2022 SUG meetings week #4: Restart issues +Andrew Linden returns

Hanging Gardens of Babylon, January 2022 – blog post

The following summary notes were taken from the Tuesday, January 18th, 2022 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. The meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and the video is embedded at the end of this summary. Note this summary focuses on the key points of the meeting; where there is something to report, the video should be referred to should full details of the meeting need to be reviewed.

Server Deployments – Main SLS Channel Restart Issue

Despite being updated in week #3 with simulator version – 567269  – and with no RC update available for deployment, the SLS Main channel simhosts went through a restart on Tuesday, January 25th – and ran into a problem, with many regions remaining down for far longer than expected.

  • No detailed explanation for the issue has been given as yet other than, “one of our internal systems got a bit confused about what was started and what needed to be started.”
  • However, the issue was not in any way related to the simulator version itself, so no danger of the improvements it contains being rolled back.
  • Wulf Linden noted that the situation has provided LL with a lot of data that will hopefully allow them to “smooth out the pavement for the future.”

At the time of writing, any deployment to the RC channels for Wednesday, January, 26th was still TBA. Check the Second Life Server section of the forums for any possible announcement.

Available Viewers

This list reflects those official viewers available.

  • Release viewer: version version 6.5.2.567427 – Mac Voice hotfix viewer, January 13 – 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).
    • Maintenance RC viewer, version  6.5.3.567451 issued on January 20th, combining the Jenever and Koaliang Maintenance viewers.
    • The Tracy Integration RC viewer version 6.4.23.563771 (dated Friday, November 5) issued Tuesday, November 9.
  • Project viewers:
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 6.5.2.566858, dated January 5, issued after January 10.
    • Performance Improvements project viewer version 6.5.2.566967, dated December 17.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version 6.4.23.562625, issued September 2.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.

The Return of Andrew (Leviathan) Linden

The first person Philip Rosedale hired when establishing Linden Research (aka Linden Lab) was one Andrew Meadows. As Andrew Linden, he was pretty much the lead engineer for the server side of things, hosting what was the Tuesday Server and Scripting Meeting, (alongside Simon Linden) which later became the Simulator User Group Meeting. Andrew departed Linden Lab at the end of 2013 to join Rosedale at his (then) new venture, High Fidelity Inc.

Following news that High Fidelity had invested in Linden Lab (in what is increasingly looking like an informal merger) and that around seven High Fidelity staff were moving to work on Second Life, I pondered whether Andrew might be among them – and even publicly mused if indeed he would be in a later post on that subject.

Well, turns out he has, but under a new Linden name, that of Leviathan Linden. Appearing at the Simulator User Group Meeting on Tuesday, January 25th as Leviathan, Andrew has some trying to guess (good naturedly) at the reason for the name change – including having forgotten his old password! However, the explanation was simple, as he indicated whilst also noting the areas he’ll initially be working on.

Leviathan was the name I wish I had picked years ago. It seemed like a good pick for a new beginning. I’ll be working on simulator stuff. I’m getting back on my feet by fixing bugs and implementing small features.

Leviathan Linden (formerly known as Andrew Linden)

His appearance at the SUG meeting was positively received, as was the news he’ll once again be working on simulator-related projects. Which just leaves me room to say, “welcome back, Leviathan!”

In Brief

  • Following the reports of teleport disconnects / general region crossing issues, a further Jira has been filed noting recent events – BUG-231683 – in keeping with the request made at the last meeting, and this is now being investigated by members of the QA team.
    • Monty additionally noted other reports on crossings have also been filed and he is digging through them and the associated server-side logs.
  • User testing around BUG-231582 ” [Simplified Cache] Newly rezzed objects are invisible after relog under certain circumstances” suggests the issue is not cache related, but might be related to the Interest List, with it being noted the problem may have surfaced around the time back-end changes were made to the Interest List in preparation for the 360-degree viewer.
  • A question was asked on whether the tools update would impact anything with Key Frame Motion (KFM) behaviour on animations, with it being noted – anecdotally at this point in time – that the moving_end event seems to happen while the animation is still underway. None at the Lab appear to be aware as to why the updated server code should impact animation events, and a bug report has been requested if the issue is found to be reproducible.
  • The latter part of the meeting delving into a discussion involving a future implementation of HTTP/2, updates to libcurl, etc., and issues around them. Again, rather than me mangling things – please refer to the text in the video.

