SL9B: AIDS Benefit Day

Today is a very special day at SL9B – because we are holding our first charitable benefit this year.

Dream Seeker Estates had designated June as the month they would support the charity Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS well before they came on board as sponsors of SL9B. We decided that in return for their support, we would have a day of fundraising for their chosen charity.

So today you will find special donation jars at the the stages, the auditorium AND the Welcome Area.  Please give generously, to show your support of this important cause – and to show how support for such initiatives is, for Second Life residents, every bit as important as celebrating the Birthday.

About BC/EFA…

Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS is one of America’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised over $195 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

BC/EFA is the major supporter of seven programs at The Actors Fund, including The HIV/AIDS Initiative, The Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic, The Actors Fund Work Program, The Dancers’ Resource, The Stage Managers’ Project and three supportive housing residences.

BC/EFA also awards annual grants to more than 400 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide.

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SL9B: Party and Fun!

Party and Fun are the two regions at SL9B sponsored by Fruit Islands, and they both live up to their names – and provide more insight into the sheer breadth and depth of SL’s community – and how it helps support RL communities and organisations. Again, with 72 parcels spread across the two sims, it’s impossible to cover everything, so here are some that particularly caught my eye.

A close-up look at 100-word Stories

Party is where you’ll find Crap Mariner’s 100-word Stories exhibit, which I mentioned in my SL9B Preview. Not only does this directly celebrate the written and spoken word within SL, it also providers LMs to other storytelling exhibits both within the SL9B regions, and which are celebrating SL’s anniversary elsewhere.

Mairead Fitzgerald’s magical Petite Experience …

Across the road from 100-word Stories is Mairead Fitzgerald’s brilliant and captivating Petite Experience. Here you can discover the growing world, so to speak, of petite avatars in SL. Things here are scaled to give you the sensation of being a petite wandering “normal”-sized SL, and you can find out about petite avatars and petite builds. The sheer delight of the build makes it one of my favourites at SL9B, so no apologies from me for including a couple of photos here!

…Where you can gain a whole new perspective on being very small in SL

Just behind the Petite Experience sits the Maze of Life, an exhibit for the Asperger’s Support Network. Created by Kelindra Talamasca, the maze is about finding one’s way in life and helpes represent the challenges those with Asperger’s or autism face.There is a very moving notecard provided with the piece, and I do recommend a visit. Autism itself is explained at the Autism Society of America’s pavilion on Fun – which again is a worthwhile-visit.

Also on Party are pavilions for Alcoholics Anonymous, which again demonstrates how SL reaches out to the real world to provide support, advice and information, and the SLe Educators, which shows that despite all the trails and tribulations educators have faced within Second Life, many still do operate here and are deserving of our – and Linden Lab’s  – support. Close to these sits the Virtual Railway Consortium, providing a wealth of information, LMs and freebies for those interested in SL’s transportation and rail networks.

SLe Educators (lower right) AA, (left) and the VRC (centre, behind the AA pavilion) on SL9B’s Fruit Slands Party region

The educational theme is continued on Fun with a very-well package display by the Rockcliffe University Consortium, which provides information on education across SL and provides a visual history of Rockcliffe’s five years in Second Life.

One of SL’s most famous communities – that of Caledon – can be found on Party, with an impressive build that celebrates Caledon itself and art in Caledon as well as offering weary travellers across SL9B a place to sit down and catch their breath.

As many in SL and on Twitter know, I’m quite into space exploration and astronomy, so I enjoyed  Takni Miklos’ planetarium, where you can explore the night sky in a very effective interactive piece. For those wanting to take the SL time machine, alongside of the planetarium is an original SL Starter Home, as supplied free to residents way back in 2003. Provided by Uccello Poultry, the build is a great little visit and – dare I say – a demonstration of how very little things have in some ways changed between houses then and houses found on *cough* Linden Homes estates…

Uceelo Poultry’s Sl 2003 starter Home with Takni Miklos’ planetarium beyond

The breedables communities in SL are well represented across Party and Fun with Oceania BreedablesBiobreeds, Meeroos and BattleBeast Breedables all having dispplays – the latter’s being a delightful “dragon-go-round” carousel.

On the dragon carousel

The elven communities are represent on Fun through the exhibit by the Elf Circle Community, which sits alongside the Exodus Viewer stand, where you can learn about how this TPV can help with photography and machinima production.

Elf Circle Community

There is much more to see and explore in both Party and Fun – as well as the rest of the SL9B regions. With the weekend coming, if you haven’t already visited SL9B, why not start making plans to do so? The entertainment schedule updates daily – and don’t forget, everything closes at midnight SLT on the 27th!

