March 2021 SL Web User Group summary

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes are taken from my recording of the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021. These meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the SL public calendar.

When reading these notes, please keep in mind:

  • This is not intended as a chronological transcript of the meeting. Items are drawn together by topic, although they may have been discussed at different points in the meeting.
  • Similarly, and if included, any audio extracts appearing in these summaries are presented by topic heading, rather than any chronological order in which they may have been raised during the meeting (e.g. if “topic X” is mentioned early in a meeting and then again half-way through a meeting, any audio comments related to that topic that might be included in these reports will be concatenated into a single audio extract.

Web Properties Updates

  • General post-Uplift work is continuing, much of it internal to the Lab. This means that it is likely to still be a while before new features and capabilities (including the Marketplace) start to be worked on again, although issues will continue to be addressed.
  • Name Changes: the next refresh of Last Name options will likely be in June 2021, around the time of the Second Life birthday. This should also see the list of last names put into alphabetical order.
  • As noted in my UG meeting summaries in week 8, the Land Store was re-enabled after encountering post-AWS transition issues. Further problems were encountered over the last weekend of February 2021, but is believed these have now been fully resolved.
  • A new link has been added to the secondlife.com home age + related pages. T-shirts and Gifts will take people directly to the Lab’s physical world merchandise store hosted by Red Bubble.
The new link to the SL / LL merchandise on Red Bubble can be found in the footer of secondlife.com and associated pages.
  • There have been non-user visible updates to the back-end of the communities services pages, and the World API has been updated to correct an issue with information being fed to the viewer splash screen.

Marketplace

  • A lot of work has been put into the Marketplace back-end systems.
  • This work includes:
    • Correcting the delivery delay issues that were being encountered.
    • Fixing a 404 error appearing on some pages.
    • Fixing a error with store managers being unable to open the correct management page.
    • Correcting the need for Support to clear Unavailable Item errors.
    • Updates to the French language pages.
    • Fixing an issue with new users being unable to log-in to the MP.
  • MP updates used to be published to the forums, but it has been suggested making them available more as release notes might be beneficial. This will be looked into.
  • BUG-230262 “Marketplace Website Bug/Error” causes people to be randomly logged-out of various web properties (notably the Marketplace). It is not clear if this is related to single sign-on confusion or a problem that is more generic or browser-specific.
  • It has been suggested that reviews on MP purchases be subject to a timed delay (e.g. you cannot leave a review for, say 24 or 48 hours following an MP purchase), to allow the purchaser time to contact the creator in the event of problems / confusion, etc., and act as a deterrent against bad reviews airing from simply misunderstandings, etc. The Lab have requested this be made as a formal feature request so that it can be properly reviewed / considered.

Single Sign-On

  • Single sign-on is now in place across many of the Lab’s web properties.
  • This means users with multiple accounts cannot have different accounts signed-on to these pages at the same time.
  • See Single Sign On, Coming Soon for more.
  • This should not be confused with Two-Factor Authentication (2 FA), which is still in development / discussion and no deployment date is currently available.

Premium Plus

  • Roll-out of Premium Plus was delayed in 2020 for a number of reasons, including the AWS migration work and the impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
  • The feature is currently being re-evaluated, including whether it should be rolled-out as originally planned.
  • In addition, further work may be required as a result of the migration work.
  • In short:
    • Work on the feature will be resumed in due course.
    • There is no identified date for when this might be, or when roll-out may commence.

Mobile Client

  • iOS Version:
    • Issues resulting from the last round of Apple Store testing (apparently related to how chat / communications are handled) have been addressed.
    • These fixes are currently subject to internal testing at the Lab. Providing this is successful, the app will be passed back to Apple for further testing at their end.
    • It is hoped the latter will occur towards the end of March 2021.
  • Android:
    • Develop is still behind that of iOS.
    • However, the Lab now has devices to allow internal testing of the Android flavour of the app, although it will still be a while before anything becomes visible for users to test.

In Brief

  • User-created grid-wide experiences are still on the cards, but again, the capability is not being worked on at present, and there is no available time frame on when work will resume nor any indication of potential deployment.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, April 7th, 14:00 SLT.

2021 SUG meeting week #9 summary

Ambient Hideaway, January 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting.

Server Deployments

Please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest news and updates.

