The weekend of the 14th through 16th of May 2021 played host to the 2021 Relaystock event by the Relay Rockers to raise funds for Relay For Life of Second Life and the world-wide work of the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Paying homage to Woodstock, RelayStock brings together Relay teams from diverse communities across Second Life for a celebration of music, events and fund-raising that pay homage to Woodstock, with three days of Peace Love Music and Hope. The weekend includes two signature events:
The final of the Celebrate Remember Fight-Back Top DJ Fund-raising Competition – this event sees Club and Radio DJs from all over Second Life compete to raise the most Linden Dollars in support of the Relay For Life, with RelayStock hosting the Grand Final between the two top fund-raisers.
Bid a Linden Bald – which sees a number of teams from Linden Lab challenge one another to see who can raise the most in Linden Dollar donations for RFL of SL. At the end of the event, the team raising the least amount of money see their avatars get their hair shorn by the team raising the most.
The latter event started ahead of the weekend, and continued through until the 19th June, when, at 12:00 SLT, the team to lose their hair was announced and the Official Haircutting took place.
On Thursday, May 20th, the Relay Rockers announced the outcome of of both the weekend’s fund-raising and the Bid A Linden Bald event.
The weekend raised a total of L$1,290,669 raised for RFL, including:
L$502,000 raised by CRFB Top DJ Competition winner DJ Stormy Dench.
L$400,000 raised by CRFB Top DJ Competition runner-up DJ Baggie.
Bid A Linden Bald saw some 40 Linden and Moles participate, including the Lab’s new Executive Chairman and board member Brad Oberwager and his Chief of Staff Cammi Bergren take part. At the close of bidding, the event’s outcome was as follows:
Team 4 – Darcy, Grumpity, Kristin, Patch, Spots and Vix Linden – prevailed, raising a total of L$296,336.
Team 3 – Dakota, Evie, Kreide, Obi, Simon and Vanessa Linden – were on the receiving end of the hair clippers.
A total of L$ 840,369 was raised by the Bid A Linden Bald, including the sale of 309 of the limited edition Linden Bears.
Relaystock brings the running total for the 2021 Relay For Life season in Second Life, which concludes on June 12th and 13th, stands at US $350,000, which again places the virtual Relay among the largest Relay events in the world.
It’s a weekend of Peace Love and Hope and great music as the 8th annual RelayStock takes place between Friday, May 14th and Sunday, May 16th inclusive, once again raising funds for Relay For Life of Second Life and the world-wide work of the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Paying homage to Woodstock, and hosted by the Relay Rockers, RelayStock brings together Relay teams from diverse communities across Second Life for a celebration of the Relay season. Teams raise their banners above makeshift tents and old VW campers as they gather for three days of Peace Love Music and Hope.
A long-time staple of the annual Relay for Life season in Second Life, Relay Stock is also the venue to two special events – Bid a Linden Bald and the Celebrate Remember Fight-Back Top DJ Fund-raising Competition.
Bid A Linden Bald and Obtain a Limited Edition Linden Bear
2021 marks the 5th year that the Lindens have joined in the fun at RelayStock through Bid a Linden Bald – and this year the event has a couple of extra for folk to appreciate: the Moles of the LDPW are joining the fun, and those making donations via the special Bid a Linden Bald kiosks can receive a Limited Edition Linden Bear!
As the name suggests, Bid A linden Bald sees a number of teams from Linden Lab challenge one another to see who can raise the most in Linden Dollar donations for RFL of SL. At the end of the event, the team raising the least amount of money see their avatars get their hair shorn by the team raising the most. Or as the event advertising puts it:
Top team gets the scissors – lowest team gets the haircut!
