Elysium’s summer fields in Second Life

Elysium, October 2021 – click any image for full size
Enjoy the luscious fields, magic forests, bridges over the abyss, horses, cows, and rabbits; take a pause in our tropical greenhouse or relax on the dock; and last but not least, enjoy our rustic mill right by the water. Photography encouraged.

So reads the introduction to Elysium, the Homestead region designed by Wassilian and Amelie (Amelie9 Sautereau), a setting I was recently encouraged to visit – although it has taken me a while to make a visit to it.

Elysium, October 2021

Coming at the time of year when many public regions are rich in the colours of autumn and/or heavy with the trappings of Halloween, my visit found Elysium a refreshing place that is still sitting within that period when late summer is considering allowing autumn to take its place on the the seasonal stage.

Comprising a large western island and three smaller island to the east, this is very much a pastoral setting, the large island home to an extensive farm which in turn is the location of the region’s landing point. The northern end of the island offers a highland area on which the farmhouse sits, complete with large greenhouse that has been converted to other uses – be sure to say hello to the two main occupants, Sophie and Levi. This greenhouse sits bracketed between a garden and orchard to one side and the farmhouse itself, open woodland falling away down the northern slope to a open deck. A further copse, leaves turning golden brown as the change of the season approaches, sits before the farmhouse, the garden paths winding between the trees as they form a natural screen between the farmhouse and its view to the east.

Elysium, October 2021

This entire corner of the region is a setting unto itself, but it is just a start. To the south, the land drops to fields and barns. The fields look ready for harvest, a scarecrow standing guard to keep birds away – although it has failed to keep the farm’s horses from wandering among the crops and taken the odd snack or two. These lowlands are also home to a comfortable inlet of water from the channels separating the islands, a home to swans and the water mill mentioned in the region’s About Land description.

To the east, two of the islands are connected one to the other by means of a bridge, with a further bridge linking them back to the highland gardens and woodlands of the farm.

Elysium, October 2021

Thus, by following one of the winding paths from the farmhouse over the first bridge and along the trail that offers a relaxing journey under the spreading boughs of the trees that top the island and then on to where a tower-like cottage sits. Along the way, the path runs past several places to sit and relax, while those who reach the tower cottage may find one of the farm’s cows has braved the bridges to get there first!

The remaining island in the group can only be reached from the southern farmlands, where a wooden bridge crosses the water to become a board walk that snakes along the side of the remaining island become snaking its way over an inlet to reach the second house in the region, which sits on a legs that allow it to reach over open waters, its decks offering uninterrupted views over the sea.

Elysium, October 2021

Elysium is a setting rich in wildlife as well as domesticated animals. Deer are to be found among the trees, whilst waterfowl can be found in or near the waters while rabbits also skip and play. For those who wait, the waters might offer further surprises in the form of a pair of orca swim through the channels separating the islands and from time to time, a humpback whale might be seen breaching off the coast or even within the channels, as it sometimes will follow the orca between the islands.

With tumbling waterfalls, the sounds of cows mooing and birds calling in time with the bleating of sheep, Elysium is a place that feels very much alive (visitors can even try a spot of farming with the tractor – but do take care!). Highly photogenic and welcoming, this is a region charming in its setting and facilities.

Elysium, October 2021

SLurl Details

  • Elysium (Silken Ropes II, rated Moderate)

2021 SUG meeting week #41 summary

Perpetuity, July 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, October 12th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. The meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and the video is embedded at the end of this summary. Note this summary focuses on the key points of the meeting, where there is something to report; the video video should be referred to should full details of the meeting wish to be reviewed.

Server Deployments

The planned deployment for this week has been postponed due to late-breaking issues, and so will not be deployed for a week. However, regions that have not been restarted in 10 or more days will be restarted. See the (“lack of”) deploy plans notes for more.

SL Viewer

There have been no updates to the current crop on official viewers to mark the start of the week, leaving the pipelines as:

  • Release viewer: version version 6.4.22.561752, formerly the CEF Update RC viewer, issued July 24 and promoted August 10.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Apple Notarisation Fix RC viewer, version 6.4.23.564172, issued September 24 – this should remove the warning messages which are currently popping up.
    • Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 6.4.23.564063, on September 21.
    • Simplified Cache RC viewer, version 6.4.23.562623, dated September 17, issued September 20.
  • Project viewers:
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.4.23.563579, issued September 3.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version 6.4.23.562625, issued September 2.
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 6.4.23.562614, issued September 1.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.

