2022 week #48: CCUG meeting summary

Village de Roqueblanche, October 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, December 1st 2022 at 13:00 SLT.  These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and their dates and times can be obtained from the SL Public Calendar.

This is a summary of the key topics discussed in the meeting and is not intended to be a full transcript.

Note: unfortunately, my recording software failed at the 50 minute mark of the meeting, so the end of the meeting and the after-meeting discussion were not recorded, so some discussion points are missing from this summary.

Official Viewers Status

Available Viewers

On Friday, December 2nd, the PBR Materials project viewer updated to version on Friday December 2nd. This viewer will only function on the following Aditi (beta grid) regions: Materials1; Materials Adult and Rumpus Room 1 through 4.

The following reflect the rest of the current official viewers available through Linden Lab.

  • Release viewer: version – MFA and TOS hotfix viewer – November 1 – 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).
    • Performance Floater / Auto-FPS project viewer, version, November 28.
    • Maintenance P (Preferences, Position and Paste) RC viewer version on Monday, November 28.
    • VS  2022 RC viewer, version, issued November 4 – utilises Visual Studio 2022 in the Windows build tool chain.
  • Project viewers:
    • Puppetry project viewer, version,  issued on October 12.
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 6 graphics improvements project viewer, July 21.

General Viewer Notes

  • The Lab is aiming to get the Maintenance P RC viewer promoted to release status before year-end.

glTF Materials and Reflection Probes

Project Summary

  • To provide support for PBR materials using the core glTF 2.0 specification Section 3.9 and using mikkTSpace tangents, including the ability to have PBR Materials assets which can be applied to surfaces and also traded / sold.
  • To provide support for reflection probes and cubemap reflections.
  • The overall goal is to provide as much support for the glTF 2.0 specification as possible.
  • The project viewer is available via the Alternate Viewers page, but will only work on the following regions on Aditi (the Beta grid):  Materials1; Materials Adult and Rumpus Room 1 through 4.


  • Please also see previous CCUG meeting summaries for further background on this project.
  • Bugs and regressions continue to be reported via the project viewer on Aditi,  and it is now unlikely the project will advance to a release state before early 2023 (end of 2022 always seemed ambitious).
  • Despite hopes to the contrary, a lot of legacy content is impacted when rendered via the glTF PBR path,  largely as a result of using linear alpha blending.
    • As a result, LL are working on turning to smooth around some of the edge cases without having to introduce a code fork in the viewer between “legacy” alpha handling and PBR alpha handling.
    • The aim remains to preserve as much of the appearance of legacy content under PBR rendering and reflection probes, without necessarily being slaved to preserving its looks over time. The major exception to this is would be situations where PBR rendering reveals seams between layers.
    • However, if it proves necessary, an “opt out” button will be provided to switch out of linear alpha blending.
  • mikkTSpace tangents affect all objects rendered in the PBR viewer. Unfortunately, due to the way mesh data has been stored prior to the PBR viewer, this means that creators wishing to get exactly the same results in their mesh models as they saw in their tool of choice (e.g. blender, etc.) when building their models, they will need to re-upload those models. This might result in a slight increase in the object’s Land Impact, if done.
    • This does mean, however that all tangents on uploaded meshes will be correctly handled going  forward.
  • Capabilities will change with the PBR viewer: for example, there will be a basic glTF materials editor within the viewer; texture will rotate from a corner, rather than the centre (per the glTF specification extension for texture transforms); the upload will allow for the upload of individual materials from a glTF file.

Bakes on Mesh and Materials

  • Providing materials support to Bakes on Mesh has been a long-standing request which has been thus far resisted by the Lab on the grounds of the impact it would have on the Bake Service  – both in terms of code updates and the potential number of servers used.
  • However, at the CCUG, Runitai and Vir floated the idea of materials on Bakes on Mesh being added – but only for the PBR rendering path. This would “drastically” cut down on the amount of back-end work required to make materials on BOM possible, and would mean that all avatar wearables would be Materials-capable.
  • This is not something that has been currently road mapped for implementation at any time by LL, and it would require time and effort to determine a mechanism to manage it, but the support were there for it, it is something that might be considered.
  • If this work was carried out, it might also pave the way for terrain painting – another popular request.
  • As PBR Materials is released, it will become the focus for SL going forward; whilst efforts will be made to ensure “pre-PBR” contact continues to look right, whether or not work is put into trying to “pull” legacy materials content into PBR is questionable, simply because the layered complexity of the underpinning code =, the updating / altering of which can result in content breakage.

