SL projects update week 29 (1): server, viewer, SSB/A

Server Deployments – Week 29

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

Second Life Server (SLS Main) Channel

On Tuesday 16th July, the SLS Main channel received the server maintenance package previously deployed to Magnum in week 28, intended to fix a couple of pathfinding issues:

A slight issue at the start of the rolling restart process on Tuesday 16th July meant that some regions on the main channel experienced to restarts, with the second updating to the correct release.

Release Candidate Channels

On Wednesday July 17th, the three main Release Candidate channels should each receive individual updates, as follows:

  • Magnum will become the RC with the server-side baking / appearance project enabled
  • BlueSteel should receive a further package of under-the-hood changes related to the experience tools
  • LeTigre should receive a new server maintenance project, which includes the following fixes and new features:
    • Fixes:
      • BUG-969 “teleporting breaks collision detection state for volumedetect objects”
      • BUG-2931 “run_time_permissions no longer triggers in attachments after requesting 0 permissions”
      • A further fix for the issue of pathfinding characters using CHARACTER_STAY_WITHIN_PARCEL getting stuck if they somehow exited their home parcel
    • New Features:
      • Added “RenderMaterialsCapability” to /simulator/features cap, which indicates the access rate allowed when accessing the “RenderMaterials” capability
      • Increased the “RenderMaterials” capability access rate to 4 requests per second (up from 1)

Viewer Updates and Release Process

As I reported at the time (see New viewer release process implemented), the new viewer release process went live in week 28. I’ve provided a complete breakdown of the process and what it means in general, for those who wish to know more.

This has seen a number of beta and project viewers appear on the revised Official Alternate Viewer wiki page, with updated viewers including:

  • On July 15th the Second Life Beta channel saw a new release  – version 3.6.2.278491 (release notes)
  • CHUI updates continue to appear first in the CHUI project viewer, which released version 3.6.2.278372 on July 9th
  • The project Cocoa viewer for the Mac also updated on July 15th, to version 3.6.1.278025.

SSB/A Update

In a late change to the deployment schedule, Magnum will the RC channel to have SSB/A enabled following the rolling restarts on Wednesday July 17th.

This will include a fix for BUG-3203, the “notecard bug” I reported on in week 28 (with thanks to Whirly Fizzle), wherein  if you create a notecard in an SSB/A region (i.e. a region on the LeTigre RC at the moment) and attempt to embed anything in it (e.g. LMs, textures, other notecards), the notecard will fail to save with the message: Unable to upload (asset ID number) due to the following reason: The server is experiencing unexpected difficulties. Please try again later.

SUN-38 / z-offset

Questions were asked at the Content Creators User Group meeting on Monday July 15th about any further progress on SUN-38 / avatar height offset. The short answer is that there has been no further direct work on the issue by the Lab. Part of this is likely due to the fact that the Lab is focused on the current enabling of the SSB/A across the grid. However, it also appears as if LL may now be digging their heels in over any future action on their part. Commenting on the situation, Nyx Linden again stated that the issues isn’t seen as a blocker to SSB/A and went on to say:

Worth noting of course that the offset slider was never a supported feature in the Linden viewer. That being said, additional workarounds in third-party viewers are certainly possible (though could create quite a few new saved assets if you’re modifying it frequently for various animations).

LL's solution for avatar height offsets is regarded as less-than-optimal. While a revisit been hinted at in the past, recent comments from the Lab might now indicate otherwise
LL’s solution for avatar height offsets is regarded as less-than-optimal. While a revisit been hinted at in the past, recent comments from the Lab might now indicate otherwise

A further debate ensued over the potential to use a capability equivalent to the legacy AgentAppearance message might be used to enable z-offset data being sent from the viewer and used in calculations by the physics engine – and the possible issues (and resolutions to issues) which might result from this.

Overall, the impression gained from Nyx’s responses left me with the impression – and I emphasise the word impression – that the Lab may not examine the issue of avatar height offset further, even after SSB/A has been enabled grid-wide. Instead they are passing the problem back to TPVs to find their own solution (providing, one assumes, any solution does not break the “shared experience” rule).

COF Mismatch Issues

Broadly speaking, your appearance is keyed to the version number of your Current Outfit Folder (COF). This represents everything required to render your avatar (height, shape, etc.) and a set of texture IDs representing the avatar’s baked textures.  When you log-in to SL, an appearance message is sent to the baking service, and this is the information which is retrieved and used by the viewer to generate your appearance, as well as forming the information which is sent to those around you to generate your appearance in their viewers.

Occasionally, the viewer and the baking service may disagree on what the version number is for your COF. This results in a “COF version mismatch” error being generated by the viewer, and can result in some confusion as to what to do. Currently, the problem can be fixed in one of two ways:

  • By relogging, as this sends an “appearance message” to the SSB/A servers, which is used to generate your appearance in the viewer, using the current version of your COF from the servers
  • By recreating a link in the COF / switching outfits. LL regard this as possibly less reliable than a relog as there have been a few documented cases where it has not resolved the problem.

Currently, the Lab is working on a number of features that should reduce the instances of COF mismatch errors, so if you \re encountering issues, the request is to file a JIRA with log files.

New Issues

A couple of new issues have come to light with SSB/A, which appear very limited in scope. These are:

  • SUN-99 – Bakefail on SSA regions only. When entering into SSA region, skin and system clothes fail to bake
  • SUN-100 – Massive FPS drops and performance loss on SSA enabled regions.

Currently, both of these issues have a very narrow impact (only one confirmed user in each case), although SUN-99 may have been experienced by two or three more people. LL also believe they have a handle on SUN-99 in terms of a potential fix.

Mesh Deformer

In June, the mesh deformer was merged with the 3.6.1 viewer release code base, while cinder Roxley merged the code with the 3.6.2 viewer release code over the weekend of the 13th/14th July, although without the shape parameter changes made by Darien Caldwell. These latest changes have yet to reach the main project viewer download, which remains at version 3.5.1.273384.

In the meantime, an issue has been found with the deformer and the new materials capabilities. Reported via the Kokua viewer, it appears that any attempt to upload a rigged mesh which uses materials will result in a viewer crash. Whether or not tha same occurs within the LL viewer is still to be investigated & reported upon.

Oz Linden is still hoping to get the deformer through an internal evaluation in terms of functionality and additional requirements (e.g. additional shape parameters, etc.)., although there still remains no time scale at present as to when this might happen.

 

7 thoughts on “SL projects update week 29 (1): server, viewer, SSB/A

  1. Sadly they can always in fact argument that is not some that official viewer offers and so not LL problem!

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  2. On the Z-offset issue, I still cannot see why the baking process should care what the AV mesh is doing. We’ve used baked textures for longer than I have been in SL, and most of the baked textures we see put into the rendering system come from outside our computers. So what on earth is new to break Z-offsets?

    I wonder if the Project Sunshine connection is a red herring.

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  3. As i never used z offset (truly!) i can say that is some i m not concerned about but that i noticed several improvements on SL SSA enabled regions i did notice, less time to rezz, faster changing of outfits, same behavior when crossing sims (so far not screwed as they used to be!).
    So i m really desiring to see all region on SSa servers asap!
    Now, i m not wishing the new update of the code that the viewers will have to do after, as the one i use will no more be updated and i fear it becomes useless in a few weeks, luckly firestorm next version seem to be as good graphically as per Inara pics even if i would like to see some of the photos without any post processing and taking with reg Linden day cycle instead of a wind light ( when using shadows!).set!

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