The Biobreeds display

Mesh deformer: interview with Qarl Fizz

Note this is a 4-page piece. Please use the page options at the bottom of the article to page through.

Wednesday June 20th was Mesh Day at SL9B, and featured speakers and presentations on the subject of – you guessed it – mesh. The day saw the auditorium area swamped with people anxious to hear all the news and join in with practical discussions (for future SLB events, it might be worthwhile putting the auditorium at the junction of adjoining regions if hot topics are to be featured as a part of events).

One of the discussions taking place featured Karl Stiefvater, aka Qarl Fizz (formerly Linden). Qarl is the man most closely associated with the mesh parametric deformer project and who was, while working for Linden Lab, both behind the sculpty and a member of the Lab’s early mesh team. He was talking with Saffia Widdershins and taking questions from the audience.

The following is a transcript of the discussion between Saffia and Qarl, which covered the deformer and a few other things as well. It is taken from an audio recording I made and includes questions from the audience given in open chat during the course of the talk and which are addressed by Qarl. Please note that I unfortunately had issues actually hearing / recording Saffia’s audio feed (depite efforts my end, her voice was extremely faint both on SL Voice and in the recording), and I’ve had to edit out those comments I could not clearly discern (my apologies, Saffia!).

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Saffia Widdershins (SW): I would like to introduce to you to Qarl Fizz, who many of you will remember as Qarl Linden. When Qarl was working at Linden Lab, he introduced very innovative tools and was working on mesh, I believe before you left the Lab, weren’t you?

Qarl Fizz (QF): I was on the mesh team.

SW: So when mesh came in … I’m not sure that the Lab actually expected mesh to be put to all the uses that the creators in Second Life probably put mesh to.

Qarl’s familiar prim mannequin at SL9B, where he discussed the mesh deformer

QF: I would say that the Lab was not expecting the clothing at all. I think some of the people in the mesh beta group had warned that clothing would be huge, but they didn’t see it coming, no. So it caught them by surprise. They thought houses, and you know, cars … well, the developers are all boys so, you know (laughs).

SW: And the next thing of course is that people say is, “It doesn’t work. The clothes don’t fit. We can’t get the clothes to fit” – and I can see the Lab going, “We didn’t actually mean it…” “I don’t care! Clothes don’t fit! Fix it!”

QF: Right, right, right, right, right. That’s exactly what I saw happen. Yeah, because mesh is traditionally – honestly, this isn’t a problem that shows-up in computer graphics often. It’s only in the setting of avatars and people customising their avatars and that doesn’t happen a lot in 3D. So I can forgive them for not seeing that coming. Although Blue Mars had faced the same problem so, you know, they could have learned something there.

SW: I think that quite often the Lab do seem to under-estimate the creativity of the residents … the whole OpenSpace thing was an example of that: you give people scripts and you give them homesteads and what do they do? They build! So, anyway – there was a problem; the mesh clothing has a problem with fitting. Could you explain, first of all, why it has a problem fitting? I mean if I wear a system skirt or a system blouse they fit whether my boobs are out to Christmas or not or if I change my height; my system blouse and my system skirt are going to fit. Why doesn’t mesh?

QF: Well, the system skirt and the system clothes are a part of your avatar, so when you change your avatar, they change as well; they were built-in. But The other mesh stuff that you build – like even you know, when you build with prims [because] it’s not just meshes – when you’ve made a prim skirt, you would have to readjust its size to make it fit. And that’s because these things are rigid; they are imagined to be rigid and other things can move inside and outside of them. That’s the way Linden Lab expected them to behave. So the problem is that you put on a blouse that’s meant for a small person, and you dial-up your sliders and your skin just comes through the blouse, because the blouse is a rigid shape and it doesn’t change when your avatar changes shape, and ideally you would want it to.

SW: If I get a prim skirt, say, and it doesn’t quite fit me, generally I can play with it to get it to fit. Sometimes – not always – I can move it in and out, I can change things around. But when I get mesh, I can’t change it at all; that’s the deal….

QF: That’s true to. But … a prim skirt is a very simple thing, and these mesh clothing items that we’re getting are very complex and they fit tightly in places and, you know, standard scaling would not have been enough to get the clothes to fit, so something needed to be done.

SW: And that came up, I believe, in quite a casual conversation … where you suggested something could be done.

QF: Yeah. Maxwell Graf was a developer for Blue Mars and he was making mesh clothes over there, and he saw – before Linden Lab even had mesh – he saw this clothing fitting problem, and he worked together with their developers – and I guess a bunch of people did,  I don’t want to short-change anybody – to develop a system that would work. And the system he developed he tried to get Linden Lab to pick-up as well, and they were less interested in doing that. So I mentioned, “Hey! Linden Lab doesn’t have to do it. We, the residents can take these things into our own hands.” And that’s how the project was launched.

