2018 SL UG updates #17/4: TPVD meeting

Ruins of Deepmarsh; Inara Pey, March 2018, on FlickrRuins of Deepmarsh – blog post

The majority of these notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, April 27th 2018. A video of the 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.

Once again, this was a short meeting, but one with extended periods of silence; hence some of the gaps in the time stamps below. There’s also a conversation on the forthcoming Bid A Linden Bald event, as part of the Relay Rockers annual

SL Viewer

[0:07-0:36] The Love Me Render RC viewer updated to version on Wednesday, April 25th, 2018, and the Ouzo Maintenance RC updated to version on Friday, April 27th. Both of these RC viewers have had “significantly higher” crash rates than the default viewer, so the Lab will be watching to see what happens with the two updates, and with the crash rate for either is reduced as a result of their release.

Otherwise the viewer pipelines remain as:

  • Current Release version, dated March 27, promoted April 13 – formerly the media update 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. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes.

[0:39-1:24] The 360 snapshot viewer remains “on hold”, receiving updates to maintain parity with release viewer, but otherwise not receiving any significant work on its key features at this point in time. Work will resume in the future as the specialist resources become available. Both the Animesh and Bakes on Mesh viewers are referred to in the meeting as being “close to coming over to Agni”, although this only hold true for the Animesh project viewer, as the Bakes On Mesh viewer should work on the Main grid already (albeit with the Bake Service’s current 512×512 texture support, as the support for 1024×1024 textures has yet to be deployed).

Viewer Texture Cache Work

[1:46-2:14] The Lab continues to work on the viewer texture cache, and it is hoped that the latest attempt will lead to a “big improvement” in how textures are handled. Currently this code is not available for public consumption, but the hope is that there will be a project viewer with the code available “pretty soon”.

Updated Estate Management Tools

[19:30-20:10] Work is again progressing on enhancing the Estate Management tools in the viewer (e.g. refining ban list management capabilities, etc.). It is hoped that a project viewer will be emerging in the next few weeks. The viewer updates themselves are largely done, and things are awaiting server-side support.

Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements, including:

  • The ability to define the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) at the parcel level.
  • New environment asset types (Sky, Water, Days – the latter comprising multiple Sky and Water) 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

[11:39-12:38] Rider Linden has been engaged in some other work for most of the past month, but is now largely back working on the project. It is now a focus for the Lab going forward, with the hope that Rider will not be diverted into other work at EEP’s expense. Some test regions for EEP are also being prepared on Aditi.

Other Items

Testing Viewer Options and the Shared Experience

[5:00-5:45] TPVs sometimes introduce features and options which might be considered as breaking the “shared experience”. The question was therefore asked if allowing people to test / play with new rendering options – as developed by a TPV rather than Linden Lab – might be considered as breaking the shared experience. Oz Linden offered a response which provided some guidance on similar kinds of updates:

I think the best I can give you in terms of a general answer is if it’s the sort of thing that’s going to cause a merchant to include a note card with a product that says, “to see this product correctly, you have to run this viewer with that option turned on”, that’s a sign you’re breaking the shared experience … On the other hand, if you want to experiment with something that you’re then going to contribute upstream [i.e. to the Lab for inclusion in the base viewer code (which is used by all TPVs)] that’s a different problem altogether.

Catznip Displacement Maps Experiements

The question itself was prompted by Kitty Barnett of Catznip, who is working on using displacement maps in the viewer, as well as some other normal mapping tweaks.

Displacement maps, currently being experimented with by Kitty Barnett, can add further depth to surfaces. For example: top left – a prim wall with a brick texture; top right: a prim wall with a texture and normal map applied, as we’re used to seeing in Second Life – some depth is added to the cement grouting between the bricks etc. Bottom centre: the same prim wall with the same texture added, but now using a displacement map: note the greater apparent depth between bricks and cement grouting, etc (highlighted). However, such a capability will have a Land Impact cost.

It would seem that if successful, this work will be contributed to Linden Lab for evaluation and consideration. It’s important to note that Catznip’s work is in the early stages, more work is required on level of detail impact / modelling / potential Land Impact costs, etc., for which Catznip may look to the Lab for assistance.

