Category Archives: Second Life

An Uncertain Destiny in Second Life

An Uncertain Destiny, Mystic; Inara Pey, January 2017, on FlickrAn Uncertain Destiny – click any image for full size

Caitlyn and I recently had the opportunity to drop in on Mystic, the Full region on which friends  Boudicca Amat and Anthony Westburn have their home. The occasion of our visit was to mark the completion of Bou’s work in redesigning their land, which covers a little under 1/4 of the region and which is now once again open to public visits.

Once called Hestium – which you can read about here and here – the parcel is now called An Uncertain Destiny, and once again it is a tour de force of Boudicca’s creative talent, bringing together several elements into a cohesive whole whilst also demonstrating you don’t actually need an entire region – Full or Homestead – to create something memorable (particularly with the increases in Land Impact allowances).

TAn Uncertain Destiny, Mystic; Inara Pey, January 2017, on FlickrAn Uncertain Destiny

On arrival, visitors find themselves on a small sand and shingle beach surrounded on three sides by a tiered, rocky landscape. The table-topped cliffs and plateaus offer a lush covering of grass, flowers and trees enjoying the summer rain. These various rocky tiers are connected by stairways and paths, offering a number of potential routes for exploration.

Where you go after your arrival is up to you: simply climb the steps up from the beach and let your feet carry you where they will. To the west sits an old castle keep, now converted into a cosy pub on one side and a little library-come-reading room on the other. A staircase from the pub directs people up to a rooftop café where Bou reads from some of some of her favourite books every Tuesday and Thursday between 15:15 and 16:00 SLT.

TAn Uncertain Destiny, Mystic; Inara Pey, January 2017, on FlickrAn Uncertain Destiny

Beyond this, a path winds up between trees and up more steps, promising the way to the land of Far, Far, Away. No Shrek or Fiona to be found here, however. Instead, there is a cosy Scandinavian stuga sit with its back to another cliff, some mystical ruins nearby.

The mystical feel can also be found on the east side of the parcel, beneath the cliffs of Bou and Anthony’s private home – the only part of the parcel not open to public access. Here sits an ancient stone circle reached via a gabled gate. Close by, and occupying the tops of another plateau, sit a formal garden and a hedge maze. I’ll leave you to discover how to reach them – there is more than one route 🙂 .

TAn Uncertain Destiny, Mystic; Inara Pey, January 2017, on FlickrAn Uncertain Destiny

All of this is brought together by a central garden of wild flowers and shrubs, in which a graceful conservatory sits, the little terrace outside its door open to the gently falling rain. For those preferring to sit in the dry, a  s swing bench can be found nestled under a rock shelf close by, warmed by a little fire. Couples might also find a place to sit in the gazebo of the walled garden a slightly longer walk away and overlooking the beach.

Bou has always had an eye for colour, line, composition and detail, and rain – or as we sometimes call it in England, “liquid sunshine” due to its frequency – notwithstanding, an Uncertain Destiny once again proves this in spades. Not only is it a gorgeous design, wonderfully photogenic and delightfully relaxing, it is filled with wonderful little touches which bring it perfectly to life.

SLurl Details

2017 viewer release summaries: week 2

Updates for the week ending Sunday, January 15th

This summary is 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.

Official LL Viewers

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • Group Tools updated to version 2.2.43.0 on January 12 – no release notes provided
  • Lumiya updated to version 3.3.1 on January 13 – Bluetooth headset support & audio controls (release notes)

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Cica’s Burning and poetic musings in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Burning

Cica Ghost: Burning

Burning is the title of Cica Ghost’s latest region-wide build, which opened on Sunday, January 15th. It is a piece which stands in contrast to several of her recent builds in that it is of a darker tone and style. Under a lowering, cloud-heavy sky, lit by a distant sunset, a town burns. The land around it is scorched and aflame, ashen tree trunks, bereft of branches and leaves, point to the heavy sky like gnarled, accusative fingers.

Within the town, the tall buildings are charred, their pain blistered and blackened as flames lick doorways and windows. Some walls carry some of Cica’s usually light and happy stick figures, which here are cast in a new role as poignant reminders that this was once a happier place. A single bridge spans what might be the parched bed of a vanished body of water, offering a way into – or perhaps an escape route out of – the conflagration.

Cica Ghost: Burning

Cica Ghost: Burning

The who, what, how and why of the fire’s origin are not revealed. The burning landscape and buildings are an open page on which we can write our own view of what has occurred. However, with all that is going on in the physical world, coupled with the general presentation of Burning, it tends to cause the name Aleppo to spring to mind. So is Burning perhaps a political commentary?

Possibly. But before we decide or judge, Cica provides a possible clue to interpreting the work. It comes in the form of a quote: time is the fire in which we burn. It’s part of a line from  a 1938 poem by Delmore Schwartz entitled, Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day (also sometimes called For Rhoda), which is by coincidence, a poem I know quite well. In it, Schwartz records how we go about our daily lives largely unaware of the uncontrollable passage of time and the fact that, with every moment, we are closer to our own deaths and the deaths of those we love. From childhood through adulthood, we are so often caught within the minutiae of our lives that we lose track of all that is really important – or should be; only in our closing years do we realise what has happened – by which time all may lie burnt by time.

Cica Ghost: Burning

Cica Ghost: Burning

So is Cica presenting us with a philosophical piece with Burning? “I didn’t know about the poem,” she told me, “But I came across the line while searching for quotes about fire, and it fitted what I wanted to say.”

