Mesh uploads: more details

Update, May 2017: These requirements have now been replaced. See:  Second Life mesh upload prerequisites revised.

Back at the start of June, we learned that the ability to upload Mesh to SL is to be gated. You can currently take a peek at how this works by going to your Beta (aditi) Grid status page.

Click on the right-pointing arrow next to Account to display your account options, then click on MESH UPLOAD STATUS (located between SCRIPTED AGENT STATUS and CHANGE PASSWORD, as circled below).

Mesh Upload Status page

To qualify for Mesh uploads, you must provide payment information to Linden Lab, and complete a Mesh Intellectual Property Right tutorial / questionnaire, which comprises a series of multiple-choice questions, as shown below.

Questionnaire

The questionnaire is not mind-bogglingly difficult – and it shouldn’t be, the idea is to make people aware of what will not be tolerated and can lead to their ability to upload meshes being revoked; not to try and catch them out before they even get started. As such, it is possible to go back a step should you get any question wrong and then take the question again.

Completing the questionnaire results in you being informed that you are now cleared to upload meshes, and provides a link to some additional information related to trademarks and copyright under US law. I was actually surprised that there are (currently, at least) no links to Linden Lab’s own policies around mesh and IP.

Upload away (at least on the Beta Grid)!

Important Notes!

  • This is still currently *only* available on beta grid dashboard pages (https://secondlife.aditi.lindenlab.com/my/).
  • You won’t currently see the option if you are using your main Grid dashboard page (at https://secondlife.com/my/).
  • It is possible what completing the questionnaire at this point in time may only apply to the Beta grid – you might have to complete the questionnaire again once the link is available from main Grid dashboard pages.
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Yet more on Mesh

Various questions have been floating around, re: Mesh. In the hopes of providing clarification, here’s a couple of points of clarification:

TPV users will not be able to see Mesh objects.

  • Users of 1.23.5 / snowglobe-based viewers will likely not be able to view Mesh objects.
  • Users of Viewer 2.x-based TPVs will be able to view Mesh objects correctly.

TPV users will not be able to upload Mesh imports

  • Users of 1.23.5 / snowglobe-based viewers will not be able to upload Mesh objects
  • Users of Viewer 2.x-based TPVs might be able to upload Mesh objects, depending on whether Linden Lab agrees to release a “wrapper” that will make this possible.

It’s by no means certain that the second point above actually happen; Linden Lab appears keen to ring-fence the ability to upload Mesh within Viewer 2.x. However, those TPV developers developing Viewers based on the 2.x have requested a means by which they can provide the means for users to upload Mesh objects, and Linden Lab have apparently agreed to look into the matter and see what can be done, without necessarily lifting the fence on the code completely.

One thing that is clear is that if the ring fence remains firm, those wishing to see – as well as upload – Mesh objects will, at some point, find it necessary to make the move to a Viewer based on the Viewer 2.x code. Both the Imprudence and the Phoenix teams are already moving in this direction – with Jessica Lyon of the Phoenix team going so far as to state that the upcoming release of Phoenix will likely be the last major release to that particular code base, with future releases being restricted to bug fixes and the like, while the focus within the Phoenix team shifts more to the Firestorm (Viewer 2.x-based) Viewer project.

Lagging behind the times

Frank Ambrose – FJ Linden blogs on the technology side of SL; and for once I have to wag my finger at him. This is a rare occurrence for me, as Frank is one of the most straight-up and openly “honest” (for want of a better word) Lindens who posts on the blog. But this time, part of his post does not reflect the realities of the SL experience.

Before getting to the wagging however, getting feedback on the technology side in SL is always good – and to be sure, Frank has led the charge behind the scenes in making the infrastructure a  lot better and more reliable; and some of the news he brings is good. Specifically, it is good to know that Group limits will soon be increased to 40 (albeit with a caveat). Raising the current limit has long been one of the highest-rated requests from residents for as long as I’ve been back in SL. That it has taken so long to get around to is a little inexcusable – but it is very welcome news. I just hope it doesn’t mark the return a familiar trend of LL opting for “easy” fixes (and yes, I do appreciate more is required under the hood than flicking a switch to achieve this) that amount to throwing crusts to the crowd in appeasement in the hope we’ll overlook the bigger and more painful issues.

