Saturday, April 5, 2008

SurfLine Shortboard Pro competition postponed

Following massive technical problems with Second Life and an enforced grid lock-down, the Second Life Surfing Association has decided to postpone the SurfLine Shortboard Pro surfing competition at Rezzable Discover that was to be held today.

"We were waiting till the very last minute possible," said SLSA director Milo Voss "We will get together as soon as possible to schedule another date. In the meantime, we advise competitors to stay smiling and use the time to practice some more!"

"This is an extraordinarily prolonged and unusual disruption," read the 11am post from Linden Labs on the Second Life blog Saturday. "Many high-profile services and corporations are feeling the pain this morning, and full scale efforts are underway to isolate and fix the root cause."

Where to now Shortboard Pro?
However, the postponement of the competition does beg the question 'where will it eventually be held?' The Rezzable Discover sim was created specifically for the SurfLine Shortboard Pro and was destined to be turned over to another non-surf related project almost straight after the SLSA competition.

In the days following the Havok4 server update disruption it proved, by all accounts, to be the best performing surf sim in a very fluid Havok4 update affected environment. Other than that, it would be a great shame not to be able to hold the
SurfLine Shortboard Pro on the sim that SurfLine designed for it, not to mention having had two very dedicated SurfLine employees working very hard on keeping it at competition standard for the past few days.

SurfWatch hopes that the SurfLine and Rezzable management are able to take the wishes of 50-odd competitors, officials and organisers on board, and the aspirations of the surfing community post-Havok4, whilst it weighs up where to host the postponed
Shortboard Pro.

Second Life grid lock-down could stop SurfLine competition

As many Second Life residents will know, resident logins were disabled by Linden Labs at about 10.30pm SLT (or PDT) Friday due to connectivity issues.

There was a temporary fix announced by Linden Labs at 3.30am and the grid was open until about 7.30am SLT, but then shut down again due to more technical issues. At 9.07am SLT, a forced log out of all users in-world was announced to allow Linden Labs to work on a solution. So, as of 10.20am SLT the grid is still closed for logins and all residents previously logged in have apparently been forced to log out.

Since the SLSA SurfLine Shortboard Pro competition is scheduled to start at 11am, this has obviously led to speculation about the competition. Naturally,
there's no prospect of the competition starting if no one can log in. However, as far as SurfWatch is aware there is no intention to cancel the event just yet and there is a margin for delay possible here and, depending on SLSA decisions, it may well be that if the competition can not start exactly on time, it may be possible to delay for an hour or so and still hold the SurfLine event in its entirety.

SurfWatch suggests that you check these sites often for updates:

Second Life blog
SLSA Forum

Friday, April 4, 2008

Wave concerns continue to dog SurfLine preparations

A notice for surfers on the surfing competition sim today

Unpredictable wave conditions seem to be testing surfers pre-competition, as competitors get the last few hours of practice in before Saturday's Surfline Shortboard Pro. Second Life's new updates to Havok4 server software have really played havoc with wave performance and the way that surfboards interact with waves and water. However, it has to be said that sim managers SurfLine are doing everything possible to manage the errant waves and, despite Havok4's worst, there are some good waves out there too.

"The code update did something screwy and now the wave generators say that the stats are too low, but they're within normal operating range," said SurfLine Manager Kalani Koga. "So, I've resorted to perching out there [behind the waves] and manually turning on and off the wave
generators to get a set kicked out."

"Its got me totaly frightened, to be honest," laughed
surfer QUENCH Spotter. "I've practiced everyday for a few hours a day and once the change happened, I found that it's like having to learn to walk all over again! I log in and wish I'll see an update from Linden Labs saying, "Okay, it's all fixed", and all the surfers are happy again. But until then, I'll have to adjust. And being so close to competion makes it even more of a challenge."

"The waves are great if you like a big new whoop ass change!" said DeVinna Toll, who is ranked second in the SLSA season standings. "Catch me if you can!"

The SurfLine Shortboard Pro takes place at 11.00 hrs on Saturday 5 April at Rezzable Discover.

SurfWatch: Tide turns as Shortboard Pro Heats Drawn
Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing
New waves, new sim for SurfLine Shortboard Pro
Registrations close for Surfline
Judging Criteria
URL: Competition Day Requirements (for Surfers and Spectators)

SLURL: Rezzable Discover

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tide turns as Shortboard Pro Heats Drawn

By Tauri Tigerpaw

The Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) announced heat line-ups
on Wednesday for the 38 surfers taking part in the SurfLine Shortboard Pro, amid technical concerns over Second Life's new updates to Havok4 server software.

SurfLine Shortboard Pro, which takes place on Saturday 5 April at Rezzable Discover, will be the third event in the SLSA competition season. Recent changes in the Second Life server code, which affects wave/board interactions and wave maneuvers, already seem to be causing some concern among competitors as the event rolls ever closer (see SurfWatch 2 April Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing).

Craig Stallion, former director of the SLSA, was happy enough with his time surfing Rezzable's pipes on Wednesday before the server changes took effect: "they are running really smooth right now. The waves are responding super fast to all the controls - almost too fast at times for someone that has been training in lag."

However, the tide has definitely turned for Second Life surfing conditions during the last 24 hours. Top-ranked
Pova Rustamova has spent a lot of time on the new sim and has seen it change. "It was perfect the other day," said Pova late Wednesday / early Thursday, "but today the boards are acting crazy."

Surfing competitor Abel Halderman of Team Tsunami, also expressed some concerns, "from what I hear, the competition sim is nice and smooth, but there are some issues in Second Life with physics right now."

SurfWatch was on hand while Kalani Koga, SurfLine Manager, seemed to manually generate some pipes for a group of surfers trying out the sim in preparation for the competition, indicating that even the new low-prim, script-free sim must be facing issues. SLSA 9th ranked Vic Bonetto commented after two runs, "the waves reacted a bit strange, hard to stay in them, I seemed to go too fast through the wave."

On the whole, competitors' reactions are mixed, not least of all since the competition sim has new pipeline 2.0 waves that most surfers are experiencing for the very first time this week! "The sim feels great, and I love the idea of a short board competition. Not sure of the new waves, but looking forward to a great competition,"
commented surfer Cipriano Grut, although again pre-code update.

The SurfLine Shortboard Pro is scheduled for 1100 hrs Second Life time (SLT) on Saturday 5 April. 38 surfers are registered to take part in 7 first heats.
The following heat competitors lists were announced by the SLSA.

Pova Rustamova (RED)
Able Halderman (BLUE)
Jesse Compton (GREEN)
Payten Harrop (ORANGE)
Jaay Zymurgy (PURPLE)
Rani Decosta (WHITE)

DeVinna Toll (RED)
Vic Bonetto (BLUE)
Selina Otsuka (GREEN)
Oroonie Oh (ORANGE)
Fungus Kamach (PURPLE)
-- Now withdrawn from competition (22.00 hrs SLT, 4 Apr 08)
Egon Zimmini (WHITE)

Colleen Brennan (RED)
Ashleigh Dickins (BLUE)
Cipriano Grut (GREEN)
Whamdammit Merryman (ORANGE)
Shelby Fitzgerald (WHITE)

Carlos MacAlpine (RED)
Desirae Beaumont (BLUE)
Buffy Munro (GREEN)
Paeida Allen (ORANGE)
Kathy Heberle (PURPLE)
Crusader Arado (WHITE)

Bobbi Laval (RED)
LeahJane Cazalet (BLUE)
Cierra Theriac (GREEN) -- Now withdrawn from competition
Craig Stallion (ORANGE)
LD Barrett (PURPLE)
-- Now withdrawn from competition (03.00 hrs SLT, 4 Apr 08)

Christine Daffodil (RED)
Desne Aabye (BLUE)
Mick Lunasea (GREEN)
Malcom Sydney (ORANGE)
Pyper Dollinger (PURPLE)

VW Sands (RED)
Kimmy Fitzgerald (BLUE)
Carolin Gausman (GREEN)
-- Now withdrawn from competition (08.53 hrs SLT, 3 Apr 08)
Mateus Rieko (ORANGE)
Wilfrid DeCuir (PURPLE)

Updated 22.00 hrs SLT, 4 April 2008

Useful links

Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing
New waves, new sim for SurfLine Shortboard Pro
Registrations close for Surfline
Judging Criteria
URL: Competition Day Requirements (for Surfers and Spectators)

SLURL: Rezzable Discover

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Code change may affect surfing for weeks

An in-world notecard circulated by Second Life sim owners and the Second Life Surfing Assocation (SLSA) on behalf of Heather Goodliffe on Wednesday explains that Heather's team will be working on Havok4 code-related issues over the next few weeks.

As reported on SurfWatch earlier on Wednesday (Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing) the new code is upsetting surfable waves, surfboards and other objects that are rezzed in the water. Numerous related technical issues have been lodged by different sim owners and residents on Second Life's issues tracking forum (JIRA). However, with no immediate fixes from Linden Labs or wave-creator Heather Goodliffe in sight, surfers may be in for a bumpy ride over the next few weeks.

Issues currently posted in the JIRA Second Life Issues forum include the following:

Second Life JIRA Issue SVC-1272
Second Life JIRA Issue SVC-1980
Second Life JIRA Issue SVC-1660
Second Life JIRA Issue SVC-1179
Second Life JIRA Issue SVC-1166

URL: SLSA Forum Update on waves issue
URL: Second Life Simulator v1.20.0.83683 Rollout Followup (Second Life Blog)
URL: Second Life Issues (JIRA) Homepage
Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing

Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing

Reports have started to come in from sim owners today on the new server code put in place across all sims on the Second Life grid by Linden Labs. The new code is upsetting surfable waves, surfboards and other objects that are rezzed in the water. It may well be that a fix is found to address incompatibilities in surfboards and waves, however in the absence of such a fix the prospect of replacing all waves and surfers replacing all current boards is daunting to say the least!

According to Linden Labs, 'Heather Goodliffe waves are not compatible' with the new version of the Havok4 server software and it's a 'known issue' to the Havok4 roll-out team. Heather Goodliffe waves account for the vast majority of surfable waves in Second Life. At least one sim has been forced to shut down its EPIC wave already. Pipelines and fluffies also seem to be affected, although the full extent of the code issue is not yet known. Pipes have been freezing up, either reducing the frequency of waves or stopping the waves rezzing for periods of time. The pipeline waves that do roll, seem to be rolling faster. However, one change that all surfers everywhere have notices is that they now find that their boards sit 6-12 inches under the water when rezzed!

Apparently Linden Labs are performing tests on the waves and possible options. Linden Labs have just finished rolling out the Second Life Simulator v1.20.0.83683 to all sims on the grid and informed sources say that the physics engine in the new server code is totally different from the previous code and the interaction between 'physical objects' and the waves just do not work as Second Life surfers are used to. The code change also seems to affect maneuvers on the waves, for example some surfers have had difficulty completing frontside wave turns.

It is not currently known whether these changes are going to threaten Saturday's SurfLine Shortboard Pro competition or not. The waves on the new Rezzable Discover sim have been performing well, but some surfers have already felt inconsistencies. Short term, Second Life surfing is going to be messy.

URL: Second Life Simulator v1.20.0.83683 Rollout Completion

New waves, new sim for SurfLine Shortboard Pro

New pipeline 2.0 waves, synchronised to run two at a time

After weeks of speculation as to where Saturday's SLSA SurfLine Shortboard Pro would be held, organisers confirmed today that the competition will be held on the Rezzable Discover sim in the Rezzable group of sims. The sim was created this week in less than three days by Rezzable specifically for the competition and new pipeline 2.0 waves have been installed together with ocean foam waves, or fluffies. This makes the Surfline Shortboard Pro the first competition to be held on the new pipeline 2.0 waves and, in fact, the first time the wave's have been seen in public.

"It wasn't possible to hold the competition on the regular SurfLine sims and so Rezzable decided to custom make a competition sim just for the Shortboard Pro," said Milo Voss, one of the directors at the Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA). "They created the ideal environment for a surf competition. Almost no prim usage and under 20 scripts total. A great run with new fast waves! I'm so stoked, its gonna be great!"

SurfWatch asked Monkeh Barrel winner Pova Rustamova what he thought of the new sim and waves: "Love the waves and with the sim being a full sim there's no lag. We're gonna see some amazing stuff this weekend. The mix of the new pipes and the fluffies with short boards is gonna make for some great tricks."

"The carving is awsome and it's great to get high in the wave," said surfer Paeida Allen "I'm excited about the new moves we will see this Saturday."

However, those looking forward to surfing the sim after the competition may be disappointed. According to Surfline Manager Kalani Koga, the competition surf sim is temporary and will be turned over to another non-surf project following the Surfline Shortboard Pro.

The SurfLine Shortboard Pro is scheduled for 1100 hrs Second Life time (SLT) on Saturday 5 April. 40 surfers are expected to take part in 8 first heats. For those interested in the competition's social calendar, the pre-competition kick-off party takes place on 3 April at Surfline sim, 1400-2000 hrs SLT.

Useful links
Registrations close for Surfline
URL: Judging Criteria
URL: Competition Day Requirements (for Surfers and Spectators)

SLURL: Rezzable Discover

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

SURFING LIFE -- The Privateer

By Socks Clawtooth. Exclusive to SurfWatch.

I write this simply to get it off my fuzzy little chest. I'm a privateer. Originally I thought I was a poacher, but I came to realize that I wasn't actually stealing anything as much as I'm a one-cat raiding party. The way I see it, I'm following in the tradition of surfers, skateboarders and ski/snowboarders worldwide by going out of bounds.

Admit it, you're a bit of a junkie too. You wander the grid, see ocean water and you look for the Epics or at least a fluffy. And if one is there you may even think about jumping onto it, but you never do. Perhaps it's not a surfing beach. Or you can't find a place to rez a board, or you just happened to see it, say "Oh, I'll check that later" and you never get back there or you can never find it again. But for me, I'll hop a fence and find a place to put my board down. As long as I'm not trespassing on someone's privacy, all's fair.

The places I've surfed have waves for a variety of reasons. One looked like the wave generators were just abandoned by a previous owner and simply built over, making the ridable distance only 1/3 of what it should have been. Fluffy waves appearing out of a solid wall and into an alcove, probably the laggiest wave I've ever been on. Another looked like the waves were for decoration. That was the hardest ride so far, fluffies moving almost double the normal speed as you see on most surf beaches, but I got from origin to beach on it.

Others look like they want to be public beaches, but they don't allow riders to put a board down! I searched one sim for an hour looking for the group I had to join, or the spot to put a board down, but it didn't exist. But I find ways! I won't go into details, because the method can be used for harm as well as for good. I'll simply state my record is a four-sim paddle, but the waves were worth it. Oh yes they were.

Ghost-surfing: a flurry of fluffies appear emerge from a dark wall

So why would someone do that, you might ask? The same reason George Mallory went to the top of the world. 'Because it's there'. Unlike George, I prefer to live to tell the tale. Most of these places have never seen a surfer on the waves, and others may not have seen one for months or even years. As far as I can tell, it's not a violation of the TOS* to walk on publicly accessible land, why would it be illegal to surf on publicly accessible waves? I do no harm, I take only virtual photographs to say I was there, and leave nothing behind but very temporary particle effects. I don't even leave pawprints on the beaches!

I'm not alone. In the real world, this is so common that it's almost expected. Snowboarders and skiers may see an untouched line through the trees and go for it. If you want to surf some places, you have to be ready to do some off-roading or some creative fence hopping. And ask a skateboarder about the best places to ride. Parks, pools, all remote and out of the way but worth it. I'm in good company, except I'm doing it virtually.

So, I'm a wave privateer. I raid beaches, I steal a few turns on the water, I leave with the satisfaction of knowing I did it. I still go to the mainstream beaches and enjoy them to the fullest extent I can. But I also stray
out of bounds on occasion. And if 'it's there', and it wants to be surfed. Who am I to not give it what it wants?

* Terms of service