2018 SL UG updates 50/2: Content Creation Summary

Soul2Soul Highlands; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrSoul2Soul Highlandsblog post

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

SL Viewer Updates

The Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.0.1.522263, was promoted to release status on December 13th.

New Project Work

Vir Linden is now looking at a number of areas that might spin-out into a new project, although it is currently not clear what that project might be. The areas he is reviewing are:

  • Animesh follow-on – this may include avatar shape support  (which would allow more fully-rounded NPCs), and also more attachment-like behaviour for Animesh attachments.
    • Shapes are viewed as potentially being the easier of the two to handle, although will require additional work on the appearance messaging.
  • Mesh uploader improvements.
  • General viewer bugs.

Beq Janus has also been examining the mesh uploader and making improvements tied to the upcoming Firestorm Animesh release, and Vir is interested in the potential for some or all of these to be contributed to Linden Lab.

Beq’s updates to the mesh uploader include a better (and resizeable) preview window, a new costs breakdown panel, and more.

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 viewer and 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 Bake Service, nor are they recognised as system wearables. Adding materials support may be considered in the future.

Resources

Current Status

As per my Current Viewer Releases page, the project viewer was merged with the Animesh release viewer (and at the time of writing was at release 6.0.1.522127, dated December 7th, 2018).

Anchor is currently engaged in investigating the hover height issue that can leave avatars of “non-normal height” (notably, but not exclusively, small avatars) floating 0.2 to 0.3 metres off the ground if non-height related changes are made after hover height has been set. This appears to have been introduced as  a result of a simulator update (See BUG-225893 “Hover height on assets has changed somehow” for more).

Left Channels

There appears to be some confusion over the left texture channels introduced with Bakes On Mesh. Essentially, these are unassigned channels, designed to work as the creator wants them to work. The assumption is that they would be used in a manner consistent with the use of the right arm / foot channels, but they are not populated by default. There has been a request to auto-populate them with the standard skin textures, but this is viewed as a possible update for any follow-on to the current Bakes on Mesh work.

Documentation

A wiki page explaining Bakes on Mesh is under construction, but not yet ready for public consumption.

Future Work

Nothing has been decided upon in regards to any Bakes on Mesh follow-on. Requests have been made to allow UUID based texture application via the Bake Service (to enable support for existing clothing layers designed to be applied via a scripted applier system). It’s not been determined if this will be done, or whether an alternative route will be taken, such as defining a new class of wearable. There should, however, be a LSL change to allow textures to be identified and used by name (although this may not have been deployed at the time of writing).

Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements allowing the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) to be set region or parcel level, with support for up to 7 days per cycle and sky environments set by altitude. It uses a new set of inventory assets (Sky, Water, Day),  and which include the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. These can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

The project also includes a new set of render shaders to support atmospheric effects such as rainbows, crepuscular rays (“God rays”), better horizon haze and fogging (but will not include rain / snow).

Resources

Current Status

Rider finalising work on the last of the SL functions for EEP support: llSetAgentEnvironment. This allows the environment parameters as applied to individual agents (avatars) within an experience (so if part of the experience requires the environment to be foggy at a certain point, avatars in the experience will have their view become foggy – but visitors who have not allowed the experience to control their avatar (e.g. because they are just observing) will not be similarly affected).

This support will hopefully be in the next set of simulator updates (currently still only available on the Snack RC channel). Once this work has been completed, Rider will be focusing on the viewer once more. The other anticipated aspect of simulator work – crepuscular rays – is “still coming”.

Complexity Calculations, Project ARCTan

There have been rumours that there may be a new function added to the Bake Service to handle complexity calculations. Vir indicated that while there has been some discussion on how and where to run the calculations (which will all be revised as a part of Project ARCTan), no decision has been made as to whether there will be changes to where the calculations are performed.

In Brief

  • The Firestorm Animesh release is currently with the preview group (I’ve been using it for the last couple of weeks in different iterations), and may go to a broader “public beta” release before being formally issued. If the “public beta” happens, the fully release for the update will likely occur early in 2019.
  • In my previous CCUG update, I reference the changes made to the rate to updates made to the rate of rendering cost calculations. This was due to Animesh having unintended consequences (such as repeatedly showing the complexity alert dialogue (e.g “You may not be visible to X %age of avatars”). During the Firestorm 6.0.1 beta testing, this change resulted in complaints from content creators, leading to a decision to back it out of the upcoming Firestorm release.
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