2019 SL User Groups 38/3: TPVD meeting

HollyWeird, Hotel California – August 2019 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on September 20th, 2019. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to Pantera for recording and providing it. This was a relatively short meeting, with the majority of topics covered in the first 20 minutes.

SL Viewer News

There have been no further updates to the official SL pipelines since the updates at the start of the week, leaving them as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.3.1.530559, formerly the Umeshu Maintenance RC viewer, dated September 5th.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Vinsanto RC viewer, version 6.3.2.530962, September 17th.
    • Ordered Shutdown RC viewer, version 6.3.2.530901, September 16th. This viewer has changes intended to make crashes on shut-down less likely, but does not have any changes to existing features.
    • EEP RC viewer, version 6.4.0.530150, August 19th.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.3.2.530836, September 17th. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.530473, September 11th.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16th.
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17th, 2017 and promoted to release status 29th November 2017 – 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.

Note: Bakes on Mesh introduced an at-login crash that some viewers are experiencing. This has been the subject of a bug report and a fix will be making its way into a maintenance viewer.

Brief Viewer-Related Notes

EEP Viewer

EEP progress has been slowed down for the time being – but for good reasons. The Lab has hired two new rendering system experts, one of whom has already started. They are due to work on EEP related rendering but they will both take time to be introduced to the Lab’s working environment and the EEP project as a whole. This expertise will also be put to work on general rendering work through projects such as the Love Me Render pipeline.

Voice Viewer

The long-awaited Voice viewer update should be appearing in week #39 (commencing Monday, September 23rd), containing assorted fixes for the viewer side of voice.

  • In particular, it is hoped this update will fix the (predominantly Mac-related) issue of disconnects as a result of a user speaking too softly / having the microphone set too low / pausing for extended period when speaking.
  • However, there are some issues believed to be server-side that are still being addressed (such as users appearing to be on a separate voice channel to the region of a region, requiring a relog).
  • It is believed the version of SLvoice.exe in this viewer will function OK with TPVs, although the Lab has obviously not tested this.

Once out, this viewer will likely be pushed through to release status as soon as progress / lack of issues allow.

Viewer Caching / Texture Memory Use

This work is again getting attention, but it will still be a while before it received “substantive” attention once more, in order for a project /RC viewer to make an appearance.

Viewer Build Related Notes

Viewer Build Manifest Updates

From a development perspective, the Voice viewer also includes change to the viewer build manifest, so it accurately reflects viewer build library requirements and correctly reports on missing libraries. Those who self-compile should listen to the video between 10:30 and 14:00.

Viewer Build Tools Project

The work to update the viewer build process to use Visual Studio 2017 and Xcode 10.3 for OS X is still progressing. It is anticipated that results from this work will be visible in the next few weeks.

Mercurial to Github Migration

Bitbucket, used to manage viewer repositories) will be sunsetting support for Mercurial; Linden Lab will therefore be switching to git on bitbucket for their repositories.

  • Currently, the Lab is experimenting with converting come of their internal repositories from Mercurial to git to see if it is possible to do code merges in both directions via the same tool.
  • If successful, LL will document the tool and process, then move to try the same procedure against their build repositories, then run things in parallel before finally switching over.
  • The process is expected to be measured in 2-3 months rather than weeks, and the documentation the Lab produces will be made available to TPVs to allow them to migrate where required, and efforts will be made to keep TPVs informed on overall progress.
  • Overall, it is anticipated that the overall process will not be quite as “scary” as has been feared.

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Art and inspiration in Second Life

The Edge, Afflatus, September 2019 – Impossibleisnotfrench

Opening on Saturday, September 21st at THE EDGE Gallery, curated by Ladmilla, is a new ensemble exhibition entitle Afflatus (“inspiration”). Running through until Monday, October 21st, 2019, the exhibit features the work of Impossibleisnotfrench, Jessamine2108, Davenwolf Dagger, Loegan Magic, together with gallery “regulars” (residents?) Kapaan, Larisalyn, PartrickofIreland and Trisharose, all rounded-out by a display of art and words by Ladmilla and her SL partner, Eli Medier.

