2021 viewer release summaries week #29

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

Updates from the week ending Sunday, July 25th

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

  • Release viewer: Fernet Maintenance RC, version 6.4.21.561414, dated July 14th, promoted July 19th – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V6-style

V1-style

  • No updates.

Mobile / Other Clients

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

2021 TPV Developer meeting week #29 summary

La Vallee, April 2021 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, July 23rd, 2021.

These meetings are generally held every other week.  They are recorded by Pantera Północy, and her video of the meeting is embedded at the end of this report – my thanks to her for allowing me to do so – and it is used with a transcript of the chat log from the meeting and my own audio recording to produce these notes.

SL Viewer

The Fernet Maintenance RC viewer, version  6.4.21.561414 and dated July 14th, was promoted to de facto release status on July 19th. This leaves no current RC viewers in the pipeline and the official project viewers unchanged, thus:

  • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26, 2020.
  • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.
  • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, dated November 22, 2019.
  • 360º Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, dated July 16, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • The next RC viewer that should be appearing is likely to have the next round of Chrome Embedded Framework (CEF) media handling updates.

360º Snapshot Viewer

Work has now officially re-started on the 360º Snapshot viewer, and there will be some simulator-side updates in support of this will be going out in a simulator RC release in week #30 (commencing Monday, July 27th, 2021). it is to ensure the simulator sends the viewer all of the information it needs to correctly render a 360º field of view around the camera prior to the 6 snapshots being taken (which are then stitched into a completed 360º image). No date is available for when the updated 360º Snapshot viewer will be available.

Alexa Linden offered a peek of playing with the updated viewer via Twitter.

Graphics Work

  • The focus for the Graphics team continues to be on integrating the Tracy debugger / system analyser for cross-platform graphics development into the viewer.
  • This will be used to look for performance “hot spots” in the rendering code. This is liable to continue to be the case for the next couple of weeks.
  • When completed, the work will be compiled into a static library within viewer repositories, but will not be enabled by default – it will require and explicit command line call during a viewer build process.

In Brief

  • Apparently, script-to-viewer messages sent via llRegionSayTo that start with “@” are never displayed in local chat. It’s not clear if this is by accident or design, but the request has been made to leave the functionality that way to assist with RLVa-specific commands send via llRegionSayTo not being spammed in open chat.
    • The broad response from Vir and Rider Linden was that the history behind the code in question (CHAT_TYPE_DIRECT) is unclear to them, but if changing it would potentially be damaging to existing content, then it is unlikely to be changed.
  • It’s again been noted that there can be a significant performance impact on the viewer due to the presence of Linden Water “that isn’t there” (that is, you cannot see it, because it is overlaid by terrain, for example). It is hoped that improved occlusion capabilities (i.e. “if you can’t see it, just don’t render it”) might eventually be a performance win in overcoming this.
  • Not strictly viewer-related, but Rider Linden proposed a new function via the forums – llIsFriend – on July 22nd, which sparked a lot of discussion via the forum thread, specifically around the question of privacy (having scripts from others – say a merchant or club owner  – able to read your Friends list) and the potential for abuse. Having had time to consider it, Rider noted the following during the TPVD meeting:
The more I think about it, the more a perms check is called for on that; [it is] probably not a perm that would be auto-granted in an experience, either. I’d set-up a new permission [that would] ask the person running the script, “may this script have access to your friends list?”
The more I think about it, the more I think it is not something that should be allowed invisibly behind the scenes under any circumstances … the added complexity does push it further back, tho. If a script wants to access your Friends list, it needs to be up-front about it. 

Next Meeting

  • The next meeting should be on August 6th, 2021.

2021 SUG meeting week #29 summary

* Nourish *, April 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. The meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and the video is embedded at the end of this summary.

Server Deployments

Please refer to the server deployment thread for updates.

