SL project updates 2016 50/1: Server, viewer, no change window

North Pole at Alki, Alki; Inara Pey, December 2016, on Flickr “Hand over your coal and carrots, and don’t try anything funny. This hair-dryer is plugged in, and I know how to use it!” North Pole at Alki, Alkiblog post

Server Deployments

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

  • On Tuesday, December 13th, the Main (SLS) channel received the same server maintenance package, as deployed to the RC channels in week #49. This includes the following feature requests:
    • BUG-6377 – llGetObjectDetails(id,[OBJECT_ATTACHED_SLOTS_AVAILABLE]) – Returns a value that is number of attachment slots allowed by the server minus the number of attachments worn by avatar. Returns 0 if avatar is not in the same region or if UUID is not an agent.
    • BUG-40871 – llGetEnv() constant “region_object_bonus” – returns the object bonus set for a region.
  • On Wednesday, December 14th, all three RC channels should receive the same new server maintenance package, comprising improved internal server logging.

SL Viewer

The Maintenance RC viewer updated to version, bringing it to parity with the current release viewer, incorporating the Bento updates. This leaves the remaining viewers in the pipelines unchanged from week #48:

  • 360-degree snapshot viewer, version, dated November 23rd.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version, dated May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

No Change Window

The Christmas and New Year 2016/17 No Change window comes into effect from Friday, December 16th. This means there will be no further server deployments and no further official viewer promotions after that date, through until Monday, January 2nd, 2017.


Mesh and Texture Rezzing

As noted in my week #49 update, people have been noticing increased delays in object mesh and texture rezzing, with fingers being pointed at the Lab’s CDN supplier(s).  The issues are continuing for some, while for others they appear to have cleared up. It’s still not obvious if it is a potential LL / CDN issue or a network problem in general.

As Simon Linden said in the meeting, the problems have been seen by the Lab, but are proving to be intermittent and hard to pin down. The problem also seems to manifest differently for people: some report very slow texture rendering, other report textures load and render fine, but mesh items are prone to failing to fully render, others report a mix of the two.

Region Crossings

Region crossings have been widely reported as increasing again – including avatars being dumped at 0,0,0 (again). Some are reporting the issue as cumulative: the more regions they cross, the greater the likelihood they’ll encounter a serious issue (becoming unseated, return of vehicle, forced log-out). The usual advice is being circulated – reduce script load, handle crossings with caution, etc. However, the Lab are again aware of the uptick, but have not come to any specific conclusion on the cause.

The avatar appearing at a region’s 0,0,0 co-ordinates appears to be linked to connection problems and / or UDP packet loss (usually the first packet) resulting in messages arriving in the wrong order and the viewer and simulator falling out of synch with one another.

With both the rendering issues and the region crossing issues, fingers have been directed at the increased land impact allowances. This may be a case of post hoc, ergo propter hoc. In particular, it has been claimed that region crossings “became” bad after the mainland LI allowance increase, although people were reporting issues before the LI increase took place.

Appearance Issues / Bake Fails

Some are finding their avatar is failing to render in their view (bake fail) when logging-in. Changing outfits, camming away / back to your avatar may fix this, or a re-log. In extreme cases reverting to the default Character Test avatars may be required, or deleting and recreating the affected avatar appearance folder on your hard drive.

Rider Linden is looking into the problem, and believes it may be due to a missed inventory fetch at log-in, leaving the viewer thinking you’re missing a critical part of your appearance (e.g. your shape), but he is not 100% certain at this point in time.

A trip to Alki’s North Pole in Second Life

North Pole at Alki, Alki; Inara Pey, December 2016, on FlickrNorth Pole at Alki, Alki – click any image for full size

“Just for fun, Zoidyn and I have built a light-hearted north pole area over Alki,” Alana Onyett informed me whilst chatting recently. “We had a little dance there, so the elves are a little busy cleaning up, poor things! But we hope you and Caitlyn can come over in your leisure time and relax. We’ll have the build up until the end of December.”

Alki is Alana and Zoidyn’s Full region which offers a lot for people to see and do. Focused on music in Second Life, it presents visitors with a rich mix of music venues, activities, a photogenic public park to wander through, rides, amusements, and much, much more (see here for notes on my last visit). It’s a place always well worth a visit, and the idea that Alana and Zoidyn were having a little seasonal fun as well have Caitlyn and I donning our woolies and jumping over to see.

North Pole at Alki, Alki; Inara Pey, December 2016, on Flickr “Hand over your coal and carrots, and no funny moves. This hair dryer is plugged in, and I know how to use it!” North Pole at Alki, Alki

Sitting at 1500 metres above the region, the north pole area can either be reached via a teleport portal just a few metres away from the main landing point (link above) and here is also another up on the Z&A Plateau, outside the Coffee House; or visitors can use a direct landmark. Whichever route you take, you’ll be delivered to Santa’s North Pole Headquarters, a delightful mix of the quaint and the high-tech (it would seem Santa has moved into the 21st century!).

Of course there is Santa’s toy factory – housed, as one might expect, in a snow-capped cottage, complete with bay windows, sagging roof, stone walls and all. But don’t be fooled; inside things are pretty well automated, production monitored via computer. This means that most of Santa’s Little Helpers (or subordinate clauses, as I call them) can get on with more enjoyable tasks, such as putting up the decorations, baking, and, “product testing” (spelt p-l-a-y-i-n-g).

North Pole at Alki, Alki; Inara Pey, December 2016, on Flickr North Pole at Alki, Alki

Along a cobbled footpath carefully cleared of snow, elf and safety first, after all (OK, I promise that’s the last of the elf puns), sits the rest of Santa’s operation: a sturdy 2-storey stone-and wood-building offering stables for the reindeer (and a sleigh prepping area), with the staff lounge and kitchen above. Further evidence of the high-tech nature of this operation can be seen in the form of the radar dishes on the roof, and the precisely laid-out sleigh runway on the far side of the building. There’s even a weather and communications station up in the hills!

Follow the footpath away from Santa’s operations and through the trees, and you’ll find the elves have been having fun within the circle of a little railway and penguins – presumably up on vacation from Antarctic – are also enjoying themselves.

North Pole at Alki, Alki; Inara Pey, December 2016, on Flickr “Wait. Only five reindeer? With an overloaded sleigh and an overweight, jolly pilot? Are you sure that runway is long enough?” North Pole at Alki, Alki

Fun really is the theme of this build, and Zoidyn and Alana have included a lot of little details which make exploring it carefully well worth the time (not all of them are immediately obvious). Fun can also be had by visitors, be it sledding (with an elf or alone), snowboarding, ice skating or dancing. If quieter pursuits are more your thing, there are plenty of places to sit, snuggle, relax and chat.

And when you feel you’ve seen enough of Santa’s corner of Alki, why not take the portal down to ground level? As noted towards the top of this piece, there’s a lot to be discovered – and a few things added overhead as well since our last visit – just look for the teleporters! When you visit, do please consider a donation towards the region’s upkeep.

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