For this exhibition, part of the lawn between the gallery’s indoor exhibition spaces has been turned into a garden display, with paths meandering around work by the quite delightfully name Impossibleisnotfrench (using the Display Name Harry Cover – the name I’m going to go with here, simply for brevity of typing!), and Trisharose. I’m starting here in part because it is the most obvious element in the exhibition, sittig as it does in the midst of the gallery space, but also because Harry’s 3D work is utterly captivating, and it’s the first time I can recall witnessing it in Second Life.

The Edge, Afflatus, September 2019 – Impossibleisnotfrench

For My Third Life Harry present 25 eggs, the majority of which are each slightly larger than an avatar’s neck and head, all of them mindful of Fabergé eggs, but eschewing the gold and bejewelled exteriors in favour of external painting and design in keeping with their contents. Within each (just click the lid on those that might be closed and hiding their interiors) is the most remarkable diorama or model, all of them spanning a broad range of subjects from little World War I Sopwith Camels patrolling the air over their base, to miniature paintings to tiny goldfish swimming in their bowl, with landscapes, figurines and even a couple of cheeky and humorous pieces (think the girl is taking a shower? look more closely!). All are actually drawn from elements of Harry’s life and family, thus offering a “3rd life”, so to speak, reflection of his first life. They are, individually and collectively, an absolutely must-see display that is mesmerizing in its beauty, inspiration and skill of execution.

Alongside Harry’s installation, Trisharose presents Be Kind, Laugh and Smile Today, a selection of ten avatar studies and two – for me – quite eye-catching studies of that staple of Second Life landscape, the lighthouse.

The Edge, Afflatus, September 2019 -Trisharose

Within the gallery buildings can be found the installations by the remaining participants in the exhibition, each of whom presents pictures on a theme of their choosing.

Following the order of buildings anti-clockwise from behind the outdoor display, these are Jessamine2108, who offers us a series of Musings, images ranging from studies of avatars in motion (Passion) through to composite pieces (Transcendence) by way of landscape studies to present a set of pieces that do indeed encourage the mind to muse on them. With All Creatures Great and Small, a wonderful selection of landscape and animal images captured around SL, Larisalyn channels the spirit of James Herriot (actually veterinary surgeon Alf Wright), and I challenge anyone not to find a smile at the title piece alongside the entrance to her gallery space.

For Vintage Virtual and The Promise Loegan Magic and Kapaan respectively focus on black and white images, albeit it in very different ways. With his images, Loegan presents  scenes from Second Life that suggest we are looking back over many decades, to a time before the advent of colour photography; only the appearance of the shells of road vehicles in a couple breaks this illusion.  More than that, however, is that in their monochrome rendering, these are images suggestive of a mind in sleep recalling the places it has seen through the medium of dreaming.

The Edge, Afflatus, September 2019 – Loegan Magic

Kapaan’s work, meanwhile is of a darker tone and presents itself as a narrative, each image potential a scene from an unfolding story – a journey undertaken by a lone hero. But to what end? That, perhaps, is for us as the witnesses to decide. Or perhaps the clue lies in the small annex to the main display space.

Davenwolf Dagger is a photographer in the physical world whose work first came to my attention earlier in 2019, and towards which I admits to having something of a fascination. With Industrial Fusion he offers more of his images from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania, and which make up his Blacksmith series. Here they are combined with industrial pieces from SL to provide a unique blending of ideas.

The Edge, Afflatus, September 2019 – Ladmilla and Eli

Puppets presents more of Ladmilla’s always superb and evocative images – here with a slightly surreal slant – coupled with Eli’s masterful use of prose and poem to present a series of pieces encompassing reflections on life, identity, relationships and human nature, all of which meld the physical and the virtual to stir the mind and the eye.

Surrealism is also very much a part of PatrickofIreland’s Four Elements – Essentials of Life. This is something of an immersive installation, commencing within the courtyard of the gallery space. As the name suggests, it offers a celebration of the four essential elements of life  – water, air, earth and fire, with each represented through fabulously surreal pieces.

The Edge, Afflatus, September 2019 – PatrickofIreland

Inspired and inspirational, Afflatus and its ensemble exhibitions of at officially opens at 11:00 SLT on Saturday, September 21st, with music by DJ Avalon Boa between 12:00 noon and 14:00 SLT.

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