The following notes and audio were taken from the weekly Bento User Group meeting, held on Aditi every Thursday at 13:00 SLT.
For details on each meeting and the location, please refer to the Bento User Group wiki page.
The Bento Bone Survey, intended to gauge the level of interest in various bone proposals for the Bento skeleton is now available. The Lab is requesting animators and content creators with a vested interest in Project Bento to rank the bone proposals to help with prioritising which additional bones people would like to see added to the Second Life avatar skeleton as a part of the Bento work.
If you are an animator / content creator with such an interest, and you haven’t already completed the survey, please ensure you do so as soon as possible, as it is likely to be closed on or shortly after Monday, February 1st.
The Lab notes they do not currently know how many additional bones we can reasonably add, or whether some of the associated bugs can be fixed.
Drax Files Filming
The final session of Bento filming for The Drax Files World Makers will take place on Monday, February 1st at 11:00 SLT at the Bento Island region on Aditi. All those with an avatar developed using the Bento avatar skeleton extensions are invited to attend.
Distortions with Altitude
Cathy Foil has been examining issues with deformations at altitude occurring in avatars using the Bento skeleton. She first noticed the issue whilst Bento was in closed session and reported details to the Lab. However, efforts at pinning down he precise cause have been hampered up until recently by not being able to gather sufficient data from the skeleton and a lack of detailed comparisons between the effects as seen on various viewers utilising the Bento code.
Cathy has been addressing this using the most recent release of the Bento project viewer, and carrying out further detailed tests at various altitudes to document the severity of the issues more fully (they tend become noticeable at altitudes over 1000 metres). She has now passed her latest findings over to the Lab for their investigations.
Cathy has also been investigating the issue of avatars deforming as a result of using a mesh uploaded with different joint positions. This tend to result in avatars looking “squished” or otherwise deformed.
As she uses Maya, part of her investigations point towards possible issues with versions of the plug-ins used by Maya to convert .FBX format mesh files to .Collada .DAE (the format used by SL). Whether or not the plug-ins are the cause isn’t definitive as a cause, but may be a contributing factor. As Vir noted in the meeting, if this is the case, then it is unlikely the Lab can do much about it, but those using Maya affected by the issue may need to check the version of the Collada plug-in they are using, and make sure they have the most recent to see if this clears the problem.
If it is more of an issue with the mesh uploader, however (because the Lab have missed something, for example), then obviously, there is more of a chance of the Lab taking remedial action.
Cathy Foil discusses her investigations into avatar deformations at altitude
Joint Reset Issues
A long-term problem with Bento has been it is easy for joints to get into the wrong state and / or position when animating an avatar using the Bento skeleton extensions. It’s often not clear why this happens when it occurs, which can be somewhat random. Vir has started collecting data on the issue. Nothing definitive has been identified in terms of a cause or causes, but Vir will be continuing to work on the issue.
“First Frame” Animation / Default Avatar Pose Issues
Another issue which has been noted is that of a first frame of an animation begin played three times as the animation is run, and which may be connected to default avatar poses within Second Life. This is a fairly “old” bug, dating back as far as 2007 (see BUG-11194), and which seems to be more prevalent with Bento as a result of bones being used differently (e.g. arm bones being used as forelegs, etc).
Medhue Simoni demonstrated the issue using two of has non-human avatars, an elephant and a wolf, which saw both attempt to cross their front legs (as a human might try to fold their arms) when transitioning between animations.
A lengthy discussion followed on the problem, which might also involve a number of other issues, including poses “baked” into the default avatar skeleton, possible race conditions between the viewer and the server, and issues with animation prioritisation.
It may also be related to how Second Life handles transitions between animations (referred to as animations “easing out” and “easing in” when moving from one to another), which has had other problems reported against it as well – see also BUG-11122, for example.
As indicated in Vir’s comment on BUG-11194, and noted in the discussion, there is some initial concern from the Lab that if the playing in triplicate was an intentional change – and one made well before most developers currently at the Lab having joined the company – or if it requires symmetrical changes on both the viewer and the server, it might result in some content breakage without detailed analysis, although Vir has now started digging into the code to have a look.