Lab formally announces Server-side baking / appearance

Regulars to this corner of the SL blogsphere know I’ve been covering Project Shining – the various projects the Lab is currently undertaking to improve Second Life on the technical front in order to give us all a (hopefully) better experience.

Part of this work includes Project Sunshine, which is more colloquially know as server-side baking (SSB) or server-side appearance (SSA) or server-side baking/appearance (SSB/A) – the choice is yours, depending on personal preference, and which I’ve covered throughout numerous reports in this blog. The primary aim of project Sunshine is to resolve the issue of avatar bake fail – those situation wherein your avatar (or other avatars) fail to render correctly to either yourself or to others around you.

Today, the Lab itself moved to formally announced the forthcoming arrival of SSB/A with a special blog post of their own on the matter, which includes a short video explaining matters:

As the post indicates, SSB/A is being deployed in three parts:

  • A viewer update  – which is available now for the majority of commonly used SL viewers
  • The deployment of server-side changes, which should be commencing shortly
  • A further viewer-side update once the server deployments are completed.

The server-side deployment will take a while to complete, as the new service will require a degree of testing. As such, it is expected that a number of regions on the main grid will be enabled for SSB/A (if they have not been already), and these will be used to measure performance over a period of time prior to a decision being made on “throwing the switch” to enable the entire grid is SSB/A enabled (the test regions may even be scaled-up over time, depending upon how the initial testing goes.

Server-side baking: find out what it is and why you'll need to update your viewer if
Server-side baking / appearance: must viewers should (or will shortly) support SSB/A – make sure you update to a current release of your preferred viewer to avoid seeing grey avatars as the server-side of the new capability is deployed in the coming weeks.

As you won’t be able to tell which regions are using the new SSB/A service and which are using the existing avatar baking service, it is important that you make sure you are using a viewer which supports both capabilities – otherwise you might find yourself encountering grey avatars in increasing numbers. This means updating to a viewer which has the SSB/A code; at the time of writing, these are:

Doubtless, Catznip (R8 with SSB/A has been in development for a while), Dolphin and Exodus will have SSB/A-capable viewers out shortly as well.

Those wishing to obtain a further overview on SSB/A and also on the most recent updates out of LL on the server-side deployment plans are welcome to refer to the following reports from this blog:

A visit to old Italy and more

I didn’t intend to make another visit to Mediterranean inspired destination so soon, but today’s rolling restart decided to chase me around SL a bit (notice how that tend to happen? You teleport someplace only for the Restart notice to pop-up and you randomly pick another place, and *poof* up pops the notice again within minutes of your arrival?).

No? Oh well. Such is the life of a Pey …

FuriZona - LaPerla
FuriZona – LaPerla

Anyway, given I was hopping around and avoiding restarts, I ended up at FuriZona, Home to LaPerla and Port Mo Chalmaig, two complementary builds by Addy Hax and Maryjane Riddler respectively.

If I’m honest, the region had been on my list of places to visit, as LaPerla features in the Photogenic Spots of the Destination Guide; however, given Honour McMillan recently blogged about the region, and I’m trying to avoid giving her the impression I’m stalking her (I leave that to Crap to take care of :)), I’ve been shying away from dropping-in. But Peys can’t be choosers, as the saying goes.

FuriZona - LaPerla
FuriZona – LaPerla

LaPerla is billed as a tribute to the real-world town of Tropea, nestled towards the toe of Italy’s “boot”, and a part of the build recreates the cliff-perched nature of Tropea, with a church and houses surrounding a square, with steps leading down to waterfront and the rest of the town, which is reached by crossing a stone bridge.

Head north after crossing the bridge and you’ll skirt the town and reach a stretch of open countryside which sits between LaPerla and Port Mo Chalmaig (and which forms a part of the latter). This is altogether a more rural environment compared to the town, with grassy walks, various little clusters of houses and shops, and a beautiful little fishing port.

FuriZona -
FuriZona -Port Mo Chalmaig

The two builds are very different in architectural style, yet they blend together into a unique whole, each with its own character and attractions. In LaPerla, one can roam the narrow streets, encounter little shows and scenes which make photography here very attractive. The local cinema offers movies and a place to meet friends, and there as plenty of places to watch the world go by. Within Port Mo Chalmaig’s rural setting you’ll find a forest walk, a pub, and live music venue within the grounds of an old fort / castle built into the side of a hill and the fishing village on the north coast.

Both LaPerla and Port Mo Chalmaig are testament to what can be achieved within a region when using the right mix of mesh and prim builds; the extent of the builds and the level of detail is incredible and really draws the explorer in.

FuriZona - Port Mo Chalmaig
FuriZona – Port Mo Chalmaig

Did I mention the region is also the home of two major stores as well? To the east of LaPerla one can find Savy Sands’ Macho main store, while just along the coast sits Dreamland Designs, Venora Magic’s store. Taken with the smaller shops scattered through the region, these make FuriZona and interesting destination for the confirmed window-shopper!

Given everything which has been packed into FuriZona, there is a lot to see and do, and wandering the streets and footpaths can be a delight. Just mind the odd local or two who might have had one (or two) over the eight …

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