Second Pride 2020: TOGETHER in Second Life

Second Pride 2020

SL Pride, the event celebrating diversity organised by and on behalf of Second Life’s LGBTQ+ community officially opens on Friday, June 5th, 2020 at 14:00 SLT, and runs through until Sunday, June 14th.

With entertainment and activities through the week, this year’s event has the theme TOGETHER, which the organisers define as: Together in Unity; in Life; in Health; in Harmony; in Spirit; in Love; in Power; in Strength; in Mind; in Body and in Peace. Given the situation in the United States at present, the event also stands in support of, and in solidarity with, Black Lives Matter.

Second Pride 2020

Once again, the event is centred on a city-like region setting, a central park within it offering the event space. Surrounding this is an elevated train line designed by Jogi Schultz (yogijo), who also supplies the buildings below the elevated rails that house shops, galleries, social spaces, the Community Resource Centre. Among these can also be found further event areas (such as the Men in Motion stage), beyond which sits a façade of high-rise buildings representing the Manhattan skyline.

As with the 2019 event, a funfair sits to the west of the region, whilst to the north-east there is a Welcome Area for newcomers reaching the event directly from the Second Pride website and Community Gateway. This offers fun and comprehensive introduction to Second Life and the viewer. In particular, this Welcome Area offers a place where members of the LGBTQ+ community can find a home and a place from which they can explore the wider opportunities within Second Life.

SL Pride 2020

A full schedule of activities for the the event can be found on the Second Pride website, as is a list of sponsors for this year’s event. Note that while the entertainment schedule opens in List view, for ease of reference, you can change it to a Day view via the drop-down at the top right of the page.

In addition, the website also supports a Get Social option, which allows people to interact with one another. Those joining it can create extended profiles, upload profile pictures, join an activity stream (similar to Facebook), connect with friends, private message one another, and so on. Click the Get Social! in the website’s menu bar to get started.

Second Pride 2020

Donations from the event will go to Rainbow Railroad, an international organisation dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ people around the world escape state-sponsored violence, offering them the chance to travel to places where they can live their lives in freedom.

As hard as it may be to believe, there are 71 countries where being LGBTQ+ is criminalised, and in eight countries the sentence can be the death penalty. Given this, Rainbow Railroad can literally save lives around the globe. You can find out more about their work in the video below.

So, be sure to make time to visit SL Pride during the coming week, share in the entertainment, see the art, tour the region – and donate to the Rainbow Railroad.

SLurl and Link Details

2020 Content Creation User Group week #23 summary

The Beguiled Art Gallery and Studio, May 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken from my audio recording and chat log of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, June 4th 2020 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are are available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Unfortunately, Vir was on a replacement computer for this meeting, and the audio quality was exceptionally bad in the early part of the meeting, making comprehension both in the meeting and when playing back my audio recording very difficult.

Terrain

  • LL has long acknowledged that terrain texture quality in Second Life is not overly great by today’s graphics standards.
  • There is no defined project to update terrain textures as yet, but Vir took the opportunity to take feedback on ideas for what might be included. Some of this comprised:
    • Better texture density for crisper textures.
    • Texture layering to allow for roads / paths, etc.
    • Support for higher resolution textures.
    • Splat maps for textures and for normal and specular support.
  • Voxel support was requested, but this is seen as a much larger project than terrain texturing, we Linden Lab to go that route, and it is certainly not something on the cards for the foreseeable future.

Jelly Dolls / Avatar Rendering

  • Vir continues to work on this and has (I believe) a viewer with some of his ideas included available for internal testing or review at the Lab.

Project Muscadene (Animesh Follow-On)

Project Summary

Currently: offering the means to change an Animesh size parameters via LSL.

