Project Bento User Group update 16 with audio

Project Bento – extending the SL avatar skeleton
Project Bento – extending the SL avatar skeleton

Updated June 30th – please refer to note following a quoted comment from Matrice.

The following notes and audio were taken from the weekly Bento User Group meeting, held on Thursday, June 23rd at 13:00 SLT at the the Hippotropolis Campfire Circle . For details on the meeting agenda, please refer to the Bento User Group wiki page.

Note that this update is not intended to offer a full transcript of the meeting, nor does it present the discussion points in chronological order. Rather, it represents the core points of discussion, grouped together by subject matter were relevant / possible, whilst maintaining the overall context of the meeting.

Apologies for the quality of Vir’s voice in the recording, this is my fault. I had to go afk just after starting the audio recording, and I hadn’t adjusted my local pick-up of Vir’s voice before doing so. As as consequence, Vir sounds a little distorted.

Facial Bones, Rotation / Translation / Slider Issues and Relative Translations

There has been further forum thread discussions on issues with the position of some of the new facial bones when they are used in combination with the head sliders. The core of this discussion commences here, and Mal Vanbeeck has offered a feature request for “shape slider friendly” facial bone positions. Some of this is also tied to issues relating to the range of movement of bones with the sliders or under animation.

Matrice Laville has been looking into some of the issues, and has come up with a proposal for making some amendments to the Bento skeleton to try to address some of the problems. However, any changes which are implemented will change the structure of the skeleton and how the sliders work, and will likely impact some initial content using the affected parts of the skeleton.

Because of this, it is likely the proposed amendments will be built into a test version of the Bento viewer, rather than the current project viewer, together with some test models to allow independent testing of the updates so it can be determined if they address the issues sufficiently and do not have unanticipated additional impact, so that a decision can be made on whether or not to fully implement them into the project viewer.

Specific changes in this test viewer, when available, are focused on issues raised around eyes and jaws, and so should comprise:

  • Changing the eyelids to have the same centre position as the eyebrow
  • Changes to the jaw and tongue positions
  • Changing the lower teeth so that they are parented to the lower jaw bone
  • Associated slider changes.

Adding to this in text, Matrice said:

All jaw related sliders do no longer translate the jaw except the jaw angle slider; the jaw bone has its default position now right below the faceRoot. The jaw angle slider still moves like crazy but I believe it is not an issue any longer. Actually, I propose to remove the [.LAD definitions for the Bento bones from the] jaw angle slider, because it only is needed for the jaw angle. I bet nobody will miss that slider.*

[NB June 30th: This comment has been updated, as some confusion followed the publication of this report, causing Matrice some embarrassment.  The fault is mine, and is the result of copying a text comment verbatim, rather than seeming clarification from Matrice. My apologies to him and any anyone else for the confusion caused.]

As Vir acknowledged, this has been a major amount of work which should hopefully address many of the issues encountered with the complexity of the new face bones and attempting to hook them into a limited set of available sliders.

Vir also noted that when available, Bento avatars using this revised skeleton in the test viewer may look odd when seen on the Bento project viewer, and vice-versa, and that the work has been carried out with the aim of limiting any de-stabilising influences the changes may have if and when they are integrated into Bento as a whole, while at the same time avoiding being so conservative that Bento ends up going live still with issues like these which might impact its adoption and use.

A notification will be placed in the forum thread when the viewer is ready.

Project Viewer Status

There are some bug fixes that will be upcoming in the next Bento project update, which could be appearing sometime in week #26 (week commencing Monday, June 27th).

The Lab is working to get the viewer to Release Candidate status, with the work focused on identifying and prioritising the bugs which really need to be fixed before moving forward. There will also be the work to integrate the modifications to bone positions and sliders noted above, together with associated evaluation, plus the upcoming testing. However, the hope is the viewer will move to RC status in the not-too-distant future.

Medhue Simoni (l) and Coyot Linden (r) wearing the upright coyote avatar Medhue made for Coyot, attending the June 16th Bento meeting
Medhue Simoni (l) and Coyot Linden (r) wearing the upright coyote avatar Medhue made for Coyot, attending the June 16th Bento meeting

Tool Chain Issues

Some of the recent bugs Vir has been investigating with regards to specific content appear to be down to potential issues within the tools used to create the content introducing irregularities in the models and animations, rather than anything specific to how Bento itself is handling the uploaded models.

Obviously, in such circumstances, there is only so far the Lab can go in investigating these types of issues, as they have no knowledge of exactly how the models /animations were defined within the creator’s tools of choice, etc., and so content creators who have encountered these specific issues have been asked to take them back to the tools creators to make sure things are behaving correctly at that end of the process.

