SL project updates 43/2: Content Creation User Group

A rally of (Animesh) raptors on Aditi!

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group meeting, held on  Thursday, October 26th, 2017 at 13:00 SLT. For the purposes of Animesh testing, the meetings have relocated to the Animesh4 region on Aditi, the beta grid – look for the seating area towards the middle of the region. The meeting is chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Audio extracts are provided to provide additional content. Note that some of the audio extracts have been gathered from various points in the meeting and presented here as a concatenated whole by subject heading for ease of reference.

Animesh (Animated Mesh)

“I like the name ‘animated objects’ because I think it’s unambiguous, but it takes a long time to type!” – Vir Linden joking about the name “Animesh”.

Project Summary

The goal of this project is to provide a means of animating rigged mesh objects using the avatar skeleton, in whole or in part, to provide things like independently moveable pets / creatures, and animated scenery features via scripted animation. It involves both viewer and server-side changes.

In short, an Animesh object:

  • Can be any object (generally rigged / skinned mesh) which and contains the necessary animations and controlling scripts in its own inventory  (Contents tab of the Build floater) required for it to animate itself.
  • Can be a single mesh object or a linkset of objects (link them first, then set them to Animated Mesh via the Build floater > Features).
  • Has been flagged as and Animesh object in the project viewer, and so has an avatar skeleton associated with it.
  • Can use many existing animations.

Note that the focus of this project is not currently about providing fully-functional NPCs at this point in time, which is seen as a follow-on project.

General Status:

  • The project viewer is now available, and testing can be carried out on  5 regions (4 Moderate + 1 Adult) on Aditi: Animesh1, Animesh2, Animesh3, Animesh4 and Animesh Adult.
  • Feedback can be offered through the Animesh forum thread, while specific issues, bugs, and / or feature requests related to the project should be made via JIRA.
  • A filter for raised JIRA reports is available.

Root Prim Object

There have been a number of requests to allow Animesh objects to have a non-rigged mesh (e.g. a prim) as the root object. Vir has been working to make this possible. He’s also looking at the issue of non-rigged mesh links in an Animesh object becoming invisible when the Animesh flag is set.

Limits

As has been mentioned numerous times in these updates, Animesh will have some constraints / limits placed upon it in the interests of the capability not unduly impacting performance. For the purposes of test, these have been set at 200LI and a maximum of 20K tri maximum per Animesh object, and only one Animesh can be attached to an avatar at a time. As data is gathered on performance, etc., it is hoped these can be relaxed; however, some creators are requesting limits such as the tri count be raised sooner rather than later. Vir, understandably, would rather wait until more data has been gathered, rather than randomly changing constraints.

There has been a proposal for an alternative method of account put forward with regards to Animesh – BUG-139203.  Vir also reiterated the likelihood that the Animesh limits, once finalised, will have a smaller emphasis on constants such as land impact or the cost of having one attached, and a greater emphasis on the complexity of the Animesh itself (tri count).

Linksets / Permissions Issues

See also Piscine Mackenzie’s forum post on this.

As currently defined, Animesh does not allow for any avatar-like attachment  / detachment of objects (e.g., allowing a pet cat to wear a hat sometimes); the approach is more along the lines that everything that is intended to form the Animesh is attached as the time to object (/linkset) is flagged as Animesh.

This is because adding an avatar-like means of supporting attaching / detaching objects was seen as too high an overhead in terms of development time frames and complexity – although it is not entirely ruled out as a possible future capability.

In the meantime, scripted means to attach / detach items from an Animesh object is possible, but this requires the base Animesh to be modifiable. As detailed in Piscine’s post, and highlighted in the following post from Medhue Simoni, this opens the door to potential exploits / threat vectors (e.g. compromising a supporting ecosystem for pets / breedables to the potential for launching DDOS attacks against the external servers managing pets and breedables).

Vir recognises the issue, and has stated he’ll look into the in more detail. One possible solution has been suggested via feature request BUG-139168, and a possible scripted workaround has also been suggested – although it potentially has its own problems.

An offshoot of this is that it could lead to people including multiple accessories within the Animesh linkset. The problems here being a) doing so would immediately require much higher tri counts per object even after the current 20K limit is raised; b) it will require alpha swapping to hide / reveal different accessories, creating performance hits; c) it will limit the ability for new accessories to be easily added to creations.

Sitting Animesh Objects

Will it be easy to have Animesh sit on other objects (e.g. to have Animesh “mannequins” which could be used with demos of furniture so couples poses could be checked by just one person, etc)? Short answer: not easily. Sitting on objects is avatar-specific, which, among other things, involves re-parenting the avatar to the object it is sitting on, and there is no means to replicate this when trying to “sit” an Animesh (which the server sees and just another in-world object) on another object.

In Brief

  • Lack of Shadows with Animesh objects: this is a know bug, thought to reside within the rendering pipeline, which has yet to be tracked down.
  • Dropping mesh: as noted in my previous CCUG update, by default, mesh attachments cannot be dropped in-world. This means that the only way to currently “pick up” and “put down” an Animesh pet which can roam in-world / be held, is via inventory. Vir has been looking at this, and it is not any easy fix, requiring server-side work (including with physics handling to ensure things land correctly – such as pet on its feet rather than on its side / head) which may preclude it being dealt within the immediate future.


Medhue examines Animesh. Via Medhue Simoni

Bakes on Mesh

Project Summary

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos, clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies as well as system avatars. This involves server-side changes, including updating the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures, and may in time lead to a reduction in the complexity of mesh avatar bodies and heads. The project is in two phases:

  • The current work to update the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures.
  • An intended follow-on project to actually support baking textures onto mesh surfaces. This has yet to fully defined in terms of implementation and when it might be slotted into SL development time frames.

This work does not include normal or specular map support, as these are not part of the existing baking service.

Current Progress

Load testing with the updated server using 1024×1024 textures is in progress. The next phase is liable to be comparing the load test data with that of an existing baking server using 512×512 textures.

Bakes on Mesh and Animesh

Because of the complexities involved with Bakes on Mesh, it is not seen as a dependency for Animesh, as doing so would greatly extended the time frame for delivering Animesh. The Lab would rather implement both incrementally, rather than try to run everything into one huge project.

Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements, including the ability to define the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds) at the parcel level; a new environment asset type that can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others; scripted, experience-based environment functions, an extended day cycle and extended environmental parameters. This work involves both a viewer updates (with a project viewer coming soon) and server-side updates.

Current Status

No major change from my previous work. Rider has been working on a simhost issue unrelated to EEP for much of the time.

Final Notes

  • Those requiring access to the JIRA to comment on files issues / request, can send an e-mail request to LetMeIn-at-LindenLab.com.
  • There is no CCUG meeting on Thursday, November 2nd, 2017. The next meeting will be Thursday, November 9th.

 

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