2016 SL project updates 36 (2): TPV Developer meeting

Yasminia; Inara Pey, September 2016, on Flickr Yasminiablog post

The majority of the notes in this update are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, September 9th. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update, and references to it are indicated through the use of time stamps in the paragraphs below. My thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

This is not intended to be a transcript of the entire meeting, which featured discussions of some situations specific to individual region rather than SL as a whole. However, key discussion points have hopefully been highlighted.

Server Deployments

There was no main (SLS) channel deployment on Tuesday, September 6th.  On Wednesday, September 7th, all three RCs received the same new server maintenance package, defined as containing “minor internal logging changes” which may help with some of the problems occasionally seen with estate bans; at a minimum the Lab will be able to gather more information on them.

SL Viewer

VLC Media Plugin RC

[00:12] It is anticipated that this viewer (version 4.1.1.318504, dated August 15th at the time of writing) will be updated in the early part of week #37. The update had been expected in week #36, but bug fixing slowed progress. In addition, the new version of the viewer will include changes for exception handling in the viewer intended to ensure exceptions are better handled and recorded. These may not prevent crashes occurring, but should provide the Lab with better data on the exception throws and catches. Overall, they are describes as “fairly small, widespread changes” to the viewer code.

Visual Outfits Browser

[01:26]  The Visual Outfits Browser release candidate was further updated on Friday, September 9th, to version 4.0.8.319463,which should address some bugs, and the crash rate will be under observation with this update.

64-Bit Viewers

[03:08] Progressing continuing on the 64-bit Mac and Windows viewers, and the hope is that a project viewer will be arriving “soon”.

Project Bento

[01:26] My update on the most recent user group meeting is available, in which the viewer’s progress to RC in discussed. At the TPVD meeting, Oz indicated a hope the RC version of the viewer will be appearing some time in the next fortnight. This means that the Bento code will then be officially available for TPVs to adopt.

Windows 10 OpenGL Issue

[03:48] On September 6th, and following Whirly Fizzle’s pointer, I blogged about the Windows 10 / OpenGL issue which is affecting some Second Life users (as well as affecting a number of OpenGL games) – see also BUG-37795. Commenting on this at the TPVD meeting, Oz Linden said:

We are trying to work with Microsoft to find out what the genesis of that problem is … we didn’t do anything, so I’m not sure that we’re going to be able to fix it without help. The fact that it’s not just us that’s affected, is our best hope for getting a fix.

Voice Fixes

[04:50] The Voice changes mentioned in recent TPV Development meetings are not yet ready for release. There is at least one bug in handling Voice fade with distance which needs to be addressed by Vivox, which may take time for them to do. There is also no immediate push to deploy the new server-side Voice code currently on Aditi to the main grid. These changes don’t add any new features, being geared more for future changes to Voice than dealing with current problems, and as such may not be deployed until there is need for them.

New Family of LSL Functions

[07:27] A new family of LSL functions which it is hoped will please scripters. No details on what these are has been provided, pending final QA and testing via Aditi, so they may be appearing “real soon now”.  It is anticipated that an official blog post will mark the availability of the functions.

Other Items

  • [13:10] Alpha Masking Issues: This is a long-standing issue whereby alpha masking “fails” when ALM isn’t enabled in the viewer, leading to unattractive visual issues – see BUG-4357 for details.  This is something which fell off of the Lab’s radar, but they will now see if they can assign someone to look at the problem.
Alpha masking failure on attachments under ALM
Alpha masking failure on attachments under ALM. Credit: Whirly Fizzle
  • [14:44] Increasing the number of allowed attachments: project Bento sees an increase in the number of allowed attachment points on the avatar skeleton. However, the maximum number of attachments which can be worn at any one time remains 38, as any higher number starts to impact performance and stability, particularly with region crossings
  • [20:34] Ghosted attachments on region crossings: there are a number of bug reports on this (e.g. BUG-7761), and more than one bug may be at work (one causing items to become ghosted another causing them to revert, etc) on a region crossing (physical or teleport), which may or may not be linked to wearing multiple individual attachments at the same attach point. The Lab will be making further efforts to investigate issues
  • [27:00] E-mail changes: the Lab is making a series of change to improve the handling of outgoing e-mails from their systems (e.g. off-line e-mails for IMs, etc). The first of this is improving how users verify their e-mail address, which will be followed by further improvements, including only sending e-mails to addresses which have been verified. These changes will again be blogged about when implemented
  • Suppressing Avatar Complexity Notifications: the Lab may be looking at an easier way to suppress the avatar complexity notifications displayed in the top right corner of the viewer window than by using a debug option.
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Peacehaven – A New Beginning in Second Life

Peacehaven - A New Beginning; Inara Pey, September 2016, on Flickr Peacehaven – A New Beginning – click any image for full size

In April, I wrote about Peacehaven, a beautifully rugged and picturesque region designed by Purr (PurrBlaize). At the time, the region was slated to close in May 2016, although it remained open a while longer before the doors finally closed and the region passed into new ownership.  Now, and as featured in the Destination Guide, it is back, albeit on a smaller scale, occupying a quarter of a region; but smaller doesn’t mean any less photogenic.