The six teams from the Lab participating this year comprise:
Team 1: Alexa, Dottie, Izzy, Mint, Rhea, TJ, Wendi
Team 2: Cammy, Ellie, Kit, Oberwolf, Rocko, Tommy, Whitney
Team 3: Dakota, Evie, Kreide, Obi, Simon, Vanessa
Team 4: Darcy, Grumpity, Kristin, Patch, Spots, Vix
Team 5: Derrick, Hobbes, Maggie, Patsy, Theresa, Volo
For those who have been asking about the Lab’s new Board members and their interest in Second Life, it’s worth pointing out that Team 2’s Oberwolf Linden is in fact Board member and Executive Chairman Brad Oberwager, who is getting fully into the swing of the event and showing further support for activities in Second Life, along with the Lab’s new Chief of Staff, Cammy Bergren (Cammy Linden), who is also a member of Team 2!
Since its inauguration in 2017 (at the Second Life Birthday event) Bid A Linden Bald has helped to raise L$3,000,000 (approx. US $12,000) for Relay For Life and the ACS.
Every year, I look forward to the Rockers’ Bid Me Bald fundraiser. This is one of the longest running team fundraisers in our Relay’s history and it has become a touchstone moment for so many of us. I have enjoyed watching the event grow and evolve over the years and am grateful to the Lindens for getting into the spirit of this time-tested fundraising challenge.
– Stingray Raymaker, ACS representative in Second Life
Biding is now open at the RelayStock event space, and will remain so through until Wednesday May 19th, when, at 12:00 SLT, the team to lose their hair will be announced and the Official Haircutting will take place (and all are invited!).
Bid A Linden Bald Linden Bears
This year, people can bid by making a donation directly to each team’s kiosk, or by making a L$250 donation to the accompanying Limited Edition Bid A Linden Bald Linden Bear kiosk and receive a pair of Limited Edition Linden Bears.
Designed by Chronos Mole, these comprise a wearable Animesh Bear and a seated static bear for home décor. It would have perhaps been nice if the wearable bear was a little smaller and rigged to sit, say, on your shoulder rather than just a simple “carry” pose that is easily overridden by any walking animation, but they are nevertheless a cute pair, and already proving to be very popular.
Bid a Linden Bald can be found at the large barn immediately adjacent to the RelayStock landing point.
Celebrate Remember Fight-Back Top DJ Fund-raising Competition Grand Final
The CRFB event features Club and Radio DJs from all over Second Life as they try to see who among them can raise the most Linden Dollars in support of the Relay For Life, with RelayStock hosting the Grand Final between the two top fund-raisers.
In 2020, DJ Baggie and DJ Kayla went head-to-head in their sets at RelayStock, raising more than L$330,000 in the process, with DJ Kayla taking home top honours. This year will see finalists DJ Tanis and DJ Stormy compete in back-to-back sets on Sunday, May 17th.
The event’s activities line up as follows (all times SLT – check the official event page for any late updates):
Friday May 14th
Saturday May 15th
Sunday May 16th
13:00: DJ Zen Greywolf
14:30: DJ Melinia Firehawk
16:00: Keeba & Maniacs – LIVE
17:00 : Quartz – LIVE
18:00: DJ Sasha Fairywren
19:30: DJ Kewl
09:00: Shay Dezno-Gary Jonstone-LIVE
10:30 Noon: DJ Kayla
Noon: DJ Corruptor
13:30: DJ Selene Jashan
15:00-16:00: Todd Rumsford – LIVE
16:00-17:30: DJ Jennylynn Capalini
17:30-19:00: DJCynthia Farshore
19:00-20:30: DJ Toocool
20:30-22:00: DJ Stephanie
09:00-10:30: DJ Caesey Sawson
10:30-12:00 Noon: DJ Rora
Noon-13:30: Brisas Ar – LIVE
1:30PM – Max Kleene – LIVE
2:00PM – CRFB FINALIST – DJ Tanis
3:30PM – CRFB FINALIST-DJ Stormy
5:00PM – Trader Whiplash – Time Machine
7:30PM – DJ Mattie Carlson
So, let the spirit of the Age of Aquarius enter your life this weekend, don your kaftan (and galoshes!), put flowers in your hair and head on over to RelayStock for great music, great dancing, great fun – all in a good cause!
