SL projects update week 16 (1): SL viewer, materials, SSB and other bits

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, which includes both SSB and CHUI updates.

Materials Project

An update to the materials processing project viewer was released on Friday April 12th – – 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.

MATBUG-16 demonstrated using 2 deiffuse maps and their associated normal maps. (l) the prim with a diffuse map added to one face & with the "stone" normal map still showing for all faces. (r) the normal map add
MATBUG-16 demonstrated using 2 diffuse maps and their associated normal maps. A prim previously set with a stone diffuse map and associated normal map has a green diffuse map applied to one face – the normal map is unaffected (l). However, when the normal map is updated, it changes for the entire prim (r)

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.

Server-side Baking

The viewer Server-side Baking /Appearance code reached the Beta viewer in week 15 with the release of 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).

The SUN-57 issue, as defined by Whirly Fizzle: left - Outfit A from her My Outfits folder replaces whatever she was previously wearing, and appears correct; centre - after a relog, she repalces Outfir A with Outfit B, and again, everything appears correct; right - she replaces Outfit B with Outfit A, but her skin fails to bake correctly, the head and legs showing the skin associated with Outfit A, the torso still showing the skin from Outfit B (shown naked for clarity) - images courtesy of Whirly Fizzle / JIRA SUN-57
The SUN-57 issue, as defined by Whirly Fizzle, which saw issues occurring in avatar baking using a viewer supporting the upcoming “new” SSB/A service and changing outfits on a region only supporting the current avatar baking process, which saw outfits and skins failing to update correctly following changes. Reportedly now fixed

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.

Other Items

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.

Art on nine immersive planets

Quan Lavender invited me to a preview of Betty Tureaud’s immersive  / interactive installation The 9 Art Planets.

Betty describes the piece thus:

The Art Planets is an art installation where I want to give the visitors 9 different emotional feelings, reflected in their subconscious mind. One level is inspired by Char Davies who I think invented the Immersive Virtual Art. I am using space, colors and sound and some interactive objects to reach my goal in The 9 Art Planets. So turn on your sound and music … The Art Planets have a music stream especially composed for this place, by Ultraviolet Alter. a French composer and good friend of mine. Set your light two midday. Sound should be set to hear sound and music. Media should not be set to autoplay, you will see a note where to switch on.

9 Planets: where something as easy as opening a door can blow you away...
9 Planets: where something as easy as opening a door can blow you away…

Your journey through these nine planets commences on a Mars-like plain, a Geiger counter clicking away somewhere and a building before you. A small case outside the building will provide you with a visitor’s HUD to get around the installation and also an introductory notecard.

As the name implies, there are nine elements to the installation to visit, with the HUD providing easy access to all of them. Whether you go in the suggested left-to-right order suggested by the HUD (the start location being on the left-hand end of the HUD, or whether you pick destinations according to curiosity is up to you.

9 Planets
9 Planets

Despite some resemblance to parts of the solar system, this is not an installation which presents art against a backdrop of the planets orbiting our sun. Rather, as Betty’s introduction states, the aim is to induce an emotional response based on colour, light, sound, music and interaction. This last part is important, as it is easy to pass through sections and miss interactive elements. Some of these may set you flying, others leave you dancing. Some may require a degree of passive observation. Some are also more active than others – such as the maze, in which you place yourself in the role of a “mouse” seeking the “cheese”. Whether you attempt the hard or easy route is agin up to you…

9 Planets
9 Planets

Given the nature of the piece, it is actually hard to quantify; given the immersive / interactive nature of the various elements, it really is something which has to be explored and experienced. For those of a mind to do so, there are little gifts scattered around the various elements, which can be collected along the way. And again, as Betty’s notes explain, be ready with media;  Ultraviolet has produced some wonderful pieces to accompany the installation, and the experience really isn’t the same without them.

All-in-all, very much worth a visit – just even yourself time to explore, experience and enjoy.

