Second Life Region Crossings 2020 – What’s Coming?

This is an informal test and I use the word ‘test’ very loosely. I just wanted to see what the commotion about crossing in the new AWS servers was about. There is no hard data in this experiment. My computer and connection are irrelevant IMO. The Viewer is Firestorm 6.4.5 Beta, which I used because I have it setup to work with OBS.

I started my trials in Blake Sea – Half Hitch, Aditi (SLURL). If you search for the region in Aditi, include the Blake Sea part.

There is a long 1 sim wide run from Blake Sea – Azimuth to Blake Sea – Bering of 17 regions. That is a 4.352 kilometer run or about 2.7 miles for the metric challenged. Plenty of room to max out my Bandit 380R (The Mesh Shop – Map URL).

I want to mention The Rubber Bunny. That HUD on the left is made by Kaliska Dismantled of Rubber Bunny. Kaliska makes easy to modify HUDs for various boats and vehicles. I’ve bought a couple (L$49). Plus making some fun vehicles. Among them hovercraft which are a novel SL driving experience.

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The Firestorm Viewer and EEP

EEP is the Enhanced Environment Project. I consider this a step in the Lindens rebuild of the render engine. Whatever it is, the Firestorm team has released a Beta version of their viewer with EEP.

Photoshop Play Time

Beta, in this case, means the software is not yet ready for prime time. It also means it is your choice as to whether you install this version. And for those of you using a version three versions back, this does not count as one of the three allowed versions. So, you aren’t going to have that 3rd old version blocked from the grid. Yet…

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Second Life Region Crossings Fixed?

Wouldn’t that be something?

In my previous article, I recount how I sailed across dozens of region-crossings without crashing. Now I am reading of others testing the new cloud-based region servers having the same experience.

Cloud-based? You probably know the Second Life™ system is moving to the cloud. We don’t get to hear much about it as user knowledge of changes messes up the bug reporting. But Mazidox Linden posted, Blake Sea is now up on Aditi!  (July 20, 2020) And wow…

Region Crossings
Those invisible region crossing walls…

If you don’t know, Aditi is the beta test grid for the Lindens. Also known as the Preview Grid. They allow us to use it too. Only selected parts of the main grid are in Aditi. Plus, the Aditi grid changes… a lot and unexpectedly and often goes down as they restart tests. Unexpectedly for we mere mortal users. Aditi is the Linden workspace and their testing takes first priority.

Every so often the Lindens need some genie pigs… er… beta testers. The Thursday UG Server Beta meeting is usually the place for those requests. Meeting participation there has been declining since most server news over the past few months was just internal fixes and other stuff they couldn’t talk about. The servers run on proprietary software and contain the security for the system. So, there are limits on what they can say, which makes sense.

Whether that is the reason Maz posted in the SL Forum’s Tech->Server section or not, there the post is.

The post tells us they are testing region crossings. The test scenarios are for regions within the same host and in different host servers. The article has links to the test regions in Aditi. Plus, there are a few accounts from people participating in the testing.

The majority find the crossings are ‘barely noticeable’ or a total fail with the vehicle lost and never returned. To me this sounds like progress. It also tells me the Lindens are getting close to having region servers running in the cloud. The region servers are a huge part of the system using a large number of computers.

This should make for dramatic changes in SL. The Lindens are excited. It leaks out here and there and user complaints at UG meetings about annoying problems are often addressed with an intimation that will sort of get solved with the move, ‘uplift’, to the cloud.

Whatever, I think it interesting and exciting. Only time will tell if this is the big FIX we all hope for.

Second Life Name Changes

As of April 13, 2020, we have last names… again. The Name Change feature has gone live. The Lindens say it is WAY more popular then even the most optimistic Lindens expected. At US$39.99 per change, I am surprised. But there is ten years of demand stacked up. So, I probably shouldn’t be.

Isles-of-Scotland - Aaaaw
Isles-of-Scotland – Aaaaw

If you haven’t heard the feature is live, check out the official announcement, Now Available: Last Names in Second Life.

The interesting bit of news in this regard is from the Third-Party Devs’ user group meeting. It was suggested that a Premium Member be allowed to change their alt’s name via their Premium account. It would be a PITA to have to take an alt to Premium, change the name, then revert to basic… and expensive.

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SL Blogger Network

The Lab is starting a blogger network. The idea is they will promote blogs that are about Second Life™. They have posted an article introducing the network and a follow-up article with FAQs.

You agree to their terms and conditions when you join the network. So, you sort of agree to comply with the SL community standards and basic SL ToS. No nudity. Basically, any article that appears in their network has to conform to the standards, whether your blog does or not is a separate issue. The Lab is the final arbiter of compliance with these various terms of use.

Just Beyond The Gate

Just Beyond The Gate

They say their initiative is not to influence the blogger’s editorial content. But they get to pick what does and doesn’t appear on their pages. You have no guarantee your articles will appear. It is the Lab’s choice. While that is not explicit or forced influence, they will influence bloggers.

