2021 TPV Developer meeting summary, week #49

DARYA, October 2021 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, December 10th, 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 the chat log from the meeting and my own audio recording to produce this summary, which focuses on the core topics discussed.

SL Viewer

  • The combined Simplified Cache and 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.5.1.566335, issued on December 7th.
  • The Jenever Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.5.1.566306, dated November 30th, and the Koaliang Maintenance 2 RC viewer, version 6.5.1.565905, also dated November 30th, both issued on December 6th.
  • The Performance Improvements project viewer updated to version 6.5.1.566443 on December 8th.

The remaining official viewer flavours remain as:

  • Release viewer: version version 6.5.0.565607, formerly the Maintenance RC and dated November 10, promoted November 15 – this viewer now contains a fix for the media issues caused by the Apple Notarisation viewer.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • The Tracy Integration RC viewer, version 6.4.23.563771 (dated Friday, November 5) issued Tuesday, November 9.
  • Project viewers:
    • Performance Improvements project viewer updated to version 6.5.1.566443, dated December 8.
    • 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 combined Simplified Cache and 360 Snapshot project viewer is likely to be the next viewer to be promoted to de facto release status. Depending on how many use the RC cohort, this could be promoted before the code freeze period comes into effect. If not, it will be the first viewer promotion in 2022.
  • The Performance Improvements viewer has been updated, but remains at project status, but will hopefully be promoted to RC status in the New Year. With regards to this viewer:
    • It has been noted that it is still subject to some brief frame stalls “from unusual places”, which are still being investigated. There is also a report of some media-related frame stalls.
    • It has also been noted that due to the changes made, some the stats reported by the viewer (e.g. Ktris per frame / per second, some of the memory usage stats) are no longer accurate / are zeroed out because the counts associated with these stats were impacting performance, and it was deemed more preferable to have them logged by external tools from which the data could be extracted, rather than having every viewer performing its own profiling cycles.

Code Freeze

Subject to final confirmation, the end-of-year code freeze period is likely to come into effect on Monday, December 20th, and will run through Monday, January 3rd, 2022. During this time, there will be no official viewer updates and no server-side releases or simhost updates.

In Brief

  • Mojo Linden reiterated that the Lab is keen to hear back from users on the Performance Improvements viewer, and in receiving suitable performance improvements code from TPVs, and the emphasis remains on trying to improve overall performance for all users.
  • He also indicated that LL are in discussions about other improvements that can be made to the viewer and again, he is interested in hearing back from TPV developers and users on potential areas in the viewer that could benefit from improvement.
  • The log-in services update that caused issues for scripted agents (bots) at the start of the week and had to be rolled-back (see my week #49 SUG summary) was in part originally been made in order to remove outdated code from the servers. Mojo apologised for the issues it caused on deployment.
  • A request has been made for the new search front-end to return a JSON blob, so that TPVs can parse it and present search results in a manner that is more in keeping with the rest of the viewer UI.
  • Unless there is a strong case for it, the Lab is liable to drop GLOD support for mesh uploaders at some point in the future in favour of the mesh optimiser currently within the Mesh Optimiser project viewer. GLOD may therefore become a matter of legacy support among TPVs.
  • Runitai Linden noted that there is a mis-match between the benchmarks used to determine viewer default settings and the capabilities of systems the viewer is installed on. For example, a laptop running Intel HD Graphics can default to running on Ultra or High graphics due the the current benchmark threshold, whereas it might be better suited to running at Medium. He’s therefore asked TPVs for input on which viewer defaults might need adjusting going forward (And update to the maximum VRAM usage for the official viewer is apparently already in the works).
  • The last 20 minutes of the meeting is devoted to a technical discussion on what might be done to improve the appearance of SL in ways that might help lift retention by encouraging people to keep exploring (and hopefully meeting up with like minds and so generating the social links that will further encourage their continued engagement).
    • This discussion included the potential for using back-end baking for lighting, etc., to relieve the viewer load, and how it might work within a dynamic build environment like Second Life, together with updated ambient occlusion capabilities, etc.
    • The discussion also covered LODs on mesh, and the problems the current system has pushed onto performance (due to encouraging over-use of low LODs & creators then insisting users should over-tax their systems through high LOD render settings, etc.).
    • Please refer to the video for details on this discussion for the full context, including the fact that the discussion was only around ideas, and not projects LL is about to start working on.