The following notes are primarily taken from the TPV Developer (TPVD) meeting held on Friday, April 8th, 2016. A video of the meeting is embedded at the end of this report, my thanks as always to North for supplying it, and time stamps in the text relate to this recording.
SL Server Deployments – Recap
There was no scheduled deployment to the Main (SLS) channel this week. All three RC channels received the same server maintenance package, comprising a fix for (non-public) llHTTPRequest returns 400 from some sims and not others, and some minor improvements. Assuming nothing goes sideways with this update, it should be promoted to the Main channel in week #15 (commencing Monday, April 11th).
As of the Server Beta User Group meeting on Thursday, April 7th, it seems that there will not be any RC deployment in week #15.
SL Viewer Update
A new Maintenance RC viewer, version 126.96.36.1993759, arrived on Friday April 8th. This includes fixes for a range of issues related to viewer crashes, memory leaks, input/cursor issues, graphics bugs, formatting, notifications, etc.
This Maintenance viewer sees invisiprim texture UUIDs revert to their “old” behaviour: they will mask whatever they are covering (feet, water in dry docks or in boats, etc) when ALM is disabled, and are ignored when running with ALM enabled (see here for further background on recent changes to how these texture UUIDs are handled by the SL viewer).
During the TPVD meeting, Grumpity Linden described this as a “partial” fix [11:35, in text], and Oz Linden indicated that the Lab has not reached a final decision on how these textures should be handled in the future [18:35]. both of these comments suggest further work is yet to come with how invisiprims are handled.
Quick Graphics Viewer
[00:50] The Quick Graphics viewer, version 188.8.131.522297 at the time of writing, is being merged with the current release viewer code, but still has some remaining bugs to be resolved. It would therefore seem unlikely this viewer will be promoted to release status in the immediate future.
[31:44] Testing has shown that this viewer is relatively successful in preventing people wearing mesh graphics crashers from crashing it. While those using this viewer can experience a drop in frame rate in the presence of such crashers, they tend to remain connected to the simulator.
[33:24] A further change to the view means it no longer uses attachment geometry when calculating avatar complexity. This should prevent situations where setting the Avatar Complexity slider in the viewer to Unlimited still results in some avatars still appearing as solid colours.
[35:00] However, the recommendation is that if you want to have avatars mostly rendered normally but still have protection against like graphics crashers, you set the Avatar Complexity value to 350K rather than Unlimited.
[36:05] Avatars rendered as solid colours have been informally referred to as “Jelly Babies”. However, as this is actually a trademarked name (Bassett’s / Cadbury-Schweppes / Mondelēz International), the Lab prefers that it is no used, and are informally referring to solid colour avatars as “rainbow avatars” and more formally as “muted avatars”.
Oculus Rift Viewer
[06:49] The Lab is still committed to getting the Oculus Rift project viewer, version 184.108.40.2065296 and dated October 2014 at the time of writing, updated. Progress has been slowed due ongoing changes in the Oculus SDK. However, the plan remains to have this viewer support the consumer release version of the headset.
[28:48] The Lab has started building 64-bit versions of their Windows and Mac viewers. There is no firm date on when these will appear as project viewers, but the progress to date has been relatively rapid.
[07:40] The recent HTTP / Vivox release viewer (version 220.127.116.112816) contains a number of updates to improve issues like Voice quality, drop-outs, connection failures, etc. The Lab has suggested TPVs might want to investigate dropping the updated voice package into their own viewers, if not about to update to the 4.0.3 code base, so users can benefit from the newer Voice package.
Widespread Voice Drop-Outs
[08:40] There have been instances of widespread Voice drop-out across SL recently. These are apparently the result of DDoS attacks aimed at the Vivox services, rather than any issues within SL. Vivox are working to reduce the impacts of these attacks and improve service resumption following them, but the current updates provided to the Lab obviously won’t help when these issues occur. However, an upcoming version of the Voice package should over improvements when reconnecting to the Vivox services after problems have occurred.
Security / Privacy Improvements
[10:25] In addition to the above, the Lab and Vivox are also working on various security and privacy improvements around Voice. When these are available, they will form a new version of the SL Voice package which will not be backwards compatible with older viewers.