2021 TPVD meetings week #7: summary

Eulennest, January 2021 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, February 19th, 2021.

These meetings are generally held every other week.  They are recorded by Pantera Północy, and her video of the meeting is embedded at the end of this report – my thanks to her for allowing me to do so – and it is used with a transcript of the chat log from the meeting and my own audio recording to produce these notes.

The latter two-thirds of the meeting included a large amount of local text chat related to VRAM and texture handling. Please refer to the video for details.

End of an Era

[0.00-1:06]

As I recently blogged, Oz Linden, who initiated the TPVD meetings and who has, with the exception of when he’s been on vacation, chaired them is departing the Lab for retirement on Friday, February 26th (see: Oz Linden announces his forthcoming departure from Linden Lab). As such, this marked the last TPVD meeting he would attend, with – I believe – Vir Linden now set to carry them forward.

Given this, Oz had a few words to say to the TPV community at the start of the meeting:

 I want to say that working with the third party viewer community has been  – I mean this is how it started for me, and it has been a theme throughout, and it has been a very great pleasure working with all of you. It’s really been terrific, and thank you. Thank you for making me look good, and thank you for all you contribute to this really impactful and fun product.

SL Viewer News

[1:21-2:52]

  • Current release viewer: Project Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 6.4.13.555567 and dated February 5, 2021, promoted February 17.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.13.555871, February, 18, 2021.
    • Simple Cache project viewer, version 6.4.13.555641, February 16, 2021.
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7, 2021.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • 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.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

Project Jelly Viewer

This viewer essentially improves the rendering of Jelly Doll avatars.

  • Originally introduced in 2015 (and with various improvements since) as a means to allows users reduce the avatar rendering load on their systems by having any avatars around them that exceed a certain complexity value (set via a slider) render as a solid colour and minimal detail.
  • There have always been a number of issues with the manner in which these avatars are rendered. For example: the colours used have been seen as intrusive so users often avoid the capability, while there have also been technical flaws such as the original code. attempting to render all of a Jelly Doll avatar’s attachments, defeating the intent of the code.
  • As a result, the Project Jelly viewer improves things by both rendering avatars as simplified grey humanoid shapes, and by not making any attempt to render attachments.
  • In addition it also improves to how avatar imposters are rendered and updated.
  • These improvements should result in demonstrable improvements in view performance in environments where there are a large number of avatars and the capability is sensibly used.

General Viewer Notes

  • Of the RC viewers, all three appear to be in good shape for promotion as the next de facto release viewer, although no decision has been taken on which will be promoted next.
  • At the CCUG meeting, some users expressed a preference to see the Love Me Render 5 viewer promoted next, but there is no commitment to this being the case, as promotions are governed by stability / crash rates.
  • A new Maintenance RC view is anticipated as appearing soon.

In  Brief

  • [12:36-14:09] Viewer rendering:
    • There are still no firm decisions as to how the viewer rendering API will be handled in the move away from OpenGL. for the most recent information I have on this, please see my February 5th CCUG meeting notes.
    • As per my February 18th CCUG meeting summary, the current focus is on bug fixes and UI performance improvements.
    • Other proposed UI work is related to the new user experience and making the viewer easier for new users to get to grips with the viewer.
  • [15:20-18:00] Chrome Embedded Framework (the media handler used by the viewer) will cease supporting Windows hardware that is pre SSE3 (2004). It is believed that few (if any) Sl users are running systems old enough to be affected by this – and if they are, they are liable to have more issues than simply losing their media playback capabilities.
  • Firestorm has entered a QA cycle in preparation for what will be something of a maintenance release with a focus on closing the gap between it and the more recent Lab viewer code releases. It is hoped this will be the first in a more regular cycle of 3-monthly releases.