  • Tuesday, March 2nd saw a rolling restart of servers on the SLS Main channel as a refresh, but no deployment.
  • Wednesday, March 3rd should, if the notes are comments have been understood, see the following:
    • Server update 2021-02-17.556138 will be deployed to the Oranges RC channel (formerly part of the BlueSteel channel said).
    • “A couple more region tests” (per Rider Linden) planned for LeTigra and Magnum.
  • In addition, a fourth mini-RC channel, called Ferrari has been set-up.

Restarts are described as still having the kinks worked out within the new environment.

SL Viewer

On Tuesday, March 2nd, the Simple Cache project viewer, version 6.4.14.556088, dated February 22nd 2021, was promoted to de facto release viewer.

The rest of the current pipelines remain as:

  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.14.556118, February, 23, 2021.
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7, 2021.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

In Brief

  • “Good progress” continues to be made on fixing the Map tile update issue, including the map stitching when zooming out (which was seen as the last problem to be resolved), but there is still no date as to when a fix may be deployed.
  • An extensive discussion took place regarding a delay in scripts starting in rezzed objects which can be variable for reasons unknown – other than the fact the delay seems to be minimal when a region has been recently restarted, but grows in time to 2-3 seconds the longer the region is up. However, the delay does not appear to relate to the usage of the region or its complexity (scripted objects within it).
    • Some appear to believe the delay is related to changes made in 2019 to try to improve script performance in general (and thus can be “easily fixed”).
    • Others have suggested the issue could be the result of some for of throttle being triggered.
    • The problem is having something of a “knock-on” effect in that some users have taken to pre-rezzing items and having them in an alpha / transparent mode around their avatar until needed – which is impacting region performance further.

2021 SUG meeting week #8 summary

Beneath a sky created by Whirly Fizzle, people gather to say farewell to Oz Linden ahead of his retirement (see below)

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, February 16th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting.

Server Deployments

please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest news and updates.

  • Tuesday, February 23rd: no deployment to the SLS Main channel.
  • Wednesday, February 24th: all RC channels should receive server release 556138 (or a variant thereof). This release was originally deployed to the Apples test RC channel, and contains performance optimisations and internal fixes.
An Omnibus of Oz’s: to mark Oz Linden’s coming departure, several people – including Whirly Fizzle (l) and Alexa Linden (r) and Kyle Linden (pictured) – attended his farewell party as lookalikes. That’s the real Oz in the middle, seated on the Iron Throne.

SL Viewer

  • On Monday, February 22nd, the Simple Cache viewer updated to version 6.4.14.556088 (dated February 19th).
  • On  Tuesday, February 23rd, the Love Me Render (LMR) 5 viewer updated to version 6.4.14.556118, February.

The rest of the current pipelines remain as:

  • Current release viewer: Project Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 6.4.13.555567 and dated February 5th, 2021, promoted February 17th.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7th.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26th.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9th, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22nd, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16th, 2019.
At its peak, the farewell party for Oz Linden saw around 60 people in attendance.

In Brief

There wasn’t really a meeting, and for a special reason: as he announced earlier in February, Oz Linden, the Lab’s Vice President of Engineering, is retiring at the end of the month with Friday, February 26th marking his last day with Linden Lab.

As such, the meeting was given over to a farewell party, with around 60 people in attendance. I  managed to get a few shots of the event, as shown here. For those interested, I wrote something of a look back at Oz’s time at the Lab in Oz Linden announces his forthcoming departure from Linden Lab.

2021 TPVD meetings week #7: summary

Eulennest, January 2021 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, February 19th, 2021.

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

The latter two-thirds of the meeting included a large amount of local text chat related to VRAM and texture handling. Please refer to the video for details.

End of an Era

[0.00-1:06]

As I recently blogged, Oz Linden, who initiated the TPVD meetings and who has, with the exception of when he’s been on vacation, chaired them is departing the Lab for retirement on Friday, February 26th (see: Oz Linden announces his forthcoming departure from Linden Lab). As such, this marked the last TPVD meeting he would attend, with – I believe – Vir Linden now set to carry them forward.

Given this, Oz had a few words to say to the TPV community at the start of the meeting:

 I want to say that working with the third party viewer community has been  – I mean this is how it started for me, and it has been a theme throughout, and it has been a very great pleasure working with all of you. It’s really been terrific, and thank you. Thank you for making me look good, and thank you for all you contribute to this really impactful and fun product.