HTTP texture loading is also good news…and one hopes that all TPVs will be able to absorb the code sooner rather than later. I’ve already commented on the Mesh beat, so no need to dwell on that; same with Display Names.

Improvements resulting from Project snowstorm I’ve yet to experience. I use a TPV, and I think it will still take a while for benefits from Snowstorm to flow outward, rather than inward. I’m sure there are a lot of LL-side benefits from the new server deployment process, but the truth is many have yet to seen real benefits in terms of their overall SL experience; but we’ll give it time.

No, the “wait, what?!” reaction to FJ’s post can be found in the first of his “update paragraphs”, namely:

Here’s  an interesting factoid: there are about two million teleports in Second  Life every day. Previous to our recent release of Server 1.42, when an avatar teleported or crossed into a new region, everyone on the  destination sim would experience a “lag” event as the simulator stalled  while processing the incoming avatar. This was often experienced as  “jitter” on the sim, especially evident when many avatars arrived at the  same time, such as for a live event. In the new simulation code, this  slow point has been moved to a separate thread. Our simulator  performance profiling tools show that this lag pain point is almost  entirely gone, greatly improving performance for highly trafficked  regions.

WUT?? Frank, shame on you. If you really believe that this lag pain point is almost entirely gone, I can only suggest that you and your team need new “performance profiling tools” – or better yet you need to get your little pixelated bums inside SL and try Tping around the grid for more than one or to attempts.

What has happened is that the pain point has simply shifted – not gone; and rather than giving a self-congratulatory pat on the back, you could at least admit that while overall sim freezing *has* improved, lag and tp issues are still prevalent and need further investigation. Issues such as:

  • Avatars universally arriving in mid-air and getting stuck for anything up to 5-10 seconds, unable to land or fly
  • Avatars freezing immediately after landing
  • Nearby avatars *still* experiencing a (albeit momentary) lock-up when someone tp’s in nearby in a crowded sim

Over an above this, and while not the focus of FJ’s article, lag in general remains a major headache within SL, with many residents reporting it to be at least as bad as pre-1.42, if not worse.

The sim-wide freezing  – down to a Mono issues – has gone by-and-large; and this is worthy of pointing out. But to use it as a blanket to cover the wider issues is not neither fair, not what we expect from you FJ, and it rather undermines the rest of the positive news contained in your blog.

Beta mesh

Jack Linden posts today that the Mesh beta import programme opens today. As previously posted, Mesh offers the potential to revolutionise the appearance of objects into-world, and also avatars, clothing and the rest, and has been a long time coming to SL.

As one would expect, the Beta is active on the Beta grid and requires the use of a dedicated version of Viewer 2 in order to upload and import Meshes. The former is understandable – there is still much to be understood about Mesh without further screwing up the main grid; the latter decision, while unexpected, may yet see some howls from people not that enamoured of Viewer 2. BUT…in keeping with their promises at SLCC 10, and providing people have a little patience, the howls should be short-lived as the code base for the Mesh imports is targeted for release via Project Snowstorm wiki, so that Third Party Viewer developer can incorporate it into their own code.

It’s going to be interesting reading-up on feedback on the project and seeing how well LL respond to the feedback, particularly with reference to improving the Viewer side of things, which, as with everything else, is “still in development”. If we’re brutally honest here, LL haven’t responded overly positively when listening to valid concerns about Viewer 2 and its associated tools so far…

Nevertheless, this move should be welcomed; one still has concerns about the overall impact of Mesh on businesses across the grid; there is a potential for mesh to be more revolutionary than evolutionary in that regard – and many may not be able to easily adapt. Personally, I hope that we see the two types of content creation also meshing – with traditional builders who cannot manage Mesh creation able to work alongside those with Mesh skills who don’t have the desire to work with the older tools. But – time will tell.

