2019 SL User Groups 12/2: Content Creation summary

Elvion; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrElvion – blog post

The majority of the following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, March 21st, 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.

SL Viewer

  • The long-expected Maintenance RC viewer, code-named Teranino, was released on Wednesday, March 20th. Version 6.1.1.525401, comprising 50+ fixes.
  • The EEP RC viewer updates to version 6.2.0.525395 on Thursday, March 21st. It is felt EEP may have “one or two” further RC updates before it is ready to go to release status.

The rest of the official viewer pipelines remain as:

  • Current Release version 6.1.0.524670, formerly the BugSplat RC viewer February 13th, promoted February 28th 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):
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.1.1.524929, March 6th.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.2.0.524909, March 5th.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17th, 2017 and promoted to release status 29th November – 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.

Environment Enhancement Project – on the Grid

On Tuesday, March 19th and Wednesday March 20th, EEP back-end support was deployed to the SLS (Main channel) and to the Magnum and Cake RC channels, meaning it is now gird-wide.

As EEP handles environment rendering differently to windlight, that can be that at time, viewers without the may rendered skies oddly (e.g. black dots (stars) appearing in daytime skies, the sun may look bigger than it actually should be, and similar). Should this be the case, toggle the Use Region windlight option in your viewer off / on.

Note that if you are using a personally applied windlight or a custom parcel windlight through a viewer like Firestorm, generally speaking, you should see no issues.

Bakes on Mesh

Again, no update, other than a back-end Bake Service update is due (presumably to fix the “black skirt issue”. Once this is deployed, it should allow a resumption in progress with the viewer, which could likely be promoted to RC status.

ARCTan

The ARCTan project to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs in the viewer is still stalled. One concern is that more needs to be done to encourage a greater number of creators to create low impact worn mesh; high impact worn mesh can do much to impact viewer performance, but is currently seen as having little around it to discourage better design. While there are options like the “jelly doll” capability, these are seen as limited in encouraging better content design as the onus is pushed onto other users to determine what they can or cannot see.

ARCTan itself is a difficult set of measures to calculate, as user hardware plays a role in performance (obviously), such as the split between CPU-based and GPU-based computations. As a result, frame times can vary widely. Ergo, more objective measures are required (e.g. triangle counts + surface area for textures, etc.).

Other Items

  • Mesh attachment loading: this is taking appreciable longer, and is particularly noticeable in busy regions, where avatars with a lot of mesh can take what feels like an age to “pull themselves together” (so to speak), although no cause has yet been identified. Vir Linden has been leading work to look into this.
  • Animesh follow-on: the focus is still on allowing body parts in the inventory of an Animesh to be used to customise the skeleton of the Animesh.
  • Creator requests: Vir asked a general question on things creators may be seeing a blockers to developing new content and what they would like to see to overcome these blockers. The feedback included:
    • More script functions.
    • Replacing appliers with an inventory based solution and a Bakes on Mesh follow-on.
    • Extending the existing constraints in the animation format to be a full Inverse Kinematics system.
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2019 SL User Groups 12/1: Simulator User Group

The Missing Whale; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrThe Missing Whaleblog post

Server Deployments

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

  • On Tuesday, March 19th, the SLS (Main) channel was updated with server maintenance package 19#19.03.07.525089. Previously deployed to BlueSteel and LeTigre, this update contains:
    • Internal fixes.
    • The Environment Enhancement Project code and all bug fixes for it.
  • On Wednesday, March 20th, the server RC channels should be updated as follows:
    • BlueSteel and LeTigre will remain on server maintenance package 19#19.03.07.525089.
    • Magnum will update to server maintenance package 19#19.03.15.525315, containing:
      • The new operating system update.
      • The Environment Enhancement Project code and all bug fixes for it.

These deployments will mean that server-side support for EEP will be grid-wide. However, the viewer is still at RC status and awaiting some final updates (including the Chrome / Chromium / CEF) fix noted below). The version with the fixes is due to go to the Lab’s internal QA later on March 19th.

SL Viewer

There have been no official viewer updates at the start of the week, leaving the current pipelines as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.1.0.524670, formerly the BugSplat RC viewer February 13, promoted February 28. No Change.
  • 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.