Region Crossings

  • The subject of region crossings came up again, specifically in reference to multiple sequential crossings via vehicle, and the problems that can occur (passing from one region to the next, and then on to the next before all relevant data between the first two has been fully transferred). There should be code in place to handle this, but the Lab acknowledges there may be cases there this doesn’t work well.
  • Rider Linden acknowledged that more work is required on the entire physical region crossing protocol, but that, “it may involve starting from scratch and rethinking how the entire protocol works. That’s going to be a big job.”
    • The question here is, how best to delay interpolation to ensure all information on a vehicle and its passengers is received by one region so all of it can be passed on to the next. User Animats submitted a code contribution to Firestorm in 2018 (which has since been further revised) to help with this, but it is not perfect. The problem here is, too much delay  – say more than around 1/2 a second – is noticeable and can impact immersion; a second problem is, what may help ease some types of region crossing may make others more noticeable.
  • Another problem is that physical / vehicle region crossings are such that there is little opportunity for any kind of “pre-transfer” of vehicle and avatar data, until the vehicle is on top of / crossing the actual region boundary (the 1m boundary). This is because there is no guarantee that a vehicle will turn away from a crossing without actually moving between regions – so simulator time (on both sides) is taken up in handling the pre-transfer without no point to the exercise.
Another option (again, to stress **as an example**) would be to always have up to date data on all adjacent regions. But that would cost us real money. How do we recoup that increased cost in a way that is fair to the people who actually make use of the increased data availability? I’m just trying to give examples of why none of these solutions are “free” or “simple”.

– Mazidox Linden on region crossings + potential solutions

  • The suggestion was made to run regions on virtual machines, such that adjacent regions are on the “same machine”, removing the need for transferring data between different physical simhosts. The problems here are:
    • a) The number of “adjacent” regions can be huge (e.g. Blake Sea and the surrounding private estates + Mainland continents, and the Mainland continents as a whole).
    • Even if broken down into more manageable groups of regions all on the same hardware, but this again doesn’t entirely eliminate problems, an will result in some region crossings appearing smoother, and others (where they remain between different hardware) appearing “worse” by comparison.
    • Also, if the hardware fails fails running a batch of virtual machines, that’s potentially a larger number of regions that go with it than is currently the case. And while hot shadowing is possible so that if a server does fail, it’s shadow can automatically take over, that’s doubling overall hardware requirements + associated costs, which would have to be met somehow.
  • As it is, the move to AWS has seen an overall improvement in region crossings, primarily because the hardware and infrastructure available via AWS is a lost more recent, and so more powerful (hardware) and faster (network) than the Lab’s old infrastructure.
  • Whilst not just related to region crossings, an experiment on the Lab’s to-do list is to try to group clusters of regions by hardware, something that has not been tried in some time.

In Brief

  • A major focus on the server  / simulator side of Second Life remains the work in updating the tools the Lab has at its disposal, which is to be followed by / overlap with a major operating system upgrade (not to 64-bit, which is viewed as a “humongous” piece of work, but one that will eventually need to be addressed, depending on the platform’s continued longevity).
  • There is a brief discussion at the end of the meeting concerning mesh decimation, avatar meshes, rendering, and possible improvement, much of which is a subject of CCUG meeting discussions.

Poppy’s Talefathers in Second Life

Janus Gallery II: Poppy Morris – Talefeathers

Talefeathers is – as far as I’m aware – my first exposure to Poppy Morris’s art in Second Life. Currently open at the Janus Gallery II within Chuck Clip’s Sinful Retreat arts hub, this is an engaging display of physical world art spread across the two levels at the gallery.

Hailing from Canada, Poppy commenced her art career in the world of paint, but has since expanded her expression to include textiles, new media and sound, and more. Her work as an artist and performer – Poppy often performs live as a sound artist- has been displayed before both domestic and international audiences, gaining considerable recognition. In particular, she uses her work as a means of exploring our relationship with technology, utilising “traditional art techniques such as weaving and dying alongside those of machines and micro-controllers. Most recently (in terms of her time in Second Life) she has started using machinima as a means of artistic expression.

