The majority of following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, June 1st 2018. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.
This was another short meeting, with about half of that covering SL projects, which are noted below. The rest of the meeting was more general conversation, and I’ll leave it to the video to cover them. As always, time stamps in the text below will jump you to the relevant points in the video.
On Wednesday. May 30th, all three primary RC channels were updated to a new server maintenance package, 18#18.05.25.515749, comprising and internal fix (presumably for the unspecified bug which prompted the roll-back of #18.05.14.515432) and the simulator-side support for the updated Estate Management tools.
[0:52-2:33] The Love Me Render viewer was updated to version 220.127.116.115811 on May 31st, and promoted to de facto release status.
All other viewers in the various pipelines remain unchanged from the start of the week:
- Release channel cohort:
- Pálinka Maintenance RC viewer, 18.104.22.1685527, dated May 21.
- Project viewers:
- Animesh project viewer, version 22.214.171.1245420, dated May 14 – project overview.
- Bakes on Mesh project viewer, version 126.96.36.1993936, dated March 30.
- 360 snapshot viewer, version 188.8.131.523006, dated March 6 (this version can have significant rendering issues, see my hands-on update).
- Linux Spur viewer, version 184.108.40.2069906, 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 220.127.116.110847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.
It is likely all of the above will be updated as they are merged with the Love Me Render release.
360 Snapshot Viewer
[27:48-28:32] The 360 snapshot project viewer has been on hold in part due to two reasons: the prime resource (Callum Linden) was assigned to another project; work on the viewer has been awaiting the development of an interface to allow direct uploads to Second Life Place Pages. In the meantime, the viewer code base is being maintained in parity with release versions of the viewer.
[28:57-29:34] There are also some graphics challenges that need to be addressed is trying to support the necessary high resolutions 360-degree images require couple with the low-end graphics systems many SL users have.
Upcoming Project Viewers
[2:34-3:07] The new project viewer with the updated Estate Management tools (ban list management, etc.) is expected “pretty soon”. This will work with the simulator-side Estate Management updates currently on the RC channels.
[5:26-5:42 and 7:20-8:35] Another upcoming project viewer has re-vamped texture caching. It’s hoped this will help with viewer performance. With it, users will be able to define a much larger overall cache size on their computer if they so wish. It is also hoped this work will include improvements to VRAM handling – although a problem here is that some systems incorrectly report the amount of VRAM they have available. Further, providing a recommended setting and assuming users will adhere to that recommendation doesn’t always work.
(There is also a text discussion on caching among games, etc.).
Viewer Camera Presets
[5:53-6:34] This is a contributed project from Jonathan Yap (who was responsible for developing and coding the graphics presets options in the viewer). It will allow users to define their own placements for the SL camera around their avatar (e.g. an over-the-should view, a view from overhead, etc.), which can then be saved and selected / used as required – see STORM-2145.
The work has been stalled awaiting a couple of new controls for manipulating the camera position being implemented. However, it is a project the Lab isn’t going to lose sight of, and it remains on the active project list.
Crash Reporting Changes
[18:18-21:04] The Lab is about to start experimenting with viewer crash reporting, removing the existing Breakpad based crash reporting tools and replacing it with BugSplat, a commercial service. If this works on a trial / experimental basis, the Lab will probably switch to using BugSplat as their crash reporting mechanism.
Should this happen, TPVs using the current crash reporting mechanism may not want to merge the associated changes to use BugSplat, and continue to use the Brakpad mechanism (or introduce an alternative bug reporting solution of their own – such as Crashpad, regarded as the successor to Breakpad). Those wishing to use the BugSplat code will need their own subscription to the service and update the viewer code accordingly when using it in their own viewers.
From the Lab’s perspective is that dealing with crashes requires the maintenance and use of a lot of historical data which needs to be routinely searched, analysed, updated, etc., and a third-party company that specialises in this kind of work can probably do so and provide the necessary tools a lot better than the Lab can do on its own.
[4:24-5:22] This is the code-name for the project to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs to make them more reflective of the actual impact of rendering both. As I’ve previously noted, the Lab is sensitive to the implications of doing this – particularly in the area of Land Impact, and will take steps to avoid disruption (e.g. through object returns) once the project reaches that point in time. (One area of potential impact is sculpties, which currently do not have their render cost accurately reflected in their land impact.)
The Lab has been gathering data as the first step in this work, and is “homing in” on better formulas, although Oz notes there is still a lot of work to be done and the project will be a “long, slow roll-out”. It’s likely that when a project viewer for this work appears (no time frame on this), it will include contributions for jelly dolling avatars with excessive texture use.
Land Auctions and Place Pages
[28:35-2855] The new auction system (users being able to auction their own land holdings will be run through the Second Life Place Pages. This has been a focus for recent work on Place Pages, which has delayed the development of the 360 snapshot viewer interface referenced above.
[30:27-31:47] The auction capability might even be made available (to some degree) in June 2018. This is likely to be just for Linden-owned land to start with, so the Lab can deal with issues without too much disruption / confusion, prior to the service being extended to users with land holdings.
As Ebbe Altberg has indicated, the plan will then likely to be to allow Mainland land holders auction their land directly to other Premium users, and then expand the ability from there.
The use of Place Pages for auctions means that those wishing to auction their land will need to create a place page for it.
Other Items In Brief
- [11:32 and 13:30-13:40] Parcel Banning and Object Information: there appears to have been a recent change that means if an individual is banned from a region, they no longer receive information about objects on that parcel – see BUG-216294. This is regarded as expected behaviour. This includes a largely text-based conversation on options for de-rendering objects on other parcels, together with the idea about SL not being a place necessarily intended for isolated living, extending through to [18:10].
- [22:23-22:47] “Social” tools in the viewer: it’s unlikely the Lab will make any changes to user profiles in the viewer any time soon; back-end work is being considered for group interfaces in the viewer, but this most likely won’t take place until after the cloud migration work has been completed.
- Fun fact: Linden staff are subject to the same constraints in behaviour and activities when using ALT accounts as when using their official accounts. This means for example, a Linden staffer cannot participate in the upcoming user-to-user land auctions, and improper behaviour will be regarded in the same way as if they were using their official account.