  • There was no planned deployment to servers on the SLS Main channel on Tuesday, July 20th.
  • Wednesday, July 21st should see all servers on the RC channels re-started. Due to the manner in which simulator deployments are made, this will show as a updated release number (2021-07-16.561609), although there are no changes to the code itself. However, during the restart process, approximately 1/3 of RC servers (not the simulator code) will see changes designed to improve performance “in some situations”. In addition, the deployment notes further state:
As mentioned in some of our recent deploy plans we’ve been investigating the effectiveness of region restarts at the ten day limit. We believe some of the issues Residents are encountering with regions that have long uptimes are due to issues at the machine level, not the simulator level. Our instance refresh for Second Life RC channels this week is an attempt to gather data as to whether this is correct or not.

The two RC updates had been planned for the week have now been altered as follows:

  • The ability for estate owners / managers to set a default EEP environment across an entire estate has been pushed back to a future release.
  • Opening custom chat ranges to estate managers through the simulator debug console has been put on hold as a result of “privacy concerns” – primarily that people might not be aware how far their local chat is carrying on regions where the range has been increased over the “usual” 20m. As such, consideration is being given to adding a viewer-side change to inform people of the local chat range.

SL Viewer

The Fernet Maintenance RC, version 6.4.21.561414, dated July 14th, was updated to de facto release status on Monday, July 19th.  This leaves the rest of the currently available official viewers as:

  • Release channel cohorts:
    • None.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, dated November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, dated July 16, 2019.

Agni / Aditi Account Syncing

This has been an issue for some time, causing pain for many creators who wish to use Aditi (the beta grid) for testing, due to significant issues in trying to log-in.  The matter has been under investigation for several months, and a solution new appears close, with Simon Linden commenting:

We’ve tossed together some code and stuff and now have the ability to copy your account from production SL (here) to our beta grid. If any of you would like that, send me an IM. We’ve tested it a bit and are ready to try the first volunteers. 
There are a few things to note, however: you should clear your viewer cache before logging in to Aditi; when you log in, your outfit may look messed up. Just change it. We’d love to get some feedback on this.

So, if you are interested in regaining access to Aditi, drop an IM to Simon, stating your reason for requiring access and willingness to participate in testing.

HTTP-Out Warnings

To quote Monty Linden (making a long-awaited return to SUG meetings!):

A refresh to a component of the HTTP-Out system, our HTTP proxy, is underway. Changes are meant to be transparent involving operational improvements, but we’re letting everyone know so if you see issues having to do with reachability of external servers or reliability of HTTP access, please speak up. Jira’s always appropriate for reporting issues but be specific in the details. We’re currently serving about 200K requests per minute via LSL so if you tell me “it happened last Thursday,” I’m not going to find anything. Time, place [region], target – details matter.  At some point soon, this will go out to Aditi as a non-simulator deploy. [I] Want to encourage reports of issues if anyone sees problems. Especially blockages of things that should not be blocked.

In Brief

  • The meeting includes a general discussion on teleports. teleport failures, region crossings issues and how they might be related and one (physical region regions via forced unseat / teleport) might help in diagnosing force TP failures – and whether or not this is the case.
  • There has been a question on whether texture transfer via UDP through the simulator is still / again possible. Commenting on this, Monty Linden stated:
Texture delivery was to be blocked for UDP but not certain that happened. They won’t enjoy it. Would like a capture of a shift-ctrl-3 screen. texture asset delivery via simulator is one of our most pessimal systems. Will check on the UDP status – that’s curious.
  • Refer to the video below for additional information.

2021 viewer release summaries week #28

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

Updates from the week ending Sunday, July 18th

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

  • Release viewer: Project UI RC viewer, version 6.4.20.560520, dated June 14th, promoted June 23rd – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Fernet Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 6.4.21.561414, on July 14th.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V6-style

  • No updates.

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

2021 CCUG meeting week #28 summary

Hermosa Tierra, April 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from my audio recording and chat log of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, July 15th, 2021. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, with dates available via the SL Public Calendar and the venue for the CCUG is the Hippotropolis camp fire.

SL Viewer

The Fernet Maintenance RC updated to version 6.4.21.561414 on Wednesday, July 14th. The rest of the available official viewers are as follows:

General Viewer Notes

The Fernet Maintenance RC should have been promoted, but an error in the merging process meant that it has only just been merged with the current release viewer, so a further RC version has been issued to soak for the next few days in preparation for promotion, possibly in week #29.

