June 2022 will see Second Life celebrate it’s 19th anniversary of opening to public access, and this year’s Second Life Birthday will run from Thursday, June 16th, with the Birthday regions open through until Tuesday, July 5th, and the main celebration events taking place from June 16th through to Sunday, June 26th, 2022. The theme this year is Steampunk.
On Thursday, March 31st, 2022, the Lab opened applications for exhibitor and volunteers. In calling for exhibitors the Lab notes:
Your exhibit does not need to stay in theme. If you are inspired by the thought of the hidden worlds around you, show us! Or, share your Second Life passions with us. Your interests. Your communities. Your worlds! Every year we celebrate because of you, the amazing and creative Residents, who have chosen to call Second Life home. What has drawn you into this world and what keeps you here? This year at the nineteenth annual Second Life Birthday, show us what fuels your Second Life and inspires you. Let’s go exploring!
Those who are interested in exhibiting at SL19B are asked to read, complete and submit the official exhibitor application form, which includes this year’s Exhibitor Rules. Note that the closing date for applications is Sunday, May 8th.
At the same time, the Lab is seeking volunteers to assist during the celebrations, again noting:
We are looking for Residents with great people skills and a love and excitement for Second Life to help us make SL19B a huge success! That starts by making a great experience for visitors. If you like the idea of promoting Second Life in a positive way to thousands of people in a celebratory atmosphere, we welcome you to apply today!
Those who fancy volunteer are asked to complete and submit the volunteer application. Again, note the closing date is Sunday, May 8th.
This brings the total list of application form to:
Recently I was asked by a friend in Second Life if I knew of any good holiday resorts in-world, a question that had me thinking; while over the last few years there seems of have been a upsurge of vacation-style destination venues in SL, I’ve rarely covered them in this blog (partly, I’ll admit, because of unfortunate experiences in a couple) However, the question came on top of me also learning about a relatively new such destination in world, and it prompted me to hop over and take a look.
The destination in question is Badu- Egypt – Aswan City, a place which offers a mix of public spaces and more private opportunities for vacationing and touring, with a mix of activities that can be enjoyed by visitors as well as by guests availing themselves of the vacation opportunity.
Operated as (at the time of writing) the latest destination presented by AshaRhia Resident as a part of her Asha Destinations SL Travel Agency, Badu – Egypt is currently set to be open for at least 2 weeks (starting on March 25th), with a potential for this to be extended to up to four weeks, depending upon its popularity. Like Aswan, it mixes two faces of Egypt, ancient and modern, into a single location, offering visitors the chance to learn about some of the history of Ancient Egypt whilst also being pampered.
The two halves of the region are divided by height., with the ancient Egyptian elements occupying the land just above sea level, and the luxury amenities of the hotel sitting on a plateau above them, a layout that keeps them nicely separated while maintaining their relationship via the interconnecting steps leading from one to the other.
The ancient Egyptian elements of the region are located on its east side, and laid out in a north-south orientation. To reach them from the landing point follow the path around the base of the cliffs and pass the steps rising to the hotel area. They are dominated by the bulk of a vast temple, that sits with a chariot racing arena as a buffer between it and the rest of the setting, whilst containing what is very much a modern museum. Here, visitors can find images and information cards on multiple aspects of life and society in ancient Egypt, encompassing the lives of Pharaohs down to those of humble farmers, and incorporating elements such as clothing, jewellery, wigs, etc., with the temple itself offering a huge sense of space, wall frescoes, and a nod to the importance of water to the Egyptian civilisation.
South of this and the chariot arena, is a more desert-like landscape that offers a feel of the great pyramids of Giza coupled with the ancient ruins of somewhere like Thebe. Together with the more pristine building to the north, these serve to give visitors a good sense of Egypt’s long history through the ages without being tied to a singular period.
The upper area of the region presents a luxury resort complex, split between public and private areas, with the former taking up the central part of the resort and comprising with a front desk, swimming pools, the treatment spa, etc., all of which can be enjoyed by the casual visitor. The seven private suites border this to either side, all clearly delineated from the public areas by their frontage while offering a luxury stay for guests.