2022 TPV Developer meeting summary, week #3

Lost Dreams, January 2022 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 21st, 2022.

These meetings are generally held every other week.  They are recorded by Pantera Północy, and her video of the meeting is embedded at the end of this report – my thanks to her for allowing me to do so – and it is used with the chat log from the meeting and my own audio recording to produce this summary, which focuses on the core topics discussed.

SL Viewer

[Video: 0:10-7:37]

  • The two Maintenance RC viewers Jenever and Koaliang, have been combined into a single Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.5.3.567451, issued on January 20th.

Important note: the above viewer version has a significant issue that may prevent users on this cohort from logging in. See this report for details. The recommendation is for those wishing to avoid the issue is to download and install the current release viewer (or if experiencing issues, to contact Support and request and inventory fix). 

The rest of the current list of official viewers remains as:

  • Release viewer: version version 6.5.2.567427 – Mac Voice hotfix viewer, January 13.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself).
    • The Tracy Integration RC viewer version 6.4.23.563771 (dated Friday, November 5) issued Tuesday, November 9.
  • Project viewers:
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 6.5.2.566858, dated January 5, issued after January 10.
    • Performance Improvements project viewer version 6.5.2.566967, dated December 17.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version 6.4.23.562625, issued September 2.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • The combined Maintenance RC viewer is likely the next viewer in line for promotion.
  • The Graphics improvements viewer still has some bug to be fixed prior to moving to RC status. In particular, Euclid Linden is working on fixing the frame stall issue resulting from a media texture update. Essentially, if vsync is enabled, then command buffer resources aren’t as unbounded as they are with vsync disabled, resulting in textures copied to it a call to update media textures exhausts all available resources, effectively blocking it until it is flushed, rather than the buffer simply being discarded as is with case with vsync disabled.

Upcoming Feature Work

[Video: 1:30-1:51]

  • Vir re-iterated that 2022 should see the viewer progress with new graphics features.
  • Further performance improvements beyond those currently within the Performance Improvements viewer are in the planning stages.
  • However, nothing is available for open discussion by LL at this point in time.

Animation Override Discussion

[Video: 11:07-52:00]

  • A discussion on improving avatar animations through the use of a cap / reliable messaging between the viewer and the server to directly replace the default server-side avatar animations (walk, run, sit, swim, fly, etc), with custom animations  – as per a scripted Animation Override – but avoiding the need  to use llSetAnimationOverride and scripted HUDs (as is currently the case).
  • See also  BUG-230100.
  • No work is currently planned for this, but interest was expressed in how it might work.
  • Firestorm has such a capability (adopted by some other TPVs), but the implementation isn’t widely favoured.
  • Another suggested option would be to make animations assets that define an animation set (e.g. a “Stand” asset that can be a container for a set of animation stands + the timing for running them + defining if they should be randomly or sequentially played).
  • A further advantage is that as well as removing the need for scripted attachments, it would allow everything to be drive via a viewer UI element, offloading work from the server to the Viewer (and potentially into an off-thread).
  • A problem in using a cap is that the viewer could hit it fairly readily, particularly if cycling through a large set of animated stands, for example.
  • There are also edge cases were scripts may still be required, but these are not inimical to the development of a client-side AO system able to work directly with the server-side animation graph.
  • The discussion lays out the benefits for more of a client-side AO control capability, and I refer you to it for the in-text comment – not that towards the end of the discussion, things turned towards some WIBNIs (as in, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice If the system could dynamically adjust walk speed to avatar size”), although elements like this would require a much more intensive overhaul of the animation system.
  • Please refer to the video for the full text of the discussion.

In Brief

  • [52:32-End] A short discussion on the benefits of LL defining an Area Search.
    • While Firestorm has an Area Search, it tends tow spam an entire region with requests for each individual prim hover properties (and is subject to draw distance and interest list).
    • ObjectNavMeshProperties, however (with changes and a throttle), could provide an alternative and potentially more preferable solution.
    • The core of this discussion is in text, with little input from LL – please refer to the video.
  • It has been reported via the forums that there is Mac OS Monterey performance issue associated with the viewer. At the time of writing, it is not clear how widespread this is or if a bug report has been raised, although the issue appears to be with a Monterrey OS capability, rather than the viewer – please read the forum post for more.

