Clouds and windlight skies by Stevie Davros

Saturn over Holly Kai Park, via the Cosmic Skies clouds set by Stevie Davros

During the Friday, January 26th TPV Developer meeting, mentioned was made of cloud texture sets produced by Australian photographer Stevie Davros, which he offers for sale through the Marketplace. Curious, I decided to go and take a look and have a play.

In all, Stevie is offering five sets of cloud textures at prices ranging from L$99 through to L$599. These are essentially collections of .TGA files designed to replace the cloud texture found in the viewer, and a selection of associated windlight sky .XML files specifically designed to work with the cloud textures, together with comprehensive set of installations instructions and links to his installation videos. To help people understand how they work, Stevie provides a sixth demonstration set for free.

As delivered from the marketplace, each set comprises a note card providing a general introduction to the sets, and a set of links, as follows:

  • A link to a Dropbox file location where the actual files for installation can be downloaded.
  • A link to a YouTube slide show of the various cloud textures.
  • A link to his set of Flickr albums showings the cloud images.
  • Assorted links to windlight tutorials.
The JuilaSet clouds and ~Clouds_JulietSet_Blue_Day windlight .XML by Stevie Davros (Sci-Fi and Fantasy clouds)

On receipt of a note card (delivered to your Received Items in its own folder), simply copy / paste the Dropbox link into your web browser to display a preview of the download ZIP contents (thumbnails of the folders and instruction files), and click the Download button, top right of the web page – don’t download the individual files.

I’m not going to run through the installation process here, as Stevie provides a comprehensive guide in both .PDF and .RTF formats, and links to his installation videos. Some file manipulation is required, but providing you are comfortable navigating a folder / directory hierarchy via your computer’s file manager / explorer, and with renaming files and copy / pasting files, you shouldn’t find the installation that taxing. Suffice it to say that the downloaded ZIP contains:

  • A choice of folders with the cloud .TGA files – one for PC, one for Mac OSX. These are intended to replace the default cloud texture provided in the viewer.
  • A folder of .XML windlight files that can be used with the cloud textures. Copy the contents of this folder to your viewer’s user windlight skies folder, rather than the viewer’s main windlight skies folder.
  • Installation instructions in .PDF and .RTF.
  • Two images used in the installation instructions.
The JuilaSet clouds used with Annan Adored’s Morning Dream windlight

For most viewers, using the different cloud textures requires renaming the texture you wish to use via your computer’s file manager, and restarting their viewer. Again, Stevie’s installation instructions explain what is required.

If you use Firestorm, you can simply copy all of the cloud textures to the viewer’s windlight\cloud folder and select your required cloud texture from the Preferences > Windlight > Cloud Texture drop-down, although a viewer restart will still generally be required to apply the change.

Note: when re-logging after selecting a custom cloud TGA, you may see no change in your sky if you are in a region using the default sky settings, or things might look initially messy. If this happens simply switch to a suitable windlight setting – see below.

There are a wide variety of ways to access windlight .XML files depending on the viewer you are using. Within the official viewer, windlights are access via the World menu > Environment Editor and then using either the Environment Settings panel or Sky Presets > Edit Preset floater, using the drop-down on each to select your preferred windlight setting (see below).

Selecting windlight pre-sets from the World menu in the official viewer – click for full size, if required

When applying the cloud textures and windlights supplied by Stevie, it’s worth keeping the following in mind:

  • Some of the cloud textures have recommended or specific sky .XML presets for use with them. For example, in the Cosmic Skies set:
    • The JuliaSet clouds have set of associated .XML files with the prefix ~Clouds_JuilaSet_[name]).
    • The Saturn cloud texture requires the ~Clouds_Saturn windlight sky in order to display correctly (the planet will display with some other windlights, but generally appears distorted)
  • Some of the cloud textures can look rough – faint rings may appear in the sky, the texture repeats might have a definable edge, etc. These issues can generally be corrected by adjusting the amount of cloud cover using the appropriate slider (e.g.  World menu > Environment Editor > Sky Presets > Edit Preset … > Cloud tab) and use the coverage slider to adjust as required.