Continue reading “Project Bento User Group update 16 with audio”

SL Project Updates 16 25/2: server, viewer, animation files

Hell's Crossing; Inara Pey, June 2016, on Flickr Hell’s Crossingblog post

Server Deployments – Recap

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

  • There was not deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, June 21st.
  • On Wednesday, June 20th, the three RC channels were updated with the same new server maintenance package, comprising  minor internal changes and Tool Tip/Constant text fixes.

The RC update includes a fix for BUG-18251, and a further fix for the Bento attachment issue documented in BUG-10979, which doesn’t change Bento models or how avatars are rendered by the viewer.

SL Viewer

The Maintenance RC viewer updated on Friday, June 24th to version

The remaining official viewers were not updated during the week, leaving them as follows:

    • Current Release version: (dated May 11), May 18 – formerly the Quick Graphics RC viewer
    • Inventory Message RC viewer, version, dated May 23rd – removal of deprecated and unused UDP inventory messaging mechanisms from the viewer
    • Project viewers:
      • Project VLC Media Plugin viewer, version, dated June 15th – replaces the QuickTime media plugin for the Windows viewer with one based on LibVLC
      • Visual Outfit Browser viewer, version, dated June 6th – ability to preview images of outfits in the Appearance floater
      • Project Bento (avatar skeleton extensions), version, dated June 10th – bug fixes
    • Obsolete platform viewer, version dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Larger Animation File Sizes

There has been a long-standing request to increase the file size for animations, a request which has been enhanced by the development within Bento, where there is now a far larger number of bones to be pushed around (see BUG-11836).

While the Lab had been open to this idea, it looked as if any change would be deferred until after the back-end services had been updated to deliver animation assets via the Content Delivery Network (CDN), which at the time of writing is used to deliver meshes and textures to the viewer.

However, the Lab has now decided to bring this change forward, rather than wait for the move to the CDN. As this is a server-side update, it is currently due to be in the Release Candidate channel updates for Wednesday, June 29th (from Caleb Linden, talking at the Server Beta User Group meeting on Thursday, June 23rd). This will see the animation file size limit raised from 120Kb to 250Kb.

One thing to bear in mind however, is that until animations are moved to CDN delivery (where they should enjoy somewhat faster delivery to your viewer on a first-time load), they will be delivered to your viewer via UDP, and the larger file size, as it comes into use, will probably mean a slightly longer delay before animations kick-in while they are being downloaded. Obviously, once caches locally, this should be an issue (unless you clear cache).

Vir Linden discussed this change at the Bento Project meeting, and I’m including the audio extract from that meeting below.

UWA: call for Immaterial entries in Second Life


While the Grand challenges came to an end in December 2015, with the awards for Pursue Impossible, the University of Western Australia is still involved in supporting the arts in Second Life, both through the UWA Gallery and through various exhibitions.

Launching the latter, and announced on Friday, June 24th, is IMMATERIAL, with an open invitation for 2D, 3D and machinima artists to enter.

The theme for the exhibition is “Immaterial”, and is described as being about light, shadows, textures, motion, and ideas. The announcement states the theme is intended to::

Highlight the technologies of SL as a medium for creative expression. We especially want work that uses advanced techniques, in addition to objects per se, including but not limited to:

  • Mesh
  • Materials
  • Projected light and shadows
  • Avatar and object motion/animation
  • Advanced scripting/interaction
  • Particles
  • Pathfinding

As this is an exhibition and not a challenge or competition, there is no judging panel and no cash prizes. Instead, all entries will be documented, and an exhibition catalogue will be published on-line as part of the UWA Studies in Virtual Arts (UWA SiVA) journal series.

The deadline for submissions is 23:59 on July 31st 2016 at 11:59 PM SLT, and entries will be displayed in the UWA Gallery as they are received. The exhibition will be on display for at least two months, but calls for entries for subsequent shows may overlap.

General guidelines for entries are:

  • Artists may submit up to one entry each in 3D, 2D, and/or machinima. Collaborations are encouraged, so if you participate as a named collaborator on any entry, you may also submit a separate entry as an individual.
  • Land Impact limit for 3D work is 200. Sound and light emitting objects should be carefully crafted in consideration of other nearby entries. Objects that might impact other nearby entries may have to be placed on a platform to isolate it. In such cases a poster and TP device will be placed in the gallery. Any entry with excessive script lag may be refused or returned for revision.
  • 2D entries should reflect the theme and must be images substantially created in SL. Post-processing (e.g., Photoshop effects) should be kept to a minimum.
  • Machinima entries can be of any length or subject matter as long a they are substantially produced using SL as the primary medium and conform to other criteria listed here. A poster and/or screen shot will be placed in the gallery and in the exhibition catalogue along with a link to the machinima.

For the full entry guidelines, including how to submit your entry, please refer to the UWA Immaterial call for entries.

Good luck to all who enter!

Additional links