Current Status

  • Still officially on hold.
  • Attach points support has been requested and could be a “next step”.
  • However, when work is resumed, the emphasis will be on fixing the identified bugs around the LSL parameter setting process

In brief

  • EEP: LL are still looking to correct:
    • Specularity (shininess) issues – see BUG-228781 and BUG-228581. One of these issues is now fixed internally to the Lab, the other is “in progress”. When deployed, should see behaviour return to pretty much how it was pre-EEP, how where the fixes will fit in viewer updates is still TBD.
    • Issues with the environment settings for Mainland. This has proven harder to fix. It appears that the wrong environment settings were baked into the Mainland regions, and the most direct means of correcting this is by manually correcting them.
  • The EEP issues – which arguably show things as they *should* appear, but which in doing so “break” content (hence trying to get the “fixes” in s that assets don’t have to be corrected & re-uploaded, etc.), sparked a discussion on how indicated changes to the rendering pipeline will be handled. Essentially these will be “opt in” for content created after any updates are deployed; old content will be “opt out”, to avoid breakage.
  • Next meeting: Thursday, June 18th, 13:00 SLT.

RFL 2020: it’s the Weekend to Relay in Second Life

Relay for Life of Second Life: 2020 Relay Weekend

Update: Trader Whiplash-Ballinger dropped me a note to point out that those wishing to hear the music stream for the event, provided by T1 Radio, should visit the T1 Radio website and use the pop-out Relay Radio media player rather than using the in-world stream. The player will give lag / interruption-free listening enjoyment as visitors travel the Relay regions.

Friday June 5th through Sunday June 7th 2020 marks the Relay for Life of Second Life Relay weekend  – and this year it’s a biggie! The Relay track this year covers some 40-ish regions, which are supported by additional event and activity regions so that the entire weekend comprises some 57 regions in all, with the American Cancer Society (ACS) region forming the 58th and anchor-point region.

In a year when the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has done so much to prevent people coming together around the world to raise money for ACS and global cancer organisations, Relay for Life of Second Life takes on added importance. It is, in effect, THE major grass-roots fund-raising series of events raising money for ACS and its projects in 2020. Already, Relayers across Second Life have accept the challenge by raising some US $260,000+, and this year’s Relay Weekend offers the opportunity for all of us to significantly advance that total.

While the Relay Weekend doesn’t formally kick-off until 10:00 SLT on Saturday, June 6th, you can learn about ACS, Relay for Life and the weekend on Friday, June 5th at noon SLT when Strawberry Linden interviews Stingray9798 Raymaker, Trager Alter, MamaP Beerbaum, and Nikki Mathieson on Lab Gab

The theme for this year is Game On Cancer, and in reflection of this, relay teams have come together to present a whole host of parcels along the route of the track the take games as their theme – many of them interactive in nature (you can engage in a giant game of Mahjong, for example, or enter an avatar-sized setting based on Clue – or to use its original name (I won’t say “proper”! 🙂 ) Cluedo; while several of SL’s popular communities – science fiction, the road / driving community, role-play groups, sailing / surfing / water communities, and so on – provide region-wide installation focused on their activities framed within the overall theme.

This means there is a huge amount to see and do within the regions as a pert of the overall aim of raising funds for the American Cancer Society’s world-wide efforts to bring treatment, care, support and (eventually) cures to cancer sufferers world-wide.

Relay for Life of Second Life: 2020 Relay Weekend

With the regions, there’s also room for social commentary with subtle reminders that those from poor backgrounds are often more prone to the effects of cancer, simply because they do not have the ease of access to care and support. In this the “Las Vegas” region is quite effective in showing two sides of the coin. May of the teams participating also appear to be running their own events throughout the weekend, with numerous stages and event areas to be found along the track, all of which further helps encourage engagement and participation.

Also to be found through the region are informational displays about cancer and its treatment, parks in which to rest and reflect on life, and places to share in the stories of Second Life residents who have survived cancer, offered as a means to provide hop to those caught within its shadow.

Relay for Life of Second Life: 2020 Relay Weekend

The weekend officially kicks-off at 10:00 SLT on Saturday June 6th with a formal Opening Ceremony. However, as noted above, you can catch up with some of the people behind Relay for Life of Second Life by tuning into Lab Gab on Friday, June 5th, and 12:00 noon SLT.

