Lana’s whimsy in Second Life

LANA, January 2022 – click any image for full size

In September 2021 I visited LANA, the rich and in places quirky Homestead region designed by Valarie (Zalindah) – see Lana’s seasons in Second Life. Since then, the changing of the year has brought with it a changing in the region’s looks, although much of the core theme  – that of letting go, freeing oneself to experience anew – remains very much prevalent, as does the balance between land and water, together with some of the individual motifs visitors might have encountered with that previous iteration.

However, where back in September LANA offer a setting perhaps rooted more within natural elements- countryside, water, a small town, etc., in its new form the region embraces something far more whimsical in nature, offering multiple vignettes that will catch the eye as one explores, set within a landscape that is very different in styling although it does retain a combination of two seasonal styles.

LANA, January 2022

The first of these seasonal elements is encountered at the landing point, tucked into the south-east corner of the region. Taking the form of a single-roomed building with hard, concrete walls, and with and enclosed garden where visitors arrive, the landing point sits caught in the depths of winter and blanketed in deep snow. The single room of the building is comfortably furnished, two of its walls adorned by what I assume to be images of past iterations of LANA / previous builds by Valerie, while a fire blazes in the hearth, encouraging people to step inside and escape the snow.

At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be a way out of the walled garden or the house to get to the rest of the region. Snow is piled to dither of the structure, and in hanging around the landing point, I did notice several people seemingly confused, wandering in and out of the house, and finally resorting to climbing up the snow drift to one side of it to reach the roof (with one then promptly falling into the winter scene at the far end of the building that is open to the sky but glassed-off from the rest of the room!).

LANA, January 2022

However, the route to the rest of the region isn’t that hard to spot – there is, after all a large white arrow pointing to it from the garden, together with a hopscotch game. It runs over the snow partially piled between the left side of the house and the wall that encloses the garden to reach a road set between bare, arched trees which march away westward through the snow-covered landscape, a large frozen pond beyond one of their arches ranks and cold, open waters to the other.

It is on this pond and along road that the region’s sense of fantasy starts to be revealed: two huge snow wolves – or perhaps dire wolves? – guard both the ice and – a little more aggressively – the far end of the road. Beyond this second wolf and over a hump of snow-dusted ground sits a second pond where a tall Torii gate – watched over by a third wolf – offers the way forward for explorers. Here the path splits, one arm curling back east, to where more Torri gates climb a slope to reach above the snows and a headland that runs north on the shoulders of rocky slopes that rise from the waters on either side, home to ancient ruins and more for those who take that route.

LANA, January 2022

The second arm of the path, however, continues west over lowlands that gradually open out, the snow on them slowly giving way more and more to the scrubby grasses that refuse to remain under its blanket. Eventually turning north, these lowlands are home to trees on which frost still clings although the general sense is of a place in the throes of late autumn. From a distance this low-lying land appears is if it might be marshy in nature – and indeed, a sliver of water does split it’s northern end into a sliver of an island – but the ground is in fact dry.

Closer to where the snow gives way to the grass of these lowlands, the land also points north to where a second rocky upland sits, a large bay to one side of it, a narrower inlet to the other. The way to it is hard to miss, marked as it is by a combination of the remnants  of what must once have been a huge tree and the chinthe-like dragon hovering over it on lazy wing flaps.

LANA, January 2022

Dragons are another presence here that links this LANA with that of the past. Here they come in numerous forms – the chinthe, a water dragon, oriental dragons, and I was particularly enamoured of the peacock dragon curling down to a touch of afternoon tea.

The latter is also one of the elements of whimsy waiting to be found across the region; others include cloud beds floating over a little block of apartments, the oversized plushies scattered throughout the setting. Also to be found throughout the setting are vignettes focused on wildlife and animals – rabbits being a favourite within it – that offer plenty of opportunities for photography.

LANA, January 2022

Retaining much of its oriental lean throughout – notably on the top of the headland running up the east side of the region – whilst offering a setting that is entirely different from its prior incarnation sitting beneath a fitting EEP sky, LANA continues to offer a richness of design and content that makes it a ideal destination for the seasoned Second life traveller ad those looks for places to appreciate.

With thanks to Shawn for the suggestion for a re-visit.

