More about a Green Story in Second Life

Green Story, September 2022 – click any image for full size

I hadn’t realised that it’s been four years since my first visit to Green Story, the Homestead region held and designed by Dior Canis. Indeed, it might have been even longer before I hopped back to have another look, but for a poke from Shawn Shakespeare; admittedly, that poke was given to me at the end of June 2022, so even now I’m being a little tardy in just getting around to a visit and an article, given October is now peeking over the horizon at us!

At the time of hat visit, which I wrote about in Stories and memories in Green Second Life, the region was very much a place of two halves, one in the sky and one on the ground, and both equally attractive, and which offered a continuity of theme and expression, one to the other.

Green Story, September 2022: “catch a falling star”

So far as I can tell now, Green Story exists in its current iteration as a ground-level build only; I certainly didn’t note any suggestion of a teleport to a sky platform – so if I did miss it, my apologies.  Both the 2018 iteration of Green Story and this are joined, however, by the fact that whilst each has its own landscape, neither is what might be said to be  contiguous location; rather, each exists to offer a series of locations – or vignettes, depending on how they are being utilised – scattered within a landscape which helps to link them as places to be found and appreciated.

In its form at the time of writing this piece for example, the landing point sits on a winding track running towards (or away from, depending on your point-of view), a little railway stations which has perhaps seen better days. Rain falls from a star-filled sky cut through with the ribbon of the Milky Way, and the shadowed forms of the station buildings, their mix of warm yellow lights and bright white platform illumination reflecting of banks of mist, beckon the new arrival with the promise of a warm reprieve from the downpour.

Green Story, September 2022: “the inner light”

This station is a strange hodgepodge of buildings platforms, music store, café, waiting room, and so on, which look as though they have all come together to huddle against the rain rather than being built with intent, a single rail car hunched at the end of one of the lines and suffering the rain in silence. The very oddness of the station buildings – which includes a very cosy artist’s studio floating above the rest as if daring gravity to say something – givens them a unique attractiveness which further draws visitors to them.

Travelling the other way along the track from the station takes the visitor past a little telephone booth before the trail peters on on a shoulder of the hills descending from the south and west to meet the north-facing coast, the course of the trail marked only by the march of a line of street lamps beyond where the trail’s guiding fences end.

Green Story, September 2022: “catspaw”

Further travel from here is either a case of climbing the rough slope of the hill or descending it towards the waiting shore. The way upwards can lead one to where the skeletal form of a cabin occupies an out-thrust of rock. Looking to be only partially complete (and a neat combining of builds by Wendy Keno and Cory Edo), the cabin is nevertheless cosily furnished and offers a comfortable retreat from the weather with an uninterrupted sea view. The path down, meanwhile, offers the way to where a deck sits over the water. Reached via stepping stone, it offers a view to the brilliant arc of the Milky Way as it rises from the north-east to arch over the region in a swathe of starry colour. Also visible from this deck is a little boat sitting far out on the water and laden with pillows and blankets as a further retreat  for visitors to partake.

And therein lines the raison d’être for this design: not s much as a place to be explored in the traditional sense, but as a place where people can come, relax, share (intimately, if they wish, given much of the furniture scattered around includes cuddles / adult poses), take photos of themselves within the various vignettes – art studio, cabin, deck, telephone booth and so on (several more await discovery as one wanders) – or simply remember or lose oneself in thought.

Green Story, September 2022

In this latter point, it doesn’t matter that the art studio floats over the back of the station buildings or a single window frame is suspended alone on a hill slope; what matters is how the mind, the eye and / or the camera opt to use the locations within this region, be it for expression or escape.

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Fading Melu: unique expression in Second Life

Melusina Parkin: Fading Melu

Almost two years ago, Melusina Parkin presented her first collection of avatar-centric images.  Just Melusina was very much an experimental collection; as Melu noted herself at the time, portraiture and taking images of her avatar were entirely outside of her focus (no pun intended), her work to that point being largely directed towards landscapes, architecture and design.

