2021 CCUG meeting week #42 summary

Nelipot, July 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from my audio recording and chat log of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, October 21st, 2021. These meetings are generally chaired by Vir Linden, with dates available via the SL Public Calendar and the venue for the CCUG is the Hippotropolis camp fire.

SL Viewer

No updates to the current official viewer thus far through the week, despite hopes the Apple Notarisation viewer would be promoted to de facto release status. This leaves the current pipelines as:

  • Release viewer: version version 6.4.23.564172, formerly the Apple Notarisation Fix RC viewer, issued September 24 and promoted October 15.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 6.4.23.564063, on September 21.
    • Simplified Cache RC viewer, version 6.4.23.562623, dated September 17, issued September 20.
  • Project viewers:
    • Performance Improvements project viewer, version 6.4.23.564530, dated October 12.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.4.23.563579, issued September 3.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version 6.4.23.562625, issued September 2.
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 6.4.23.562614, issued September 1.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • The next viewer scheduled for promotion to de facto release status is the Maintenance RC viewer. This may happen in week #43.

Performance Improvements

Core viewer work in now focuses on performance improvements, particularly around rendering (speed and consistency in FPS).

  • The first tranche of this work can be found in the Performance Improvements project viewer (version 6.4.23.564530 and Windows 64-bit at the time of writing, and not to be confused with the Performance Floater viewer).
    • The emphasis of the work is currently Windows 64-bit, but Windows 32 and Mac OS support will be provided as the viewer is updated. However, given this focus, it is possible there may be some temporary regressions creeping into the Mac OS version when it does appear.
    • One of the (many) issues facing LL is that a relatively high number of people signing-up to use Second Life do so with hardware which is at best marginal in terms of capabilities. Ergo, their experience is far from optimal, and so they don’t stick. As such part of this work is looking at ways an means to improve things at that end of the scale – which is no easy task, given the broad range of hardware that is available.
    • The above comment should not be taken to mean LL are insensitive to users who do have more capable hardware.
  • Obviously there are limits to what can be done, simply because of the nature of SL as an open platform, where strict control over content quality (in terms of draw calls, rendering, construction (faces / verts / tris), texture and materials use, etc.), is pretty much entirely unregulated.
  • Beq Janus from Firestorm is putting together a set of UI options (currently focused on avatars) that allow users gain a better understanding of rendering and the impact attachments and rendering artefacts like shadows can have on performance, together with actions that might be taken to help improve their system’s performance.
    • Such approaches are somewhat limited, as it places the onus on the user being pro-active. However, they are a means of providing help.
    • Beq’s work will be appearing in Firestorm in due course and subject to refinement. It may in time be offered to LL as a code contribution, if it proves suitably beneficial to users.
  • Other, more automated options are being discussed, both by users and – as I reported following Mojo Linden’s appearance at a Third Party Viewer Developer meting. However, it is important to note that these are just discussions / ideas that are being poked at, not actual projects.

In Brief

  • Broader focus at the Lab is turning towards discussing potential projects for the upcoming year.
    • There is nothing specific to report on with this at this point, but in broad terms, it does also incorporate things already discussed in these summaries and raised at events such as the June Meet the Linden sessions: performance improvements, more work on the new user experience, etc.
    • Feature requests are also being considered in these discussions (again, no specifics to discuss), and these are also broad-ranging.
  • Mainland EEP update: as I’ve previously reported, a fix for some Mainland regions appearing very dark under the default EEP region setting was implemented server-side a while ago, but has been awaiting the Land team to “throw the switch” to make the update live.
    • However, after the initial update had been deployed, it was realised a further change (a force parameter on the the estate environment console command) would be required in order to have things set and allow said switch to be thrown.
    • The update is now to be deployed in week #43, after which the way should be clear for the Land team to flip the switch and apply the updated settings at a time of their choosing.

Date of Next Meeting

  • Thursday, November 4th.

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