2022 CCUG and TPVD meetings week #9 summary

Ravenport Reclaimed, February 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, March 3rd 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, March 4th, 2022 at 12:00 noon SLT.

This is a summary of the key topics discussed and is not intended to be a full transcript of either meeting in its entirety. However, the video does provide a complete recording of the TPVD meeting, and timestamps to the relevant points within it are included in the notes below.

Available Viewers

[Video: 0:41-2:10 and 7:41-9:00 + notes from CCUG]

This list reflects the currently available official Second Life viewers.

  • Release viewer: version version – formerly the Maintenance J&K RC viewer, promoted Monday, February 28 – NEW
  • 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 (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 release of the Maintenance J&K RC as the de facto release viewer should see crash rates reduced for those on the official viewer (and hopefully for TPVs as the code is adopted).
    • This is the first official viewer to by built using Python 3.x.
    • It includes a fix intended to prevent the updater falling over on Mac OSX.
  • The Performance Improvement viewer is still awaiting RC release, this is pending some final bug fixing.
    • [CCUG Meeting] The Performance Improvements viewer bumps the feature table version number. This means that those placed in the cohort when it goes to RC status will see their custom graphics presets reset (as will anyone else switching to it during RC and when it gets to release status).
  • [CCUG Meeting] It appears the Mesh Optimiser viewer has a bug that is causing it to re-order triangles in an upload. So, if an explicit ordering is contained within a Blender export (e.g. for alpha sorting, for example), the Mesh Optimiser will effective destroy the ordering when running the LOD optimisation on upload. It’s not clear on how widespread the issue might be, as it has only been reported with alchemy-next thus far.
  • [CCUG Meeting] the definitions for “Low”, “medium” and “high” on the graphics slider are being redefined within the Performance Floater project viewer. This will also see the number of non-imposter avatars set on a per detail level, rather than being set to 16 across the board.
  • [CCUG Meeting] the benchmark for determining low-end systems is being adjusted to better reflect the number of uses coming into SL using low-end GPUs.

MFA Viewer

[Video: 9:12-13:42]

  • Summary:
    • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is coming to the viewer.
    • 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 any viewer to log-in to Second Life (with the usual 30-day period of valid authentication, as per secondlife.com MFA), but those who have not opted-in to MFA will see no difference in their log-in steps, regardless of whether the viewer they are using supports MFA.
  • The viewer-side code is currently going through QA. If is passes, it is hoped it will surface in week #10 (commencing Monday, March 7th).
  • However, the decision has not yet been taken as to give it a dedicated viewer, or to merge the code into the next upcoming Maintenance RC viewer.

In Brief

From the Content Creation Meeting

  • Viewer project work: the focus is on getting the Performance Improvements viewer stabilised and promoted to RC status (and thence to de facto release). After this, it is not clear what may come next, the options being:
    • Clearing the current backlog of project viewers.
    • Further viewer-side performance improvement work.
    • Additional maintenance viewers.
    • Other work still in early planning.
  • Further materials / Bakes on Mesh (BoM) Discussion:
    • Materials support for Bakes on Mesh is commonly requested, but there are several impediments to this (e.g. the Bake Service would require significant update just to be aware of materials; there needs to be a means to define how materials should be ordered during compositing, how alpha channels are properly managed, etc.).
    • It was asked by LL if things might be improved with just the introduction of a new wearables type, capable of allowing a single materials map to be worn per outfit / look.
    • Cathy Foil has also demonstrated a possible approach – although this also requires some significant updates to SL, as well as work being carried out externally to to the platform by content creators – see the video below (originally produced as a demonstration for the Lab).

    • Before committing to considering any materials / BoM work, LL would like to see a properly scoped design documents explaining what is felt would be required (including supporting protocols, etc.), and how it might work.
  • BUG-225519 “Mesh Uploader] Add option for automatic convex hull physics shape”.
    • This was a subject of discussion at the previous CCUG meeting, the request calling 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 question was raised as to what to do when uploaded multiple mesh objects, and the physics shapes don’t match the expected number (so four when uploading 5 objects, for example). The consensus at the meeting appeared to be to use whatever is defined as the default physics shape within the file itself.

