2019 SL User Groups 29/2: Content Creation summary

Jilin Estates; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrJilin Estates, June 2019blog post

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, July 18th 2019 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Viewer Update

The current Maintenance RC viewer, Umeshu (version 6.2.4.528492 at the time of writing) is now considered “very close” to promotion to release status, with Vir linden noting that if SL viewer users notice they get a message to update “that’s very probably it.”

Bakes On Mesh

Project Summary

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos, clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies as well as system avatars. This involves viewer and server-side changes, including updating the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures, but does not include normal or specular map support, as these are not part of the existing Bake Service, nor are they recognised as system wearables. Adding materials support may be considered in the future.

Resources

Current Status

  • There have been a couple of further issues show up during internal testing of Bakes on Mesh related to local appearance when editing an avatar’s appearance – changes don’t always resolve consistently, particularly with regards to texturing non-rigged meshes with bakes.
  • Transparencies on the Bake Service aux channels: after meeting with mixed expectations on how this should be handled (see recent previous CCUG summaries in these pages), the Lab is anticipating supporting two cases:
    • If a creator wants the aux channel to be opaque – this will require the placement of an opaque texture at the bottom of the bake stack (e.g. a skin-like universal), and setting Alpha Mode for the object (Edit > Texture) to None.
    • If a creator wants to have a translucent layer with portion of it see-through – this will likely require a universal wearable that just has transparent textures, and setting the Alpha Mode to Alpha Blending.
    • Vir noted that it is possible to have other combinations of textures and Alpha Mode settings, but these can give unpredictable results.  To help avoid this, the plan is to get some better documentation put together ready for when BOM reaches release status.

Note: there is a Bakes On Mesh review meeting scheduled for Friday, July 19th, at which the issues mentioned in the first bullet point will be examined. If these are determined to be edge cases, and no other issues are noted, the Bakes on Mesh project is liable to be moving to release status “very soon”. Creator wishing to test the capability are therefore asked to download the Bakes On Mesh RC viewer and use it and report and bugs or issues they encounter “right away”.

Animesh Follow-On

  • Vir is working on a project viewer in support of the new LSL functions that can be used to set visual parameters for Animesh objects.
    • It had been indicated that the capability would allow parameters to be looked up by name or ID, which is a little inconsistent compared to how things usual work (via using integer constants). It’s therefore been decided to support all of the applicable visual parameters by means of a set of corresponding constants.
    • There is no current time frame on when a project viewer may appear – this is dependent on the viewer being build and then passing through the Lab’s internal testing / QA.
    • Obviously, when the project viewer is released, it will be subject to further testing – including the impact updating the parameters for multiple Animesh objects (making them taller or shorter or fatter or thinner, etc) has on a region / viewer performance.
  • These commands will likely be throttled to prevent the mechanism being used as an alternate (and potentially impactful) means of animating Animesh. Concerns have be raised that the throttle could be set too low.Vir has requested that discussions on throttling wait until a project viewer is available, so they might b properly tested and discussed in terms of possible changes.
  • There are still requests for Bakes on Mesh for Animesh to be included in this project. This is unlikely, as it would require further extension of the BOM project before it has even gone live. Which is not to say Bakes On Mesh for Animesh might not be (part of?) a future project.
  • Attachment points for Animesh, however, may be something that is looked at “fairly soon”, possibly as a later part of this current Animesh follow-on.

Environment Enhancement Project

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements allowing the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) to be set region or parcel level, with support for up to 7 days per cycle and sky environments set by altitude. It uses a new set of inventory assets (Sky, Water, Day),  and includes the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. The assets can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

Due to performance issues, the initial implementation of EEP will not include certain atmospherics such as crepuscular rays (“God rays”).

Resources

Current Status

  • A further version of the RC viewer (6.4.0.529247) was issued on Monday, July 15th, but overall, testing is still on-going.
  • It’s been reported that the “forced sky update” ability in EEP could adversely impact performance. This is due to by looked at be the Lab.
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2019 SL User Groups 29/1: Simulator User Group

Cherishville; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrCherishville, June 2019 – blog post

Server Deployments

As always, check with the deployment thread for the latest news.