An example of the latter forms the centrepiece to Talefeathers, Entitled Chrysalis Circuitry, it is the result of a commission by New Music Edmonton, and features images by Poppy together with music she composed with musician Allison Balcetis (who also performs in the video). A ballet of music, light and sounds, the piece edges on the psychedelic in places but is also an aural and motion rich form of abstract expressionism that is both flowing and in places atonal, thus offering a rich reflection of the genre’s many forms through a living piece of imagery and music.

Janus Gallery II: Poppy Morris – Talefeathers

Around the video screen on the lower level of the gallery are nine pieces of Poppy’s 2D art, with a further 20 displayed around the walls of the upper level. It’s a richly diverse selection of pieces that also might, in places be said to be thematically grouped.  Take, for example six of the pieces along the lower west wall of the gallery. These feature a range of bird-like creatures (some very definitely avian in nature, some apparently wearing masks), all of which – thanks to their titles – carry something of a social commentary. Meanwhile, and above them are four images focused on deer that also, through their titles, also appear to offer reflections on emotional responses.

Across the gallery from both of these sets, and occupying both upper and lower levels, are what might be regarded as more “traditional” landscape and plant paintings, but which again offer further food for thought in their distinctive titles. In this, the title given to this exhibition becomes clear; the tale reflecting the fact that all of the paintings have a story contained within their individual canvases, the feather perhaps a reflection of the avian nature seen within many of the piece. In fact, these might be said to be stories in two parts, depending on whether we opt to view them simply as they hang on the walls – as I would initially recommend –  or through the lens of the title Poppy has determined for each piece – which I would suggest as a follow-on activity, and only after appreciating / interpreting all of the pieces sans any reference to their titles so as not to be influenced in your initial interpretation.

By doing this, it is possible to view, as a singular example, Memories of Renewal both as a piece that celebrates a spring evening, with flowers in bloom set against the backdrop of a sky reddened by a setting Sun. At the same time, taken with its title, it sits as a reminder that, when it comes naturally rather than as a result of human error or mischief, something like a forest fire (suggested by the red backdrop to the piece) is actually nature’s way of natural renewal and rebirth (as presented by the foreground blooms).

Janus Gallery II: Poppy Morris – Talefeathers

Thus, Talefeathers is a visually engaging collection of art awaiting discovery, with Chrysalis Circuitry offer a unique insight into how Second Life can be a canvas for modern performance art and expression through machinima, and I recommend both during their month-long (I believe) stay at Janus Gallery II.

SLURL DETAILS

2021 viewer release summaries week #40

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

Updates from the week ending Sunday, October 10th

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 for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Release viewer: version 6.4.22.561752, formerly the CEF update viewer, dated July 24th, promoted August 10th – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • No updates
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V6-style

  • No updates.

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Held by a Hidden Bottle in Second Life

Hidden Bottle, October 2021

Shawn Shakespeare recently poked me concerning Hidden Bottle, the Full region (complete with additional LI bonus) designed by Num Bing-Howlett (Num Bing) and Clifton Howlett, and which originally opened back in May 2021. In particular, Shawn wanted to let me know the region’s design has been updated, making it especially worth while paying a further visit.

Hearing things has changed both piqued my curiosity and my concern. As I noted back in May, Hidden Bottle offered a unique tropical setting of islands linked by cable car, with walks winding through them leading to event spaces and other points of interest. As such, I was leery of that design having been replaced – but my unease was unwarranted: Hidden Bottle retains much of its original iteration, whilst offering something new and different to explore.

Hidden Bottle: October 2021

Also still to be found are the setting’s two islands and its popular cable car system that provides a primary means of transport. Both of the islands are are both somewhat smaller than they were previously, leaving much more space for water and boats and swimming – although the shallows between the island are prone to being used by sharks for a little bit of paddling around – so swimmers be warned!

From the landing point – located on a deck extending over the water from the smaller, eastern island – it is possible to start explorations on foot, either up into into the rocky honeycomb of the east island, or via footbridge that rises by way of a single spire of rock to reach larger, western island. Or, for those that like to wait for a few minutes before setting out to wander, the deck serves as a station for the region’s cable cars as they sway their way around the eastern island and thence over open waters to the west island before dropping back to the deck.

