2020 Content Creation User Group week #8 summary

Catena et Cavea, January 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken from my audio recording of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, February 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

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.

Resources

Current Status

  • Work is continuing to clear the remaining rendering bugs, which are being described as “resilient”.
  • The hope is EEP could be ready to move forward by the end of the month.
  • There is a backlog of potential fixes / enhancements for EEP (e.g. further rendering improvements, improving the brightness of stars, etc). Some of these will form future EEP enhancements, others may be dealt with as part of other work such as on-going rendering system improvements, rather than being held for a future EEP-specifc project”.

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models with mesh), and to update the calculations to reflect current resource constraints, rather than basing them on outdated constraints (e.g. graphics systems, network capabilities, etc).

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. This work can essentially be broken down as:
    • Collect data.
    • Update ARC function.
    • Design and provide tool within the viewer UI (i.e. not a pop-up) that presents ARC information in a usable manner and lets users make decisions about rendering / performance.
  • 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, after the avatar work.
  • The belief is that “good” avatar ARC values can likely be used as a computational base for these rendering calculations.

Current Status

  • Vir is still working on the Bake Service issue I’ve noted in my last two CCUG updates. However, he believes he now has a fix, and this is currently going through internal testing.
  • One thing that ARCTan testing has shown is the degree of variability in frame rates in terms of how long each frame takes to process. Part of this might be due to multiple operations running in the same thread when they should perhaps be separated into their own threads, particularly in terms of avatar loading.

Project Muscadine

Project Summary

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

Current Status

  • Still on hold, but the Aditi simhost that did have the back-end code has also been re-purposed for other project work, so the back-end support for Muscadine is currently unavailable.

In Brief

  • Viewer caching project: this has been a long-term project, which has recently re-started (and which is usually a subject for discussion at the TPVD meetings).
    • There is code related to the VFS caching (referenced in the message seen at viewer-start up) the in in-memory processes that sit on top of it that has not been updated in a long while and which can give rise to stability issues.
    • The Lab now plans to work on this code “extensively” over the next few months.
  • There are claims that use of Animesh impacts simulator performance. As Animesh is predominantly a viewer-side capability, it is hard to see how it could impact simulator performance; it is possible that those experiencing issues could be conflating viewer and simulator performance.
  • Poser project: a contribution from the Black Dragon viewer, this is a project that is currently on hold.
    • The idea is to allow local (i.e. viewer side) joint-by-joint poses by entering different values for each of the required positions and rotations for a joint.
    • The fact that the tool is viewer-side with the results unseen by other users has been seen by the Lab as the project’s core limitation.
    • The Lab’s view is that the easiest way to share the results would be to place them in a single frame animation that puts the avatar into the required pose and which can be seen by other viewers, and this would like be the approach taken when / if the project is resumed.
    • This work has nothing to do with the pupeeteering project from 2011.
  • A further project awaiting resumption is the move to HTTP 2, which will hopefully improve things like asset data fetching, offer improved stability in data handling and improve scene loading.
  • Tidbit: the mesh uploader for Second Life apparently took around 10 people over 2 years to develop / get to work (and still has a UI element that might be incomprehensible to some). As such there is some concern at the Lab that attempt to extend SL to support other modelling formats (e.g. FBX) could result in something equally / more confusing – although this is not to suggest LL is resolutely against supporting other file formats for use with SL.