2019 SL User Groups 1/2: TPV Developer Meeting

Lutz City; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrLutz City, November 2018; blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 4th, 2019. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. Note that was a brief meeting, with extended silences while things were discussed in chat.

This was a shot meeting, given not a lot has changed since the December 21st, 2018 meeting, and a no change window has been in effect at the Lab. Note that in the recording, there are some significant pauses in voice, and the time stamps below reflect this.

SL Viewer


Still no viewer updates since 2018, week #51, leaving the official viewer pipelines as follows:

  • Current Release version, dated December 5, promoted December 13. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version, December 19.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version, December 18. 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, December 18.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version, 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, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes.

RC Viewers

Both the EAM and Bugsplat RC viewers are close to being at a point where either could be promoted to de facto release status. The current Love Me Render (rendering improvements) RC is liable to receive at least one more update before it will be ready to be considered for promotion. However, none of the viewers are ready for promotion in the immediate future.

Project Viewers

The Bakes on Mesh project viewer is still awaiting bug fixes, and the EEP viewer is awaiting UI updates and more atmospheric shader work, all of which is covered in my previous Content Creator UG summary. Both are expected to go to release candidate status “very soon”.

Texture Fetching and Caching

[12:58-19:39] Linden Lab is working on both overhauling how textures are fetched and how they are cached by the viewer. This work involves pretty much rebuilding the entire texture fetching pipeline(possibly using HTTP 2), and changing the state the data is cached in by the viewer (uncompressed, rather than using JPEG 2K, removing the need for the local computer to decode / decompress the texture for JPEG 2K when loading it from cache into memory).  This should itself improve texture loading, as well as all of the changes hopefully bringing improvements to texture handling as a whole, as well as hopefully getting to a point where cache clearing has even less significance than it does at present (and hopefully remove more of the myths about cache clearing).

This work has been on the back burner for a while, but a resource has once again been assigned to it, with a focus on fixing the bugs in the fetching changes. If all goes well, these updates – which also change how texture memory is used – should be appearing in a release candidate viewer some time “in the next several weeks”.

This topic kicked off a text chat technical discussion on texture handling among TPV developers, that continued through to almost the end of the meeting. Please refer to the video for details.

General Notes

  • [5:14-5:32] TPVs should hopefully get the most recent crash stats in the next couple of weeks.
  • [6:09-6:32] Again, as per my CCUG summary, the Lab has received contributions from Beq Janus (mesh uploader improvements) and Nicky Dasmijn (improved search capabilities on preferences and settings). These should be appearing an a maintenance RC once implemented by the Lab.
  • [7:38-9:20] The Lab has ceased doing debug builds with viewer. This speeds the build process as enough data is gathered via deb info to remove a dedicated debug build. However, it does mean viewers using the debug build path many well fail during the build process, and one TPV is reporting issues with deb info – although this may be due to their build process being at a variance to the Lab’s.
  • [10:50-11:12] The Lab’s development viewer builds for Mac now use macOS Sierra (10.12). It’s not certain if this is the case for the production builds as yet.