Category Archives: 2014 Project Updates

SL project updates: week 52: viewer, misc items

Sarawak; Inara Pey, August 2014, on FlickrSarawak (Flickr) – blog post

Server Deployments

With the no change window in effect throughout the week, and running through until the 2nd week of January 2015, there were no server deployments to ether the main channel or the three RC channels during the last full week of 2014.

SL Viewer

The Experience Tools RC viewer was updated on Monday, December 22nd to version 3.7.24.297643 (although the Alternate Viewers wiki page has yet to be updated). This saw the viewer brought up to parity with the current release viewer.

2015 Updates

Early January 2015 should see the Windows and Mac viewer start to use the new viewer tools chain the Lab has been working on, and the updated autobuild process.One of the hopes with the Windows switch-over to Visual Studio 2013,  and the availability of Visual Studio Community 2013, is hoped that over time, many (or all) of the differences between the open source build configurations and the Linden versions can be eliminated, other than when using  proprietary packages.

Oz Linden has been working on the Linux side of things in order to get the Linux builds working with the new tools and gcc 4.6; he’s also actively soliciting for assistance from TPV developers for help in this.

Once the tools work is completed, it would appear that “avatar awareness” (aka “radar”) for the official viewer may well be heading towards the top of the list for new viewer capabilities, with Oz indicating he’d like to get to work on a specification for the capability. If not this, then quite possibly a further round of environment updates within the viewer, as noted in my week 51 report.

Other Items

SL Wiki Update

It is still not clear when the SL wiki will be re-opened for editing by SL users. According to Oz Linden, speaking at the Open-source Developer’s meeting on Monday, December 22nd, “every time they get close to finishing the QA, another batch of security problems comes out that we need to integrate fixes for.”

Alpha Map Support for Mesh

JIRA BUG-8100 has been raised as a feature request to provide an additional material map option alongside the existing diffuse, specular, and normal maps that allows a user to apply either a black and white map, or an alpha bit texture to mask out areas of a mesh and render them fully transparent (with a 1-bit edging). The JIRA has gained support and feedback from content creators (including the need for LSL from the outset, if implemented. Those interested / in agreement, should ensure they read the JIRA and WATCH it (remember, VOTE is not as strongly responded to by the Lab).

Next Meetings

  • Open-source Developers: Monday, January 5th.
  • Simulator User Group: Tuesday, January 6th.
  • Server Beta User Group: Thursday, January 8th.
  • TPV Developer: Friday, January 16th.

With thanks to Mona Eberhardt for the Open-source dev meeting notes and the BUG-8100 pointer.

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SL project updates week 51/2: SBUG, TPV Developer meeting

Frisland, Laluna Island (Flickr) – blog post

The following notes are taken from the Server Beta User Group (SBUG) meeting held on Thursday, December 18th, 2014, and the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, December 19th. A video of the latter is included at the end of the article, my thanks as always to North for recording it and providing it for embedding.

With reference to the meeting video, summary notes are provided below with time stamps to assist is spotting and listening to the associated conversations.

Server Deployments Week 51 – Recap

  • On Tuesday, December 16th, the Main (SLS) channel was updated with the server maintenance package deployed to the three RC channels in week #50
  • There were no deployments to the RC channels.

The end-of-year code freeze / no change window comes into effect from the end of the week, this means there will be no further server updates until January 2015.

SL Viewer

Release Viewer

The Maintenance RC viewer, version 3.7.23.297296, was promoted to the de facto release viewer on Thursday, December 18th. This viewer comprises a solid collection of bug fixes and improvements to many areas of SL, and also includes a range of fixes to previously released changes in the way joint offsets in rigged meshes are handled. Please refer to the release notes for further information.

Experience Keys RC Viewer

On Wednesday, December 17th, the Experience Keys / Tools viewer was updated to release candidate status with the release for version 3.7.23.297364. Please refer to my overview of the viewer (written while it was at project viewer status) for information on the viewer.

