SL project news week 51/2

Server Deployments

The RC channel deployment took place on Wednesday 19th December as planned, with no major hiccups or issues apparently being felt / reported. This release saw all three RC channels receive the same package, which is the Magnum deployment from week 50, with a single additional bug fix.

The release notes (for Magnum, but applicable to all three RC channels) can be found here, and the forum discussion thread is still open should anyone have comments (allowing to the start of the holiday period & delays in any replies from LL).

SL Viewer Update

The last beta release of 2012 arrived on Thursday December 20th with the release of – which as the name suggests, uses the 3.4.4 code from viewer-development. Chief among the updates in this release include:

  • Moving viewer crash logger and SLPlugin from the Carbon API to Mac OSX Cocoa for the Mac viewer
  • Fixes for fontconfig crash-on-start issues experienced with Linux
  • Revisions for pathfinding options, including additional of tear-off option for Pathfinding menu when opened from Build menu; introduction of Region Rebake option to Pathfinding menu
  • Fixes for release issue of flexiprims stopping flexing after teleports
  • Further fixes for llTargetOmega() issues

The full set of release notes can be found here.

Forthcoming Viewer Graphics Enhancements

Alongside of the upcoming materials processing capabilities of normal and specular maps, the SL viewer will be receiving further rendering improvements in 2013, comprising:

  • Gamma correction capabilities
  • Improvements to the “Shiny” capabilities in the viewer (Build floater > Texture tab >Shiny button) when running in deferred mode, to make shine appear more as it does in the real world, with the level of shine based on the amount of reflected light / angle from which a shiny object is viewed from relative to the light source
  • In-world scene reflections on shiny surfaces.
Gamma correction: from Exodus to the SL viewer in 2013
Gamma correction: from Exodus to the SL viewer in 2013

Gamma correction is a process by which lighting on a screen can be adjusted to make it look more natural to the human eye by adjusting the RGB channels to give a more natural-light contrast. It can also be used to produce interesting photographic effects. Exodus viewer already has gamma correction, which can be adjusted via the Visual Settings floater (above).

A simple, if extreme, example of gamma correction: both images were taken under the same lighting conditions
A simple, if extreme, example of gamma correction used for a photographic effect: both images were taken under the same deferred lighting conditions, the image of the left with “normal” (default) gamma correction in the viewer, the one on the right taken with all three channels increased in value to produce an image with a much deeper contrast

As with materials processing, all three of the new capabilities are being introduced to the SL viewer via the Exodus team, lead by Geenz Spad, who indicated that in the case of gamma correction, the new capabilities will be somewhat more capable as a process within the SL viewer than is currently the case with the Exodus viewer.

As with material processing itself, which is still progressing, as I reported last time, there are no time frames as to when each of these new capabilities will be available within the viewer.

Threaded Region Crossing Code Test

Wednesday 19th December saw a “pile-on” test take place on Aditi for the new threaded region crossing code. The test has been called by Caleb Linden with a view to trying-out region crossing under a range of tests, including avatars with heavy scripted loads, repeated crossings by vehicles, via teleporting, etc.

In all, six regions were / are available for tests: GC Test 9, 10, 15 and 16 forming a block of four running in “threaded” mode, and GC Test 2 and 8 running in “unthreaded” mode, but otherwise the same server code.

Turn-out for the tests wasn’t particularly great (around 15 people together in the test region at any one time), with a range of ground and air vehicles being used to try-out the crossings and compare them directly with crossing between the two unthreaded regions (and testing between threaded / unthreaded).

The overall consensus from those at the tests were that crossings between threaded regions were somewhat improved – but the overall improvements were not that spectacular. At times recovery from loss of control of a vehicle appeared to be faster – a matter of one or two seconds – but at other times, things seemed to be the same, with vehicles ploughing through the ground / flying into the air for 6-7 seconds at a time before recovering, giving pretty similar results to those encountered crossing between threaded / unthreaded and between unthreaded regions.

Crossing between threaded regions in a vehicle: some improvements, but not a lot
Crossing between threaded regions in a vehicle: some improvements, but not a lot

Crossing between regions on foot, even under an excessive HUD / attachment script load (373 scripts accounting for 2.87800ms cpu time) and with vehicles zinging back and forth, did appear to me to be somewhat improved, with little or no “rubber banding” or walking off into the sunset, but a recovery of control after just a few paces.

Post-test, Caleb has requested those participating in the test file JIRA on any specific issues they encountered, and include “Region Crossing” in the description / subject heading for the report.

With thanks to Darien Cauldwell for information on the viewer enhancements discussed at the Opensource Dev meeting.

4 thoughts on “SL project news week 51/2

  1. Gamma isn’t quite the same with computers as it is with photography, but at heart it is still the relationship between input and output. And it can take effects in several places in your system. Start with a good monitor setup, which will depend on where you are, because any light falling on the screen affects the possible black level. Then you can work in your video driver, and only when that is as good as you can get it, start working with the program itself.

    LCD Monitor Test Page


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