FCirrus v2 Windlight: Pinky Yellow, by Stevie Davros, on FlickrCirrus v2 Windlight: Pinky Yellow, by Stevie Davros on Flickr


Given there are a lot of windlight .XML sets freely available to users, charging for them might at first seem odd – but remember, with these sets, it is not the .XMLs you are paying for, but the .TGA cloud files. How useful then might be to the individual depend on your Second Life use. Photographers will potentially find the sets to be of the most use; however, there are some points to be noted:

  • The cloud .TGA files are copyrighted by Stevie Davros. As such, although they are supplied outside of Second Life, they should be regarded as supplied under the following permissions: Copy, Modify, No Transfer, and so should not be passed to other users.
  • These sets are intended to be applied on the viewer side only (the cloud .TGA files can only be applied on the viewer-side), so only you will see them in operation when applied (those with their own region / with EM rights, might apply the windlight .XML files to their region).

It is perhaps also worthwhile pointing out that Rider Linden is working on the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP) – read this overview about the project for more. The point of this is that some might prefer to see how this project is implemented – testing is due to start on Aditi very soon – before purchasing sets of clouds.


Raising Abuse Reports in Second Life

Griefing, be it through word, action, noise, or object (as seen here), etc., is one of the items covered by the Abuse Report

The following notes are drawn from a presentation Governance Team manager Tommy Linden and team member Corky Linden are making to various communities within Second Life as part of an initiative to better disseminate information about the Governance Team, and on filing Abuse Reports (ARs). The hope is that the information provided will give users a better understanding of what the Governance Team hope to see provided in an Abuse Report in order to fully investigate it.

Note that  official information on Abuse Reports can also be found in the Knowledge Base.

Governance Team: Quick Facts

  • The team is relatively small – under a dozen in size – but handles an average of 400-500 Abuse Reports per day
  • All Abuse Reports get reviewed as the first stage of an investigation, with priority given to those seen as critical (such as an in-progress griefing attack)
  • All ARs that can be investigated are investigated
    • How far the investigation goes largely depends on whether the AR is filed against something Governance is empowered to investigate, and how much meaningful information is supplied in it
    • The Governance Team intentionally does not report back on the outcome of their investigations for a number of reasons. Just because the outcome might not be visible to the reporter / match their expectations when filing an AR, does not mean the report was ignored.
  • One of the biggest issues with incoming Abuse Reports is that they often lack the basic information required in order for an investigation to be properly carried out.

What is an Abuse Report?

The Abuse Report (AR) is for reporting any individual or group of avatars or any in-world object engaged in an activity deemed inappropriate under the Second Life Terms of Service  / Community Standards and/or is in contraction to the maturity rating for a region.

ARs apply to: griefing, spamming, age play, assault / pushing / disturbing the peace, disclosure of personal information, fraud, harassment, indecency and Skill Gaming violations. In addition, there are Welcome Area Guidelines governing places like Infohubs, which contain restrictions on what should not be done in those areas with any violations also subject to ARs. Report.

There are also certain things that do not apply to ARs. For example, being banned from a particular group or region or parcel, or a dispute over rental payment between residents are not actionable via AR.

ARs can be filed by anyone suffering abuse, or by those directly witnessing an abusive act. However, this does not mean teleporting multiple people into a location and having them file reports as well. Rather than “speeding up” any investigation, it can actually slow down the entire process by forcing Governance to spend time reviewing dozens of additional (and possibly contradictory) reports.

Accessing the Abuse Report Floater

The AR floater can be accessed via:

  • Menu bar > Help > Report Abuse
  • By right-clicking on an avatar or object and locating / selecting Report Abuse from the context menu / pie menu.
    • Make sure you have the right avatar / object selected when doing this
    • Launching the AR floater using either of these two options will auto-complete parts of the form.

