2023 SUG meetings week #1 summary

Tempelhof, November 2022 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. They form a summary of the items discussed and is not intended to be a full transcript. A video of the entire meeting is embedded at the end of the article for those wishing to review the meeting in full – my thanks to Pantera for recording it.

Server Deployments

  • On Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023, the simhosts on the Main SLS channel were restarted with no deployment, leaving them on simulator version 576542
  • On Wednesday, January 4th, 2023, the simhosts on the RC channels should be restarted without any deployment or change to the current release.

Early 2023 Simulator Updates

AS per the previous SUG meeting:

  • I believe the RC deployment from week #50 (with 30-second sound loop support) was rolled back. If so, this is liable to be one of the first simulator updates for 2023 (targeted for January 11th, 2023), and / or possibly an update comprising a number of HTTP updates, including the accounting for custom HTTP headers (total space for headers will increase to 4k and the limit on the number of headers will be dropped).
  • Also early 2023 LSL will be updated with new cryptographic signing utilities: llHMAC (per BUG-233005) and llSignRSA and llVerifyRSA (per BUG-233009). These should be useful for script to script and script to external web service communications. These may be included in the above release.
    • BUG-226463 “llRequestSecureURL() uses self-signed cert” is also “on the radar” but no target date for potential delivery / deployment.
  • Further (unspecified) improvements will be coming to the Linkset Data (LSD) capabilities.

Available Official Viewers

This list reflects the current status of available official viewers at the start of 2023:

  • Release viewer: Maintenance P (Preferences, Position and Paste) RC viewer version Monday, December 12, 2022.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself).
    • Maintenance (Q)uality RC viewer, version, December 16, 2022.
    • Performance Floater / Auto-FPS RC viewer, version, November 28, 2022.
    • VS  2022 RC viewer, version, issued November 4 – utilises Visual Studio 2022 in the Windows build tool chain.
  • Project viewers:
    • PBR Materials project viewer, version, December 14, 2022.
      • This viewer will only function on the following Aditi (beta grid) regions: Materials1; Materials Adult and Rumpus Room 1 through 4.
    • Puppetry project viewer, version, December 8, 2022.
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 6 graphics improvements project viewer, July 21, 2022.

In Brief

2023 – General Goals Set by the Lab

In their Review of the Year, Linden Lab outlined the following goals to be delivered during the year (nor all of which are the responsibility of the server / simulator engineering team):

  • Further performance improvements to increase the quality and visual fidelity of the Second Life experience through the viewer.
  • New LSL functions that improve the quality of life for scripters.
  • Initial deployment of physically-based rendering (PBR)  / glTF 2.0 specification support. This will initially comprise glTF materials support, together with the implementation of reflection probes.
  • Avatar customisation improvements to simplify creating your virtual identity, including inventory thumbnails to give a preview of what individual items are.
  • New user experience upgrades to better fuel retention, engagement, and growth across key parts of the new user journey.
  • New centralised “hubs” to better connect residents to the communities that match their passions and interests.
  • First peek at a world and avatar centred mobile-first Second Life experience.

In addition, Rider Linden is an LSL call to allow the replacement of sub-strings in a string call (e.g. non-RegEx behaviour). If implemented, this might most likely be called either llStringReplace() or llReplaceSubString(). As he was still on vacation at this meeting, it is something that will likely be picked up at SUG meetings going forward.

WIBNIs from Users

The following were suggested as a series of “wouldn’t it be nice if LL could provide” requests. Note these were only suggestions / discussion points not projects / ideas the Lab will necessarily implement in the short or long term:

  • The perennial request for a further focus on region crossing improvements.
  • A suggestion for an enhancement to Linkset Data (LSD).
  • A function which could be applied to Animesh objects to allow them to use the head/eye tracking that avatars use when focused on a target (so, for example, scripted scripted Animesh NPCs would “look at” avatars addressing them).
  • Suggested animation updates:
    • A procedural animation editor to allow creators / users to set the rules of how avatars walk, run, jump; their timings, how animations play priority wise and mixing wise in the series, all able to be packaged up into an item (a further suggestion for the in-development Puppetry project).
    • Improved animation formats and easier means of animation import into Second Life.
    • The ability to dynamically set animation priorities for more fluid animation integration (e.g. when you are holding and pointing a gun, you continue to point it as you walk, rather than the avatar’s arm dropping to a walking animation when moving).
    • All of these are liable to be topics for further discussion during Puppetry project meetings, but initiated a general discussion on animations and animating avatars which took up the majority of this SUG meeting – please refer to the meeting video below.