For 2020, laps around the track are themed as follows, all times SLT.

Saturday, June 6th
Sunday, June 7th
11:00
Survivor/Caregiver Lap
sponsored by the Relay Rockers
00:00
Toga Party  / Food Fight
cream pies at the ready!
12:30
Teams Lap
sponsored by Grid Play
01:00
80’s Hour
C&V’s House of Rock
14:00
Roller Skating Hour
don your skates and roll around the track!
02:00
PAC Man Hour
gobble, gobble, gobble!
15:00
Walk with a Friend
two’s always company!
03:00
Monopoly Hour
Go!
16:00
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
sponsored by Attention to Cancer
04:00
Ahoy Matey!
get yourself ship-shape!
17:00
Your Favourite Sports Teams
show your colours!
05:00
Heroes Hour
sponsored by Heroes Helping Heroes
18:00
Nerds and Geeks Unite!
grok you geek!
06:00
Fight Back Hour
sponsored by Gavin Dionysus
19:00
Your favourite video games
sponsored by Friends for a Cure
07:00
Wear Your Coffee and Drink Your Curlers
sponsored by Relay Rockers
20:00
Camping Hour
sponsored by Camping for a Cure
08:00
Hawaiian Hour
Aloha!
21:00
Luminaria Ceremony
09:00
Purple Power Hour
sponsored by Team shadow
22:00
Candyland Hour
sponsored by SHB Gems
10:00
Closing Ceremony
23:00
Las Vegas Hour
11:00
Victory Lap
dancing with your sparklers!

Luminaria Ceremony and Lanterns

At 21:00 SLT on Saturday, June 6th, the track will be in darkness and silence, with all those in the Relay Regions are asked not to engage in open text or voice chat but to walk the track in silence or stand to one side, as the names of those to be remembered are read.

It is a time for each of us to reflect on how this disease has touched us personally.  And it is a time for us to look inside ourselves with quiet reflection and find hope.  Because no matter what our experience has been with cancer, we all share the hope that we will one day live in a world where our children, and their children, will never have to hear the words “you have cancer”.

– Relay for Life of Second Life event web page

If you wish to have a name read out during the ceremony, please complete and submit the Luminaria Dedication Form.

Relay for Life of Second Life: 2020 Relay Weekend

Along the sides of the relay track are the Luminaria lanterns that can be used to commemorate and / or honour someone you know who has succumbed to or survived cancer. Lanterns can be lit for a minimum donation of L$50 (all proceeds to Relay for Life of Second Life). Donations can can be made by clicking  a lantern and then either selecting a set amount or typing in an amount of your choice. You can also optionally enter whether you are lighting the lantern in memory or in honour of someone, and also add their name and / or a message.

Lanterns will be available for donations from the opening of the weekend through until the weekend ends. They will display different colours, depending on the amount donated: Yellow: L$50-499; Green: L$500-999; Blue: L$1000-2499; Orange: L$2500-4999; Pink: L$5000-9999; Purple: L$10,000 and above.

Relay for Life of Second Life: 2020 Relay Weekend

The Spirit of Relay Award

The Spirit of Relay are annual awards presented to the individual and the team that embodies what the community calls, the ‘spirit’ of Relay, from Kick Off to Relay Day. It is not representative of just the amount raised, but takes into consideration the spirit of the individual or team: how they embraced Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society’s mission, their enthusiasm and their participation in Relay activities as a whole, not only in their own but other team’s events as well.

Nomination can be made via the 2020 Spirit of Relay Award form, which will remain open until Sunday June 8th, and the recipients will be announced at the 2020 RFL of SL Wrap Up Party on Wednesday, June 10th.

SLurl Details

May 2020 Web User Group

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes are taken from my recording of the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020. These meetings are held monthly, generally on the first Wednesdays of the month, with dates and details of the meetings available via the Web User Group wiki page.

