Second Life projects update 46/1: server, viewer, issues

Endless Summer; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr Endless Summer (Flickr) – blog post

Update November 11th: The HTTP RC viewer has been with withdrawn – see notes below.

Server Deploys Week 46

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest updates.

  • On Tuesday, November 10th, the Main (SLS) channel was updated with the same server maintenance package as deployed to the RC channels in week #45, comprising a fix for group invite throttle notifications, and an internal server code clean-up
  • There will be no RC deployment on Wednesday, November 11th.

Simulator Behaviour Changes

A RC deployment had been planned for week #46, which would have included new simulator side validation checks for mesh and animation uploads and attachment point validation.

However, when testing the simulator code on Aditi, Whirly Fizzle found that some of the checks are a little too stringent, and that even valid animations and mesh might be blocked – see BUG-10607 ‘Back end enforcement for animation upload” is blocking upload of many of my animations – “references unknown joints”‘, with even the default official bvh animations being blocked.

As a result of this, and following discussions at the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, November 10th, the Lab postponed the deployment pending a re-examination of the new validation code.

SL Viewer Updates

A new Maintenance viewer was released on Tuesday, November 10th. Version 3.8.7.307376 brings with it some 38 fixes and improvements, including updates for some regressions introduced into the viewer with the current release viewer (version 3.8.6.305981).

The CEF project viewer (Project Valhalla) was also updated on Tuesday, November 10th. Version 4.0.0.307535 includes 17 fixes and updates compared to the initial release of the viewer.

Update November 11th: The HTTP (Project Azumarill) release candidate viewer was removed from the viewer release channel. As noted in my last TPV Development meeting report, the latest iteration of this viewer was generating assorted issues, including viewer disconnects on teleporting, and this may have led to the removal, although no official reason has been cited.

Other Items

HTTP Request Throttling

The server deployment to the main channel in week #45 introduced a throttle on HTTP requests. It had been introduced to prevent a griefing vector which could crash a region. However, the throttle was sufficient to cause llHTTPRequest to give NULL_KEY returns, which impacted a range of in-world systems include skill gaming systems, breedables, and tools such as Sculpt Studio (see BUG-10627 “llHTTPRequest appears to return NULL_KEY even if throttle is not reached”).

Commenting on this at the simulator user group meeting, Simon said:

I’m looking at relaxing that more with (hopefully) next week’s maintenance release; perhaps sooner (but no promises). I also need to update the llHTTPRequest() wiki page.  It really needs details on how scripters should handle a NULL_KEY return; basically they need to code for it … wait about a minute before retrying, and don’t kill your breedables if you can’t talk to your server. [The griefing vector] really caused some problems.   So we need that limit, but hopefully without killing off herds of SL animals.

Scripted normal & specular texture change Issues

Whirly Fizzle has reported a viewer-side issue within the current release viewer (version 3.8.6.305981) which can occur when manipulating materials on in-world objects or worn attachments via script.

The problems are outlined in BUG-10601, “Scripted normal & specular texture changes do not work correctly and screw up other materials enabled objects on the region”, and the problems affect normal and specular maps, and as Whirly notes in the report, the impact can be a little erratic. In sort, using scripts to toggle normal and / or specular maps on a surface on / off fails to result the expected behaviour.

Normal Maps expected Normal Maps 386
On on the Left, how things should work as Whirly uses a script to toggle a normal map on / off to reveal the “001”; on the right, how the same script fails to achieve the same result in the 3.8.6.305981 viewer – click either images for full size

Whirly provides a full description of the problems which can occur, and it should be noted that while annoying when seen, the circumstances under which they occur are most likely narrow enough so as not be to be a major issue for users. The bug has been accepted by the Lab, and Marine Kelley has offered a hotfix which, if needed, might help in formulating a “full” fix for the problem.

Aditi Log-in Sync Issues

A recent breakage in the update mechanism for syncing passwords and inventory between the main grid and Aditi, led to further issues for some users in trying to use both grids (see this forum thread and BUG-10634).

At the start of week #46, the Lab deployed a new method of syncing between Agni (the main grid) and Aditi, which it was hoped would resolve problems. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned, and the new system had to be rolled back.

As a result, and as Simon notes on the forum thread, those wishing to sync their grid passwords and inventory between the two grids should file  a Support ticket asking that your account be copied from the main grid to Aditi.

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Announcing Lab Chat – a new Q&A show in Second Life

Lab Chat LogoOn Tuesday, November 10th, the Lab announced the forthcoming launch of Lab Chat,  “an opportunity for you to ask Lindens your questions during a live taping that will be recorded and archived for everyone to view.”

The new show has been in planning ever since SL12B and the successful Meet the Linden chat sessions hosted by Prim Perfect and which featured opportunities to meet Linden Lab staff such as Pete Linden (Peter Gray), the Lab’s Director of Global Communications; Xiola Linden from the Community Team; Patch and Keira Linden; Product Manager Troy Linden and Senior Director of Product, Virtual Worlds, Danger Linden (Don Laabs), and which featured a Q&A session with CEO Ebbe Linden (Ebbe Altberg).

Draxtor Despres, Danger Linden, Troy Linden and Saffia Widdershin at the Meet the Lindens at SL12B, the series which acted as a precursor to Lab Chat
Draxtor Despres, Danger Linden, Troy Linden and Saffia Widdershin at the Meet the Lindens at SL12B, the series which acted as a precursor to Lab Chat

The blog post announcing the new series, reads in part:

The first Lab Chat will be Thursday, November 19th, at 10:30am SLT at the Linden Endowment for the Arts Theatre – with guest Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab.

Residents from the Lab Chat production team – Draxtor Despres, Gentle Heron, Elrik Merlin, Petlove Petshop, Inara Pey, Aisling Sinclair, Devin Vaughan, Saffia Widdershins, and Jo Yardley – will pick questions to ask Ebbe from this forum thread  – so be sure to get your questions into the thread no later than Friday November 13th, 2015. Authors of selected questions will be invited to ask their question live at the in-world show. Time permitting – additional questions from the audience will be answered.

If you are unable to attend the live show, a recording will be available shortly after the first Lab Chat wraps, so no one will miss out!

We’ll see you on November 19th at 10:30am SLT. Don’t forget to add your questions to the forum thread and mark your calendars to join us!

My own role in this series is relatively minor – I’ll be producing transcripts of each Lab Chat session, which will be available, possibly with audio extracts, on these pages most likely on a forthcoming Lab Chat website.

If all goes well, it is hoped that Lab Chat will go on to become a monthly series. So if you do have questions you’d like the opportunity to perhaps ask your questions directly to Ebbe Altberg, hop over to the forum thread and leave them there, as noted in the Lab’s announcement.