2019 SL User Groups 21/2: Content Creation summary

NOLA @ Fairhaven; Inara Pey, April 2019, on FlickrNOLA @ Fairhavenblog post

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, May 23rd 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.

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

  • The Appearance Service change, designed to correctly handle tattoo layer with partial transparency has now passed QA. This corrects a problem where if a tattoo with partial transparency is sent for baking via the new BOM channels without any underlying opaque layer, then the alphas are not correctly resolved.
  • A required simulator change should be deployed “soon”. This includes a means of accessing BOM UUIDs.
    • These were changed in the last back-end update as a result of underlying asset property issues. If there is BOM content using the old UUIDs, this will have to be updated.
    • The simulator update is intended to allow access to the texture UUIDs without having to do so numerically, as is currently the case. This should re-enable the ability to access them via their name abbreviations.
  • The Bakes on Mesh RC viewer updated to version 6.2.3.527418, dated May 23rd.
  • A new bug has been uncovered by the Lab, but at the time of writing, it was unclear if this was related to the Appearance Service or the viewer.

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

  • Graham Linden continues to work on the remaining shader / graphics issues.

Animesh Follow-On

  • Vir continues to work on adding visual parameter support to allow shape adjustments to be made to Animesh.
  • This work has new reached a point where shape updates can be requested, and the messages sent to viewers able to see the Animesh, which then update to display the correct shape.
  • However, there is an issue: the Appearance Service code to set an avatar’s vertical position (and hopefully keep the avatar’s feet on the ground) doesn’t recognise Animesh objects. This therefore needs to be either extended to support Animesh, or emulated purely within the viewer
    • Vir is working to try to emulate the capability within the viewer, but in doing so has uncovered some confusing elements in the way the current code works, which needs to be addressed.
  • It is still likely to be at least two more weeks before the work is suitable to be made available in the project viewer.

In Brief

  • The Teranino viewer, version 6.2.3.527418, introduced  change in how vehicle region crossings are handled.
    • There is now a debug setting that stops movement interpolation by the viewer while the data is passed between regions.
    • How long the pause lasts can be adjusted (the default is 1.00  – which I assume is 1 second, while I assume 0 is no stop.
    • However, there are reports that  if a vehicle is turning or banking, while forward motion stops, the rotation imparts as result of the turn / bank continues (see BUG-226937).
  • There are a couple of viewers in progress that feature open-source contributions. One of these is for profiles behaviour, and the other is related to improvements to the mesh uploader (which I assume is Beq Janus’ excellent work as found in Firestorm).
  • Pivot points with mesh uploads: there has been some viewer-side work to support this, but the work is on hold pending the availability of a resource to work on the required simulator support.
  • Changing animations priorities on-the-fly: this has been a frequent request in the past, intended to allow users to adjust animation priorities rather than having them set at upload.
    • However, the priority assignment capability is deeply baked into the way SL operates, and re-working it to allow on-the-fly changes is seen as a none-trivial project.
    • It is also seen as just one element of the animation system requiring complete overhaul (e.g. there is a need for a pre-load animation capability, a global synch capability, etc.).
    • Any such overhaul brings with it further complications in that it could touch upon the IK system, as such animation system work is not something LL are currently considering, although they have taken a number of Jira feature requests on the subject.
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2019 SL User Groups 21/1: Simulator User Group

Amrum; Inara Pey, April 2019, on FlickrAmrumblog post

Server Deployments

At the time of writing, a deployment thread had yet to be posted however:

  • On Tuesday, May 21st, the SLS (Main) channel on Tuesday, May 14th, leaving regions on that channel on server maintenance package 19.05.10.527185, containing internal fixes.
  • On Wednesday, May 22nd, the three RC channels should be updated with a new server maintenance package, the details of which were still TBA at the time of writing this article.

SL Viewer

  • The Alternate viewer wiki page has now been retired and replaced by a new Alternate Viewers page.
  • The de facto release viewer was updated to version 6.2.2.527338, dated May 20th, formerly the updated Teranino Maintenance RC.

The rest of the current SL viewer channels remain as:

  • Release channel cohorts:
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – 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

  • Teleport Fail Issues: following the last Server User Group meeting on Tuesday May 14th, there was a test of a teleport fix Simon Linden had been working on, and a further test was carried out following this week’s meeting, with Simon Linden commenting:

Last week’s test was really helpful – it showed that one problem seemed to be fixed, but exposed another one that I hope is fixed this week. If it goes well, that new teleport code may go out onto RC channels next week.

  • Teleport Attachment Issues: this is a separate issue to that being investigated by Simon Linden, and which is more related to . there’s no current update on the work being put into fixing this, but as Simon observed in the meeting:

As far as I know, the problems with attachments tend to be with crossings and not teleports … while much of the code is the same, there’s usually a fundamental difference in crossings because you’re already connected to that region before you go there, whereas with teleports you are not … which was part of the big disconnect issue we had before.

  • Script Processing Issues: as reported in my week #18 SUG summary, there have been numerous reports of script run time issues, with some reporting that problems only started occurring following the roll-back on April 18th, 2019. BUG-226851 outlines some of the problems. The Lab are looking into this, but at present there are no updates on the problem.

