On Monday June 16th, Linden Lab issued a blog post stating Project Shining is now complete. This is a major milestone for the Lab, with Shining representing some 2 years of effort and has involved significant work in three key areas:
- Avatar baking (Nyx Linden) – also referred to as server-side baking or server-side appearance (SSA), which comprised a major project to shift the heavy lifting of avatar baking / appearance from the viewer to dedicated baking servers. for those need to know more, I offer the post I wrote back at the end of December 2012 as the project saw the release of its first viewer. Further information can be found under the Server-side Appearance tag
- Interest List and Object Caching (Andrew Linden) – a project to improve how scene rendering is handled by both the server and the viewer, and improving the viewer to retain more information on regions in its cache and re-use that information more intelligently by the viewer
- HTTP updates (Monty Linden) – a major update to SL’s communications infrastructure to make more and better use of HTTP in order to improve viewer / server communications and increase their reliability and their efficiency.
Each of these sub-projects have comprised various stages and releases. Interest List and Object Caching, for example went through several rounds of updates alternating between server-side work and viewer-side work, with the final round of work, focused on improving how the viewer caches and reuses information, reaching a release status in May 2014.
The Project Interesting video released by the Lab in May 2014
The reason for the Lab’s announcement about project Shining is that Monday June 16th saw the release of the final set of Project Sunshine viewer-side updates in the form of the new de facto release viewer, version: 188.8.131.520582, which also includes significant inventory updates and improvements which have been referred to as AIS v3 (Advanced Inventory Service version 3, although this requires additional deployment of server-side updates across the grid). This viewer also includes a number of viewer memory leak fixes as well.
While the implementation and deployment of some elements of the work did experience some hiccups, overall, each element of Project Sunshine was implemented very successfully and with little or no disruption noticeable to users. Each has already yielded significant improvements to both the overall service and in the user experience, and the Lab are to be congratulated in bringing all three of the Project Sunshine activities to a successful conclusion. Here’s to the next round of projects – such a HTTP pipelining!