Note that SLurl to the Fairelands are listed at the end of this article, rather than being embedded in the text.
The largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, Fantasy Faire 2021, opened its gates to fairelanders at 12:00 SLT on Thursday, April 22nd, and will remain open through until Sunday May 9th, 2021 inclusive, once again raising money for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society’s efforts to bring about a World Without Cancer.
As with previous years, 2021 will see a wide range of activities and events taking place through until Sunday, May 2nd, including the LitFest, DJ and live performances, auctions, role-play opportunities, and more – all of which will culminate in the The Final Shindig a four-hour jamboree intended to give as many people as possible the chance to drop in and celebrate the Faire’s success. After this, the regions will remain open for people to visit and enjoy sans on-going activities, allowing them to enjoy the the shopping and the regions themselves – although some activities will also continue through the final week as well.
Fantasy Faire 2021 this year encompasses 16 shopping regions devoted to the best in fantasy creations and four event regions. As is usual, the best place to start a visit is Fairelands Junction. From here visitors can access all of the shopping regions via the portals, and also visit the memorial area and the worldlings – region designs that didn’t make it into this year’s event.
The regions designs for this year are another enticing mix of realms designed by familiar Faire names such as Kayle Matzerath, Sharni Azalee, Sweetgwendoline Bailey and Mondi Beaumont, Dumpling and Solas Enchantment, Alia Baroque, Kilik Lekvoda, returning designers such as Beq Janus and Elizabeth Jarvinen, and names new to the Faire, working either on their own or in partnership with others.
You can find a full list of the regions, their designers and principal sponsors here, while those wishing to shop can see what stores are where within the Fairelands realms via the Fantasy Faire Shopping Catalogue.
Events and Activities Highlights
Fantasy Faire 2021 will again be filled with events and activities, with music from DJs focused on the the deck of the Fairechylde as she lies moored in the Dark Awakening, while performances of theatre, dance and more will be on offer alongside the Faire’s art displays in Paer Thura. Dedicated schedules are available for both DJ parties and live performances are now available, so keep your eye on them as well.
The LitFest will this year be based at Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙. The Litfest is a special place where the magic of the spoken word will weave tales of wonder, relate stories of great adventure and daring; where talks by authors, discussions, creative writing sessions and performances will all take place. In addition, literary hawks and writers will be encouraged to join daily tours of the Fairelands and afterwards compose pieces related to their travels.
The full LitFest schedule provides a run-down of activities, but here are a some highlights.
The Region Tours: taking place at either 13:00 SLT or 17:00 SLT and running from Friday, April 23rd through Sunday, May 9th, the LitFest tours offer the chance to explore the Fairelands and seeking the stories they have to tell as well as their special secret places and details. Stories can also be submitted for publication on the Fantasy Faire website, provided they are submitted within two days of each tour.
LitFest Special Guests: this year the LitFest special guests are writing partnership Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, perhaps best known for their Liaden Universe® works – and are also long-term Second Life Residents.
Over the course of their partnership, Lee and Miller have written thirty-two novels, twenty-three in their original space opera setting, the Liaden Universe®, where honour, wit, and true love are potent weapons against villainy. In addition, Sharon Lee has published three novels in the urban fantasy genre, the Crimson Trilogy (also known as the Archer Beach Trilogy).
The couple will be appearing at Fantasy Faire as follows:
Tuesday April 27th 15:00-16:00 – Interview with Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: Sharon and Steve will talk to Saffia Widdershins about their lives, their work and the challenging of world-building in a universe that stretches for millennium.
Friday April 30th 15:00-14:00 – Reading by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: the couple will read from their works set in the Liaden Universe® and, if there’s time, take audience questions.
2021 will once again have numerous opportunities for role-play within the Fairelands.This year the Children of Stories will return this year as the Junior Society of Extra-ordinary Explorers. The children (previously appearing as the Rickety Weasels, the Mouse Guardians, the Children of Echtra, the Lilypods, the Magpies, the Bubo Owls, and the Grizzly Cubs) will be investigating the mysterious Amethyst Rift where an ancient society of sorcerers vanished into the mists one day.