The 9 Art Planets opens its doors to the public on Friday, April 19th at 14:00 SLT.

Related Links

9 Planets
9 Planets

SL10BCC: Apply to be a part of the celebrations!


The SL10B Community Celebration, celebrating the tenth anniversary of Second Life being open to the public, takes place across June 16th through 23rd, 2013.  With the theme of Looking Forward, Looking Back, the event is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the last ten years of Second Life and look forward to what the next ten years of Second Life and virtual worlds might bring.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been involved in Second Life the full ten years or just ten months; this is a chance for all of us to contribute and celebrate – and as from Monday April 15th, applications are open to everyone who wants to celebrate their Second Life with us!

The Regions

The 20 regions for this year’s celebration are already here, and we’re hoping they’ll Astonish, Astound, Beguile, Captivate, Dazzle, Electrify, Enchant, Exhilarate, Fascinate and Mesmerize all who attend the week-long celebration, and that you’ll very much be a part of things by applying to be an exhibitor or presenter or performer, and bring your own Impressive, Incredible, Magnificent, Stupendous and Wonderous visions and talents to the celebrations and help fill the week with Pizzazz and make it the most Awesome, Spectacular and Stunning birthday event yet (and yes, the clues to the regions names are pretty obvious there!).


The regions aren’t open as yet – but as mentioned above, applications to be a part of the event are open, and will remain open until midnight SLT on Monday, May 20th.

So, if you want to be a part of things – here’s how:

Event Policies

Please make sure you read the event policies and understand all requirements.


If you want to:

  • Host an art installation
  • Host an informative exhibition
  • Promote a community group
  • Run an instructional media activity  (writing, machinima, photography, etc.)



If you want to be involved in the musical celebration as a:

  • Live Performer
  • DJ



If you want to:

  • Talk on a topic
  • Run a workshop
  • Teach a class
  • Do performance art
  • Put on a media event


And There’s More…


Events like the SL10B Community Celebration need help – lots of help. So even if you don’t feel you can be an exhibitor, performer or presenter but want to be more of a part of things – then why not volunteer to help out? It’s a great way to be an essential part of things, make friends and get to see all that goes on throughout the celebrations. Orientation and training is given for many of the roles, so there’s no danger of simply being chucked into the deep end (although you’ll have to give up a little time to attend training sessions, obviously!).

The SL10B website has lots of information about key support roles, such as Event Host / Greeters. Exhibitor Assistant,  Moderators, and Stage Managers. So if you’d like to volunteer to one (or several – yes, you can apply for more than one!) of these then please fill-out the VOLUNTEER APPLICATION.

Blog and report!

If you have a blog or other publication, we encourage you to apply. You can be “embedded” – you will promise to post about the event at least once a week or put up photos at least once a week and in return for that, you will get special early access to SL10B and an invite to Press Day!  Or – if you can’t post or put up pictures so often – you can still be on the Special Press Pass List – you’ll receive an invite to the Press Day, June 14 & 15.

Related Links

Viewer release summary 2013: week 15

This summary is published every Monday and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Viewer Round-up Page, a list of  all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware) and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy
  • By its nature, this summary will always be in arrears
  • The Viewer Round-up Page is updated as soon as I’m aware of any releases / changes to viewers & clients, and should be referred to for more up-to-date information as the week progresses
  • The Viewer Round-up Page also includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.  

Updates for the week ending: April 14th, 2013

  • SL Viewer updates:
      • Beta viewer released version on April 12th – core update: Server-side Baking / Appearance (release notes)
      • Development viewer released version on April 12th – core update: Server-side Baking / Appearance
      • Materials processing: project viewer updated 12th April – – alpha release, please refer to my blog post
  • Cool VL updated on April 14th to:

Discontinued Viewers

  • Phoenix – Development and support officially ended December 31st, 2012
  • Zen – Development and support officially ended January 27th, 2013.

Related Links