Server Deployments – Week 3
There was no Main (SLS) channel deployment on Tuesday, January 13th. As indicated in my last update, Wednesday, January 14th should see a new server maintenance package deployed to all three RCs. This comprises:
- A fix for BUG-8002 “Experience Tools] Allowed & Blocked experiences are lost with parcel subdivision”.
- Crash mode fixes
- Code clean-up around region crossing.
The region crossing improvements are for avatars only (not vehicles), and were described by Simon Linden, speaking at the Server Beta User Group meeting on Thursday, January 8th as, “all internal and pretty minor, so please don’t get hopes up for performance improvements,” and being about “clean-up and small polishing.”
Avatar Attribute Testing Fix
Note: no time frame has been set for the following, so it may not appear for another few weeks.
The Lab expects to have a server-side update running soon which, while perhaps not directly noticeable to users, should make it easier for testing new avatar attributes as they are being developed by the Lab.
In summary, the current approach means that when a new avatar attribute is being tested, the attribute must be understood by each region the avatar visited; if the avatar passes through a simulator that could not identify the attribute (e.g. the attribute is only supported on a server RC channel and the avatar testing it crosses into a simulator region running on the Main channel), the value assigned to the attribute is lost, and cannot not be easily recovered (simply crossing back into the simulator region with the necessary support, for example, would not restore the attribute value).
The new update will fix this issue and will thus make it easier to test new avatar features. Potentially, one of the first of these that will benefit will be the new avatar height offset capability.
The HTTP Pipelining viewer, version: 126.96.36.1997623, was updated to the de facto release viewer on Tuesday, January 13th. This viewer provides reduced pipelined texture and mesh fetching time-out so that stalled connections fail quickly allowing earlier retry, with the time-out value changed from 150 seconds to 60 seconds.
Mesh Import Project Viewer
Chairing the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, January 13th, Oz Linden indicated that a project viewer is in the works which contains “a bunch of fixes” for mesh imports to SL. Details on precisely what issues are addressed weren’t given, but those interested might want to keep an eye on the Alternate Viewers wiki page, and I’ll of course have updates and information here as and when the viewer appears.
Webkit is a third-party library used within the viewer for a number of tasks. For example, it powers the built-in web browser, and is used to display profiles (unless you’re using a viewer supporting legacy profiles). It is also used with like Media on a Prim (MOAP) and many in-world televisions. However, it has been something of a problem for the Lab, with out-of-date libraries and other issues.
During 2014, Monty Linden carried out work to improve things, but the aim has always been to replace it with the Chrome Embedded Framework (CEF). However, this project got sidelined in the push to implement a new tool chain for viewer building, and implement a new autobuild process. This work is now very near to completion for both the Mac and Windows versions of the viewer (Linux is lagging behind, unfortunately), and the hope is that attention will again be focusing on the CEF work in the near future.
Z-offset Height Adjustment
This is intended to provide a means of on-the-fly adjustments to be made to an avatars height above the ground / objects and which can be used whether the avatar is standing or sitting, without the need to use the current Appearance hover slider. It will work in a manner similar to the old z-offset height adjustment found in some TPVs, and will likely comprise a slider access through the avatar right-click context menu.
As I’ve previously reported, Vir Linden has been working on this for a while, as a result of a direct proposal from TPV developers setting out the problem of avatar height adjustment introduced by the deployment of server-side baking and the avatar appearance “hover” parameter (which the new capability is designed to compliment, rather than replace). The indication are that a project viewer with the new capability will be appearing “very shortly”.