2018 SL UG updates #7/3: TPV and Web Meetings

Neverfar; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrNeverfarblog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting and the Web User Group meeting, both held on Friday, February 16th 2018. A video of the TPVD meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. Time stamps in the text below will open the video in a new tab at the relevant point of discussion.

SL Viewer

[0:55-3:02] The Media Update RC viewer version updated to version on February 15th, and the Nalewka Maintenance viewer updated to version on February 14th, bringing both into line with the current release viewer (currently version, at the time of writing, formerly the Voice RC viewer).

The rest of the SL viewer pipeline remains as:

  • Current Release version, dated January 26, promoted February 7 – formerly the Voice Maintenance RC.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer version, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Note that the voice package in the SL release viewer will not work with older versions of the viewer. A further voice SDK update for Mac systems is also due from Vivox.

Updates should be forthcoming soon on the Animesh and 360-snapshot viewer.

Viewer with 1024 Support for Avatar Textures

[4:33-7:05] A project viewer for handling 1024×1024 wearables should be appearing “soon”, as a prelude to the Bakes on Mesh project (see my Content Creation User Group (CCUG) updates for more on this project). This will have an impact on the avatar rendering cost for system avatars making use of 1024×1024 textures and wearables.

Linux and the Viewer

Also see week #50 2017 and #week 46 2017 TPVD updates.

The goal for a Linux flavour of the viewer is for the Lab to provide a basic Debian build of the viewer, without additional libraries so as to allow TPVs to add the dependencies they require for their flavour of Linux build. Once this has been achieved – with the help of open-source contributions – the Lab will then maintain the Linux build, with the caveat that it will only be subject to cursory QA, and will continue to look to the Linux community for contributed updates and fixes.

[15:44-20:40] The repository for Linux contributions is awaiting update to the current viewer release and needs to be publicly made available. A skeleton build process of the Debian package is available, but again has yet to be made visible.Both of these should happen in the next few weeks.

Several of the libraries which will be used in the build are seen as “problematic” and requiring patches, etc.Until this work has been done, the Lab can’t supply the build process.

One of the problems in seeking contributions is that Linux developers appear to be in short supply – the Lab doesn’t have any Linux resource in-house for the viewer, and some TPVs are finding it similarly difficult to find a resource they can use, and who can provide contributions to the Lab. The flip side of this is the Lab is not seeking contributions that provide a “complete” solution for a Linux build; they would rather people work on specific aspects of the viewer, the only criteria being that:

  • Contributions are in line with the Lab supporting a basic Debian package build process.
  • Contributions do not require changes to the build process which could break the Windows or Mac build process.

Project ARCtan

Note: some of the following also appears in my week #7 CCUG meeting update.

[12:01-15:40 and 24:55-28:23] Project Arctan is the code-name for the project to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs, and hopefully make them more reflective of the actual cost of rendering objects and avatars and also remove some of disincentives for making optimised content.

  • This work is still in its preliminary stages, focusing on how best to gather the required data.
  • For avatar complexity, it will include evaluating the cost of avatars and their attachments (tri counts, textures, use of alpha layers, skeletal animations used, etc), with a view to adjusting the avatar rendering cost weightings – with the caveat that even when made more reflective of the actual cost of avatar rendering, people will still see some variation in the ARC information displayed by their viewer as a result of using different GPU cards, and how well different cards handle things like alpha masking and / or alpha blending.
  • For Land Impact: LI will be scrutinised as well, to take into consideration texture cost. However, as LI changes could be disruptive (e.g. unexpected objects returns), any new LI calculations will be run alongside the current calculations, to allow LL gather data on if and  how many parcels will be pushed over their LI capacity were the new calculations to be applied (and thus force object returns) and by how much. They then might increase region land capacity to compensate as far as possible. Then, for those who still exceed their limit, there will be a period of grace when they can consolidate and bring their LI use within the limit of the revised calculations before the latter are enforced.

As Animesh will likely be released before Project Arctan is complete, this means Animesh will be released with an initial land impact calculation assigned to it for objects, which may then be revised once Arctan is finalised.