  • There are no deployment to the SLS (Main) channel on Tuesday, July 16th, on server maintenance package 19#19.06.14.528215, comprising internal changes.
  • On Wednesday, July 17th:
    • The Magnum RC should be updated to a new simulator package, 19#19.07.10.529179, this apparently contains internal fixes, described by Simon Linden as, “a tiny performance boost … one crash fix, an esoteric TP failure fix, update a system library … general fix-it stuff that isn’t likely to be visible.”
    • BlueSteel and LeTigre will remain on 19#19.06.14.528215.

SL Viewer

On Monday, July 15th:

  • The EEP RC viewer updated to version 6.4.0.529247 (dated Friday, July 12th).
  • The Love Me Render TC viewer updated to version 6.2.4.529302.

On Tuesday, July 16th, the 360 Snapshot project viewer was re-issued as version 6.2.4.529111. This brings the viewer up to parity with the current release viewer.

At the time of publishing this update, the remaining LL viewer pipelines were as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.2.3.527758, formerly the Rainbow RC viewer dated June 5, promoted June 18 – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.2.3.527749, released on June 5. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November 2017 – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

In Brief

  • Some are experiencing issues logging-in to Aditi (the beta grid), and fingers have been pointed at Firestorm, however, others aren’t encountering the same issues (myself included).
  • UDP and appearance issues: people on older viewers are continuing to report issues with their appearance (and in the case of Lumiya). This is most likely due to all UDP asset messages (including those related to appearance) have been deprecated on the simulators in favour of HTTP, but these older viewers / clients lack the necessary updates.
  • With the release of Firestorm 6.2.47588 there are reports that RegionCrossingInterpolationTime is acting more like a stop at region crossing within that viewer, sometimes with odd behaviour. One suggestion has been to set the debug to 2.00 seconds to stop the odd behaviour. I must admit that I’ve not been boating or flying with FS 6.2.4.57588 so hadn’t noticed any issues.
  • Summer vacations: the summer season means that vacations are rolling around at the Lab. Rider Linden, who had been digging into the script processing issues is currently out; Simon Linden is due on vacation (although SUG meetings should continue in his absence). And there is the SL “summit” among the developers, etc., so some development work is liable to slow down a little.

Firestorm 6.2.4: EAM and paving the way

On Monday, July 15th, 2019, Firestorm released version 6.2.4.57588 of their viewer.

However please note that this release is for Second Life only.

Essentially a  maintenance update, Firestorm 6.2.4.57588 brings the viewer up to parity with the official viewer, adding a range of fixes, improvements and updates from both Linden Lab and via the Firestorm team. The major new feature for this update is the Estate Access Management options.

As such, this release paves the way for Firestorm to be able to adopt the Lab’s Bakes On Mesh and Environment Enhancement Project, once these have in turn been released by Linden Lab.

Table of Contents

As per usual, this article provides an overview of the more visible updates in the release. Please refer to the release notes for a full list of updates and all associated credits. Also, note that this update means that version 5.0.11.53634 will be blocked from logging in to the Second Life grid in about three weeks.

A small personal note: my apologies to Firestorm users who may have been directed to this post by the Firestorm team’s release announcement or the Firestorm 6.2.457588 release notes and were unable to find it. My ISP suffered a major (8+ hour) outage some 90 minutes before the release was made, preventing me from uploading and posting this overview. 

Why A Second Life Only Release?

As noted above, Firestorm 6.2.4.57588 is for Second Life only. This is because Firestorm are changing how they support Second Life and OpenSim grids. You can read the full details in the official Firestorm blog post Second Life and OpenSim are No Longer Joined  at the  Hip, but in short, and in the future:

  • The Firestorm code is forked into two repositories: Second Life and OpenSim.
  • The Second Life dedicated viewer’s grid manager will only offer Agni and Aditi (SL main and beta grids).
  • The OpenSim dedicated viewer’s grid manager will NOT offer Second Life grids.
  • If you wish to access both OpenSim and Second Life, you will have to install both versions of Firestorm
  • the two versions will install entirely independently to one another and will not share settings or cache, so they will not conflict with each other.