[6:26-6:46] In the meantime, Oz Linden reiterated that, quite aside of the Environmental Enhancement Project (EPP – see above), the Lab is working on a number of other environmental (render-side) improvements. Previous discussions on rendering improvements have indicated that Graham Linden is already working on a series of environment updates alongside the EEP work being carried out by Rider Linden, which appears to include support for Godrays, potential pre-baking of some environment effects, etc. It’s not clear from Oz’s comments whether he is referring to this work, or something further downstream.

Natty Linden’s Marketplace Job Ad

[16:37-17:00] Natty Linden posted a Marketplace listing for a job at Linden Lab. While offering a little fun, the listing has a serious edge: there is an open Marketplace web developer post at present. As such, Natty’s listing is a further way of reaching those already engaged in Second Life who may have the requisite skills sets, who live in the right location and who may be interested in joining the Lab (which frequently does employ Second Life users – as seen with the likes of Patch Linden, Xiola Linden, and Rider Linden, to name but three of the more well-known resident hires made by the Lab over the years, and who work in different areas within the SL team).



Rock Your Rack: designer registrations and more

via Rock Your Rack

Rock Your Rack, the annual fund-raiser organised by Models Giving Back (MGB) in aid of the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), will again take place in 2018. The dates for the event are Saturday, September 29th through Saturday, October 13th, 2018.

Officially endorsed by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the event is a combined fashion and entertainment event, offering the best in both to visitors, with designer booths, fashions shows, live performances and DJ sessions. In addition, there will be a range of supporting activities, including:

  • A silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind items from Rock Your Rack designers who will give 100% of the sales to the cause
  • A Rock Your Rack Hunt featuring collectables offered by participating designers at L$10 each – with all proceeds going directly into the fund-raising.
  • An Art show and auction organised by Kultivate Magazine on behalf of Models Giving Back.

The theme for this year’s event is Music for the Decades with the organisers noting, “We envision areas of the build that fit different decades of music and that our DJ’s, live artists and other entertainers will work this theme into their sets for the event.”

Rock Your Rack 2017

Designer Registrations

At the start of April the event opened applications from designers wishing to participate in Rock Your Rack, and is open to any content designers and SL established businesses. Those interested in participating are asked to meet the following high-level requirements:

  • Provide an Exclusive item not for sale anywhere else during the time of the event and has never been previously sold or given away (designer keeps 100% of sales from this item).
  • Provide a Limited Edition item which can be a new design or a remake of an old favourite. 100% of proceeds from this item must go to Rock Your Rack for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and the item must be marked as such and retired from sales after the event.
  • Offer either the Exclusive item or the Limited Edition in keeping with the event’s theme Music for the Decades.
  • Provide one item of the designer’s choice for the event’s L$10 Hunt, which gives 100% of funds raised to the NBCF.
  • Sales of all other items can be offered at 100% of proceeds going to the designer, or can be set to give a percentage donation to Rock Your Rack, entirely at the designer’s discretion.

For a full run-down of the designer participant guidelines and rules can be found on the designer’s information page at Rock Your Rack, which also includes a link to the application form.

Rock Your Rack 2017

Pricing for participating in the event as a design starts at L$2,000. This provides a Regular booth with a 50 LI allowance which can be used for vendors and decoration; the designer’s logo displayed on the booth and on the Rock Your Rack website, and a SLurl listing to the designer’s in-world store; event advertising on social media and with in-world groups alongside the Rock Your Rack website; and paid advertising through Seraphim and other outlets if approved by those outlets.

There are then a series of options available at additional pricing which designers can opt to take advantage of in order to maximise their exposure in this event. Again, please refer to the information page for full pricing details.


If you are DJ or Live performer wishing to donate your time to the event, registrations will be open in the summer – so keep an eye on the Rock Your Rack website. However, a number of special invited entertainment guests have been announced by the organisers:

  • The Hiess Project and Johnathan Hiess will be staging at least three tribute concerts.
  • The Dazzlers dance troupe will be performing a very special dance event.
  • The Fantasy Angels will be making their first appearance at Rock Your Rack, including a meet and greet session.

Related Links



2018 UG updates #17/3: Content Creator User Group

Dragons by Wanders Nowhere, used in Animesh tests

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on  Thursday, April 26th, 2018 at 13:00 SLT.  The meeting is chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Animesh Project

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.