ARCTan

Summary: An attempt to re-evaluate both Avatar Rendering Costs and the cost of in-world scene rendering, with the current focus on avatar rendering cost / impact, and in-world scene rendering / LI to be tackled at some point in the future.

  • Work is continuing on the new performance floater, which has seen some further redesign work.
  • This work is currently separate to the work on revising that actual formulas used for calculating avatar complexity.
    • It has been suggested on a number of occasions that it might be preferable to hold-off issuing any viewer with the new floater until the new avatar ARC calculations are available and used, to prevent people just ignoring the information as being “wrong”, even when the new calculations do come into use.
    • There is a strong probability that without proper education, users will simply ignore the information anyway, but the objections to issuing the viewer ahead of the correct calculations being available has been acknowledged, so internal discussions are still in progress as to when the viewer might be released.
    • Beq Janus is working on her own variant of avatar ARC calculations, which she has dubbed “TrueARC”, which currently simply overlays avatars with colours (green, yellow, red) to indicate their rendering load from low to heavy. This work is in its early stages, and Beq plans to keep LL updated on her work / findings.

Graphics Work

  • The Graphics team are working to integrate the Tracy debugger / system analyser for cross-platform graphics development. This will be used to look for performance “hot spots” in the rendering code.
  • Callum Linden has now resumed work on the 360-degree snapshot viewer.

EEP Items

  • Mainland EEP settings: since the release of EEP, multiple Mainland regions suffer from their default EEP settings being too dark. The fix for this has been awaiting the implementation of new tools on the back-end, which are now available. As a result, a simulator using updated environment settings for Mainland is currently on test, and will be deployed Soon™.
  • BUG-230677 “llSetAgentEnvironment transition doesn’t work” – a fix for this should be in the next Love Me Render RC viewer (LMR-6).
  • Following the EEP discussion at the Simulator User group (notes here), Vincent Nacon has raised his concerns / ideas in a set of Jiras:
    • BUG-230973 “[EEP] Obscured option to reset Cloud Scroll to the default position” – bug awaiting review.
    • BUG-230974 “[EEP] Increasement [sic] to max limit on Cloud Scale” – bug awaiting review.
    • BUG-230975 “[EEP] Brightness Slider for the Sun” – this is currently awaiting the weekly Feature Request triage.
    • It is possible the two bugs might be picked up for inclusion in an LMR viewer.

Mesh and LODs

Investigations have started into ways to improve mesh LOD model generation using the open-source Mesh Optimiser (originally used within Sansar). No ETA on potential visible output from this work at present.

This sparked a discussion on whether, and if introduced, auto-LODding should be enforced on existing content.

  • The “pro” argument for this approach is that it would “rectify” content with poor / missing LOD models.
  • The arguments against the idea include:
    • Many content creators do properly craft their LOD models correctly – and any enforced “re-optimisation” of in-world content could see these LODs replaced by poorer automated LODs, causing understandable upset.
    • Image matching (the suggested means of re-examining content) cannot contextualise content in terms of things like visibility (e.g. the interior of a vehicle might be intentionally entirely low-LOD, as it is designed to be seen from only a handful of metres away).
    • While LL have AWS under them, the process of re-examining thousands and thousands of in-world assets would be processing-intensive and come with a cost. – so who pays?
  • A counter suggestion would be to make any such re-optimisation opt-in: if a creator has content they’d like to pass through the system, they could opt to do so and then utilise the automatic LODs.
  • LL have also been in internal discussions on where the 16-bit limit on mesh faces originated, with the view that allowing a higher number of polys into a face would a) make rendering easier, and improve object decimation (it would likely be replaced with some form of global limit). However it has yet to be determined if changing this would require changing the mesh asset format. As such, there are no current plans to implement a new mesh format – but doing so in the future has not been ruled out.

In Brief

  • A question was asked how any “dominance” between two worn rigged items that use position overrides for the same joint. Vir noted that there is no assigned dominance per se, other than via mesh ID (UUID), so it is something that cannot be directly controlled by assigning a priority or anything like that.
  • The question was asked as to the difference, functionally, between a mesh and a sculpt. In short: a sculpt is a texture used as a cylindrical displacement map, whilst a mesh is a physical asset, which has had its ID “kludged” (Vir’s term) into the spot originally intended for sculpt IDs. If Vir recalls things correctly, whether the ID is for a Sculpt texture or a mesh is determined by the presence (or not) of an additional bit of information. Overall, information is to what an item is – prim, flexi, sculpt or mesh – is still held within the “prim” container.