 

2019 viewer release summaries week #20

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

Updates for the week ending Sunday, May 19th

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 6.2.0.526190, formerly the Estate Access Management RC viewer, dated April 12, promoted April 17 – see my EAM overview for more information.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • EPP RC viewer updated to version 6.2.3.527250 on May 16th.
    • Teranino RC viewer, version 6.2.2.527221, re-issued on May 15th.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer updated to version 6.2.2.527021 on May 13th.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5/V6-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

2019 SL User Groups 20/3: TPV Developer Meeting

Hotel California; Inara Pey, April 2019, on FlickrHotel Californiablog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, May 17th, 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.

There was a lot of inconsequential text chat about Display Names during the meeting, which these notes ignore.

SL Viewer

[00:00-01:47]

The rest of the SL viewer pipelines remain as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.2.0.526190, formerly the Estate Access Management RC viewer, dated April 12, promoted April 17 NEW. – see my EAM overview for more information
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Bakes on Mesh RC viewer, version 6.1.1.525409, March 26 (and not currently recorded on the the new release notes pages)So, a
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – 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.

Emoji Support

[4:00-9:30 – also in text, with broader text discussion on unicode in Display Names]

  • A frequent feature request for Second Life is for emoji support in chat.
  • This is not something the Lab has the bandwidth to support.
  • An invitation has been put out to any open-source developers who would like to pick this up as a project for submission as a viewer contribution on all supported operating systems, the Lab is willing to work with them.
    • Note that this is not a promise that SL will have emoji support soon.
    • If the work is taken up by an open-source developer it will only be for emoji support in chat; it will not include the use of emojis in Display Names.

Group Notices to IM

[19:47-26:44]

  • As per my April 26th TPVD meeting notes, the Lab is considering the possibility of no longer sending group notices to e-mail when a user is off-line.
  • This will only be for off-line group notices. It will not block / change the receipt off-line IMs.
  • The reason for making the change is to help is secondlife.com being regarded as a spam domain by e-mail services.
  • it is hoped that changes being planned to the way SL events work (and which have yet to be formally described / announced) will naturally reduce the need for at least some group messages in the future.

In Brief

  • [13:56-16:12] There is reportedly a viewer crash related to Animesh that is estimated to affect around 2.5% of Firestorm crashes. However, it does not appear to be easy to reproduce (example crash stack).
    • The issue appears related to rideable Animesh and region crossings. In short, when it happens, the Animesh (such as an Animesh horse), existing in the two regions when crossing between them, and for some reason the “wrong one” unloads, causing the viewer to crash.
    • At the time of the meeting, a bug report on the issue had yet to be raised, due to the issues in trying to reproduce the problem, however, it seems to be particularly prevalent in the Bellisseria (Linden Homes) continent – probably because there are a lot of people out and about in that region and using Animesh, rather than the problem being specific to the regions in the continent.
  • [29:20-33:20, with further text discussion on inventory offers and IMs through until close to the end of the meet] It appears that BUG-225696, “All offline inventory offers from scripted objects are lost” still remains an issue for viewers adhering to the off-line IM cap.
  • [34:08-35:20] BUG-41379 “Script (running) state is lost when logged out during forced teleport” – this is a known issue that is being addressed at as a part of a broader project.
  • [51:36-52:20] The Lab still has job openings for a senior graphics engineer and a QA server engineer, both working on Second Life.

New SL viewer release notes pages: an overview

Update, May 21st: The Alternate Viewers wiki page has been retired and replaced by a new Alternate Viewer page, which follows the same broad format as the Release Notes page (making the two slightly confusing, as they both reference recent RC viewers. However, this new page also draws a distinction between RC and project viewers, thus overcoming some of the concerns voiced in the second half of this article.

As noted in my week #20 SL Content Creation summary, Linden Lab have unveiled their new viewer release notes pages.

At the time of writing, the new pages are focused on the release candidate (RC) viewers that are in development and currently available as download cohorts in place of the de facto release viewer. It is not currently clear if project viewers will be included in the new format or not.

As Steven Linden from the viewer team notes in a Tools and Technology blog post on the subject, these new pages are part of a new website for viewer release information. This website comprises a dedicated home page with an introduction to viewer release notes. together with links on the left side to:

  • “Recent viewer releases”: a clickable list of the most recent RC viewer updates, provided as viewer version numbers. These are provided in release date order, with the most recent updates at the top.
  • Additional links to viewer-related support information:
The new Release Notes home page – access specific viewer release notes via the version numbers outlined in red on the left

Individual viewer release notes can be accessed by clicking one of the the listed version numbers, which will open a page specific to that viewer. These pages comprise:

  • Icon links to the available OS versions (Windows 32/64-bit, Mac OS).
  • The general release notes (description, etc.).
  • A list of resolved issues.

A significant change in these pages is that, where relevant, Jira links in the Resolved Issues section now, wherever possible, reference “public” bug reports (e.g. BUG-XXXXXX), rather than the Lab’s internally cloned versions of such bugs (e.g. MAIT-XXXXXX).