Further RC Updates

[00:50] As a result of the promotion of the Maintenance RC, both the new Experience Keys RC viewer and the HTTP Pipelining RC viewer are currently being rebuilt to include the Maintenance release code. These updates may appear in the release viewer pipeline on Monday, December 22nd, or they may be held over from release until after the end of the no change window.

Viewer Build Tools Project

[01:41] The new year should also see the first release of a project viewer for Mac and Windows built using the new build tools chain and autobuild process.

Group Chat

The last of the 2014 updates are being deployed to the back-end servers. At the time of the Server Beta User Group meeting, there were just a “few more” hosts that had yet to receive the updates, so things should be completed in short order. These improvement are focused on improving the overall robustness of the service and dealing with overload conditions.

CDN Work

What is being referred to as a “mini CDN” test was carried out on the BlueSteel region on the morning (PDT) of Thursday, December 18th. The test was designed to check a more flexible  CDN configuration that is going to make it easier for  the Lab to deal with fall overs. “It should be invisible normally but lets us have better control of where the viewer gets those mesh and texture assets,” Simon Linden said of the work, which will likely see a formal deployment in the New Year.

Viewer-managed Marketplace (VMM)

[03:53] There was an in-world meeting held on Friday, December 12th to discuss the Viewer-managed Marketplace (notes and transcript).

There should be a summary post from the Lab, covering JIRAs raised on VMM and comments made on the forums, which should be appearing on the current forum thread around the time this update is published. A further feedback meeting is being planned for the New Year.

Continue reading

SL project updates week 51/1: server, viewer

Umbral Photography, Hydra Isles (Flickr) – blog post

A little late this week – holiday preparations and being a little under the weather are to blame.

Server Deployments Week 51

On Tuesday, December 16th, the Main (SLS) channel was updated with the server maintenance package deployed to the three RC channels in week #50. This update comprises:

  • A fix for BUG-7595 “Allowed & Blocked experiences persist with parcel owner change after purchase or abandoning”
  • A fix for (non-public) BUG-7036 “Experience based scripts in attached child prims reference their operation by region position instead of root position like non-experience based scripts”
  • A fix for (non-public) BUG-7048 “llGetExperienceDetails() returns 4 for state and “operation not permitted” for state message while over mainland parcels that have the experience allowed”
  • A fix for BUG-6757 “Different error code returned for an Experience that is not permitted to run on a parcel / region OR a user clicked No on the permission request dialog”
  • Additional internal Experience Key fixes
  • To find experiences with all unicode names you have to leave the search field blank and page through all results.

This deployment marks the last planner server deployment for 2014. There will be no deployments to the RC channels on Wednesday, December 17th, and no further planned deployments until January 2015.

SL Viewer

The new build tool chain for Windows is moving close to being implemented. Commenting at the open-source Developers meeting on Monday, December 15th, Oz Linden said:

We’re very close to having the new tools builds working on Windows… once we’ve done that, I’m going to merge them to the Snowstorm repository as well and all open source contributions will be on that base.

This means that self-compilers will have to update their tools, and work with the new autobuild  process.  As Microsoft recently issued Visual Studio Community 2013, which allows developers to create non-commercial applications for free, it is hoped that over time, many (or all) of the differences between the open source build configurations and the Linden versions can be eliminated, other than when using the proprietary packages.

Other Items

Windlight Assets

We all love windlight settings – so much so that since the arrival of windlight and wiki instructions on how to create our own windlights, it is fair to say that many hundreds of windlight settings have been created and circulated, and many of them have been incorporated into viewers (I actually keep a folder of my favourite windlights I use to replace the “default” offerings in the viewers I routinely use, and add new ones to it that I find and like or tinker with as I go along).

