2018 SL UG updates 50/1: Simulator User Group

Cold Ash; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrCold Ashblog post

There was no Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, December 11th, 2018. Notes are therefore a little on the light side.

Server Deployments

As always, please check with the server deployment thread for updates and latest news.

  • On Tuesday, December 11th, the SLS (Main) channel was updated with server maintenance package 18#, previously deployed to all three main RC channels, and comprising region stability improvements; simhost deployment improvements and logging improvements.
    • Part of this update includes the removal of a lot of mesh-related logging that had been required during testing, but has been surplus to requirements. However, as the code was never removed, it resulted in a lot of unnecessary logging as mesh became more popular.
  • On Wednesday, 12th December the RC channels should be updated with server maintenance package 18#, comprising voice service adjustments.
  • The Snack channel, home to the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP), received a further simulator update, version 18#

SL Viewer

At the time of writing, there have been no updates to the current batch of official viewers, leaving the pipelines as follows:

  • Current Release version, dated October 18, promoted November 14. Formerly the Animesh RC viewer – no change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version, December 6.
    • Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer, version, December 5.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version, September 28.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version, September 10. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Cica’s Lullaby in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Lullaby

Cica Ghost’s latest installation, Lullaby, opened on Tuesday, December 11th. It’s a curious piece, something of a celebration of the creatures that might be said to come out at night, together with touches of some of Cica’s previous installations.

For the byline to the installation, Cica has chosen the chorus from Lullaby for an Insomniac, by Kate Nash. Sung  acapella (albeit with an instrumental ending) the song fits the installation very well, offering something of a gentle subtext to the setting – although too deep an examination of song and installation should perhaps be avoided.

The idea was first, but I often listen Kate, so maybe it was influence. I listen her often when I work. I made the girl a few days ago; it was only house at first, but then she needed somebody to think of.

– Cica Ghost on Lullaby

Cica Ghost: Lullaby

The girl and house in question, can be found towards the middle of the strangely undulating region, perched on a curious table of rock and reached by a ladder impersonating part of the sine curve. She sits atop the house, staring into the distance, lost in thought, the landscape darkened by a greenish night. Her attitude suits the refrain of the chorus perfectly – a girl who is missing someone, and who finds herself unable to sleep and with little interest in how she looks or the state of her surroundings.

Her indifference to her surroundings is a shame, because across this weird landscape with its abrupt hills and valleys and unusual rock formations, the creatures of the night have all come out to play: flying bugs, spiders, curious worms with friendly, anthropomorphic “faces” courtesy of eyes sitting on slug-like stalks and very human tongues lolling happily, and heart-shaped flowers with large, unthreatening eyes. Even some of the hills have eyes, revealing themselves as the domed heads of creatures nestled far enough underground while still able to see what is happening around them.

Cica Ghost: Lullaby

All of this night, in other circumstances, sound like the stuff of nightmares, particular given the giant snail watching over the landing point – but it is not; it is a night-time setting of playfulness. None of the creatures are in any way nefarious; most are going about their business without concern for whatever else might be happening, although one or two do appear to be a little curious about the stranger in their midst, sitting on her odd perch.

Also to be found in the region are echoes of some of Cica’s past works: a bear stands up on one of the hills, for example. While he may be without a shirt, he and the flittering night bugs bring forth memories of The Bees and the Bears. The three frogs sitting close to the landing point directly reflect Frogs; a spider’s web offers a faint echo of Arachnid, even the girl herself, sitting atop her house, is reminiscent of Moonlight.

And here lies the gentle  – if perhaps unintentional – subtext of the installation. Just as Lullaby for an Insomanic reflects on the things we have and the sentimental value they can have, so do these aspects of Cica’s Lullaby gives those familiar with Cica’s work pause to remember her past installations and the joy and other emotions they gave us when they were present in Second Life.

Cica Ghost: Lullaby – Cica takes flight

There aren’t too many places to sit within Lullaby (they are there, but you’ll have to find them!). Instead, and tucked away on the top of one of the odd stalagmite-like rock formations Cica offers a free flying bug. Simply take it, Add or Wear it, and use the WASD / arrow keys, together with PAGE UP and PAGE  DOWN to fly yourself around.

Lullaby should remain open through until early January for visitors. There are several tip jars scattered around the installation, so do please consider a donation towards this and Cica’s future work in Second Life.

SLurl Details

  • Lullaby (Ai Atoll, rated Moderate)

The seasons at Bay of Dreams in Second Life

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams – click any image for full size

Bay of Dreams is the Full region home of Valor Poses Mainstore and Photo Sim, operated by Keegan Kavenagh (AlexCassidy1). As the name implies, the region offers both a base for the Valor Poses store, and the opportunity to explore a changing environment beyond its doors.

In February 2018 Caitlyn and I visited the region whilst the region offered a summertime look and feel (you can read more about that visit here), so with the end of the year approaching, I thought I’d drop in again to see what had changed.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

Now designed by Adalynne Romano (AdalynneReed) working with Keegan and Tessa Kavenagh (TessaGrace51), the region presents something of a mix of seasons, all within walking distance of one another. For the store, which forms the landing point, and its surroundings, there is a decidedly springtime look and feel.