However, Melu is a uniquely gifted artist; she has the ability to identify angle, eye line, subject and focus to present intriguing picture in which it is possible to define a single line of narrative or dialogue that naturally leads one to perceive a story far broader than the canvas, and which at the same time can draw us along subtle lines of thinking. In bringing these techniques and approach to portraiture, Melu presented series of self-studies which, while obviously set and posed, were nonetheless utterly natural in style and tone, and completely captivating in their potential to tell stories – as I wrote at the time.

Now, two years on, Melusina has returned to the subject of self studies with Fading Melu, a collection of images centred on her avatar and with the same rich potential for weaving stories – but which are very different in tone and approach; something she set out intentionally achieve, as she noted to me as we discussed the collection just ahead of its September 10th, 2022 opening.

Melusina Parkin: Fading Melu

Comprising some 23 pieces Fading Melu offers portraits which are linked by three major elements: they are mostly set against a dark background; they carry a sense of being over-exposed; they utilise a depth of field that ensures both subject and backdrop (where visible) are intentionally out-of-focus.

This latter point might sound counter-intuitive; sure, depth-of-field can be used in many ways – most obviously by “fading out” a backdrop / the “less important” and either focusing the eye on the foreground subject or the specific element within an image that caught the photographer’s eye; but to blur the entire image, subject and all? After all, and as I noted in writing about Just Melusina:

“Traditional” portraits tend to be exercises in power and / or ego, however subliminal. The subject and their pose is what counts, the clothes they wear, the backdrop to their sitting, etc., are all merely accoutrements to the central theme of look at ME. Even self-portraiture can follow a similar route [so] the end result tends to be the same: to push their audience into a single track of emotional response. 
Melusina Parkin: Fading Melu

Thus, in blurring each image within Fading Melu, Melusina is literally blurring how these portraits might be perceived, and so potentially making their narrative harder to define.

But in doing so, Fading Melu – to me – achieves two goals. First, because subject and background are both equally out-of-focus, we cannot so easily discern what may have driven the thinking behind each one’s composition and presentation. Thus interpreting them becomes much deeper and more personal, our reactions formed more by our own outlook and perception rather than any subtle hints in direction presented by the artist.

Second, Fading Melu might be said to offer a commentary on the human / avatar relationship. Our involvement in Second Life brings with it a certain investment in our avatars; for some, this can be superficial in terms of how our “real lives” permeate our avatar in terms of looks, behaviour, etc; for others the investment can run very deep. Either way, the fact remains that no matter how we try, we can never fully inhabit our avatars; there is always something of a divide between avatar and self. Thus, through their intentional out-of-focus finish, these are pieces that might be seen as offering a subtle underlining of this entire “me / not me” dichotomy.

Melusina Parkin: Fading Melu

Thus, within Fading Melu we have another multi-faceted collection of images capable of stirring the grey matter, and which serve as a superb expansion and enhancing of ideas first seen within 2020’s Just Melusina.

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2022 SUG meetings week #39 summary

Rosehaven Seafolk Sanctuary, August 2022 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, September 20th, 2022 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. They form a summary of the items discussed and is not intended to be a full transcript. A video of the entire meeting is embedded at the end of the article for those wishing to review the meeting in full – my thanks to Pantera for recording it.

Server Deployments

At  the time of writing, there was no published deployment plan for the week.

  • On Tuesday, September 27th, the simhosts on the Main SLS channel were restarted with no deployment, leaving them on simulator release 574921,  comprising the fixes from release 574611 + BUG-232593 “Mesh physics shapes changing unexpectedly when rezzed on a 574611 sim”, introduced with that update.
  • On Wednesday, September 28th, the simhosts on the RC channels should receive an update containing two new functions llGetObjectLinkKey (specified under llGetLinkKey) and llSHA256String.

Available Official Viewers

No changes to mark the start of the week, leaving the official viewer pipelines as:

  • Release viewer: version 6.6.4.575022 – hotfix for Crash at ~LLModalDialog() – promoted September 15 – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Maintenance 3 RC viewer, version 6.6.5.575257, September 23.
    • Maintenance P (Preferences, Position and Paste) RC viewer version 6.6.5.575055 September 19.
  • Project viewers:
    • Puppetry project viewer, version 6.6.3.574545,  issued on August 30.
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 6 graphics improvements project viewer 6.6.2.573263, July 21.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version 6.5.4.571296, May 10.

