2020 SL project updates week #10: TPVD and CCUG

Countryside, January 2020 – blog post

The bulk of the following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on March 6th, 2020. These meetings are generally held every other week, unless otherwise noted in any given summary. Also included this week are notes from the very brief Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting of Thursday, March 5th. These are indicated by [CCUG] appearing before them.

The embedded video is provided to Pantera – my thanks to her for recording and providing it. Time stamps are included with the notes will open the video at the point(s) where a specific topic is discussed.

In terms of the TPVD meeting:

  • The core of the meeting (10:05-45:08) revolved around specific issues TPVs that have implemented their own shader changes are encountering with merging EEP (note: not Firestorm) and views on EEP assets and permissions. In the interests of brevity, these are not recorded in the notes below.
  • The latter part of the meeting (45:15 onwards) is an esoteric, somewhat tongue-in-cheek discussion concerning on-line status.

SL Viewer News

[1:46-5:02]

  • The new Premium RC viewer, version 6.3.8.537335, was released on Tuesday March 3rd. See the notes below for more.

The remainder of the current SL viewer pipelines were unchanged for week #10:

  • Current release viewer version: 6.3.7.535996, formerly the Yorsh Maintenance RC viewer, dated February 7th and promoted February 20th.
  • Release channel cohorts
    • EEP RC viewer updated to version 6.4.0.536347, February 11.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.3.7.536179, February 10.
    • Camera Presets RC viewer, version 6.3.6.535138, January 24.
  • Project viewers:
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.3.2.530836, September 17, 2019. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • Given the delays to EEP due to some late-breaking issues (see below), it is now possible the Lab may opt to promote one of the other RC viewers in the period between now and when EPP is ready for viewer-side release. In particular, the Premium RC viewer may be fast-tracked to release status (although the back-end support will not be activated until Premium Plus is launched later in the year).
  • The Camera Presets RC viewer remains “crashy”, and any merge with releases is currently being held pending a decision on whether EEP is ready for release or if another RC should be promoted ahead of it.
  • Viewer build tools update viewer (using the VS 2017 + a more recent Xcode version, etc.), has become “complicated” due to the repository migration, the need to update libraries, etc. As a result, and depending on the amount of work involved in the libraries aspect of the work, this may become a two-phase project: put the RC viewer out, then finalise the libraries for future builds.

Premium RC Viewer

[5:34-8:33]

  • This viewer is contains new code to specifically handle benefits information related to benefits / limits applied to accounts based on subscription level (Basic, Premium or the upcoming Premium Plus).
  • This data will in the future be provided by the server at log-in, rather than being received through an assortment of mechanisms or being hard-coded into the viewer. However, until the server-side support is turned on, the viewer code does not actually do anything.
  • Once the back-end support switch for these changes is thrown – which will not be until Premium Plus is launched later in the year -, it is possible that users on viewers / clients lacking the necessary code changes may find things like uploads failing (due to the incorrect L$ value being applied).
  • However, TPVs are encouraged to start trial integrations with the code so that they are ready to go with updates which the switch is thrown, as the code will be required as a part of the log-in process, so TPVs need to be ready for it in order to avoid users experiencing log-in issues.
  • Other than these changes and some UI improvements, this viewer is functionally identical to the release viewer, and it is anticipated it will rapidly move to release status because of this – possibly ahead of any EEP release, depending on how the final issues resolution process for EEP advances.

EEP Status and Deployment

[CCUG] The full resources of the rendering team (including Runitai Linden, recently returned to SL from Sansar) are now working on trying to solve some remaining shader issues with the Environment Enhancement Project, which is having some lighting problems that need further work

Note the with regards to EEP:

  • It is no longer a goal to make all environments across Second Life appear *exactly* as they do under Windlight.
  • Because of this, some content may look different under EEP lighting than it does under Windlight.
  • This means some region designers and some content creators may have to make adjustments to their region environments  / their content for optimal viewing with EEP.
  • There will be some known issues with EEP when it is released, but the belief is that these will be minor.
  • There will be fixes for rendering issues following EEP, mostly likely through the Love Me Render project.
  • If there are what LL consider to be “significant” breakages, then effort will be made to address these.

Fun facts:

  • The current EEP viewer (RC 6.4.0.536347 at the time of writing) has accumulated over 185,000 user hours thus far, and has a crash rate 2% below the current LL release viewer.
  • Over 600 Jira issues have been filed against EEP, the vast majority of which have been cleared by LL.

ARCTan

[CCUG]

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).

This project is in two phases:

  • Phase 1: 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.
  • Phase 2: provide updates on in-world object rendering costs, etc., using the avatar ARC methodology as a basis for this work.

Status

  • Vir’s  fix for the appearance / Bake Service issue he encountered appears to work within the text environment he has created, although it is still awaiting a QA thumbs-up
  • The next element of work he is anticipating is putting together a “version 2.0” of ARC calculations, which may use a similar scheme to Animesh.

In Brief

  • [8:49-10:05] viewer updates: a reminder was given that users should update to recent viewer updates from the Lab / their preferred TPV on a regular basis, as necessary changes (such as the Premium RC updates plus others in the pipeline) will mean that older viewers lacking the necessary code will cease behaving as expected in certain ways.
  • The next CCUG meeting will be on Thursday, March 28th, and my summary of that meeting will likely be back in its own separate blog post.