SL project updates 39/3: TPV Developer meeting

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 3.7.17.294710), 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.

 Voice Updates

[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

Jessica Lyon demonstrated part of the avatar height offset issue at the last TPV Developer meeting: when seated using her preferred sitting pose, her avatar floats above a chair, and she has no means of adjusting the height so that she appears to be sitting in the chair
The z-offset hegiht adjustment option should help in situations where the current Hover option is unusable – such as trying to adjust you avatar’s height when using a preferred AO sitting pose

[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).

Group Chat

[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.

Other Items

JIRA Triage

[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.

Language Support

[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.

Mac Issues

[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.
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7 thoughts on “SL project updates 39/3: TPV Developer meeting

  1. I was asked recently about the GPU table, and I had told the people who asked me that work is in progress to remove it altogether. I’m glad to see it’s moved to a point where it will no longer be necessary.

    As for the Vivox update, its arrival came not a moment too soon. At long last!

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  2. About the Mac keystroke issue, I get this all the time, and I only have Advanced Lighting on when I’m in my studio doing photography (due to the frame rate hit), and I am running the latest and greatest Mavericks. Neither suggested solution has had any impact (positive or negative) for me.

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    1. Can only suggest you file a JIRA (if you haven’t already) with as much pertinent information as possible, including log files & info on anything else you were running at the same time outside of SL. *Maybe* if the Lab get enough reports they might have another dig to seek if there isn’t something within the viewer that, if not the direct cause, might be exacerbating the problem for some people.

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  3. Regarding the CDN portion, I’d like to clarify that using the CDN doesn’t need any viewer changes whatsoever. The CDN works at the ISP level, allowing your local ISP to cache certain data, making it closer to you. The HTTP pipelining changes are changes that make the viewer more efficient at requesting data and processing the incoming requests, though it is built with using CDN in mind. Those changes will see a benefit to the user regardless if they are on a CDN enabled region or not. The combined result of the HTTP changes and the use of CDN will make the most signifagent change yet to LL in regard to more efficient loading of a region’s data.

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    1. Yup. the current lack of any viewer updates has been extensively referred to in my reports on the CDN, as has the fact that the Lab will at some point be making viewer-side changes which will assist in matters. The pipelining work has also been extensively covered. Hence the individual tag at the foot of the post for information on these respective projects.

      The two are combined here simply as a result of them being discussed in tandem during the meeting.

      I also have a more extensive blog post on the CDN waiting in the wings, and which will appear when CDN support is more widely available on Agni. Would also point-out the CDN isn’t reliant on your own ISP caching – the CDN nodes are independent of your ISP. While the latter may further help with download speeds, it is liable to be at best marginal, again, as previously discussed by the Lab during TPV meetings.

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  4. \o/ CDN feels wonderful already on the SIMs it is on
    That LL didn’t feel the need atm to build the CDN part from scratch by their own, seams to me like a wonderful good decision and looks like an indeed good maturation of the development it self 🙂

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