Chrome and Chromium Exploit

As noted in my TPV Developer meeting summary, an exploit within Chrome / Chromium which affects all versions except the very latest, 72.0.3626.121. This is being addressed by Linden Lab, but it will take time for the patch to filter out to all viewers – both the Lab’s own and TPVs (note that neither the Linux Spur viewer and the obsolete OS viewer will not be updated with a patch to fix this issue).

In the meantime, the current internal SL web browser is potentially vulnerable; do not use it to browse non-LL websites on it, and avoid using media on a prim from untrusted sources.

Inventory Maintenance

There will be a period of scheduled inventory maintenance between 05:00 and 07:00 SLT on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019:

During this time, residents may have issues with any inventory related activities including building, logging in, as well as avatar and object rezzing. Please refrain from rezzing in-world, in addition to transacting in-world, on the Marketplace, or on the Lindex during this time.

– SL Grid Maintenance notice

2019 SL User Groups 11/3: TPV Developer Meeting

Forest of Astray; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrForest of Astrayblog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, March 15, 2019. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. Time stamps are provided to the major topics of discussion, which will open the video in a new tab for ease of reference.

There was a lot of general text chat during the meeting, there these notes are purely a summary of the key discussion points likely to be of interest to most users.

SL Viewer

[3:47-5:35]

There have been no SL viewer updates this week, leaving the current pipeline as:

  • Current Release version 6.1.0.524670, formerly the BugSplat RC viewer February 13th, promoted February 28th 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):
    • EEP RC viewer version 6.1.1.525044, March 7th.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.1.1.524929, March 6th.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.2.0.524909, March 5th.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17th, 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 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Updates to the RC viewer have been delayed due to “some small problems” being revealed when the viewers were updated with a security update to  Chrome and Chromium), which affects all versions except the very latest, 72.0.3626.121. This is being addressed by Linden Lab, but it will take time for the patch to filter out to all viewers. In the meantime, the current internal SL web browser is potentially vulnerable; do not use it to browse non-LL websites on it, and avoid using media on a prim from untrusted sources.

In addition, EEP, EAM and Bakes on Mesh are all awaiting server-side updates, with EEP apparently being deployed to the rest of the grid in week #12 (Magnum and SLS).

Attachments Detaching

[9:28-20:50 (including a lot of text chat)] : Linden Lab is getting some “large-scale” testing done on attachments detaching (e.g. after a teleport or following region crossings).

  • Some of the tests have involved region crossings carrying more than the permitted number of attachments, and data from these experiments is still being gathered.
  • It has apparently proven difficult to consistently reproduce issues, which has delayed data gathering and investigation.
  • Part of the issue seems to still be wearing to many items on a single attach point (mesh items are particularly susceptible to this due to many creators simply utilising the default right hand attach point for their clothing, etc., rather than rigging to alternates).
  • Some have pointed to stressed (i.e. those bring over-used by avatars and scripted objects – such as busy shopping event regions) can exacerbate the issue, which could be the result of messages to / from the viewer being lost.
  • Others have suggested the issue is related to the complexity of attachments (visual and scripting).
  • Some testing by users has suggested that it a result of kill messages being received during multiple region crossings (e.g. an avatar crosses from region A to region B and then to region C, and gets missing attachments after crossing into C as a result of a kill message being received from region A causing the viewer to think something has been detached).

In Brief

  • [20:53-28:07 (including text chat)] Inventory Requests During Log-In: the viewer has a series of tags related to inventory requests that are used during the log-in process. LL has asked TPVs to check on to see if they have made any changes to how the tags are used, as changes may be coming as an overall part of the project to improve inventory robustness.
  • [32:16-32:40] Group  tag change/group role change throttle: the is currently a means for users to change their group tag and role rapidly using RLV/a scripting. However, this can put enormous strain on server-side services. Because of this, LL are introducing a server-side throttle on requests to change group tag information, and it appears likely that this will be deployed in week #13 (commencing Monday, March 25th, 2019).
  • [33:08-37:15] Video playback issues:
    • Autoplay of You Tube videos within the viewer appears to be broken, and a check on recent server changes will be made to see if there is anything in particular that might be responsible.
    • There are no plays for further Chrome Embedded Framework (CEF – media playback) updates until after the work on updating the viewer build process to Visual Studio 2017 has been completed.
    • It is possible that after the VS2017 upgrade, the Lab may be able to re-enable codec support for playback of MP4 format videos – although there is no time frame for this happening at present.

