SL project news: week 3 (1): Servers, Materials, Baking and more

Update 19th January: As is being reported in the deployment thread in the forums, further issues are arising with search, and also problems with scripted vehicles (as Wolf also nones in the comments for this article. Those using regions running on Magnum are advised to keep an eye on the deployment thread for news on issues as they are investigated by other users / feedback from the Lab.

Update 18th January: An issue has ben reported with Magnum regions no longer being listed in the main search floater, although shops, etc, within a Magnum region are still listed. The problem does not extend to the world map search. Maestro Linden has filed a bug report. A rolling restart of all LeTigre and BlueSteel regions commenced at 10:00 SLT due to instablility issues being reported with the regions. The restart will comprise a roll-back of server code on BlueSteel and LeTigre to 12.12.18.268345.

Deployments for Week 3

After the issues encountered last, week, there was no main channel release on Tuesday 15th January, 2013.

Changes also occurred with the RC channel deployments. As fixes for the threaded region crossing problems were not ready for release, this was removed from the schedule and replaced by a maint-server release. Then, a network hardware error forced the RC deployments to be postponed until Thursday 17th January.

The roll-outs duly took place on the 17th, and comprise:

BlueSteel and LeTigre received the interest list improvement project. Originally scheduled for Magnum in week 2, but was held up due to a last-minute bugs, this  update should reduce the bandwidth usage of viewers due to object updates, and should improve simulator performance, especially in sims with many connected avatars – release notes here (BlueSteel).

This release received an additional bug fix, related to seated avatars temporarily vanishing from other avatars’ view when  crossing between regions. This fix may have led to the server release notes as reported and wiki pages for BlueSteel and LeTigre slipping out of sync with the actual code release (this has now been corrected subsequent to my pointing it out to Maestro Linden).

Magnum received a new server maintenance project, which mostly contains bug fixes, together with the following:

  • Server-side code to support “neck” and “center” attach points, which didn’t get rolled out when these were added to the viewer (but which now also require a minor change to the viewer, which is forthcoming)
  • An update to improve the effectiveness of estate bans (i.e. preventing banned avatars returning)
  • An update for builders, which covers SVC-7996 and as a part of STORM-68 (ensuring all created items have the default permissions set within the viewer). This particular fix ensures that scripts created using the New Script button in the build floater inherit the permissions set within the viewer, rather than server-defined defaults
  • An update to how abandoned mainland is handled, as the automated buy-back option for abandoned land is being eliminated (see: Abandoned Land in the Knowledge Base)
  • Release notes here.

Deployments for Week 4 (Commencing Monday 21st January)

There is no major news on releases for week 4, other than the threaded region crossing code now has fixes for the last-minute issues which prevented its roll-out in week 2, so this should be on one of the RC channels for deployment on Wednesday 23rd January.

SL Viewer

The release version of the SL viewer rolled to the 3.4.4 codebase on Tuesday January 15th, with the release of 3.4.4.268864. See the release notes for details of updates and fixes.The development viewer is rapidly progressing through a series of releases, with 3.4.6.269073 released on January 15th, followed by 3.4.6.269108 on January 17th.

After a series of development version releases, the CHUI project viewer also moved to the 3.4.4 codebase with the release of version 3.4.4.268981, also on January 15th. The Development version of CHUI continues to keep pace with releases from viewer-development.

Server-side Baking

Work is continuing on avatar baking (otherwise know as server-side baking or Project Sunshine), with Nyx Linden reporting at the Content Creation User Group on Monday 14th January that the team has, “Been a bit heads-down focusing on some bug-stomping.”

Concern is growing that, since the initial release of the Sunshine Project viewer a month ago, there have been no further updates to the viewer-side code, despite extensive feedback from TPVs, which  – in the words of one developer – is not conducive to enabling everyone to adopt the latest code and get ready for the baking service within anticipated time frames (i.e. mid-to-late February).

Nyx has acknowledged the problem, and hopes that the Sunshine code will be merged-up to the latest viewer development code soon, together with verification that nothing has been broken as a result. In the meantime, and away from the SL viewer itself, Henri Beauchamp reported that he has server-side baking working in the experimental branch of his Cool VL viewer.

