SL project news week 45/2: server news, viewer updates Steaming ahead, and surprises

Week 45 Deployments

The deployments schedule for this week (Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th November) went ahead as planned, namely:

  • Tuesday 6th: the Main Channel received get the code currently running on BlueSteel and LeTigre – release notes
  • Wedneday 7th:
    • Magnum received get fixes and updates to the code currently running there (including the Group Services code) – release notes
    • LeTigre and BlueSteel should get the next bug fix server in the pipeline, which includes the code currently on Magnum, and more – release notes (BS) and release notes (LT)

The main channel deployment now means that all regions are running on the same version of Havok with the exception of Magnum regions, which should be getting the update in week 46 (see below).

LeTigre and BlueSteel both have an additional “feature”: Linksets which have bounding boxes larger than 64m (in any dimension) are prevented from being rezzed if rezzing would cause the object to collide with an avatar excluding the object owner (BUG-166).

In addition, both LeTigre and BlueSteel include the following oft-requested bug fixes:

  • Script Time in the Statistics Bar now correctly shows 0ms when scripts are disabled in the sim (BUG-311)
  • Script error messages now include information about the object’s root prim, when certain operations fail due to the object’s pathfinding setting (PATHBUG-198).

A crash bug was also found in the Magnum code, and this has received attention, with the fix due to go out next week.

Week 46 Deployments

Things are gradually slowing down in preparation for the Thanksgiving code release freeze which will see a suspension of code deployments during the Thanksgiving week later in November. As it stands, the following roll-outs are planned for week 46 (week commencing Monday 12th November):

  • Main channel: should receive the code currently running on Magnum (including Baker Linden’s Group Services code – see later in this article)
  • Magnum: should receive the code currently running on BlueSteel and LeTigre, which will mean the entire main grid is now running the same version of Havok
  • BlueSteel, LeTigre and Magnum should also get the same additional updates (details yet to be specified).

Beta Viewer Update – Steaming Ahead with Project Code Merges

As indicated in Part 1 of this report, the crash issues impacting the beta viewer code have been resolved, and LL have been engaged in merging-up code into the beta and paving the way for the first of the 3.4.2 beta releases. These were always intended to have the code from some of the major SL projects which impacted the viewer, including Baker Linden’s Group Services code and Monty Linden’s HTTP texture fetch code.

The first 3.4.2 beta viewer was release on Thursday 8th November (3.4.2.266708), which includes a range of updates from the Lab as well as a number of contributed updates and improvements (see the release notes), although precisely which of the LL project elements are in the release isn’t obvious from the release notes themselves – the removal of JIRA numbers from the release note entries makes identifying updates, features and fixes that much harder, even though the JIRA items themselves are still open for public viewing.

One element that is clearly in the latest beta viewer release is the code for the steam link-up, as evidenced by the arrival of the new splash screen which I first reported on back in August 2012 – complete with a promotional piece for the Lab’s Pattern’s game.

First-time log-in splash screen prompt on the beta viewer: readying for the link-up with Steam. Note the Patterns promo, bottom right

Group Services Code – Server and Viewer

Baker Linden’s server-side Group Services (large group editing) fixes is now on all three of the RC channels on tha main (Agni) grid. It appears likely that it will be promoted to the main release channel during week 46, which will mean it is live across the grid.

As mentioned above, the issues impacting code merges into the SL beta viewer have now been resolved, and code is being merged with the beta viewer code. The Group Services code from Baker Linden had been flagged as a priority release, and during the Beta Server meeting on the 8th November, was reported as being in the latest beta viewer release (3.4.2.266708), although the related JIRA (SVC-4968 – Group won’t load – too many members) isn’t explicitly mentioned by name in the viewer’s release notes, which is not to say the code isn’t there, just that it isn’t actually listed. Should it turn out that the code isn’t in 3.4.2266708 (and I’m not qualified to say either way), it will likely be in a further beta release early next week.

Materials Processing

In something of a surprise announcement, Maestro Linden (who has replaced Oskar Linden as the chair of the Beta Server User Group Meeting) stated during the meeting of Thursday 8th November, that the server-side code for Materials Processing is now available on at least one region on Aditi – Chooqu. The server-side changes are to enable the server to store the additional materials data, and to allow the viewer to retrieve the data.

However, there is still no project viewer with which to test materials processing, and no ETA as to when one will be available. A third-party viewer developer outside of the Exodus team (who first proposed the system to LL) has been re-working the viewer’s build floater in order for it to handle normal and specular maps, but it is currently unclear as to how this work and the work being undertaken by the Exodus team / LL has progressed.

Threaded Region Crossings

There has been an initial code deploy for this to Bonifacio (server code  DRTSIM-184 12.10.29.266358) on the beta (Aditi) grid, and a further deployment is probably going to take place (if it hasn’t already) in order for this to be effectively tested.

Interest List

Aimed it improving the order and speed with which objects rez in your world view as you move around SL, Interest Lists and Object Rezzing, a part of the Shining project, has been the focus of Andrew Linden’s work over the last few months, and he’s been slowly teasing things apart and putting them back together again.

Interest lists and object rezzing: getting closer

The code has been running on Ahern on the beta (Aditi) grid for the last few weeks, where Andrew has been hammering out the bugs and issues. Speaking at the last of the Friday Simulator Group meetings (see below) on Friday November 9th, Andrew indicated that the code itself should be going to QA early next week, and if all goes according to plan, it will then find its week to a Release Candidate for deployment to the main grid (upcoming holiday period code freezes accepted). In the meantime, there is likely to be a “pile-on” test held on Aditi in week 46 in order to test the effectiveness of the code with a large number of users.

Simulator-related User Group Meetings

Oskar Linden’s departure from the Lab has give rise to a reshuffling of simulator / server-related meetings – something which has apparently been under discussion for a while within the Lab.
Until now there have effectively been three meetings a week: Tuesdays and Fridays on the main grid (Agni), which have been used to discuss upcoming simulator deployments, changes to the main grid, scripting, and so on, and Thursdays on Aditi which have been more of a look back on the week’s deployments and outcomes and discussions of longer-term projects, work on the beta grid, etc.

As from next week, there will be only two meetings:

  • Simulator User Group meetings will continue to be held on Tuesdays at 12:00 midday SLT, at Danby on Agni, where they will be hosted by Andrew and Simon Linden, with (likely) Kelly and Baker Linden in attendance.There will be no further Friday meetings
  • The Beta Server Group meetings will continue to be held on Thursdays at 15:00 SLT meeting on Aditi, and will be hosted by Maestro Linden (as it was this week), again with other Linden staff in attendance as and when necessary.

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