The following guidelines are intended to help with filing an AR.

Screen Shots

Where possible, try to include a screen shot of the situation you are reporting. It can be the most effective means of illustrating what is going on, and gives the Governance Team clear visual proof / evidence of what has happened. It can also make up for information missed from the rest of the report.

The slide below outlines some of the key points to remember when using the AR floater to capture a snapshot – click to enlarge it in a separate browser tab for ease of reading.

Abuse Report snapshots: click on the slide to open it in a separate browser tab for easier reading

Note that most viewers do not have a refresh button for the snapshot preview, so try to make sure all the information you wish to capture is on your screen. If you are unable to get a screen shot for whatever reason, it is important you provide clear, accurate information in the Summary and Details section of the report (see below).

Object Picker

The Object Picker allows you to identify an abusive object (e.g. a particle / noise spammer, a weapon, etc.), and include its name and owner in the body of your Abuse Report. Instructions on how to use it are included in the AR floater, and this section will be auto-completed if you launch an AR by right-clicking on an abusive object. Remember you can further verify the item by including it in a snapshot with the Edit floater open to show the object name & owner.

Report Categories

The Abuse Report floater includes a pre-defined, drop-down list of categories which should be used when filing a report. Notes on the *valid* categories can be found here. Note that filing under the wrong category doesn’t prevent a report from being investigated, but it can slow things down, particularly if there is insufficient information provided elsewhere in the report.

Abuser Name

This allows you to grab the name of someone causing abuse from those around you. If you launch an Abuse Report by right-clicking on an object or avatar, this section will auto-complete (make sure you have selected the right avatar), otherwise click the Choose button and follow the on-screen instructions.

Continue reading “Raising Abuse Reports in Second Life”

Revisiting the Reshade injector with Second Life

Reshade is a real-time post-process injector allwoing you to overlay Second Life with various shader options, individually or collectively, to produce assorted effects and results
Reshade is a real-time post-process injector allowing you to overlay Second Life with various shader effects, individually or collectively, to produce assorted results, real-time, in both images and video

Back in August 2015, I blogged about Reshade, a post-processing injector for games and video software available for Windows. When installed and associated with a game or application like Second Life, it can be used to overlay the screen with a wide range of shader-based effects. These can them be used in screen captures or when recording machinima, to provide “real-time” visual effects.

Since that time, Reshade has been through a couple of iterations, with version 3.0.3 appearing on October 21st. As I’ve not revisited Reshade since that 2015 article, I thought I’d provide a short overview of installation and general use of this latest version.

A quick and dirty demo video I made with Reshade 1.0, showing how it can be used used in Second Life machinima filming


Please ensure you’re logged out of Second Life when setting-up ReShade.

  • Go to the Reshade website and download the installer, double-click to run it.
  • You will be prompted to select a programme for association with Reshade:


  • Click Select Game and navigate to the installed folder of the viewer with which you want to use Reshade and click on the viewer EXE file.
  • You will be prompted to Select Rendering API:


  • Click on OpenGL (note this may already appear to be selected – click on it anyway). You will be asked if you want to install the shaders- make sure you do.
  • The shaders will be downloaded and installed in a folder in your viewer’s installation location on your computer.
  • The Reshade installer will report Done, and can be closed.

To associate Reshade with any other viewer you have installed on your PC, you will have to follow these instructions again. You do not necessarily have to install the shaders again (although this is easiest) – you can set any additional versions of Reshade to point to shaders already installed.

Using Reshade

Note: the following is not intended to be an exhaustive guide to using Reshade. It is intended to get you started. The best way to gain familiarity with Reshade is to use it; should you need additional assistance, please refer to the Reshade forums. I don’t profess to be an expert in the applications, and will probably not be able to help with detailed technical support!

Reshade is available whenever you launch the viewer with which it has been associated. To access it, press SHIFT-F2. This will display the UI panel which may enter Tutorial mode, if you haven’t saved any presets.

