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.
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:
- The SL viewer
- Cool VL Viewer
- Niran’s Viewer
- The Restrained Love Viewer for Windows and Linux
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:
- Server-side deployment news (May 18th, 2013)
- Server-side Baking / Appearance: key questions answered by the Lab (May 14th 2013)
- Server-side Baking / Appearance update (April 6th, 2013)
- Avatar Baking: “and the clock has started!” (December 15th, 2012 & as featured in the video :))