2021 Content Creation User Group week #44 summary

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, 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, November 4th 2021 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are are available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

AVAILABLE VIEWERS

This list reflects those viewers available via Linden Lab.

  • 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):
    • 360 Snapshot RC viewer, version 6.5.0.564863, issued October 21.
    • Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 6.5.0.564805, on October 20.
    • 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.
    • 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.

Graphics Work

  • As has been previously reported in my user group meeting summaries, a core focus of work at the Lab is on performance improvements, both on the back-end and in the viewer.
  • With the viewer, the work is very much on improving graphics / frame rate performance (utilising the Tracy analyser). Much of this work has been to move non-rendering operations currently in the main rendering thread to their own / other threads.
    • In October, the first cut of a project viewer featuring the fruits of this work was issue (see Performance Improvements Viewer in the list above), and an update to this viewer is expected in the next working day or so.
    • Once the updated version of the viewer is available, users are encouraged to take it for a test and see if they can see improvements in rendering / FPS rates.
  • Overall, the Graphics team plan to spend around two more weeks in general performance updates. before the work will shift to stabilising the changes so far made to the viewer (which has been acknowledged as being “crashy” at this point in time).
  • Once the stabilisation work has been completed, the hope is that the viewer will be in a position to progress forward through the RC cycle to enter the queue for promotion to release status around the the end of the year, with actual promotion coming in early 2022.
  • Separate to the above, Runitai is currently working on the fork of the render pipe inside the avatar draw pool that handles the rendering of avatar rigged meshes. The aim is to move this work to the same machinery that handles the other draw pools, and so hopefully enable rigged mesh rendering to be handled on a batch basis, rather than one face at a time as is currently the case, thus giving a potentially substantial performance boost.

In Brief

  • WRT to performance, it was pointed out that the baseline hardware specifications LL give for Second Life are route in hardware between 10-15 years old, and so many users tend to stick to outdated hardware. Thus the situation is somewhat double-edged: ending support for older systems would allow LL to focus more on updating and improving SL to run on more recent hardware; however, by the same measure, it risks “locking out” users who may be unable to move on to more recent hardware in order to stay reasonably “current”.
  • Work is still in progress trying to overcome the Apple Notarisation / media issues and outlined here. Part of the problem was the result of LL using a very old VLC. However, getting a new VLC to be recognised by the notarisation process is also proving problematic.
  • A request was made to all region owners to be able to automatically drop a general information package on preferred viewer settings, etc., on users arriving in a region. Given automated notecard givers can already do this, and many of the “recommendations” are completely over the top for many systems (e.g. “set your graphics to Ultra, enable shadows and set your draw distance to 500+ m”), no advantage is seen in providing  a capability to provide this information (presumably via a chat channel).
  • Similarly, pro-actively scanning viewer settings using LSL as visitors arrive and “advising” them about the recommended settings for a region should some of their own be “below” the recommendation, was also seen as not particularly advantageous unless it was somehow made an opt-in capability that those who do wish to receive such information can do so.
  • It is recognised that Pathfinding is overdue for some improvements, and it *might* be that it gets looked at in the future; however there are no definite plans beyond considering what might be done, and poking at feature requests, etc., that have been filed for Pathfinding.

A Daydream Believer in Second Life

Daydream Believer, November 2021

With Halloween now behind us, many in Second Life will be looking towards US Thanksgiving as it sits waiting at the end November 2021. However, being from Europe, Janna Reed (Janna Blackwood) has understandably decided to skip over that particular event and jump straight into an end-of-year winter setting within her Homestead region.

Daydreamer Believer is an easy-going and understated setting where winter has draped a blanket of snow over the landscape as it sits cupped in the protective hands of surrounding peaks. With broad lowlands that are marked by scattered trees, a small cottage, and cut through by a frozen inlet, the island is marked by two tall hills towards its centre, each neatly sliced into a flat top. Each is also topped by a single structure – an old wooden lighthouse on one, and an almost fairy tale-like tower where Christmas presents are piled within the lower halls and a cosy bed awaits on the upper.

Daydream Believer, November 2021 – click any image for full size

The two hilltops are connected via a bridge that offers its own sense of fantasy, being held aloft by balloons. Whilst it crosses the gap from one hilltop to the other, and sits just outside the door to the tower, the bridge doesn’t provide direct access to the lighthouse on its far side. This sits elevated above bridge and path on a heel of almost completely vertical rock. However, the path from the bridge does provide access to a high cavern and a possible escape from the snow – although it is not without its own surprise.

Running from west to east, the inlet that cuts deeply into the island in a small band of land that prevents it from entirely cutting the land in two. This humpbacked band forms the backdrop for the region’s landing point as it sits on the frozen water. Close by is the first clue to this being something of an interactive environment: a skating stand for couples awaits those who wish to use it. Those visiting on their own can also join the fun via a skate giver located close by, between frozen inlet and a small staking rink. Group membership is required for the skates, but also gives rez rights; however, if you have your own, you can of course wear them.

Daydream Believer, November 2021

A short walk south and west from the landing point and rink, the land rises slightly in the lee of the central hills. Here, two snow forts face one another across the snowy ground, each complete with a snowball-firing canon, allowing for fun and games to be had. Both could do with sitting a little better on the ground, but can be used by sitting on them and then following the the instructions in local chat. As well is these forts and the skating, the region also offers opportunities for riding either via horse (there is a rezzer at the cottage) or polar bear, a number of which can be found around the region.