  • Click the Continue button in the Reshade panel.
  • The preset selection bar will be highlighted. Click on the + button to the right of it to open the Name bar, and type in anything you like – this will become the name of a preset INI file, which yo can save and then select at a later date, loading all the sahder settings you have established in it.
  • The available shaders are loaded (and highlighted in red in the tutorial). Read the explanatory text and click continue.
  • The settings panel is highlighted and briefly explained. Read and click Finish.
  • The full Home tab will be displayed.
The Reshade Home tab
The Reshade Home tab – click for full size

This comprises 5 sections:

  • Preset selection area (top), with + (create a new preset INI) and – (delete selected preset INI)
  • The shader search bar  – type in all or part of a shader to display just that shader and its settings options. This also includes the Collapse / Expand toggle for opening / collapsing all shaders in the upper and lower panes of the tab
  • A scrollable list of available shaders. Clicking on any one of these will open it to display the activation button (1), above, and the hotkey toggle option (2), above – you can type-in any key combination you like here to automatically select the shader.
  • A scrollable list of settings, by shader (3), above).
  • The Reload button (reset everything to defaults) and Show error log buttons.

The two main panes in the tab – shader list and settings – can be adjusted by clicking on the divider between them and moving it up or down.

Continue reading “Revisiting the Reshade injector with Second Life”

Reshade: post-processing Second Life in real time

Reshade: injecting shader effects into Second Life (or any game) in real time
ReShade: overlaying your SL world view with shader effects. In this image, I’m using the ReShade split screen option to show a real-time view of Oyster Bay, with the original windlight-based view on the left, and a preview of effects overlays on the right. (which have been deliberately exaggerated for effect)

ReShade is an application which has been generating a bit of buzz around Second Life for the last couple of weeks. When installed on a Windows PC (7, 8 or 10), it allows you to overlay you Second Life world view with a wide range of shader-based effects, which can be used in screen captures for images, or when recording machinima to offer real-time visual effects.As it is an overlay system, it also works with OpenSim environments.

I first got to hear about ReShade from Whirly Fizzle at the start of August (she in turn got to learn of it through Caetlynn Resident), and having been playing with the beta since then. Just how practical it might be is a matter of personal choice / want / ability with more traditional post-processing tools, etc. However, as version 1.0 launched on August 10th, with some much-need clean-up, I thought I’d offer a write-up on it, together with a few thoughts.

Remember, ReShade is third-party application, LL and TPVs cannot provide assistance in using it – and nor can I. If you need help with it, please refer to the ReShade forums. As relatively new software, it can be a little buggy, and it doesn’t always run with the viewer when installed – again, if you have problems getting it going, neither viewer support teams nor I can really help.

A quick and dirty demo video showing how ReShade effects can be used in real-time machinima capture in Second Life


Please ensure you’re logged-out of Second Life when setting-up ReShade.

  • Download the ReShade Framework ZIP file from the ReShade website.
  • Unzip the contents of the downloaded file to a location of your choice.
  • Navigate to the unzipped folder location and right-click on ReShade Mediator and Run As Administrator.
  • The Mediator will launch to display the configuration tab (shown below). This is the UI element used to apply and adjust effects.
  • You now need to create a profile for Framework to work with your viewer.
Your first step is to configure the Framework Mediator to recognise your viewer
Your first step is to configure the Framework Mediator to recognise your viewer
  • Under the Profile section on the left of the Mediator, click Add. A file picker will open Use it to navigate to your viewer’s installation folder.
  • Locate the viewer’s .EXE file in the installation folder and click it once to highlight it, and then click the Open button in the picker
  • You will be returned to the Mediator panel, and the viewer name or “Second Life” should be displayed in the profile drop-down (below) – note that some TPVs may display their own name or may display “Second Life”, it makes no difference.
  • Make sure OpenGL has been correctly identified. Click on the Confirm button to create a profile for your viewer.
When adding a viewer to ReShade Framework, note it may display as
When adding a viewer to ReShade Framework, note it may display as “Second Life” rather than the viewer’s name – this doesn’t prevent things from working
  • When Mediator has finished creating the profile, click Apply at the top right of the panel.

