ARNICAR’S Chapel Imagination in Second Life

Chapel Imagination, August 2020

ARNICAR India has opened another region design for people to enjoy in the form of Chapel Imagination. It’s a stunning design that brings together art, architecture, water and one or two fantastical touches to present a region rich in detail, yet subtle on the eye; a place where one can wander and dream, ponder and relax – and simply be.

Simplicity of design appears to have been the watchword here, with the region sitting as a trio of islands tucked within a bay surrounded by high peaks. All three of the islands are relatively minimal in size, with the largest running east-to-west, a low finger of land marked by a shingle path looping around it to enclose the ruins of what was once a substantial structure – the chapel of the region’s title, perhaps.

Chapel Imagination, August 2020

This structure comprises the Looking Glass Chapel Ruins, created by Marcus Inkpen, and The Looking Glass Enchanted Ballroom Walls by Sharnee Azalee, facing each other along the island’s length, with a Gothic archway walk by Abel Dreamscape stretching part-way between them. This mix of designs works exceptionally well to present a place of ancient splendour and mystical calling, shaded by the broadly spread arms of three monkeypod trees, while the older boughs of Alex Bader’s Skye Twisted Tree intertwine with the archways of the Gothic walk.

The two smaller islands sit to the south and north of this main island – which also forms the landing point – and are reached via short causeways. One of these again uses wall sections from The Looking Glass Chapel Ruins to form  largely enclosed space marked by more of Alex Bader’s Twisted Tree, while the other again uses Abel Dreamscape’s Gothic archway, this time interspersed with Sourwood trees before giving way to more elements of TLG’s Chapel Ruins, together with some Lost Garden Columns.

Chapel Imagination, August 2020

It is this minimalist approach to choice of elements – The Looking Glass and Dreamscape – that gives Chapel Imagination part of its charm and appeal, offering as it does the sense of being within what was once an extensive building, which in turn gives the setting a wonderful sense of continuity as you explore.

But it is the details waiting to be found throughout that gives Chapel Imagination its unmistakable depth. Red-crowned cranes are waiting to greet arrivals at the landing point, the chapel behind them offering a fantasy garden / dressing room, a wedding dress waiting to be worn. Down through the Gothic arches are more suggestions of a wedding-in-waiting, whilst the circle at the end offers an entirely different surprise. Beyond it, a little pier extends over water rich with whimsy and fantasy as Bryn Oh’s Social Distancing canoe sits on the gentle waves.

Chapel Imagination, August 2020

To the north, the second chapel stands as a kind of music room, a grand piano sitting within it, together with pieces of art and more. All of this is watched over by a photographer who has found a most unusual perch – so much so, that he might easily be missed, thus adding a little twist of humour.

Despite the use of chapel parts throughout, it’s only the the south island that carries any real hints of religion within it, where pews, and a votive stand can be found, together with a curious gathering of nuns watched from a distance by a lone monk.

Chapel Imagination, August 2020

I’m being deliberately vague about all of this because Chapel Imagination deserves to be seen, not described – and seen directly rather than through the lens of a camera. A considerable amount of work has gone into presenting it as a place of retreat and peace, complete with a considered sound scape and a delightful sense of whimsy.

One of the most engaging region designs I’ve visited in a while, and a tour de force lesson that you don’t need to stuff a region full of bits in order to make it photogenic or worthy of people’s interest.

Chapel Imagination, August 2020

With thanks to Shaun Shakespeare.

SLurl Details

2020 SL project updates week #32: TPVD summary

Jambo! A Voyage to Africa, May 2020 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, August 7th, 2020. These meetings are generally held every other week, unless otherwise noted in any given summary. The embedded video is provided to Pantera – my thanks to her for recording and providing it. Time stamps are included with the notes will open the video at the point(s) where a specific topic is discussed.

SL Viewer News

[0:08-5:00]

The Tools Update 2 viewer updated to version 6.4.6.545962 on August 4th.

The rest of the official viewer pipelines remain as follows:

  • Current release viewer version 6.4.4.543157, dated June 11th, promoted June 23rd, formerly the CEF RC viewer – ROLL BACK.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
  • Project viewers:
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.5.544079, June 30.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.3.2.530836, September 17, 2019. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • A further version of the Tools Update 2 viewer is anticipated for week #33 (commencing Monday, August 10th). This may appear as the de facto release viewer version.
  • Currently, the next viewer in line for promotion after the Tools Update 2 viewer is likely to be the current Arrack Maintenance viewer.
    • A further RC update to Arrack may be issued early in week #33; however, if the Tools Update 2 viewer is promoted to release status, this viewer may be held over pending a merge with the Tools Update 2 viewer code base.
  • Love Me Render (LMR) continue to be held as the graphics team work on various rendering issues.
    • There are apparently around 4 remaining open issues, with two more currently being worked on.
    • Of the open issues, all are performance related. Some of these may need further triage.
    • The issue of Linden Water continuing to give particularly degraded performance on EEP viewer is still being investigated by both LL and TPVs developers, but no potential fix identified as yet. There appears to be some combination of factors causing this (e.g. vertex buffer object (VBO) memory thrashing potentially being one).

