2022 CCUG and TPVD meetings week #7 summary

Perpetuity, January 2022 – 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, February 17th 2022 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and meeting dates can be obtained from the SL Public Calendar.
  • My audio recording and the Video recording by Pantera (embedded at the end of this piece) from the Third-Party Viewer Developer (TPVD) meeting on Friday, February 18th, 2022 at 12:00 noon SLT.
  • It is a summary of the key topics discussed, and in the case of the TPVD meeting, timestamps to the relevant point of the video are included.

Available Viewers

[Video: 0:16-3:26 + notes from CCUG]

This list reflects the currently available official Second Life viewers.

  • Release viewer: version version – Mac Voice hotfix viewer, January 13 – no change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Maintenance J&K RC viewer, version, issued on January 20th.
    • The Tracy Integration RC viewer version (dated Friday, November 5) issued Tuesday, November 9.
  • Project viewers:
    • Performance Improvements project viewer version, dated January 24.
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version, dated January 5, issued after January 10.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version, issued September 2.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version, dated December 9, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • The Maintenance J&K RC viewer is still the next in line for promotion to de facto release status.
    • Progress of this viewer had been delayed due to the viewer updater needing to be updated from Python 2 to Python 3.
    • This change has now been made, and the viewer is ready to be issued as an updated RC viewer.
  • Work continues on the Performance Improvements project viewer to lift that to RC status.
    • It was found that bump (normal) maps were being processed on the main viewer thread, causing the viewer to exceed 60 fps with Vsync enabled (which should hold it to 60fps), causing frame jitter. Bump map processing has therefore been moved to a separate thread.
    • There has been a pass to improve hardware compatibility with AMD GPUs.
    • An issue with rigged meshes failing to render in the thumbnail panels when editing an avatar’s shape has been addressed,
    • This could be the first in a series of viewers produced under the Performance Improvements banner, with the Lab already discussing additional improvements that could be made in future versions.
  • The Performance Floater viewer is being updated with further options to manually adjust viewer settings to help maintain frame rates.

MFA Viewer

[Video: 3:58-6:43]

  • As noted in the week #5 summary, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is coming to the viewer.
  • The viewer-side code is complete, and had been awaiting the implementation of server-side support.
  • The latter has now been deployed to the Main grid, so it is anticipated that an RC version of the official viewer will be available in the very near future.
  • It is  recognised that TPVs will need time to integrate the necessary viewer-side code into their offerings, therefore:
    • As MFA is implemented in the official viewer, there will be a “grace” period to allow TPV adopt the viewer code.
    • During this period, users will be able to access SL on TPVs as they currently do now, regardless of whether or not they have opted-in to MFA.
    • After this “grace” period, all users who have opted in to MFA will be required to authenticate themselves when using the viewer to log-in to Second Life (with the use 30-day period of valid authentication, as per secondlife.com MFA).
    • Please refer to my week #5 summary for the full list of notes on MFA in the viewer.

In Brief

Content Creation Meeting

  • Honouring joint rotation at mesh upload:
    • There are a number of long-standing bugs and requests concerning support (or lack that of) for maintaining mesh joint rotations at upload – currently, overrides are only provided for position and scaling.
    • The Collada .DAE file format does allow for rotation to be maintained through a number of ways, but currently SL doesn’t support all of them – hence when joint rotations tend to be ignored.
    • The general discussion leaned towards having the ability to override join rotation at upload would be a nice to have, with the view from LL that if done, it would be a check box at upload, so it would only apply to new content being uploaded, and not affect existing content.
  • Preference over the above was expressed for the ability to scale bones via animations.
    • This could allow for things like animals to increase in size as they grow from kitten / cub / pup, etc., to adulthood; possible improvements to clothing; enabling more complex avatar animations etc.
    • One potential issue with this is that scaling by animation might / will conflict with the skeletal sliders.
    • Providing animation scaling adds a further point of complexity, presenting 3 points at which scale is being impacted: within the mesh (from values at upload), trough the application of animations and via the shape sliders. Ergo, some form of ordering hierarchy is potentially required to avoid conflicts between the three.
    • No conclusions were drawn on this in terms of possible implementation or further investigation of options.
  • BUG-225519 “Mesh Uploader] Add option for automatic convex hull physics shape”.
    • Sparked an extended conversation on physics shapes and LI – not all of which, I confess, I could not entirely follow in listening back through the audio, as some of it depended on some in-world testing – and I was absent from my screen through the majority of the meeting, so did not get to see the in-world examples being manipulated.
    • Essentially, the feature request calls for the provision of simpler physics shapes to be available for use when uploading a mesh than are currently available – the simplest being a “cube” mesh physics asset. This is something Firestorm already provides:
Physics models offer through the Firestorm mesh uploader – the shapes being continued within the viewer for application. Credit: Beq Janus
    • The conversation also folded into it requests to have direct access to Havok (the physics engine) primitive physics shapes (sphere, cube, cylinder, etc., and the ability to upload them.
    •  For now, a contribution of the code used by Firestorm has been offered / requested.
    • This is turn lead to a discussion on, if implemented by LL, whether the default upload physics shape (Convex Hull) should be changed to “Cube” – with the preference being to leave it as is, although it was noted that with PBR set for future implementation, the upload mesh form may at some point need to be changed.
    • Given the confusion evident within the discussion, this also perhaps points to the need for the uploader to have a link to relevant and maintained documentation on best practices for mesh uploads, physics, etc.
  • The end of the meeting featured a further request for materials support for Bakes on Mesh (BoM)
    • This is something which, as noted in the past, would require a not insignificant extension to how bakes are handled, together with and expansion of the Bake Service itself – particularly if it was expected that individual layers would have an associated normal and specular channel associated with them.
    • A suggested alternative would be to have a single normal and single specular channel then is applied to the entire bake. While this might work for specularity, it’s not clear how this would work with a normal maps and be effective when trying to define different fabrics through the use of normals.
    • Currently, LL have no direct plans to implement materials for BoM.

TPV Developer Meeting

  • BUG-225696 “All offline inventory offers from scripted objects are lost” is to be the subject of a simulator-side project that is now “gearing up” to fix it “once and for all”, which is “coming for a near value of ‘Soon™’.
  • There are a lot of “new initiatives” in the pipeline with LL beyond those outlined in things like the 2021 year-end review, but nothing that has reached a point where it can be discussed in detail at TPVD (or other) meetings.