When reading these notes, please keep in mind:

  • This is not intended as a chronological transcript of the meeting. Items are drawn together by topic, although they may have been discussed at different points in the meeting.
  • Similarly, and if included, any audio extracts appearing in these summaries are presented by topic heading, rather than any chronological order in which they may have been raised during the meeting (e.g. if “topic X” is mentioned early in a meeting and then again half-way through a meeting, any audio comments related to that topic that might be included in these reports will be concatenated into a single audio extract).

Account Self-Reactivation

  • Previously, if a user left Second Life and asked for their account to be de-activated, it would require a support ticket to have the account re-activated at a future date, should the user wish to return to SL and to that account.
  • Users can now re-activate their account directly.
  • This is seen as a way to help people returning to Second Life as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 situation to be able to resume using their “old” accounts, rather than having to fully start over without having to soak up support personnel time in re-activating an account.
  • To work, a returning user must know both the account name / password and the e-mail address used to create the account.
  • This method doesn’t replace raising a support ticket for account re-activation, so people can still file a ticket if they do not have all the required information.
  • Details on account reactivation can be found here.

Mobile Client

  • The iOS version is now in a closed alpha featuring some residents.
  • In keeping with the Lab’s plans, this version offers the ability to communicate via IM, and has a basic Friends listing.
  • Further updates will follow  – the next being the addition of Abuse Reporting support and improved management for the Friends list.
  • Once the Lab believe the client has an initial set of functions to make it useful as a communications tool, it will will move to a beta phase and made available to a wider cohort of users for further testing.
  • Work is progressing on an Android client, but it will take time for it to reach a point where it is ready for testing. When it is ready, it will likely follow a similar Alpha / Beta test process to the iOS version.
  • Additional work on SL web properties is also being carried out in relation to the Mobile client.

In Brief

  • The Adult Swim event held in May heavily involved the web team, and similar events are apparently being planned for the future.
  • Name Changes:
    • In response to requests, the list of last names provided on the Name Change page can now be seen by Basic members, so they can review the currently available names without have to upgrade first.
Basic users can now see the list of available last names on the Name Change page, so they can check to see if there is a name they’d like before they upgrade to Premium to use the capability.
    • No indication of how frequently the list of last names will updated, but plans remain to change out names once they reach a certain point of use and / or fail to gain traction and use.
    • There will be a blog post ahead of any update to allow people who what to take a name before it might vanish from the list can do so.
  • Work continues on deploying the updates Second Life logo / font (see Out with the green, in with the blue) across web properties as they are naturally updated for other reasons.
  • There was a reminder that user in Norway and Australia must now pay VAT or GST is now applicable on Linden Lab products services (see VAT & GST on Lab products & services for Norway & Australia).
  • Feature request and bugs discussed:
    • To help with EEP asset merchandising, the following feature request has been filed: BUG-228856 “EEP Category in Marketplace”.
    • BUG-228845 “Marketplace Edit Item Listing loses Image Upload option” has been accepted by the Lab for cloning to their internal Jira system.

Second Life Mobile mini update, May 2020 with audio

As I’ve previously reported several times over the last year, starting with Linden Lab confirm Second Life iOS client in the making, Linden Lab is developing a companion app for Second Life.

Since that first article, I’ve provided a number of updates on the development, including that the client will be for both Android as well as iOS, and speaking at the Web User Group meeting on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020, Keira Linden – who is the Product lead for the client – provided and update on process, the core points of which are bullet-pointed below.

  • iOS Client:
    • The iOS version is now in a closed alpha featuring some residents.
    • In keeping with the Lab’s plans, this version offers the ability to communicate via IM, and has a basic Friends listing.
    • Further updates will follow  – the next being the addition of Abuse Reporting support and improved management for the Friends list.
    • Once the Lab believe the client has an initial set of functions to make it useful as a communications tool, it will will move to a beta phase and made available to a wider cohort of users for further testing.
  • Android Client:
    • Work is progressing, but it will take time for it to reach a point where it is ready for testing.
    • When it is ready, it will likely follow a similar Alpha / Beta test process to the iOS version.