The quote in question attributed the line as coming from a character in the movie Star Trek Generations, hence why Cica didn’t make the connection. However, she has perfectly captured the tone and meaning of Schwartz’s poem as a whole, from the melancholy through to the way in which we do hurry through our lives – as exemplified by the visitors Caitlyn and I sat and watched from one of several perches in the installation (hover your mouse around to find them) as they hurried back and forth through the buildings and trees before vanishing.

Cica Ghost: Burning

Cica Ghost: Burning

That Cica has captured all of the nuance within Calmly We Walk…. may have been serendipitous, spinning outward from that one line from the poem, but that doesn’t matter. Serendipity is often the cousin to artistic expression, and the pairing of the installation with the entire poem broadens our understanding and appreciation of Burning. It also perhaps sits with that image of Aleppo which pops into the mind when first arriving. Schwartz wrote his poem shortly before the outbreak of World War 2, a time when towns and cities burned and lives  – and generations – were shattered; thus another layer of poignancy is added to the installation.

SLurl Details

  • Burning (Aggramar, rated:  Moderate)

SL project updates 2017-2/3: TPV Developer Meeting Jan 13th

The notes in this update are taken from the abbreviated TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 13th, 2017. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update. My thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

SL Viewer

The Maintenance RC viewer was updated to version 5.0.1.322791 on Thursday, January 12th. Otherwise the pipeline remains unchanged from part 1 of this week’s update. [34:20] this will likely be the next viewer to be promoted to release status.

64-bit Viewer

[03:07] It is anticipated that the 64-bit official viewer, version 5.1.0.501863 at the time of writing, will remain in the project cycle for some time. An update to it is anticipated in week #3 (week commencing Monday, January 16th, 2017). Currently, the project viewer isn’t being used by many, and the Lab hopes this number will pick up so that a little more feedback can be obtained.

Points of note with the 64-bit viewer and 64-bit plans:

  • The Mac version is currently without Havok support, an it will likely be 2+ weeks before it does.
  • There will also be a number Havok libraries build in support 64-bit, which will be made available to TPV sub-licensees, but this is unlikely to happen until the Lab starts building 64-bit release candidates.
  • KDU within the viewer is being updated to version 7.9.
  • [08:08] New packaging of the media code and a new version of CEF.
  • The viewer update code will be completely revised.
  • The crash reporting code may be updated.

[11:28] Eventually, the Lab plans to have the viewer available in both 32-bit and 64-bit for Windows, and 64-bit only for Mac OSX and Linux.

For more on Linux, see below.

Voice Updates

[07.18] Updates to Voice should be appearing in a viewer in the next 2(ish) weeks. This will include a new SL Voice plug-in from Vivox which includes a new Opus codec, as well and bug and exploit fixes.

360-Snapshot Viewer

[08:33] Work will resume on this project viewer, version 4.1.3.321712 at the time of writing,  once work on the CEF updates (noted above) have been completed.

Linux and the Viewer

[10:08] Currently, the Lab have not carried out any work on a 64-bit version of the viewer on Linux. However, thought is being given on how to move forward with Linux, and it is hoped that the Lab will have some ideas to put to the TPV / open-source community by the next TPV Developer meeting. It is also hoped that by that time, the Lab will have started work on a 64-bit Linux version of the viewer.

Other Items

The following are covered in brief. please fer to the video for specifics.

New Camera Presets Coming?

[09:14] Jonathan Yap, who has worked on various code contributions for the viewer including, most recently, graphics presets, is working on a new project, which appears to be updating the viewer’s camera persets.

Music Stream Autoplay

[16:45-28:09] A lengthy discussion takes place on music autoplay within the official viewer, and whether or not it should be enabled by default.

  • Having it enabled is seen a off-putting to new users, as it means they can be confronted with loud music playing over their system almost from the moment they log-in, with no apparent way to turn it off. This is seen as possibly causing some to log-off in frustration
  • Having it disabled by default is seen as breaking the shared experience in regions where the creator has specifically included music streaming as a part of the environment
  • The compromise is potentially for the default volume on media to be reduced.

(Note, this discussion also drags on between 29:45-33:50, after the above agreement being reached.)

Click-to-Walk

[28:45] In a similar vein, a request was made to disable click-to-walk, as it has been observed that new users get confused when they find their avatar apparently moving when they haven’t touched their keyboard.  A JIRA on this has been requested.

Group Chat Issues and Group Notice Deliveries

[34:59] Group chat lag become more noticeable over the holiday period. However, the Lab ran a restart of the back-end group chat servers, and this appeared to resolve the majority of issues. If specific groups are still experiencing issues, JIRAs are requested.

[36:49] There are reports that the problem of group notices not always getting through is getting worse. So people don’t get the notice, others get them twice, etc. A JIRA, BUG-40824, has been raised on issues with off-line receipts of group notices as well.

As an aside to this, a fix is in progress t ensure that off-line messages, which may not always get delivered at the next log-in, will be delivered.

Environment Maps, Shiny, Projectors and More

[42:29-end-of-meeting] The end of the meeting centres on a convoluted discussion on the environment map used for the sky, shiny / glossiness, etc. In sort, there is a request for region holders / creators to be able to replace the environment map with a texture of their own choosing. On the plus side, among other things, this could allow things like easier simulation of reflections using projectors. on the negative side, again among other things, it could break a lot of existing content.

Changes to the environment map, providing they can be shown to have specific benefits and do not break existing content, have not been ruled out. However, a specific proposal is really required.