On Tuesday 28th July 2020 the Firestorm team released a EEP public beta version of the Firestorm Viewer (220.127.116.11799) which comes with support for the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP). The viewer includes new camera controls with the ability to create camera presents. The viewer translations have been updated in this beta version.
EEP is the new environmental lighting system where the sky, water and day cycle settings are now saved as inventory items. EEP settings can be applied now to the land by region owners or by parcel or for personal use. Learn more about EEP here.
What you can do with EEP…
You can use your own sun, moon, and cloud textures.
You can customize the length of the day (yes—you can now have 24-hour day cycles!).
You can set different skies at various levels on your land.
Visitors to your parcel will be able to see all your customized settings.
You can import your old Windlights as EEP settings (many have already been imported).
This version is not a required update and you do not have to uninstall your current Firestorm viewer. This new beta Firestorm viewer will install alongside your existing Firestorm viewer.
For OpenSim users the viewer incorporates Windlight allowing EEP viewer users to visit windlight regions. The viewer supports the new OpenSim 0.9.2 with the EEP code “Ugly Sky”. There is now the ability to enter a URL to add a new grid on the login screen.
Linden Lab is hoping to get feedback from the community and the Firstorm team highly encourages you to file bug reports on the Linden Lab Jira. EEP has been in the works for some time now and it went live back in 2019 on the main grid.
The Second Life viewer has actually had EEP for a few months or so now. The firestorm team have said recently that they don’t feel that EEP is ready for full release. It has not even passed the QA yet. Maybe later this year EEP may be ready for full release.
As of 26th July 2020 the total amount of main grid regions in Second Life has dropped under the 25, 000 mark according to the Second Life Grid Survey. Mainly through Private Estates and some Linden Owned regions have been showing signs of decline during the past month.
The total region count has actually been lower than this in previous years like back when there were 23, 298 regions back on 18th March 2018. At the moment there is no need to panic but if trends continue like they are then the decline will sadly get worse before the end of 2020.
The first six months of 2020 there have been signs of positive growth in Second Life and hopefully soon the grid growth will return. See below for the grid numbers counted for January, June and July.
Main Grid size as of 26th July 2020
Total Main Grid Regions: 24, 947
Private Estates: 16, 662
Linden Owned: 8, 285
Main Grid size – 7th June 2020
Total Main Grid Regions: 25, 160
Private Estates: 16, 902
Linden Owned: 8, 258
Main Grid size – 20th January 2020
Total Main Grid Regions: 24, 147
Private Estates: 16, 036
Linden Owned: 8, 111
What To Expect Next ?
Once the migration to the cloud has been completed in early Autumn then the region capacity will increase again. The lab have not released any dates yet. This will effect the private estate numbers.
The Bellisseria continent will start to grow again after the cloud move is finished. This will increase the Linden Owned regions.
Hopefully during 2021 Linden Lab may lower the land costs or do something to help the Second Life community.
How does OpenSim compare ?
If you put the OSgrid and Kitely regions combined together it will surpass Second Life regions by a huge margin. There are now over 1, 572 public accessible opensim grids now. The total OpenSim land area expanded by more than 800 regions. Is everyone switching to OpenSim now ?
There are now roughly 80, 000 regions on OpenSim which is a huge amount. Second Life has 24, 947 regions in total. From the looks of things OpenSim is still growing in terms of regions and active users.
I will blog about the grid numbers in October and then again at the end of 2020. Hopefully by then the grid numbers will be positive. If there is any big changes or announcements then I’ll share them on my blog.
Back in mid March 2020 I blogged about the new mass of regions added east of Bellisseria which turned into the log homes expansion. Since then the Moles have added thousands of new Linden homes along the new road networks, new relaxing areas, new waterways and a railway line that is still being worked on.
The log homes were released back in early April 2020 where Patch Linden announced that 4, 828 new Linden Homes were ready to claim. This was the biggest release to date spreading over 230 regions.
If you look at the comparison maps below you can hopefully see the differences between the both of them. The gaps are getting smaller and smaller it appears now. Hopefully in another three to six months the whole log homes continent will be completed.
