SL Marketplace search: Lab asks for feedback

secondlifeIn a blog post dated Tuesday 17th December, the Lab has asked for feedback on the SL Marketplace search functionality, and have set-up a survey for people to take as a means of offering their views.

The blog post reads in full:

Next year, we’ll be making some improvements to the Second Life Marketplace search functionality. To help focus those efforts, we’d like to get some feedback from Marketplace users (both buyers and merchants) about how Marketplace search is working for you today and, more importantly, what you’d like to see in the future.

Please take a few minutes to help us improve this feature for all Residents by completing this brief survey here.

The survey will be available for feedback through January 6, 2014, and your input is greatly appreciated!

Marketplace search survey: open for input until January 6th, 2014
Marketplace search survey: open for input until January 6th, 2014

The survey presents a dozen sections, some of which are multi-part, asking for elements of the search functionality to be rated, and some of which offer users the opportunity to provide direct input / suggestions on things like the current search filters, relevance and sorting of results, presentation of search results, etc., and any specific changes people would like to see. It takes about 5 minutes to complete.

For those frustrated by Marketplace search, this would appear to be a good opportunity to provide feedback as to how things might be improved, which will hopefully be taken on-board. A discussion thread on the survey and feedback given has been started within the Merchant’s forum.

SL projects Update week 51 (1): Group bans, viewer, misc news

As a reminder, there are no scheduled server-side deployments or restarts due to take place prior to Tuesday, January 7th, 2014.

Upcoming Server Deployments

Andrew Linden - departing LL
Andrew Linden – departing LL

Andrew Linden, in his last appearance at a User Group meeting – indeed, in possibly his last public appearance prior to his departure from Linden Lab – gave further information on the uniform scaling functions for objects and linksets he’s been working on.

In particular, he described a third function  – llScaleByFactor(float) – which sits alongside the two previously reported upon in part 3 of my week 50 report. So taken together, all three functions are:

  • integer llScaleByFactor(float factor):  uniformly scale a linkset by the specified factor (e.g. 2.0 to double the scale).  Returns TRUE if successful, FALSE otherwise
  • float llGetMaxScaleFactor(),   float llGetMinScaleFactor(): return the maximum / minimum scale factors that will work in llScaleByFactor due to limits in place by prim scale and linkability distance restrictions
  • llScaleByFactor(float) returns TRUE if the scale change succeeded.

The new functions do not require any viewer-side update, and have already been added to the server-side LSL syntax file, although they will not actually be deployed to the main grid in an RC release until 2014. In the meantime, those wishing to test the functions can do so on Aditi in the following regions: Balance, Boardman, Borrowdale, Hawkshead and Mayfair.

SL Viewer Updates

The Google Breakpad release candidate viewer won an exception to the code freeze which came into force on Monday December 16th, reappearing in the release candidate viewer channel as version

The build, dated December 13th, 2013, was allowed a free pass and added to the Alternate Viewer wiki page on Monday 16th December as it contains no actual functional changes to the viewer. Rather, it contains an update to Google Breakpad and restructures the crash reporting mechanism to support out of process crash reporting. The  changes are intended to give LL’s development team more call stacks from crashes more frequently in order to improve the triaging and debugging of crash-related issues.

Group Bans List

Obligatory Baker Linden shot :)
Obligatory Baker Linden shot 🙂

Baker Linden provided an update on his group ban list work. As per my week 46 report, he is going with the approach whereby granting a role within a group the ability to ban people from the group will automatically give that role both the “Eject Ban Members” AND “Remove Roles from Members” abilities as well.  However, it will not be possible to remove either the “eject” and “remove” capabilities from a role using the “ban” ability without first disabling the “ban” ability.

He’s also added server code  that will automatically eject a member, as long as the ejector has both the “eject” and “remove roles” abilities.

This means someone with both abilities no longer has to manually remove all the roles assigned to a group member prior to ejecting them, making the ejection process a lot more streamlined.Or at least, that’s the idea once implemented; right now the code has a small “oopsie” in it, as Baker explained, “Of course, in its current state, it will eject regardless of the two roles… which I’m working on fixing now 🙂  Somewhere down the line I did something wrong…”

There’s no timescale as to when the group ban work will appear. From Baker’s comments, it would seem as though the initial QA testing has now finished, allowing him to focus more on the viewer-side updates. Expect to see the results in a project or release candidate viewer before we’re too far into 2014.

Other Items

Disappearing Dwarfins and More

Judy Chestnut and Dante Spectre of Dwarfins fame attended the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday December 17th to report a worrying issue which has been affecting Dwarfins, as well as other breedable creations, which sees them suddenly vanishing from regions. Of those that vanish, some of which turn-out in the user’s Lost and Found folder, others reappear elsewhere in the region and others vanish completely.

Reporting the issue, Spectre indicated that his observed tests revealed that of those breedables which vanish, around 10% turn up in his Lost and Found folder, around 10% turn up somewhere else on the region, and the rest simply disappear, never to be seen again. Interestingly, those that are returned to Lost and Found do not appear to generate the notification normally seen following an object return.

Dwarfins (and apparently other breedables) have recently been inexplicably vanishing from regions
Dwarfins (and apparently other breedables) have recently been inexplicably vanishing from regions

The problems seem to have started around two weeks ago, immediately following the server deployments, although whether the issue is linked to a specific update is unclear, and neither Simon nor Andrew could see anything within the deployments which could explain the issue.

In terms of Dwarfins, the problem has been witnessed on regions running on both the Main (SLS) channel and on the Magnum RC. Regions affected include Dwarfins Rock, Rossavik, Hidden Sanctuary, Hawthorn Estate, and Bull Island, among others.

Andrew Linden has suggested that Dwarfins Rock is cloned on Aditi, where the behaviour of the region can be monitored closely. Should Dwarfins vanish from it, the Lab will then be in a better position to dig-in to data gathered from the region and hopefully determine what may be going on.

In the meantime, if you have noticed similar behaviour with any breedables of your own, consider raising a bug report.

LSL Materials Functions

There have recently been renewed calls for materials processing to gain additional scripted support so, as an example, normal and specular maps could be animated independently to one another / the diffuse (texture) map on an object. In fact, requests for such capabilities have been raised periodically since materials was first announced.

While the capability has not been officially ruled out, it is not at all clear when it might appear – if indeed it will. Commenting on the subject at the Content Creation User Group meeting on Monday December 15th, Nyx Linden said, “Scripted materials would be more difficult than you would think.” To which Oz Linden added, “There are some non-obvious complexities with scripted materials properties. We don’t have that in a plan yet, but we know that people would like it.”

So, for those hoping for scripted control of materials, it would appear to be some way off at the very least.