There will also be regular Meet ’n’ Greets with the NeoVictoria Project. These are out-of-character events where players from the NeoVictoria community will be available to discuss the project, the story-world and how to get involved. For more information read more here.
Role-play classes will be available for those new to role-play in Second Life. Again, details can be found here.
Table-top games have been a part of Fantasy Faire 2018, and will again a part of activities – check the game page for details.
Currently open through until April 24th at the Raven Craig Art Centre is a spacial exhibition of art – Artists for Life – offering visitors the opportunity to view and purchase art and photographs by artists across Second Life, and support Relay for Life of Second Life and the American Cancer Society in the process.
Participating arts in the event comprise: AriaRose, Jolie, Poppy, Mystic Audion, Michel Bechir, Mira Biedermann, Lyla Blaylock, Pink Clarity, Star Finesmith, Starr Ghost, Hermes Kondor, Looker Lumet, Shane Matthews, Mony Pedroia, Eve Petlyakov, Max Seagate, Elise Sirnah, and Marie de la Torres. The majority of the artists have provided at least one or two images for the event, all of which are offered for purchase at L$99 each.
The exhibition has been organised by Sethos Lionheart, owner of Wythburn Village, where Raven Craig is located, and Star Finesmith, the artistic director for both Wythburn Village and Raven Craig. The idea grew out of the successful Art Walk Wythburn in aid of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (MSABC) in 2020 (see: Wythburn Art Walk in Second Life), as Star explains.
The Art Walk was a more casual, informal event, with are … across the region. This year I wanted to make sure that the fund-raising is focused on the art. I spoke to some of the artists from last year about how they would feel about creating art that would only be available for sale at the event. I received a lot of positive feedback on the idea, and so decided to give it a go.
Star Finesmith on the origins of Arts for Life
Each of the halls of the gallery have been decorated in a manner that reflects the general themes of the art displayed within it, with the art itself incredibly diverse, making for a vibrant exhibition.
In addition to the pieces offered directly for sale, each, artist has also submitted a piece for the Arts for Life silence auction that will run through until midnight on April 24th, 2021. Auction items can be found in the gallery’s central ground-floor hall, with bids made via the origami box on the shelf under each piece. The winning bidders for each piece will be informed after the event closes, and will receive a Copy, No-Mod, No-Transfer version of the piece.
Also available at the exhibition is a free copy of a commemorative book featuring images of the art on display together with information on the artists and the event as a whole. Visitors can obtain copies from the in-world version found at various locations within the gallery.
So do please take the time to visit the Raven Craig Art Centre between now and April 24th, and remember that all proceeds from purchases made go directly to RFL of SL and the American Cancer Society.
On Wednesday, March 10th, 2021 Patch Linden attended the home and Garden Expo to talk about his role, Linden homes and other aspects of SL and Linden Lab, and to answer questions from the audience.
The following is a summary of the session covering the core topics raised. The notes provided have been taken directly from the official video of the session, which is embedded at the end of this article. Time stamps to the video are also provided for ease of reference.
This is a summary, not a full transcript, and items have been grouped by topic, so may not be presented chronologically when compared to the video.
The last 20+ minutes of the session is a general Q&A session where Patch was addressing questions and comments put into local chat, which is not visible in the video. Some of these are highly specific questions based on an individual’s experience, other more generic – please refer to the video directly for this part of the session (commencing at 56:50).
In places, information that is supplementary to Patch’s comments is provided in square braces (.i.e. [ and ]) are used in the body text below to indicate where this is the case.
Originally a Second Life resident and business owner who joined the platform in 2004, and became a Linden in 2007.
Initially worked as a support agent and then as a support liaison. From there he moved to the Concierge team, eventually becoming that team’s manager. From there he took on the role of Operations Support Manager for a year, then moved to the Product group, the team responsible for defining the features, etc., found within Second Life.