2019 SL User Groups 11/1: Simulator User Group

Chesapeake Bay; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrChesapeake Bayblog post

Server Deployments

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

  • There was no deployments to the SLS (Main) channel on Tuesday, March 12th, leaving it on server maintenance package 19#19.01.25.523656. Regions on the channel were, however, restarted.
  • On Wednesday March 13th, the RC regions should be updated as follows:
    • The BlueSteel and LeTigre RCs should receive a further EEP  update with server maintenance package 19#19.03.07.525089.
    • The Magnum RC channel should remain on server maintenance package 19#19.01.25.523656, comprising internal fixes. Region on that channel should, however, be restarted.

SL Viewer

  • The Environmental Enhancement Project RC viewer updated to version 6.1.1.525044 on March 7th.
  • The Love Me Render RC viewer updated to version 6.1.1.524929 on March 6th.

These updates bring these viewers to parity with the release viewer. The rest of the SL viewer pipeline remains as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.1.0.524670, formerly the BugSplat RC viewer February 13, promoted February 28 New.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.2.0.524909, March 5.
  • 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.

Environment Enhancement Project Notes

The meeting suggested a few misconceptions / misunderstandings with the EEP project. While I plan to have an in-depth tutorial on the subject available shortly (with the very welcome assistance of Rider Linden), it’s worth making a few points here:

  • As is widely known, EEP makes in possible for region / estate holders and parcel holders to apply EEP settings to their land (subject to region / estate level permissions, in the case of parcels).
  • However what may not be more widely recognised is that EEP also allows environment settings to be directly applied to your own avatar. When this is done, the applied settings will override any in-world settings when seen in your own viewer. This means for example:
    • Aviators can apply an environment to themselves and experience that environment across multiple regions / parcels where they might otherwise encounter multiple environments affecting their viewer during their flights.
    • Photographers can easily apply their preferred settings when taking photos no matter where they are.
    • Once applied, setting will apply until either you re-log (local settings do not persist across sessions) or you set your viewer to use shared settings (i.e. those of regions/estates and parcels).
  • Further, there are some 15 LSL commands that can be used with EEP. The majority of these can be used without restriction; however two of them – llReplaceAGentEnvironment and llSetAgentEnvironment must be used in an experience.

The Question of Script Load III

At the last two SUG meetings (March 6th  and February 27th), there were reports that the percentage scripts run seems to be falling across Mainland without a noticeable increase in script count. If true, this would indicate something is going wrong. However, making an evaluation of possible causes is difficult, and there have been requests to make some of the script-related monitoring available at region / estate level more accessible. A feature request on this has now been raised – see BUG-226501.

2019 SL User Groups 10/1: Simulator User Group

The Four Villages; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrThe Four Villagesblog post

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

  • There are no planned deployments to the SLS (Main) channel or the three major RC channels, these sees all four remain as follows:
    • The SLS Main channel remains on server maintenance package 19#19.01.25.523656.
    • The BlueSteel and LeTigre RCs remain on EPP server maintenance package 19#19.02.27.524820.
    • The Magnum RC channel remains on server maintenance package 19#19.01.25.523656, comprising internal fixes.
  • The current small Cake RC on Agni that is being used to iron out some transient network issues with the newest server operating system update, should receive an updated on Wednesday, March 6th, 2019.
    • There are reports that teleporting out of regions on Cake can result in a viewer disconnect.

SL Viewer

The EAM RC viewer updated to version 6.2.0.524909 on Tuesday, March 5th, 2019.

The rest of the SL viewer pipeline remains as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.1.0.524670, formerly the BugSplat RC viewer February 13, promoted February 28 New.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • EEP RC viewer version 6.0.2.524683 released on February 27.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.0.2.523177, January 16.
  • 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.

The Question of Script Load II

The subject of script and script run time returned. As notes in my previous SUG meeting summary, there are some reports that the percentage scripts run seems to be falling across Mainland, without a noticeable increase in script count, which if true, would indicate something is going wrong. Speaking at this week’s meeting, Oz Linden indicated that the Lab hasn’t done anything to their knowledge that should impact script performance. One theory is that child agents could be causing issues (see BUG-225729, BUG-226298).

