Category Archives: SL Tech

2017 viewer release summaries: week 2

Updates for the week ending Sunday, January 15th

This summary is 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.

Official LL Viewers

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • Group Tools updated to version 2.2.43.0 on January 12 – no release notes provided
  • Lumiya updated to version 3.3.1 on January 13 – Bluetooth headset support & audio controls (release notes)

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

SL project updates 2017-2/3: TPV Developer Meeting Jan 13th

The notes in this update are taken from the abbreviated TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 13th, 2017. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update. My thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

SL Viewer

The Maintenance RC viewer was updated to version 5.0.1.322791 on Thursday, January 12th. Otherwise the pipeline remains unchanged from part 1 of this week’s update. [34:20] this will likely be the next viewer to be promoted to release status.

64-bit Viewer

[03:07] It is anticipated that the 64-bit official viewer, version 5.1.0.501863 at the time of writing, will remain in the project cycle for some time. An update to it is anticipated in week #3 (week commencing Monday, January 16th, 2017). Currently, the project viewer isn’t being used by many, and the Lab hopes this number will pick up so that a little more feedback can be obtained.

Points of note with the 64-bit viewer and 64-bit plans:

  • The Mac version is currently without Havok support, an it will likely be 2+ weeks before it does.
  • There will also be a number Havok libraries build in support 64-bit, which will be made available to TPV sub-licensees, but this is unlikely to happen until the Lab starts building 64-bit release candidates.
  • KDU within the viewer is being updated to version 7.9.
  • [08:08] New packaging of the media code and a new version of CEF.
  • The viewer update code will be completely revised.
  • The crash reporting code may be updated.

[11:28] Eventually, the Lab plans to have the viewer available in both 32-bit and 64-bit for Windows, and 64-bit only for Mac OSX and Linux.

For more on Linux, see below.

Voice Updates

[07.18] Updates to Voice should be appearing in a viewer in the next 2(ish) weeks. This will include a new SL Voice plug-in from Vivox which includes a new Opus codec, as well and bug and exploit fixes.

360-Snapshot Viewer

[08:33] Work will resume on this project viewer, version 4.1.3.321712 at the time of writing,  once work on the CEF updates (noted above) have been completed.

Linux and the Viewer

[10:08] Currently, the Lab have not carried out any work on a 64-bit version of the viewer on Linux. However, thought is being given on how to move forward with Linux, and it is hoped that the Lab will have some ideas to put to the TPV / open-source community by the next TPV Developer meeting. It is also hoped that by that time, the Lab will have started work on a 64-bit Linux version of the viewer.

Other Items

The following are covered in brief. please fer to the video for specifics.

New Camera Presets Coming?

[09:14] Jonathan Yap, who has worked on various code contributions for the viewer including, most recently, graphics presets, is working on a new project, which appears to be updating the viewer’s camera persets.

Music Stream Autoplay

[16:45-28:09] A lengthy discussion takes place on music autoplay within the official viewer, and whether or not it should be enabled by default.

  • Having it enabled is seen a off-putting to new users, as it means they can be confronted with loud music playing over their system almost from the moment they log-in, with no apparent way to turn it off. This is seen as possibly causing some to log-off in frustration
  • Having it disabled by default is seen as breaking the shared experience in regions where the creator has specifically included music streaming as a part of the environment
  • The compromise is potentially for the default volume on media to be reduced.

(Note, this discussion also drags on between 29:45-33:50, after the above agreement being reached.)

Click-to-Walk

[28:45] In a similar vein, a request was made to disable click-to-walk, as it has been observed that new users get confused when they find their avatar apparently moving when they haven’t touched their keyboard.  A JIRA on this has been requested.

Group Chat Issues and Group Notice Deliveries

[34:59] Group chat lag become more noticeable over the holiday period. However, the Lab ran a restart of the back-end group chat servers, and this appeared to resolve the majority of issues. If specific groups are still experiencing issues, JIRAs are requested.

[36:49] There are reports that the problem of group notices not always getting through is getting worse. So people don’t get the notice, others get them twice, etc. A JIRA, BUG-40824, has been raised on issues with off-line receipts of group notices as well.

As an aside to this, a fix is in progress t ensure that off-line messages, which may not always get delivered at the next log-in, will be delivered.

Environment Maps, Shiny, Projectors and More

[42:29-end-of-meeting] The end of the meeting centres on a convoluted discussion on the environment map used for the sky, shiny / glossiness, etc. In sort, there is a request for region holders / creators to be able to replace the environment map with a texture of their own choosing. On the plus side, among other things, this could allow things like easier simulation of reflections using projectors. on the negative side, again among other things, it could break a lot of existing content.

Changes to the environment map, providing they can be shown to have specific benefits and do not break existing content, have not been ruled out. However, a specific proposal is really required.

Lumiya 3.3.1: audio controls and Bluetooth headsets

lumiya-logoOn Friday, January 13th, Alina Lyvette released version 3.3.1 of the Lumiya Android client for Second Life and OpenSim.

The release builds on the 3.3 update, which added Voice capabilities to Lumiya, by providing additional audio controls for Voice together with Bluetooth headset support, which are combined in a single easy-to-use UI addition. As well as this, the release includes a number of bugfixes.

The audio controls can be displayed any time that Voice is enabled and about to be used – see my Lumiya 3.3 review for details on how to enable Voice in Lumiya.

With voice enabled, tap on the telephone handset icon as you would to launch a Voice conversation. When the microphone bar is display on your screen either in local chat or as a result of someone accepting your Voice IM request, tap anywhere on the bar except the microphone icon or the X, and the audio controls will be displayed.

Lumiya Voice audio controls

Lumiya Voice audio controls

These comprise three elements:

  • And overall volume slider
  • A toggle button to activate your device’s external speaker
  • A toggle button to direct audio through your Bluetooth headset.

