A visit to a Split Mountain in Second Life

La Montagna Spaccata, July 2022 – click any image for full size

Occupying a quarter-region parcel, La Montagna Spaccata is a personal interpretation by Lana (Svetlana Pexie) of a place she refers to as being “close to home” in Italy; a place which in English is called The Split Mountain, and which forms the location of the Sanctuary of the Most Holy Trinity.

Located near the city of Gaeta in the province of Latina, Lazio, Southern Italy, the original Montagna Spaccata lies within the Monte Orlando natural park. It comprises three sea clefts that cut into the coastal mountain, which local legend would have were created by a lightning bolt hurled to Earth by a distraught God on the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross; its a place where, to honour the legend, Benedictine monks built the Sanctuary in the 11th Century.

La Montagna Spaccata, July 2022

A place steeped in religious significance – it is said the St. Philip Neri, the “Second Apostle of Rome” would visit the Sanctuary for periods of quiet reflection and contemplation, as would Bernardino of Siena – it is a place today fabled for its primary gorge, down which – for a fee – visitors can travel the 300 stairs to where the water ebbs and flows within the Grotta del Turco, the water turned to a brilliant turquoise by the light of the Sun.

The Grotto is perhaps the centre piece for Lana’s design. I have no idea as to how reflective the build is in regards to the original – but frankly, that’s not important; this is after all and interpretation, not a representation. As such it has a beauty entirely of its own.

La Montagna Spaccata, July 2022

What I will say is that fortunately for visitors, Lana has reduced those 300 steps to something a lot more manageable for avatar legs that may still tire under the stress of descending climbing (!) from and to where the water can, under the right EEP settings, offer colours that whilst not necessarily turquoise, may still be as eye=catching, as I hope some of the pictures here demonstrate.

Even this is a design representative of deep coastal gorges, the land itself is understandably elevated and sits as a high plateau  into which the main grotto gorge and a second cut to varying degrees, with the second gorge being much shallower and home to a sheer waterfall at its head.

La Montagna Spaccata, July 2022

As to the third cleft from the original, visitors can take their pick: to the south the land falls away to the sea, presenting what might be a further stretch of coast near to Gaeta – or might be taken as one side of the third gorge, should the parcel to the south come to be rented. Alternatively, the north parcel is given over to Lana’s private home and is landscaped in a manner in keeping with La Montagna Spaccata, and so might again might be imagined as a part of the local coastline or where, beyond the rock wall separating the two parcels, the imagination might like to picture the remaining gorge as being.

To the west of the plateau is both the landing point and what remains of ancient fortifications. Again, whether the latter are part of the actual Montagna Spaccata or intended to evoke some of the fortifications of Gaeta itself, I’ve no idea; but they serve as a perfect backdrop to the eastern extreme of the parcel, where people can finding seating at the local café and also the entrance to the steps leading down to the grotto. The latter switch-back their way down a set of terraces built into the cliff and the rocky foot of the gorge. Meanwhile, two finger-like promontories extend eastward, the main gorge set between them. These can be wandered as well, offering heady views down into the two gorges and excellent views back to the fortifications.

La Montagna Spaccata

Lana feels that sitting within a quarter region perhaps doesn’t do the actual Montagna Spaccata, and hopes that one day to be able to build something bigger and more reflective of the original. For my part, I’d say that while I’d love to see such an expansion, the current build has a beauty and charm of it’s own; yes, there are a couple of elements of texture overlap, and I would suggest experimenting with daytime settings when taking photos, but none of these points detract from the whole in any way.

My thanks to Shawn Shakespeare for the pointer and the landmark.

La Montagna Spaccata

SLurl Details

July 2022 Web User Group: Premium Plus, MP and more

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes cover the key points from the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022.

These meetings are generally held in-world on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the SL public calendar. They are usually chaired by Reed Linden, who is the Lab’s Product Manager for the Second Life front-end web properties (Marketplace, secondlife.com, the sign-up pages, the Lab’s corporate pages, etc.).

A video of the meeting, courtesy of Pantera, can be found embedded at the end of this article (my thanks to her as always!), and subject timestamps to the relevant points in the video are provided. Again, the following is a summary of key topics / discussions, not a full transcript of everything mentioned.

