Category Archives: News

Linden Lab advises: verify your e-mail

Back at the end of January, I posted instructions on how to verify your e-mail address. I did so, because the Lab was indicating that in future, outgoing e-mails (including IMs-to-e-mail, Merchant and information from the Marketplace) will only be sent to those e-mail addressed that have been verified by the owners. So, failure to verify would mean no more off-line IMs delivered to you (among other things).

While it’s taken slightly longer to get officially announced that anticipated at the time I wrote that report, on Wednesday, April 19th, the Lab did finally post notice of the upcoming change see Making Email From Second Life (More) Reliable) explaining the reason behind it pretty much as I did back at the end of January:

One of the most important reasons mail doesn’t get through is that many Second Life accounts have bad email addresses – when something in Second Life sends to one of those bad addresses, it generates errors. The number of those errors causes many network providers and spam detectors to block even perfectly good email if it comes from Second Life. To fix that, we need to cut down on the bad addresses, so…  over the next few months we will be converting all the sources of email in Second Life to not even try to send to an address that has not been verified.

The official post provides an outline on how to verify your e-mail address. If you require more step-by-step instructions (although the process isn’t hard), please refer to my January 28th, 2017 post, Important: verifying your e-mail address with Second life.

Makes sure your e-mail is verified if you want to continue receiving off-line IMs to your e-mail

Advertisements

Lab announces improved region capacity and access in Second Life

On Tuesday, April 2nd, Linden Lab announced the roll-out of Improved Region Capacity and Access, which see increases in the default number of avatars able to access a region, and how regions are accessed when approaching the upper limit of avatars allowed into them.

The new limits are being rolled out gradually, so you may find the default for your region may not have changed. It will, however, as the deployment continues.

Overall, the default limits on avatars able to enter each type of region have been increased by between 10% and 25%, depending on the region type, so:

  • The default for Full regions is increased from 100 to 110 (10%)
  • The default for Homestead regions is increased from 20 to 25 (25%)
  • The default for Open Space regions is increased from 10 to 12 (20%)

Note that the percentage bonus remains the same if the region owner changes the maximum number of avatars able to access a region. So, for example, if the owner of a Full region has set a limit of – say – 50 avatars on their region, this is increased by 10% (to 55) under the new limits.

This is straightforward enough – now for the twist: this new bonus capacity is only available for entry purposes to Premium members. As far as Basic users are concerned – and only for the purposes of region access, the limits remain unchanged.

This means that if you’re a Basic user and trying to get into a Full region which has, say, 105 avatars (out of a default total of 110)  – you’ll be unable to access the region, and will get the Region Full notification on trying. However, up to 5 more Premium members will be able to still get in.

Note also that once an avatar is in a region, whether they are Premium or not will not matter; they count the same as anyone else. It doesn’t matter what the mix of Premium, Basic, or owner/managers in the region is: they all just each count as one occupant.

As a final piece of the changes, the region occupancy limit does not apply to a region owner or an Estate Manager for the purposes of entry. They will always be able to enter the region, even if it is full. However, once they have accessed the region, then will increase the avatar count for the region. So, if a region is at its limit and the owner enters, then two avatars will have to leave before a non-owner/manager would be able to enter.

Again, do note that the new limits are being rolled out gradually, so you may find the default for your region may not have changed. It will, however, as the deployment continues. If you are unclear on any of the above, please refer to the Lab’s blog post.

Second Life asset fetching: HTTP, CDN and project viewer

Update, April 1st: Vir Linden’s comments on this viewer, offered at the Content Creation User Group meeting, are appended to the end of this article in an audio file.

Some of my recent SL project updates have mentioned that the Lab is working to remove the remaining task of asset fetching away from UDP running through the simulator and to HTTP (avatar baking information, mesh and texture data have been delivered to users via HTTP for the last several years).

This work involves changes to both the simulator and the viewer, both of which have been subject to testing in Aditi, the beta grid for the last few weeks.

However, on  Thursday, March 30th, the Lab effectively marked the start of testing on Agni, the main grid, with the release of the AssetHttp project viewer, version 5.0.4.324828.

This viewer enables the remaining asset classes used in Second Life – landmarks, wearables (system layer clothing and body parts), sounds and animations – will now be delivered to users the same way as textures, mesh and avatar baking information: via HTTP over a Content Delivery Network (CDN) rather than through the simulator. This should generally make loading of such content both faster and more reliable.

Hang On! What’s this CDN Thing?

If you’ve followed the HTTP / CDN project, you can skip this part 🙂 .