To assist is identifying the two differernt grid versions, the Firestorm downalod pages has been changes to clearly differentiate between Second Life and OpenSim.

The revised Firestorm grid download selections

Note that at the time of writing, the OpenSim download page points to Firestorm 6.0.2.56680, which still works on both SL and OpenSim, and will use the same settings folders as 6.2.4. This will change with the next Firestorm update.

The Usual Before We Begin

As per my usual preamble:

  • There is no need to perform a clean install with this release if you do not wish to.
  • Do, however, make sure you back-up all your settings safely so you can restore them after installing 6.2.4.
  • Please refer to the official release notes for a full breakdown and changes, updates and credits associated with this release.

Lab Derived Updates

Firestorm 6.2.4.57588 brings the Firestorm viewer up to the current (at the time of writing) Linden Lab release viewer, version 6.2.3.527758, formerly the Rainbow RC viewer promoted on June 18th, 2019.In addition, this release includes some upstream fixes from current LL RC viewers, such as the HiDPI retina display support on Mac systems (Love Me Render RC).

Please refer to the Firestorm 6.2.4 release notes for details of specific Lab-derived fixes for this release.

Estate Access Management (EAM)

It has long been the case that the lists for managing access to a region / estate have been crammed into the General tab of the Region / Estate floater (World > Region / Estate or ALT-R). This has made the management of these lists – particularly the Banned list – difficult when reaching large numbers.

The Estate Access Management (EAM) project was introduced by Linden Lab to address the various shortfalls with the presentation of these list, through both back-end changes and a refactoring of the Region / Estate floater. Firestorm release 6.2.4.57588 includes the updated viewer UI, allowing estate owners and officers to make use of the improved tools.

In particular, the EAM moves the access control elements of the Region  / Estate viewer away from the General tab and into their own dedicated tab (show below).

Estate Access Management: as they have previously appeared (left) and as they are under EAM (right) – note: user names have been redacted from this lists shown

In terms of adding or removing names and groups, the new Access sub-tabs work in much the same way as the list boxes in previous releases. However, with the new design, additional functionality is added to some of the lists:

  • The Banned list additionally records:
    • The last date on which a banned individual logged-in to Second Life (to assist with housekeeping the list – if an account hasn’t been used in X months or years, why keep it on the list?).
    • The date on which an individual was banned.
    • The name of the estate officer / region holder who implemented the ban.
  • The Banned tab can be sorted into ascending / descending order by banned name, date last logged in, date banned, or by person banning them. Click on the column title to sort.
The Banned list provides more functionality: search, re-ordering, date banned, who did the banning (only applicable for banned implemented after the EAM back-end was deployed by Linden Lab earlier in 2019, pre-existing bans will have “n/a” in the new columns, as indicated by the Banned By column in this image. Note that names have been redacted from this list
  • The Estate Managers, Allowed and Allowed Groups tabs can be sorted into ascending / descending order by name. Click on the column title to sort.
  • The Allowed Groups, Allowed and Banned tabs all include a search option.
  • The number of allowed Estate Managers is increased from 10 EMs to 15 EMs – again in response to many requests from region holders.

Continue reading “Firestorm 6.2.4: EAM and paving the way”

2019 viewer release summaries week #28

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, July 14th

This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
  • Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version 6.2.3.527758, formerly the Rainbow RC viewer dated June 5, promoted June 18 – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Bakes on Mesh RC viewer updated to version 6.3.0.529185 on July 11th.
    • Love Me Render viewer updated to version 6.2.4.529065 on July 9th.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5/V6-style

  • Kokua updated to version 6.2.3.45800 (non-RLV) and 6.2.3.45801 (RLV variants) on July 12th (release notes).

V1-style

  • No updates.

Mobile / Other Clients

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

2019 SL User Groups 28/2: TPV Developer Meeting

Sweet Paradise; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrSweet Paradise, June 2019blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, July 12th, 2019. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. The key points of discussion are provided below with time stamps to the relevant points in the video, which will open in a separate tab when clicked.

This was a short meeting with a lot of non-specific text chat. Please refer to the video for details.

SL Viewer

[1:19-3:20]

The Bakes on Mesh RC viewer updated to version 6.3.0.529185 on July 11th.