Now it looks like there may be some movement on the subject of windlight and environmental assets from the Lab. “I’m hoping that doing a new round of development on environment settings will get to the top of the list before too long,” Oz Linden said, during a general discussion on windlights during the Open-source developer’s meeting. If the work is taken up, it could led to the introduction of windlight assets which could help make things like ll-supported  parcel windlight settings a lot easier.

SL project updates week 50/1: server, viewer, misc

Black Basalt Beach; Inara Pey, August 2013, on FlickrBlack Basalt Beach, August 2013 (Flickr) – blog post

Server Deployments – Week 50

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread in the forums for the most recent news and updates.

On Tuesday, December 9th, the Main (SLS) channel was updated with the server maintenance package deployed to the three RC channels in week #49. This update comprises:

  • A fix for BUG-7515 “Restarting region turns off ‘block parcel fly over’”
  • A fix for BUG-4949 (non-public) “Cannot manage block list with certain object names”
  • A fix for BUG-7850 “Experience tools: ‘Script trying to teleport other avatars!’ script error” appears incorrectly
  • A fix for BUG-6789 “Spelling mistake in llGodLikeRezObject”
  • Minor server change to help configure the texture and mesh CDN.

On Wednesday, December 10th, all three RC channels should receive a new server maintenance package comprising:

  • A fix for BUG-7595 “Allowed & Blocked experiences persist with parcel owner change after purchase or abandoning”
  • A fix for (non-public) BUG-7036 “Experience based scripts in attached child prims reference their operation by region position instead of root position like non-experience based scripts”
  • A fix for (non-public) BUG-7048 “llGetExperienceDetails() returns 4 for state and “operation not permitted” for state message while over mainland parcels that have the experience allowed”
  • A fix for BUG-6757 “Different error code returned for an Experience that is not permitted to run on a parcel / region OR a user clicked No on the permission request dialog”
  • Additional internal Experience Key fixes
  • To find experiences with all unicode names you have to leave the search field blank and page through all results

SL Viewer

No further updates to any of the SL viewers (release, RC or project) since my last viewer release summary. Please refer to my Current Viewer Releases page for the current status of SL and TPV viewers.

However, as I noted in a separate report, the most recent AMD update to their Catalyst™ drivers, version 14.12 does not resolve the problem of failing to display rigged meshes unless the viewer’s hardware skinning is disabled. I’ve also been informed that this issues also extends to the most recently AMD / Nvidia Omega driver update.

Experience Keys / Tools

the RC deploy due on Wednesday, December 10th, sees a number of fixes and updates for the Experience Keys / Tools project. Again, commenting on the status of the project at the simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, December 9th, Simon Linden said:

 We’re getting close on that … there are some last-minute things to take care of, and we’re being extra careful that we have the systems in place to handle the key-value storage usage.    How much load that will create is some interesting guesswork, but it’s better to be over-prepared.

However, with the holiday season now fast approach, and with it no change windows for server and viewer updates popping-up, it may be that the project doesn’t make it to a deployment beyond its current beta status until the new year.

Once Experience tools are deployed, the Lab will seek to address issues through the Simulator User Group meetings. However, if there is sufficient demand in terms of issues raise for discuss, etc., during the Simulator UG meetings so a to warrant a separate meeting, they will look into doing so.

Group Chat

Commenting on his recent group chat work, Simon had this to say:

There’s another chat server update this week.   It’s pretty minor, but you shouldn’t see the problem where it gets way behind and then starts delivering ancient (more than 5 minutes old) messages.  I’m still chasing the main bug but this should make the recovery faster and less confusing. The new code is on only one of the server cluster machines but will go to more this week, assuming we don’t see new problems.   So far it’s looking good.

He went on to comment that, while a complete overhaul of the group chat system is unlikely, simply because it is unlikely to result in a significant enough improvement in things, despite recent improvements. “the servers still spend more work updating your chat member lists than it does sending messages. That’s just not right.” So it would seem further tweaking of things will continue in 2015.

Tuesday, December 16th will be the last Simulator User Group meeting for 2014.