Bluetooth Headsets

Note that for Bluetooth connectivity to work, you will also need to update to the latest Lumiya Voice plug-in app and, obviously,have a Bluetooth headset pair with the device being used to run Lumiya. Once paired and the headset is active, Lumiya will automatically route incoming audio to the headset when you establish a voice call. Should you wish to place the incoming audio on your device’s speaker (and back), use the buttons on the Lumiya audio controls, described above.

Bug Fixes and Minor Improvements

The bug fixes and smaller improvements with this release comprise:

  • A fix for some texture uploads to fail.
  • A fix to prevent camera position being reset when exiting 3D view.
  • Region restart messages and other alerts will now display correctly.
  • Objects will be automatically rezzed under land group when possible.

Feedback

Adding Bluetooth support is an obvious step now Lumiya supports Voice, and while I was unable to test it myself (the only Bluetooth earpiece I have is a good decade old and has lain in a drawer for most of that time, and so unsurprisingly didn’t work when allowed to see light of day), the process appears simple enough.

A number of people have asked me about Lumiya and Bento. As I noted in my last Lumiya review, Alina is working on it, and probably the fairest time frame to put on it is that it will be released when it is ready 🙂 .

Related Links

SL project updates 2017-2/2: Content Creation User Group with audio

The Content Creation User Group has re-formed out of the Bento User Group, and is held at the Hippotropolis Camp Fire Circle. Imp costumes entirely optional :D .

The Content Creation User Group has re-formed out of the Bento User Group, and is held at the Hippotropolis Campfire Circle. Imp costumes entirely optional 😀 .

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group meeting, held on  Thursday January 12th, 2017 at 1:00pm SLT at the the Hippotropolis Campfire Circle. The meeting is chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, etc, are available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Core Topics

  • Bento request from Troy Linden.
  • Supplemental animations that run alongside the main animation (e.g., flapping wings while walking).
  • Possible future project – applying baked textures to mesh avatars.

Bento Request From Troy Linden

Troy Linden is preparing a presentation on Project Bento for an upcoming Second Life meeting within Linden Lab in which he plans to review the project, the interactions with content creators, the benefits this brought to the project, etc. In particular, he would like to demonstrate Bento content people are making and impress on LL’s executives how the project has been received, and how things might be followed-up.

To help with this, he is requesting that anyone with glamour shots of Bento avatars, etc., videos of avatars and Bento items  to contact him via IM to discuss and / or send him what they have (troy-at-lindenlab.com).

Supplemental Animations

Introduced in 2013, llSetAnimationOverride() is one of a series of animation commands keyed directly into the server’s animation states, allowing for faster, smoother animation state changes than with AO systems using the older llPlayAnimation() command. However, llSetAnimation() only allows one animation to be played  at a time for any given state, and this can lead to conflicts when trying to run custom animations as well (see BUG-41048 . An example of this is trying to use llSetAnimationOverride() to walk whilst using an animation to flap wings (below), which causes while the walk, set by llSetAnimationOverride(), to freeze in favour of running the wings flapping, as they are also seen as a locomotion animation.

Vir has identified two possible courses of action to deal with this. The first would be to extend llSetAnimationOverride() to allow “supplemental” animations to run alongside the animation states keyed by llSetAnimationOverride(), effectively allowing them to play together. The other would be to provide a means for people to define their own custom animation states (with associated animations) which the simulator would be able to recognise and handle alongside the existing animations states, rather than having the associated animation conflict with the default animation states.

No decision has been made on which route to take, and Vir is putting together a proposal on approaches, which he’ll put forward at a future meeting.

Applying Baked Textures to Mesh Avatars

This would allow the skin and clothing layers (skin, tattoo, under shirt, shirt, etc., “wearables”) to be directly applied to mesh avatars. In theory, this could be done, and could make it easier to do things like match skins between, say a mesh body and a non-mesh head without having to use applier systems. It could in theory even reduce the complexity of mesh avatars, which currently have to be made up of multiple layers (the so-called “onion meshes”).

 

A further benefit would be for non-human avatars a well. Providing the same UV is used across all elements of an avatar, it could allow creators to offer different pelts  / skins for their animal / creature avatars and, if they make their UV maps available to other creators, allow them to produce things like additional skins.

However, there are problems in proceeding this way.The baking service is capped at a limit of 512×512 texture resolution, which would mean a loss of detail trying to “stretch” such textures over a mesh avatar, which would result in the ability potentially being ignored in favour of using the current “onion mesh” and appliers approach.  It might also mean that wearable layers would be used in non-standard ways (e.g. using a “skirt” layer to apply a skin), which could lead to user confusion (“why am I using a skirt to wear a skin?”) – although this could be overcome by adding further wearable types specific for use with avatar meshes to the system.

An alternative would be to increase the texture resolution for the baking service to 1024×1024. While not entirely ruled out, it does carry with it a set of unknowns as well – what would be the back-end resource hit, could it lead to an uptick in texture trashing issues in the viewer, etc.).

Baking Textures on In-World Mesh and prim Surfaces

Part of the above discussion overlapped with the idea of allowing textures to be baked on arbitrary meshes (thus allowing for compositing, etc).

Vir noted that this would be a far more complex project due to the nature of the baking service, and thus would likely not be considered as a part of making changes to how system wearables might be applied to mesh avatars. However, he is interested in seeing feature requests on how this might be done and the benefits it would bring to SL, and a related JIRA – BUG-7486 – is in the process of being re-opened for comments along these lines.

Other Items

The latest version of Avastar is support of Bento is still undergoing testing. Those using it report it is behaving well, so hopefully a realise won’t be too far off.