The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 8th, 2021. Unfortunately, other commitments prevented me from attending the meeting, so I am solely reliant on Pantera’s video. However, for some reason, the region hosting the meeting was re-started mid-session (possibly the result of a rolling restart), and on resuming, Pantera suffered a recording glitch that meant the second half of the meeting did not get captured.
While I have the chat transcript of the full meeting (my thanks again to Pantera), given that the majority of commentary is via Voice, replies to questions and comments are unavailable, so this summary only covers the period of the meeting that was recorded successfully.
SL Viewer News
On Thursday, January 7th:
- The Jellydolls viewer (updates to avatar appearance based on rendering costs) was promoted to Release Candidate status with the issuing of version 220.127.116.113798.
- The Custom Key Mappings RC viewer updated to version 18.104.22.1683437.
- A new Love Me Render (LMR 5) viewer, version 22.214.171.1243511, was released as a project viewer.
The rest of the current official viewer pipelines remain as follows:
- Current release viewer version 126.96.36.1991711, formerly Cachaça Maintenance RC viewer promoted on November 12 – No Change.
- Release channel cohorts:
- Dawa Maintenance RC Viewer, version 188.8.131.523053, released December 3rd.
- Project viewers:
- Simple Cache project viewer, version 184.108.40.2061403, issued on November 12.
- Legacy Profiles viewer, version 220.127.116.110519, October 26.
- Copy / Paste viewer, version 18.104.22.1683365, December 9, 2019.
- Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 22.214.171.1242999, November 22, 2019.
- 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 126.96.36.1999111, July 16, 2019.
General Viewer Notes
- Viewer updates have been delayed both due to the holiday break and as a result of a couple of processes being broken as a result of the cloud migration process. The latter have now been fixed.
- Currently, the OS X (Mac) build process for the official viewer is currently “broken” and in the process of being fixed.
- The LMR 5 viewer comprises a number of EEP fixes together with fixes for water reflection rendering and for the Mesh uploader preview image. The full list of fixes from the release notes comprises:
- SL-12740 [EEP] The EEP moon has a hardcoded blue light that is not present in Windlight-based viewers (Lab internal Jira).
- SL-13888 The model is displayed with artefacts in the upload preview floater (Lab internal Jira).
- SL-14275 Water Reflection new modes (Lab internal Jira).
- BUG-228581 [EEP] Specular map reflections are way too weak.
- BUG-228781 [EEP] Specular color interpreted wrong (too bright) from point lights.
- BUG-228914 [EEP] Deferred Soften Shader fails to link when Atmospheric Shaders are disabled. This causes Debug viewer builds to crash.
- BUG-229013 [EEP] Moonset inconsistent
- BUG-229122 [EEP] Glow should be directly behind the sun or moon when it is near the horizon.
- BUG-229689 [EEP] cloud texture is rendered backwards
- The Profiles viewer had been expected to be promoted to RC status, but there appears to be a UI issue that needs to be addressed before this can happen.
- It is not clear which of the RC viewers will be the next to be promoted to de facto release status. However, given the amount of testing against the Custom Key Mappings RC viewer, this could be a strong contender.
Upcoming UDP Changes
- Following on from the switch away from using UDP messaging for asset handling between the viewer and the Lab’s back-end systems that took place in recent years (assets are all handle by HTTP), the Lab is now looking to make a similar switch away from UDP messaging for all “mission critical” (e.g. messages that need to be handled in a specific order / receive responses in a specific order).
- These changes are to be made over time and on a “case by case” basis.
- Exactly how this is to be done has not been entirely worked through; it may be that some changes can be made without impacting TPV developers with a lot of additional work on their side of things.
- Part of this work will involve moving some of the message handling for chat to TCP as well.
- This work will take time to complete; however, once it is finished and once the replacement messaging protocols have been a part of the official release viewer for around 12 months, the Lab will seek to removing UDP message handling from both the viewer and the back-end code where it is no longer required.
- The reason for doing this is because UDP is not a reliable messaging format when information is required in a specific order, and can be at the heart of assorted issues users can experience. Ergo, the aim is to make things a lot more predictable and robust.
- [4:02-5:06] There are a number of services still being adjusted post-uplift, these include:
- World Map tile generation.
- Land Store.
- Some noticeable performance glitches.
- These adjustments likely mean there were be a slightly higher cadence of server-side changes, but the focus is on trying to fix things and get back to the usual Tuesday / Wednesday simulator deployments within the next week or two.
- [5:08-5:53] There is a further update to help with Group Chat issues that will hopefully be deployed in week #2 (commencing Monday, January 11th).
- This is not seen as a “total fix” for issues, but part of the continuing work to improve things.
- The focus is to “sharply limit” the amount of group chat traffic generated by people logging into or out of Second Life. This means that the member lists for very large groups may not report everyone in the group who is on-line, but will report all those actively using the group chat function as being on-line.
- [5:55-10:17]There is to be a “real push” to make improvements to the Second Life Voice service. This will likely be based around a new Voice SDK supplied by Vivox.
- As a part of this work, the Lab is gathering data on users who are still running on very old viewer versions / old version of the SLplugin.EXE for voice, as part of this work will likely result in some of the oldest, low-quality codecs used by the Voice API being disabled in the Voice package from Vivox at some point in the future – which may “break” Voice for those still using those really old versions.
- The reason for disabling these old codecs is because they are of much lower quality output, and if just one person in a group voice chat is using a Voice package reliant on them, everyone in the same group chat is downgraded to the old codec, impacting the Voice quality right across the session.
- This work will also focus on trying to correct / eliminate the “little” voice drop-outs that can occur (so those listening don’t hear every single word the speaker says).
- [13:55-16:25] Another change with the viewer is the on-going removal of code that is not longer being actively used. A further example of this is that there are two protocols used for handling requests for logging-in to SL. One of these (XML-RPC) is almost never used nowadays, so this code may well be removed – with warning beforehand – in the future.