In Brief

  • Bugger all of note discussed as this was a “solstice party” and it was bloody hard enough just confirming RC server deployment details.

A little Regency in Second Life

Vue Sur Mer, September 2022 – click any image for full size

Pleasure Ò Raigàin (vVEdanaVv) is one of the creative minds (and chief builder) behind Carrowmere, a Homestead region I visited with great delight back at the start of 2022 (see: A trip to an Irish corner of Second Life). Whilst that region is still active in Second Life, Pleasure has turned her mind to other projects as well, and recently invited me to pay a visit to Vue Sur Mer, a new parcel build she has opened to the public.

Occupying just 4096 square metres, this is one of those landscaping designs I tend to like because it demonstrates the fact that people don’t actually need a full-sized region (Homestead or otherwise) to create something special for themselves or which can be shared with others as a public space. Sitting within the north-east corner of its parent region (hence the reason for the parcel’s name), this is a parcel with a very distinct and cosily engaging theme, offering as it does a slice of Regency England in reflection of the US TV series Bridgerton.

Vue Sur Mer, September 2022

I confess to knowing next to nothing about the television series – I’m actually not a great fan of period dramas for assorted reasons; but that hardly matters here. Whether or not you are familiar with the show – or indeed Regency England – Vue Sur Mer offers an enticing and romantic corner of Second Life that is highly photogenic and easy to appreciate.

Whilst formally regarded at the period 1811 to 1820, when by Act of Parliament, George, Prince of Wales became Prince Regent as a result of his father’s (George III) worsening mental health and ending when the Prince ascended to the throne as George IV, the Regency period can more broadly be regarded as the final third of the Georgian era, spanning the years 1795 through 1837. It was a time of sharp social divide within the United Kingdom between the haves and the have nots, with the former enjoying a period of cultural and social growth (aided by Romanticism straddling the era and the early Victorian period), and seemingly oblivious (or uncaring) about the hardship faced by the labourers of the country.

Vue Sur Mer, September 2022

In its celebration of the period as seen through the likes of Bridgerton, Vue Sur Mer quite marvellously captures the grace and beauty that lay within the houses and gardens of the well-off. This is a setting where, to draw further on the period) Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet would find little amiss.

Presented as semi-formal garden environment in which is located a small summer house and even smaller pavilion, both constructed of neatly cut and squared white stone, it is not hard to imagine Vue Sur Mer as a places tucked away within the wildlings beyond the more formal gardens of a grand estate, a place where the romantically-inclined can slip away to for courtship conversations, unobtrusively observed by footmen; or which the estate owners might host a young artist or musician or poet, thus earning themselves further social kudos.

Vue Sur Mer, September 2022

Behind the summer house sits a shaded pond where courting couples might sit or a poet seek his (or her!) muse under the natural arch of two bent trees, this time watched over by Andromeda and Perseus. To the side of the house tea might be taken under a beflowered gazebo set over a carpet of pale blooms, the discussion perhaps revolving around Ms. Austen’s writings, given the books perched on the table. Nearby, the pavilion sits purely as a retreat for the menfolk, being set out with a range of brandy and whiskey bottles which share their table with a box of cigars.

Between pavilion and gazebo lie stone steps rising under a stone arch to reach a wildling garden protected by a snowy owl; a place where a budding painter might decide to set their easel should they tire of the confines within the little greenhouse on the far side of the little beach, converted as it is as a tiny art studio.

Vue Sur Mer, September 2022

Compact yet packed with detail (I’ve not really mentioned the care with with Pleasure has set the décor and furnishings within the house), and finished with a gentle soundscape, Vue Sur Mer is a veritable painting in its own right. And I leave it to you to decide whether or not to do so in period attire!

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The 2022 SL Renaissance Festival for Making Strides

via SL Renaissance Festival

The 2022 SL Renaissance Festival is currently open to visitors through until the end of Sunday, October 2nd, 2022. Coordinated by the American Cancer Society, the Festival is in support of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (MSABC), an RFL of SL signature event aimed at raising awareness of the risks of breast cancer and funds to support research into, and treatment of, the disease.