As also noted in the previous meeting notes, there have been requests to make Top Scripts in a region visible to parcel holders, as well as estate owners / managers. It has been pointed out that this could result in privacy / drama issues and add to simulator processing loads. A compromise idea suggested this meeting would be for parcel owners  to see script time for in-world scripts be aggregated by parcel; this would allow people to have (hopefully friendly) words with neighbours if they see issues. A request has been made for this idea to be submitted as a feature request.

Oz Linden also indicated that allowing users see their own script usage through the viewer UI is on the roadmap.

 

2019 SL User Groups 9/3: TPV Developer Meeting

Provincial Life; Inara Pey, February 2019, on FlickrProvincial Lifeblog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, March 1st, 2019. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. Time stamps are provided to the major topics of discussion, which will open the video in a new tab for ease of reference.

There was a lot of general text chat during the meeting, there these notes are purely a summary of the key discussion point likely to be of interest to most users.

SL Viewer

[0:44-4:48]

As noted in my CCUG Summary for the week:

  • The BugSplat RC viewer, version 6.1.0.524670, was promoted to de facto release status on Thursday, February 28th.
    • This has resulted in breakage for some open-source builds, and the Lab will be accepting patches to correct this, providing the patches do not interfere with the BugSplat changes.
    • There will likely be further fine tuning of the BugSplat code to assist with the reports generated.
  • The EEP viewer was promoted to RC status with the release of version 6.0.2.524683 on Wednesday, February 27th.

The remaining viewer in the pipelines remain as follows:

  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.1.0.524240, dated February 22nd.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.0.2.523177, dated January 16th.
  • Project viewers:
  • 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, dated May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

The EAM viewer requires a further simulator update, and there will be further simulator updates / deployments for EEP (which is not yet grid-wide).

The new Maintenance RC viewer – code-named Teranino (after the Croatian liquer) – has been delayed while it is being merged up to the BugSplat release. Among other things, this RC will have numerous crash fixes in it.

Also as noted in my CCUG summary, the Bakes on Mesh viewer is awaiting a Bake Service update. Once that has been deployed, the viewer will likely be promoted to RC status.

Asset UDP Messaging Deprecation

[4:54-6:08] The simulator update to remove the remaining Asset UDP messaging was delayed as a result of the week #9 deployments having to be deployed. The initial deployment of the changes will, I believe, be made to the Magnum RC channel.

As these updates are deployed the current Obsolete Platform viewer and the Linux Spur viewers will be increasingly unable to receive asset data – including avatar shapes, meaning avatars used using them will appear as clouds. These viewers will not be updated to render avatars, and will not be updated to enable them to do so.

In Brief

  • [22:29-22:52] Texture memory caching: this work is stalled at present, but LL hope to resume the work soon.
  • [23:12-23:35] Visual Studio 2017 update: “Good progress” is being made on the shift to using VS 2017 in the viewer build process, and it is hoped tested on the updated build process can commence in a few weeks.
  • [28:38-28:48] Avatar attachment issues: the issue of attachments belonging to other avatars randomly appearing to be briefly attached to your screen when logging-in to / teleporting to busy regions is thought to be the result of a race condition, with the viewer receiving object data for attachments before it gets the necessary avatar / attachment point data. While the problem does correct on receipt of the latter, LL are continuing to investigate.
  • [7:06- 19:23 – mainly in text chat] NiranV Dean (Black Dragon viewer) believes he has noted two performance improvement areas:
    • A means to prevent fps collapse when edit-selecting rigged mesh. He has offered to set up a repository so his ideas on this can be examined.
    • A means to reduce the number of getChild calls generated when using tools such as the Edit window (some TPVs may have already implemented fixes to reduce these calls).
    • Using sliders to make changes to glow and transparency (and possibly to materials – e.g. shine and glossiness, although the workflow here would be more complicated) to reduce the number of callbacks being made.
    • There is a willingness at the Lab to look at his ideas, once they’ve been submitted  / made available.
  • [29:38-31:31 (and beyond in chat)] General discussion on avatars appearing to float above platforms floors at altitude. In short, this is nothing to do with further height offset issues, but likely the result of floating point precision options (the same issues that can lead to things like “prim drift” when building at altitude). Any attempt to redress this could be a major project, if not a fundamental change in how the simulator works.
  • A presence of the Singularity team at the meeting led to suggestions a release for that viewer might be somewhere on the horizon.