2020 SUG meeting week #48: Uplift update

Time Remains, October 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, November 24th Simulator User Group meeting.

Server Updates

Please also refer to the week’s server deployment thread.

  • On Tuesday November 24th,  RC channels were updated to simulator version 552571, comprising “some bug fixes and internal tweaks”. However, one fix should correct the inability to correctly set permissions (e.g. edit rights) for friends.
  • There is no planned SLS Main channel deployment for week #48.

Week #49

If all goes to plan at the Lab, week #49 (commencing Monday, November 30th) will see a daily series of rolling restarts across the grid. Due to start on Monday, this will be batches of regions being restarted, with the plan that restarts are staggered to avoid too much disruption, and if everything proceeds smoothly, each region should only be restarted once at some point in the week.

Commenting on the restarts, Maxidox Linden stated:

I think it will be something like at most 14-16 hours between rolls. Though as Rider says unless something changes we don’t plan to roll the same region in two successive rolls. And we’re going to do our best to avoid times with tons of people on-line if we can.

These deployments are liable to occur at 16-hour intervals.

Uplift Status

As per my blog post from week #48 (see: LL confirms Second Life regions now all on AWS), whilst all regions are now running on AWS services, the work in transitioning all of the Second Life back-end services is not complete, and LL are still “operating with one foot in either camp” – and this may be exacerbating the problems currently being experienced by some.

Another factor could be the different communications routes between viewers and servers following the move from operating out of the Lab’s co-lo facility in Arizona to the Amazon centre in Oregon. For some, this has definitely resulted in a noticeable increase in basic ping times to / from the servers, although for others, this has barely changed.

Commenting on the general state of play, Mazidox Linden observed:

We are not yet at what I would call “Final uplift performance” (that is to say, without any explicit attempts at tuning performance and behaviour of system communication). There is still plenty of stuff making that round trip over hundreds of miles to the data centre, slowing things down.

In this respect, some of the issues people are noticing at the moment may be down to the fact that LL haven’t as yet started fine tuning things, and are unlikely to do so until all services are running via AWS. As such, some of the problems people are noting might be down to this. In this respect, Oz Linden noted:

We’re much more focused right now on getting things other than the simulators uplifted and fixing anything that really breaks. Performance problems are a step down in priority until that’s done, but we won’t forget about them.

SL Viewer

The Start of the week has seen no change to the current crop of official viewers, leaving the as follows:

  • Current release viewer version, formerly Cachaça Maintenance RC viewer promoted on November 12 – No change
  • Release channel cohorts:
    •  Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version, November 12.
  • Project viewers:
    • Simple Cache project viewer, version, issued on November 12.
    • Project Jelly project viewer (Jellydoll updates), version, November 2.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version, July 16, 2019.

In Brief

  • Group Chat: There has been an update to the Group chat servers which the Lab hopes will help alleviate the issues of the last couple of months. The hope is that as a result of this, things should be somewhat better, although it is acknowledged things are “not perfectly solid” as yet.
  • Map Tiles: there is a known issue with in-world Map tiles failing to update. At the time of writing, there was no ETA on when a fix will be implemented.
  • Teleports: people are still reporting teleport failures, although data collected by the Lab using additional logging apparently shows the overall level of teleport failures as being back to “normal” after the recent spike.
  • Textures: Slow texture loads: people are reporting slower than usual texture loading. When isn’t currently understood (given textures are among the data coming to users via the CDN, so not directly a part of the AWS transition). The speculation offered by Oz Linden is that where texture messaging is concerned, it may not be going as fast as LL like.
  • Scripts: there have also bee reports of some regions initially showing improved script performance, only to apparently drop back to “pre-uplift” levels of processing. Commenting on this, Maxidox Linden stated:
 If you’re seeing changes to scripts run the likely explanation is that there is contention for shared system resources beneath the simulator layer. That is something we had only mild control over before and have even less control over now..  That said, it’s on our radar. I can’t promise that even when someone gets time to look at it there will be anything we can *do*, but we are aware, and we’re not ignoring it. …
I mean, it is almost possible that we’re calculating that number wrong Lucia, because we have certainly changed the hardware the simulators are running on in ways that the people who made that statistic probably never imagined. I’m not going to swear that is or isn’t happening, but it will certainly be one of the many things we look at.


Sisi and Michiel at Kultivate in Second Life

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

Currently open – for a while longer, at least, given I’m getting to this piece very much on the late side! – are two exhibitions by artists I both appreciate and admire: Michiel Bechir and Sisi Biedermann, who between them present two very different, but equally captivating selections of images for visitors to appreciate and, if they so wish, purchase.

Anyone who is familiar with my coverage of the arts in Second Life knows I am enormously inspired by Sisi’s work, which I categorise as some of the most unique and captivating in Second Life. A  digital mixed-media artist, Sisi’s subject matter tends to be wide-ranging, covering everything from the natural world through in-world settings to the fantastical and even touching on the abstract and the near-surreal. This is enough to make her work attention-holding, displaying as they do a richness of imagination, style and colour.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

However, what, for me, makes Sisi’s work doubly captivating is her ability to layer her pieces such that whilst each is a static piece, it has a sense of being alive; there is something inherently tactile about it that makes you want to run your fingers over it and feel the life within.

All of this is very much on display with her selection of art on display at the Kultivate Signature Gallery. There, spread over the three floors of the gallery space are 24 pieces that richly demonstrate Sisi’s artistry, including a ground-level display of six pieces celebrating her visits to a number of famous cities around the world. These are particularly engaging as the both capture the very essence of landmarks from the places Sisi has visited – The Elizabeth Tower (originally the Clock Tower) of London’s Palace of Westminster, The Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, and New York’s Empire State Building and Chrysler Building (appearing twice) should all be instantly recognisable.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

An aspect of these six in particular that I found particularly attractive is that five appear to suggest they have been physically etched rather than photo-layered, and the sixth – with Elizabeth Tower in the foreground – having an also embroidered look to it, thus making these pieces particularly organic in their styling.

The remaining two floors of the gallery hold further pieces of Sisi’s work waiting to engage and en trace. All are richly textured and coloured,  inviting the imagination to take flight.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir
A short walk (or quick teleport) away is the Kultivate Loft Gallery, where Michiel Bechir is currently exhibiting some 32 pieces of his Second Life landscape art, including several in a panoramic format that truly captures the breadth of the regions they represent, whilst four offer a dip into combining landscape with with avatar studies, featuring a subject in period dress suggestive of a Victorian woman of means on her travels.

What I find attractive in Michiel’s work is the manner in which he brings a location to life through camera placement and use of camera angle, always presenting us with a unique view of a place that brings out its natural beauty. His use of post processing also demonstrates a constrained touch that is just sufficient enough to add an evocative edge to his work without becoming top-heavy.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir

For this exhibition, Michiel has taken the opportunity to present his pieces as collections: most of the the display areas between the building’s structural support offer three or four images from the same location – the aforementioned Victorian Lady images, for example, were all captured in Witchwood. Thus, these pieces become more than individual pieces (although they can be purchased as such), but also sets of images that can be purchased and displayed together at home, making them very collectable.

I admit to not being too sure as to how long Sisi and Michiel will remain on display at Kultivate – these were exhibitions that started in September, so I really would recommendation that if they tickle your artistic fancy, you hop over to Kultivate sooner rather than later.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir

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