Taking place across multiple regions adjoining the core American Cancer Society’s SL base of operations, the festival carries the theme The Silk Road and presents a range of merchants, activities and entertainments linked to the medieval / renaissance periods, for visitors to peruse, participate in and enjoy.

Please refer to the official SL Renaissance Festival website for:

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer SL Renaissance Festival 2022: entertainment area

The event tournaments include rounds of jousting, archery, mounted archery, and mêlée, all of which are open to anyone who’d like to try their hand at any of them. In particular, and for those who wish to try their hand at jousting there is the added attraction of jousting against staff from Linden Lab and Moles from the Linden Department of Public Works.

Advanced Tickets to joust in this special event, which will be held between 12:00 noon and 14:00 SLT on Thursday, September 29th, cost L$1,000 (proceeds to RFL of SL / Making Strides) and are available via kiosks within the Welcome Regions and at the Joust Arena. Advanced Ticket holders will have priority Joust time, but if time permits, the Joust will be opened to those watching the event, on payment of a L$1,000 donation to Making Strides. Experience in jousting is not required, and mounts and lances are supplied.

If jousting isn’t your thing, then perhaps ensuring the more rambunctious Lindens and Moles are held to account might be, because as the event website notes:

The Lindens & Moles have escaped the hordes who chased them down the Silk Road and have arrived safely at the SL Renaissance Festival.  However, they had a few, shall we say, “incidents” along the way whilst visiting the village taverns and partaking in  local merriment. Some, more so than others it appears. Reports of table dancing, chandelier swinging and loud singing in the streets in the wee hours have reached the Festival Queen. They must be held accountable for their loud and rambunctious behaviour, and have been ordered to the pillory.

By Royal Decree, Second Life Residents are to be the judges as to who spend time in the pillories by voting for the Linden / Mole team they feel should be held to account by making a donation to the kiosk representing that team (all donations to MSABC).

Voting will close at 13:00 SLT on Wednesday, September 28th, 2022, and it is understood those accused will be skulking around the voting kiosks in an attempt to proclaim their innocence and encourage the voting for rival teams to face time in the stocks! Don’t be fooled and vote with your conscience – the pillories will be locked after the final tally has been taken, and the winning – err, losing – team will face the rotten vegetables provided for the purposes of pelting, and (good-natured!) jeering.

If all this sounds like fun, then why not also become a medieval fashion model and walk “Ye Olde Catwalk” in the RenFest Fashion Show? Model your favourite look in any or all of the these categories (L$100 donation to MSABC required for each costume entry): Medieval Royalty; Medieval Dinky; Viking; Pirate. The show will take place at 10:00 SLT on Sunday, October 2nd, and if you wish to participate, sign-up here.

And of course there is the Renaissance Raffle and the special Linden Silent Auction, the latter with some very special prizes, including:

  • Premium Memberships:
    • Bid for one year Premium Membership or Premium Plus Membership (if you are already Premium or Premium Plus, you can bid for a free 12-month renewal).
    • Both bring you all the benefits of Premium / Premium Plus and if you’re feeling generous – the prizes can be gifted!
  • Change your last name for free, using the list of available Last Names available at the time.
  • A one-hour photoshoot with Patch Linden and a chance to chat.
aking Strides Against Breast Cancer SL Renaissance Festival 2022: Linden silent Auction and Jousting entry kiosk

Bid for your Linden Prize here! Note that the auction closes at 13:00 SLT on Sunday, October 2nd, 2022.

All of which adds up to a lot to see and do! So why not follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo et al, and tread the route of The Silk Road? Who knows what marvels you might purchase along the way, the tales of triumph you might later regale your friend with – or a trophies and rewards you might obtain?!

URLs and SLurls

All of the RenFest regions are rated Moderate.

2022 viewer release summaries week #38

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

Updates from the week through to Sunday, September 25th, 2022

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: version 6.6.4.575022 – hotfix for Crash at ~LLModalDialog() – promoted September 15 – no change.
  • Release channel cohorts::
    • Maintenance 3 RC viewer updated to version 6.6.5.575257 on September 23
    • Maintenance P (Preferences, Position and Paste) RC viewer updated to version 6.6.5.575055 on September 19.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V6-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links