In this role, he has two major departments reporting into him: those of Support and Product Operations, the latter of which comprises the Lab’s internal content creation team (which includes the Moles of the Linden Department of Public Works) and the Land Operations team, which he originally established whilst working within the Product group. Together, these make up the largest teams at Linden Lab.
Together with Grumpity Linden, who is Vice President of Product and Acting Vice President of Engineering since Oz Linden retired, he oversees Second Life’s continued development.
He is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and was responsible for establishing the Lab’s support office there.
The “new” Linden Homes, as launched in 2019, came about in part because of the Premium “free” tier being upgraded from 512 sq m or 1024 sq m. They were also driven by the “ageing” design of the original Homes themselves (i.e. using older capabilities, being non-mesh, etc), together with their relatively high density tending to make them less appealing over time.
Developing the new Homes has been both a learning process and an exercise in incorporating additional capabilities within the different themes.
The release of the Silt Homes (see: Linden Stilt Homes released in Second Life), the first release to be made following the move to AWS services, did bring with it a number of issues (e.g. the infamous “blue window” issue), but most of these have now been resolved or have fixes in the works.
The release of the “Alpine” – or fachwerkhaus, as Patch would prefer them to be called – theme is now “just around the corner”, and may be occurring in the “next couple of weeks”.
Preparations for the release have seen an large extensive in Linden Home regions to the north-east of Bellisseria beyond the Silt Home / Houseboat regions, such that the estate now almost reaches Satori.
While the regions containing the fachwerkhaus theme will have hilly / mountainous areas, they will not be “snowy”. The Lab has learned through various channels that predominantly snow-covered regions tend to be polarising: people either love them or hate them, so prefer keep it seasonal.
However, were there a demand to make such regions “snowy” in theme, it may be something the Lab could look at doing in the future.
Right now the overall drive with Linden Homes is to get all the planned themes – fachwerkhaus and beyond – released by the end of 2021.
Once this has been achieved, it is likely that the retirement of the “old” Linden Homes will commence.
There are currently no plans to directly replicated the themes found in the “old” Linden Homes beyond what has been seen (e.g. the Log Homes offering a similar environment to the Tahoe theme).
This is something that might be contemplated some time after all the currently planned themes have been released, but no guarantees.
In terms of the “old” styles, only one – the Meadowbrook (the “suburban” style 1- and 2-storey homes) – proved to be particularly popular, beating the other three styles by “leaps and bounds”.
There have been requests to allow groups of people to select Linden Homes that are located close to one another, so that they might establish little communities of friends, etc. This is actually difficult to achieve, but might be something that could be looked at some time after the roll-out of Home themes has been completed.
[33:20-34:55] The next NEW theme for Linden Homes (to follow the fachwerkhaus theme) will be previewed at SL18B in June.
It is promised that it will “Blow your socks off” and be the “most impressive theme released to date”.
It will have “unique” capabilities not previously seen in Linden Homes
It is unlikely the theme will actually be released during the SLB event, but will likely be available some time afterwards.
It was anticipated that some form of community would develop around Bellisseria, if only going by lessons learned from Bay City. However, the speed with which it developed and grew has been surprising to Patch.
Has been watching the growth of the many sub-communities with the continent, which now cover all interests and social aspects – boating, flying, merfolk, LGBTQ+ – even Adult.
While it was not with a specific aim of building “community”, having public spaces to visit and explore within Bellisseria and venues that could be used was key part of planning the estate.
These remain a focal point of effort through seasonal events and activities – such as those in Millbank such as the Halloween build there.
There is a dynamic between the community and the Lab – the latter listen to the former, may adopt ideas from the former, and the former may take ideas and facilities from the Lab and run with them (as with the use of the Bellisseria Fairgrounds), etc.
An example of this is the adoption by the Lab of the house number system introduced by the community.