Currently, the new pages can also be accessed from the existing Alternate Viewers wiki page, (click the Release Notes link for an RC viewer on that page). However, whether this page will remain relevant if the release notes for project viewers are also converted to the new format, remains to be seen.

An example of the revised release notes for a viewer (in this case the Teranino Maintenance RC) – note the use of “public” Jira numbers where relevant, in the known issues list

The new pages are a lot easier on the eye, although I have a number of reservations at this time.

  • While I understand understand why version numbers are used to reference individual viewers (they are URLs and so can be dropped into the pages without necessarily requiring human intervention), they are less user friendly to those wishing to quickly look-up the specifics on a viewer.
  • The “recent Viewer Releases” lists can include links to multiple versions of a given viewer (at the time of writing, two versions of the EEP and Teranino RC viewers are listed, for example). This might cause a degree of confusion for some users, who may mist he “most recent at the top” arrangement of the list.
  • If project viewers are to be added to these pages, I would hope there will be some form of clearer distinction between them and any listed RC viewers, other than just a top-down list of version numbers, again for ease of user reference.

Related Links

2019 SL User Groups 20/2: Content Creation summary

Grauland; Inara Pey, March 2019, on FlickrGrauland – blog post

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, May 16th 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.

New Viewer Release Notes Pages

The Lab’s RC viewer releases / updates all have shiny new viewer release notes pages on the web. These move the notes away from the old wiki pages, and into a new format that provides:

  • The release notes can be accessed via a new home page, with links to recent SL viewer releases – that is, the current RC viewers.
  • The release notes for a specific viewer, with new icon links to its respective download versions (Windows 64 / 32-bit and Mac OS).
  • There are also links to support information: a new Repositories overview page; an explanation of the viewer version numbering system; a link to the Viewer Support Policy.
  • A significant change is that many of the Jira links in a release page reference the public Jira bug reports, rather than the Lab’s internal MAINT clones. This should make specific bugs addressed in an update more visible to interested users.
  • These pages can also (for the time being at least) be accessed from the existing Alternate Viewers wiki page, when clicking on the release notes link for a specific RC viewer.

 

The new format viewer release notes pages for SL release candidate viewers (using the EEP viewer as an example)

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

  • The EEP viewer updated to version 6.2.3.527250 on Thursday, May 16th. This update should include a number of bug fixes and shader updates that will hopefully improve things “considerably”.
  • Graham Linden continues to work on the remaining shader / graphics issues.

Animesh Follow-On

  • Vir continues to work on adding visual parameter support to allow shape adjustments to be made to Animesh.
  • This work has new reached a point of being able to store visual parameter information relating to Animesh objects, and to be able to send it to viewers.
  • The next stage of the work is to get to get the viewer to understand what it is supposed to do with these messages.
  • Vir hopes to have an internal prototype for this running in the next few days. If successful, this should pave the way towards a project viewer being made available down the road.
    • It will initially focus on using list-based LSL input to set individual shape parameters.
      • These will probably be throttled to prevent over-use (e.g. to prevent the capability being used as a high performance cost alternative to animation).
    • Once this is working that shapes can potentially be added for manipulation.
    • Obviously, this will require simulator updates to be able to support the LSL commands, as well as the updates required for the new message types, etc.

Animesh as NPCs

  • There has been a lot of forum discussion on using Animesh as non-player characters (NPCs).
  • A limitation here is that a decent-looking NPC, suitably clothed and ready for use can too often have a huge LI (into the 100s).
    • Part of the problem is that until Animesh,  is there was no real incentive to optimise rigged mesh, as being worn by an avatar, it never really had a “Land Impact” per se, and a lot of clothing has an “insane” triangle count (e.g. 21,000 for a tank top).
    • As Animesh calculations do try to allow  for the cost of rigged mesh, such high triangle counts are (simply put) converted in LI, driving up the LI for any Animesh character on which it is used.
  • It is hoped that as the ARCTan project comes to pass, it will offer some form of incentive that will encourage those clothing makers who may not consider optimisations to do so, which will help improve things for both Animesh using wearables and also help reduce some of the performance overhead overly complex avatars can cause.
  • Another alternative would be to (at some point) extend Bakes on Mesh to include Animesh objects, allowing them to be clothed using system layers.
  • In the meantime, the suggestions is that those wishing to create NPCs perhaps consider doing so entirely in Blender (or similar), and not rely on using clothing and attachments that might be available in-world as a means of clothing / equipping them.

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 is a simulator change pending. This includes a means of accessing BOM UUIDs.
    • These were changed in the last back-end update as a result of underlying asset property issues. If there is BOM content using the old UUIDs, this will have to be updated.
    • The simulator update is intended to allow access to the texture UUIDs without having to do so numerically, as is currently the case. This should re-enable the ability to access them via their name abbreviations.
  • There is also a further Appearance Service change pending, designed to correctly handle tattoo layer with partial transparency (currently, if a tattoo with partial transparency is sent for baking via the new BOM channels without any underlying opaque layer, then the alphas are not correctly resolved).