Second Life: EEP – the Environment Enhancement Project

The Environment Enhancement Project introduces an entirely new way to create and use environment settings for the appearance of the sky, day cycles and , Linden Water, within the viewer. Among other things, EEP capabilities include the means to apply environment settings to individual parcels, allows them to the sold and bought,enable day cycles that can last up to 168 hours, and permit the use of custom Sun / Moon textures, as seen here, with settings by default automatically to all viewers they affect.

On April 20th, 2020, Linden Lab announced the official release of the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP). Originally announced in 2017 – see Second Life Windlight environment enhancements – it has taken longer than anticipated to reach a release status, but it brings with a host of new features and capabilities.

What is EEP?

For those who many have missed it, EEP provides an whole new way of creating, modifying and applying environments (sky and water settings and day cycles) in Second Life. in brief, EEP:

  • Uses environment objects that you can keep in your inventory and / or share with others – including selling (subject to the SL permissions system) via in-world stores and on the Marketplace.
  • Provides parcel-level control of environments.
  • Allows up to four different, independently controlled sky layers.
  • Allows the Sun, Moon and Cloud textures to be replaced with custom textures. uploaded to the viewer.
  • Provides an extended day cycle of up to 168 hours (thus allowing a 7-day, 24-hour day / night cycle to be defined, for example).
  • Allows users to override region / parcel settings as seen within their own viewer for the purposes of photography, etc.
  • Provides new LSL functions to allow scripts to interact with parcel environments.

Currently, to use EEP, you will require the official Second Life viewer – version 6.4.0.540188, dated April 15th (or later). However, TPVs will be releasing version supporting EEP in due course.

I’m in the processes of polishing a basic EEP Primer and an in-depth EEP tutorial, which will be published shortly. In the meantime, here’s the official video on EEP.

2 thoughts on “Second Life: EEP – the Environment Enhancement Project

  1. That was a long time coming!

    My understanding is that a reason that it took so long is because the EEP viewer changes the appearance of some existing content even when the same sun settings are used. They tried to minimize the impact, but LL eventually gave up and decided to go ahead with the launch despite that.

    This is not the first time that new versions of the Second Life viewer have altered the appearance of existing content. The introduction of local lighting, Windlight, and the Advanced Lighting Model have all done that in the past. So have changes to the viewer’s level of detail (LoD) processing. Once again people will need to adapt to the change; they may need to alter some builds or stop wearing some clothing they own.

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    1. EEP makes extensive changes to the rendering shaders; so yes, one of the delays to releasing the project has been due to trying to get content to look “as before” when using the updated shaders.

      However, LL stopping giving any guarantee of a 1-to-1 likely between EEP and Windlight rendering some time ago. The major slow down with EEP has really been about the refactoring of the shaders, which hit some significant performance issues (hence some capabilities that were present early-on in EEP such as God rays being dropped), and in tracking down and soundly stomping on shader-related bugs.

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