Project Bento User Group update 32 with audio

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

The following notes and audio were taken from the weekly Bento User Group meeting, held on Thursday, October 27th at 13:00 SLT at the the Hippotropolis Campfire Circle. and chaired by Vir Linden. 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.

General Project Status

Work continues on Bento bug fixes. As a result of the Bento code being available in a pre-release version of Firestorm, the number of reported issues with legacy content have increased (see BUG-40672). There are two issue in particular the Lab have been looking at:

  • The previously reported issues of some mesh content having latent “bad” joint positions which were previously overlooked by the viewer, but which are now taken into account under Bento, leading to avatar deformation (see my update #30 for more on this)
  • An issue related to the eye joints now being scaled by the eye size slider, which can result in existing mesh eyes appearing to bug out of avatar’s heads when viewed in the Bento viewer. The easiest way to fix this is to reset the eye slider to the default 50 value.
Eye sizing issue: as Bento allows mesh eyes to be affected by the eye size slider, they can suddenly appear to resize when seen on the that viewer (r), compared to how they appear on a non-Bento viewer (l)
Eye sizing issue: as Bento allows mesh eyes to be affected by the eye size slider, they can suddenly appear to resize when seen on the that viewer (r), compared to how they appear on a non-Bento viewer (l)

Outside of these problems – which are still being looked at (see below), there is at least one bug (initially noted with Haste Coy products and also reported on BUG-40672), which should have a fix in the next Bento RC update, and a crash issue which also should be fixed in the next update.

If anyone is encountering issues with existing content when using the Bento viewer, they should report their problems via the JIRA (BUG-40672) so the Lab can look at things.

Benches: because even an elephant needs the occasional sit down. Medhue Simoni's stunning Bento mesh elephant
Benches: because even an elephant needs the occasional sit down. Medhue Simoni’s stunning Bento elephant avatar

Legacy Content Deformation Issue

There has still been no decision on how to handle the “werewolf deformation” issue, which now extends to about three creators, and may extend beyond werewolf models. There have been suggestions on forking rendering behaviour by something like upload date, so that if an item was uploaded prior to date X, then it is handled as “non-Bento”; if uploaded after date X, it is handled with Bento in mind.

A problem here is setting an arbitrary date may not actually solve anything. Bento has been around for over a year, with content creators working on it for the last several months at least, during which time other creators have been creating / updating and uploading non-Bento content. So, determining which is which by date likely won’t work.

That said, if there is a large amount of legacy content impacted by the viewer change, it still might be preferable to set a date and have Bento content creators re-upload their work to be on the “right side” of that date, rather than trying to get legacy content creators to re-upload. This is because some creators may not already be around and / or some may have used mesh creation kits which don’t have the necessary .DAE file for them to modify.

A further complication here is that any impact of the viewer behaviour change may simply be negated by creators of older avatar models updating to Bento models, to which their customers subsequently update.

Other Items

No Modify Shapes

The eye issue mentioned above once again raised concerns around users employing shapes that do not have modify permissions. Such shapes prevent the use of the appearance sliders, so even apparently “easy fix” issues, such as adjusting the eye size slider, may not be applicable.

This particular issue sparked a lengthy conversation about using the (currently non-obvious in the official viewer) XML shape exporter coupled with additional code to more easily export a shape’s XML file, which could then be re-imported with a check box to ensure the default 50 setting for things like the eye size sliders.

One problem here, as Vir pointed out is that users who are unaware of unfamiliar with using the shape sliders likely aren’t going to be enamoured with the idea of exporting an appearance XML file, creating a shape and then importing the appearance XML data against that shape, even though some TPVs have, with the Lab’s approval, sought to make this easier.

There is also the problem that creators may object to users being given the ability to export / import shape data, as it effectively bypasses the permissions system, allowing anyone to take shape data and use it as they please. However, given there is already a TPV methodology available, to assist with shape data import which has been given the nod by the Lab,  Vir will take the matter back to the office for further discussion.

The more direct solution might be for creators to indicate that Bento avatar meshes require the use of a modifiable shape (either supplied with the mesh or which the user can create and edit).

The Skeleton

Vir highlighted the fact that while different terms are used, there are technically three types of joints in the avatar skeleton: bones, the “standard joints” for rigging to; collision volumes, as used by things like fitted mesh; and attachment points,  which have most of the properties of joints, hence why some creators started rigging and animating to them, even though this was never an intended use.

Next Meeting

The next Bento meeting will likely be Thursday, November 10th, 2016, as November 3rd clashes with the Lab’s monthly internal meeting.

Additional Links

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Giovanna’s Monochrome in Second Life

Monochrome - Giovanna Cerise
Monochrome – Giovanna Cerise

Open now through until the end of the year is Monochrome, a full region installation on three levels, designed and built by Giovanna Cerise. It’s a hard piece to quantify – if indeed it requires quantifying. Spread over its three levels, it presents three different environments / structures, offered in black, white and red respectively.

The black element is located at ground level, facing the landing point, with a teleport door providing to the next level – white – which then connects to the upper, red level. There is no specific windlight for the installation; visitors are encouraged to experiment with different times of day / settings.

Monochrome - Giovanna Cerise
Monochrome – Giovanna Cerise

Sitting over the water, the Black level presents a series of cubic and rectangular boxes rising into the sky, some interlinked and stacked like great square hills. Their walls are phantom, allowing visitors to walk  or fly through them (watch out for transparent floors when flying up!). Slender metal spars rise up around them, while string like strands loop through the air, threaded with cubes of their own.

At the centre of all this are three tall, cube-headed female figures. One stands threading a cube onto another metal-like strand, which is being fed to her by the seated and kneeling figures. One of these holds a pair of scissors, ready to cut the strand, presumably so it can also be set floating in the air once a suitable number of cubes have been threaded.

Monochrome - Giovanna Cerise
Monochrome – Giovanna Cerise

The pattern of cube-like rooms is repeated on the White level – only this time the cubes all occupy just one level, spread like a vast building across a white plain. Phantom in nature, they can again be walked through, only this time their walls can also be seen through from both sides. Once their bounds, this gives the feeling of being in some vast maze, one where many of the rooms have large magnifying glasses standing in their centres, while others are empty. Wandering through them, it is exceptionally easy to lose one’s sense of direction.

And on the upper Red level, lies a mass of red cubes, as if caught in a swirling wind lifting them into the air. At their centre is a red mass, like a congealed lump of spilled paint, on which four red figures appear caught in the same vortex, being pulled apart from the head down, their broken bodies rising and twirling together within the vortex, becoming a single strand rising into the sky, eventually to bind the spine of a huge red notebook.

Monochrome - Giovanna Cerise
Monochrome – Giovanna Cerise

All three levels offer intriguing montages. They challenge us to quantify them according to our own perception, by challenging that very perception as we study them each in turn. Is the binding of the book on the Red level really being drawn from the figures below, for example, or is it slowly unravelling from the book to fall and become those figures? And if it is, does this not alter our thinking about what is being portrayed here?

You decide.

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