2022 SUG meetings week #3 summary

WQNC, January 2022 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, January 18th, 2022 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. The meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and the video is embedded at the end of this summary. Note this summary focuses on the key points of the meeting; where there is something to report, the video should be referred to should full details of the meeting need to be reviewed.

Server Deployments

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

  • Tuesday, January 18th saw the SLS Main channel updated to server release 567269, comprising a tools update previously deployed to the RC channels.
  • There is no planned deployment for the RC channels set for Wednesday, January 19th, and they will remain on server release
  • 567269.

In terms of the improvements wrought by the simulator updates, LL states that they have seen a considerable performance increase especially with respect to the number of scripts executed per frame, while Monty Linden added:

I’ve written up some release notes. Relevant points:
  • More script code executing may engage more throttles and drive external http services harder than previously.
  • SSL library updates move http-in/out away from sslv3, tls1.0, tls1.1.
  • This release does move the sims story forward a bit. We have seen http-out targets (llHTTPRequest) that only talk sslv3/tls1.0, for example.
  • Login is unchanged. Web properties have their own story.
In theory, some day, we’ll line up all our ingress and egress points and actually be able to tell you what’s going on there.

Available Viewers

This list reflects those viewers available via the first four links in the LL Viewer Resources section, below.

  • Release viewer: version version 6.5.2.567427 – Mac Voice hotfix viewer, January 13 – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself).
    • The Jenever Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.5.2.566860, issued on December 17.
    • The Koaliang Maintenance 2 RC viewer, version 6.5.2.566879, issued on December 17.
    • The Tracy Integration RC viewer version 6.4.23.563771 (dated Friday, November 5) issued Tuesday, November 9.
  • Project viewers:
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 6.5.2.566858, dated January 5, issued after January 10.
    • Performance Improvements project viewer version 6.5.2.566967, dated December 17.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version 6.4.23.562625, issued September 2.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.

In Brief

  • Some are seeing an uptick in disconnects during teleports, prompting an extended discussion (full context in in the video, interwoven with a discussion on pivot points arising from the previous CCUG meeting).  In short:
    • Frustration has been voiced that Jiras have been raised in the past on specific TP issues and “nothing was fixed”.
    • Regardless, LL are still requesting reports with information – who, from, to, exact time – of teleports that fail in a specific way, filed in a timely manner so that the relevant server files can be reviewed for possible clues / causes.
    • It is the specific nature of the failures that is of particular interest to LL, with more than one user reporting them, as Monty Linden noted, also replying to the critique that because “Lindens are in California” (only partially true) “with tiny ping times”:
I want a handful of user events that match their idea of a *specific* type of TP failure and the data so that I can go trawling for insight. As for ping times, this absolutely does colour how lindens understanding networking issues. But I’m in Boston so have poor ping times as well. All TP/region crossing failures are not the same. I want to filter down on a single type – not the rainbow of failures I already know are present.
    • Logs attached to Jiras for these cases do not necessarily need be be captured using the official viewer.
  • The issue of Friends lists failing to load (see BUG-231680) .should be improved / resolved following a (non-simulator) deploy due on Tuesday, January 18th.
  • There has been a noticeable uptick of avatars taking longer to rez / remaining as clouds over the last couple of weeks or so. Some have mistakenly seen this as a simulator issue – although assets come via the CDN. Jiras have been raised on this, and the Lab is looking into matters.

January 2022 Web User Group summary: Premium Plus, Search

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes cover the key points from the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022.

These meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the SL public calendar. A video of the meeting, courtesy of Pantera, can be found embedded at the end of this article (my thanks to her as always!). Again, the following is a summary of key topics / discussions, not a full transcript of everything mentioned.

2022 “Roadmap”

In the 2021 year-end review blog post the Lab issued in December 2021, several projects for 2022 were mentioned, some of which fall wholly or in part under the Web team’s responsibility. Reed Linden used this meeting to discuss some of them, as summarised below.

