2023 week #19: SL TPVD meeting summary (PBR terrain)

Dragonfly, March 2023 – blog post

The following notes were taken from my audio recording and chat log transcript of the TPV Developer (TPVD) meeting held on Friday, May 12th 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

General Viewer Notes

  • Inventory thumbnails viewer: work is progressing and a public-facing viewer should be available in the “not too distant future”.
    • The viewer-side work to support emojis is now more-or-less complete, and release of any project viewer is pending some additional back-end work.
  • There will be changes coming to the Second Life System Requirements, minimum specifications:
    • Mac OSX will be set at version 11.
    • Window 32-bit is liable to be dropped.
  • LL is close to completing the move of viewer builds to Github Actions. This has involved getting many of the 3rd party libraries for the viewer updated and refreshing all build dependencies.
  • This work also means that the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) for media handling is being updated.

Terrain “Mini Project”

  • There is a project underway to provide PDR support for terrain.
  • The overall scope is not clear, but it apparently exploits an asset-checking weakness in the simulator code related to terrain, allowing the use of Materials asset IDs in place of the usual texture  IDs, allowing them to be applied to the ground.
  • This is seen as a means of leveraging PBR Materials to offer some quality improvements to terrain ahead of any longer-term terrain project which might yet be considered / actioned.
  • It is hoped that this work will be available in a project viewer Soon™.

In Brief

  • PBR Materials mini-update:
    • Overall visual quality is pretty much where it will be when the viewer reaches formal release status.
    • There are still issues with rendering the sky – such as alpha glitching on the Sun. This is being worked on, but it is unlikely to see an imminent solution / viewer update.
    • Other known issues are also being worked on and progress is being made in clearing them.
  • A general discussion of the on-line  / off-line friends issues (frequently raised t the Server User Group meetings) – see BUG-232037 “Avatar Online Offline Status Not Correctly Updating”. As per notes from that meeting, the UDP fix does not appear to have had the desired impact in helping to reduce the issue, and LL are looking at the matter again.
  • A lot of general chat on WIP regarding PBR Materials and reflection probes, most of it relating to issues likely to be addressed – please refer to the video.
  • A general discussion on possible standards for avatar “metaverse interoperability” which runs through the latter half of the meeting. As a theoretical discussion rather than something LL is working on, please refer to the video.
  • There is also some further discussion on the Puppetry project, however, this will form an addendum to my recent Puppetry Project meeting summary, as it is more relevant there.

 Next Meeting

  • Friday, June 9th, 2023.

The mystical magic of Xanadu Forest in Second Life

Xanadu Forest, May 2023 – click any image for full size

Fantasy Faire may have passed into memory for 2023, but those who appreciate the splendour and beauty of the Fairelands can recapture the spirit of it, and past Fantasy Faire events through the largesse of Evangeline Ling. She is the creator of the simply stunning Xanadu Forest, a place of mystical magic ringing with the echoes of Fantasy Faire hidden – like Tolkien’s Rivendell, within a deep cleft within the Mainland continent of Sansara.

WELCOME to Xanadu Forest, a place of magic and mystery … Here you are welcome to role-play, explore, relax with your friends or take beautiful photographs for your special memories, or just play a game or two of greedy. We invite you to use the shared environments as our lighting here is part of the attraction and don’t forget to take a visit to our fantasy bowling alley (Even elves enjoy a little bowling too). You will find dryads and elves, Dragons, pirates, scattered evidence of a demonic presence. 

– from the introductory note card for Xanadu Forest

Xanadu Forest, May 2023

Comprising multiple levels from the waters at the bottom of its deep gorge to platforms and plateaus amidst its peaks, this is a place of vivid colours, otherworldly plants, winding trails and climbing stairs, all of which fully captures the romance and magic of multiple Fairelands without ever feeling as though it is merely trying to copy them. Thus, it stands as a rich and vibrant land in its own right, as much as standing in homage to Fantasy Faire.The landing point sits high up on one of these platforms, sitting within a build from The Looking Glass and harking back to Fantasy Faire 2022. Here, under the shadow of Ketsui Naidoo’s The Majestic Revived – better known to Fairelanders as The Fairechylde – walkways extend out and across the valley, held aloft by the trunks of giant mushrooms and the faces of cliffs rising and falling to reach other levels, houses and the gardens below.

Xanadu Forest, May 2023

Along the way, there is much to find, again as the introductory note card for the setting describes:

You will find dryads and elves, Dragons, pirates, scattered evidence of a demonic presence. With enough searching you may even find the home of a certain Slenderman (we advise extreme caution entering his home). There are no strict role-play rules in Xanadu, you bring your own RP here or perhaps use Xanadu as a foreign land for your own RP group. Please join our Group, Xanadu Forest, and we will keep you up to date on any fun activities or events. Stop by anytime the forest welcomes you.

– from the introductory note card for Xanadu Forest

Xanadu Forest, May 2023

Also awaiting discovery are teleport points, both light and dark, offering trips to destinations which may appear in opposition to their outward appearance; a hidden gallery of art, a high (literally) elven home and many, many, elements from the Fairelands, from the giraffes of Haveit Neox and the bears of Loki Eliot – even the suspended walkways are liable to bring forth recollections of Fairelands past. There are also one or two unexpected characters to be found along the way!

This is a place so cleverly put together that just when you think you have found everything, you turn around and discover something new and / or unexpected. It might be a throne sat back and above the garden trail or a hollow within the rock where a board game might be enjoyed or an unexpected cliffside path rises, offering an alternate route to where the elven house sits.

Xanadu Forest, May 2023

As with the Fairchylde, the Majestic Revived offers the opportunity for dancing – at least for couples, I didn’t notice any solo dances – and more places to dance are also await discovery as people explore. There are also multiples to sit and / or cuddle and – obviously – endless opportunities for photography.

With regards to the latter, the setting comes with its own EEP settings, and I recommend using them when visiting – just go to World → Environment and make sure Use Shared Environment is checked. Also, and for the fullest experience, make sure local sounds are enabled. Should you appreciate Evangeline’s work in creating Xanadu Forest, or if you are a Fairelander yourself, do please consider a donation towards the future upkeep of the setting.

Xanadu Forest, May 2023

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