It’s actually been interesting to watch this log homes continent grow in size and see the development of it all since March. Four months later and work is still continuing around the log homes continent. Good progress is being made with loads of different project goals happening all at once.
Going forward it’s going to be interesting where the new upcoming themes will be placed either to the north or down in the south. More regions are expected to arrive later this year when Second Life moves into the cloud. The lab have already started moving regions into the cloud (AWS).
I will post more updates very soon on the latest Bellisseria developments.
Good news this week is that the well known Blake Sea on the Second Life Preview Grid (Aditi) is now in the cloud (AWS). Linden Lab are now expanding the number of regions running in the cloud in the weeks and months ahead.
Just log into the preview grid, teleport to the Blake Sea regions and rez your boat or aircraft. Mazidox Linden posted this announcement on the Second Life forums on Monday 20th July 2020.
As you may have noticed in my previous announcement, some of the regions we recently brought back online on Aditi are in the cloud! We’ve now expanded the number of regions we’re running in the cloud on Aditi to include the entirety of the Blake Sea mainland regions. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Blake Sea, you can use the following entry points to log in on Aditi and rez a vehicle to start exploring. If you’re not familiar with Aditi itself, you can learn more here.
Test region crossing code (particularly using vehicles) between cloud simulators on the same host, and cloud simulators on different hosts.
Some regions cause you to “bounce off an invisible wall” at the region border, even though you are able to see into them. Please report instances of this occurring in this thread, with the region you were in, the region you were trying to enter, the date, and the time.
Some regions will not show up at the edge of your current region, even though they are adjacent. Please report instances of this occurring in this thread, with the region you were in, the region that failed to appear, the date, and the time.
HTTP-out for LSL scripts is disabled on cloud-based regions. Please don’t report this, as it is currently working as intended.
Sending email via LSL scripts is disabled on cloud-based regions. Please don’t report this, as it is currently working as intended.
On Tuesday 19th July I asked Ebbe Altberg CEO of Linden Lab on Twitter on when we will hear more from Randy Waterfield and Brad Oberwager on the Linden Lab acquisition. I asked if there is a town hall event or a lab gab event planned.
Ebbe Altberg kindly responded back on Tuesday evening saying this “Hold on everybody. The deal first has to close. Will take some time due to regulatory process. Sit back. Wait. Relax. All is well“.
As it stands the deal isn’t done yet and it will take some time due to the regulatory process. This could mean it could be some months until we next hear anything more official. I’m probably thinking before the end of the summer.
On July 9, 2020, Linden Lab announced “[…][that] it signed an agreement to be acquired by an investment group led by Randy Waterfield and Brad Oberwager. Closing of the acquisition issubject to regulatory approval by financial regulators in the U.S. related to Tilia Inc.’s status as a licensed money transmitter as well as other customary closing conditions. Upon closing, Mr. Waterfield and Mr. Oberwager will join the Board of Directors of Linden Research, Inc.“
Once the process is complete then I think Randy Waterfield and Brad Oberwager should come inworld and chat live to the Second Life community. Either by the lab hosting a special town hall meeting or through the successful popular lab gab series. Maybe a special blog announcement would work too.
Don’t forget this is an opportunity to continue growth and expansion for Second Life along with the money services business Tilia. I hope this is the case for positive change and not something in 3 – 5 years which will be a disaster for everyone. As usual time will be the judge. Whatever happens I will be blogging about it.
If this acquisition fails or if Second Life did have to shut down later down the road then you can expect a massive move towards OpenSim grids. I don’t think anyone wants this to happen. Second Life is best virtual world out there today.
It will be nice to hear something more official sooner than later. In the mean time everyone needs to relax and wait. Enjoy the summer.
This weekend is the last opportunity to visit the SL17B regions in Second Life before they all go offline very soon. The Linden homes preview region is still open at SL17B showing the new Stilt homes. The actual release of these new homes will available hopefully in the next few months or so.
Please spread the word one last time and explore the SL17B regions if you have time this weekend. To all those that made SL17B possible and run smoothly thanks so much.