Server-Side Updates

Vir believes the Lab is pretty close to a final set of Animesh updates for the server side of things. These include support for the Animesh updated limits and cost formulas, and it is expected that QA will be starting soon on the code in readiness for clearing it for deployment to the Main grid, Agni.

Joint Offset Constraints

One of the reasons the Lab is discussing constraining joint offset is an Animesh bear developed for testing purposes (and which can be found on the Aditi Animesh test regions) which sits some 75 metres off the ground, that’s due to a bad offset being set within the mesh and used with the mPelvis bone, which comes into play when the mesh isn’t being animated.

The bear itself was created as the SL10B wearable avatar, and so demonstrates what can happen with existing wearable content with such errors (which would not become apparent while the mesh is become worn, as the avatar tends to always be in a state of animation) is converted for use as Animesh.

Constraining the distance joints can be offset (say to 5 metres) offers one means of preventing this kind of problem; however, it is recognised that doing so could break existing content – such as the very tall avatar models that are available. Therefore the Lab is considering this an other, more complex options – such as doing something with the bounding box.

Animation Playback Issues

Some are still having Animation playback issues with Animesh objects, notably on initial rezzing or following a region crossing. The advice is it increase the number of animation updates being sent out.

Land Impact

There is some potential confusion with the land impact reports on the mesh uploader and when calculated for an Animesh object when in-world. The uploader calculates the LI for a mesh based on it being a static object. It is only when the object is toggled to Animesh in-world that the revised formulas for LI and complexity are used. This has in turn lead to issues for creators trying to determine what the likely weightings are going to be for their models prior to update.

There have also been some reports that on conversion, models not obeying the new LOD requirements defined as part of the within the new formula suffer heavy penalties when converted to Animesh.

Rigged Mesh Level of Detail / Bounding Box Issues

Beq Janus has reported on issues with rigged mesh LOD issues related to the avatar bounding box  (see BUG-214736). Essentially, attachments on avatars swap their LOD models as if they were scaled to the overall avatar bounding box. For example, if an avatar bounding box is forced to 15 metres on a side, any rigged object worn by that avatar will swap LODs as if it were 15 metres in size, no matter how small, forcing viewers around it to use its highest LOD model unnecessarily.

Graham Linden has been investigating this issue, and now has some updates for the viewer (yet to be integrated with the Animesh project viewer) which should help with this issue and encourage those creator who have, deliberately or accidentally, gaining an advantage from the issue to offers balanced LOD models for their content.

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.

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


Current Status

Anchor’s most recent work has been:

  • Completing the work to implement three more tattoo slots of the Bake Service: skirt tattoo, hair tattoo and eyes tattoo.  These are designed to extend the tattoo to the same set of slots as for the underwear and clothing layers, and hopefully make the available slots far more flexible in potential use when applying baked textures to worn mesh.
  • Continuing to work on the skirt layer stacking issue.

The basic functionality of taking system wearable layers and applying them to mesh faces is viewed as working. However, as per my previous Content Creation meeting notes, there is still a lot to be decided on how to progress Bakes on Mesh, particularly in reference to Bakes on Mesh and the applier market, and the overall convenience of Bakes on Mesh for applying textures to worn mesh faces, compared to “ease” of using applier systems for consumers.

Internal discussions about some of the ideas raised around this  – such as being able to inject textures into the Bake Service via script – are still be discussed within the Lab as a result of the concerns raised at the previous CCUG.

Bakes and UV Maps / Spaces

Bakes on Mesh has generated a lot of discussion on the effectiveness of custom UV maps and the Baking Service – UV maps being the thing that take was are essentially 2D textures and “wrap” them around a mesh object. In brief:

  • The system avatar has a set of pre-defined UV spaces associated with it. These are used by many of the mesh body makers, and so using system clothing layers via the Bake Service should work on these. Mesh heads tend to be different, and so issues can occur trying to apply skins, etc., to them.
  • The Lab’s view is that there’s no reason in principle why the baked textures must use the system UV space. So, for example, and providing none of the system avatar layers (such as the skin) are to be visible, it should be possible to use a set of tattoo layers defined in a specific mesh body’s UV space which can then be passed through the Bake Service and applied to a set of mesh faces regardless of the system UV space.