The larger of the suite designs present lower floor lounge areas with adjoining kitchen and dining areas, an upper TV lounge area, private terraces (one with a hot tub), and a separate sleeping wing with lower floor grand bedroom with dressing room and bathroom, and an upper level with two further bedrooms and shared bathroom. The smaller units, located around the front desk and the hotel’s bar, offer single-floor accommodation with a more open plan approach to living, dining and kitchen, with a separate bedroom and bathroom, and each has a single terrace with hot tub, they also share a communal poolside lounge.
Guest / visitor activities take various forms, including Afrobeat dance classes, a quest, chariot racing, pottery classes and basket weaving classes (all role-play) – non-guests can participate in these for a fee of L$500, with details of times, etc., available at the front desk. Spa treatments and fine dining (both again role-play) are also available, with prices available to non-guests at the front desk. In addition, guests and visitor can join a guided tour of the Abu Simbel Temple Museum.
Badu- Egypt – Aswan City is a setting that has been brought together with a great deal of care and thought for visitors within to experience the fullness of travel to a destination within Second Life. The region is well laid-out, clearly signed, and there is a lot on offer. Fees, as noted, can be found at the hotel’s front desk, and vacations can be booked through the associated website, via the bookings page.
Given all this is available within the region, it can take its toll on the viewer; therefore those on low-to-mid-range systems should (as I’m prone to note in these situations) be prepared to make some adjustments to their system if they encounter problems. However, this should not put anyone off taking a trip to the region and seeing it for themselves!
The 2022 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference takes place between Thursday, March 31st and Saturday April 2nd, 2022 inclusive. A grass-roots community event focusing on education in immersive virtual environments, VWBPE attracts 2200-3500 educational professionals from around the world each year. It’s primary goals are to foster discussion on, and learning about educational opportunities presented through the use of such virtual spaces, a defining core values and best practices in doing so, including:
Helping to build community through extension of learning best practices to practical application of those ideas and techniques;
Providing networking opportunities for educators and the communities that help support education; and
Offering access to current innovations, trends, ideas, case studies, and other best practices for educators and the communities that help support education.
In the context of the conference, a “virtual environment” is an on-line community through which users can interact with one another and use and create ideas irrespective of time and space. As such, typical examples include Second Life, OpenSimulator, Unity, World of Warcraft, Eve Online, and so on, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or any virtual environments characterised by an open social presence and in which the direction of the platform’s evolution is manifest in the community.
Each year, the event has a central theme, which for 2022 the organisers describe thus:
Our theme for this year is Phoenix Rising and the exploration of areas outside of our expertise that may be potentially opposed to our current outlook or world view. As educators, we are having to adjust to more than just a transition from in-person to online methodologies. We are facing urgent challenges in the areas of remote classroom management, outdated policies or policies not designed to be applied to online environments, child psychology and welfare in online environments, health and safety considerations, and personal privacy, among others. This means embracing the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and innovative technologies to their best effect.
– From the introduction to VWBPE 2022
As with previous VWBPE conferences, this year’s event includes speakers, workshops, presentations, social activities and more.
11:00-11:50 SLT: What’s up at the Lab? with Patch Linden and hosted by Kevin Feenan (Phelan Corrimal), VWBPE Director; Rockcliffe University Consortium.
08:30-08:50 SLT: Keynote address – Randall Sadler, Professor of Computer-Assisted Language Learning Telecollaboration (incl. Virtual Worlds and Virtual Reality
18:00-19050 SLT: Closing ceremony.
If you cannot get in-world to attend any of these or the other major talks and presentations at the conference, note that you can watch them via You Tube – check the VWBPE website for the full schedule of live streams (also available on YouTube).
For 2022, the conference uses the same as the past two years, with some additional twists. The following is a quick run-down of some of core facilities.
The VWBPE Gateway: located on the ground level, the Gateway offers a main landing point for in-coming visitors, complete with a swag bag for arrivals available through several givers.
Rocket Ride – fly a rocket through asteroid fields, past the moons of Lyra Prime, through a worm hole, and landing at the docks of the Lyra Prime spaceport.
And more – details in the information packs available at the Gateway!
The conference also includes lecture and workshop spaces and locations for presentations, all of which can be accessed via the teleport HUD and the gateway teleport kiosks.
