A proposal that we plan an environment policy

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Sudane Erato
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A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Sudane Erato »

For quite a few years residents have been able to set the environments of their parcels and sims. "Environment" in SL usage means everything in the sky, from cloud cover, sky colors, sun and moon, stars, speed with which all those things move, schedule for sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset. It also includes a myriad of details about the "SL water", which for us is the water in LA and CN and the water which surrounds the estate.

But these settings have been esoteric, to say the least, with a poorly implemented user-interface. Only a few of us have even tried to build interesting environments, and its always a struggle. But this situation is changing. SL has for years been working on a new Environment control system, which includes the concept that, like everything else in SL which is resident created, environments will become Inventory items, capable of being bought and sold or given from person to person. The mainstream SL viewer already contains all this, and hope has it that shortly the Firestorm viewer will support this too. When that happens, there will be MUCH more incentive to modify our environments.

And this brings us to the problem. Since only one or two people in the CDS have ever implanted environments in our estate, likes or dislikes of those environments could easily be resolved with a chat. But with environments due to become mainstream commodities, the possibility of more difficult decisions increases. Let me describe the problem with examples.

Right now, if we set every sim in the estate to the SL default environment, and we walk around the estate from sim to sim, crossing a sim border causes no change in the environment. The sun or moon stays in the same place, the clouds continue to fly overhead, the time of day is the same. But if an estate manager has cause to modify that, even for the minor need to set a sim for a certain time of day for an event, then crossing a sim line is extremely disruptive as your environment switches from one to the other. And changing the time of day is just one thing... walking from SL default morning to a fantasy sunset by crossing a sim line (or tping into that sim) is extremely disruptive.

Now, I know that some people have expressed pleasure in the idea that "conditions" might change as you walk from sim to sim. I'm not entirely against that myself... but these are all individual opinions. In point of fact, my biggest issue is with the clock... the sun cycle and the moon cycle. I personally really dislike a day cycle that changes when crossing a sim border, even if the other qualities of the environment might change. The current default day cycle in SL is 4 RL hours long, aligned I think with hours in SLT, with one of those hours being darkness and 3 being light. I like that cycle, but others might argue we should change it. But regardless, in MY opinion, it should be uniform throughout our sims.

So this is just hinting at some of the issues. Sure... I do have strong opinions about environments... in fact, in a previous virtual life (before SL, if you can imagine [email protected]!) I was an environmental expert and created that world's standard tool for environment control. But in the CDS I'm just me, so I propose that we convene an Environment Working Group to study and recommend to whomever would receive and approve the recommendation an appropriate environment policy for our estate.

Thanks for reading!


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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Almut Brunswick »

Dear Sudane,

thank you for your informative posting. Two thoughts I had spontaneously and would like to share them:
  • The circle of people in the CDS who are capable to perform environmental changes is very small (too small IMHO). I doubt that many people will care about making their own daylight times or windlight settings.
  • I'm not fond of the idea to establish an Environment Working Group as yet another parastatal organization. Always keep in mind that the few active CDS citizen have already many hats on their heads. Instead, I would assign this task to one of the existing institutions. I could imagine that the people who use to decide about the seasonal settings - Chancellor and RA, when I'm informed correctly - should be obliged with this task, too.
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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Rosie Gray »

I would like to see how the controls are implemented in the Firestorm viewer, since so many people use Firestorm, before making decisions about this. If the controls to create environments are such that most people can figure them out, then I'd like to see us open up the possibility to use various environments created by our citizens - with the provision that they are suitable for all 6 regions. I envision that citizens would create environments and then submit them to the Chancellor's office for consideration. However, I'm agreeing with Almut that I doubt that a lot of people will be interested.

There are a few of us that are very interested in creating the most immersive and realistic experience possible with terrain, soundscapes, and environments, but it's been my observation that people use SL in very different ways when it comes to these things. Many people do not enable the "use region windlight' option and prefer to use their own settings. Many people turn off ambient and other sounds preferring either no sounds at all or streaming music.

The flow of environment from one sim to another is something I agree with for time of day, but I do think that different regions can have different aspects of their environments and not create harsh transitions. But here is a debate of personal preferences that is perhaps better for a discussion in-world with whoever is interested!
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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Lyubov »

In reply to the earlier discussion about EEP from March of 2019, I felt that CDS should create some governing policy at that time before the feature became widely used. I failed to appreciate how long it takes to realize some projects. I am eager to try the Firestorm implementation.