SLurl Details

  • LANA (rated Moderate)

2022 TPV Developer meeting summary, week #3

Lost Dreams, January 2022 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 21st, 2022.

These meetings are generally held every other week.  They are recorded by Pantera Północy, and her video of the meeting is embedded at the end of this report – my thanks to her for allowing me to do so – and it is used with the chat log from the meeting and my own audio recording to produce this summary, which focuses on the core topics discussed.

SL Viewer

[Video: 0:10-7:37]

  • The two Maintenance RC viewers Jenever and Koaliang, have been combined into a single Maintenance RC viewer, version, issued on January 20th.

Important note: the above viewer version has a significant issue that may prevent users on this cohort from logging in. See this report for details. The recommendation is for those wishing to avoid the issue is to download and install the current release viewer (or if experiencing issues, to contact Support and request and inventory fix). 

The rest of the current list of official viewers remains as:

  • Release viewer: version version – Mac Voice hotfix viewer, January 13.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself).
    • The Tracy Integration RC viewer version (dated Friday, November 5) issued Tuesday, November 9.
  • Project viewers:
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version, dated January 5, issued after January 10.
    • Performance Improvements project viewer version, dated December 17.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version, issued September 2.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version, dated December 9, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • The combined Maintenance RC viewer is likely the next viewer in line for promotion.
  • The Graphics improvements viewer still has some bug to be fixed prior to moving to RC status. In particular, Euclid Linden is working on fixing the frame stall issue resulting from a media texture update. Essentially, if vsync is enabled, then command buffer resources aren’t as unbounded as they are with vsync disabled, resulting in textures copied to it a call to update media textures exhausts all available resources, effectively blocking it until it is flushed, rather than the buffer simply being discarded as is with case with vsync disabled.

Upcoming Feature Work

[Video: 1:30-1:51]

  • Vir re-iterated that 2022 should see the viewer progress with new graphics features.
  • Further performance improvements beyond those currently within the Performance Improvements viewer are in the planning stages.
  • However, nothing is available for open discussion by LL at this point in time.

Animation Override Discussion

[Video: 11:07-52:00]

  • A discussion on improving avatar animations through the use of a cap / reliable messaging between the viewer and the server to directly replace the default server-side avatar animations (walk, run, sit, swim, fly, etc), with custom animations  – as per a scripted Animation Override – but avoiding the need  to use llSetAnimationOverride and scripted HUDs (as is currently the case).
  • See also  BUG-230100.
  • No work is currently planned for this, but interest was expressed in how it might work.
  • Firestorm has such a capability (adopted by some other TPVs), but the implementation isn’t widely favoured.
  • Another suggested option would be to make animations assets that define an animation set (e.g. a “Stand” asset that can be a container for a set of animation stands + the timing for running them + defining if they should be randomly or sequentially played).
  • A further advantage is that as well as removing the need for scripted attachments, it would allow everything to be drive via a viewer UI element, offloading work from the server to the Viewer (and potentially into an off-thread).
  • A problem in using a cap is that the viewer could hit it fairly readily, particularly if cycling through a large set of animated stands, for example.
  • There are also edge cases were scripts may still be required, but these are not inimical to the development of a client-side AO system able to work directly with the server-side animation graph.
  • The discussion lays out the benefits for more of a client-side AO control capability, and I refer you to it for the in-text comment – not that towards the end of the discussion, things turned towards some WIBNIs (as in, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice If the system could dynamically adjust walk speed to avatar size”), although elements like this would require a much more intensive overhaul of the animation system.
  • Please refer to the video for the full text of the discussion.

In Brief

  • [52:32-End] A short discussion on the benefits of LL defining an Area Search.
    • While Firestorm has an Area Search, it tends tow spam an entire region with requests for each individual prim hover properties (and is subject to draw distance and interest list).
    • ObjectNavMeshProperties, however (with changes and a throttle), could provide an alternative and potentially more preferable solution.
    • The core of this discussion is in text, with little input from LL – please refer to the video.
  • It has been reported via the forums that there is Mac OS Monterey performance issue associated with the viewer. At the time of writing, it is not clear how widespread this is or if a bug report has been raised, although the issue appears to be with a Monterrey OS capability, rather than the viewer – please read the forum post for more.