The set-up process is now complete. However:

  • Note that this has created two files in your viewer’s installation folder: reshade.fx and opengl32.dll. These must be deleted if you decide to remove ReShade from your PC.
  • Also, as I’ve found ReShade to be slightly flaky, before going any further, copy the opengl32.dll and save the copy in another location – I’ll explain why later.

Continue reading “Reshade: post-processing Second Life in real time”

Group bans: an overview

On Tuesday June 17th, Linden Lab released the Group Ban project viewer (version which, as the name suggests, allows group owners (and those they nominate by role) to ban individuals from their group.

Group bans, which are enforced server-side, like parcel and estate bans, are intended to remove troublemakers from a group / prevent them from joining the group. This article will hopefully provide an overview of the group ban tools within the project viewer (and which will eventually progress to the release viewer).

The following general points with group bans should be noted:

  • By default, only a group’s Owners role has the Manage Ban List ability for banning other avatars from a group /removing avatars from the ban list
  • The ability can be granted to other roles, if required
  • Roles which are granted this ability are also granted the Eject Members from this Group and Remove Members from Roles abilities
  • The ban list for a group can store a maximum of 500 entries. When this limit is reached, some avatars must be removed before others can be added
  • Group Owners cannot be banned from a group (just as they cannot be ejected)
  • When a group member is banned from the group, they are automatically ejected and will receive the usual ejection notification, but will not receive any notice that they have also been banned
  • A user who is banned from a group cannot join it either directly or through an invitation
  • If a group member is banned while using group chat, they may be able to continue using it until they close the group chat window (this problem also exists when ejecting someone from a group when they have the group chat window open)
  • Any attempt to invite one or more banned avatars into a group, whether individually or as a part of a list, will generate the message:  Some residents have not been sent an invite due to being banned from the group.

The viewer itself includes the necessary options to allow a group owner (and those they nominate by role) to:

  • Add or remove avatars from the group ban list
  • View the group ban list
  • Add the ability to ban avatars from a group to any other roles within the group, if required.

Applying Group Bans

Avatars can be banned from a group in one of two ways:

  • By selecting them in the group members list if they are already a member of the group
  • By using the Group Ban Picker to ban one or more avatars from a group, whether or not they are already members.

Banning via the Members List

  • Display your groups list (CTRL-SHIFT-G), select the required group and open its profile
  • Click on Roles & Members to open it, and then click on the Members tab
  • Locate the first avatar you wish to ban and left-click on their name
  • If there is more than one avatar you wish to ban, press CTRL and left-click on each of the remaining names
  • Click on the Ban Member(s) button
  • The highlighted avatars will be ejected and banned from the group, and you should see the normal confirmatory notification(s) that they have been ejected.
Banning someone from a public droup via the Members tab (l), and confirming they are listed as banned on the Banned Residents tab (r)
Banning someone from a public group via the Members tab (l), and confirming they are listed as banned on the Banned Residents tab (r)

To confirm the selected individuals have been ejected and banned, click the right scroll buttons at the top of the panel to scroll / jump to the Banned Residents tab. This should display the name of all avatars banned from the group. If the name(s) of the avatar(s) just banned do not appear to be listed, wait a minute or two and click the refresh button in the lower left corner of the panel. Continue reading “Group bans: an overview”

A new TuTORial from Torley Linden!

So, I log on to my You Tube account, take a look at my subscriptions, and what do I find?

A video from Torley!

I don’t seem to have the old SL video links box appearing on my SL account dashboard, so no idea if that has gone or the page simply isn’t loading correctly & whether the video is listed there.

But a video TuTORial from Torley! Yay!

Is this a resumption of Torley’s excellent work? And if so, and assuming the lack of video lists on my Dashboard isn’t a glitch – can was have them back on the Dashboard page as well as on the YouTube channel, please, LL?