Hidden Bottle, October 2021

Two other land masses rise from the water: a northern sandbar that is little more than a ripple rising above the waves, but which is nevertheless home to a quiet retreat; and a southern nub of rock that is home to a lighthouse warning of the shallows and rocks between it and the western island – although the wreck of a fishing boat on the edge of the shallows offers equal warning to their danger during daylight hours.

Of the two islands, the larger is perhaps the more natural in form, rising from its southern extreme to high cliffs at the north end, its flat centre forming a natural path with equally natural stone steps climbing down over its shoulders and slopes to connect highlands with lowlands and little nooks and places to sit – including one within a stone ring. At the northernmost end of the island sits a small beach from which two rocky pillars rise, one the home to the region’s bar and deck, only accessible via the cable car.

Hidden Bottle, October 2021

The smaller island is stranger in form – and potentially the more interesting to explore as a result. I used the term “honeycomb” above to describe it, and that is how it is; pillars of rock rising from the sands at the island’s base to support great slabs of rock that sit like table tops, the hollows beneath them offering more places that await discovery, their tops home to further places to sit in the open or under shade, bridges strung between them while wooden deck extending out into the air over blue waters.

One of the secrets of this eastern island comes in the form of a portal. Find it, and you can make your way to  Zamonia, the other setting created by Numb and Clifton, and the gallery there (both of which you can read about here). Similarly, portals from that region and the gallery will drop you at the eastern island of Hidden Bottle.

Hidden Bottle, October 2021

Also – and if you can find your way into them – there’s a series of tunnels and caverns to be found winding under the west island. These offer further places to be discovered – including the pirates’ hidden still area referenced in the region About Land description. To make your way into them, look for the pool beneath the south hull’s ribs.

Perfect for photographing under a range of EEP setting and finished with a rich soundscape, Hidden Bottle remains an engaging visit.

SLurl Details

Bamboo’s Mindstorm in Second Life

IMAGOLand Gallery 3: Bamboo Barnes

Currently open at Gallery 3 of Mareea Farrasco’s MAGOLand is Mindstorm, an exhibition of art by Bamboo Barnes which opened on October 6th, 2021.

Hailing from Japan, Bamboo is, as I’ve frequently noted, one of the most vibrant, evocative, provocative, and emotive artists displaying her work in Second Life. She is also an artist unafraid of plumbing the depth of emotion and introspection – and this is again true with Mindstorm, which presents a series of images she has been working on for “a few years”.

The best way to describer this exhibition is to perhaps use Bamboo’s own words:

When you are feeling low, isolated, misunderstood.
Look at your disturbed soul pretending it never hurts,
The ocean of the pain roar to sweep all the goodness from you so you can feel the bottom.
Like the wind and the tide, there are no keys to open the sea, keep you face over the surface to keep the breath.
When the sun is up your skin is dry, start feel it’s in the past, then life goes on, there’s another day.
Don’t know what will come tomorrow, beneath the surface there is mindstorm.

Bamboo Barnes, describing Mindstorm

IMAGOLand Gallery 3: Bamboo Barnes

Presented in Bamboo’s familiar bold colours, the 16 images within the exhibit are joined by a number of 3rd part 3D pieces she has also textured, which together offer very visual statements on state-of-mind / relationships, which through presentation and colour emphasis speak loudly to mood and feelings.

As introspective pieces, these might be seen – not incorrectly – as reflections of Bamboo’s moods. Again, and as I’ve note before, her work is strongly bound with her mood, whether drawn directly from the emotions of life or as a result of the music to which she is listening while creating a piece. However, and as her own notes for the exhibition state, these are pieces to which anyone who has weathered feelings of isolation – not so much as a result of the on-going pandemic, but due to circumstances of life such as the ending of a relationship or an (obtuse?) misunderstanding directed towards you or the hurt inflected by the actions or words of another, and so on –  can identify.

IMAGOLand Gallery 3: Bamboo Barnes

I’m not sure how long Mindstorm is set to run, but I do recommend it as an exhibition worthy of seeing.

SLurl Details

Please use the teleport disk from the landing point below to reach the gallery.