The following notes were taken from my audio recording and chat log of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, January 27th 2022 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and meeting dates can be obtained from the SL Public Calendar.
- The Performance Improvements project viewer updated to version 126.96.36.1997604, on Wednesday, January 26th.
The rest of the official viewers remain thus:
- Release viewer: version version 188.8.131.527427 – Mac Voice hotfix viewer, January 13 – no change.
- Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself).
- Project viewers:
- Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 184.108.40.2066858, dated January 5, issued after January 10.
- Performance Floater project viewer, version 220.127.116.112625, issued September 2.
- Legacy Profiles viewer, version 18.104.22.1680519, dated October 26, 2020.
- Copy / Paste viewer, version 22.214.171.1243365, dated December 9, 2019.
General Viewer Notes
- The Maintenance J+K RC viewer remains the most likely RC to move to de facto release status.
Fix for Long-Standing Animations Bug-11194
BUG-11194 “First frame of uploaded animations is triplicated” has been a long-standing issue (with workarounds) for uploaded BVH animations.
- Aech Linden (a further transferee from High Fidelity) has been looking at the issue and developing a fix, although it involve a behavioural change for newly-uploaded
- The explanation was garbled due to an network issue, but it appears the crux of the matter has been due to the way SL handles .BVH animations at upload, there have been two extra frame intervals added to the animation run-time, leading to errors in playback.
- The fix is to remove the addition of these frame intervals (which occur at the start of the animation with zero interpolation.
- There is a concern from the Lab that doing it unannounced could cause problems for new BVH uploads that include any workaround in anticipation of hitting the bug. Hence the heads-up on the change.
- It was noted that a lot of pose stands BVN animations of just one frame, and the proposed fix might result in these giving “random” results from a pose when new .BVH files are uploaded and placed in them by creators (particularly those using the in-world Anypose tool).
- The fix will only impact new BVH animations uploaded to SL; it will not affect existing BH animations that have been uploaded.
- The general feeling at the meeting was that most animators in SL use .ANIM rather than .BVH.
- Given some of the confusion around the use of .BVH files, it is possible this change will be subject to a project viewer offered up for animators to poke at and provide feedback.
Animation Priorities and Capabilities
- The ability to set the animation at run-time (rather than relying on the priority set aby the creator) to allow uses to adjust priorities between the animations that are using to avoid conflicts. Nothing is currently planned on this by the Lab, but it has been noted as a reasonable request.
- It was noted that Firestorm has added the priority and other animation information the the animation playback floater.
- The core of the discussion focused on options for enabling animation priority changes (and other changes – such as animation speed) were discussed.
- Changing the animation speed brings with it its own problems, so was tabled.
- For priority, a manual capability + scripted capabilities were discussed, together with the potential to have options defined by list parameters supplied via the simulator.
- No conclusions were drawn as to what might be attempted in the future (the animation system is not subject to any planned work) – although it was acknowledged that allowing the animation priority to be displayed by the viewer a-la Firestorm, should be a relatively simple change, were LL to opt for it.
In-World Build Tools
- There have been numerous requests for the in-world build tools to be updated / improved. Currently, there is no project for this work, but it is something about which feedback was sought.
- The request was specifically couched in terms of “limited but powerful” updates – so nothing along the lines of implementing a blender-like toolset within the viewer.
- Feedback included, but was not limited to:
- A “snap to” option in the existing build tools. (e.g. so a bookcase could be “snapped” against a room wall without having to be manually positioned).
- The ability for reactors to offer “snap together” kits users can put together (and presumably mod as they go). This would be a more major capability with the ability to define connection points between items.
- Options to amending particle and prim text properties directly (+ pivot points).
- More complex asset items that allow “holes” for windows / doors.
- A visual node system for in-world to allow people to code anything “super quick” (e.g. elements that contain scripted behaviours that can be put together / used in objects, rather than having to write text scripts).
- Terrain as a prim (the prim is a heightmap texture when used).
- A form of EEP setting that can be used as a backdrop / “surround” around skyboxes (like a cityscape or mountains in the distance) rather than having to use massive textured sculpties.
- Support for Marvelous Designer (MD) clothing manipulation (as used by Sansar) was suggested. However, Runitai Linden, who worked on the MD implementation for Sansar described it as technically “not a great fit” for integration into Second Life on the grounds it didn’t work well in a 2D view using a mouse.
- There has been some talk in LL about hidden surface removal on avatars (e.g. if a part of the body is covered by clothing, remove it rather than expecting it to be manually alpha’d out). However, there are complexities in doing this that may not end up as a “win” if some kind of ability were to be implemented.
- Custom pivot points (note: this was apparently subject to a lengthy discussion at the previous CCUG meeting, which I was unable to attend, so some context from these notes may be missing).
- Rider linden has been working on simulator support for custom pivot points in avatar meshes. There is still some work to be dome, so there is no time frame when this work may surface on Agni.
- Custom pivots can be set (and accepted) both at mesh upload or via LSL.
- The latter part of the meeting was a technical discussion on the avatar skeleton, the morph skeleton, blend shapes, options for overhauling the avatar system, none of which are current projects.
- Runitai did indicate LL is thinking about is replacing / augmenting the entire avatar imposter system – which is not particularly performant as it can cause viewer frame spikes when someone is camming around and causing avatars in their view to imposter, etc. This would see avatars + their entire outfit that would be impostered undergo hidden surface removal and have all attached meshes and materials baked into one meh material which would then be decimated down to as few draw calls and triangles as possible and then render that rather than an imposter.
- It was confirmed in the meeting that PBR is to be a project, but no time frames on when it will reach a point of visibility.