To keep things extremely brief and simple: a Content Delivery Network is a globally distributed network of servers which can be used to store SL asset information. This means that when you need an asset – say a sound or animation – rather than having to go via UDP to the simulator, then to LL’s asset service, back to the simulator and finally back to you (again via UDP), the asset is fetched over HTTP from whichever CDN node which is closest to you. This should make things faster and smoother, particularly if you are a non-US based user.

A generic CDN diagram: instead of the users in India, Spain, Peru and on the US West coast having to fetch data from a central server (marked in red) they can obtain the data more quickly and reliably from local caches of the data, held by CDN nodes located much closer to them.

There are some caveats around this – one being, for example, if you’re calling for asset information not stored on the local CDN node, then it still has to be fetched from the Lab’s services for delivery to you, where it can be cached by your viewer.

As noted above, the Lab started using CDN providers when they introduced the avatar baking service (called server-side baking) in 2013, and extended the use to the delivery of mesh and texture assets as part of a massive overhaul of Second Life’s communications and asset handling protocols spearheaded by Monty Linden (see my HTTP updates). Moving the remaining asset types to HTTP / CDN delivery effectively completes that work.

OK, So, What’s Next?

Right now, this is only a project viewer, and the Lab are looking to have people try it out and test fetching and loading of landmarks, wearables (system layer clothing and body parts), sounds and animations, so they can examine performance, locate potential issues etc.

However, the code will be progressing through project status to release candidate and ultimately to release status over the next few weeks / months (depending on whether any significant issues show up). Once this happens, TPVs will be given a period of time to integrate the code as a well, after which, all support for UDP asset fetching will be removed from both the viewer code, and from the simulators.

A rough time frame for this latter work is around late summer 2017. When it happens, it will mean that anyone using a viewer that does not have the updated HTTP code for asset handling isn’t going to be able to obtain any new or updated asset data from the Second Life service.

Linden Lab announces Second Life Places available

Second Life Places

On Thursday, March 29th, Linden Lab announced the official launch of Second Life Places, making the programme available to land holders in-world.

First announced in a beta programme in January 2017 (see here for more), Places  essentially allows region and parcel owners to create a web browsable page (hosted by the Lab) for their location(s) in-world. These pages can then be shared through blogs, websites, etc.

Included with each page are buttons to allow visitors to the page to launch their viewer and teleport directly to the location (assuming they are Second Life users – if not, they’ll have to sign-up  via the provided link to the main sign-up process).

In order for you to be able to use the Places pages to promote your in-world locations, certain criteria must be met:

  • You must own the parcel / region in question OR you must be assigned a the group ability to Toggle ‘Show Place in Search’ And Set Category within the group owning the land
  • About Land > Show Place in Search must be checked (recurring fee of L$30 a week).

Essential links for finding more information on Places pages are:

Note you may have to log-in to Places when you open the page.

Options on the page are controlled via a menu towards the top right corner, which can be seen when you are logged-in ( highlighted in red, below) – providing you have land which meets the requirements to have one or more Places pages.

The menu options – available to those who have locations in-world which meet the criteria for setting-up Associated Places

The options are pretty self-explanatory:

  • My Places – will take you to a list of locations (regions and parcel in-world) for which you can set-up Places pages.  Clicking it will take you to a listing of the pages, and those you can edit will have the Edit option enabled
  • Upload Spherical – allows you to upload the ZIP file from a 360-degree snapshot you have taken of the location with the Lab’s 360-degree snapshot viewer – of which more below
  • Logout – logs you out of Places.

A Places listing with the Edit option highlighted

I’ve not had a chance to drive things in detail, but one minor issue I noted was that this listing  appears to list Holly Kai Park as Adult, when it is in fact Moderate – which is correctly reporting in the actual page for the region.

The Edit option opens a basic page layout for a Place to which you can add details – text, images, video, etc. Again, see the Knowledge Base article for more details.

As noted above, the Upload Spherical option allows you to upload a 360-degree snapshot of a location captured using the 360-snapshot viewer. However, with this, and at this point in time, it is important to note that:

  • The 360-snapshot viewer is currently only a project viewer, and is awaiting significant update. You can find it on the Second Life Alternate Viewers listing page.
  • I have an overview of the 360-degree snapshot viewer available, but please note that it refers to the initial release (the release prior to the one available at the time of writing this article), and functionality in the viewer may have changed. I’ve also not had an opportunity to test the Upload Spherical capability with the current 360-snapshot project viewer, and so offer no guarantee the capability works.

I’ll have a more in-depth look at Places and setting them up in due course, hopefully including the updated 360-snapshot viewer, once it is available.