2019 SL User Groups 12/2: Content Creation summary

Elvion; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrElvion – blog post

The majority of the following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, March 21st, 2019 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

  • The long-expected Maintenance RC viewer, code-named Teranino, was released on Wednesday, March 20th. Version 6.1.1.525401, comprising 50+ fixes.
  • The EEP RC viewer updates to version 6.2.0.525395 on Thursday, March 21st. It is felt EEP may have “one or two” further RC updates before it is ready to go to release status.

The rest of the official viewer pipelines remain as:

  • Current Release version 6.1.0.524670, formerly the BugSplat RC viewer February 13th, promoted February 28th 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):
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.1.1.524929, March 6th.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.2.0.524909, March 5th.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17th, 2017 and promoted to release status 29th November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Environment Enhancement Project – on the Grid

On Tuesday, March 19th and Wednesday March 20th, EEP back-end support was deployed to the SLS (Main channel) and to the Magnum and Cake RC channels, meaning it is now gird-wide.

As EEP handles environment rendering differently to windlight, that can be that at time, viewers without the may rendered skies oddly (e.g. black dots (stars) appearing in daytime skies, the sun may look bigger than it actually should be, and similar). Should this be the case, toggle the Use Region windlight option in your viewer off / on.

Note that if you are using a personally applied windlight or a custom parcel windlight through a viewer like Firestorm, generally speaking, you should see no issues.

Bakes on Mesh

Again, no update, other than a back-end Bake Service update is due (presumably to fix the “black skirt issue”. Once this is deployed, it should allow a resumption in progress with the viewer, which could likely be promoted to RC status.

ARCTan

The ARCTan project to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs in the viewer is still stalled. One concern is that more needs to be done to encourage a greater number of creators to create low impact worn mesh; high impact worn mesh can do much to impact viewer performance, but is currently seen as having little around it to discourage better design. While there are options like the “jelly doll” capability, these are seen as limited in encouraging better content design as the onus is pushed onto other users to determine what they can or cannot see.

ARCTan itself is a difficult set of measures to calculate, as user hardware plays a role in performance (obviously), such as the split between CPU-based and GPU-based computations. As a result, frame times can vary widely. Ergo, more objective measures are required (e.g. triangle counts + surface area for textures, etc.).

Other Items

  • Mesh attachment loading: this is taking appreciable longer, and is particularly noticeable in busy regions, where avatars with a lot of mesh can take what feels like an age to “pull themselves together” (so to speak), although no cause has yet been identified. Vir Linden has been leading work to look into this.
  • Animesh follow-on: the focus is still on allowing body parts in the inventory of an Animesh to be used to customise the skeleton of the Animesh.
  • Creator requests: Vir asked a general question on things creators may be seeing a blockers to developing new content and what they would like to see to overcome these blockers. The feedback included:
    • More script functions.
    • Replacing appliers with an inventory based solution and a Bakes on Mesh follow-on.
    • Extending the existing constraints in the animation format to be a full Inverse Kinematics system.
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2019 Home and Garden Expo in Second Life

via slhomeandgardenexpo.com

The 11th Home and Garden Expo (HGE) in support of Relay for Life of Second Life and the American Cancer Society, is currently open, and will remain so until Sunday, April 7th, 2019. Taking place across ten regions (Hope 1 through 10) and the new Linden Homes preview region, the event offers some of the finest in home, garden, and furnishing designs available across the grid.

With over 100 exhibitors taking part, the event offers something for anyone who is looking for a new home, ideas for furnishing and décor, wishing to improve their building (or other) skills, or who just wishes to keep abreast of the latest building / home trends in Second Life.

The Home and Garden Expo Theatre

As always, the Expo there will be a range of events and activities, including entertainment and dancing, classes, a dedicated gacha region, talks and discussions, artists, and more. There is also:

  • The Silent Auction – featuring some stunning prizes – visit the auction boards in-world.
  • The Expo Hunt: follow the hints, visit all the main expo regions (in any order you choose), and pay L£10 for each prize (all proceeds to RFL of SL).
  • Visit the Home Decorating Competition and watch as the finalist decorate their assigned homes (March 20th – March 28th) and then vote on which you like the best (March 29th – 5th April), with the winners announced on April 6th.
  • Participate in the Lantern Ceremony at the main theatre. This ceremony goes back to 2012, when Alchemy Immortalis created the Blue Willow lanterns especially for the Home and Garden Expo. It became the custom to release them each day at 4pm, and people would gather to watch and reflect as the lanterns rose slowly into the air.

Don’t forget as well, that you can see a preview of the first designs for the new Linden Homes that will be made available to premium members in the near future.  You can also read more able these homes in my New Linden Homes Preview.

The first designs for the new Linden Homes for Premium members can be previewed at the Home and Garden Expo

About the Expo

The Home and Garden Expo raises money for Relay For Life of Second Life (RFL of SL). Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fund-raising event, and RFL of SL is one of its virtual counterparts. 100% of registration fees, sponsorship fees and donation items are paid to Relay For Life of Second Life. 50% of the proceeds from the gachas will be paid to RFL and 100% of the L$10 hunt items.