SL projects update week 26 (1): server, viewer, materials

Server Deployments – Week 26

As always, please refer to the week’s forum deployment thread for news, updates and feedback.

Second Life Server (Main) Channel

On Tuesday 25th June, the SLS Main channel received the server maintenance package deployed to the three RC channel in week 25. This fixes a number of crash modes, addresses an issue with neighbouring region visibility, and adds new LSL capabilities:

  • The new pathfinding property CHARACTER_STAY_WITHIN_PARCEL, which can be used with llCreateCharacter() and llUpdateCharacter(), and is intended to help with keeping characters within parcel boundaries – see my week 19 report for details
  • The new object return functions I reported on in week 23, namely llReturnObjectsByOwner and llReturnObjectsByID, are intended to provide an automated means of returning objects to their owners – see my full update on these functions for details.

This package also includes the following:

  • An update to llReturnObjectsByID() to prevent it from returning other objects which are owned by the parcel owner or estate owner/manager
  • A fix for an issue in which LSL HTTP-in scripts would sometimes see the incorrect URL (BUG-2833)
  • A fix for Bug 2850 (Cannot rez objects in Bluesteel and LeTigre parcels which disallow object entry) – which caused this deployment to be replaced by the Magnum RC package in week 24.

The neighbouring region visibility issue referred to in the package is for SVC-8019, which is related to issues with regions failing to communicate with their neighbours for up to an hour are a restart, causing communications issues (e.g. LSL chat) across region borders. It is not intended to address the issue of diagonally adjacent regions not being visible to one another (SVC-8130).

Release Candidate (RC) Channels

On Wednesday 26th June, all three RC channels (Magnum, BlueSteel and LeTigre) should receive a new server maintenance package, comprising:

  • A fix for ‘llApplyImpulse now works only in the root prim’ (SVC-8227)
  • Crash mode fixes
  • New LSL function: string llXorBase64(string str1, string str2)
    • Returns a string that is a Base64 XOR of Base64-formatted input strings, str1 and str2.
    • Addresses the cases from SCR-35 “llXorBase64StringsCorrect returns wrong result when the 2nd string contains nulls”
    • Aside from those cases, this function behaves identically to llXorBase64StringsCorrect()
  • Added max_materials_per_transaction to /simulator/features cap
    • This number returns the maximum number of materials that can be sent to the “RenderMaterials” capability in a single request.

SL Viewer

General

With the release process yet to switch-over to the new system, the following viewer updates were made in week 25:

  • The SL beta viewer saw an additional release – 3.6.1.277611 on June 21st. This primarily included some fixes for the version of the viewer which is offered via Amazon for download, and rendering fixes
  • The Snowstorm Contributions Test Build viewer was updated to the 3.6.1 code base (version 3.6.1277577, June 20th, for details of the current contributions in the viewer, follow the link). This would appear to be the first step in merging-up a series of third-party viewer contributions which are liable to see a project / beta viewer release after the new viewer release process comes into use.

Viewer Release Process

Commenting on progress with the upcoming new viewer release process at the Open-source Dev meeting on Monday 24th June, Oz Linden said, “We’re in the final verification stages. Might even get it turned on this week.”

As a side note, and In preparation for the new process, I’ve revamped my Viewer round-up page to (hopefully) better reflect the fact that we should be seeing a broader spread of viewers being put out by LL. This is a work-in-progress, and the page may evolve further as the new viewer release mechanism comes into force. Similarly, the weekly summaries produced from this page are also being revised ready for the new release process.

Materials Viewer

Despite issue with the materials viewer, there are a number of content creators already working on products which leverage the new capabilities. At the Open-source Dev meeting on Monday 24th June, Whirly Fizzle pointed people towards the work of Chip Midnight, who has been working on a mesh avatar using materials properties.

Chip Midnight's mesh avatar model (click to enlarge)
Chip Midnight’s mesh avatar model (click to enlarge)

Whilry also supplied a link to  a thread on the SL Universe forums where Chip discusses the avatar. For those interested, it’s worth following the discussion for the next couple of pages – particularly Drongle McMahon’s reply to Chip on the subject of specular and gloss maps.

Continue reading “SL projects update week 26 (1): server, viewer, materials”

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Marketplace completes “move” to SL payment system & offers new payment options

Following-on from the announcement made in week 25 that the SL Marketplace payment system would be “moving” to the Second Life payment system, a further brief Commerce forum post has been issued confirming the move has now been completed.