Given this is a winter setting, Daydream Believer would not be complete without some form of winter sports, and those exploring the region can find a couple of options available to them. The first is a snowboard rezzer waiting at the far end of the ski lifts that connects two low-lying hills tucked into the north-east corner of the region, whilst the second – a sledge rezzer – sits on the snowy plain separating the ski lift’s hills from their much higher brethren. Finally, for those who fancy an airborne look at the region, a bubble rezzer can be found close to the one for snowboards.

Daydream Believer, November 2021

Also awaiting discovery are numerous places to sit, both indoors (the cottage and hilltop tower are open to the public) and out, most with singles and couples options.  Those seeking respite from the slowly falling snow are best heading for the cottage or the open-sided pavilion, each of which has a roaring fire  that allows toes suffering from walking the snows to be comfortably toasted back to warmth.  Even so, the snow might not be entirely left behind as flurries are close enough to the cottage they cab slightly slide inside as their mesh element turns. Said snow can also interfere with sitting in places, so be sure to cam carefully.

With deer, foxes, and penguins waiting to be found, the region offers plenty of wildlife to see, broadening opportunities for photography. As noted, those joining the local group also get rezzing rights for props etc., – but (as always) a gentle reminder to make sure you pick bits up when done!

Daydream Believer, November 2021

Gentle, relaxing and with a taste of winter that is not Christmas-heavy, Daydream Believer makes for an easy-going visit. With thanks to Shawn Shakespeare for the LM.

SLurl Details

November 2021 Web User Group summary

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes cover the key points from the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021.

These meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the SL public calendar. A video of the meeting, courtesy of Pantera, can be found embedded at the end of this article (my thanks to her as always!), and the following is a summary of key topics / discussions.

Web Properties

  • Search: The front-end of search has been given a facelift which among other things, is designed to make web search returns easier to read. This should be deployed in the next couple of weeks.
    • Note that the actual search algorithm has not been altered at this point – so search results, relevancy, etc., should not change.
    • A further overhaul of search which does include tightening the algorithm and improving results / relevancy and general performance will be initiated in the New Year, and will apparently utilise third-party expertise external to LL in an attempt to get a “first class” search implementation.
  • Marketplace has continued to see bugs being fixed – although no specific details on which bugs.

SL Mobile

  • It was reiterated (as per Mojo Linden’s comments at the end of October TPVD meeting) that while development work has paused, LL are not “giving up” on a Mobile solution.
  • The pause is liable to last “a number of weeks”.
  • There is a “lot going in” and the Lab is “excited” about what will hopefully be forthcoming, and is very aware there has been a degree of disappointment that nothing has been publicly released thus far.

In Brief

  • Some MP store owners are stating they have seen between a 30% and 50% drop in sales in the latter half of October, LL start they have not seen anything to indicate an across-the board decline in MP sales volumes – in fact, they have seen the reverse.
  • The next batch of new Premium Last Names will be made available at Christmas.
  • Bug Questions – it was asked why the following were allowed to persist for “two weeks”:
    • BUG-231218 “Boolean search terms in Marketplace result in error page” – LL’s view is that the fix was available within a few days of the report being filed, and deployed shortly thereafter.
    • BUG-231307 “[Marketplace] – Favourite stores layout change now shows listings that are not active.” – again, a fix was developed relatively quickly, and is currently awaiting deployment.
  • A bug that results in 0 traffic reports for regions that have received visitors is not the result of any changes to the traffic count algorithm, but likely the result of the database that handles traffic having had some issues recently.
  • There have been complaints about MP listings / pages getting blocked by ad blockers. This is not something LL can control; those services providing ad blockers can change their own algorithms as they please, and LL cannot test for everything – a certain about of action on the users’ side will always be required.
  • New Starter Avatars: although outside the scope the Web Team, it was reiterated that this is something under discussion, but not something liable to be surfaced in the immediate future.

LL / Zenescope / Epik / NFT Sweepstake

Also not the responsibility of the Web Team but Brett Linden, VP of Marketing was present at the meeting an commented on the recent NFT sweepstake, run in conjunction with Zenescope and Epik (see:  Zenescope x Second Life NFT Sweepstakes Official Rules).

  • LL are very aware of the response,
  • The company had and is looking at the whole NFT situation “guardedly”,
    • They are aware NFTs are polarising.
    • LL has received multiple requests to partner with others to offer NFTs, but outside of the sweepstake have thus far “avoided every single one”.
    • As a whole, LL have “no plans” to get into the “NFT business” itself; the sweepstake was purely a cross-platform / partnership promotion, apparently in part to try to call attention to SL / LL given the general “metaverse” hype that is going on.
  • In terms of Zenescope itself:
    • It was re-iterated that this is a licensed deal, of which the NFTs offered through the sweepstake do not form a central part.
    • However, Epik (outside of their EpikPrime marketplace) is the agency handling the IP for Zenescope to market virtual goods, etc., thought their presence in SL.
    • In terms of the Zenescope Metaverse, further roll-outs of content, etc., to enhance the experience will be made in due course.
  • The end of the meeting includes a brief discussion on the Facebook / Meta name change and what it might mean for Second Life / LL (particularly the concern – also raised at the TPVD meeting on October 29th – that Facebook might buy Linden Lab, something to which my personal view is simply, “no, they won’t”; something I may elaborate on in a future post) and “metaverse” hype in general.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, December 1st, 14:00 SLT, with a core subject of Place Pages.