By default, I would expect to see a consistent and realistic environment throughout CDS, not encountering variations between parcels.

However, I do not care for the 4-hour SL day or the estate windlight settings. I might like to see the sunset outside my eastward window.

One exciting feature of EEP is the ability for other people to see the environment with your settings by default. We can already set our own windlight but if we want someone else on our parcel to see, we often must ask "set your windlight to..." or "set your sun to...". Now, individual parcel owners will be able to set the parcel so others may see. I would love a visiting friend to see the same environment as me and it would be very convenient to set a parcel environment for an event for example; today in CDS we must ask an Estate Manager to set the region windlight for a special CDS occasion such as the Inaugural Ball. EEP is exciting, but I wouldn't want a patchwork of environments throughout CDS as a result.

A simple solution to this is a policy, perhaps included in the Covenant which states, "Custom environment settings are allowed on parcels (windlight, day cycle, sun direction, etc.) only when the parcel owner(s) is online.". If the owner is online, they are free to enjoy their parcel's environment as they wish, at all other times the parcel must revert to the region default.

We will have to see how easy is is to adjust settings once Firestorm makes the feature available. I would also like to know if an Estate Manager can reset a parcel to the region default, to help a forgetful owner.
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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Rosie Gray »

Lyubov wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:44 am In reply to the earlier discussion about EEP from March of 2019, I felt that CDS should create some governing policy at that time before the feature became widely used. I failed to appreciate how long it takes to realize some projects. I am eager to try the Firestorm implementation.

By default, I would expect to see a consistent and realistic environment throughout CDS, not encountering variations between parcels.
Completely agree with you on this point, Lyubov. We do need some kind of policy around this, and it should be a realistic environment setting. As to 'consistent', it depends on what you mean by that. I can visualize Neufreistadt and the Alpine regions having slightly different settings that reflect a higher altitude and that goes well with the Bavarian theme. Whereas the lowlands with their Mediterranean themes could have a brighter/hotter sun as they would in real life. I don't think this makes them inconsistent, and I would envision them as subtle, so that if you walked from one region to another, you might not even really notice it unless you are paying attention to that kind of thing.
Lyubov wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:44 am However, I do not care for the 4-hour SL day or the estate windlight settings. I might like to see the sunset outside my eastward window.
I rather like the 4-hour SL day, since I would probably never see the various times of day if we had 24 hour days, since I usually log into SL at about the same time. The sunset being east or west is a curiosity to me. Sudane mentions this too, but I actually never know what direction I'm looking unless I look at a map. I'm curious as to what makes you aware what direction the sun is setting? BTW, in real life, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so you would need a westward window to see it. ;)
Lyubov wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:44 amOne exciting feature of EEP is the ability for other people to see the environment with your settings by default. We can already set our own windlight but if we want someone else on our parcel to see, we often must ask "set your windlight to..." or "set your sun to...". Now, individual parcel owners will be able to set the parcel so others may see. I would love a visiting friend to see the same environment as me and it would be very convenient to set a parcel environment for an event for example; today in CDS we must ask an Estate Manager to set the region windlight for a special CDS occasion such as the Inaugural Ball. EEP is exciting, but I wouldn't want a patchwork of environments throughout CDS as a result.

A simple solution to this is a policy, perhaps included in the Covenant which states, "Custom environment settings are allowed on parcels (windlight, day cycle, sun direction, etc.) only when the parcel owner(s) is online.". If the owner is online, they are free to enjoy their parcel's environment as they wish, at all other times the parcel must revert to the region default.

We will have to see how easy is is to adjust settings once Firestorm makes the feature available. I would also like to know if an Estate Manager can reset a parcel to the region default, to help a forgetful owner.
I don't see how we could make a windlight policy like this work, Lyubov. Until we see the actual functionality of EEP I can't be sure, but the idea of allowing individuals to customize their environments the way you are suggesting, and expecting them to change them back when they are not online doesn't sound doable, or honestly very practical to me. I think we'd end up with a real patchwork over the regions, but we'll have to see what sort of controls are enabled before we can make any decisions about that.
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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Lyubov »

By "consistent" I mean, "fluid, connecting, rational", not "uniform". Similarly to how great care and effort is expended to ensure that the terrain textures blend throughout CDS, so should the environment. What exactly these estate settings should be is a separate issue that I am not considering at the moment.

