SL project updates 33/1: server, viewer, Experiences

Eclectica; Inara Pey, August 2015, on FlickrEclectica August 2015 (Flickr) – blog post

Server Deployments

There was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, August 11th, following the lack of an RC deployment in week #32.

The three RC channels *should* get a new server maintenance package on Wednesday, August 12th. Details were still TBD at the time of writing, however, it is thought to be a series of updates aimed at reducing the rick of No Copy inventory item losses due to race conditions occurring between the viewer and server.

SL Viewer

There is not expected to be any viewer promotion this week given the Viewer-Managed Marketplace viewer was promoted in week #32, and both of the active RC viewers were updated to match its code base.

Avatar Complexity (aka Jelly Babies) will hopefully appear in week #33 as a project viewer, as per the Lab's timetable for the project
Avatar Complexity (aka Jelly Babies) will hopefully appear in week #33 as a project viewer, as per the Lab’s timetable for the project

However, it is anticipated that the Avatar Complexity / graphics preset viewer will appear in project viewer during week #33.

This is the viewer which enabled yo to set a rendering cost above which other avatars and their attachments will be rendered at a solid colour (aka “Jelly Babes”) in order to reduce the load on your GPU. It also provide a means by which users can save and restore different sets of graphics settings within the viewer. The idea being that users can then switch between different presets according to circumstance to help with viewer performance.

I provided a high-level overview of this viewer in June 2015, and I’ll be taking a closer look at it once the project viewer is available for people to download and try.  Currently, the main thing apparently preventing the viewer reaching a project release status is that the Lab is making some final adjustments to get the frequency of the Avatar Complexity notifications it sends to users. the viewer is designed to inform those who have avatars with a high rendering cost how many people around them are rendering them as a Jelly Baby, for example, and the balance of these messages need to be reasonable.

The viewer includes the means to create and save sets of graphics presets which can be quickly loaded according to need / circumstance to help maintain a viewer's performance
The viewer includes the means to create and save sets of graphics presets which can be quickly loaded according to need / circumstance to help maintain a viewer’s performance

Experience Keys / Tools

An issue with Experiences is that access to the KVP data store (used to store data and values for an Experience) is currently handled on the same thread in the region and object rezzing. This means that reading / writing from / to the KVP store can be impacted when a region is busy with people rezzing items, etc. Requests have been put to the Lab to move the KVP access to a separate thread, and now he has completely a number of other tasks, Simon Linden is hoping to look into this and get things separated.

In addition, the Lab is mulling options for further Experience Keys / Tools enhancements. Nothing specific has been decided, and the emphasis is that any changes made will be small, rather than anything “massive”. Without the Lab committing itself to any of them, some of the following were suggested for consideration during the Simulator user group meeting on Tuesday, August 11th:

  • Limiting draw distance within an Experience
  • Providing a means to force sit avatars on items, when required
  • Providing a means to force a user into Mouselook at certain points in an Experience and then back out of Mouselook
  • Providing a means to control set the windlight environment and prevent viewer-side overrides.

A problem with ideas like these is that the options are controlled by the viewer, and could theoretically be over-written by the user unless an RLV-like capability was implemented to prevent cheating by a user simply overriding a setting. However, the Lab are poking at ideas, and we might see further updates of some sort appearing in the future to further enhance Experiences.

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2 thoughts on “SL project updates 33/1: server, viewer, Experiences

  1. Regarding EXP Key – WANT THESE!

    • Providing a means to force sit avatars on items, when required
    This would be a HUGE feature, it might seem simply just sitting your avatar on a seat or a chair, but it actually would allow more specific avatar animations specific to environment position like being eaten by monsters, or sinking into quicksand or performing a cut scene animation. Things that are currently impossible to do without over the top elaborate workaround scripting that don’t perform as well as a force sit would.

    • Providing a means to control set the windlight environment and prevent viewer-side overrides.
    Another possibly HUGE feature. Creators could set wind light to change when you enter a cave, or when you switch a light on, or when a story requires the environment to suddenly cloud over menacingly. A lot of material mapping can depend on wind light settings to. I wouldn’t go as far as removing a users ability to override them though as some visually impaired people may need that option.

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    1. The force sit was an item the Lab admitted they hadn’t been considering. hopefully, if there is a list, it may be on there as well.

      Outside of Exp Keys, there have been hints from the Lab that they’d like to carry out further work on Windlight in general – particularly (IIRC) bring settings down to the parcel level, and making windlight options assets (so we wouldn’t need a pile of additional XML files to throw at the viewer when we want custom environments). No time frame for that work, of course – but were it to go ahead, *maybe* something could be folded in to make the new options EXP controllable.

      The precisely request for the windlight settings at the meeting was more towards doing things according to altitude (different environments at different altitudes, as some currently tweak regions to have for role-play). Again, IIRC, they idea for windlights managed in this was was pretty much ruled out a while back.

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