In Brief

  • [10:50-13:46] During a text-based call for volumetric clouds from a developer, Ptolemy Linden pointed out an early feature for EEP was to have been atmospheric scattering that got dropped at the time and some of this work might potentially be “simpler” to implement than volumetric clouds – not that his comment means either will be forthcoming.
    • Crepuscular rays (“god rays”) were one aspect of this work, but had to be dropped as they  proved too performance intensive at the time. Two common means for generating “god rays” are via adding geometry to a scene, another is via ray casting and shadow map sampling – both of these can be computationally intensive.
  • The latter half of the meeting is dominated by a user-led discussion on relative performance, what constitutes as a viable demonstration of average performance (e.g. a lone avatar frolicking in a region with all the viewer’s upper-end graphics capabilities enabled, vs trying to do the same with even a moderate number of avatars also in the region, etc). As this was conducted in chat, you can catch it in the video, below.

 

Cica’s Monsters in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Monsters
Monsters are real, ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes they win.

– Stephen King

This is the quote Cica Ghost uses to introduce her August 2020 build, Monsters. Occupying a Homestead region, this is another build that encompasses whimsy whilst also – perhaps – carrying a more pointed message.

Scattered across a strangely undulating landscape stand four large structures, each with two walls apiece. Were they all to be brought together, they might form a house of sorts. But as it is, they each offer a scene in a room of a dwelling: a lounge, two bedrooms and spare room devoid of furnishings on the same scale as found in the others.

Cica Ghost: Monsters

The two bedrooms are occupied by dwellers of the would-be house; one appears to be fast asleep, and other perched on the edge of her bed, feet tucked carefully up as she reads one of a number of books piled in her room. However, these people are not the focus of the build; that is reserved for the plethora of creatures to be found within and without the different rooms, and who lend their name to the installation’s title.

Bipeds, quadrupeds, tall, short, with arms (some times more than the accepted pair!) without arms, some with tails, others sans ears and one with an interesting collection of mouths, Cica’s monsters are waiting to greet and amuse those who visit.

Cica Ghost: Monsters

And yes, I do mean amuse. Such are their looks and expressions, these monsters are hardly the stuff of nightmare – a fact some of them appear to be only too aware, given their glum faces. Rather, they all like like the type of monster unlikely to bring home the screams for a certain famous corporation of Disney lore, but that would all too quickly become a play friend to any youngster they happen upon.

Those in the “living room” of the “house” seem particularly cognizant of their lack of scare factor as they form a group and drink coffee, one idly fishing off the side of the platform, all of them ignoring the entreaties of a four-footed fiend on the grass below to come play. It’s in these glum looks that it is possible to perceive that deeper element embodied in the use of the Stephen King quote: given that often the worse monsters are the ones inside of the humans they are meant to scare, is there any need for the ones we might fear as being under out beds to ever come out?

Cica Ghost: Monsters

Some, however are trying to make the best of things, playing outside and waiting to offer a smile and wave to visitors. For this reason, as much as any other, whether you choose to follow the interpretation given above or not, you should hop along to Monsters and see it for yourself. And if you take a liking to one of Cica’s little chaps, be sure to find your way to the Monster Shop in the region’s south-east corner, where you can pick one up at take it home! And when exploring, be sure to mouse-over things: as always, Cica has included assorted perches and animations for people to enjoy!

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August 2020 Web User Group: updates & upcoming attractions

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, August 5th, 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).

Web Properties Updates

The primary focus for the web teams remains the transitioning of services from the Lab’s own servers to AWS servers as a part of the Uplift project. However, other work is continuing as an when possible, and in the last month this has meant:

  • The new Second Life logo (see: Out with the green, in with the blue) continues to be rolled out across the various services – in this case, notably the Cashier pages – as the team get to them. This is a relatively low priority item so it will still be a while before the logo is consistent across all properties.
  • UTF-8 will now be accepted in response to security questions.
  • Additional back-end work on Name Changes was implemented, mainly tools used by the Lab but also some changes that may allow for some possible future features related to the capability.
  • The secondlife.com log-in page images received a refresh.
  • Fixes:
    • Marketplace: received a fix for images not showing correctly.
    • Events: fixes for images not showing with posted events; for multiple pages of hosted events not working and for the language picker drop-down not working on exiting events pages.
    • Place Pages received a number of fixes.
    • Land Auctions received a fix for beta lifetime users being unable to bid on auctions.
    • A back-end issue with Premium acquisition was fixed.
    • Viewer download page: now includes a link for Mac OS X Catalina (and later) users experiencing problems installing the Mac flavour of the viewer, and that takes them to the Troubleshooting Second Life Installation on Mac OS X page.
Viewer installation help for Mac OS X Catalina (or later) on the viewer download page

Mobile Client

  • The iOS version has been in a closed alpha for 2+ months. These is now a build destined to go to Apple’s App Store.
  • Work continues on the Android version, but is currently some way behind the iOS work.
  • See for more.

