Author Archives: Inara Pey

About Inara Pey

Eclectic virtual world blogger with a focus on Second Life. My blog can be found below and I'm semi-active on Twitter and Plurk.

Black Dragon 2.4.2 goes beta; UKanDo 3.7.26 and RLV 2.9.7 get AHH

There have been a number of rapid-fire TPV updates this week, so here’s a quick overview for Black Dragon, UKanDo and RLV.

Black Dragon 2.4.2 Beta

On Monday, March 23rd, Black Dragon updated to version 2.4.2 Beta, with Niran focusing on further updates to rendering, although there are some interesting WIP elements as well.

In particular, Niran notes that he’s done further work on the volumetric lighting capability, notably adding a Falloff slider to both Preferences -> Display and the Machinima Sidebar (F1), so that Godrays will fall off the closer they are to the camera which will be further smoothed in future releases), and working to get volumetric lighting working with FXAA and glow.

Black Dragon 2.4.2 Beta add options for both directional volumetric lighting and Godrays Falloff

Black Dragon 2.4.2 Beta add options for both directional volumetric lighting and Godrays Falloff

Also within Preferences -> Display, Niran has added a check box for enabling alphas in depth of field calculations. When unchecked, this excludes alpha from both depth of field and volumetric lighting calculations to prevent focus issues (depth of field) and odd lighting effects (volumetric lighting). when checked, both depth of field and volumetric lighting calculations will include alphas in the field of view.

The new option for enabling / disabling the inclusion of alphas is DoF and volumetric lighting calculations. The option is unchecked (alpha inclusion disabled) by default

The new option for enabling / disabling the inclusion of alphas is DoF and volumetric lighting calculations. The option is unchecked (alpha inclusion disabled) by default

Other additions with this release comprises:

  • A Custom System Memory option and a separate slider for the “linked” memory version
  • A chat colour for Friends
  • (as a work-in-progress) a new information system for Preferences to tell possible performance breakers and problems that could occour with certain options.

As always, for a full list of changes / updates, please refer to the viewer’s release notes.

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UKanDo 3.7.26

The UKanDo v3 style viewer updated to release 3.7.26.28080 on Tuesday, March 24th. This update brings the viewer up to parity with the Lab’s 3.7.25 and 3.7.26 code, and almost up to spec with Marine Kelley’s RLV updates (2.9.7 of RLV having appeared just after the UKanDo update).

UKanDo 3.7.26 includes the Lab's new Avatar Hover Height capability

UKanDo 3.7.26 includes the Lab’s new Avatar Hover Height capability

In particular, this release sees UKanDo gain the maintenance fixes from the 3.7.25.299021 official view release and the new Avatar Hover Height functionality which has just become a part of the official release viewer.

In addition, this release of UKanDo includes:

  • Disabled the RLV start-up restriction feature by default. Re-enable via the “RLVStartUpRestriction” Debug setting or the RLV tab under General in Prefernces
  • FIRE-15489 by Ansariel Hiller – Add confirmation when unlinking objects, released under LGPL
  • RLV – Quick fix Courtesy of Nicky Perian, and tidy-up.
  • A fix for the “nolink>” parser bug, courtesy of Drake Arconis (Alchemy Viewer).

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RLV 2.9.7

This release of the Restrained Love Viewer sees assorted fixes for recent RLV release and the inclusion of the Lab’s Avatar Hover Height (AHH) capability, which came about as a result of a detailed formal proposal being put before Lab by members of the Firestorm team during a TPV developer meeting in June 2014.

Currently, and as noted by Marine, AHH is not yet linked to her existing “@adjustheight” capability and slider in the top bar of the viewer.

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Matoluta: spring 2015

Matoluta Sanctuary, Sartre; Inara Pey, March 2015, on Flickr Matoluta Sanctuary (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Mz Marville sent me a note card recently, announcing that Matoluta Sanctuary had re-opened with a new look. As regular readers will know,  the Matoluta estate has appeared a number of times in this blog, starting with its original opening back in July 2014. The focus of the estate and the community behind it is to raise awareness of the plight of the Colonial Spanish Horse on the North American continent.

These horses, perhaps more familiarly known as Spanish Mustang by some although there are in fact several strains and sub-strains, are  descendants of the original Iberian horse stock brought to America from Spain, and are one of only a very few genetically unique horse breeds worldwide.

