Animesh project viewer arrives in Second Life

On Wednesday, October 18th, Linden Lab announced the release of their much-anticipated Animesh project viewer had been made available, marking the start of public testing for the Animesh project.

For those who have not been following my Content Creation User Group meeting updates, “Animesh” is an amalgam of “ANImated MESH”. The overall goal of the project is to provide a means of animating rigged mesh objects using the avatar skeleton, in whole or in part, to provide things like independently moveable pets / creatures, trees with animated branches, etc.

In short, an Animesh object:

  • Can be any rigged / skinned mesh which and contains the necessary animations and controlling scripts in its own inventory  (Contents tab of the Build floater) required for it to animate itself.
  • Can be a single mesh object or a linkset of objects.
  • Has been flagged as and Animesh object in the project viewer, and so has an avatar skeleton associated with it.
  • Uses three new LSL methods to run or stop animations, or check which animations are currently running:
Animesh allows you to take rigged mesh objects, add animations and controlling scripts to them, associate them with an avatar skeleton, and have them run in-world without the need for any supervising viewer / client

The Animesh project has been in development for the last several months, and has involved ongoing discussions and input from content creators at the Content Creation User Group meetings, which are held in-world at the Hippotropolis Camp Fire Circle most Thursdays at 13:00 SLT. As such, the arrival of the project viewer does not mark any kind of official release of the project. Rather, and as noted, it marks the commencement of public testing for what will hopefully become the first release of Animesh functionality.

Currently, testing can only take place on Aditi, the beta grid, where five regions are available with Animesh support enabled. These are: Animesh1, Animesh2, Animesh3, Animesh4, all rated Moderate, and Animesh Adult. Again, please note that Animesh functionality in the project viewer will not work on the Main grid at this time.

Animesh objects are created in-world, not uploaded as such. They must contain the animation(s) they are to run and a controlling script (l), and are enabled via Animated Mesh object in the Build Floater’s Features tab (centre). Note that if you select an unrigged / non-mesh object (or a No modify rigged object), the option will be greyed out and unavailable (right)

An Animesh User Guide is available to help people get started with Animesh, and a forum thread has been set-up for feedback and discussion, while specific bugs or feature request suggestions for the project should be reported via the Second Life JIRA.

Test content is also available to help people get started, if they don’t have suitable content of their own they wish to convert to Animesh objects. The test content can be found here.

In addition, those who test the viewer and Animesh are invited to attend the Content Creation User Group meetings and join discussion on Animesh (and other content related projects), and  / or are welcome to follow my Content Creation User Group meeting updates.

One of the aims in testing Animesh will be to see how many Animesh objects a region and the viewer can comfortably handle without impacting the performance of either

Eventually, Animesh will hopefully support fully fledged non-player character (NPC) creations which can, if required have things like an avatar shape associated with them, use a dedicated, avatar-like inventory, and utilise both the server-side locomotion graph for walking, sitting, etc., and the avatar baking service. However, these capabilities do not form part of the current Animesh project, but will be added as a future project, once other elements which can also help better support NPCs have been put in place (such as an update to the baking service, which forms another project within the Lab).

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Bloggies 2017: last chance to vote

via BVN

September 30th marks the last day of voting in the Blogger and Vlogger Network (BVN) 2017 Blogger and Vlogger Awards, also to be known has “The Bloggies”, intended to recognise bloggers and vloggers covering Second Life. Nominations took place in July / August, and voting  / judging opened on September 1st.

Nominations for public voting have been split into a number of categories, which cover topics such as fashion, accessories, home and garden, news, SL travel, humour, tutorials, and newcomer blogs. A number of special awards will additionally be given for a selected set of categories: BVN Member of the Year, Founders Award, Blogger or Vlogger of the year, Best Female Fashion Blogger, and Best Male Fashion Blogger.

I’ve so far steered clear of writing about the awards, as I’m actually a nominee in one category, and writing when nominated feels somewhat self-serving. However, there is a lot of variety within the various categories (including a number of blogs I’d not come across before (to my loss) and am now enjoying taking a look at as and when time permits.Also, given this is the last day for voting, it seems a good time to offer a reminder that voting is about to close for anyone still intending to vote, but hasn’t so far done so.

So if you haven’t already voted, hop over to The Bloggies  before the end of the day on September 3th, 2017, look through the nominated blogs in the categories, and vote on those you like – note that voting requires a Google account to prevent multiple repeat votes.

Winning nominees will be announced on Saturday, October 14th.

Second Life: potential Windows viewer install warning

Updated, September 25th: As indicated to me by Grumpity Linden, and following testing with the Second Life Wolfpack RC viewer update 5.0.8.329128, this issue should now be resolved.

On Friday, September 22nd, Linden Lab issued a warning to Second Life users on the Windows platform that for a period of time, they may get a Windows SmartScreen warning when installing or updating the official Second Life viewer.

As explained in the blog post, the warning from Windows SmartScreen is displayed when trying to install anything via the Internet and Microsoft is unable to verify whether the software is “safe” for installation.

The reason the warning is being generated against the official Second Life viewer was explained by Oz Linden at the Third-Party Developer meeting, with a similar explanation in the blog post. Speaking at the meeting, Oz said:

Unfortunately, our [Microsoft] code-signing key expired this week, and we had to get a new one, and that has caused Windows SmartScreen Defender to no longer believe in us. So it will warning you when trying to install any of the new viewers, including release candidates … so we’re putting out a blog post about that and putting in on the status page, so hopefully people will get the word. 

In addition to this, the blog post explains why the warning will be displayed, even after the Lab has obtained a new code-signing key:

Until enough people install the application signed by the new key, it won’t have a good enough “reputation” with Microsoft to avoid the warning.

Oz further added during the TPVD meeting:

Hopefully, the number of people who need to install it [the viewer] to get Microsoft to believe in it is not too big; [but] we have no idea how long that will take.

So again, if you’re a Windows user (notably Windows 10), and you’ve downloaded one of the more recent viewers from the Lab’s web site, and you get the Windows SmartScreen warning, you can safely install the viewer.

Simply click on the MORE INFO link when the warning is first displayed. This will give you the application name and publisher’s name, together with an option to RUN ANYWAY. Click on this to install the viewer.

Windows SmartScreen warning – may be displayed when installing a latest version of the official SL viewer.

Remember, if the viewer has come from the Lab’s website or via the viewer’s own updater, it is safe to install.

Lab issues warning about in-world phishing scam

Linden Lab has issued a number of blog posts concerning Second Life account security recently. All of them should be read with care and heeded. Most relate to external issues  – so-call viewer wrappers, or links to website Phishing scams.

On Friday, September 22nd, the issued a further warning, again about a phishing scam, but which is being circulated in-world and which appear to be a pseudo-notification pop-up claiming that a user’s account has been compromised.

In the interests of clarity of reading and understanding, I’m including the full text of the post below. Please read it through in full, be aware of the scam and do not be fooled by it – and the blog post states. Linden Lab and / or their support agents would not attempt to contact users on account security in the manner described.

It has come to our attention that some Residents are sending messages – which may appear as pop-up windows in some viewers – informing other Residents that their accounts have been compromised and encouraging them to contact Support, using a phone number that is not associated with Linden Lab.

These messages are phishing attempts to gain access to your Second Life account. Neither Linden Lab, nor Second Life Customer Support, would attempt to contact you in this manner. You can always find Linden Lab’s official customer support contact methods within the following links:

https://support.secondlife.com/billing-support/

https://support.secondlife.com/contact-support/

As always, please be wary of suspicious messages and contact from other users. If you believe your account has been compromised, please contact us via support case at https://support.secondlife.com/