Premium Plus

  • The Lab has a full list of features and options they would like to include in Premium Plus. However, what is actually delivered (and I assume when / how it is delivered) is still subject to a number of factors.
  • Because of the above, Reed could not offer definitive statements on what “will” be included, only hints to what might be present when the option is rolled out, such as:
    • The potential for a higher amount of free tier than Premium’s 1024 sq m.
    • The potential for specific Marketplace options to the available to Premium Plus subscribers.
    • The potential for reduced upload and other fees (Name Changes?) for Premium Plus.
    • The potential for a high-than-the-current Premium weekly stipend.
  • Also, because the final list of what is to be released is potentially still subject to change, final pricing has yet to be agreed, although it will be higher than the current Premium subscription fees.
    • The current plan is to introduce Premium Plus as “single level” offering at a set fee level (presumably monthly, quarterly, and annual, as per the current Premium). However, functionality has been provided to allow the Lab to offer further levels of “Premium” options, should this prove to be wanted.
    • However, Reed also indicated that Premium offerings might and in an unspecified future become à la carte, allowing users to pick and pay for the options they want.
  • The introduction of Premium Plus will not see any “downgrading” of current Premium subscription benefits or any changes to the current Premium subscription fees.
  • A major question still to be answered by the Lab is how are upgrades / down grades handled (e.g. a user goes from Premium with grandfathered stipend (L$500) to Premium Plus then back down to Premium; does their stipend revert to the current L$300 a week, or go back to the grandfathered amount?).

Search Improvements

  • The “next few quarters” will be focused on an overhaul of Second Life Search, with the aim of “making it work “the way we expect it to work, with all the little features we all as good Internet residents have come to expect from a robust and well rounded search engine”. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Making the search filters more universal and offering more options for searching for things (e.g. such as being able to search for a region through Search → Places in addition to via the World Map).
    • Improving both the relevancy and the ranking of Search results.
  • To achieve this, the Lab has hired in specific experts in Search systems to carry out the work.
  • Specifics on precisely how changes will be made and implemented are currently unclear, as a lot is dependent on further metrics gathering on the way Search objectively functions and then working with the incoming expects to recognise where and how things can be improved.

Marketplace Variants and Performance

  • Described as the “big ticket item” for the Marketplace in 2022, is listing variants
    • This will introduce the ability to have variants (e.g. different colours of an article of clothing) within a single listing – perhaps the single longest-running request for Marketplace functionality, reaching back to beyond the days of Pink Linden.
    • The focus for Quarter 1 2022 (January through the end of March) is on putting in place the back-end support for this, including ensuring all of the required infrastructure is in place to support the functionality.
    • Work will then switch to build-out the user-facing aspects of the capability, with the expectations that new features could start surfacing for users in late spring / early summer, with work then continuing.
  • It has been noted that Marketplace performance can be very variable, depending on overall usage at any given time, and it is hoped that time in 2022 can be allotted to making some performance improvements.

In Brief

  • Another aspect of work that will be continuing through 2022 is the revamp of SL web properties to bring them more into line with the flat design seen within the web search pages, splash and log-in pages, etc.
  • Opening grid-wide experience capabilities to users is still under consideration, as is allowing larger script sizes – although technically, neither of these capabilities are the remit of the Web Team.
  • Marketplace:
    • There appears to be some confusion over the current status of commenting on reviews left on the Marketplace after recent changes. It keep things before, at present, only the seller of an item can leave a comment (reply) to a review of their item; all other changes were rolled back.
    • Marketplace Q&A option: as noted in a couple of past meeting summaries, it has been suggested LL provide a facility where questions concerning products on the MP can be asked and responded to by the seller or those who have purchased the item (similar to the “Customer Questions and Answers” section of many Amazon listing pages).  Precisely how this should look and be managed is to be a topic for discussion at the next WUG meeting.
  • Events (including searching events and how they are presented on the Event page) is also something that has been earmarked for possible work during 2022.
  • Date of next meeting: Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022, starting at 14:00 SLT.