From the TPVD Meeting

  • [Video: 2:17-5:44] The Lab is considering moving the time of the TPVD meeting and adjusting the frequency so as to avoid running back-to-back (so to speak) with the Content Creation meetings, which inevitably leads to a lot of repetition between two meetings held less than 24 hours apart.
    • The straw poll of attendees pointed towards the meeting having a later start time than the current 12:00 noon. Exact time TBC.
    • There will be a move to try to have TPVD meetings on alternate weeks to the CCUG meeting.
  • [Video 6:10-7:23] During the log-in process, a series of flags are set on logging-in to SL, including one called “Gendered”. This apparently meant something in the past, but since around the time of the introduction of Viewer 2.0 (2010), it has effectively been ignored. LL are therefore looking to possibly pull the code relating to it, but wanted to make sure there are no TPVs using it for some reason before doing so.
  • [Video 13:54-17:14] The question was floated on the animation poser code contributed several years ago by NiranV Dean from his Niran’s Viewer, and whether it would be appropriate for TPVs to implement it if LL is not going to.
    • The Lab’s view is that the code does not support the “shared experience”, in that poses are only seen by the user setting them, nothing is sent to the simulator for over viewer to see. This requires additional code to overcome.
    • Currently, LL is planning some other work “related to avatar posing the movement”, and it is possible the poser code might get folded into that work.
    • While, in principle, there are no objections to other TPVs implementing the code, they would have to do so on the basis that the code only allows the user’s own avatar to be posed, and not extended to posing other avatars (which would not be seen by the users of those avatars).
  • [Video 17:28-32:00] There have been some recent overlaps / crossed lines in aspects of viewer work between Linden Lab and TPV. As a result the question was raised by the Lab as to what could be done to improve communications between TPV and LL and vice-versa to avoid future misunderstandings.
    • One suggestion was to make the TPVD meetings more of a two-way discussion in terms of what both the Lab and TPVs are working on, etc., particularly if appropriate action points could be produced when required.
    • Another suggestion was to have the Lab create a secure sandbox environment in which they could gain greater familiarity with TPVs and their capabilities as a part of their own work time (policy dictates – with good reason – LL employees are only allowed to use TPVs on systems and accounts that have no direct association with the Lab).
    • An alternative to the above that was offered would be for LL staff to peek into the support groups, etc., run by TPVs to get an understanding as to what users are asking for, and what is being responded to.


Cica’s Green Planet in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Green Planet
There is another world, but it is inside this one.

– Paul Eluard

This is the quote Cica Ghost has selected for the description of her March 2022 installation, Green Planet, which opened on Saturday March 5th. Whilst most quotations give Eluard as saying “in”, rather than “inside”, it is nevertheless an entirely appropriate quote for the installation, and for at least two reasons – which I’ll come to in a moment, and promise not to offer an entire treatise on them!

Follow the SLurl (or the LM, if you have that!), and you’ll be delivered to the bowl of what might be an ancient impact crater, almost completely ringed by green-covered hills. The only way out – worryingly – is a gaping maw overseen by a single large, roving eye, and from within which rise or hang green stalagmites and stalactites – or might they be teeth?!

Cica Ghost: Green Planet

However, the maw is not that deep and is not waiting to chomp down on you when you attempt to pass; rather it is a gateway to a curved gorge-like canyon, its walls and floor again almost slimed in green and from which green flowers point their trumpet-like blooms at the strange orange-green sky.

The far end of this valley opens out into an even more alien landscape, a place inhabited by strange slug-like creatures as green as the their surroundings, some with what we would regard as the normal complement of eyes, others with decidedly monocular vision and still some with no real indication of any form of eye or eyes. Fat-lipped and bulbous-headed, they are clearly not of Earthly origin, and the mix with more of the strange maw-like creatures and one or two that have legs.

Cica Ghost: Green Planet

Throughout this landscape, more of the trumpet-like flowers point to the sky, and many of the undulating features have the feel of having been extruded rather than formed, while green globs drool from fronds and rocks as if someone has thrown green paint across this place – or perhaps it is the gunk thrown out by whatever caused the impact crater that is home to the landing point! Also to be found here are little fumeroles that periodically burp forth green bubbles that drift upwards, while grass-like fronds that have escaped any smothering by the green goop curl gently.

Sitting pristine within the setting is a silvered metal rocket, panels heavily riveted and a single viewport looking out over the scene – but the creature with its face pressed to the thick beaded glass does not appear to be human. The presence of the rocket and its traveller, together with a glass-domed very Earthly-looking flower, add perfectly to the overall surrealism of the setting.

Cica Ghost: Green Planet

And surrealism is one of the reasons the quote Cica has chosen for the setting is so apt: Eluard was one of the founders of the Surrealist movement, dedicated to opening channels in the mind as a means for the unconscious mind to express itself.  In this respect, there is much to be said about Second Life and the manner in which we can use it to express ideas of our own and unlock our imaginations in a way that somewhat parallels surrealism’s attempts to unlock the subconscious.

The second element in the fitting choice of Eluard’s quote is that just as there is a myriad of worlds out amongst the stars of our galaxy, some of which  – perhaps many – might will harbour strange and exotic life that might be celebrated through the bizarre creatures Cica has given us here; we have only to look inwards to find equally fabulous “other worlds” as they sit within our imaginations. Worlds like Cica’s Green Planet – wonderfully bizarre and captivating, unusual, engaging and fun (be sure to mouse over things – there are hidden dances awaiting discovery and a number of fun poses to be had – although you might have to look up at what is drifting around overhead to find the latter!).

Cica Ghost: Green Planet

As always, another great installation from Cica, who never fails to offer something fresh and eye-catching each month, so do please consider making a donation to her on-going work when visiting! And don’t forget the gift at the landing point!

SLurl Details