Update, September 4th: not long after this article was published, the 360° Snapshot project viewer was updated, so the viewer list here has been updated, and my first impressions of the update viewer can be found here.
The following notes were taken from my audio recording and chat log of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, September 2nd 2021 at 13:00 SLT, and the TPV Developer’s meeting of Friday, September 3rd.
With the meetings once again falling on the same week, and with the degree of overlap in content between the two, core discussion points from both have been combined into this one summary. The TPV meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and her video is embedded at the end of this article, for those wishing to refer directly to that meeting.
- CCUG meetings are held on alternate Thursdays each month (generally the 1st and 3rd Thursday, vagaries of month start / end dates allowing), with dates available via the SL Public Calendar. The venue for the CCUG is the Hippotropolis camp fire.
- TPV Developer meetings are generally held on alternate Fridays each month, although dates are not currently listed in the SL Public Calendar. The venue for meetings is at the Hippotropolis Theatre.
- Both meetings are currently chaired by Vir Linden, and are led using Voice, although attendees can use either Voice or text to provide input / feedback (with text generally being the preferred medium).
MeshOptimiser Project Viewer
The MeshOptimiser project viewer, version 184.108.40.2062614, was issued on Wednesday, September 1st. This viewer replaces obsolete GLOD mesh simplification in the mesh uploader with a newer Mesh Optimiser library.
About Level of Detail (LOD): as your observation point moves away from mesh objects, so does the need to render them in high / complex detail, as that complexity / detail naturally becomes less visually distinguishable. One of the more effective ways to reduce rendering complexity of a scene is to provide object models with simplified Level of Detail (LOD) that can be displayed at greater distances, reducing the rendering load on the viewer. MeshOptimiser is an improved means of achieving this. It simplifies a mesh to fit specified limits within the mesh uploader, producing models with multiple layers of greater LOD simplicity.
- This viewer currently includes an option to continue to use GLOD, if preferred, although this may be removed in the future.
- Currently, MeshOptimiser is only being used in mesh uploader, it is not being employed within the mesh rendering pipe.
- The use of MeshOptimiser does not alter the LOD validation code in the uploader – although this is seen by creators as something that needs addressing (and is something that Beq Janus of the Firestorm Team, who has been submitting code contributions related to the uploader has been looking at).
- There is some concern that if MeshOptimiser does not support edge protection, it could have a negative impact on mesh clothing, which has been noted by the lab.
Performance Floater Project Viewer
The Performance Floater project viewer, version 220.127.116.112625, was issued on Thursday, September 2nd. This viewer introduces a new floater that pulls together options related to viewer performance under a new toolbar button somewhat confusingly called (in comparison to the viewer’s use of “Performance” in its name) of “Graphics Speed”. See my separate article on this preliminary release of this viewer for more information.
Remaining Viewer Pipeline
- Release viewer: version version 18.104.22.1681752, formerly the CEF Update RC viewer, issued July 24 and promoted August 10 – NEW.
- Release channel cohorts:
- Project viewers:
General Viewer Notes
- The 360° Snapshot project viewer should see an update in the next few days.
- A update for the Copy / Paste viewer has an update currently with the viewer QA team, and which should hopefully be appearing “pretty soon”.
- The Muscadine project viewer has been removed from the available project viewers, as there is no simulator side support for it. This does not mean the project has been abandoned – it is just on hold until work can resume and the necessary simulator support implemented.
- As a part of reducing the volume of viewer updates that are being queued either as Alternate Viewers or awaiting entering project or RC status, LL is looking to start combining updates into single releases. As a part of / start to this process the two Maintenance RCs that are currently available (Grappa and Happy Hour) are likely to be merged.
- The work to Integrate the Tracy debugger / system analyser to allow for better cross-platform profiling of client hardware to help with cross-platform graphics development is now drawing to a close, with an internal test viewer producing worthwhile client analysis data.
- Work is progressing with the next batch of graphics updates that will see light of day in the Love Me Render 6 RC viewer at some point.
As a result of the move to AWS, logging-in to Aditi, the Beta grid, for testing purposes, etc., has been a issue for some tome, both in terms of being able to log-in and in getting inventory correctly synced with Main grid (Agni) inventory.
- The inventory syncing issues now appear to be resolved, although anyone still encountering problems is asked to file a support ticket.
- There has been some improvement on the ability to log-in to Aditi, although issues with time-outs due to back-end handshaking failures are still apparent. Some have lengthened the timeout set via the LoginSRVTimeout Debug setting to try to overcome this
- Further log-in fixes for Aditi are in progress (including for the time-out issue), but no time frame at present on when they will be deployed.
- An invite-only “creators channel” has been started on Discord by a group of users. While not an official LL communications channel, some Lindens have been invited to join it, and have been taking questions.
- This move is not seen as particularly helpful to content creators in general or those interested in content creation due to its “invite only” status.
- Some at the CCUG meeting voice the opinion that a better channel for passing question to the Lab ahead of meetings would be via the official forums.
- BUG-227543 “Set ‘Press to talk’ as default mode in Official Viewer” has been on the accepted list for two years, but is coming to the fore again due to new users entering SL being unaware their microphone is live for the moment they enter SL on the official viewer and then accidentally activate Voice. The change is now apparently being tested, and so will hopefully be appearing in a Maintenance RC at some point Soon™.
- Feature request BUG-215951 “Option to allow nearest neighbour on textured faces” currently has a status of Closed, although it is seen as a potentially useful feature. The major issue in trying to implement it is that it would require a new field in the asset database for each face on an object, and there is no easy way for LL to further extend the allowable per object data fields.
- This formed part of a wider conversation around texture rendering, including the use of texture atlases, changes that might be possible with the eventual shift to a new rendering engine and the potential for procedural based rendering to be implemented for SL.
- Concern continues over the issues many are experiencing with group chat and the manner in which it is giving rise to an “exodus” of people from SL to Discord (at least for group chat purposes).
- The fear is that as people become more accustomed to Discord and its features and the ease with which they can communicate / share, etc., they’ll have increasingly less reason to log-into Second Life. Given that Discord tends to be used alongside of SL rather than in lieu of it, it’s hard to judge if such fears are valid.
- One potential source of frustration that does tend to be felt is that when this issue is raised, it can often – if unintentionally – appear to be dismissed with comments akin to “we’re aware of the problems”.
- That said, feature request BUG-230899 “Split Group Chat from Groups and Extend its Functionality” has been accepted for future consideration.
- Catznip is testing an option to reduce the resolution of the screen buffer(s) in the viewer via slider (e.g. so a 1080p screen can be set to a buffer of 720p or even 540p). This has the benefit of speeding up performance (do to lower-resolution rendering, but it can made the world look blurry as a result. However, LL has expressed an interesting in taking a look at the code if contributed.
- Source Filmmaker is a tool that has been developed for making mini movies using video games, and being able to edit scenes, set poses, etc., in real-time “within the game” (so to speak), essentially by caching assets, etc., locally and then manipulating them. The question was asked whether a similar tool – IF it could be made to work in SL – would violate things like DMCA. Such a tool would require a detailed proposal for LL to pass to their legal team before a considered response could be given.