My thoughts about the 4-hour day and the direction of the sun are examples of how I might enjoy using the new capabilities on my own parcel. The path of the sun can be changed from east-west by adjusting the East Angle value, but I will only see this for myself in my own viewer with the current Firestorm. This could be valuable to an individual parcel owner who has a waterfront home facing north for example. By adjusting the East Angle the parcel could enjoy a sunset over the northern water.

We will need to see how EEP is implemented. From the LL EEP Wiki, LL envisions, "Shareable environmental objects that you can keep in your inventory.". This could make changing environment settings, turning them on or off, as simple as clicking an object or a HUD. I have read convenants for other estates that specify for example that rezzed vehicles, scripted animals, and particle emitters (ie. rain, snow, water fountains) are only permitted while the owner is online.

A private parcel's EEP setting should be treated more similar to the sound/media setting versus a building code. Like a parcel sound stream, the parcel environment setting would only be encountered by someone physically on the private parcel; whether standing next door or from afar, a visitor would never experience the parcel's environment setting. Even the guest who cams into the parcel from a distance would not encounter the environment. This is unlike an inappropriate building or landscaping feature which impacts all onlookers from any distance. I don't have a problem with a policy which states "do as you wish while you're here, just turn it off before you leave (so that any visitors wandering onto your parcel won't be jarred by the setting)". Of course, those that use their own environment settings instead of the parcel/region defaults, will remain unaffected.

Another capability described in the Wiki is, "Up to four different sky layers that may be set independently.". This could allow an environment policy with limitations on the ground level, but unrestricted above 1000m where skyboxes are allowed.
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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Sudane Erato »

I think... and of course not sure because this capability is so much in flux... that individual parcel settings, set by the parcel owner, are viewable by the visitor only if the visitor clicks assent to allowing the parcel Windlight to control their environment. And further, should the visitor wish to lose the parcel-imposed environment, they need only open PhotoTools and click the button that says "Estate Time" in order to have the Region Windlight, set in Region controls by the EM, restored to their view.

Again, this is my current perception of how this works. If I'm correct, and if it continues working this way, I don't think Lyubov's very valid concern about patchwork environments caused by parcel owner settings will be a problem.

This is all functionality in place now. So perhaps we could organize some tests to clarify this?


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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Sudane Erato »

Firestorm announced this morning that a "public beta" is released of a firestorm viewer which supports the new environment system: https://www.firestormviewer.org/ This is NOT a viewer to replace your regular firestorm viewer (if you use Firestorm), but rather to run as an alternative while they work out the bugs. For those of us who are interested in our environment policy... highly recommended. I'm installing it now.


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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Sudane Erato »

Sudane Erato wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:31 am Firestorm announced this morning that a "public beta" is released of a firestorm viewer which supports the new environment system: https://www.firestormviewer.org/ This is NOT a viewer to replace your regular firestorm viewer (if you use Firestorm), but rather to run as an alternative while they work out the bugs. For those of us who are interested in our environment policy... highly recommended. I'm installing it now.
Quick observation after messing with this for an hour or so. Be ready to be VERY frustrated... they have a long way to go yet. But the STRUCTURE of the new environment system is there... in place... and its a huge improvement. Visual environments, and related day cycles, are all inventory items, which is incredible. The exact structure whereby parcel owners set their parcel environments and region managers set other environments... and how those interact... that we have to explore. But the structure of that is in place, and it will make for some wonderful exploring. The frustration is in the actual visual design.. they really don't have this figured out, and that's what my special interest is.

But... ah well... things come to those who are patient...


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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Rosie Gray »

Here's a tutorial on using the Firestorm Beta version for EEP: https://youtu.be/dqwz1l3Llbk I don't have the viewer yet, but watching this made it look like there are so many possibilities!
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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Lyubov »

I finally managed to try out EEP using the Official LL viewer. My goal was to try out the feature, understand how easy it is to implement, and experience moving in and out of a parcel with the settings on.

Without reading any extensive documentation, within a few minutes I was able to apply one of the included environments to a parcel. I found the process to be very simple, no more difficult than applying a Windlight setting or wearing a mesh clothing item.

I used "extreme" environment settings, such as spooky orange or crazy purple, to make the difference as dramatic as possible. To my surprise, it really didn't bother me. After experimenting with how it works, I don't have a problem with allowing full use of the feature in CDS, on most if not all parcels.

Like the Music setting, the parcel's Environment is only encountered when you are On the parcel. Moving on or off of the parcel causes the environment to change. It moves through a transition of a few seconds, similar to how Windlight settings can be set to smoothly transition versus immediately snapping to the change. There is no permission dialog requiring interaction before movement may continue. Standing just outside of the parcel, nothing is any different. You can cam into the parcel and never encounter the custom environment. When on the parcel itself, the environment is seen and similarly, you can cam outside of the parcel and still experience the custom environment.

