit lay scattered throughout, with one of them carrying a more modern vibe to it: a small camp site that almost borders on glamping, sitting on a table of rock rising from alongside the aforementioned garden space.

The one path that is to be found within the region runs alongside the north side of the island, passing through an area of younger woodland (going by the height of the trees) among which is hidden a wooden watch tower that overlooks the waters beyond the region. Passing beyond the tower, the path eventually branches, its two ends eventually delivering those who follow them to the old church ruins.

Cloven Forest, June 2021

With the landing point tucked into the north-east corner of the setting, balanced by a ring of standing stones in the south-east corner, Cloven Forest has a lot for visitors to discover throughout, both inland and along the shorelines. To the west, a stone bridge spans a channel of water into a second region – Clovenhearth, a homestead – but as the sign at the bridge notes, that region is a private residence, so explorations should be curtailed without crossing over the water and intruding on privacy.

Atmospheric under its night-time sky and highly photogenic by almost any daytime EEP setting, Cloven Forest makes for a relaxing visit and opportunity for exploring.

Cloven Forest, June 2021

SLurl Details