Matoluta Sanctuary, Sartre; Inara Pey, March 2015, on Flickr Matoluta Sanctuary (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Covering the regions of Sarte and Hudhufushi, the Sanctuary has always presented visitors with an open landscape, rich is scenery and wildlife, and offering plenty of space for equine role-play. The new design, which I know Mz Marville had been putting a good many hours work into prior to the re-opening, still offers some wide open spaces for enjoying nature; however, these have been joined by a horse ranch / farm as well, presenting even more of a mix of environments and landscaping.

From the landing point, located close to the boundary of the two regions, visitors can set out to explore on foot or, if they prefer, on horseback, using the rezzer system located alongside the barn straddling both regions, and which offers a venue for live events. Of the two regions, Sartre continues to offer open spaces where horses and other animals can roam, while Hudhufushi offers the ranch / farm environment. Here can be found a large stables, which form a part of a new project Mz is working on, which I’ll likely be covering come April.

Follow the track beyond this, and you’ll come to a field where tractors are ploughing, crops are growing and, across the furrows, another barn stands, offering shelter for pigs and cattle. Above this, atop a low plateau, sits an orchard where apples are waiting to be picked.

Matoluta Sanctuary, Sartre; Inara Pey, March 2015, on Flickr Matoluta Sanctuary (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Around to the north-east of Hudhufushi, the land become wilder, blending into Sartre’s landscape of grasslands, winding rivers, tall trees and rugged, rocky outcrops; a place where deer roam, sheep graze, bears fish and eagles soar; thus many of Matoluta’s familiar motifs can be found, but located in a new environment. There is a private home located in the south-east corner of Sartre, but otherwise the entire region is, like Hudhufushi, free to roam.

Throughout both regions there as numerous places to sit and relax – camp sites, tree houses, and so on, and plenty of opportunities for photography, including posed selfies in a hot air balloon or astride a pack-laden horse. Those who aren’t so keen on getting around on horseback can find a bicycle rezzer at the edge of the track in Hudhufushi, and can thus pedal their way around places.

Matoluta Sanctuary, Sartre; Inara Pey, March 2015, on Flickr Matoluta Sanctuary (Flickr) – click any image for full size

To mark Matoluta’s re-opening, a photo contest is once again being run, although time is growing short for entries – all of which must have been received by April 1st.  On offer are three prizes of L$750 apiece. Thus wishing to enter should submit up to two photos of the Matoluta regions to the Matoluta Flickr group. The photos must have the region SLurl in their descriptions, but that’s the only requirement. Pictures can be landscape or portraits, although entrants are encouraged to display a love for nature and focus on awareness for the preservation of wild horses.

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Stepping out with the Lindens

The group gathers for selfies at the Meauxle Bureaux fountain during the Wednesday, March 25th meet-up with Linden Lab folk

The group gathers for selfies at the Meauxle Bureaux fountain during the Wednesday, March 25th meet-up with Linden Lab folk (click any image for full size)

Wednesday, March 25th saw a further get-together between residents and folk from the Lab, hosted at the mole’s home of Meauxle Bureaux. A I originally reported, I caught sight of the meet-up when Xiola Linden tweeted about it, and was one of several bloggers who helped spread the word. Also, as I’d missed the original Meauxle Bureaux meet-up, I thought it would be fun for Maya and I to hop along, and maybe get there a little early.

And it turned out to be a good plan; with upwards of 60 people cramming into the region, it did get a tad packed. However, and as an aside, it did help me confirm the newly-repaired (and totally re-installed, software-wise) PC, with its new GTx 970 4Gb GPU is fighting fit.

Three of the early arrivals, Ziola (l), Shaman (c) and the ever colourful (and this time very tall!) Torley Linden

Three of the early arrivals, Xiola (l), Shaman (c) and the ever colourful (and this time very tall!) Torley Linden

By the time we reached Mole Town, a few were already there (/me waves to Uccie, iSkye, Cubey and Daniel), and more quickly started popping-up, gathering around the fountains in the square. Of the Lindens, Shaman was the first to arrive, talking a moment to (presumably) change outfits at home before hopping over, by which time the organiser of the shindig, Xiola had arrived, and Shaman appeared in person not long afterwards.

From then on it started to rain people, Moles and Lindens, with the number steadily increasing to the 40 mark, then 50, then 60 … Conversations started, jokes bandied about, and a call to gather in Mole Hall was made.

News that the event was taking place had spread far and wide, so much so that the media dispatched an helicopter to report on proceedings

News that the event was taking place had spread far and wide, so much so that the media dispatched an helicopter to report on proceedings

Here some dancing started, with Torley at the keyboards and Mozart (yes, Mozart!) providing backing, as the conversation turned to the “good old days” of Ruth, teleport hair bums, prim taxes, and more. Thoughts also turned back to Magellan Linden, the subject of earlier exchanges. Musings were aired on whether the promise of a dance and booze might be enough to tempt him out of his icy lair; although the suggestion was made that perhaps booze and cigars might get his attention more. Me, I’d already stated my view that if he were around, he’d likely be holed-up in Ye Olde Abner’s Pub, enjoying the bar to himself…

Men of action (and identical poses ;-) : Ebbe Linden and Cubey Terra

Men of action (and identical poses ;-) ): Ebbe Linden and Cubey Terra

Guy, Dee, Alexa and Michael Linden had also arrived by the time people moved indoors (and doubtless a few others; I saw Oz arrived outside, but then lost track of him, and did spot Patch a little later in proceedings). A strong turn-out by members of Virtual Ability help give the meet-up a buzz, and there were surprisingly few crashes given the numbers of people present.

Ebbe managed to make the event as well, once more in casual dress after his more formal appearance at VWBPE, joining in with the conversations and posing for pictures, although as Uccie pointed out, Elvis may well have left the building in order to make room for him to get indoors!

Things moved back outside again for a gathering around the fountain to allow for selfies and other shots, and conversation (complete, apparently, with gifts from Dee Linden) continuing until the demands of office life (for the Lindens) and SL (for the residents) started to make their presence felt, and the meeting started to wind down.

If I heard Xiola correctly, it looks like these get-togethers will be a semi-regular thing (once a quarter?).   Assuming I did hear correctly, this means that if you couldn’t make this meeting for whatever reason, you’ll hopefully have the opportunity to make one in the future.

Metamorphosis: looking through the eyes of Escher

Metamorphosis - Beq Janus

Metamorphosis – Beq Janus

Beq Janus is an artist clearly inspired by the work of Maurits Cornelis (M. C.) Escher. For RFL of SL 2013, she produced models of  Waterfall and Tower of Babel. In 2014, she offered Metamorphosis, inspired by Escher’s pieces of the same name, and which included additional influences and themes drawn from Escher’s life, as a symbol of the promise as we journey towards a cure for cancer.

Now Metamorphosis is now back, located over the Quarry Hill region of New Babbage, and it is a veritable masterpiece of art, rich in symbolism as well as capturing so many elements and nuances of Escher’s work – and also, if one looks around, Beq’s previous Ecsher-inspired builds.

Metamorphosis - Beq Janus

Metamorphosis – Beq Janus

The most prominent influence from Escher in the piece, as Beq notes, is that of the artist’s 1939 wood print Metamorphosis II. However, elements of both Metamorphosis I and Metamorphosis II can also be found. Also evident, again reflecting Escher’s work and the influences in his life, are elements of the little Italian town of Atrani – most notably the church and surrounding houses.

“Recreating a two dimensional work in three dimensions has its challenges, and more so when the work is deliberately faking the third dimension,” Beq notes of the challenges in bringing Escher’s work into the digital realm. But there are also opportunities, as she also notes, “it also gives you freedom to play with the unseen areas. I have tried to make the sim explorable, with tunnels and caves that lead you through the rocks, past stalactites and back round into the central square. I am sure that there are places I have not intended to make still waiting to be found.”

Metamorphosis - Beq Janus

Metamorphosis – Beq Janus

As such, this is a fascinating build to explore, one filled with many paths one might follow through it, originally intended as a reflection of the RFL of SL 2014 theme of journeys; both the global journey towards finding the ways and means to eradicate cancer from our lives, and the individual journey those of us afflicted by cancer, or who support those struck by cancer, take in dealing with the disease. In fact, one might also say the installation resonates with this year’s RFL theme as well; offering us a walk through art inspired by the past as we look to the future and a world without cancer.

This is also a build which makes fascinating use of light and shadow, encouraging the visitor to experiment with windlights, sun position and the camera.

Metamorphosis - Beq Janus

Metamorphosis – Beq Janus

If you didn’t get to see Metamorphosis last year (which I sadly didn’t), I cannot recommend a visit to Quarry Hill highly enough.

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