Post-Uplift Work

Note: the following is a general list of work LL are looking at, post-Uplift to the cloud, however, it is still subject to change, and none of it should be taken as a firm commitment for carrying out the work or any indication of the order in which it might be carried out:

  • Marketplace: variances for listings (e.g. one listing for an item offering it in different colours).
  • Events: bug fixes, category  and search refinements.
  • Names Changes: further tweaks.
  • Web properties in general: better optimisation for display on mobile properties.
  • Further work still to be added to the list.

Marketing Brief

  • Following the presence of Gen Con in Second Life (see: Coming to Second Life: Gen Con “the best four days in gaming”, Gen Con: sneaking a peek in Second Life and Gen Con in Second Life: let the games begin!), LL have had a debriefing with the VRazeTheBar team, and the hope is it will pave the way for further displaced conferences to be held within Second Life.
  • There are potential opportunities in the offing for a further media presence for Second Life which may be akin to the CSI:NY episode Down the Rabbit Hole (2007), or SL’s appearance in the US version of The Office. Details still TBA.
  • There is also an upcoming partnership with the Peale Museum in Baltimore, so the latter can bring their exhibits and events in-world with a reproduction of the museum building (itself a National Historic Landmark in the United States) and special virtual open house as part as the museum’s August 15rh Founder’s Day event.
  • These styles of events are seen as a way to broaden awareness of Scone Life and its potential.

Premium Plus

  • Still on hold.
  • May be revisited at some point.
  • May also be revised before being released.

Next Meeting

Wednesday, September 2nd, 14:00 SLT.

Second Life Mobile mini update, August 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 work – please use the SL Mobile tag to catch up with all of them.

At the Web User Group on Wednesday, August 5th, Keira Linden gave a further update on the client’s status, as per the notes and audio below, which have been provided alongside my usual notes on the app.

August 5th Update

iOS Client

  • The iOS version has been in a closed alpha that includes a number of residents for some 2+ months, having started in May.
    • In keeping with the Lab’s plans, this version offers the ability to communicate via IM and view your Friends list.
  • As a result of this close alpha testing, the Lab now has a build that is “destined for [Apple’s] App Store”, which is currently “bouncing back and fort”h between the development team and LL’s QA team.
  • The hope is that this version can be submitted to Apple for review some time in August 2020.
  • This does not necessarily mean the iOS client will immediately appear within the App Store, as Apple can be exceptionally picky in their review process, which can result in requests for changes to an app to be made before listing is allowed.
  • LL obviously hopes the app will not encounter significant issues, but because of the review process, no time frame can be given on when the app will appear in the App Store – but there will presumably be an announcement once it is available.

Android Client

  • Having started much later than the iOS version, which remains the Lab’s focus, the Android version is still at a somewhat earlier stage of development.
  • However, it is under active development.
  • When it is ready, it will likely follow a similar Alpha / Beta test process to the iOS version.

In-world Presence

  • In a change to earlier statements, Mobile app users will have an in-world location.
  • This will be in one of several special “Mobile” regions. However:
    • As Mobile users have no 3D world view, these regions are not landscaped or populated in any way.
    • Access is restricted to those using the Mobile app, general access by users on the viewer or other clients is not allowed.
    • Currently, three Mobile regions have been set-up.

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.
  • 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.

Reporting and Updates in this Blog

Again, 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.

Lab Gab preview: Philip Rosedale

via Linden Lab

Lab Gab returns on Friday, August 7th, 2020, with a very special guest in the form of Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life and co-founder of Love Machine Inc., and Coffee and Power – which would become High Fidelity.

In 1995, Rosedale created FreeVue, an Internet video conferencing product, which was acquired by RealNetworks in 1996, with Rosedale joining that company as a Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. He later left RealNetworks to form Linden Lab, initially working in virtual reality before moving to focus on a virtual world platform with the goal of demonstrating a viable model for a virtual economy or virtual society.

Philip Rosedale

We don’t see this as a game. We see it as a platform that is, in many ways, better than the real world.

– Philip Rosedale, Google TechTalks, March 2006

As well as founding Linden Lab, Rosedale served as CEO and / or as a member of the Board until 2009, when – having already handed over the CEO reins of the company to Mark Kingdon – he announced he was stepping away from the board to focus on other projects (Love Machine Inc.). In 2010, he briefly returned as interim CEO through until Ebbe Altberg was appointed to the role.

Contrary to the rumour mill, Philip will not be discussing the recent announcement about Linden Lab putting itself up for acquisition (as this process is still on-going and cannot be publicly discussed beyond what has already been said by way of the announcement), but will be talking to Strawberry Linden about the history of Second Life, what he is up to now and his views on the future of virtual worlds.

The session will be livestreamed as follows: