2018 SL UG updates #22/3: TPVD meeting

Village of Ahiru; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrVillage of Ahirublog post

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.

Server Deployments

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.

SL Viewer

[0:52-2:33] The Love Me Render viewer was updated to version 5.1.5.515811 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, 5.1.5.515527, dated May 21.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, 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 3.7.28.300847, 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.

Project ARCTan

[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.

The new user-to-user land auctions will be run through Second Life Place Pages, with Linden-run auctions starting the process off

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.

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Gallery Mirror Amsterdam in Second Life

Gallery Mirror Amsterdam – Miles Cantelou

Now officially open is Gallery Mirror Amsterdam, a new arts venture in Second Life curated by Arete of Cyrene (AretevanCyrene). Occupying a homestead region, the facility comprises a primary gallery building of a modern design, with a second warehouse-like gallery facing it across a canal (and which current forms the landing point for the region). These sit with a region design resembling Amsterdam.

“The design is based on the place where my grandad grew up near the docks,” Arete explained during on of my visits. An artist living in Amsterdam herself, Arete hopes the region will become an SL arts community nexus. As well as the warehouse and main gallery build, the region includes a number of Dutch canal houses which will be made available for artists to hold exhibitions in addition to the main spaces.

Gallery Mirror Amsterdam

“The idea here is to let artists connect with each other and to promote art to visitors,” she continued. “”We have very talented people in SL.”

The opening exhibition at the main gallery features six of these talents:  Gitu Aura, Vallys Baxter, Miles Cantelou, Brysen Miller, Ada Resident and Cate Ansaldo (CateVogel).

The selection of these six reflects much of Arete’s thinking with the region and the exhibitions she plans to hold at Gallery Mirror. Rather than simply offering a space in which artists can display their art, Arete has sought to create and environment in which she can bring together artists whose visions and ideas reflect ones another in some way, within a space that in turn reflects the work of the artists.

“Miles was the first artist I invited. His acceptance led me to invite the others Arete explained. “Thematically, they work together.” As well as these six, she has been putting together a calendar, and now has commitments from artists through into 2019.

As an artist in both the physical world and SL, Arete sees her work as a curator as very much working in partnership with the artists she invites to Gallery Mirror. She provides advice and feedback on themes, the placement of images in the various display spaces within the gallery, and so on.

Gallery Mirror Amsterdam – Cate Ansaldo (CATEvogel)

The care put into Gallery Mirror is also shown in the fact that the region itself took four months to develop, including preparations for the opening exhibition.  Arete described her approach to the design thus, “I’ve designed the whole region with the thought of creative display. Art must flow; it needs air and open space so that the observer can experience the full impact of the works on display.” In this, the Amsterdam style setting offers the opportunity to display 3D art out on the waters of the canal and docks – something Arete has already taken into consideration.

The main gallery building is well-appointed in this regard. Three storeys in height, is offers large rooms with plenty of open space and good lighting in which visiting artists can display their work. It can support up to six artists at a time: two on the ground floor, which includes a lobby area with a lounge / bar area behind it. For the first exhibition, these  feature the art of Cate Vogel and Gitu Aura. On the mezzanine above is a large open area, superbly displaying Miles’ art. A second room (still awaiting the artist at the times of my visits) sits at the front of this level.

Gallery Mirror Amsterdam – Brysen Miller

The upper floor features the final two exhibition spaces – these occupied by Brysen Miller and Vallys Baxter – together with a social space. The latter was intended to be used for music events such as openings, but Arete informed me she’s now rented a parcel on another region which she plans to use for social engagements, so that the music doesn’t interrupt people’s appreciation of the art on display in the gallery.

Arete further brings the gallery to life through the use of sculptures – notably by CioTToLiNa Xue and Mistero Hifeng -, together with smaller pieces of 2D art she has selected.

Gallery Mirror Amsterdam – Vallys Baxter

Exhibitions are planned for periods of two months at a time. “I’m now working with artists on a ‘couples’ exhibition for August / September,” Arete told me.

When visiting the region, don’t confine yourself to the gallery spaces – as noted above, the surrounding dutch canal houses are available to artists, and while she is far too modest to point to it herself, I would recommend visiting the house alongside the warehouse gallery, as Arete has a small exhibition of her work on display. Also, there are 3D art to be found out on the waters already.

Gallery Mirror Amsterdam – Gitu Aura

Gallery Mirror represents a genuine commitment to support art in Second Life, and the opening event brings together six artists of unique talent in an absorbing exhibition. It is definitely not an exhibition to be missed, and this is very definitely a venue worth keeping an eye on. When visiting, please do set aside time to fully appreciate it and also, do consider making a donation towards the region’s continued existence.

SLurl Details

Second Life 32-bit Windows viewer oopsie

Update, June 6th: for those 32-bit Windows users still experiencing problems with this issue, the Lab has issued the Unloop RC viewer.

On May 31st, 2018 Linden Lab updated the Love Me Render Release Candidate, viewer version 5.1.5.515811 to de facto release status.

Unfortunately, during the release process, there was an error defining the location of the Windows 32-bit version of the Second Life viewer download. Because of this error, all Windows users downloading the viewer received the 64-bit version, regardless of which version of the operating system they are running.

While the issue has now been fixed so that 32-bit Windows users will receive the 32-bit version of the viewer, anyone running 32-bit Windows who downloaded the viewer during the 24 hours when the incorrect location was available (12:00 noon SLT on Thursday, May 31st, 2018 through 12:00 noon SLT on Friday, June 1st, 2018) may now find their system is stuck in a loop of trying to install the 64 bit version of Second Life.

Because of this, Kyle Linden issued a forum post on how to correct the problem for those caught in the loop, and I’m reproducing those instructions below for those who may have missed the forum post:

There is a way out of this loop.

  1. Uninstall the 64 bit version of Second Life.

  2. Install the 32 bit version from: http://download.cloud.secondlife.com/Viewer_5/Second_Life_5_1_5_515811_i686_Setup.exe

For the technically inclined there is a more surgical method to quickly recover.

  1. Open your file explorer in Windows.

  2. In the address bar type in %appdata% and press Enter.

  3. Locate the SecondLife folder and open it.

  4. Locate the downloads folder and delete it.

  5. Launch Second Life as normal and the correct update will be applied.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, we stumbled and we’ll make corrections to our processes to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

For those needing further information, please refer to Kyle’s forum post.