A further concern with the project is the manner in which JIRAs are being handled since last year’s changes to the system. Raised issues are effectively being cloned, with one version sitting internally to LL and “hidden” from general viewing, with the cloned version available for public viewing and update. This has resulted in worries that cooperation between TPVs and LL in resolving issues related to the Sunshine project could be hampered if the cloned public JIRA are not properly updated whenever LL update the internal versions of the same issues. Nyx Linden has promised to work to ensure that all cloned public JIRA are kept up-to-date.

Materials Processing

The server-side code for this is “inching towards” a point where it will be ready for deployment to an RC channel. When this will be is unclear, but it is likely to be ahead of any project viewer emerging from the Lab.

Concern is still being raised over the need to run the viewer in deferred mode in order to see materials processing in action once it has been rolled-out onto the grid. Some of this concern may be down to the confusing way in which deferred mode is labelled in the Graphics tab of the viewer preferences (“Lighting and Shadows”), with people thinking they must have shadows running in order to be in deferred mode (i.e. with the Shadows drop-down set to either Sun/Mon or Sun/Moon + Projectors). However, the viewer is running in deferred mode even with the drop-down set to None.

Running in deferred mode does none require shadows themselves to be active
Running in deferred mode does none require shadows themselves to be active

Running deferred with Shadows set to None can improve performance somewhat, and might allow some systems to run in deferred mode at a more reasonable frame-rate than might otherwise be the case. While it will not work in every situation, for those who haven’t tried it, it might be worth experimenting with, particularly in light of recent and upcoming rendering system improvements from the Lab.

Investigations are apparently underway at the Lab to see in the number of viewers running in deferred (and the number of viewer capable of running in deferred) can be ascertained and the figures published.

Advanced Creation Tool Issue

A bug with one of the Advanced Creation Tool options has been identified.

llAttachToAvatarTemp (integer attach_point) allows objects to be attached to your avatar / screen without any corresponding inventory record being created for the item, which will disappear on being detached or on disconnecting (teleporting) from the region in which it is active.

However, it has been noticed if an additional item is added to an avatar (i.e. an item of system clothing, hair, etc.) when using llAttachToAvatarTemp, the item attached by the function can be detached.

9 thoughts on “SL project news: week 3 (1): Servers, Materials, Baking and more

  1. Hehe I’m a bit confused now 🙂 Which of the many LL viewers actually implements materials right now? I’m happy to run the viewer in deferred mode, let it crash, and allow LL to get many reports but first I need to know which one to use!

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    1. No officially public viewer runs materials right now.

      The server-side of the project is approaching maturity, and as mentioned above, is likely to be reaching a release channel on the main grid soon. However, work on the viewer is still continuing, and a project viewer most likely won’t b available until after the server code has reached an RC. This means that while the server-side code will be on part of the main grid, people won’t actually be able to leverage it until the project viewer arrives / TPVs are able to start integrating the viewer-side code and releasing viewers of their own.

      The concerns of deferred rendering relate more to making sure people understand what is required in order to see materials processing in action, and over the number of people who are actually in a position to run their viewers with deferred rendering active when materials finally arrives in the viewer.

      Apologies if I’ve not been clear enough, I’ve not been firing on all cylinders for the last couple of weeks (hence the slow-down in blog posts).

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      1. Ah, thanks for the explanation… since LL has been so helpful in explaining that one needs to set deferred rendering on their viewers, I thought they had actually released one viewer for people to experiment with…

        Aw and I hope you’re all right… that last paragraph of yours made me worry! Don’t tell me that you’ve caught the lung infection that has been spreading world-wide…

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        1. Thanks, Gywn

          Been under the weather and dealing with a few RL issues; nothing overly serious; just means my brain (what little there is of it) is frequently elsewhere, even when I’m sitting in front of wordpress…

          Rest assured, once a viewer for materials is out, I’ll be shouting and waving about it, as I’m keen to have a play myself :).

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  2. Since the old rendering system is “Basic Shaders”, wouldn’t it be simplest to rename “Lighting and Shadows” as “Advanced Shaders”.?

    Or is that too obvious for a Linden?

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    1. Or, giving LL an the rest of us refer to it as “deferred rendering”, why not “Enable Deferred Rendering”? for the check box? :).

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      1. Pretty sure it used to be labelled deferred rendering when it was only an option in the advanced drop down. How about calling the check mark, “Enable Materials and Lighting”

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  3. I’ve been experiencing script oddities with Magnum regions–scripting doesn’t seem reliable, and scripts may not be starting/stopping properly.

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