2023 week #1: SL CCUG meeting summary

Mullein Woods, November 2022 – blog post

The following notes were taken from m y audio recording and chat log transcript of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, January 5th 2023 at 13:00 SLT.

These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and their dates and times can be obtained from the SL Public Calendar; also note that the following is a summary of the key topics discussed in the meeting and is not intended to be a full transcript of all points raised.

Official Viewers Status

  • On Wednesday, January 4th, 2023:
    • The Maintenance Q(uality) RC viewer updated to version 6.6.9.577418.
    • The Performance Floater / Auto-FPS RC viewer updated to version 6.6.9.577251.
  • Both the VS 2022 Build RC viewer and the LMR6 project viewer have been withdrawn.

This leaves the rest of the currently-available official viewer as:

  • Release viewer: Maintenance P (Preferences, Position and Paste) RC viewer version 6.6.8.576863 Monday, December 12, 2022.
  • Project viewers:
    • PBR Materials project viewer, version 7.0.0.577157, December 14, 2022. Note: 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 6.6.8.576972, December 8, 2022.

Inventory Enhancement Project

Linden Lab is looking to enhance the Inventory system.

  • The first element of this work is to be the addition of a fixed-resolution thumbnail preview capability, allowing users to see a small image of a given object (where this makes sense – so the likes of note cards and scripts would be excluded) within inventory, with these thumbnails either being of individual items or entire folders.
    • The first phase of the work is determining how to generate the thumbnail images and ensure they maintain an association with the objects to which they are related (e.g. so if an item is sold or transferred to another user, the thumbnail goes with it).
    • Once this has been decided, the next phase will be to build-out the UI so that such thumbnails can be viewed from inventory.
    • This work will not replace the Outfit Folder image capability nor will it prevent creators from including high resolution images with their products if they wish.
  • Once the thumbnail preview work has been completed, it is possible the Lab will look to further enhancements to inventory management. One future enhancement under consideration is support for folders to be included in the Contents inventory of individual objects.

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.

Status

  • The focus remains on bug and regression issue fixing within the viewer and quality of life improvements, particularly as in wider grid testing, it has been found the PBR viewer can only generate single-digit FPS in some regions.
  • Screen Space Reflections (SSR): Geenz Linden continues to work on integrating SSR into the PBR viewer, but is encountering issues.

Animation System Enhancements – A Discussion

In response to requests for the animation system to be improved (e.g. via CCUG meetings, as a result of the Puppetry project, etc.), Vir Linden asked those at the meeting to state what they see as the most important changes / updates they would like to see. Responses included those expressed at the Server User Group meeting earlier in the week:

  • A procedural animation system 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 – it has been suggested that whilst “old” the SL is well-placed to be folded into a procedural animation system.

  • 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).
  • Viewer-side animation editor.
  • Better support for inverse kinematics.
  • Collaboration between the Puppetry team, the glTF team and any animation project to ensure consistency of decision-making about formats, proper LSL support / calls, etc.

This discussion covered a lot of ground, including the potential for the implementation of an “animation 2.0” system which could potentially operate alongside the existing system (much like PBR materials and “legacy” materials); the benefits in greater adherence to emerging standards – particularly in the area of avatar / skeleton formats and capabilities, and the fact that SL is both well-placed to be a part of defining those standards whilst also being hamper by the fact the existing SL avatar format is a niche product / approach, and more. However, the two key points of the discussion might be summarised as:

  • Changes to the animation  / avatar systems are not projects the Lab is working on at present.
  • However, the it demonstrates that, as with recent projects, the Lab is looking seriously at enhancing SL and moving it towards more readily understood standards. As such, it is taking the time to ascertain options that are exciting to creators an users and which might be seen s benefiting the platform and its future growth, and so might be formalised into active projects – and include user engagement where appropriate in their development.

In terms of what might be attempted by way of “small-scale” improvements to the animation system, the viewpoint from LL is that the ability to dynamically set animation priorities and adding scaling support to the animation format are seen as providing users / creators with recognisable benefits.

Next Meeting

  • Thursday, January 19th, 2023.

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