2019 Content Creation User Group week #46 summary

Kinglet Sound, September 2019 – blog post

The following notes are taken from my audio recording of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, November 14th 2019 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

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”).


Current Status

  • Merging with the last set of viewer releases has caused issues, and these are currently being addressed.
  • Beyond the above issue, clearing the remaining EEP bugs is “a priority focus”.


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models with mesh), and to update the calculations to reflect current resource constraints, rather than basing them on outdated constraints (e.g. graphics systems, network capabilities, etc).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

  • Vir is working on providing a means for data collection across a range of different viewer-side hardware specifications.
  • His previous work on textures and texture handling / loading have revealed it is hard to quantify in terms of accounting for performance impact, as textures don’t result in the same kind of impact as mesh triangle complexity.
    • With mesh, there is a clear complexity correlation between the number of triangles and performance /  complexity hits.
    • The number of textures on a object don’t behave the same way, other then during initial loading or if they push against memory limits, so, there’s no gradual degradation in performance with texture that can be seen with mesh, making it harder to produce accurate calculations.

Avatar System

The avatar system has become considerably more flexible over the years, but also far more complexity to use. Given this, Vir put out a question on whether there is anything creators would like to see Linden Lab do in terms of managing the avatar behaviour and configurability.

For example, one aspect of avatar system management is HUDs, which can be impactful in a number of ways  – resources simulator side, texture use viewer side; general ease-of use. Discussion on this raised some suggestions ideas:

  • Presenting them through (if possible) a dedicated floater in the viewer that could be dragged around like any other floater, minimised, etc.
  • Possibly extending llDialog to prove better support for HUD-like actions via dialogues.
  • Providing an HTML-based means for HUD-style interactions.
  • Having a “favourites” inventory folder sub-set, floater and toolbar button, a-la Firestorm that users could use for their various HUDs and (hopefully) encourage them to only attach (via the toolbar button / floater) when required – thus assisting with reducing VRAM usage for users / eases resource loads when avatars move between simulators. This idea has been discussed at the Lab.

A further discussion on this involved avatar shapes and applying / managing parameters.

  • Currently the body shape is a “container” for all body parameters (head shape, body size, leg length, torso dimensions, etc).
  • This can make it hard when trying to carry out localised modifications to a part of a body (e.g. applying head parameters to a “preset” shape designed for a specific head brand).
  • There have been suggestions to help improve this, including:
    • Providing a means of exporting specific shape parameters for making new body shapes (see feature request BUG-216131).
    • Manipulating the shape via LSL (not seen as necessarily user-friendly).
    • Having some form of wearable that can be associated with specific body area parameters so that when used, would cause the currently worn body to adopt those parameters.
    • Provide a means to support some kind of “mask list” that just governs which bones they affect. This would allow for quite arbitrary sub-sets (as defined by the shape creator), but is seen as not that user-friendly, and potentially introducing added complexity into shape manipulation.
  • Some of these suggestions have a potential hit with increased UI complexity, but the idea of having explicit sub-set of shapes (e.g. one for the head, one form the upper body (or torso), etc.,) that have an obvious link to the sliders they would affect / be affected by, would seem to be the easiest for users to understand.
  • To address the head issue noted above, the most direct solution would be to separate the head shape from the body.

Other Items in Brief

  • Rider Linden is working on the texturing download and caching updates for the viewer, but these have run into merging problems with the current release viewer, so there is nothing available for public consumption on this work.
  • Several creators have noted issues with Bakes on Mesh and the left arm / leg, Universal wearables, tattoos and skins (see this forum post as an example, together with this feedback thread post). No precise solution has been offered (there has been a suggestion for LL to provide a means to convert existing skins to universals for left arm and left leg, but it’s not clear how well this would work in practice).

More hopping through Bellisseria

Everfaire Coffee Shop, Bellisseria

Back in May 2019, I produced a piece called On the Road in Bellisseria. At the time, it was intended to be the first in a series of “road tours” around the continent to various public places that form a part of the continent, and also a look at some of the public facilities – pubs, cafés, galleries, show homes, etc., that have been opened by Bellisseria residents.

For a variety of reasons, that idea didn’t go as planned, and given Bellisseria is a dynamic place, constantly growing in terms of physical size and population, offering a road tour isn’t easy. So instead, here’s a short list of places I’ve dropped into of late that might be of interest to those wanting to take a hop around the continent.

Many of the public places provided as a part of Bellisseria  – the Fairgrounds, for example,or Campwich Lodge, added with the arrival of the Trailers and Campers and the Bellisseria railway lines (see: Bellisseria: of Trailers, Campers and trains in Second Life) and original airstrip, together with the various bars, pool, beaches and undersea spots – are all reasonably well-known, so I’m again focusing on a handful of resident-provided spots.

Picards Wharf contains one of several undersea sites around Bellisseria, this one comprising the ruins of a sunken lighthouse in two parts, with accompanying undersea caverns (seen in the background)

These are perhaps a little harder to keep track of, simply because people have the freedom of choice with their Linden Home styles, that they can easily swap designs and purposes – so a house that might be a café for a time might later be switched back to being a cosy home, whilst a houseboat might switch from home to gallery and back again, depending on the owner’s desires. Nevertheless, the following were all current at the time of writing.

For art, two places in particular come into mind. There is Diamond Marchant’s Beckridge Gallery, and Ladmilla’s Gallery, which might be regarded as a “branch” of her much larger gallery, THE EDGE.

Ladmilla’s Gallery

Both galleries offer slightly different approaches to displaying art, with Beckridge offering a more “gallery” style environment at the time of my original visit (see: Celebrating Apollo 11 in Second Life and Sansar), where the focus is on the art, with minimal emphasis on furnishings. Ladmilla’s offers a more studio style of gallery, where her own work – including some of her images-with-poems, produced in collaboration with her SL partner, Eli Medier – is displayed in comfy settings with sofas and armchairs. Other galleries within the continent include The Little Gallery (RuffertasAlt), and Bellisseria Squirrel (Halo Rain).

Those seeking café or pub-style environments might be interested in Cain Wycliffe’s Bellis Blues Café. Taking full advantage of Chic Aeon’s add-on elements specifically for Linden Homes, Bellis Blues is presented as the continent’s only Blue-oriented café / club, and features regular events on Tuesdays (10:00 – noon SLT), Fridays (14:00-16:00 SLT) and Saturdays (20:00-22:00 SLT).

Bellis Blues Café

Staying with the café theme, those exploring the Trailer and Campers regions by train, truck or (most enjoyably) horseback might want to drop-in to Mitchel Torok’s Mitch’s Hideaway, a place that demonstrates just how versatile the trailer homes can be. An added attraction at the hideaway is the inclusion of a Teaglepet Animesh horse rezzer, allowing visitors to take a horseback ride on a choice of mounts – just remember to turn off your own AO!

Other cafés and pubs I’ve enjoyed dropping into are Soulgoodie’s Everfaire Coffee Shop and the Queen’s Head pub, run by North Crannock, one of the driving forces in the Bellisseria Citizen’s group, and which is modelled on an English country pub. A point to note when visiting resident created public places is that some may also include bicycle rezzers, giving visitors the opportunity to take a ride through the streets and along the paths of Bellisseria.

Mitch’s Hideaway

Further places of interest within Bellisseria include the The Drowned Mouse Arcade for video games, Jupiter Projects, promising “a series of limited engagement interactive environments” and the Pearl Dreams Business Compound, offering a “Surf Shack Café & Bakery, with Chopper Tours” and other elements. I can’t really vouch for any of these or how active they might, be as I’ve only paid them very brief visits courtesy of a landmark list provided by PrudenceAnton.

As with my previous piece on places to visit in Bellisseria, this article is hardly complete – and as noted, places may change purposes over time. However, whether you have property in Bellisseria and want to explore more or are simply curious about paying the continent a visit and looking around, hopefully what is listed here might help you. Those interested in events in Bellisseria might want to take a poke at the Bellisseria Citizen’s Group, which is free to join.