Deployments for Week 6
A full set of deployments on the channels this week.
On Tuesday 5th February, the Main channel received the server maintenance project deployed to LeTigre in week 5. This has miscellaneous minor bug fixes and new features – release notes.
On Wednesday 6th February, the Release candidate channels should receive the following:
- BlueSteel should receive code for materials processing. There is still no project viewer publicly available for this project. When one becomes available, notices will be posted on the Project Viewer page, the Tools and Technology Blog, and STORM-1905 – release notes
- LeTigre should receive a new maint-server project to fix miscellaneous crash modes, and which offers minor performance improvements – release notes
- Magnum should receive an update to the interest list code and support for materials processing. The interest list update should specifically address the bot / bandwidth problem reported on in last week’s update – release notes
As ever, a forum thread has been created for the discussion of the deployment packages, or any issues arising therefrom.
In late 2012 some regions (noticeably Homesteads) starting experiencing issues related to their physics memory. Investigations by Simon Linden revealed that part of the problem lay with these regions experiencing repeated navmesh rebakes, with each rebake consuming server memory with the result that multiple rebakes were leaving regions in need of a restart. Simon also confirmed that not all of the triggers generating a request appear to be linked to the actual need for a rebake (altering some estate / parcel settings can trigger a request, for example), and developed a fix for the issue. Simon believes this fix will be promoted to a Release Channel this week, although it is absent by name and description from the release notes at present.
Viewer releases are again unblocked, with further development viewer (incl. CHUI) made at the end of the week 5. Currently, CHUI looks to be the next project in line to be merged to the 3.4.5 code (with the project version already merged to the viewer-dev 3.4.6 code). This could make CHUI the first of the current projects affecting the viewer to reach a beta viewer release, but the timescales and order are far from definitive at this point – so it is possible CHUI may still be delayed in reaching the 3.4.5 beta code.
Further to the week 4 update, it now appears scripting support may become available with materials processing, although a) it will not be in the initial release; b) there appear to be considerable concerns on the Lab’s side of things as to the potential impact. Speaking at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday 31st January, Maestro Linden said the option for scripted control of normal and specular maps had been removed from the original proposal out of concern for it being exploited and used to thrash the server and rendering pipeline.
Speaking at the Content Creation User Group meeting on Monday 5th February, Geenz Spad, who co-authored the original proposal and who is working on the viewer side of the project, struck a more conciliatory tone. While confirming script support will not be available for normal and specular maps, he commented that this is in part because normal and specular maps don’t “plug into” existing means to manipulate diffuse (texture) maps using scripts. He went on, “I’m not saying no one would add scripting for the *new* parameters. Just that it won’t make it as part of the first release; think of it as a ‘we didn’t have time’ sort of thing.” Whether or not support for scripted control of normal and specular maps remains to be seen, commenting on the matter, Nyx Linden said, “That would be a feature request to submit after the first release :),” – so it is likely the Lab will see what the demand is like prior to committing to anything, one way or the other, again allowing for the network / rendering concerns which have been voiced on their side.
In terms of animating normal and specular maps, Geenz confirmed that all current methods of animating textures will work with the additional maps, which I had more-or-less confirmed through my own rough tests, as reported in my sneak peek at the (then) latest version of the pre-release materials viewer.
Back in week 3, I discussed the fact that normal and specular maps require a viewer to be running in deferred mode (“Lighting and Shadows” in the Advanced options of the Graphic tab in v3-based viewers) in order for their effects to be seen, and gave a short overview how deferred can be used without actually having to have shadows enabled. This post was followed by a short discussion on possibly renaming the option to something more obvious to users.
Well, it appears that someone is a few steps ahead of things on this. In the most recent versions of the pre-release materials viewer, Lighting and Shadows is renamed to “Advance Lighting Model”.
It’s still a little bit of a mouthful, but it may help when it comes to explaining how materials processing works. As it stands a project viewer for materials might be available by the end of week 6.
What’s in a Name?
Those who make full permission items intended for use by other creators as a part of their products can often face a frustrating problem: finding themselves in receipt of a call for assistance about the items in which their products have been used – as it is their name recorded in the Creator field, rather than the name of the person who made the item itself.
While this can be negated in some degree, results aren’t always perfect, and requires no small amount of fiddling around when it comes to full perm mesh items. This being the case, there was some discussion at the Content Creation user Group Meeting on Monday 5th February as to how the situation might be improved through the introduction of an additional field which could sit alongside the Creator and Owner fields and which would identify the person who utilised a full permission mesh in their own work as well as the maker of the mesh itself – so that support questions could then be addressed to that person. One suggestion has even been to call the new field “Support”.
However, such a change could have wide-ranging impact, both in the viewer and server, making it a potentially complex matter to implement. During the Content Creation meeting on Tuesday February 4th, it was clear that there were several views on the subject of how to handle things, as well as some discussion on the complexities of actually implementing it.
Commenting on the matter, Nyx Linden requested that if a consensus view can be reached on the matter – or if people do feel it is a pressing matter which needs more consideration / discussion – that it should be raised as a feature request on the JIRA (i.e. file a bug report, but put “Feature Request” in the title / subject), so that it is at least on the Linden radar.