The SL web properties are privately owned, so it is their right to choose what they include. I suspect it won’t take long until the Lab’s San Francisco liberal bias shows through and bloggers learn what is and isn’t acceptable. I doubt we will see any articles critical of the Lab. I also doubt we will see any articles appear that promote Christian or conservative values or anything actually controversial.

Inara Pey is covering the Bloggers’ Network too. She has been involved in helping them get it going. She points out that they may have bitten off more than they can chew. The idea is they will follow all the blogs submitted and pick the articles they like. Currently, there are 100+ bloggers signed up. that seems like a lot of blogs to follow. Technology makes that a minor task. I follow 125+ blogs in my morning reading. It takes about an hour to cover the headlines and check out the fashion pictures.

But I suspect Inara’s point is the reality. That is a lot for the Lab to handle. The result is likely the Lindens will look for a way to improve efficiency and reduce the workload. That usually means they find the sources of rich material they like and stick with those. It is how liberals and conservatives in a world of fake news come up with so many bizarre ideas distanced from reality.

Then there is the matter of how many people read the SL Blog and Forum. I suspect it is only a couple of thousand. Threads commonly have 300 to 600 views. Way popular threads hit 600,000 views, but that is over 2 or more years and most of the views are from a small number of people. ‘How does your avatar look today?’ is a good example.

How to Use BoM with New Slink Bodies

Monday Slink began releasing their BoM items. People were getting messages/notecards about how to update some of the Slink stuff they owned. People were posting in the Slink Classy Gear group with questions about the notice they got and others were like ‘whaaa?’ me being one…

So, I asked if they were releasing their BoM updates and was told yes but not yet official. Since I am kinda known at Slink as a blogger that likes Slink Stuff and have bought a bunch and use the Dev-Kit for some stuff I make… I quickly got three update packages.

How can you say…

How can you say…

I strongly suggest you NOT delete ANY of your existing Slink stuff. There is some of the animation stuff that is not included in this new package and maybe some other stuff. I think it is the animation HUD for hands that I did not see in the new stuff.

As of Tuesday, Slink put up a Slink Redux FAQ page on their Slink Style web page. This should answer most of your questions.

This update is labeled Redux v4.0.0. The first bundle in the pack is the Slink Physique Original Bundle. When unpacked it drops 9 folders into your inventory. One is titled Slink – Physique Classic Mesh Body Original. In it is a notecard saying,

“To access the previous versions of the Slink Physique Body parts, wear and unpack the “Slink Physique Hourglass Bundle (Classic)” unpacker HUD in this folder.”

Translated, here Siddean Munro is using “classic” in a way I suspect will be confusing. I would write it Classic Physique… But you get the idea Siddean means the current onion skin Physique body v3.0.8. To continue…

You will receive a number of properly named folders with the items inside.

These body parts use appliers exclusively, and will not be updated to Bakes on Mesh.

They will be available until the 1st of September, 2020, in this unpacker to allow you plenty of time to make the transition to Bakes on Mesh.

We recommend updating your outfits and folders to use the REDUX version as soon as possible.” Continue reading

BoM to Release Monday

Vir Linden has posted in the SL Forum BoM releasing Soon.

So, BoM will release August 26, Monday.

Never Let Me Down Again…

Never Let Me Down Again…

There is an RC level viewer for BoM here, which you can use now. Presumably, that RC Viewer will promote to the main default SL Viewer.

There mostly aren’t any BoM products to play with. But, you can jump to the Knowledgebase article on Bakes On Mesh and learn how to use BoM. There is also a step-by-step for making BoM stuff. For users, the use of BoM will be almost identical to how we use the classic avatar and system clothes.

I know Slink is ready to release their BoM compatible Slink bodies. We should see those quickly. Presumably, other major designers have BoM products waiting in the wings. So I expect BoM to quickly be adopted by a significant number of SL residents.

The hope is this feature will reduce ACI and improve SL performance. BoM should affect bodies, clothes, feet, heads, and hands. But, it will NOT affect existing mesh bodies and clothes. Those will all continue to work as they do today. Only new BoM capable stuff will use the new feature.

Second Life News Week #24

Other News

Server Deploy Posts – They are back… Last week speaking to Caleb Linden at the Beta Sever UG meeting I learned there was a problem and it would get resolved. It apparently has as there is a deploys posts this week.

Caleb posted the announcement Monday about noon SLT/PST. Yay!

June 24 – This is the date Premium Membership Rates increase. Until then you can renew for one more billing cycle at the current rate, US$72 per year, which is a deal. I just renewed. I am good until 2021.

Someday Soon

Someday Soon

With Premium, one gets a L$1,000 signing bonus (down the road) and L$300 per week. At the average exchange rate of L$250 to the US$1 that is L$16,600 or US$66.40. Net cost is $5.60. With a jump up to US$99 the net cost goes to US$32.60. That seems like a huge rise until one considers the cost of some other games.

Star Citizen with ships costing US$400 to $2,500 and EVE Online at US$15/month are particularly expensive. Other monthly games are often US$10 per month or US$120 per year. Continue reading