  • An issue here is that only tattoo layers can be used with custom UVs, as all other layers have “holes” in them designed to reveal the system avatar skin, allow for eyelashes, etc.  Therefore, it is not currently possible to re-purpose a shirt layer, for example.  Cathy Foil expanded on this, and on the use of system UV space with mesh bodies.

  • Vir expanded a little on the idea that some of the clothing layers that have more “intelligence” built-in (e.g. alpha masking support), hence why they would not work with custom UVs and it would be necessary to use tattoo layers for the textures and re-name them.

Within the meeting, this led to an extended discussion on UV options – such as the advantage of updating the avatar .LAD file and the viewer appearance editor  to allow the use of custom UVs or the system UV space (via an appearance editor check box) over re-purposing tattoo layers.

It’s like that initially, the Lab will lean towards re-purposing tattoo layers, rather than re-working the avatar .LAD and appearance editor, leaving it to body / head creators to offer updated UV maps for those cases where they don’t precisely follow the space UVs.

Next Meeting

There is no CCUG on Thursday, May 3rd due to a conflict with the Lab’s monthly internal meeting. The next CCUG will therefore take place on Thursday, May 1oth, location TBA.


This Weekend in Second Life Dance

Moonbeam Dancers - April 25 2018

Hi there. R. Crap Mariner, your exhausted and somewhat acerbic dance correspondent.

I’ll be posting dance performance schedules, similar to Inara’s posts about Seanchai Library readings. We’ll start with the weekend events for now.

There’s still lots of Fantasy Faire to check out. Congratulations to Aelva for a successful run there. So this run-down is going to keep running me down. Thank goodness for copy-paste, right?

Let’s get started, here’s the events that I had on the calendar as of press time.

(All times SLT)

Virtuoso at Moonstone - Earth - April 23 2018

Friday, April 27

11:00am Changhigh Sisters

Lots of particles and fire and things. They tend to perform at times when I’m at work, so I don’t have much else, really. Sorry.


12:00pm Nouvelle Follies

I think this is the act that I saw the other day, and I enjoyed this one.


12:00pm Virtuoso

THE ELEMENTS OF LIFE – EARTH: noon SLT on Monday, 23rd. April; Friday, 27th. April; Monday, 30th. April. No seat reservation required. All welcome. Audience limited.

This is K L A R K’s Earth show. I saw it the other day, and I enjoyed it. Limited seating, so get there early.


6:00pm Elysium Cabaret

If it’s Friday, it’s Elysium Cabaret! Fancy some imagination? In The Empire Room at Copperhead Road, every Friday at 6pm SLT the dynamic performers of Elysium Cabaret take the stage to bring you a solid hour of entertainment! Featuring elaborate sets and choreography sequenced to an eclectic genre of music, Elysium Cabaret offers something for everyone. Grab your friends and get their early because the sim fills. Come celebrate Friday! Welcome to the weekend!

I enjoy going to these shows, and I do my best to go to them. Jilley’s opening music of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck and Babypea’s Billion Dollar Baby let you know something big and bright and boomtastic is coming.


6:00pm Misfit Follies


9:00pm Monarchs

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO! It’s dates and times for The Monarchs’ upcoming sim-wide production of SUPERHEROES.

Blog Post: Come see the superheroes of Second Life Dance: The Monarchs!

It’s really good. Go see it. Sim fills quickly, go get there early. If you derender the audience to improve performance, make sure not to derender Fuki. Not only is she a part of the show, but she’s really cute.


9:00pm Moonbeam Dancers

No, this is not Governor Jerry Brown’s personal dance troupe. Moonbeam has been the variety show catch-all of Fantasy Faire, so it’s an opportunity to catch individual acts from around the grid.

There’s been some technical issues with the stream and the performance engines, so please be patient and they’ll get rolling when they can.


