2018 SL UG updates 42/1: Simulator and Governance

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuaryblog post

Simulator User Group

Server Deployment Plans

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest news and updates.

  • There was no deployment to the SLS (Main) channel on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018, leaving the simulators on that channel running on server release 18#, comprising the simulator update for Bakes on Mesh. However, regions on the channel were restarted, per the Lab’s 14-day restart policy.
  • On Wednesday, October 17th, 2018, the RC channels should be updated as follows:
    • The three core RC channels, Magnum, LeTigre and BlueSteel should all be updated with server maintenance package 18# containing internal fixes.
    • The Snack RC channel should be updated with server release, containing server-side EEP support. This will be an initially limited deployment to regions under LL’s management.

SL  Viewer

There were two SL viewer updates at the end of week #41:

  • The Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) project viewer updated to version, on October 12th.
  • the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer updated to version on October 11th.

The rest of the official viewers remain unchanged at the start of week #42:

  • Current Release version, dated September 5th, promoted September 26th. Formerly the Rakomelo Maintenance RC viewer – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Animesh RC viewer, version, October 8th.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version, September 28th.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version, September 10th. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version, released on August 20th.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version, dated November 17th, 2017 – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version, May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Non-HTTP Asset Fetching

For some time now, all SL assets have been fetched using HTTP via the Lab’s CDN provider(s), avoiding the need for the simulator to handle all asset transfers and associated messaging directly. While the viewer code has long had the necessary code to support asset fetching via HTTP / CDN, the code for the old, non-HTTP fetching has remained in place in the simulator, allowing much older viewer versions to continue to fetch assets by way of the simulator.

However, Linden Lab has announced that as from January 6th, 2019, they will be removing the old non-HTTP fetching methods from the simulator code. Any viewers still fetching the affected asset types via UDP after this date will not longer work correctly.

The specific asset types affected by this change are: system body parts, system clothing, gesture, animations, sounds, and landmarks (mesh, textures and avatar appearance having long been HTTP only).

Operating System Update

The Lab is working on another major operating system update for the simulators and their back-end services. Part of this work is being deployed to the Morris region on Aditi, the beta grid, on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018. As OS updates can lead to some unanticipated outcomes, the deployment to Morris is very much a test of the new code. Those who routinely use the beta grid and the Morris region are asked to raise a beta grid Jira on any issues or other “oddness” they note subsequent to the deployment – “oddness” in this case being anything outside of the usual / expected behaviour of things.

The Cloud and “On Demand” Regions

Questions continue to be asked about the use of “on demand” regions following SL’s eventual move to cloud infrastructure. That is, regions that are only spun-up and active when one or more avatars are in them.

As Ebbe and others from the Lab has indicated, making regions “on demand” is not a priority at present with the move. Rather the focus is on shifting SL to the cloud “as is”, without significant changes to how the simulators and their region appear to operate.

While an “on demand” region offering might be possible in the future, it will most likely be an entirely new product offering when compared to the current Full and Homestead region types, and would probably only by suited to a standalone use, rather than such regions being part of any contiguous land mass, simply because of the complexities of  access (imagine trying to fly across multiple regions and having to stop at each border for 60+ seconds while the next region is deployed and spun-up) and in handling LSL scripts that assume all regions are running all the time, etc.

So , don’t expect anything like these immediately after the move – although such a product might surface at some point in the future, one the Lab have built up confidence in running SL in the cloud.

In Brief

  • BUG-216320 “Error when retrieving grid statistics page via llHTTPRequest”: no fix as yet.
  • BUG-7084 “Prim properties visually revert to an earlier state since Interesting”: again, no progress to report at present.
EEP is coming! server-side support is being deployed in week #42 on a limited basis to the main grid (Snack RC), and Simon Linden has been having seasonal fun with his home parcel. Expect EEP to gain wider simulator availability in the coming weeks. Credit: Simon Linden

Continue reading “2018 SL UG updates 42/1: Simulator and Governance”

Standing On The Other Side in Second Life

On the Other Side; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrOn the Other Side – click any image for full size

Shakespeare recently forwarded a landmark for On the Other Side, a homestead region designed by Michelle (xxMichelle20xx) and Indriel (Indrielx) – and once again we’re in his and Max’s debt for alerting us to another fabulous region design.