Blue Mars users faced similar issues with mesh clothing

SW: We’re developing a habit of taking over projects for ourselves – like this birthday!

QF: And honestly, when we do, it tends to work-out pretty well. So maybe that’s a signal…

SW:  So the project was set-up and the money was raised really quickly…

Funding raised through Indiegogo (organised by Max Graf)

QF: Yeah, it was like a week or so, so that was nice; you know, the community was very, very strongly interested – which we kind-of knew from the JIRA, from the comments – but when people put their money where their mouth is, I think it speaks more loudly … Yeah, we got the money, we got the funding, we did the development, and it works pretty well …

Sunshine Spiritweaver (asking from the audience): So now we can resize the mesh clothes?

SW: OK, good question. What does this mean? How does it work?

QF: What happens is your mesh clothing is treated very much like the system skirt or your blouse or your system clothing. As you change your own avatar’s shape, like you make yourself fatter or taller or more muscular, the clothing will – “deform” is the the technical term – will deform with that shape so that it remains fitting. It’ll get bigger where you’re getting bigger and it’ll get smaller where you’re getting smaller. And you know, it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t work for everything, but it works OK. It works pretty well, you know – and its a lot better than nothing. So if you fire it up  – I think Linden Lab has a Viewer you can download and test – as you change your avatar parameters you’ll see your clothes change along with your body, you know, your clothes get bigger.

SL9B Mesh Day!

Today is Mesh Day at SL9B. If you have any interest in mesh at all – be it as a builder, a designer a wearer or consumer – there’s a whole lot going on at the SL9B auditorium area for you, with things kicking-off at 11:00am SLT:

  • 11:00 – Builders Brewery will be giving a presentation on Making Mesh
  • 12:00 – Qarl Fizz (formerly Qarl Linden) will be discussing the resident-funded mesh parametric deformer project, designed to make mesh clothing more readily available to different-sized avatars
  • 14:00  – A Panel Discussion with Maxwell Graf (Rustica) Froukje Hoorenbeek (Dutchie), Loz Hyde (Meshworx) and Cain Maven (Maven Homes) will be discussing their mesh creations – and possibly showing some examples of their work!

A Note to SL9B Exhibitors

Do you have an exhibit at SL9B that is all or partially mesh? If so, please let us know today! Drop a comment over at the SL9B Blog, and we’ll try to spotlight your work.

Kazuhiro.Aridian’s amazing mesh Lake Stage at SL9B

SL9B: Viewing the stages and touring Gala

SL9B has five main stages for entertainment spread across the regions, all of which are in some way unique. Two in particular have caught my imagination: the Main and Lake stages, both of which I find totally captivating.

The beautiful Main Stage at night

I’ve been gathering photos of each of them – and the other stages – for several days, and am rather pleased with some of the results, which are uploaded to my SL9B Flickr set and slideshow.

The magnificent mesh Lake Stage

While my hardware prevents me from creating full in-world machinima, I did put some of the results together in a short video, which I hope captures the spirit of the stages.

Thank you to Donpatchy Dagostino for the beautiful Main Stage and SL9B steam express, to Kazuhiro Aridian for the amazing mesh Lake Stage, to Mikati Slade for the almost edible Cake Stage, and to KT Syakumi and the team for  the DJ Egypt Stage and for the imaginative (and completely 11th hour!) Sunken Stage.

Gala: Celebrating SL’s Water-focused Communities

Gala is one of two water-themed regions at SL9B (the other being Frolic, the home of the Lake Stage, although Iwa and Dziewic are also technically water regions, being the home of the Main stage and its surroundings). Gala also featuresa live performance stage, the Sunken Stage, and is the place where you’ll find exhibits celebrating SL’s diverse water-focused communities.

Located towards the middle of the Boardwalk area of Gala sits Botanica’s Community Centre Tower, which is a good landmark from which to start your explorations. Here you can go both up and down, exploring the various floors and levels of the tower.

