SL project updates 17/2: server, viewer Content Creation UG

Patankarblog post

Server Deployments

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

  • There was no deployment to, or restart of, the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, April 25th
  • Depending on the outcome of late QA testing, the three RC channels may be updated on Wednesday, April 26th as follows:

DRTSIM-343: Allow Public Access Region / Parcel Settings Changes

This is the update to region / parcel access that will mean that if a region is explicitly set to Allow Public Access, parcel holders on the region will no longer be able to override the setting at the parcel level (see my update here). It had been deployed to the three RC channels a couple of weeks ago, but was then withdrawn. This may now be reappearing on an RC in week #18 (commencing Monday, May 1st, 2017), with Rider linden noting:

There were a number of suggestions about additions to the project. I just finished getting the code in that will send a notification to the parcel owner if their access settings are changed out from under them. Rider Linden: I’ve also fixed it so that the previous settings are stored in the simstate and restored if the override is reverted.

SL Viewer

The AssetHTTP project viewer, which shifts remaining asset types to delivery over HTTP via the Content Delivery Network(s) leveraged by the Lab, was updated to version 5.0.5.325825 on Thursday, April 27th. This is primarily a bug-fix release, aimed at reducing the high crash rate exhibited by the previous version.

Content Creation User Group Meeting

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group meeting, held on  Thursday April 27th, 2017 at 1:00pm SLT at the the Hippotropolis Camp Fire Circle. The meeting is chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, etc, are available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

The meeting was more of a general Q&A session, live streamed / recorded by Medhue Simoni, and that video is embedded at the end of this update, my thanks to him for providing it. Timestamps in the text below will take readers directly to the relevant point in the video (in a separate tab) where topics are discussed. Note that there was a lot of discussion via text, with topics overlapping. The notes here, together with the time stamps and audio extracts from my own recording refer to the key topics where Vir Linden provided input / feedback.

Attachments Using non-Hand Bones Following Hand Movements

[5:31] Medhue Simoni has been trying to work out a way to have attachments used by the hand (such as a gun, or nunchuk system, for example) rigged to non-hand bones in the skeleton correctly track with the hands. This would, for example allow someone perform a set of nunchuk exercises without the weapons massively separating from the hands, or allow a gun to be drawn, fired, twirled on a trigger finger, etc, and then be returned to the holster in a fluid, hand-following movement.

The problem here is that s non-hand bones which might be used for this aren’t actually connected to the hands, they have no way of knowing where the hand might be placed. However, Medhue believes that given time, he might be able to solve the problem.

“Layering” Meshes using Alpha Textures

[9:20] Some content creators have been taking advantage of placing two meshes in the same location and using an alpha texture as an overlay, thereby forcing one mesh to always be on top.  This can add a certain level of realism to objects such as plants without the need for additional textures / baking.

However, how meshes with alphas are “sorted” at present appears to be more a factor of how the rendering pipeline is working at present, rather than being an intentional feature, therefore using layered meshes and alphas in this way is not recommended, as it cannot be guaranteed that a future update to the rendering system won’t change the behaviour.

Advanced Lighting Model and Lower-End Systems

[20:38] A question was asked if Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) “be made to work on lower spec computers”, so that more people have the opportunity to see materials in use.

ALM has tended to be a controversial subject, as it is often blamed for causing significant performance hits. However, on medium-to-high end systems, this is perhaps a case of people confusing enabling ALM with enabling ALM together with enabling shadow rendering (which does cause a performance hit); enabling ALM by itself shouldn’t result in any significant hit.

Lower specification systems and older GPU systems, however, are different. Some are not capable of handling ALM, regardless as to whether shadows are disabled, and a performance hit is noticed simply by turning it on. This, coupled with a number of other factors, means that trying to adjust ALM so be of use to lower specification systems isn’t really something that the Lab could realistically engineer.

Note that the above discussion continues for a large part of the meeting, mostly in text chat.

JIRA Feature Acceptance & Action

[26:38] Feature requests submitted via the JIRA can go in one of several ways. If a request proposes something that the Lab believes cannot reasonably be done, or which cannot be done, or which offer what is thought to be a small return for the amount of investment in terms of effort, which tend to get rejected.

Where a request is accepted by the Lab and pulled into their internal JIRA, this doesn’t mean it will definitely result in it being implemented. Again, this doesn’t automatically mean the idea will be implemented; it simply means the Lab is considering the idea. Again, it comes down to matters of overall benefit, resource requirements and availability, etc., as to whether it is actually implemented.

Supplemental Animations and Animated Mesh

[41:32] Both are still under consideration at the Lab, but no news on actual projects being on the horizon. Concerns about performance with animated meshes has been raised internally where people to fill there region / space with lots of animated meshes (NPS, trees with branches swaying in the wind, animals, etc.).

Next Meeting

The next content Creation User Group meeting will be on Thursday, May 11th.

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