Carolina’s new summer look in Second Life


Caolina, July 2020 – click and image for full size

It’s been a year since we lasted visited Arol Lightfoot’s Homestead region design of Carolina, so given it is back in a summertime look, we hoped over recently to see what was new and found the answer to be, “Everything!”

In the summer of 2019, Carolina was very much tropical in nature with lowlands, beaches and bays all combining into a setting ripe for wildlife and opportunities to wander (see: The beaches of Carolina in Second Life). For summer 2020, the lowland feel to the region is largely retained – with two very obvious exceptions – but the setting is very much more temperate in style.

Carolina, July 2020

Those exceptions are two tables of the rock that rise in the south-east corner of the region, separated one of the other by a narrow gorge but maintaining contact by means of the rope bridge that has been slung between them. The larger of the two sits bare-headed save for a single wooden frame. Its south side drops straight and true to a lip of rocky land that sits above the region’s one major stretch of sand; to the north it in part falls to a set of low-lying steps that then descend onwards to the region’s inland grasslands.

The second plateau reverses this arrangement: its north side drops sheer to the lowlands, whilst its south face steps down towards the sea in a series of rocky shelves over which water tumbles to form three streams that spread out to the surrounding waters like splayed toes.

Carolina, July 2020

The landing point sit on the larger table mountain, the wooden frame forming the upper end of a zip line (Cube Republic’s excellent design) that presents the only way down other than stepping off the edge of the cliffs and trying to avoid hitting the ground below too hard. The line stretches out over the southern lands, crossing above grass, sand and sea as it descends to reach a small, crooked headland, where sits a small lighthouse and an accompanying modest bonfire.

Where you go from here is up to you: scramble down the rocks and you can follow the beach as it points eastwards until it arrives at the splayed toes of the mountain steams. Or you can turn slightly inland and follow the gravel path that runs in the same direction as the beach, but along the lip of rock that sits above the sand. This route has the advantage of offering a bridge over one of the streams and the opportunity to strike off inland through the gorge between the high hills. Or, you can leave the beach and path along the south side of the region until later, and head immediately inland from the lighthouse and headland.

Carolina, July 2020

It is this last route that will open the rest of the region to you, revealing it as a land rich in oak and willow and ash and birch, the trees scattered across the grasslands and around the small bays that sculpt the coastline. Three buildings sit upon the land, all ranged to the north and varying in style from a cosy waterfront cabin that looks east over the little curve of  sand, gravel and rock that might pass as the region’s second beach, through a summer house sitting within its own wild garden whilst offering more creature comforts within, to a solid rectangle of a house that sits on a rounded north-west headland as if awaiting occupancy.

There are multiple ways to reach all three, and all of them are set far enough part such that walking between them will reveal more of the island’s secrets. But as cosy (at least with two of them) and attractive as they are, and deserving they may be of being seen, they are not the focal points for the region. That honour goes to the large pond sitting close the the centre of the land and from which a great weeping willow rises, offering shade and coolness beneath its drooping arms.

Carolina, July 2020

With mist curling around the base of the tree and the water topped by reeds, lilies, marsh plants and waterlogged grass, the pond is home to all manner of birds and waterfowl that make it a haven for photography, while the piers and open-sided boat offer places for romance and sitting within its arms.

It is in wandering the island and finding it wildlife – birds, frogs, otters, bears – and the accompanying animals – dogs, cats, horses – that gives Carolina a depth of life. While the many ways to explore it give plenty of opportunities to find the little surprises (I presume the telephone box sits among the firs and birch of the gorge is there just in case someone want to make a  … trunk call!) and touches that lie throughout.

Rezzing in the region is open – but visitors are asked to kindly restrict this to poses and props for photos and to please clean up when they’ve done. For those seeking a place to sit and cuddle / chat / pass the time, Carolina offers numerous places where all three can be enjoyed, once again making it another engaging and charming build from Arol.

Carolina, July 2020

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A summer art fair in Second Life

Carmel Summer Art Fair

Currently open at the Carmel Art Community, is the Carmel Summer Art Fair, organised by Martha and Robert McFarren. It features an open-air display of art along the Carmel seafront road, offering visitor the opportunity to appreciate the art on display and pop into the local beach-side shops.

The festival is interesting in that comprises Art from Robert McFarren and his guests, and five headline artists who were in turn given the opportunity to invite – if they wished – up to two artists each whose work they appreciate, to also exhibit two pieces of their own work.