Mesh-ing around with Second Life

Jack Linden has announced the next steps in the scheme of things to establish “full” Mesh imports into Second Life.

Mesh has been something of an elusive Holy Grail for many when it comes to content creation in Second Life; it’s been promised for years and various You Tube videos demonstrating it have been around for almost as long, yet it has always remained tantalisingly over the horizon, leaving those wanting it faced with gazing at tea leaves in an effort to guess when it would actually arrive.

For those unfamiliar, Mesh is the system used to create our avatars, using a complex series of polygons to render highly detailed forms. Mesh is common through the gaming world, and is alive and kicking in “rivals” to Second Life such as Blue Mars.

Unlike the current system of primitives, Mesh constructs are created using graphics rendering programs that provide a complexity of detail far beyond anything that can be achieved in-world – as the images and videos accompanying the announcement show. They could, quite simply revolutionise and revitalise Second Life.

Mesh properly entered the SL roadmap earlier this year, with Mark Kingdon and others indicating that it would be entering a beta phase around now, with a potential roll-out by the end of the year. However, following Kingdon’s departure and Philip Rosedale’s “return”, things on the Mesh front went quiet – almost ominously so, with barely a mention being given in various addresses, prompting some to wonder if the entire idea was once again vanishing over the horizon. It was not until SLCC 10 in July that Philip confirmed the plans were still moving ahead, although on a revised timetable.

Now Jack’s blog provides further – if sketchy – insight to further moves.

There is little doubt that given the capabilities presented by Mesh, that it could very well revolutionise the appearance  – and possibly the appeal – of Second Life; as such, its arrival should be largely welcomed; but that is not to say there are still concerns surrounding its eventual use. Question such as how it will be placed alongside the “traditional” means of prim-based design and construction of objects and what Mesh means to those who are proficient in prim building, but who are unable to move to 3D rendering for whatever reason. There are even questions around how it could impact in-world “building for pleasure” activities. Beyond this, as N, a good friend with considerable knowledge of 3D rendering, there is also the question of intellectual property and ripped content; there are already masses of rendered material out there, much of it in breach of established copyrights and IP rights: what mechanisms will be put in place to prevent such material flooding into SL?

It’s good to know Mesh is coming; but I think it far to say there are many who are as anxious about the answers to some of these questions as they are enthusiastic about the arrival of Mesh.

Server 1.38 rolls outs

Following the recent announcement on the subject, sever release 1.38 has started arriving, and with it the first steps in script management, together with other goodies.

Some 20% of the grid will be used as a pilot environment during the roll-out, with the rest of the grid receiving the update (assuming the pilot goes well) by the 6th April.

For scripters / builders, there are a series of new LSL commands than mean that (a) a lot of us are going to be busy for a while and (b) overall script counts / memory loading for certain functions should be reduced as the new functions are adopted. Initially, the ability to incorporate the new functions (for those that use them) will be limited to those working on 1.38 server sims (obviously) – so many of us are going to have to wait until after the roll-out has been completed before we start determining what needs to be changed.

As far as the script management tools are concerned, these are only available for those using Viewer 2.0; the functionality is not being back-ported to Viewer 1.2x (unless third-party developers opt to do so).

Ciaran Laval currently gives an overview of the new About Land script information tabs, and if it is not old hat by the time my home sim receives 1.38, I’ll likely have a few words on the information displays as well – unless, of course, Linden Lab keep to Jack’s stated promise and provide the necessary Information themselves. In this regard, and even allowing for the current roll-out being a pilot, I was somewhat surprised that nothing on the situation was posted in the LL blog (although a brief note did eventually appear in the Grid Status links).

Reaction to the new server code has so far been good –  those in the pilot are reporting good stability and overall improvements in sim performances. Doubtless, part of the latter is down to 1.38 fixing the Mono rezzing / start-up bug that would cause massive lag spikes.

Providing LL communicate the new script management tools and their limitations clearly, and estate owners can communicate matters to their tenants as well, 1.38 will hopefully be a boon to SL overall.