2019 SL User Groups 37/2: Content Creation summary

Athenaeum, July 2019 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, September 12th 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.

Animesh Follow-On – Project Muscadine

Project Summary

Currently: offer the means to change an Animesh size parameters via LSL.

Current Status

  • The viewer updated to version 6.4.0.530473 on Wednesday, September 11th – however, this is to parity with the EEP RC viewer, rather than any new features being added.
  • Viewer work is currently on the back-burner for now, while Vir is working on ARCTan. As such, it’s likely that the project will proceed with small updates  – such as those in the current project viewer – rather than gathering together a larger number of updates and releasing them together.
  • A potential update still under consideration is to revise the current throttle (limiting Animesh character to updating twice every 10 seconds). This was put in place to prevent people using the system as an alternative means of animation (and potentially thrashing performance)s.
    • Some have done informal testing with up to 20 Animesh characters changing shape under scripted control as fast as the current throttle allows and using 115 parameters, apparently with little performance impact.
  • Animesh objects currently count towards the overall avatar imposter limit – although it is possible these might be split.
    • The “pro” side of this is that Animesh objects have a fairly fixed rendering complexity.
    • The “con” side is how things might change if Animesh characters start having attachments.
    • It would also mean further complexity with graphics settings in the viewer.

Environment Enhancement Project

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements (e.g. the sky, sun, moon, clouds, and 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 now likely not include certain atmospherics such as crepuscular rays (“God rays”).

Resources

Current Status

  • Work continues on rendering bug fixes.
  • There is still no indication as to when this might be promoted to release status.
  • A lot of EEP documentation is currently in the forum threads. There has been a request to move this to the wiki – or at least is the Knowledge Base, which is current a focus for documentation from the Lab.

ARCTan

Project Summary

An attempt to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs to make them more reflective of the actual impact of rendering both. The overall aim is to try to correct some inherent negative incentives for creating optimised content (e.g. with regards to generating LOD models with mesh), and to update the calculations to reflect current resource constraints, rather than basing them on outdated constraints (e.g. graphics systems, network capabilities, etc).

Current Status

  • Progress has now resumed, with Vir working on hooking new data gathering code into the viewer code base to allow more widespread data gathering.
  • The code currently isn’t available in a public viewer repository (in part because it is not ready).
  • It has been suggested that allowing Firestorm to use the code would potentially allow for a broader cross-section of representative data to be gathered. However, the core data gathering code is baked into viewer, and making that alone available for FS to adopt at this point in time could be difficult.
  • There are concerns that major changes in the costs of in-world objects could see an increase in Land Impact values that could in turn see large amounts of content returned.
    • This is something the Lab is concerned about as well, and it has previously been indicated that if this proves to be a significant risk, then steps will be taken to mitigate this – see Project ARCTan in 2018 SL UG updates #7/3: TPV and Web Meetings.
    • It’s been suggested that ARCTan could offer a new “invisible” mesh asset type: anything that is created uploaded after ARCTan is (eventually) deployed must conform to ARCTan; mesh in-world prior to ARCTan is not governed by ARCTan – as was done with Materials. Vir indicated this might be one option, at least during the initial roll-out of ARCTan.
  • There is a lot of chatter / speculation in the forums about what ARCTan “might” or “will” be; Vir’s response to this is again that no decisions have thus far been made by the Lab as the project is still in its early stages. Therefore, people should not put too much stock in forum thread unless it is posted by the Lab.
  • It’s important to note that beyond data gathering, LL haven’t even decided how ambitious the project will be overall.

Bakes on Mesh

Project Summary

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos and clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies and heads.

Resources

Current Status

  • There has been extensive discussion on Bakes on Mesh in the forums, including ideas on future extensions, some of which are being pulled in by the Lab for additional consideration (which is not to say they will happen).
  • There is an unofficial list for BoM support (last updated at the end of August) which may help those interested.
  • Cathy Foil has been investigating the local edit issue she reported at the last meeting (see:) wherein odd results when using the appearance editor that correct themselves on exiting the appearance editor and when baked via the Baking Service. In her case, it appears the problem was due to a slip-up at her end of things involving a mesh with different UVs, although a Jira has been filed on a related issue.
  • There is a report that eye textures applied via BoM appear darker than if applied directly to the mesh. A Bug report is to be raised on this.
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2 thoughts on “2019 SL User Groups 37/2: Content Creation summary

  1. As nervous as I am about project ARCTAN disrupting my builds, it’s something that has to be done.

    But along with this, I would like to see examples of best-practice builds on the mainland with freely available, pull-perm objects for study, along with useful tips. I more than understand the need to educate more of the creator community about the tools and techniques needed to implement their visions more efficiently, but LL also needs to step up their game and share more guidance.

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    1. Offering a best practice builds area in-world is an interesting idea, and one I cannot remember hearing as being put forward before.

      There are a number of user-created / run groups that do provide this – Builders Brewery and the Ivory Tower of Prims perhaps being the most famous. While I can understand the Lab being reluctant to risk treading on their toes, providing some in-world space where recognised “best practices” (itself a thorny issue, as everyone has a personal opinion on what is “best”) can be located, and which also connects to the wider building / content creation groups like BB could be something worth considering for a feature request proposal to the Lab.

      Certainly, “best practices” is a oft-returned to subject for general discussion at the CCUG meetings, as is better promotion and maintenance of the Good Building Practices guide and the Creation Portal on the SL wiki (the latter of which is in particular need of a lot of TLC).

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