Peacehaven – A New Beginning presents visitors with a compact corner of beauty and peace ready to be explored and enjoyed. Journeys here start in the north-east corner of the land, on a concrete causeway at the foot of the tall spire of a lighthouse.  Two arches on the landward side of the causeway beckon people forward; the first is a natural formation of rock, its top broken in ages past, mosses coating its inner and outer faces. The second is of carved stone blocks and columns, apparently remnants of an ancient structure.

Peacehaven - A New Beginning; Inara Pey, September 2016, on Flickr Peacehaven – A New Beginning

Beyond them both, and across the sweeping curve of a river channel which reveals this part of the land to in fact be a small island, the ground thrusts upwards into a rocky plateau. Water tumbles down one face of this mesa, cutting a further channel to link with the river’s curve. Flatted-topped, the plateau is home to a thatched cottage, the short grass around it offering grazing for  horses and cattle, a wide pool – the source of the waterfalls – providing fresh water for them to drink. Behind the cottage, the rock again pushes upwards to form a small flat shoulder, where sits a modest growth of vines from which a harvest of grapes has not entirely been plucked.

The route up to this high perch is via path and stair, which wind between dry stone walls and up shelf-like steps of rock, passing bright splashes of flowers and  a tree-house snug along the way. Or, for those so inclined, a path at the base of the rugged plateau offers the chance to walk around it, passing a freshwater pond where lilies grow in one direction, or over a stout stone bridge and under the shade of trees to where the path divides, presenting a second wooden bridge leading back to the small, wooded island in one direction, or the choice of two further paths between the trees – but I’ll leave it to you to visit yourselves and see where they may take you.

Peacehaven - A New Beginning; Inara Pey, September 2016, on Flickr Peacehaven – A New Beginning

For those who prefer their time in the sun, Peaceheaven – A New Beginning offers two beaches, one to the north and the other to the east, both watched over by the lighthouse and set with parasols and dance systems, with one reach by another stone arch, a further reminder of an ancient presence here. Those in a romantic or reflective frame of mind are also catered for, with places to sit and snuggle – one or two of which might take a little careful finding.

Peaceheaven – A New Beginning is another demonstration that you don’t necessarily need an entire region to build something special. Exploring it is a genuine pleasure, with the snuggle spots and beaches ideal for resting-up afterwards, the sound of birdsong in the trees and waves on the sand forming a suitable backdrop for lazing away the time.

Peacehaven - A New Beginning; Inara Pey, September 2016, on Flickr Peacehaven – A New Beginning

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The Curio in Second Life

The Curio
The Curio

Open at the Serena Image Arts Centre, from September 10th 2016, is Eleseren Brianna’s The Curio, a mixed 2D and 3D art installation centred on a gigantic figure and a tale written in the style of a Victorian gentleman’s personal journal.

The gentleman in question is Joseph C.R. Pomfret, who is travelling through Finland as a part of an unspecified group of English families. Whilst lodging in a hotel in Savonlinna, they are invited to spend time at a private fishing lodge owned by one Doctor Koskinen. It is whilst staying there that the group encounters the Enkeli (“the Angel”).

The Curio
The Curio

This narrative is presented at the start of the installation, as a large intellibook which offers easy reading of the entries. Beside it, nine images arranged in an arc of easels, stand as a visual tableau of the encounter with the Enkeli. Rendered in a manner suggestive of skilled penmanship, they might be taken as drawings taken from the journal as offered by Mr. Pomfret as illustrations of the remarkable find. In turn, the nine images point the visitor towards the giant angel itself – not that it is hard to miss!

The Enkeli is an imposing figure set upon s sand bar surrounded by a landscape of rugged island in keeping with the journal’s description. Helmeted, with spread wings ruffled and in disarray, his is collapsed on hand and knees, as if exhausted. A great lance is held tightly in his right hand, blunt end thrust into the ground, tip pointing skyward, gripped as if he might be about to lean on it for support to regain his feet. Wooden chairs and a ladder invite visitors to explore the figure after the manner of Pomfret and his companions, while a rowing boat is moored alongside offers a further indication of scale.

The Curio
The Curio

The Curio is an interesting three-way piece, balancing storytelling with images and sculpture to present a unique narrative. It remains open through until September 16th, 2016, and a Gatcha / Gacha machine at the start of the exhibit offers all nine of the images and a copy of the journal  in an equally unique way of offering art to visitors.

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