The following notes are drawn from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday September 26th, and shown in the video above. Time stamps, where relevant, have been included for ease of reference to the video. Note that items are listed according to subject matter, rather than chronologically, so time stamps may appear out-of-sequence in places. My thanks as always to North for the recording.
Benchmark Viewer & GPU Table
[01:00] As noted in part 2 of this report, a new GPU Benchmark project viewer is available (version 184.108.40.2064710), designed to put an end to the need for a dedicated GPU graphic table as the mean by which the viewer determines a computer’s initial graphic settings.
Instead, if there is no settings file for the viewer (such as after a clean install), the viewer will measure how quickly data can be copied back and forth between GPU memory and your computer’s main memory. This, combined with a couple of other benchmarks, determines the initial graphics settings in the viewer. It may not always pick the most preferred settings (it might still set things a little high or a little low), but testing has shown it to be reasonably accurate, and it does prevent the viewer opting for the lowest settings simply because a card isn’t listed on the GPU table. As is currently the case, any subsequent adjustments you make to the graphics settings should be saved within the viewer and take precedence.
Feedback on the viewer is encouraged (a wipe of any SL viewer setting files on your computer will be required), particularly if you encounter issues such as finding the viewer “sticks” with the settings it has determined, rather than allowing you to adjust them. When filing JIRA, the Lab requests that log files are attached.
HTTP and CDN
[09:39] The anticipated HTTP pipelining viewer should be appearing as a release candidate viewer in the early part of week 40 (week commencing Monday 29th September). This is the viewer that the QA team in LL have been referring to as QA, “weaponized viewer”, it is so fast as a result of leveraging the HTTP streaming.
This viewer works with the CDN, with Oz Linden indicating a personal experience of logging-in to a CDN-enabled region with an empty cache and having the textures and meshes for the region loaded by the time the log-in process had finished, so it will be interesting to see how the viewer performs under more widespread use.
TPVs are being encouraged to adopt the HTTP updates as soon as their integration / release cycles allow. In the meantime, those wishing to test this viewer, when it appears, with the CDN can do so via one of the following regions: Denby, Hippo Hollow, Hippotropolis,Testsylvania, Brasil Rio, Brocade, Fluffy, Freedom City, Rocket City or Whippersnapper. It is anticipated further regions will be added to the CDN channel (Snack) in the next week or so, prior to CDN support rolling to one of the server RC channels.
[17:16] Another batch of viewer updates due out, and which TPVs are being urged to adopt as soon as they can, are for voice. These mostly relate to managing voice sessions rather than voice improvements, and are aimed at helping Vivox with problems at their end, and should make troubleshooting genuine issues within voice a lot easier. However, this update should plug the hole where stalkers can track where someone using voice has teleported to just by monitoring their voice channels.
Z-offset Height Adjustment
[18:42] Vir Linden is now working on the z-offset height proposal. The work is in the early stages, so no date on when it will appear in a viewer.
The current plan is for a new option to be added to the right-click avatar context menu which will access an adjustment slider. However, at present, any adjustments made using it will not be persistent across log-ins, although it will work alongside the existing Edit Appearance > Hover option (allowing for the No Mod shape limitation of the latter).
It has been suggested the offset setting could be made persistent by tying it to a debug setting. This is something the Lab has said they’ll think about; should they opt not to go that route, there will hopefully be no reason why TPVs should not go that route if persistence was deemed vital to their users’ experience.
[48:13] Adjustments made using the slider will occur locally until such time as the mouse button is released; only then is an update message sent to the server & relayed to other viewers, to prevent multiple messages spamming a server as people make adjustments. It is hoped that this approach will also allow z-offset adjustments to interact with other active animations relatively smoothly (e.g. adjusting your height to prevent appearances of dancing on air when using couples dance poseballs).
[24:03] The work on improving group chat has been stalled by the need to address the problem of chat servers freezing and requiring restarts. Fixes for this are in the process of being deployed, so the hope is that testing of group chat will resume some time in the next week.
A new set of group chat updates is ready to go, but the Lab is remaining tight-lipped as to when they’ll be deployed. This is because they want to see if people genuinely notice a difference rather than responding to a placebo effect simply because they are aware updates are now on the servers. Further updates are liable to be forthcoming as the Lab analyses the results of these tests.
The issue with chat servers freezing has highlighted problems Basic users have in obtaining support for server-related issues (which can also include inventory / asset server problems, log-in server issues, etc.). A JIRA request (BUG-7378) has been raised for the Lab to consider broadening support for such issues to Basic as well as Premium members. Watch this JIRA if you support it.
[30:45] There is still a perception that filed JIRA’s are “ignored” by the Lab. As Grumpity Linden indicated, bug reports actually tend to be triaged the day they are filed, allowing for weekends, which may delay triage a day or two. Feature requests are triaged every two weeks.
[39:02] Grumpity also confirmed that the Lab dropped viewer support for Danish and Polish translations about a year ago. These languages may be removed from the viewer in the future.
Chromium Embedded Framework Project / Tool Chain update
[42:00] Implementing the Chromium Embedded Framework has been on hold pending completion of the tools update project, which is itself stalled on the Windows side while the Lab gets the required build farm infrastructure in place. It’s not clear when the latter might be completed, so progress on CEF remains on hold.
[44:08] During the last TPV Developer meeting, it was requested that Mac users experiencing the
ALT-zoom camera issue file detailed JIRA reports on the problem. As a result of this, the Lab have agreed that there are still instances where this can occur, but they haven’t figured-out how to address them as yet.
As previously noted, the keystroke entry lag problem is seen as a system, rather than viewer, issue. Two suggestions for resolving it are to:
- Disable Advanced Lighting Model when the situation is encountered (which could lead to other issues for those using AMD GPUs who have not updated with the latest version of Mavericks), or
- Preferably update to the latest Mac 10.9 Mavericks OS release – which reportedly resolves the problem entirely in many cases.