SL Viewer Updates
There’s no movement on the release viewer, and likely won’t be until Server-side Baking moves to it, having finally arrived in the Beta viewer on April 12th (see below). The Development viewer was also updated on April 12th, with the release of version 126.96.36.1993873, which includes both SSB and CHUI updates.
An update to the materials processing project viewer was released on Friday April 12th – 188.8.131.523855 – with a series of bug fixes included in it. There are further updates on the way, with the next release due around the middle of week 16, which will have further bug fixes and, hopefully, some Alpha mode updates as well. Commenting on the latter at the Content Creation User Group on Monday April 15th, Geenz Spad said, “Actually just got normal maps working on alpha blended objects, and trying to get everything else working on them as well.”
One fix currently pending is that for MATBUG-16, Changing one material, or setting causes another material texture to be lost. This is an issue which can happen as a result of several factors. For example, setting a normal or specular map for one face of an object can result in maps already applied to other faces of an object either being removed or replaced with the most recently added map. The same issue can occur when applying a setting such as glossiness to one face of an object using materials.
This problem doesn’t happen every time mixed materials elements are used on object faces, but can occur when adding multiple materials elements to an object in quick succession. “There are a couple of problems there,” Oz Linden said while discussing the problem at the Open-source Dev meeting on Monday, April 15th. “The updates to the server are happening faster than it will allow, which is one problem. The other is that the updates are not applied locally as smoothly as they should be.”
Tonya Souther, who re-worked the Build floater for materials processing added, “Yeah, that bug has been driving me batty ever since I first did the UI. And I think that’s due to the design of the system…the UI has to ask the server for the material separately, and apply the values retrieved from it to the UI components when they arrive. That ‘s the only way that the UI won’t get out of sync with the actual values stored on the server … I just need to find a way to make the delay not apparent to the user and handle changes that come along in that period.”
For now, the answer seems to be that if you experience any issues with normal / specular maps vanishing or being replaced when using multiple maps / effects across different faces of an object, then allow a short pause between adding the various maps / effects so the viewer and server can keep pace with your work.
Elsewhere, Geenz Spad, one of the architects of the materials processing system, has started a new blog series on materials, Second Life Materials: A Content Creator’s Guide. In the first part of the series, he answers the question, What’s a material? In the next installment, he promises to take a look at some of the tools which can be used to create normal maps.
The viewer Server-side Baking /Appearance code reached the Beta viewer in week 15 with the release of 184.108.40.2063869 on April 12th. The initial stats apparently show it is doing well, crash-wise, but the status of incoming bugs is currently unclear. However, it still looks as if the code is currently on course for around a two-week stint in the beta viewer prior to moving to the release viewer channel.
A key bug fix for the system has been SUN-57, which now allows multiple layer of clothing to be worn / swapped on regions which are not running the SSB server-side code (on Aditi), which removes a potential road block from server-side code deployment (remembering that for a time during the server-side deployment, updated viewers must support both the old and new avatar baking services).
There are still no definitive timescales for any Agni deployment for SSB/A. As previously reported in this blog, it is still unlikely that any major deployment operations will commence prior to the SSB cove reaching the release viewer.
I recently blogged about Oculus Rift and speculation as to whether it would see use in Second Life. On April 7th, Jon Brouchoud blogged on why SL would be a “killer app” for the headset – an article which has seen widespread reprinting / referral in SL / Opensim related blogs. While I have no particular opinion either way as to Oculus Rift / Second life (although how it will work with the SL UI does intrigue me), I have to admit the following video demonstrating Oculus Rift had me smiling from ear-to-ear. It’s not really related to Second Life, but it is well-worth watching.