10:00pm Guerilla Burlesque

Guerilla Burlesque dance revues show what a great way to kick-start your weekend fun! This week we are heating up the Pit for more of your favorite dance performances in the round! Chrissy is on board directing this show and promises to bring you our best Pit acts! Each dancer brings her own unique style of dancing with intricate sets, evolving before your eyes! Let the music bring you in and raise your spirits because we are going to make sure you have a great time! This is our late show revue so grab a snack, put your feet up and meet us in world for a spectacular night of dancing in the round!

I’ve seen the rehearsals. It’s going to be really good.


Cossette - April 23 2018

Saturday, April 28 2018

7:00am Mahal

I think this is a group participatory dance event, right? Hop on a dance pad and join the routines that the choreographer has planned to the music. It’s different from a stage act.


10:00am Moonbeam

Still not Governor Jerry Brown’s personal dance troupe, even though for his age I bet he looks good in a tutu. Moonbeam has been the variety show catch-all of Fantasy Faire, so it’s an opportunity to catch individual acts from around the grid.

There’s been some technical issues with the stream and the performance engines, so please be patient and they’ll get rolling when they can.


12:00am Second Life Cheerleading Squad

Haven’t managed to catch them yet. Have you? Let me know how they were in the comments.


12:00pm The Cabaret Provocateur

The Cabaret Provocateur will present its encore performances of the program “Fab 4 You” at Jefferson Opera House on Saturday April 28, 2018 at noon SLT Jefferson Opera House is part of the Mysterium’s Mansion Adult sim. and Fab 4 You does feature female nudity. Fab 4 You is a program in 6 acts feature music performed by Elton John, Robin Williams and Bobby McFerrin, Lisa Lauren, Eddie Izzard, Goldie Hawn, and Phil Collins all originally written and performed by the Fab Four, (The Beatles). The dances will take you on a journey from Manhattan rooftops through Arabian Nights, to Broadway, back stage and in front. The cast consists of 6 dancers, all of whom are relative new comers to SL Dance, but are enthusiastic performers.


1:00pm Debauche

Debauche perform for the very first time at The Trophy Room, an amazing place that is somehow relaxing, lovely and thrilling all at the same time. We will be performing in a purpose-built theater at this wonderful venue and we are all SO looking forward to it. It will be a great show so come on and join us at The Trophy Room – And why not take a look around the place and see just why we love it so much? THE SIM IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC UNTIL ONE HOUR BEFORE THE SHOW – though remains open for members and those wishing to join. Saturday 28th, 1pm SLT.

(PS: Yay!)


1:00pm Elysium Cabaret Matinee

A monthly ‘best of” show for our friends in Euro and similar time zones. Especially for you!


1:00pm Red Hot Chili Pipers

Haven’t managed to catch them yet. Have you? Let me know how they were in the comments.


3:00pm Avilion Mer Ballet

I finally managed to see their show. Lots of mermaid patterns in formations in the air… which is the water. (K L A R K can bring the earth, and ChangHigh can bring the fire, right?)


3:00pm Monarchs

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO! It’s dates and times for The Monarchs’ upcoming sim-wide production of SUPERHEROES.

Blog Post: Come see the superheroes of Second Life Dance: The Monarchs!

It’s really good. Go see it. Sim fills quickly, go get there early. If you derender the audience to improve performance, make sure not to derender Fuki. Not only is she a part of the show, but she’s really cute.


4:00pm FlyGearz

This is a participatory dance group that does a lot of Steampunky things. Hop on a dance pad and join the routines that the choreographer has planned to the music. It’s different from a stage act.


5:00PM Dream Time Theatre

This is the grand opening of this theatre. Variety show acts. I don’t have much else about it, but I will try to attend and see for myself. Join me?


7:00PM Desire Arts

Desire Arts Dancers do an “after hours” show. Starting at 7pm SLT t on April 21st & 28th. We bring you the performance quality at our Saturday shows, with more skin… little less costume. Some acts do contain adult content. As an “Arts” theatre (and gallery) Desire Arts will be a venue perfectly suited for SL Performers wishing to express themselves through live performances, through Dance, Art Exhibits, Performance Art as well as Dramatic Presentations. Also, Presentations of a controversial nature (including those involving sex, politics and/or religion) will be presented separately from the Dance Program.

I missed them last week, but I’ve got them on my plans for this week. I try to plan ahead when there’s more than one performance of a show.


Terpsicorps Pit Show - April 22 2018

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