Kody Meyers and Dhyezel Ravenhurst

This means the overall line-up is as follows:

  • Robert McFarren: CybeleMoon, Michel Bechir; John Huntsman, Tempest Rosca-Huntsman, Kisma Reidling, Secondhand Tutti, Viktor Savior, Anouk Lefavre and Pavel Stransky.
  • Raging Bellls: Dhyezel Ravenhurst and Kody Meyers.
  • Seiko Blessing: Micki Blessing and yours truly.
  • Bliss Enchantment.
  • Bubbles Song: Mara Telling and Lynx Luga.
  • Nils Urqhart Aneli Abeyante and Terra Merhyem.
Robert McFarren and Secondhand Tutti

Given the number of artists participating, the art on display presents a broad mix of styles and approaches. The focus does lean towards landscapes, but there is still a fair and attractive mix of work.

Alongside of the art festival, the Carmel Art and Crafts features an exhibition of Alps photography by Nils Urqhart, and the garden pavilion a further exhibition by  John and Tempest Rosca-Huntsma. All of which makes for an ideal visit for any lover of art in Second Life.

Seiko Blessing and Micki Blessing

As one of the invited artists, I’d like to thank Seiko for inviting me to join her at the festival; it is an honour and pleasure to be able to do so.

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2020 Simulator User Group week #27 summary

Cherishville, May 2020 – blog post

The Simulator User Group meeting held on Tuesday, June 30th was a relatively brief meeting in terms of actionable news.

Simulator Deployments

Please refer to the server deployment thread for news and updates:

  • There was not main channel deployment or restart on Tuesday, June 30th, leaving the servers on server release 543526, comprising further infrastructure updates to support Group chat improvements / support of the cloud uplift work.
  • On Wednesday, July 1st, there should by an RC server update that includes a fix for off-line inventory offers failing. However, this update requires a viewer-side fix that should be in all RC versions of the official viewer, and TPVs will need to pick it up. Please refer to the deployment thread for further information on this update, when available.

SL Viewer

  • The Love Me Render RC viewer updated to version Among its updates and fixes, this viewer includes:
    • A fix for BUG-225784 “BUG-225446 regression – HUDs are again affected by environment setting”.
    • Additional logging for detecting Vulkan graphics support on Windows clients.

The rest of the current range of official viewers remains as follows:

  • Current Release viewer version, dated June 11, promoted June 23, formerly the CEF RC viewer – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Arrack Maintenance RC viewer,, issued on June 24 – this viewer uses Viewer Manager 2.0.538279.
    • Tools Update RC viewer, version, June 25 – this viewer is built using VS 2017 / a recent version of Xcode, and Boost.Fiber. It contains no user-facing changes.
  • Project viewers:
    • Mesh uploader project viewer, version, June 11.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version, November 22, 2019.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, September 17, 2019. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version, July 16, 2019.

In brief

  • The was some general discussion on region crossings. However, as LL are not currently working on these, here is nothing solid to report in terms of updates.
  • The second half of the meeting was dominated by comparisons between the the Lab’s Copy / Paste project viewer and a similar parameters capability that has long been a part of editing objects in  Firestorm.

A Music Festival in the square for RFL of SL in Second Life

Music in the Square

On Tuesday, June 30th, Jacksonville Friends present a 4-hour live music event to benefit the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life of Second Life.

Music In The Square will present the music talents of Savannah Rain, Hogan Baily, Turner Harbrough and Maximillion Kleene in a casual event at which attendees are invited to donate to RFL of SL through the kiosks around the open-area dance space that has been built over Jacksonville Island.

Starting from 15:00 SLT, the line up for the event is as follows (all times SLT):

15:00: Turner Harbrough

Turner Harbrough sings a wide and eclectic variety of music from smooth jazz to danceable pop and country. His range covers everything from Michael Buble to Johnny Cash to Bare Naked Ladies. Join this amazingly talented and versatile singer for an hour of great energy, witty banter, and amazing music!

16:00: Maximillion Kleene

Maximillion Kleene, recipient of 11 Avi Choice Awards over four years (2012-16) in multiple categories, including Favourite Male Performer, has been amazing his audiences since 2007. His dynamic musical ranges across CCR to Foo Fighters; to Train to Jason Mraz. Streaming from Niagara Falls, Canada, Max provides his fans with an hour of musical magic and brings a vast repertoire of quirky, classic, and current covers.

The line-up

17:00: Hogan Baily

Hogan has been singing and performing since before the age of 14. He brings to Second Life many years of real-life experience and a very long and varied song list. His love for music and dedication to his fans shine through every note he sings, and he truly enjoys performing and if he can make someone smile through his talent, he feels there is no greater joy.

18:00: Savannah Rain

Savannah has been singing since she was three years old and was smitten by the applause and reactions of the audience as she sang. Since discovering live music in Second life three years ago, she has been hooked, and tries through her music to make you laugh, make you feel, and bring everyone together.  Savannah loves and sings all kinds of music from Patsy Cline to Collective Soul.

Its a great line-up of four of the very best musicians in Second Life tonight. So just come on out and enjoy and lets raise some Lindens for Relay for Life!