Botanica’s Community Tower, above and below (click to enlarge)

Merfolk are well-represented here with Two Moon Paradise and Safe Waters Foundation providing mer-themed displays. – the former with a full week of performances going on under water. Bohemian Underground also provides information of interest to merfolk, which can be found at their pearl diving exhibit. Also taking the plunge underwater is Siren Song, with a Verne-inspired submersible on display…

Safe Waters Foundation: above and below (credits: Serafin Galli) – click to enlarge

Women in Society remains above the waves, as does the SL Coast Guard, which provides information on US Coast Guard services. The Blake Sea Battle Group provides an impressive display, including information on sailing in SL and on the navies and pirates of Blakes Sea. Come Sail With us also provides a wealth of information on sailing in SL, and the SL9B Sailing Community offers-up additional information. Not to be outdone, surfing in SL has a pavilion in Gala, again packed with info and where and how to try your hand. Ocean Realms steers you back to the ways of the pirate – and an opportunity to dance on Davy Jones’ Locker if you take a look below…. Nearby, Pirate Realms offers more insight into piratical roleplay in SL.

The Blakes Sea exhibit at Gala

The Boomer Esiason Foundation demonstrates how the global community of Second Life can come together to fight sickness and disease – in this case, cystic fibrosis, one of the most common life-threatening genetic disorders in the world today.

BEF: raising awareness of cystic fibrosis

Climb the ramp at Nivana Island exhibit to see the surrounding displays and look across Frolic to the Lake Stage. Rox Arten, Grogo Tungsten and Corvi Ashdene remind us that with Second Life, we’re all in this together – and they take us back underwater in the process. At the north end of Gala you can discover more about fishing in SL, with a pair of neighbouring exhibits, while RFL reminds us it is Time For a Cure. Exhibits from Armito Rentals and Rue and art installations by Lemonodo Oh and Artistide Despres round-out Gala’s pavilions.

Enchantment Island’s Wonders of the Ocean

SL9B: Birthday Bash and the treasure hunt

Birthday Bash is one of the two regions sponsored by Kitty CatS and sits in the south-east corner of the SL9B sims, alongside of Party Time, where you’ll find the DJ Egypt stage. Birthday Bash is one of the regions given over completely to exhibits, with 36 parcels to explore. As such, there are far too many to cover in-depth here, so I’m going to try to give you a flavour of things.

Birthday Bash by Night

The North side teleport option on your SL9B HUD will drop you between a celebration of American Football in SL and Pallina60 Loon’s Virtual Marble Machine. You’ll have to walk around the latter to reach the entrance, where you can jump into a giant marble and take a wild ride.

The Virtual Marble Machine with the SFL exhibit behind it

Travelling east from the teleport point, following the water’s edge, you’ll come to the glorious Colossus of Rod’s, a tongue-in-cheek piece from Crap Mariner celebrating … the prim? Further down from this is Yooma Mayo’s Spider of Connection, an interactive piece that brings life to the idea of the six degrees of separation in a spherical kind-of way.

The Spider of Connection – walk the sphere

Interaction is very much a feature of Birthday Bash, with the TARDIS ride, interactive art and sculpture such as the Smile Monument and I Am. You can also pay a very tongue-in-cheek visit to “945 Battery Street“, brought to us by Loki Eliot, and learning the inner goings-on of a certain company! Or you can witness the power behind the sim – Qwark Allen’s Water Mill Power Plant.

The Water Mill Power Plant

Those seeking quieter pursuits may enjoy Celestine Ghiardie’s tribute to H.C. Andersen & Danish folksongs or a wander through the maze built by Château de Versailles in SL, one of several period role-play groups within SL. Another exhibit is Expand Your World, which helps demonstrate the benefits of a more refined camera placement relative to your avatar for a more immersive (something I’m quite keen on).

Loki Eliot gently pokes LL in the ribs

Other SL communities with a presence in Birthday Bash include Zindra Expo Group, BBW Haven, and London City, and groups like the famous Flying Tigers can also be found here, Project Hope should give us all a moment of quiet contemplation.

Flying Tigers

Event sponsors Kitty CatS have a very celebratory display on the north side of the sim, with dancing cats and much more!

Kitty CatS!

There’s a lot more to see in Birthday Bash – art, design, social groups. There are places that encourage interaction and places that allow you it sit and reflect and catch your breath amidst all the rushing around. Again, I’ve deliberately not covered everything here, but hopefully have encouraged you to have a look round – remember that the SLurls supplied for the named exhibits will also allow you to see those around them!

The maze by Château de Versailles – try it in mouselook to avoid peeking over the hedge tops!

The Treasure Hunt

Running through the week of celebration on and on the deserts sims of Shindig and Party Time is a treasure hunt, with a prize to be had each day. The hunt is based on David Abbot’s explorations of the two sims. He’ll be keeping a diary of his discoveries on the SL9B blog, and within it you’ll find clues to each day’s prize  – which can be found within Shindig or Party Time.

Here’s a video y our own intrepid explorers, Saffia and Elrik, to explain things a little more: