New Group Services code now live on Agni

Large group loading: a familiar problem

The Group Services project is an attempt to improve the management and editing of large SL groups by replacing the current UDP-based service (which has capacity issues with the size of group lists it can comfortably handle) with a new HTTP-based service.

Oskar Linden has announced that the new code for handling large groups is now live on four regions on the main grid. His announcement reads in part:

These fixes were released to Magnum this morning, but then we found issues in llSensor() that required us to remove the code from a channel as large as Magnum. We have a very small qa channel called the Snack RC Channel that we put the changes on.

 – https://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Release_Notes/Second_Life_RC_Snack/12

You will need to be  a member of the group Second Life Beta to access them. You can join that group here: http://world.secondlife.com/group/19657888-576f-83e9-2580-7c3da7c0e4ca

The four Snack test regions are:

Currently, the viewer-side code required to use the new service is only available in a project viewer, which is available as follows:

The viewer side code, as I’ve been reporting in these page, is currently being held-up from more widespread use by crash issues impacting the SL beta viewer code. As such, TPV developers are being encouraged not to merge the code for the above project viewers with their own development viewer code for the time being.

In the meantime, if you manage a large in-world group with more than 10K members, you may wish to download your relevant flavour of the project viewer and try-out the new code on the nominated regions.

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Slightly Mad Avians: Humble talks Creatorverse, Versu and Dio

Update, February 19th, 2014: Creatorverse, Versu and dio were discontinued by Linden Lab on February 19th, 2014. Links to their websites, etc, have therefore been removed from this article.

Looking through the pingbacks on my blog comments, I was curious to see one show up on the 23rd October 2012 linking to an article I wrote back at the start of the year. Curious at to why someone would be linking to an old article, I went to have a look.

Turns out the article linking to me is from Kotaku, a games-related blog run by Gawker News – and the article itself is an interview with Rod Humble. (which came to me via Kotaku’s Australian site) Needless to say, I was more than a tad surprised to have someone interviewing our own Rodvik linking to my blog (oh, be still, beating ego!), so I decided to have a read through.

The piece itself is obviously about the Lab’s new and upcoming products, and it gives some interesting insights into the thinking behind them.

“Just about everybody I know who isn’t in the games business or programming business comes to me with a game idea or a website, and the truth of the matter is, quite often, they can’t make it.”

the article quotes Humble as saying. He then goes on:

“There’s this big barrier. They look at something like C++ [programming] code and, frankly, it looks like a big equation. It just looks like gibberish.

“The more we can make tools that are just fun to use—all of a sudden you are making something you wanted—you can focus on the creativity than mastering this arcane set of symbols. We can hopefully bring more people into that fold of ‘hey, you made something!'”

Thus is the broad thinking behind Patterns, Creatorverse and the still-to-be-seen Dio and Versu, which are apparently going to be appearing something in the next month – if not before the end of this one, depending on how you read quotes from elsewhere.

Creatorverse itself comes in for some attention in the piece – Humble describes it as being his five-year-old daughter’s favourite game at the moment, and it is referred to as coming out “later this year”. Whether that is a result of the interviewer misunderstanding Humble (the interview was via ‘phone), or whether it is because the release date may have shifted while the wheels at Apple (or elsewhere) turn slowly, isn’t clear.

What is clear, however, is the novel way Creatorverse is pitched in the interview:

In the near future, his company will put out a program for iPad called Creatorverse, which will let people use shapes and physics to create basic 3D systems and, yes, games, then share them for anyone else to download and play. Think of making a game that lets you fling shapes into other shapes—your own “Slightly Mad Avians”, he offers as an example, if you get what he means.

Creatorverse

While Slightly Mad Avians could stand as a title in its own right (along with Perturbed Pigeons, a name Darien Caldwell suggested to me the other evening in an entirely unrelated conversation…), it’s nevertheless a curious hook on which to hang a description of Creatorverse – but an interesting one in terms of mental images….!

What is of greater potential interest, however, is the comments about the upcoming Dio and Versu.

Dio is described as: “A website that lets people create rooms out of their personal images and videos, connects them to other people’s rooms and lets people share the space.”

