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.

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.

2019 SL User Groups 27/1: SUG and Singularity

Blaylock Island; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrBlaylock Islandblog post

Server Deployments

Please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest news and updates on the week’s deployments.

  • On Tuesday, July 2nd, the SLS (Main) channel was updated with server maintenance package 19#19.06.14.528215, comprising internal changes.
  • Due to this week being the 4th July holiday week in the US, there are no deployments planned for the main RC channels for Wednesday, July 3rd These will remain on server maintenance package 19#19.06.14.528215.

SL Viewer

At the time of writing, there have been no official viewer updates to mark the start of the week, leaving the pipelines 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 (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
  • 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.

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 may be initially deployed to the RC channels in week #28 (week commencing Monday, July 8th – although the deployment might be after that week, depending on deploy requirements.
  • Viewer-side tools are to be provided (“after July”) viewing statistics on general script usage across a simulator to help diagnose local problems. These might even include / take the form of a visual indicator, such as the visual object update option (CTRL-ALT-Shift-U).

Singularity Issues

I don’t usually post TPV updates as a part of this report, however, there are two issues affecting Singularity users. In short, these issues can result in a user’s avatar remaining a cloud to them, and may result in other issues. Those experiencing problems are advised to update to the 7640 test version or the 7667 (redo2) version (note the latter link should only be used until such time as a new build (or the 7667 (redo2) build) appears on the Singularity Alpha viewer list.

2019 SL User Groups 26/3: TPV Developer Meeting

Atonement; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrAtonement, May 2019 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, June 28th, 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 are assorted text chat discussions scattered throughout the video covering various topics (e.g. Firestorm code that exposed a viewer setting to show the physics shapes of mesh objects, general discussion of LL hiring, avatar dot colours on the map, and opinions on a “lite” version of the viewer (remember the Basic viewer?), the technicalities of multi-threading, etc). These are not necessarily referenced in the notes below – please refer to the video.

SL Viewer

[1:30-7:00]

Recent Updates

  • As noted in my Content Creation summary, the Bakes On Mesh viewer is once again available with version 6.3.0.528495. This includes:
    • A new inventory icon for the “universal” wearable type.
    • A fix for a serious security issue type of bug.
  • The Love Me Render RC updated on Wednesday, June 26th to version 6.2.4.528505.
  • The Umeshu RC viewer updated on Thursday, June 27th to version 6.2.4.528492.

All of these RC viewer should now have parity with the current release viewer.

Note: at the time of writing, these viewers only appear on the Alternate viewers page; they are not listed on the the index of available viewers.

Viewer Pipelines

The remaining LL viewer list looks like:

  • Current Release version 6.2.3.527758, formerly the Rainbow RC viewer dated June 5th, promoted June 18th.
  • Release channel cohorts:
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.2.3.527749, dated 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 November 29th, 2017 – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, dated May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Additional Viewer Notes

  • Currently the BOM and EEP viewers appear vying for promotion to de facto release status. A new EEP RC is anticipated in early week #27 (commencing Monday, July 1st). It is hoped that both viewers are now functionally ready for release, and that both will go through promotion to release status by the end of July. Of the two, the more likely for promotion first is BOM – but this is not an absolute.
    • [9:40] The potential closeness of BOM and EEP going to release status relative to one another may raise questions within some TPV groups as to how to best handle them (.e.g. individual release or a combined release with both).
  • It is hoped that other projects – notably the texture fetching / texture caching re-write project – can start to be carried forward once more, with project viewers surfacing as a result at some point.
  • If the texture fetching can be improved, the Lab might also look at inventory fetching, although the two are somewhat different. There is already some work going on with the inventory back-end, which could also lead to opportunities to work on the viewer side of inventory handling.
  • [10:55-11:50 and 46:00-47:25] The 360 Snapshot project viewer has been brought up to parity with the current release viewer, and is currently awaiting QA. It should hopefully be returning to the viewer list soon™, and work should resume on the 360 snapshot function itself in the near future.
  • [12:52-14:26] Apple OpenGL deprecation: the Lab is working on a strategy to deal with this, but it is “too soon” for detailed discussion, however, part of it is dependent on the Lab getting an additional graphics engineer hired to work on SL.

Viewer Build Process

An issue with the new viewer build process using Visual Studio 2017 / the latest Xcode has been identified and hopefully rectified. The process will therefore be going to QA. Providing all goes well, the build process will then be deployed to the viewer build farm.

Script Processing Issues

[26:14-26:50]

The simulator updates that will hopefully improve script run time issues (see  BUG-226851 and BUG-227099) mentioned in my Content Creation summary, are unlikely to be deployed until at least week #28 (week commencing Monday, July 8th).

Other Topics

  • [7:01-8:00 and 28:22-29:00] There will be no viewer releases at the end of week #27, nor will there be any simulator RC channel deploys on Wednesday, July 3rd, due to the July 4th break. Similarly, there will be a period at the end of July / start of August with no releases / updates, as the SL team will be having their summer planning summit.
  • {21:15-25:15] iOS companion app: work has started on trying to get the initial test versions through Apple’s test process. It’s not clear how long this will take.
    • As per my summary and audio of Oz and April Linden’s Meet the Lindens session, this will initially be a basic communications app, allowing users to chat to others (users won’t even have an in-world location, per se).
    • Obviously, it is planned to evolve the app over time.
    • It’s not clear if users in-world will be able to discern if a user is on the iOS client.
    • Once the test version is available, iPhone users will require TestFlight on their ‘phones to play with it (hopefully, it should also run on iPads as well, although there may be some configuration differences).
    • Some of the back-end infrastructure the Lab is building is support of the app might be applicable to use with a web application, but that is not on the current plans.
  • [26:53-27:50] The Lab believe they have identified one of the causes of performance collapse when avatars teleport into a region. This is being queued up to be worked on.
  • [28:00-28:18] The latest versions of simulator code changes to help with region crossing and teleport issues should be fully deployed across the grid following the SLS (Main) channel deployment in week #27.
  • [32:00-43:30 – chat] Problems have been reported with ASCII characters used in group names displayed by the avatar tag taking time to correctly display in busy regions, which are notably seen with the Firestorm viewer, but which are proving difficult to reproduce in the official viewer. See: BUG26338.
    • This topic kicked off a length chat discussion that rolled into avatar dot colours on the map, viewer updates for avatar tags, etc.
    • The chat further rolled into a discussion of “why no VR in SL?”. Short answer: performance isn’t consider good enough to deliver a really comfortable VR experience, although non-LL driven tests have continued.
  • Having trouble with texture loading? I could be your system, depending on its age, but it also might be your anti-virus software – try explicitly whitelisting your viewer cache in you AV software and see if that helps.