Occupying a table of land in the south-east of the region, the store is surrounded by a garden setting. The trees and flowers are all in bloom, the grass lush and green, visible through the windows of the store, inviting patrons to step outside. Those who do will find a richly mixed setting, one complete with ruins of different ages and pieces of art – notably by Mistero Hifeng – while horses and deer lay dotted across the lawns.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

The store looks northwards over a low-lying headland dominated by a broad board walk and pier that stretches out over the water, a narrow ribbon of beach running around the north and east side of the headland adding to the feeling that this is the “summer quarter” of the region. Volleyball can be played on the grass, while the board walk and little pier include places to sit and enjoy refreshments.

Between the footbridge leading back to the store and the board walk, a track runs off to the west, following the bent finger of land, serpent-like in its narrowness. This ends in a bridge leading to a small island that in turns links to the south-western side of the region, a grassy quarter clearly caught in the gentle embrace of autumn. Here the trees are rich in golds, brown, oranges and reds. Pumpkins lie on the ground, while the single large barn offers a greeting of Happy Fall.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

The final quarter of the region, reached via “autumn” hosts, appropriately enough, winter. Crowned by a rocky crenelation, this is another plateau within the ring of rock, the land is covered in snow, complete with a frozen pond and with a snow blanketed wooden house of impressive size. This offers plenty of seating inside and out.

Finding your way around the region is simply a matter of following the paths and using the bridges. All four aspects of the setting perfectly present each of the seasons, with a fairly neutral region-wide windlight used for all four. This also works well, but it did have me wondering about how a setting like this, with four different regional settings will look when EEP – the environmental Enhancement Project – has come into common use.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

There are one or two little rough edges – path segments not meeting one another or the landscape here or there; some floating trees together with the odd plain prim or semi-floating rock. But, by-and-large, the design comes together to offer a visually interesting setting. Those wishing to rez props for photograph can join the local group.

For those who might be feeling they’ve seen a little too much snow in Second Life, or who wish to revisit their preferred season, or simply want to experience an entire year in a short walk, Bay of Dreams perhaps offers the perfect visit.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

SL Details

2018 viewer release summaries: week #49

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

Updates for the week ending Sunday, December 9th

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 test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version, dated October 18th, promoted November 14th. Formerly the Animesh RC viewer – No Change.
  • 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:
    • Bakes on Mesh project viewer updated to version, December 7th

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers



Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Ribong Gallery and The Art of Being

Ribong Gallery

Ribong Gallery is a new exhibition centre developed by San (Santoshima) that opened in December 2018. Located in a large black-walled environment, the gallery offers a mix of exhibition spaces and what might be public areas where people can relax. For the opening, two exhibitions are presented, the overall design of the gallery allowing them to blend together.

The first of is an ensemble exhibition, mixing 2D and 3D art by  Aphrodite Macbain, Bleu Oleander, Bryn Oh, Cica Ghost, Gitu Aura, Grady Echegaray, Harbor (Harbor Galaxy). ini (In Inaka), Kara Mellow, Meilo Minotaur, San (Santoshima),  Storm Nordwind, Theda Tammas, Xirana Oximoxi and Zen Arado. In’s not clear if the pieces on display are the result of invitations to the artists to display their work, or whether they have been drawn from San’s personal art collection.

Ribong Gallery

The 2D art can be found along the walls of the primary display space, just inside the main doors, and within some of the areas that appear set aside for resting and casual chat. The 3D elements can be found around the walls, mounted atop display plinths and  – notably with Cica’s pieces – could be mistaken as part of the setting itself. Thus, careful exploration and study is advised!

The second exhibit  is entitled Big Bang Theory, and features animated photo-sculpture installation utilizing original physical world black and white and light-painted photographs by San herself. This takes the form of a number of large 3D elements located in both the main hall and the upper mezzanine-like level of the gallery. As the name implies, these are gently animated sculptures, each of which features one of San’s photos, the full set of which can be found pinned to the wall at the entrance to the exhibition, but you may need to cam in to see them in detail.

Ribong Gallery: Big Bang Theory

Each of these pieces is multi-faceted and almost hypnotic in their flowing movement, but whether intended to infuse a sense of the beginning of time – as suggested by the title of the installation – or not, I leave up to you. For my part I found them intriguing and – as noted – soothing pieces. Again, to appreciate them fully, I’d recommend careful camming (if you can flycam around the individual pieces, so much the better).

Also to be found on the same platform – but just across the region boundary –  is the Art of Being gallery, featuring the work of Bleu (Bleu Oleander). At the time of my visit it featured Bleu’s imaginative take on art by Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Salvador Dali, David Hockney, Adolph Gottlieb, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Jasper Johns and Edward Hopper.

Art of Being Gallery

Also found on the same platform, and beyond Art of Being is the Play as Being theatre, home to the Play as Being group, which defines itself as:

A group of people exploring reality by using our own life as a laboratory. A thought experiment to see what is left if we put down what we have, to see who we are. Can we make conjectures, hypotheses about what Being could be, and play with those in our day-to-day life? What happens when we do?