While it has previously been described as “A room creator, in which players can do everything from construct a choose-your-own adventure to develop an interactive wedding album,” and Linden Lab managed to accidentally give people something of a quick peek at an early iteration of a website connected to Dio back at the start of the year, the comment in the Kotaku piece implies that the website appears to be the product, rather than in support of it. It’ll be interesting to see how people react to this.

Versu, meanwhile, gains a little more flesh on the bones given in an interview with Giant Bomb, with Humble describing it as, “A platform that lets you make real interactive drama” by giving you “the ability to create characters within a story and then, thanks to the AI, see that “those characters will have emergent properties as you play through the story.” He goes on to admit that this is pretty ambitious and admits to an element of “Tilting at windmills” in order to bring it to a wide audience.

The article goes on to talk in more detail about Patterns, which many of us – and many more in the gaming community – are enjoying even in its nascent (or as Humble puts it, “not even pre-baked”) form. It also talks about Humble himself and his arrival at Linden Lab, which leads to a good mention of Second Life:

It makes perfect sense that Humble would wind up at Linden Lab, the company best known for the virtual world Second Life. It’s as successful a canvas for the communal creation of a virtual world as there’s been. It’s been a viable digital canvas for about a decade now has been populated by users who make their own buildings and vehicles, who design contraptions, contort physics, stage elaborate events, form societies, and pioneer the art of inhabiting elaborate second skins that express inner or otherwise impossible creativity and desires.

It’s a positive read, and well worth taking a few minutes out to read through.

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Niran’s Viewer turns 2

NiranV Dean has been back working on Niran’s Viewer, and in doing so has lifted the viewer to version 2.0 with a number of initial Betas. On Wednesday October 24th, he made a final release, 2.0.2185, which he calls Niran’s Viewer Rebooted, given the amount of additional work put into it, which finally saw him bypass his planned 1.5 release.

As the last release of Niran’s Viewer in these pages was version 1.46, the following will touch on elements previously released in 1.47 – 1.49 as well.

Download and Installation

The download file remains an archive EXE, rather than an actual installer, and is just on 50MB in size. It will extract the files into a default directory Nirans Viewer in C:\Program Files. If you’ve had a previous version of Niran’s Viewer installed, it is strongly recommended that you remove it first, together with all cache and settings files. The viewer itself has no uninstaller, some removal is a matter of deleting the program folder. The locations for all three are:

  • Viewer: C:\Program Files\NiransViewer (delete this entire folder)
  • Cache: C:\Users\[user name] \AppData\Local\NiransViewer (delete this folder)
  • Settings: C:\Users\[user name] \AppData\Roaming\NiransViewer (delete this folder and all sub-folders inside).

First Time Running

Once you’ve made your initial keyboard camera preferences selection, the log-in screen features a new video from NiranV. I have to admit, I’m curious as to the music track and whether it is taken from something or original, as I rather like the keyboard arrangement in it.

Watch a video while entering your login credentials

You may get an anti-virus alert relating to the SLVOICE.EXE plugin – if you do, make sure that it is the plugin being referenced and clear it. The log-in splash screen is again liable to be something of a surprise to first-time users. There is no familiar splash screen feed from Linden Lab here. Instead, and providing you’re running flash, there’s a YouTube video NiranV has put together and which will play while you enter your log-in credentials in the panel to the right.

Note that Niran’s Viewer isn’t intended for use on OpenSim, so the other grids selection is limited to the SL Agni (main) and Aditi (Beta) grids. Once you’ve entered your you log-in credentials, you’re treated to a series of hints and tips as the viewer logs-in to Second Life.

Preferences Overlay

Niran’s alternative to the usual Preferences floater started appearing in version 1.46 of the viewer, where he referred to it as his “Skyrim influence”. It’s slowly been maturing through a number of releases since then, and with version 2.0, it completely replaces the old Preferences floater, which is no longer available within the viewer.

Accessed via the Preferences toolbar button, CTRL-P or NV->EDIT->PREFERENCES, the overlay does exactly what it says – overlays the in-world view.

Preferences Overlay with a submenu displayed

To the left of the overlay are the main options: Display, Audio Controls, Camera, Chat, User, Interface and Viewer. Depending on the complexity of the screens / options associated with this, clicking on one of them may display a panel directly, or may open-up a sub-menu of further options which in turn will open up individual panels on the right of the overlay.

Preferences overlay with an open panel

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