2022 SUG meeting week #2 summary

Florence, January 2022 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, January 11th, 2022 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. The meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and the video is embedded at the end of this summary. Note this summary focuses on the key points of the meeting; where there is something to report, the video should be referred to should full details of the meeting wish to be reviewed.

Server Deployments

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

  • The planned update to the SLS Main channel (comprising the simulator version deployed to the RC channels prior to the end-of-year break) has been pushed by to week #3. Instead, simhosts on the SLS channel were therefore restated without any deployment.
  • Wednesday, January 12th should see all simhosts on the RC channels updated to a new simulator release built – 566406 – using the updated toolset.

Available Viewers

There have been no updates to the current crop of official SL viewers, leaving them as follows:

  • Release viewer: version version 6.5.1.566335, formerly the Cache+ 360 Capture viewer, dated December 7, promoted December 15 – 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).
    • The Jenever Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.5.2.566860, issued on December 17.
    • The Koaliang Maintenance 2 RC viewer, version 6.5.2.566879, issued on December 17.
    • The Tracy Integration RC viewer version 6.4.23.563771 (dated Friday, November 5) issued Tuesday, November 9.
  • Project viewers:
    • Performance Improvements project viewer version 6.5.2.566967, dated December 17.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version 6.4.23.562625, issued September 2.
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 6.4.23.562614, issued September 1.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.

In Brief

  • Bug-225288 “llStopAnimation is stopping all animations on detach instead of only the one specified” has by an issue for more than three years, but user Lucia Nightfire has made an interesting discovery.
  • A core part of the meeting involved LSL / HTTP error returns – please refer to BUG-231657 and the video for details.
  • The second half of the meeting includes a discussion of the Map API and llRequestSimulatorData returning region grid coordinates, per BUG-231443. Again, please refer to the video for further information.
  • The last part of the meeting largely revolves around speculation / opinions on the “avatar expressiveness” feature said to be coming in 2022. However, as the Lab is not in a position to discuss this feature further, I’ll again leave it to the video to cover.

2022 TPV Developer meeting summary, week #1

Pemberley, December 2021 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 7th, 2022.

These meetings are generally held every other week.  They are recorded by Pantera Północy, and her video of the meeting is embedded at the end of this report – my thanks to her for allowing me to do so – and it is used with the chat log from the meeting and my own audio recording to produce this summary, which focuses on the core topics discussed.

SL Viewer

[Video: 0:00-1:28]

There have been no official viewer updates to mark the start of the year, leaving the current crop as:

  • Release viewer: version version 6.5.1.566335, formerly the Cache+ 360 Capture viewer, dated December 7, promoted December 15 – 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).
    • The Jenever Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.5.2.566860, issued on December 17.
    • The Koaliang Maintenance 2 RC viewer, version 6.5.2.566879, issued on December 17.
    • The Tracy Integration RC viewer version 6.4.23.563771 (dated Friday, November 5) issued Tuesday, November 9.
  • Project viewers:
    • Performance Improvements project viewer version 6.5.2.566967, dated December 17.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version 6.4.23.562625, issued September 2.
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 6.4.23.562614, issued September 1.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • The Performance Improvements project viewer is currently going through a round of bug fixing prior to being promoted to RC status. However, no further additions / changes to the existing feature set beyond the fixes are planned.
  • Depending on how things go, it is possible the Performance Improvements viewer may be the next to be promoted to RC status.
  • [2:17-2:30] The Legacy Profiles project viewer is awaiting further server-side updates before proceeding.

Upcoming Feature Work

[1:30-1:51]

  • At the end of 2021, the Lab issued a blog post reviewing the year and offering an overview of some projects planned for release in 2022.
  • Vir indicated that discussion on those projects mentioned in the post (and others?) is still on-going, and that the Lab is not ready to discuss time frames, etc., for any particular feature or release at this point in time.

In Brief

  • Mojo Linden arrived after the meeting had ended, and reiterated that:
    • A focus for the year remains on performance improvements.
    • A key aspect of work as a whole remains improving the entire New User Experience (NUE).
    • He also clearly dodged questions on the specifics of the new “avatar expressiveness”.
  • [3:20-9:50] A general discussion on building the viewer, of interest to viewer devs and self-compilers.