2019 SL User Groups 21/2: Content Creation summary

NOLA @ Fairhaven; Inara Pey, April 2019, on FlickrNOLA @ Fairhavenblog post

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, May 23rd 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.

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, but 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

  • The Appearance Service change, designed to correctly handle tattoo layer with partial transparency has now passed QA. This corrects a problem where if a tattoo with partial transparency is sent for baking via the new BOM channels without any underlying opaque layer, then the alphas are not correctly resolved.
  • A required simulator change should be deployed “soon”. This includes a means of accessing BOM UUIDs.
    • These were changed in the last back-end update as a result of underlying asset property issues. If there is BOM content using the old UUIDs, this will have to be updated.
    • The simulator update is intended to allow access to the texture UUIDs without having to do so numerically, as is currently the case. This should re-enable the ability to access them via their name abbreviations.
  • The Bakes on Mesh RC viewer updated to version 6.2.3.527418, dated May 23rd.
  • A new bug has been uncovered by the Lab, but at the time of writing, it was unclear if this was related to the Appearance Service or the viewer.

Environment Enhancement Project

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 includes the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. The assets can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

Due to performance issues, the initial implementation of EEP will not include certain atmospherics such as crepuscular rays (“God rays”).

Resources

Current Status

  • Graham Linden continues to work on the remaining shader / graphics issues.

Animesh Follow-On

  • Vir continues to work on adding visual parameter support to allow shape adjustments to be made to Animesh.
  • This work has new reached a point where shape updates can be requested, and the messages sent to viewers able to see the Animesh, which then update to display the correct shape.
  • However, there is an issue: the Appearance Service code to set an avatar’s vertical position (and hopefully keep the avatar’s feet on the ground) doesn’t recognise Animesh objects. This therefore needs to be either extended to support Animesh, or emulated purely within the viewer
    • Vir is working to try to emulate the capability within the viewer, but in doing so has uncovered some confusing elements in the way the current code works, which needs to be addressed.
  • It is still likely to be at least two more weeks before the work is suitable to be made available in the project viewer.

In Brief

  • The Teranino viewer, version 6.2.3.527418, introduced  change in how vehicle region crossings are handled.
    • There is now a debug setting that stops movement interpolation by the viewer while the data is passed between regions.
    • How long the pause lasts can be adjusted (the default is 1.00  – which I assume is 1 second, while I assume 0 is no stop.
    • However, there are reports that  if a vehicle is turning or banking, while forward motion stops, the rotation imparts as result of the turn / bank continues (see BUG-226937).
  • There are a couple of viewers in progress that feature open-source contributions. One of these is for profiles behaviour, and the other is related to improvements to the mesh uploader (which I assume is Beq Janus’ excellent work as found in Firestorm).
  • Pivot points with mesh uploads: there has been some viewer-side work to support this, but the work is on hold pending the availability of a resource to work on the required simulator support.
  • Changing animations priorities on-the-fly: this has been a frequent request in the past, intended to allow users to adjust animation priorities rather than having them set at upload.
    • However, the priority assignment capability is deeply baked into the way SL operates, and re-working it to allow on-the-fly changes is seen as a none-trivial project.
    • It is also seen as just one element of the animation system requiring complete overhaul (e.g. there is a need for a pre-load animation capability, a global synch capability, etc.).
    • Any such overhaul brings with it further complications in that it could touch upon the IK system, as such animation system work is not something LL are currently considering, although they have taken a number of Jira feature requests on the subject.

Kun-Tei-Ner: a water world in Second Life

Kun-Tei-Ner; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrKun-Tei-Ner – click any image for full size

Kun-Tei-Ner is the name of the latest region design by the combined talents of Lotus Mastroianni and Fred Hamilton (frecoi). Between them, Lotus and Fred have been core parts of the design teams behind the likes of The Missing Whale (see The Missing Whale in Second Life), Little Havana (see A trip to Havana, with a little Voodoo In My Blood) and, most recently HoPe (HoPe: a world without humankind). In some ways, Kun-Tei-Ner, which opened on May 19th, 2019, is a continuation of HoPe.

With HoPe, we were presented with an environment that had suffered some kind of catastrophe, at least one part of which appeared to have been some form of natural disaster. In Kun-Tei-Ner, the theme of the natural disaster / event is continued, with the world apparently having suffered a massive ecological and environmental change, leaving it pretty much a water world, as the description of the region explains:

This is a place years ahead of us with no land. Humans have produced a lot of things…and many things are [now] useless. A city grows up on a huge mountain of containers filled with broken technological stuff, abandoned or fallen from ships.

Kun-Tei-Ner; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrKun-Tei-Ner

And so it is that we are invited into one of the most unique and original environments currently to be found in Second Life: a marvellous mini archipelago of tall, close-packed islands rising from the sea, built from shipping containers gathered from who-knows-where, brought together to create the shoreline, hills, apartments and places of commerce this corner of humanity’s survivors treat as home.

Stacked together like Lego® bricks – and almost as colourful – the containers form everything one might expect from a close-packed group of islets: there are high peaks, valleys, ocean fronts, low-lying “flatlands” … Yes, all are obviously painted metals, but attempts have clearly been made to make things look more natural and return a hint of nature to the setting, with ivy and vines strung from the sides of some containers, well clear of where they might otherwise be splashed and contaminated by salt water.

Kun-Tei-Ner; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrKun-Tei-Ner

The containers that have been converted into homes have had holes cut into their sides or have had their end or doors removed, the holes replaced by wooden frames, sliding doors, and windows cut from what looks to be sheets of acetate plastic. Others offer places of commerce: a pizza bar here, an little Japanese-style food market there ….

These, with their lit neon signs, at first look incongruous given the overall theme of the setting, but it is clear that power is not an issue here: the upper reaches of the container “hills” are lit by flashing neon billboards, and someone has taken the opportunity to place traditional wooden advertising hoardings up as well. Perhaps some of the power for the neons signs comes from the wind turbines sitting just of the “coast” of these iron islands, but there are signs of other industrial activity as well: great pipes rise from the waters to plug themselves into containers, while others run from one set of containers to another as a tall smoke stack belches orange smoke to drift in the wind.

Kun-Tei-Ner; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrKun-Tei-Ner

It is clear from this that there is some form of heavy plant hidden within some of the stacked containers. Does it provide power? is it helping to grow foodstuffs hidden by corrugated steel walls? That’s up for you as a visitor to decide. There are other signs that technology has survived as well: a large satellite communication dish points its eye towards a spot in the sky, while a satellite receiver appears to be obtaining video signals from another orbital system.

Finding your way around the islands is a matter of following the LED arrows on the floors and walls of the containers, while bridges formed from wood and rope, open-ended container and metal gantries connect the different islands. The arrows point to multiple routes and passages around the islands, making exploration a walk of discovery, at least some of which is observed from above by a flying sculpture of a whale shark.

Kun-Tei-Ner; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrKun-Tei-Ner

The paths offer a lot to see, from the interiors of the living containers, to the food market and pizza bar to multiple places to sit, indoors and out. They can also offer plenty of opportunities for photography, and a Flickr group is available to those who wish to submit their images. Just be sure to give the region the time it deserves when visiting.

The region designs by Lotus and Fred are generally available for around a month before they kick-off their next project. So, in case that will be so for Kun-Tei-Ner, a visit sooner than later might be advisable to avoid missing what is – as noted – a fascinating setting worthy of exploration.

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