SL projects update week 14 (3): Viewer releases, server-side AO

Server Deployments – week 14

On Tuesday April 2nd, the Second Life Server (SLS or Main) channel received the interest list update which has been running on the Magnum RC channel for weeks 12-13, together with fixes for the following issues:

  • BUG-1779 – Updates for objects that are out of view are delayed for a maximum of 5 seconds, at which point they will be sent
  • BUG-1795 – “Agent appears in incorrect position to other agents after being moved by a sim teleporter”
  • BUG-1814 – “No object updates from vehicles after some region crossings” – yes, the vehicle region crossing bug fix reaches the Main channel (and should be on BlueSteel and LeTigre following the RC deployments on Wednesday 3rd April).

Deployment release notes.

On Wednesday April 3rd, the Release Candidate (RC) channels received the following updates:

  • BlueSteel and LeTigre received the same package as week 13, which includes the new Animation Override LSL capabilities together with the following:
    • The changes deployed to the Main channel on Tuesday April 2nd
    • A fix for BUG-2134 – “Avatar pre-jump is sporadic”
    • Release notes are available (BlueSteel link)
  • Magnum received Monty Linden’s new server-side HTTP updates – release notes.

SL Viewer

There has been some activity within the various viewer channels, and the promise of more to come.

The Communications Hub User Interface (CHUI)

CHUI has now reached the  viewer release channel with LL issuing viewer 3.5.0.273444. This release includes both the new CHUI UI for conversations, etc., as well as a lot of additional refactoring of code. A blog post has accompanied the launch, complete with Torley’s original video on the interface.

Server-side Baking Viewer Code

The viewer-side code for Server-side Baking / Appearance (SSB) reached the SL development viewer with the release of version 3.5.1.273529. With CHUI now in the release viewer, SSB should also be appearing in the SL beta viewer view shortly.

Materials Processing

“Materials is actually making great progress,” Oz Linden reported at the Open-source Dev meeting on Wednesday April 3rd. He went on to say the latest work on the code is showing promise and was due to go to LL’s QA department. If things go well with QA, it is possible that a project viewer could finally be emerging from the darkness. However, as Oz again warned this will only happen when, “We’re confident that 1) it won’t do any serious harm, and 2) it’s not so terrible that it’ll give the project a black eye.”

Nevertheless, things are moving.

Server-side Animation Override Capabilities

New server-side AO capabilities coming soon
New server-side AO capabilities: LSL functions now being deployed to main grid

While the new Animation Override LSL capabilities have only just rolled-out BlueSteel and LeTigre, the server has actually supported overriding animations for over a year; it has just lacked the required LSL functions and some bug fixes. This means that if you use the new capabilities on either BlueSteel or LeTigre, any animations you set will continue to work across the entire grid until you log out.

In noting this at the Server Beta user group meeting on Thursday April 4th, Kelly Linden went on to say:

The new override functions do not allow setting by UUID. My original version (well over a year old) set by integer constants. However there was some desire internally to make the system more flexible, to allow for different states or modifying the state machine diagram, and for that string constants were used. Right now those string constants are converted to integer constants for use in the existing internal state machine.

In other words, the system allows animations to be specified by name (string constant), making the capability somewhat more user-friendly than might have been the case has UUIDs for animations been required. The the string constants are converted to integers for handling by the server’s state machine (the “engine” for animations on the server-side) means that it should be possible for the state machine to be updated in the future without potentially breaking content using the capabilities.

In answering a question on the lack of support for animations such as idling and typing, Kelly again explained that some animation types are not supported by the state engine. These are either handled within the viewer (idling) or elsewhere in server (typing), as such they fall outside the new AO capabilities. Swimming is also excluded, although Kelly couldn’t remember if that is handled viewer-side or elsewhere in the server.

HTTP Updates

Monty Linden’s ongoing HTTP work reached the Magnum RC channel. For those interested in monitoring SL’s port usage, Monty provided a quick summary in response to a question on texture fetches posted to the deployment thread:

The Texture Console speaks truth for texture fetches, either http or udp.  If that is quiet while this transport is going on, it’s something else …. and here are some rules that will determine the traffic:

  • Port 12046 but textures are quiet => mesh fetches
  • Port 12043 (corrected, was 12042) => other HTTP services (“Capabilities”)
  • UDP port 12035, 13000-130XX => simulator communications

Related Links

8 thoughts on “SL projects update week 14 (3): Viewer releases, server-side AO

  1. It’s a shame that they didn’t fix the CHUI so that not all the floaters will close when CTRL+T’ing. CTRL+T also seems bound to the CHUI base, so that the key shortcut does nothing unless you’re focused on the CHUI floater, though sometimes it also seems like it’ll occasionally self-focus onto the CHUI base floater by bouncing focus around on various floaters, but it’s not consistent.

    They *almost* had it perfect.

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  2. I usually use Firestorm, but the current release version came out in December last year, and there are a few graphics glitches that are fixed in more recent code.

    CHUI does things a lot like Firestorm, but not the same. There are also the usual LL Viewer problems arising from its choice of colour schemes. You have to download and install the Starlight add-on to get anything other than light grey on dark grey. Even without that, I can remember how intimidating the Firestorm chat interface was, when I first used it. I heard the bitching start within a few hours of the release, but that’s what the new users are using.