SL Viewer News

[1:21-2:52]

  • Current release viewer: Project Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 6.4.13.555567 and dated February 5, 2021, promoted February 17.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.13.555871, February, 18, 2021.
    • Simple Cache project viewer, version 6.4.13.555641, February 16, 2021.
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7, 2021.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

Project Jelly Viewer

This viewer essentially improves the rendering of Jelly Doll avatars.

  • Originally introduced in 2015 (and with various improvements since) as a means to allows users reduce the avatar rendering load on their systems by having any avatars around them that exceed a certain complexity value (set via a slider) render as a solid colour and minimal detail.
  • There have always been a number of issues with the manner in which these avatars are rendered. For example: the colours used have been seen as intrusive so users often avoid the capability, while there have also been technical flaws such as the original code. attempting to render all of a Jelly Doll avatar’s attachments, defeating the intent of the code.
  • As a result, the Project Jelly viewer improves things by both rendering avatars as simplified grey humanoid shapes, and by not making any attempt to render attachments.
  • In addition it also improves to how avatar imposters are rendered and updated.
  • These improvements should result in demonstrable improvements in view performance in environments where there are a large number of avatars and the capability is sensibly used.

General Viewer Notes

  • Of the RC viewers, all three appear to be in good shape for promotion as the next de facto release viewer, although no decision has been taken on which will be promoted next.
  • At the CCUG meeting, some users expressed a preference to see the Love Me Render 5 viewer promoted next, but there is no commitment to this being the case, as promotions are governed by stability / crash rates.
  • A new Maintenance RC view is anticipated as appearing soon.

In  Brief

  • [12:36-14:09] Viewer rendering:
    • There are still no firm decisions as to how the viewer rendering API will be handled in the move away from OpenGL. for the most recent information I have on this, please see my February 5th CCUG meeting notes.
    • As per my February 18th CCUG meeting summary, the current focus is on bug fixes and UI performance improvements.
    • Other proposed UI work is related to the new user experience and making the viewer easier for new users to get to grips with the viewer.
  • [15:20-18:00] Chrome Embedded Framework (the media handler used by the viewer) will cease supporting Windows hardware that is pre SSE3 (2004). It is believed that few (if any) Sl users are running systems old enough to be affected by this – and if they are, they are liable to have more issues than simply losing their media playback capabilities.
  • Firestorm has entered a QA cycle in preparation for what will be something of a maintenance release with a focus on closing the gap between it and the more recent Lab viewer code releases. It is hoped this will be the first in a more regular cycle of 3-monthly releases.

2021 CCUG meeting week #7 summary

White Binemust, December 2020 – 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, February 18th 2021 at 13:00 SLT.

These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, with dates available via the SL Public Calendar, and the venue for meetings is the Hippotropolis camp fire.

SL Viewer

  • Project Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 6.4.13.555567 and dated February 5th, 2021, was promoted to de facto release status on Wednesday, February 17th.
  • The Love Me Render 5 (LMR 5) viewer was promoted to Release Candidate status on Thursday, February, 18th, 2021 with the issuing of version 6.4.13.555871.

The rest of the current pipelines remain as:

  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Simplified Cache viewer, version 6.4.13.555641, February 16, 2021.
    • Custom Key Mappings viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7, 2021.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

Jelly Doll Viewer

This viewer essentially improves the rendering of Jelly Doll avatars.

  • Originally introduced in 2015 (and with various improvements since) as a means to allows users reduce the avatar rendering load on their systems by having any avatars around them that exceed a certain complexity value (set via a slider) render as a solid colour and minimal detail.
  • There have always been a number of issues with the manner in which these avatars are rendered.  For example: the colours used have been seen as intrusive so users often avoid the capability, while there have also been technical flaws such as the original code. attempting to render all of a Jelly Doll avatar’s attachments, defeating the intent of the code.
  • As a result, the Project Jelly viewer improves things by both rendering avatars as simplified grey humanoid shapes, and by not making any attempt to render attachments.
  • In  addition it also:
    • Improves to how avatar imposters are rendered and updated.
    • Ensures avatars and any Animesh attachment(s) they may have are updated in the same frame.
  • These improvements should result in demonstrable improvements in view performance in environments where there are a large number of avatars and the capability is sensibly used.