The forum post indicates that users will be able to pay for goods with Linden Dollars (as has always been the case), or select a new payment method. and includes links to the following resources:

What Has Changed

SL Marketplace: no more USD prices for goods on item pages, but a new notice about payment methods and currencies.
SL Marketplace: no more USD prices for goods on item pages, but a new notice about payment methods and currencies.

There are some changes to the SL Marketplace as a result of this update:

  • When viewing items in the Marketplace, only the LS price is displayed by default. There is no longer any USD price
  • All items now include a note that “At checkout, you will be able to pay with any supported currency“, directly under the L$ price. The link will display the Accepted currencies and payment methods section of the Billing page in the Knowledge Base, which lists the credit / debit / charge cars recognised by Linden Lab and the currencies in which payments can be accepted using them.

The other major change can be seen when clicking on the Checkout button from your shopping cart. This takes you to the Second Life Cashier Page, which lists the items you are purchasing, unit price for each and the total payable.

The revised SL Cashier payments page for the SL Marketplace
The revised SL Cashier payments page for the SL Marketplace

To the right of this is the amount payable and your current payment method, and a link allowing you to add more payment options.

The expanded payment section showing all recorded payment methods and button to add further methods to your account
The expanded Payment section showing all recorded payment methods and button to add further methods to your account

Clicking on this link expands the Payment section  to display:

  • Your current payment options
  • Buttons for adding additional payment methods (credit card, etc., or PayPal).

If you wish you use an existing alternate payment method, simply click on the required button in the upper section of the expanded screen.

To add an additional payment method, click on the required method (note the green-background text above the payment option buttons) and follow the on-screen instructions.

When you are ready to complete the transaction, click the Buy Now button.

Note: I’m not sure if, after selecting and using an alternative payment option, this becomes your default option for all future payments (and thus  appearing the “Using this” section of the Payment box of the Cashier Page. This is because I use L$ for all my Marketplace purchases, and have no wish to use an alternate payment method I have registered with the Lab.

Related Links

With thanks to CS Pfeffer for the nudge about the forum update.

LEA open next round of AIR land grants

LEA_square_logo_60On June 16th the Linden Endowment for the Arts announced applications for the next round of land grants is now open in the Artists in Residence (AIR) programme. For artists not familiar with the LEA or the land grant process, the following is taken from the formal announcement:

The LEA Land Grant program seeks to promote and nurture the arts in Second Life, through a five-month land grant to recipients. Recipients can be individuals or groups interested in creating or curating art, or proposing cultural projects which would require/utilise a full-sim build and can be completed within the allotted time frame. The LEA is able to offer land grants through the generosity of Linden Lab.

Twenty regions, donated by Linden Lab and managed by the LEA, are generally offered under the land grant programme, and successful applicants will be granted the use of one full region for a period of five months. The region may then be used on an individual or group basis for such diverse activities as:

  • Full sim exhibitions and / or immersive installations
  • Curated projects, especially those which have a connection to physical exhibitions and events (augmented reality)
Land grant regions: LEA10 through LEA29
Land grant regions: LEA10 through LEA29

The announcement goes on to state:

Criteria

We feel one of the strengths of the LEA committee is that we come from different backgrounds – artists, architects, curators, historians, etc. – all of whom have different ideas on what makes virtual art great. We share a passion for this project, emboldened by differing viewpoints. What this means for the LEA Land Grant applicants is that there is no one ‘right’ project. Some committee members like immersive builds, others enjoy highly technical and scripted work, still others look for projects embracing collaborative, curatorial, or education projects. Some might wish to select those who have a history of successful exhibits in SL, while others are passionate about providing experiences to new and emerging artists. This is great news for applicants, as it means that ANYONE has a chance at getting sim, provided you show us you have an idea for a great project (even if it isn’t completely thought through, and we realise that this will most likely change in your working process).

APPLICATION TIMELINE

(Dates subject to change by LEA in the event of unforeseen circumstances.)

  • Applications open – June 16, 2013
  • Application deadline – July 16, 2013
  • Final Decision Committee Deadline – July 24, 2013
  • Notification period, and selection of alternates if need be – July 31, 2013
  • Sim handover and public announcement – August 1, 2013

HOW TO APPLY?

Complete the form at the end of the LEA blog entry, taking care to provide as much information about the proposal as possible and include relevant SLurls and web links to your work (if possible) in order to help the LEA committee make an informed decision.