Viewer Pipelines

The remaining LL viewer list looks like:

  • Current Release version 6.2.3.527758, formerly the Rainbow RC viewer dated June 5, promoted June 18th – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.2.3.527749, released on June 5th. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17th, 2017 and promoted to release status 29th November 2017 – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Anticipated Viewer Updates

  • A further iteration of the EEP RC viewer is with QA and should appear in week #29 (week commencing Monday, July 15th).
  • Bakes on Mesh is expected to go through at least one further RC iteration, although it is believed that all viewer-side required fixes have now been implemented.
  • The July 9th Love Me Render (rendering pipe improvements / fixes) update moved that viewer closer to being ready for possible promotion to release status.
  • The 360 Snapshot viewer has now been merged up to the current LL viewer release and is undergoing testing, so should be re-appearing as a project viewer soon.

Viewer Build Process

[18:23-20:54]

The update of the viewer build process using Visual Studio 2017 / the latest Xcode is still stuck on a required update (to boost::fibers), and will likely remain that way for another week or so.

Texture Fetching / Texturing Caching Project

[21:01-23:05]

The project to improve texture fetching and caching in the viewer, which has been on hold for some time, is expected to re-start very soon. This work will likely including experimenting with using the HTTP/2 library, rather than the current curl library; this is also the project that includes support for higher texture memory in the official viewer as well as large on-disk caches. All of which, it is hoped will result in a noticeable performance improvement.

Other Topics

  • [5:15-7:23] It’s been noted the final deprecation of asset UDP messaging may be affecting the session times for scripted agent drivers built over LibOpenMetaverse, and the Lab threw out a question to open-source devs as to whether they could provide further information.
  • [27:02-27:40] There are some improvements coming to search, but it is too soon to say exactly how these will be reflected in the viewer; currently the focus is on improving the search infrastructure.
  • [29:40-31:25] work is continuing on the re-introduction of the “legacy” Profile floater. However, there are web-side changes needed (e.g. the feed needs to be turned into an API end-point). There is no planned simulator changes for this change, so profiles won’t be capabilities-driven.

2019 SL User Groups 28/1: Simulator User Group

Iona Shore; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrIona Shore, June 2019blog post

Server Deployments

There are no deployments planned for this week, leaving the SLS (Main) channel and the major RCs all running on server maintenance package 19#19.06.14.528215, comprising internal changes. The updated planned for the RC channels turned out to be “not quite ready” and so are being held over until week #29, commencing Monday, July 15th, 2019.

SL Viewer

The Love Me Render RC viewer updated to version 6.2.4.529065 on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019. At the time of writing, the rest of the current LL viewer pipelines remain unchanged:

  • Current Release version 6.2.3.527758, formerly the Rainbow RC viewer dated June 5, promoted June 18 – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.2.3.527749, released on June 5. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November 2017 – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Region Crossings

User Animats believes he has identified two consistent types of vehicle region crossing failure:

  • The vehicle makes it, but avatar is left behind.
  • At high speed, a complete failure occurs. The vehicle is gone, the avatar is left on the ground or underwater, and often the vehicle is never returned to Lost and Found.

In terms of the latter, it is possible the issue is caused by the vehicle crossing between more than two regions, so that the second region crossing commences before the first has completed – something that can occur when corner crossing between regions, and not just a high speed.

Commenting on this, Simon linden indicated the Lab should potentially slow things down, forcing the first region hand-over to complete before the second commences. He further noted that while this may not be smooth from the perspective of riding the vehicle – but it will be better than a total crossing failure.

Script Processing Issues

For those who may not have seen the comments on script run time issues (see  BUG-226851 and BUG-227099) in my week #26 Content Creation User Group and TPV Developer meeting summaries:

  • There are simulator updates awaiting deployment that should provide better script performance on the “more expensive [resource-wise] scripts events”, such as sensors. This could potentially reduce the overhead of idle scripts by as much as 20-30%, although actual mileage, may vary. The hope is that once deployed, the changes will help push script processing performance in the right direction.
  • These updates are now set to be deployed “soon” as result of the cancellation of this week’s RC deployment.