Project Muscadene (Animesh Follow-On)

Project Summary

Currently: offering the means to change an Animesh size parameters via LSL.

Current Status

  • Still officially on hold.
  • Unlikely to be resumed in the near-term as it requires simulator-side work and the engineering team is currently engaged in post-Uplift work.

Viewer Rendering

  • With LMR 5 at RC status, the focus has moved more to performance related work.
  • One element of this is Euclid Linden’s work to break out UI rendering from general scene rendering and reduce the amount of time rendering the former, as it updates a lot least frequently than the rest of the scene. This should help improve general viewer performance.
  • Ptolemy Linden is similarly engaged in rendering performance improvements and is also working on bug fixes, some of which are likely to to be included in the next LMR viewer update.

In Brief

Animesh LI Cost

  • There is still concern that the basic LI “cost” for Animesh is still too high, coupled with the view that there is not any sufficiently clear explanation of how impact costs are arrived at.
  • Vir acknowledged more could be done to make information more available – it currently requires digging into the object information floaters, something users may not always be aware of.
  • It was also indicated that until sculpties receive an LI impact reflective of their rendering complexity, there will remain a preference among some creators to continue to use them and alpha flipping (which can be performance intensive).

General

  • The Lab has an internal proposal for updating terrain textures, but it has yet to be formally adopted.

Date of Next Meeting

  • Thursday, March 4th, 2021.

2021 SUG meeting week #7 summary

The Isle of Elar, December 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, February 16th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting.

Server Deployments

At the time of writing,  this is yet another week without published release notes. However, there was no deployment to the SLS Main channel on Tuesday, February 16th, leaving it on simulator release 555570.

Simulators on the BlueSteel channel are due to be subject to “some experiments” – one of which apparently involves splitting up the simulators currently on that channel into smaller channels.  It is not anticipated that any of these experiments will have any user-visible impact.

Mazidox Linden also indicated that the LeTigre deployment channel may also be subject to being split into smaller channels, although this has yet to be confirmed.

The aim of this work is to hopefully to make it easier to tune groups of simulators for better performance on their underlying servers, with Oz Linden noting:

We have many more possible system types than we had before… we picked one for the initial uplift, but there are lots of others and many configuration options…. finding the best combinations requires lots of experimentation.

SL Viewer

The Simplified Cache viewer, which incorporates a replacement for VFS caching, was promoted to Release Candidate status on Tuesday, February, 16th, 2021 with the issuing of version 6.4.13.555641.

The rest of the current pipelines remain as:

  • Current release viewer Dawa Maintenance RC Viewer, version 6.4.12.555248, dated January 25, 2021, promoted February 1st, 2021 – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Project Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 6.4.13.555567, February 5, 2021.
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7, 2021.
  • Project viewers:
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.12.553511, issued on January 7, 2021.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

In Brief

What does it look like when Second Life is lagging (or otherwise performing poorly) for you. What does it look like when Second Life is performing well?

This rather open question was asked by Mazidox Linden in an attempt to gain as wide a view as possible response – be it about “lag” that might be more directly attributable to viewer-side activities (e.g. rezzing / rendering, which are down to the viewer and may be using data already locally cached), or which are dependent on network connectivity or which may be attributable to definable viewer / server interactions (e.g. drops in general performance when the viewer receives the data relating to an avatar arriving in a region, slow script processing, etc.). From this, it is hoped a more detailed breakdown of server-side impacts for which metrics can be obtained can be drawn up.

It has been noted that some timing appear to be “off”. Examples include:  landmarks failing to refresh, SLurl failing to copy correctly, through to issues of attachment load with RLV that sees the latter engage before all of the former have properly loaded in the viewer). LL are not aware of any Uplift changes that may have caused this (although some – such as the RLV issue were known to exist prior to Uplift).

Land Store – the recent Land Store issues (non-availability of new regions) appears to be down to assumptions made prior to Uplift that “didn’t hold up”, resulting in the need for a back-end bug fix. In the meantime, regions can be obtained by filing a ticket with Support.

The next SUG meeting – Tuesday, February 23rd – will be a farewell party for Oz Linden, who is retiring from the Lab on Friday, February 26th – see: Oz Linden announces his forthcoming departure from Linden Lab.