SL projects update week 13 (2): server releases, HTTP, and viewer notes

Server Deployments Update

On Tuesday March 26th, the SLS (Main) channel received the maintenance package previously deployed to BlueSteel and LeTigre in week 12, which includes a fix for a crash mode  – release notes.

On Wednesday March 27th, the RC channels received the following packages:

  • BlueSteel and LeTigre: a new maintenance package, which includes:
  • Magnum: should receive the same update as the Main channel (i.e. the package deployed in week 12 to BlueSteeel and LeTigre), otherwise retaining the updates and fixes deployed to it in week 12 – release notes.

As usual, there is a forum discussion thread for comments / feedback on the deployments.

Some issues have been reported following the Main channel deployment, but nothing which warranted any major action on LL’s part. Some reported noticeable improvements as a result of the pathfinding update.

Week 14 Deployments

While a final decisions has yet to be made on deployments for the week commencing Monday April 1st, Maestro Linden, hosting the  Server Beta group meeting on Thursday March 28th, indicated that the Magnum updates (which are all interest list related and include the vehicle region crossing fix for BUG-1814) is currently his personal favourite to be promoted to the Main channel and BlueSteel / LeTigre in week 14. If this proves to be the case, then he’s liable to have a lot of SL vehicle users very happy with him – myself included!

SL Viewer – CHUI, SSB and More

The SL development viewer moved to release 3.5.1.272979 on Thursday March 28th. As there are no release notes associated with development viewer releases, it is not always easy to determine what a new release contains; however, from tests, it would not appear that the release contains the viewer-side Server-side Baking (SSB) code.

The next major update to the release viewer is slated to be the Communications Hub User Interface (CHUI), which should be arriving “any time now” according the last-known plans from LL.

As previously noted, once CHUI reaches the release viewer, SSB will move to the beta viewer and make an appearance in week 14 – possibly (and coincidentally) on April 1st. Once in the beta viewer, it will remain there for up to four weeks (unless significant bugs are found), and no less than two weeks, prior to it moving to the SL release viewer. It is unlikely that any SSB server-side deployment will commence on the Main grid until after SSB has reached the release viewer – however, this is subject to final planning, and there may be a limited release of the server code while SSB is still in the beta viewer.

Work is still progressing on the materials code, and there is still no date for the release of a project viewer.

HTTP Project

On Wednesday 27th March, Monty Linden sent out an e-mail indicating the current beta testing on Aditi for his new HTTP capabilities will be drawing to a close “shortly”, and that anyone interested in carrying out tests in the three channels should do so sooner rather than later. Precisely when the beta test will close is unclear, but from Monty’s e-mail it would not be unreasonable to assume it will be within a week.

The next stage for this work is for it to progress to a Release Candidate channel – which will seem the “normal” configuration for HTTP services currently on channel DRTSIM-203 on Aditi carried forward to the selected RC channel(s). While there is no date as to when the HTTP work will reach a RC channel, Monty will be looking at the deployment as a more in-depth load test opportunity and seeing how well the new services might scale.

Other Items

Advanced Creation Tools Permissions

July saw the launch of the first phase of the Advanced Creation Tools, also referred to as experience tools. Following problems with an initial deployment of the tools in June, which resulted them being exploited as a means of griefing, the “first phase” of the release saw the tools implemented with existing permissions system in place, with the intention of updating the permissions system to allow the tools to be more fully used “in the future”.

After hearing that the work on the permissions system was again getting attention having been “stalled” for a time, there has been something of a further absence of news on progress. However, speaking at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday March 28th, Maestro was able to confirm the permissions system is currently on internal testing at LL – so it might be showing-up on Aditi (or in an RC deployment) in the not-so-distant future.

Scripted Avatar Rotation

The subject of scripted avatar rotation has come up for discussion at the last couple of server-related meetings. The idea is to use a scripted object to force the avatar to face a specific direction. It is not a new request, having been the subject of several JIRA in the past, most notably SVC-56, which also provides some suggestions as to how it might be achieved. Being able to turn the avatar to face a specific direction has a number of potential benefits – it could, for example, be used to have an avatar face a rock face which could then be “climbed”, or it could make avatar alignment for hugs / kisses a lot more accurate.

RLV already allows such rotation, although it may not be as accurate as required in some of the potential uses. Some objections to the capability have been put forward in the past – such as the potential for “griefing” others; although “griefing” of the kind envisaged perhaps shouldn’t necessarily prevent the development of such a capability, which would preferably be achieved by means of an attached scripted object, which wshould help minimise the risk of malicious use of the capability.

Andrew Linden, in discussing the idea at the Simulator User Group on March 26th commented:

Avatar rotation by script is actually hard to do. The reason it is so hard is a legacy thing… the protocol is basically set up such that the viewer tells the server where the avatar should be facing, and the server tries very hard to get it there. So in order for the server to turn the avatar, it would have to know when to listen to the viewer and when not; remembering such a state isn’t hard, but figuring out when to transition is hard … what would happen if a “turn the avatar” event was triggered and you started mashing on the keyboard to move the avatar elsewhere… what system should win?

Without committing to anything, Andrew concluded the discussion by saying, “I’ll think more about it. Maybe it’s possible. There must be a clever way. I don’t see it yet.”

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