Also, the Bellisseria Bureau of Bureaucracy “passport” system will be adopted, with the Lab providing their own kiosks within the various locations within Bellisseria they maintain, allowing visitors to have their passports uniquely stamped.
There are no plans to name roads in Bellisseria – it is hard enough to come up with fresh region names [although I admit to having an amused groan over the likes of Salmon and Gillfunkel, OccupenSea (together the neighbouring xxxSea regions), Lone Shark, Miniature Gulf and so on!].
The move to using AWS services that was completed at the end of 2020 was just that: relocating services to AWS without making significant changes to them, unless absolutely essentially to their smooth running [what Oz Linden and his teams referred to as “lift and shift”].
Unfortunately, this met that certain services (e.g. the Map tile generation and the Land Store) did break.
[The major cause of these breakages was down to the code having certain assumptions about the operating environment “baked in”, which are no longer true within the AWS environment.]
The Land store issue is now fixed, and the Map tile issues are well on their way to being fixed [there are still issues around the “stitching” and rendering process when zooming out from the Map].
With the migration work completed, the emphasis is not on performance tuning and on bug fixing.
Broader issues – such as Search (notably People search) are also problematic, and these issues are also on a priority list for fixing.
As always, if people come across a specific technical issue (particularly if it can be reproduced using the official viewer, please raise a bug report.
SL has seen numerous examples of increased activity during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. In particular, merchants across markets are seeing increased sales; charity events are seeing increased fund-raising, etc.
The Lab remains sensitive to the issue, particularly around issues of people who may have lost loved ones or are struggling with increased financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
Obviously, the Lab is pleased that Second Life has provided a positive outlet for people, and they have noted upticks in “old” users returning to the platform an in “new” new user accounts being created.
The latter is particularly being noted through the use of the platform by the likes of the education, business and non-profit sectors, which has in turns spurred renewed media interest in the platform.
Patch [and others at the Lab?] appreciate the greater freedom using Second Life gives them over other other business tools they use – Zoom, Google Meet, etc. – simply because it offers the chance to have a change of surroundings and relax into their avatars.
The 2021 Home and Garden Expo (HGE) in support of Relay for Life of Second Life and the American Cancer Society, opens it gates on Saturday, February 27th and runs through until Sunday, March 21st. Taking place across nine regions (Hope 1 through 9), the event offers some of the finest in home, garden, and furnishing designs available across the grid.
With multiple exhibitors taking part, the event offers something for anyone who is looking for a new home, ideas for furnishing and décor, wishing to improve their building (or other) skills, or who just wishes to keep abreast of the latest building / home trends in Second Life.
As always, the Expo there will be a range of events and activities, including entertainment, focused on the main stage at Hope 1, talks and presentation focus on the auditorium at Hope 3, artists, auctions, breedables. and more.
Once more returning the the event is the Home and Garden Decorating Competition, which this year offers fourteen different builds, including two of seven different styles, including beach houses, tiny homes and one with a distinctively Mexican style. These will be made available to fourteen finalists, who will have a 350 land impact allowance with which to decorate a both a house and its garden.
These finalists will be chosen by a raffle draw and will be assigned one of the fourteen houses, based on their preferences. Finalists can be individuals or teams, and must decorate their house in keeping within its style, and must include at least three purchased from RFL vendors at the Expo. With winning design will be decided on the basis of a popular vote by those attending the Expo.
The time line the competition is thus: entries for participation to be submitted by the end of Friday, March 5th, with selected finalists able to decorate their houses been noon SLT on Saturday, March 6th and the end of Friday, March 12th. Voting will then take place between Saturday, March 13th and Wednesday, March 17th with votes cast via donations make through the kiosks placed outside of each house. The winner(s) will be announced on Thursday, March 18th.
So, do be sure to drop in the the Home and Garden Expo, tours the houses, look at the furnishing and enjoy the entertainment – and feel free to drop a donation or two into the RFL kiosks, even if you’re not in the mood to purchase anything, and help support ACS and RFL of SL in their world-wide endeavours.