The following notes are primarily taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, February 27th, a video of which is included at the end of the article (my thanks as always to North for recording it and providing it for embedding), and any time stamps contained within the following text refer to it.
Server Deployments Week 9 Re-cap
As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest news and updates.
- There was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, February 24th
- On Wednesday, February 25th, all three RC channels received the same server maintenance package, which comprises:
- A server-side fix for BUG-8297, “Unable to teleport anywhere using SLGO”
- Improvement to server logging.
Viewer-Managed Marketplace Project Viewer
[0:35] As noted at the last TPV Developer meeting, the VMM functionality still has some issues that are being worked on. some of these appear to be on the back-end of things, rather than within the viewer itself. As such, it is unlikely that there will be further updates to the viewer in the near future while these are being addressed.
Experience Tools Viewer
[0:50] The Lab is also continuing to work on the back-end of things for Experience Tools / Keys. This work is apparently focused on overall robustness of the service prior to fully deploying it to the grid. As no viewer-side changes are anticipated as a result of this work, the viewer itself should be ready for promotion to the de facto release viewer once the Lab is ready to go with things.
Avatar Hover Height Project Viewer
[4:21] Vir Linden is continuing to work on a couple of the bugs uncovered during testing. One of these is related to leg position issues, which can see an avatar’s leg “buckle” if the position is adjusted downwards such that the feet sink into the ground, becoming more and more pronounced the lower the avatar is set. Currently, there is no ETA on providing a fix for this.
Mesh Importer Viewer
[5:47 – via chat] It is anticipated that the Mesh Importer project viewer (currently version ) will receive an update in week #10.
Tools Update Viewer
[6:56] A line has been drawn under the current set of changes to the viewer-side build tools, so the aim is now to get the viewer in the release channel.
However, there are further changes already being queued behind the current set of updates, many of them contributed by open-source developers, which the Lab believe will further improve the viewer build process. As such, it is likely that there will be further updates to the viewer in relation to the build tools, most likely in the form of a “build clean-up” viewer, which will likely include all of the agreed updates which didn’t make it into the current version of the build tools viewer code.
The hope is that, moving forward, all viewers – LL’s own and TPVs – can, as far as possible, be built using the same tool set the only difference being whether or not a TPV sets a build switch to use proprietary libraries (e.g. Havok) or not.
[2:10] The Lab continues to roll-out updates as a result of this work, and updates focused on the issue of group chat servers themselves stalling, and they are confident that progress is being made. This is supported by anecdotal evidence from moderators of large groups with active chat, who are indicating the instances of visible server slow-down / stalling have been decreasing over the past week or so. Commenting on this during the TPVD meeting, Oz Linden said, “we haven’t declared victory in this yet, but it’s looking a lot more stable.”
In the meantime, some groups are reporting performance issues whereby for short periods – measured in terms of 2-3 minutes, where group chat messages won’t go through at all, and no time-out message is being displayed by the viewer, while other messages are being delayed, but then getting through, but without the massive roll of delayed messages. These may be related to previous changes made to improve the overall performance of group chat, and news of the problems is being taken back to the Lab for investigation.
[4:39] As I most recently reported in week 8, there are on-going issues related to attachments. Vir Linden has also been investigating these, and there is a project viewer in development which includes fixes for those issues the Lab has been able to consistently reproduce. Unfortunately, the infamous BUG-6925 is not among these, but Vir hopes that the updates he’s been making will address it to some degree.
There is currently no ETA for the project viewer, but the Lab hopes that when it does appear, they’ll get some clear and constructive feedback on what it does and does not seem to address.
[18:02] Oz confirmed that a development roadmap for SL has been agreed for the first half of 2015; while the Lab is not prone to discussing future plans and activities too far in advance, Oz did indicate a number of things with regards to it.
Viewer-side API for LSL AO Capbilities
In 2013, the Lab introduced a set of server-side LSL AO capabilities for animating avatars (walking, etc.). This was followed in September 2013 by a discussion about the providing a viewer-side API or hook into these capabilities.
Since that time, the project hasn’t moved forward, and thus did not make the cut for the current roadmap. However, as Oz indicated at the TPVD meeting, this does not mean the idea has been abandoned; it simply didn’t make it high enough up the list of things the Lab would like to achieve for SL this time around.
Avatar System Clothing Layers
In 2014, BUG-6258, “Popularity of Mesh Attachments Facilitates Need For More Alpha Layers” is a request to raise the number of alpha layers which can be concurrently worn, prompted the Lab to consider the introduction of a global limit on the number of clothing layers an avatar could wear, so that, like attachments, an avatar can wear as many clothing layers in any combination, up to that limit, rather than having individual limits enforced per clothing layer.
Commenting on this change in terms of the roadmap, Oz said, “I think we’ll do something about [it] at some point this year, but we haven’t got to it yet. We recognise the problem, and that it’ll probably get some attention soon.”
Server-side Havok update
It has been some time since the Havok physics engine has been updated by the Lab, although Havok themselves have made several releases since the last time things were updated in SL. As such, questions have been asked on whether or not the Lab will be updating the platform to a more recent version of the engine.
This still appears to be a TBD matter for the Lab, although it is not on the immediate roadmap. Oz further noted that while such an update might yield performance improvements, there might also be a trade-off in terms of benefits gained and issues introduced / needing to be avoided. Those who remember previous Havok upgrades will be all too aware of the pain they can introduce, and so understand the Lab’s caution.
Group Notices – “Cosmetic” Updates
[6;30] During the TPVD meeting, Oz indicated that the Lab is working on some “cosmetic” improvements for group notices, which could be appearing in the near future, relating to how notices are displayed in the viewer, although no precise details of that this entails were provided.