2018 SL UG updates #42/3: TPVD meeting

Savor Serenity; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrSavor Serenityblog post

The majority of the following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, October 19th, 2018. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

This is again a short meeting with some lengthy pauses, so the following is a summary of key points.

SL Viewer

[1:54-9:07]

The Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) viewer updated to version 5.1.10.520819 on October 19th.This viewer contains further fixes and tweaks, and the Lab hope to have the viewer on roughly a weekly update cycle through to RC status.

As noted in my week #42 CCUG summary, the Animesh RC viewer updates to version 6.0.0.520636 on October 18th. This leaves the rest of the current official viewer pipeline as:

  • Current Release version 5.1.9.519298, dated September 5, promoted September 26. Formerly the Rakomelo Maintenance RC viewer – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer, version 5.1.10.520444, October 11.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 5.2.0.520057, September 28.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 5.1.9.519462, September 10. 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 5.1.8.518751, released on August 20.
  • 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.

Viewer Notes in Brief

  • Again, as per my week #42 CCUG summary:
    • Currently, running EEP on the simulator side can result in some strange skies when seen on non-EEP viewers (deep black skies, racing clouds, etc.). Rider and Graham Linden are working to correct this, however, the work involved is a little more complicated than had at first been thought, so there might still be one or two things that continue to “look a little weird” even with a fix in place. Should you enter an EEP region on a non-EEP viewer and experience  odd skies, simply set your environment through the viewer options.
    • [21:06-21:55] It is hoped the October 18th RC update will be the last for the Animesh viewer, and its next update will see it promoted to de facto release status, although right now it hasn’t been available long enough to give a reliable indication of crash rates.
    • The Bakes On Mesh viewer is pending fixes to the Bake Service.
  • Bugsplat viewer: a new version is going through QA that eliminates the need for two viewer icons.
    • This should be the final RC update for this viewer, leaving it in the queue for promotion to release status.
    • The viewer also retains the Breakpad code for those TPVs who wish to continue to use that for bug reporting. However, contributions to this code will be required to maintain it once the Lab has moved to using Breakpad.
  • The Render viewer still has a number of bugs pending a fix before that will be at an RC status eligible for consideration for promotion to release status.
  • The Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer hasn’t yet had enough hours of use against it to judge its possible promotion status.

Non-HTTP Asset Fetching

[10:19-12:45] Again as a reminder: for over a year now, LL has used HTTP via their CDN provider(s) for all asset fetching, avoiding the need for the simulator to handle all asset transfers and associated messaging directly. However, the simulator-side UDP code for some asset types has yet to be removed. This will now happen at the start of January 2019, and means that from around January 6th, 2019, 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).

A region will be set-up on Aditi without the code to allow TPVs to test against it ahead of the switch-over.

Inventory Bug and Inventory HTTP Operations

[13:23-19:06]

Inventory Bug Fix

There should be a fix in the  Spotykach RC viewer for an “obnoxious” bug within the inventory database which, on rare occasions during inventory initialisation, could see a specific UDP inventory operation that isn’t supposed to move folders attempt to do so, as a result of an unknown issue within inventory. This then results in the folders being recorded (and appearing) as items in Trash and at risk of accidental deletion.

Inventory HTTP Operations

Oz Linden has indicated he hopes that 2019 will see all inventory operations move away from UDP in order to make them more reliable, but there is a fair amount of systems work to be done to achieve this, including implementing new HTTP inventory operations.

The current plan is to implement the HTTP functions in the first half of 2019 and switch over to them, then disable the existing UDP operations later in 2019, and eventually remove them from both the viewer and the server.

ARCTan and Texture Caching

ARCTan

[22:18-23:12] ARCTan 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, which it is hoped will also help correct some inherent negative incentives for creating optimised content (e.g. with regards to generating LOD models with mesh).

It’s a project that has been on a slow burn for some time, and the current order of priorities for anything involving rendering is EEP first, then the updates to texture caching, then ARCTan. As such, there are unlikely to be any changes to ARC calculations, possible changes to LI for objects before the end of the year. Even then, because of concerns over LI changes, the Lab will approach things cautiously – see here for more.

Texture Caching

[23:12-24:52] The updates to improve texture caching are moving forward. Overall the expectation is that the new method for caching will be a lot more robust in terms of the code, and it could lead to some viewer performance improvements for most systems. Focus should switch to this viewer as EEP matures through RC however, with the holiday season approach, the project may not advance too far before the end of the year, but hopefully a project viewer will surface before the year-end No Change window comes into effect.

Other Items in Brief

  • [9:08-9:38 and 26:32-26:57] The US holiday season is approaching – notably US Thanksgiving and then Christmas, so the cadence of TPV meetings may therefore be changing as the end of the year approaches. The next meeting (November 2nd) will take place, after that meeting frequency will be TBA.
  • [19:41-20:18] Return of last names: progress is being made on updating the back-end services. It’s still not clear if this will be deployed before the end of the year.

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