You can find out more by visiting the Play as Being website, which includes a schedule of weekly events for those wishing to join in.

SLurl Details

Space Sunday: hearing Mars, looking at Bennu and roving the Moon

One of InSight’s 2.2 metre (7-ft) wide solar panels was imaged by the lander’s Instrument Deployment Camera fixed to the elbow of its robotic arm. Credit: NASA/JPL

It’s always a remarkable time when a new mission arrives on or around another planet in our solar system, so forgive me if I once again kick-off a Space Sunday with NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander, which touched down on Mars just 10 days ago.

Over the course of the last several days, NASA has been putting the lander’s 1.8 metre (6 ft) long robot arm through its paces in readiness for operations to commence. The arm has multiple functions to perform, the most important of which is to place two major science experiments on the surface of Mars. The arm is also home to one of the two camera systems on the Lander.

InSight’s deck partially imaged be the IDC on the lander’s robot arm. Credit: NASA/JPL; annotations: Inara Pey

Very similar to the Navcam systems used by both Opportunity and Curiosity, the camera is called the Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC). It is mounted above the arm’s “elbow” and has a 45-degree field of view. As well as offering a first-hand view of everything the robot arm is doing, IDC can provide colour, panoramic views of the terrain surrounding the landing site.

The arm hasn’t as yet been fully deployed, but in being put through its paces, it has allowed the IDC to obtain some tantalising views of both the lander and its surroundings.

Left: a view of the ground scoop on the robot arm, again seen with the grapple stowed. Note this image was captured with the protective dust cover still in place over the camera lens. Right: a view of InSight’s deck. The copper-coloured hexagonal object is the protective cover for the seismometer, and the grey dome behind it is the wind and thermal shield which will be placed over the seismometer after its deployed. The black cylinder on the left is the heat probe, which will drill up to 5 metres into the Martian surface. Image: NASA/JPL

Some powering-up of science systems has also occurred, notably Auxiliary Payload Sensor Systems (APSS) suite. The air pressure sensors immediately started recording changes in air pressure across the lander’s deck indicative of a wind passing over InSight at around 5 to 7 metres a second (10-15mph). However, the biggest surprise can from the seismometer designed to listen to the interior of Mars.

As this was tested, it started recording a low-frequency vibration in time with the wind recordings from APSS. These proved to be the wind blowing over the twin 2.2-metre circular solar panels, moving their segments slightly, causing the vibrations, which created a sound at the very edge of human hearing. NASA later issued recordings of the sounds, some of which were adjusted in frequency to allow humans to more naturally “hear” the Martian wind.

The InSight lander acts like a giant ear. The solar panels on the lander’s sides respond to pressure fluctuations of the wind. It’s like InSight is cupping its ears and hearing the Mars wind beating on it.

– Tom Pike, InSight science team member, Imperial College London

Once on the surface of Mars and beneath its protective dome, the seismometer will no longer be able to hear the wind – but it will hear the sound of whatever might be happening deep within Mars. So this is likely to be the first of many remarkable results from this mission.

To Touch an Asteroid

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (standing for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security – Regolith Explorer), launched in September 2016, has arrived at its science destination, the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, after a journey of two billion kilometres.  It will soon start a detailed survey of the asteroid that will last around  year.

Bennu as seen by OSIRIS-REx. Credit: NASA

Bennu, which is approximately 492 m (1,614 ft) in diameter, is classified as a near-Earth object (NEO), meaning it occupies an orbit around the Sun that periodically crosses the orbit of Earth. Current orbital predictions suggest it might collide with Earth towards the end of the 22nd Century.

To this end, OSIRIS-REx will analyse the thermal absorption and emissions of the asteroid and how they affect its orbit. This data should help scientists to more accurately calculate where and when Bennu’s orbit will intersect Earth’s, and thus determine the likelihood of any collision. It could also be used to better predict the orbits of other near-Earth asteroids.

Bennu is primarily comprised of carbonaceous material, a key element in organic molecules necessary for life, as well as being representative of matter from before the formation of Earth. Organic molecules, such as amino acids, have previously been found in meteorite and comet samples, indicating that some ingredients necessary for life can be naturally synthesized in outer space. So, by gaining samples of Bennu for analysis, we could answer many questions on how life may have arisen in our solar system – and OSIRIS-REx will attempt to do just that.

Towards the end of the primary mission, OSIRIS-REx will be instructed to slowly close on a pre-selected location on the asteroid, allowing a “touch and go” sampling arm make contact with the surface for around 5 seconds. During that moment, a burst of nitrogen gas will be fired, hopefully dislodging dust and rock fragments, which can be caught by the sampling mechanism. Up to three such sample “hops” will be made in the hope that OSIRIS-REx will gather between 60 and 2000 grams (2–70 ounces) of material. Then, as its departure window opens in March 2021, OSIRIS-REx will attempt a 30-month voyage back to Earth to deliver the samples for study here.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: hearing Mars, looking at Bennu and roving the Moon”