The Teleport HUD
As noted above, the VWBPE teleport HUD is the best way of getting around the facilities. It can be obtained via the swag bag givers at the VWBPE Gateway and is delivered to inventory in a folder. Open the folder and right-click → ADD the HUD. Note that you will need to grant teleport permissions for it to work.
By default, the teleport HUD attaches to the bottom of the viewer window, with three buttons available (Help and Detach are self-explanatory).
Click the Main button to display the full HUD (which can be minimised again by clicking the Hide button, displayed when the HUD is fully in view). This comprises two sections:
On the left, a display of primary options (shown above). Clicking on any of the buttons in this section will following: display a further list of options (teleport or web page links). Use the Main button to return to the primary set of options again, when required.
One the right, a changing display of event sponsors – clicking on a name displayed in this section will display a link in the viewer’s top right corner to an associated web browser page about the sponsor.
The primary set of options comprise the following (note: at the time of testing, Special and Administration were both blank, and so are ignored below):
Teleport to Gateway: go directly to the VWBPE gateway station, where you can grab freebies (if you’ve not already done so) and use the teleport kiosks inside the main building, meet with friends, etc.
Stations: displays buttons for all of the conference facilities except the main auditorium. Click one of the buttons to be teleported to the named location.
Auditorium: displays the three teleports to the main auditorium.
Social: displays the teleport to the space station and other social elements.
Exhibits: teleports to the conference exhibition spaces.
Sponsors: displays a set of teleports to the exhibition spaces of the conference’s major sponsors.
Post-Conference Survey: offers a link in the viewer’s top right corner to an associated web browser page, where attendees can offer feedback on the conference.
Coffee is a beverage that has been around a long time, and one that takes many forms. Making a really good cup of coffee is both a skill and an art form; in fact the way in which some types – such as the latte – are made and presented has been directly elevated to an art form complete with world championships (thanks largely to the work of David Schomer and the baristas at Espresso Vivace in Seattle, Washington State in the case of the latte).
As a coffee lover, I genuinely appreciate the skill and care that goes into making a really good cup of coffee; as someone who appreciates artistic expression, I also admire the beauty and expression that goes into creating the perfect piece of latte art – so much so that since purchasing a fabulous Sage duel boiler expresso maker, I’ve been attempting to learn latte art for myself!
Someone else who has opted to use her love of coffee as a means for artistic expression is Mara Telling, and we can witness this at Frank Atisso’s Art Korner Gallery III, where she presents a collection of specially-produced images under the title Coffee. In all, thirteen images are offered – three of them forming a trilogy – which all present a fun examination of the coffee lover’s relationship with their beverage of choice.
Each of the ten individual pieces might be seen as something of a eye-wink metaphor: the velveteen touch of a really well made mocha in which the wine-like accent of the bean has been retained without any over-egging of its natural acidity such that its taste is like that of a lover’s kiss; the idea that we can feel safe and at home as much with a cup of good coffee as we can in the room stuffed with furnishings; that the comfort of a perfect latte can be as relaxing (or invigorating, depending on one’s mood!) as a visit to the spa, and so on.
Nor are they overly reverential; Coffee Ride joyously celebrates the wild kick of caffeine that can mean so much, while Coffee Break reflects of the coffee drinker’s almost voyeuristic indulgence of people watching while sipping an innocent cup or mug; whilst Haute Coffture pokes fun at the serious coffee drinkers almost snobbish approach to appreciating the beverage. Thus, within all ten pieces lies something anyone who enjoys coffee will both recognise and have cause to smile about.
And nor is the art of making coffee forgotten, celebrated as it is through Coffee Trilogy, focused on a marvellous gacha set previously offered by Andraus Thor. With a hand bean grinder, moka pots and a traditional Turkish coffee maker (among other items), the set brings the full richness and delight of “traditional” coffee brewing (and skill) to Second Life.
Rounded-out by an interactive coffee bar – grab yourself a cup of coffee and sit and people-watch others as they come and go within the gallery or take a ride on the giant cup of coffee as it turns slowly (and perhaps capture yourself on camera) – Coffee is a display of art than is both fun to witness, and which also speaks to Mara’s talent as a self-taught photographic artist; one who fully understands the use of colour, light, framing and cropping, and the need for subtlety in their use to produce pictures that are instantly pleasing to the eye.