In Brief

  • As noted in the summary of the last meeting, there are reports that the PBR project viewer generating some 10% more CPU temperature and 17% more GPU temperature.
    • LL are working on updates they hope will see any GPU increases return to the levels of the current release viewer.
    • Issues with CPU temperature are not believed to be related to PBR, but more to general texture rendering, where a couple of errors have crept in and are being actively corrected.
  • LODs and Land Impact:
    • Lower value LODs on models. Some creators attempt to “game” Land Impact by having extremely low values as their low-end models, thinking they are “never seen”; unfortunately, these are seen by people running SL on very low-end machines and thus can account for new users feeling SL “looks rubbish due to the official viewer defaulting to a RenderVolumeLODFactor of 1.25.
    • The RenderVoumeLODFactor setting will be more dynamic be default in the upcoming Performance Floater / Auto FPS viewer, although extremely lower LODs on models should still be avoided.
    • More broadly, LL is still considering how to better adjust the Land Impact system and the mesh uploader so that creators are not penalised for creating accurate LODs on their models (one of the goals originally stated for project ARCTan).
  • Linden Lab will be closed over the holiday period from end of business on Friday, December 23rd, 2022 through until start of business on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023 (except for urgent support cases).

Next Meeting

  • Thursday, December 15th, 2022.

The solitude of WQNC in Second Life

WQNC, December 2022 – click any image for full size

At the start of the year I made a return visit to WQNC, an iteration of the Wo Qui Non Coin region design by Maasya I first visited in September 2021. With the end of 2022 approaching, Shawn Shakespeare suggested I make a return and witness the current version of the setting, which has relocated since my January 2022 visit, and downsized to a Homestead region.

Not that the downsizing makes a difference; Maasya has a talent for creating captivating settings, and whilst this one may well be within a Homestead, that certainly remains true. In fact, I would suggest that it is perhaps a design that speaks closely to her self-described isolationist nature.

WQNC, December 2022

The setting takes the form of an east-west oriented island, a slender finger of rock rising from the surrounding seas, cut almost all the way through by a canyon, the western end of which blocked by a high table of rock, and what would otherwise by the open eastern end partially enclosed by a high-rise apartment building of indeterminate age.

It is at the foot of this high-rise that visitors initially find themselves, standing knee-deep in tidal waters lapping a small beach. This gives the impression of literally having just arrived – whether by boat or by swimming or simple luck on having survived some event, is hard to tell. However, the overall design of the location does suggest some form of apocalyptic upheaval may have taken place.

WQNC, December 2022

A tunnel passes under the foot of the apartment building to provide access to the canyon beyond. A teleport sign is mounted on one wall of this tunnel; at the time of my first visit, this provided access to the skybox, but on my return visit it appeared to have restricted access, as attempting to use it left me floating in the air within the tunnel.

Beyond the tunnel, a path winds through the canyon – a street winding through tall buildings backed against the rock walls of the natural canyon, such that they form their own man-made gorge. Neon and LED lights glow from street lamps and signs on the buildings and signs, some of which are mounted on metal poles to span the width of the road like latter-day Torii gates – much of the signage suggests this island street lies somewhere amidst the string of islands which make up the nation of Japan.

WQNC, December 2022

Follow the path to its western end, and the rock walls close to a narrow stair leading upwards, the bottom end marked by a traditional Torii gate. Ancient-looking lamps (fitted with LED or neon illumination) light the steps as they climb to the western table of rock to where a shrine is guarded by a pair of stone kitsune.

Quite where the power for the lights is coming from is a mystery as this is hardly a bustling thoroughfare; the buildings are heavy in vines, shrubs have claimed ledges and windowsills and also the rooftops – together with the odd tree have claimed. Thus, there is a sense of this strange location having been deserted a long time ago – although quite why is for your own imagination to determine; to me, there is a hint of a global catastrophe having overtaken a city (or the world), leaving this enclosed alley with its cliffs of buildings as the sole survivor of a drowned township.

WQNC, December 2022

The sense of mystery prevalent throughout the setting is added to by the ambient sound system;  a distant sound of electronic drumming reverberates through the air, mixing here and there with echoes of music coming from somewhere – including one decidedly season tune. Also mixed in with the hissing crackle of electrical shorts from fallen power lines. Alongside of this is a sense of isolation and separation, as if this might be the last remnant of civilisation.

In this, and as noted above, the setting might be seen as a reflection of Maasya’s nature; her Profile defines her as someone preferring her own company, and perhaps not overly friendly towards strangers. This is something I can actually attest to, having been summarily banned from the region (without much of a prior warning) as a result of standing still for too long whilst taking photos during my visit; so I would advise visitors to keep on the move, just in case!

WQNC, December 2022

Outside of this (while at the same time keeping it in mind), the region is as photogenic and eye-catching as Maasya’s previous builds and well worth witnessing.

SLurl Details

  • WQNC (Blue Reef, rated Moderate)