By default, the LL viewer allows the custom parcel environments. This can be easily changed to your own preferred environment setting instead of the region or parcel setting. Once you change to your own environment setting, you see this everywhere you go and will never experience the region/parcel environments. This is effectively the same as today, where I use my own Windlight setting everywhere, and only occasionally use the region setting.

Some additional findings:
  • A parcel must be at last 128sqm to set a parcel environment. My salon on the Platz is too small to set an environment.
  • Only the parcel owner or the authorized members of the deeded group may change the parcel setting.
  • As an CDS EM, I was Not able to change any setting for any parcel but my own.
  • There is a separate option in group roles - abilities - Parcel Settings, where there is a tickbox to set Environment. In our LV group, I found that this box is Not ticked for me, so I was unable to change the parcel setting for the LV owned parcel of the Platz.
  • Separate environment settings for a parcel may be set for: Ground, 1000m, 2000m, 3000m. The tool does not allow this altitude to be changed. Each level may have the region default or any custom setting. Passing through the altitude levels, the environment changes with a smooth transition.
Policy suggestions:
  • I see no reason for any limits on custom parcel environments at altitudes of 1000m and above.
  • At ground level, given the smooth transition between parcel environments, no interrupting dialog to "accept parcel environment", and easy capability to turn off parcel environments, I am not opposed at this time to allowing parcel environments anywhere in CDS.
  • It may be desirable to limit ground level parcel environments in the desified areas of NFS, where the buildings and property lines cross in and out of public space. Considering that the transition is smooth and non-disruptive, a passerby may transit the area and never remain long enough to notice an environment change.
A policy statement may be, "In CDS, there are no restrictions on custom parcel environments at an altitude of 1000m and above. Additionally, there are no restrictions on custom parcel environments at the ground level; however, this policy may be revised at a future time.".
Additional information about EEP is here, on the LL blog posted 20 April, https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/ ... t-project/

This is a 5 minute LL video showing EEP, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2NaM7yAFb8
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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Tanoujin Milestone »

Thank you Lyubov for checking this out. I support a liberal policy regarding parcel settings as you suggest
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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Lyubov »

Additional thoughts:

As a point of clarification, the responsibility for region/estate environment settings should be treated similarly to terrain textures -- the responsibility of the Chancellor and not subject to a 2 week public notice period. Section D "Transparent Development Guidelines" of NL 5-7 Civil Service Act should include this (more precisely, this entire section should be moved to an updated LUC Act).

These environments are now transferable inventory objects. The archive avatar should have an indexed copy of environments in use per region and per season, similarly to how terrain textures are cataloged.

Should these environment objects, ie. "CDS - NFS - Summer Environment" also be made available to any Citizen?

The environment settings may need to be included on the list of Estate Manager items to reset to defaults when preparing a parcel for sale (About Land - Environment - Region Default).

Any role in the LV group that is presently able to modify LV-owned parcel media and music settings should also be able to modify environment settings. The expectation would be the same as for setting media/sound -- set a temporary environment on the public parcel for the duration of the event and then return the parcel to region defaults after completion.
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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Lilith Ivory »

I fully agree with you Luybov - and thanks a lot for your extendet research :)
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Re: A proposal that we plan an environment policy

Post by Sudane Erato »

To restore this thread to attention... it appears that the new Firestorm viewer has finally achieved some semblance of rationality with the new environment system (EEP). While the controls are not perfect, they're close enough in my first attempts to work a bit with them to contain some level of useability.

I'd love to revive the Environment Policy discussion. While it's true there are many aspects to it, there are several features which now may be possible that I'd love to see happen.

1) Some agreement to maintain a consistent environment across the six sims (while allowing personalized parcel settings if the owners wish).

2) An evolution of weather changes. We know there is at least one sim-wide precipitation system that's good (Botanical), but its useless without accompanying the snow or rain with an appropriate sky environment. Now that could easily be done. True, it still has to be set manually (snow would have to be turned on in each sim, and at the same time the Day Cycle would have to be set appropriately), but a Weather-Meister (Delia???) could be designated to do that on an agreed schedule. I have now in my inventory a cloudy sky day-cycle which we could start with (called Sudane Rain... but also perfectly suitable for snow).

Anyway... I'm excited. This new environment system might actually work.


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