The home of {JAS} main store, reached by teleport from the landing point, the region is beautifully landscaped as a small rural island, one of a number that appear to be sitting just off the coast of a larger  landmass. It’s a magnificently eclectic mix of elements which come together to present a photogenic and engaging setting.

On the Other Side; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrOn the Other Side

The landing point is a tall stone watch tower, looking as if it might have been transported here from the Great Wall of China, and which sits on a sheer-sided table of rock that dominates the island. Three ways off of the rock are offered: the aforementioned teleport up to {JAS}, a zip line that crosses land and water to arrive at a canopied pavilion floating in the air; and a ladder down through the tower, and then via path down the rock face.

Of the two going down, I would suggest taking the ladder and leaving the zip line for when explorations are complete. Doing so will introduce to some of the region’s curios, such as the Star Wars stormtrooper endlessly dancing on behalf of the region (and who will take donations for its continued upkeep).

On the Other Side; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrOn the Other Side

Nor is he alone, as overhead the region introduces a fantasy element into the mix with a dragon caught with hind legs poised either in readiness to make a landing – or ready to grab potential prey. The sci-fi  / fantasy elements continue further out in the sky as well, where what might appear to be Mars slowly tracks around the region. Stay long enough and you’ll see it transform itself into Earth, or you can click on it to change it to one of several solar system bodies.

Northwards from the path leading down from the plateau sits a farm-like setting. Horses graze on the grass, a traditional windmill stands with sails turning slowly. However, it is no longer producing flour from grain; the millstone has been moved down to the ground floor and converted for use as a coffee table, the room now a cosy lounge and kitchen, with the upper floors similarly converted for residential use. However, when walking around the outside walls, do be aware that some of the leaves drifting in the breeze aren’t phantom.

On the Other Side; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrOn the Other Side

The windmill is one of several small residences on the region that add to its stirring of ideas, moving thoughts away from fantasy and sci-fi, and towards more a feeling that the island could simply be a holiday retreat. Like the windmill, the house boat and converted lighthouse are both open to public viewing, but please keep in mind the large house occupying a low-lying isle in the south-west corner of the region is a private home, and avoid the temptation to cross the stone walkway leading to it

Not far from the windmill is a large pond, the home to ducks and swans. It shares the hilltop it is on with a little outdoor refreshments area looking out over the artificial run-off linking the pond with the bay below. Fronted by a narrow curve of beach, the bay offers surfing for the adventurous (the very adventurous, given the great white shark lurking under the waves, perhaps sizing-up his next snack…), or a cosy beach house for those content to sit and watch and / or cuddle.

On the Other Side; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrOn the Other Side

More of the eclectic mix of the region can be found to the south-east and across a stone bridge reached across a narrow channel to a small isle. This is home to Ganesh, sitting at peace on the single hill-top, surrounded by Joshua and palm trees, while down at the foot of the hill African elephants stand on the shore and in the surf. The elephants aren’t alone in being unexpected occupants of the island alongside horses, goats and sheep; there’s also an embarrassment of pandas waiting to be discovered.

There’s also ancient mystique to be found here in the form of an ancient stone circle on a low hill. A place of atmospheric mystery which, given the time of year at the time of writing, holds the suggestion of mystical goings-on.

On the Other Side; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrOn the Other Side

Naturally landscaped and rich in detail, On the other Side has a lot to keep the visitor occupied. There are places to sit and spend time in the region to be found throughout, and those who wish to use props to take photos can do so, as auto return is set to 30 minutes – but do please pick-up props after use. However, do note that access is restricted to avatars of at least 60 days of age.

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