The following notes are taken from my audio recording of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, January 20th 2020 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
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.
- EEP is now viewed as a priority for release by the Lab, with work progressing on the final bug fixes on the graphics side.
- The biggest change recently made is to remove the option to disable Basic Shaders in the viewer, on account of this option causing problems when trying to address other issues.
- It is not believed this will impact users, unless they are running really old graphics cards that do not support (the now 15-year-old) OpenGL 2.0.
- Note this is not removing the ability to toggle ALM off / on.
- Release is still being couched in terms of being in “about a month” – so possibly early March.
- Those who use windlights for photography or within their regions are strongly urged to test the EEP RC viewer (last updated on January 9th, 2020, at the time of writing this summary).
Rendering System Improvements
Outside of EEP and in the future, the rendering team plan to spend time simplifying SL’s multiple rendering paths and options to make them easier to maintain going forward.
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models with mesh), and to update the calculations to reflect current resource constraints, rather than basing them on outdated constraints (e.g. graphics systems, network capabilities, etc).
As of January 2020 ARCTan has effectively been split:
- Immediate viewer-side changes, primarily focused on revising the Avatar Rendering Cost (ARC) calculations and providing additional viewer UI so that people can better visibility and control to seeing complexity.
- Work on providing in-world object rendering costs (LOD models, etc.) which might affect Land Impact will be handled as a later tranche of project work.
- The belief is that “good” avatar ARC values can likely be used as a computational base for these rendering calculations.
- Testing has suggested that when an avatar attachment has a very high number of prims, there is a chance the avatar appearance does not get baked correctly – the number of prims effectively “chokes” the Bake Service.
- The number of prims is reported as “north of 32”.
- It appears to be the number of prims – not submeshes – in an attachment that cause the issue, but this is by no means certain.
- It is not something that appears to have been reported via Jira, so LL is curious whether or not it is an artefact people may have witnessed.
- A version of the internal Jira will be filed publicly by Vir for creators to look at.
The next CCUG meeting will be on Thursday, February 13th, 2020.
Brief Notes from the January 29th open-Source Developer Meeting
These notes are recorded here as they may have longer-term relevance to content creation / viewer use.
- Linden Lab has identified improving the viewer UI / UX to be a high priority.
- Initially, the focus will be on improving usability for users who are not yet familiar with the viewer (and/or SL in general).
- A further aspect of the work will be making the number of choices available in many places smaller and making the terminology more uniform.
- The UI team is said to have “quite a list” of possible changes / improvements, some of which have come directly from TPV developers and through feature requests.
- Additional feature requests are well – including illustrative mock-ups of idea, providing these are properly documented.
- Please see my tutorial notes on filing SL feature requests, if required.