    I am used to Firestorm, and I shall wait to see what the Firestorm team do with CHUI and SSB before I make a final choice, but CHUI is good enough. I do use the AO built in to the Firestorm viewer, and it will be interesting seeing how that might work out with the new LSL code. Once that is grid-wide that is.

    I like the way the text entry sub-window expands, so that you can see the whole message you type, but that does seem to affect what up-arrow can do. That’s one of those changes which some people will be annoyed by. For me, it’s worthwhile.

    So, cautious optimism, but CHUI has relatively little effect on the servers. SSB, Materials, and the like, could still mess things up big-time.

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    1. I share you views, vis-a-vis CHUI (and your viewer preference).

      In terms of Firstorm, it’ll be a while before we see anything CHUI-wise in the viewer. The team are taking a pragmatic approach and focusing on SSB and updates for the next release, while keeping CHUI to one side (although work on it has commenced – there is a lot of code refactoring outside of the CHUI which needs sorting through, as well as determining which parts of the CHUI UI are to be adopted into FS).

      As to when we’ll see the next release – it may not be that long; everything now hinges on how well the viewer-side of SSB work performs as it progresses through LL’s viewer channels (dev, beta & release).

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  3. As I maybe didn’t make clear enough, CHUI is what the new users are using.

    The last I heard, I’d expect a new Firestorm release before the end of the month, unless the SSB project experiences a mammary orientation challenge. And there will, alas, be a period of mixed old-style and new-style avatar baking which will be noticed by everyone, unlike the problems with Vehicle Physics versions last year.

    It’s at times like this that I wish I could afford to run a virtual version of the Spontoon Islands, where I could sit on the verandah of a good bar, with the right sort of beer and the right sort of music, watching the native girls go by in their grass skirts, and reading a lawnmower catalogue.

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    1. CHUI is what users of the SL viewer who have automatic updates turned on (most have) will be using, yes.

      As to SSB and the deployment + viewer updates in general – blog post coming shortly with the latest news from both LL and TPVs, which includes the matter of “old” and “new” viewers and trying to minimise negative impact, and a look at the latest in terms of deployment / implementation discussions / plans.

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  4. I love CHUI. I got addicted to it in beta even tho i was crashing a lot with the beta viewer, i am delighted to find that it must have been something else in there that was doing it, because i have had no crashes since CHUI slid into the main viewer release.

    Everyone focuses on it as a communication hub, so i want to throw my 2 cents in to rave about it as a tool for advanced ‘NON-communication’, as the Busy Mode of my dreams, as a sort of virtual secretary who actually holds my calls and writes messages down for later.
    The fact that you can set message notifications to all work (or not work) differently based on who is sending what and further specify flashes or sounds or pop ups or nothing is great. I have already noticed about a 30% increase in my inworld productivity even without needing to use the Do Not Disturb setting, and i expect that to go much higher in the coming weeks as CHUI gradually weans me off watching group chats and constantly visually checking the the row of chiclets to make sure i am not missing anything. CHUI lets me get stuff done and never miss anything.
    The well organized inventory style window is excellent, the expanding text window is nice, the fact that even really really large group lists load now is nice and will be handy, adding people to conversations, the switch voice calls, you know, that’s all very nice & yadda yadda yadda. What matters to to my SL is that FINALLY there is a messaging system that works and a ‘busy mode’ that means more than sending a terse message.
    It rocks! LL should be congratulated for borrowing some good ideas, and taking the concept further, for providing an unusual level of customization and features and doing so without junking up the screen or needing to hide things in dark corners of the interface.
    Let the bitching, moaning & whining about another change (eek really change!) begin, i won’t hear or be interrupted by any of it… but may look at it later 🙂

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  5. Dang! I missed the discussion on server-side AO two weeks ago. Now it seems I have to change some scripts hehe. Well, I’m all for the changes. It’s incredible — animations were launched in June 2004 with no way of overriding the defaults, which should have been obvious since that date, and the first AO was developed in September 2004.

    For almost nine years we’ve been stuck with bad hacks and tricks to make AOs work at all.

    That’s the strange pace of SL development; what ought to be “obvious” takes a decade to fix. But let’s be honest here: I hardly remember such a fast pace of development of features and bug fixes since 2005. Rod is certainly not allowing their developers stand still. And they’re as keen as fixing major things as smaller (but incredibly useful!) ones. Nice work.

    When I occasionally met people in 2009 or 2010, who already thought SL was “long dead”, I tended to tell them, “oh no, it’s far bigger now and has a few new features, we have a new viewer and all, content is getting better, but it’s still pretty much what it was”. These days, people are even more skeptic that SL is still around (since the media completely forgot its existence), but now I tell them that SL in 2013 has nothing to do with the SL they knew in 2007, and the pace of development is hurricane-style, doing huge dramatic changes which will give people a totally different experience. When the whole of Sunshine is finished, people will not recognize the laggy, cluttered, outdated environment they were so used to in 2007.

    So excellent work so far, LL!

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    1. It seems that the server side is half-done for the whole grid. Once the default is changed to something new, that change sticks. Which is going to be good for the simple AOs. But until the LSL support is grid-wide, an AO which cycles through several different animations is going to pop up errors

      What I would like to see is some way of modifying priorities, with the existing animation priority as the default. Or is that too big a can of worms?

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