General Capabilities

Note: this is a reiteration of notes from earlier updates on the SL Mobile client.

  • It should initially be regarded as more of a communicator / companion app than a fully-rounded client.
    • The initial intention for the client is to provide users with a means of maintaining basic contact with other users whilst away from their main means of accessing Second Life.
  • As such, it will support logging-in to Second Life services to support IM and group chat support. However:
    • It will not initially present you with an in-world location, nor will your avatar rez in-world, it will not not support local chat nor any form of world rendering.
  • Capabilities such as having an in-world rezzing location, the ability to chat locally, support for scene rendering will be added over time.
    • However, in terms of any in-world rendering, this will not be part of any initial released (in the meeting it was described as “not even Soon™”), as LL are focused in just trying to get the basic app available to users as soon as reasonably possible.

All information I’m able to provide through this blog, including future updates can be found under the SL Mobile tag, and can be accessed directly from the top menu options:

  • SL → User Group & Viewer → Viewers → Android & iOS and then selecting either:
    • Android Clients → SL Mobile or
    • iOS Clients → SL Mobile.

Art at Love and Love in Second Life

Love and love Art Gallery

Love & Love Art Gallery is, for me, a new venue for art in Second Life. Curated by Lylaya Love (lylaya), and co-founded by her and her partner Bohemio Love (Bohemi0), the gallery occupies a pristine 3-storey building set with a 4096 sq metre parcel set out with a small, tidy garden space before it.

At the time of my visit, the ground floor space of the gallery was not in use – I’ve no idea if it will offer future exhibitions – with a teleport offering the way up to the upper two floors.

Love and Love Art Gallery: Cornelia Augusta

On the first of these, Cornelia Augusta (cornelia Longfall) presents Kaleidoscope of Souls, an exhibition of avatar studies across the floor’s two halls and set within an environment that is best appreciated with the viewer’s Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled (Graphics → Preferences → check Advanced Lighting Model if required – note that you do not have to enable Shadows as well, so the rendering impact should hopefully be minimal).

The studies appear to be of Cornelia and her friends / those close to her, and are largely “traditional” in that they offer a head and shoulders view of the subject. They are refreshing in that they appear to have had little or no post-processing. On the one hand, this perhaps means these portraits are not so vibrantly life-like as avatar studies produced by others: skin toning may not appear to be flesh-like, features have not been re-touched or enhanced to add further “humanness” before the avatar’s natural look, etc.

Love and Love Art Gallery: Cornelia Augusta

However, on the other hand, they allow us to see the avatars as they are, something that imbues them with their own distinct life, rather than being seen as an image attempting to mimic life. Thus, it is possible to discern within them more of their own nature mixed with the nature of their creators, rather than seeing an interpretation of that mix of natures as perceived by the artist as a result of extensive re-editing.

On the upper floor is an exhibition of physical world paintings by Oblomov (Jos Bookmite) entitled Pesci (Fishes).

Love and Love Art Family: Oblomov

As the name implies, the paintings here are very much about fishes – although they are not all piscine in nature; there are also molluscs, sea-snails and mermaids waiting to be seen. Set within an environment suggestive of the sea floor, these are highly stylised sea creatures, some of which clearly have a life of their own waiting to be found in their expressive forms / faces suggestive of a range of emotions, with some of the fish looking very human in their expressions.

Colourful, happy, mischievous, and in places, slightly sinister, these paintings all have their own stories waiting to be discerned by visitors.

Love and Love Art Family: Oblomov

Two very different art displays within a single gallery space, joined by their own unique approaches to their subjects, Kaleidoscope of Souls and Pesci are equally enjoyable exhibitions. As they opened in mid-May, I’m not entirely sure how long they will both be around, so do make a point of visiting the gallery sooner rather than later, just in case.

SLurl Details