– Event co-organiser, Jackson Trig

The dress code is summer casual, so if you’re free, why follow Jackson’s suggestion and hop along and join the dancing and the fun!

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Randelsham Forest in Second Life

Randelsham Forest

Shortly after Linden Lab launched the Log (or lodge, as I tend to prefer) Homes for Premium members on Bellisseria (see Second Life: Log Theme Linden Homes released), they started to add – as they had with other Linden Homes themes – a number of public spaces. Some are on the main run of land, others sit on islands within the lakes and rivers. All offer places of escape and relaxation. Chief among them its is Randelsham Forest, intended to act as a community hub, open to those who might wish to make use of it.

We actually visited Randelsham back at the end of April. It’s a rugged location, sitting between lowlands with house and a large, semi-sinuous body of inland water. At the time, I didn’t blog about it, as it appeared the regions around it were still very much a work in progress: whilst on a stretch of the Bellisseria railway passes by and has a local station, the line doesn’t as yet connect to anything.

Randelsham Forest

This is still the case, but it’s clear that now that SL17B no longer requires the input, the Moles are returning to work on Bellisseria, so I’ve little doubt things will be properly connected up.

The focal point for the setting is a large “tree house”, in part sitting up on wooden legs from the shore of the lake to level itself with the railway station, to which it is linked by a wooden board walk. Split into two, the tree house offers a large lounge area with wooden walls with a long balcony to one side with a bubble rezzer at the far end for those who fancy taking to the air. A bridge on the other side runs down to an open-sided platform ranged around the trunk of one of the area’s great redwoods.

Randelsham Forest

Like other community areas before it, the tree house is able to be reserved as a community use space to gather with the community, your friends. socialize, hold events, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

– Patch Linden, April 27th, 2020

Lamp-lit paths await discovery, offering opportunities for people to the means to descend down to the banks of the lake, where trails further give opportunities for exploration and to find places to sit.

Randelsham Forest

The paths also offer routes up into the hills rising either side of the rail lines, to peaks where people have the opportunity to take to the air in a different way – via zip line;  although when we tried it, the ride was a little rough! The line out to the lake’s island also (at the time of our visit) leaves folk without an option to get back to shore without flapping their arms to take to the air; I assume this will be rectified as more work in the area is completed (a rowing-boat rezzer, perhaps, to connect to the little pier below the tree house?

With a path down to the houses on the inland side of the hills, Randelsham offer a perfect setting for the locals to use and hold their own events, planned or spur-of-the-moment. On a broader front, it, and the social spaces large and small that can be found throughout Bellisseria offer the means to help break-up the land and present places for explorers and visitors to discover. For my part, I’m looking forward returning and using it for a start of some more horseback explorations of Bellisseria.

Randelsham Forest

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DimiVan Ludwig at Kultivate Signature Gallery

Kultivate Signature Gallery: DimiVan Ludwig

Long-term Second Life resident DimiVan Ludwig – Dimi to his friends – is a man of many talents: business owner, musician and photographer. As a business owner, he created and ran the Hummingbird Café between 2006 and 2011, and is also the owner of the Duval Pub. As a musician, he was a regular performer at both, and at venues across SL, including Menorca, the first live music venue in Second Life (2005) and recently re-created in-world.

As a photographer, DimiVan works both in the physical and digital worlds, and his work from both is currently the subject of an exhibition at the Kultivate Signature Gallery.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: DimiVan Ludwig

The introduction to the exhibition notes:

He calls himself a novice, but those who have seen his photographs would say otherwise. He frames his shots with the final product in mind, editing very little in post production. He uses his Nikon d3500 to shoot real life landscapes. In Second Life, he prefers to snap portraits utilising the features provided by LUMIPro. 

On witnessing the pieces on display, I would have to agree to the first part of this statement: there is a natural framing to the pieces, whether avatar study, physical world portrait or landscape (from either realm), that presents the subject matter in singular depth that is a delight to witness and marks Dimi as having a natural eye for photography.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: DimiVan Ludwig

Presented across the three floors of the gallery space, there is also a certain thematic approach to way they have been laid out. On the lower floor, the focus is predominantly from Second Life, presenting on the one side avatar studies (although with a couple of portrait images from the physical world), and on the other Second Life landscapes. On the middle level are photos from the physical world, whilst the upper is reserved for Second Life images of a more intimate / adult nature and which should probably be regarded as NSFW.

I admit to being particularly drawn to the pictures on the mid-level. This is not to say I do not appreciate the SL photographs – I do. But there is such a depth and marvellously natural set to each of the images from the physical world, that they naturally draw the eye; in fact I’d go so far as to say that one in particular demonstrates that as well as having a flair for capturing the natural world, Dimi potentially has a keen eye for astronomical photography.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: DimiVan Ludwig

Another excellent exhibition for Kultivate, featuring a gifting artist.

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