The following summary notes were taken from the Tuesday, March 29th, 2022 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. It forms a summary of the items discussed, and a video of the entire meeting is embedded at the end of the article – my thanks to Pantera for recording it.
Tuesday, March 29th: the Main SLS channel simulators were restarted, but without any update deployment.
Wednesday March 30th: all RC channel will be updated with simulator release 569934, which primarily contains a update to support the move of profile information back to the viewer, hopefully allowing the Legacy Profiles viewer (see below) to move forward.
Available Official Viewers
All official viewer pipelines remain as follows:
Release viewer: version version 22.214.171.1248554 – formerly the Maintenance J&K RC viewer, promoted Monday, February 28 – No Change
Performance Improvements RC viewer version 126.96.36.1999349, dated March 14.
Lao-Lao Maintenance RC viewer, version 188.8.131.529191, issued on March 11.
Performance Floater project viewer, version 184.108.40.2069531, March 18.
Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 220.127.116.116858, dated January 5, issued after January 10.
Legacy Profiles viewer, version 18.104.22.1680519, dated October 26, 2020.
Copy / Paste viewer, version 22.214.171.1243365, dated December 9, 2019.
Note: this meeting was another live music event, so discussions were limited. So very little to report.
BUG-231876 “llRequestSimulatorData() frequently and silently fails” – a fix has been developed for this issue and is currently with QA for testing. It had been hoped this would be ready for a deployment this week, but unfortunately this is not the case.
Some have been reporting an issue whereby their Friends list reports all (or most) contacts as off-line when logging into a region the first time after a restart, requiring them to TP to another region entire for a Friends list update, or (if they are the region holder) restarting / requesting a s restart for the culprit region. LL have no information as yet on why this is occurring.
I recently received word from Natalie Starlight that she and Nessa Nova have been re-working their Lost Unicorn estate, together with an invite to drop in for a visit.
I just wanted to let you know that we have brought back an all new Lost Unicorn (forest)! Nessa and I both missed the magic of the old sim with the elves, unicorns, mermaids, etc. We’ve added much of that back and are also currently working on a new Storybook area behind the gallery on the other region!
Just thought you might want to stop by when you can and see the changes.
– Natalie Starlight
Given how much I’ve enjoyed previous iterations of the Lost Unicorn builds, I made sure to hop over and take a look.
Lost Unicorn has always offered a special delight for me ever since my first visit to it, the gallery and the delightful and the soon to return (as Natalie indicates above) Storybook, some four years ago. A dreamy and mystical elven realm shrouded in mist, the home of fairies, centaurs, unicorns and more, Lost Unicorn has always been a rewarding visit, with much to see, photograph and simply enjoy whilst following the paths and trails that wander through it.
With this returning, Natalie and Nessa have fully recaptured all of this richness and beauty found in earlier iterations of the region, and wrapped it all in something new but just as engaging.
From the landing point towards the east of the region, visitors can wander as their moods dictate. Take the path down from it and across the bridge and make your way up to the high castle as it commands a view across the region towards the (under reconstruction at the time of my visit) Lost Unicorn Gallery.
Or you can go by way gazebo and path around the base of the peak on which the castle is built with where another bridge spans a gorge to reach a fair elven home and stairs spiral up around the trunks of giant trees and span the air by means of further bridges to again offer a means to reach the high castle, passing by way seats and games a free houses along the way.
Those who find there way down to the valleys and lowlands shaded as they are by the richness of boughs from the forest will find more paths and trails, some in shadow others lit by streamers of sunlight falling through those same boughs, all leading to points of interest and beauty. Some of these – such as the gardens with the piano, ancient walls and sakura blossoms – may be easy to find; other might be more hidden, requiring a trip away from sunlight altogether and into caverns old; still others might be said to hide in plain sight – should you have the eyes to see them.
For those who don’t there are experience-based teleport portals waiting to carry visitors directly to points of interest – but again, finding these is all part of the broader experience of discovery. All I will say is that at the feet of bridges, secrets may be found. Nor, in fact does everything necessarily lie either above or below ground.
But the truth is, wherever your feet take you within Lost Unicorn, you will find something to captivate, be in elves, fairies, art, mermaids, centaurs, animals – or simply a place to sit and past the time, listing to the ambient soundscape and perhaps the notes of the piano drifting through the trees.