Premium Plus – Quarterly Membership

[Video: 2:55-6:42]

  • There has been what LL regard as a “positive” response to the Premium Plus launch on June 23rd, with take-up being “ahead of the curve”.
  • Quarterly accounts:
    • These were Grandfathered for Premium in 2018 (so those on Quarterly could continue, but those upgrading after the grandfathering could only opt for Monthly or Annual). As such, Quarterly was not listed as part of the original Premium Plus offering.
    • I raised the question through the Meet the Moles session at SL18B (via Saffia as host).
    • Quarterly has now bee added to Premium Plus – but only for those upgrading from Quarterly Premium. If you are not already on Quarterly Premium billing, you will only see the Monthly / Annual prices.
  • Coming soon: the ability to directly pick a Linden Home parcel (one that is available but not part of the allocation system as per my Premium Plus notes) that is currently offered via filing a support ticket will be moving to a web-based ability.
  • Still under discussion / in development for Premium Plus:
    • Reduced mesh upload fees.
    • Premium Plus linden Homes.
    • Premium Plus “VIP areas”.
  • The Premium offering will also continue to be updated.

Future Subscription Levels

[Video: 42:29-end]

  • Are their plans to offer more Premium subscription levels? Plans, no. There is nothing definitive being planned or in the works for further levels of Premium at this time.
  • Are the discussions about / interest in possible permutations of subscription options? Yes.
  • It is certainly true that the system is now set-up to support different subscription offerings if more levels were to be added.
    • This latter point sparked a discussion of what people saw as “ala carte”, which largely came down to people wanting only pay for something specific – such as Linden Home or free tier – rather than picking a range of options – please refer to the video for details.

Name Changes – Pricing Updates

[Video: 4:25-4:45]

Currently being worked on but not implemented at the time of writing:

  • The promised lower cost for Name Changes for Premium Plus.
  • A reduction (unspecified at this time) cost to Premium members, to be introduced alongside the new Premium Plus pricing.

“Land Journey” Refresh

[Video: 7:15-8:20]

  • Work is now in progress for this.
  • Will involve a complete overhaul of obtaining land – from private islands through Mainland to rentals.
  • Intended to be a tool for all who are seeking or selling land.
  • The Lab is open to suggestions as to how the overhaul of the “Land Journey” can better serve land rental businesses across SL – those with ideas should file a Feature Request Jira.

Marketplace

[Video: 8:20-16:36]

  • Work on Marketplace variances (e.g. multiple colour options for an item available from a single listing) was placed on hold as a result of the work on Search and Premium Plus, and so is now Unlikely to be deployed until the autumn / fall period.
  • Currently for the MP, the focus is on taking the work for Search relevance that has been carried out and implementing it within Marketplace search, plus updated capabilities including Boolean searches, exact matching, fuzzy matching, etc., plus better relevance ranking, better filtering, better sorting, support for special characters.

Marketplace Rebuild

  • This was mentioned at the June 2022 meeting as a potential project – rebuilding the Marketplace from the ground up.
  • The project is still in the discussion stage, and feedback is being sought – again please refer to the June meeting notes to see what was discussed and forward ideas to LL via Feature Request Jira.
  • This is a long-term project that will not be ready for ant form of surfacing until some time in 2023 at the earliest.
  • It is possible that as and when roll-out does commence, it will be in stages until such time as parity is reached with the current MP / sufficient store owners have move across, it makes sense to complete a migration and shut down the current MP.
  • Equally, an iterative approach allows any work to be halt and reconsidered if things do not go well / do not meet with a positive response from users.
  • The new MP will be built to support mobile device access.

In Brief

  • No major news on SL Mobile, other than “avenues are being investigated”. Also see Mojo Linden’s comments from SL19B.
  • There have also been discussions on “how to engage” with the core SL product (outside of the Marketplace) via the web. Things under consideration include:
    • Group chat.
    • Inventory access / management – although this is noted as being problematic (e.g. reflecting updates on the web whilst also logged-in).
  • Also in the works are more landing pages to help promote Second Life to potential users / groups who might be interested in using the platform.
  • The future of Place Pages is uncertain. They need attention, but it is not clear how valuable they might be.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022. Venue and time per top of this summary.