Project Arctan – Oz and Vir Linden discuss (CCUG and TPVD meetings)

Note again: this work is just re-starting, and there will be no immediate or sudden changes made to either ARC or Land Impact.

Other TPVD Items In Brief

Deprecating UDP Messaging for Asset Fetching And Further Inventory Improvements

[7:24-11:05] The Lab is looking to remove the remaining UDP code for all assets now fetched via HTTP and the CDNs from the simulator code, most likely in the June-August time frame. Once this has happened, any old viewer versions not using the latest HTTP asset fetching code will be unable to retrieve inventory assets.   A version of the updated simulator code will be made available on Aditi, likely in the spring of 2018, so TPVs can double-check asset fetching.

A further general clean-up of inventory messaging should follow this work to improve inventory handling and robustness. This will include a clean-up on UDP inventory management paths and the remove of multiple ways of manipulating inventor, and may be a multi-round effort of work.

Abuse Reporting Capability

[39:30-42:26] A new cap is being introduced to the viewer to return the currently accepted Abuse Report categories. This is a change, once available, TPV well be asked to adopt quickly, as it should help smooth the initial triaging of ARs, by reducing the amount of time spent trying to marry old / no longer valid AR categories with valid options, etc. (or risking ARs being closed on account of a filing that appears non-actionable).  For information on how ARs are handled and should be filed, please see: Raising Abuse Reports in Second Life.

Web User Group

The following notes are taken from the Web User Group meeting held on Friday, February 16th, 2018. These meetings are chaired by Alexa and Grumpity Linden at Alexa’s barn. The focus is the Lab’s web properties, which include the Second Life website (including the blogs, Destination Guide, Maps, Search, the Knowledge base, etc.), Place Pages, Landing Pages (and join flow for sign-ups), the Marketplace, and so on and the Lab’s own website at lindenlab.com.

Meeting Changes

  • Going forward, the Web User Group will meet MONTHLY and on a WEDNESDAY, possibly at 13:00 SLT.
  • Notice of each meeting will appear on the Web forum section and on the Web User Group wiki page a couple of days ahead of each meeting.


  • Marketplace updates:
    • Updates are being planned, and the Lab is keen to receive ideas (even if they cannot necessarily be implemented).
      • Suggestions for improvements / new features should be made via the Second Life JIRA under the Project type BUG Project, and then selecting the Issue Type New Feature Request.
      • Bugs and issues should be raised using the  Project type BUG Project, and Issue Type Bug.
    • Variant of items in a single listing (e.g. different colours for a dress) are being considered as a possible part of the Marketplace updates.
    • Ideas for discouraging “false” listings, etc., are being considered by the Lab, but there is an understandable  reluctance to openly discuss measures until options are better defined, in order to prevent incorrect assumptions and rumours from spreading.
  • Flagging content and “policing” the Marketplace: requests have been made for more flexibly means to flag / report content / stores on the Marketplace, and the Lab is again considering options.
    • One suggest put froward by users is for merchants to be able to police the MP, the level of trust in their reports being based on the number of valid reports they file. The Lab is reticent to allow user-based moderation, as this can become subject of subjective feelings, personal disputes, etc.
  • As part of the overall Marketplace road map, the Lab is considering offering some form of Marketplace-focused benefits for creators and merchant who are / opt to up to a Premium account.
  • Marketplace featured items: a question was asked about how featured items are selected for display on the Marketplace. There is a section in each item’s listing page which can be used to have it displayed on the Marketplace page, a category landing page, etc., for a fee. Those items actually displayed on a page are then rotated by criteria by the Marketing team.
  • Recent issues at Hippo Technologies have seen Hippo legacy web services go off-line with a decision to step back from continued support. This promoted questions about enforced removal of no longer functional products from the Marketplace. This is something the Lab is reticent to do (there’s a risk of functional goods being removed in error, etc.), and would prefer creators to take the responsibility to unlist goods that no longer function. However, this specific matter is being taken back to the office for discussion.

Destination Guide

  • Places to be included in the Destination Guide can be submitted via the Destination Guide application form. General information on the DG, including submissions can be found here.