In-Viewer Mesh Editing Tools

There is a view circulating that during his Meet the Lindens (MTL) session at SL18B, Patch Linden indicated that there are “plans to implement mesh editing capabilities inworld”. However, this is something of an incorrect extraction of what was actually said, based on Patch’s initial response to a question asked about content creation and scripting (“I think this is absolutely something we should tackle”). While he did start his reply using these words, Patch also added further context around them by:

  • Broadening his reply in terms of the existing 3D tools in the viewer – how people have started with them before going on to model in mesh via Blender, Maya, Unity, etc., – and the more important need for LL to understand what incoming users need today by way of an updated toolset in order to engage in content creation.
  • Noting that while Grumpity Linden might agree on this in principle, she would likely have very different idea on if / how / when any such work might be tackled, and so deferred to her on this aspect of any potential tool update.

As such, his comments shouldn’t really be seen as any form of statement that in-world mesh building tools is a project the Lab is about to embark on – and it certainly was not mentioned by Patch or Grumpity at their respective SL18B MTL sessions as being a part of the roadmap of work planned for the next 12-18 months.

The original question and Patch’s complete answer can be heard in the official video of his SL18B Meet the Lindens session, between 1:32:28 and 1:34:52.

Date of Next Meeting

In theory, Thursday, July 29th. However, Vir will apparently be out of the office then, so the meeting is dependent on someone deputising for him. If no-one does, then the next LL-attended CCUG should be on Thursday, August 5th.

2021 SUG meeting week #28 summary

Summer of ’42, April 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, July 13th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. The meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and the video is embedded at the end of this summary.

Server Deployments

There are no planned deployments for the week.

SL Viewer

There have been no official viewer updates to mark the start of the week, leaving the official pipelines as:

  • Release viewer: Project UI RC viewer, version 6.4.20.560520, dated June 14, promoted June 23 – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, dated November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, dated July 16, 2019.

Week #29 (commencing Monday, July 19th should see a new RC deployment that includes the following:

  • Opening custom chat ranges to estate managers through the simulator debug console (apparently requires a viewer update as well).
  • Ability for estate owners / managers to set a default EEP environment across an entire estate.

In Brief

  • A general discussion on EEP and possible fixes improvements, including:
    • A brightness slider for the Sun.
    • Possibly adjusting the relative sizes of the Sun and Moon to reflect their actual size ratio (see as possibly a content breaker).
    • Adjustments to cloud density, cloud detail (making it relative to the world) and bumping the maximum value on the cloud scale slider up to 5.
    • One (or more) feature requests have been suggested for these ideas, as well as raising them for discussion at the Content Creation meetings.
  • There was further discussion around the potential to use the Nimble capabilities originally found in Windlight to provide rain, snow etc., with the ability to avoid entering closed structures.
    • Weather systems have been a discussion topic within the Lab, with no commitment on implementing anything.
    • Generating the data server-side is seen as possible, but to use Simon Linden’s words, “the real magic is rendering it on the viewer”.
    • The main issues may come down to the robustness of viewer-side physics and the effort required to get the viewer so it can render weather and the potential impact on performance (although pseudo-weather systems using ray casting, mesh faces, etc., are already either indirectly (waiting on the simulator calcs) or directly (rendering) impactful on viewer performance.
  • There was also a discussion on dealing with AFK avatars at Linden Info / safe hubs, and the complaints that new users tend to make when arriving in one that no-one will speak to them:
    • One suggestion is to have an experience that sits inactive avatars after a period of time – that is, moves them away from the landing point and sits them on a seat, freeing space at the landing point.
    • A counter suggestion was to simply use a landing point mover, given the avatars that are seated are still effectively in the same space (although could in theory be moved to a separate “room”).
    • A further problem with the experience idea is that it assumes all those arriving will opt to join it at least once.