Category Archives: 2017 Project Updates

SL project updates 2017 12/2: TPV Dev and Content Creation meetings

The Heart of the Seablog post

The notes in this update are taken from the following sources:

  • Content Creation User Group meeting, held on  Thursday March 23rd, 2017 at 1:00pm SLT
  • The TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, March 24th, 2017 at 12:00 noon SLT.

A video of the TPV Developer meeting is included, and timestamps to it are included in the text, where relevant. Notes from the Content Creation User Group appear towards the end of this update.

SL Viewer Pipeline

Maintenance RC Re-issue

On Thursday, March 23rd, the Lab released a new Maintenance RC viewer – version 5.0.5.324882 – to replace the faulty March 16th release.  As such, it includes the same set of updates, and I’ve written an overview of the core changes.

Voice RC

[0:19] The Voice RC viewer, version 5.0.4.324770, has a problem with the SSL Certificate Authorities update included with it. This triggers some code deep within the viewer which should not be triggered. This tends to affect TPVs for than the official viewer (the issue was actually noted by Firestorm). It’s be at least a couple of weeks before this matter is resolved, and until it is, the Voice RC viewer will not be progressing, and the Lab is unlikely to expand the cohort of users running it. Alongside of this, but separate to is, is an issue which is giving the viewer a higher than expected crash rate. which is also being looked into. Additionally, among the updates to this viewer and not included in the release notes, is support for the Opus Interactive Audio Codec, although server-side support is still required. This should eventually see further Voice quality improvements.

64-bit Project Alex Ivy

[3:10] As noted in part 1 of this week’s update, the 64-bit viewer was updated on Friday, March 17th to version 5.1.0.503537. This viewer is showing a significantly lower crash rate, although it does have some other issues. It should have a further update in the next two weeks.

360 Snapshot Viewer

[4:06] It appears unlikely that the 360 snapshot viewer will be update in the next week due to the ongoing work with the 64-bit viewer.

Asset Fetching Via HTTP

Vir Linden has been focused on the viewer side of this work, which will see the remaining inventory asset classes – landmarks, gestures, animations, shapes, sounds and wearables (system layer clothing) – switch from UDP delivery through the simulator to HTTP delivery via the via the Content Delivery Network(s) the Lab uses.

[4:42] The viewer for this work may be appearing in week #13 (week commencing Monday, March 27th). However, this is dependent on some back-end web configuration work being completed so that the required simulator changes can be correctly enabled on the Main grid.

Once these remaining assets have been shifted to delivery to the viewer via HTTP / CDN, the remaining UDP messaging for asset delivery will be turned off on the simulator end. This may be around July / August time (to be confirmed once the HTTP updates have reached release status), and will mean any older viewers still using UDP messaging for asset data fetching will be unable to do so.

New JIRA – Soon

[14:35] There is a new JIRA update coming, in line with recent updates made by Atlassian. It is currently on internal testing at the Lab, but there is no time frame as to when it will make a public appearance.

FMod Studio

[16:00] Around the start of the 64-bit viewer project there was a potential for an open-source contributed project for using Fmod Studio with viewer audio. This is likely to be re-examined, and if found suitable it may be up for adoption. However, given it will require a licence, which is likely to take a while to be processed by the Lab, it will not prevent the 64-bit viewer progressing forward toward release. Instead, the code module will be integrated as and when the licence has been obtained.

Content Creation Meeting Round-up

Animation Transitions: as noted in my March 9th CCUG meeting notes, people have been noting issues with animation playback, some of which appear to be related to llSetAnimationOverride, one of the server-side functions for controlling your animation state (see  BUG-7488 as an example).

Vir has been looking at this, but no definitive cause has been found. One suggestion is that it might be related to  Walk Adjust cutting in, which can occur when transitioning from standing to almost any other state when using llSetAnimationOverride. Although is that some transitional animation, such as a pre-jump or landing might be accidentally set to loop, causing an apparently freeze / lock. Vir will continue to poke at this.

Avatar Rendering Calculations:  work continues on refining the rendering cost calculations for avatars. However, this work is still not ready for shipping. Theses adjustments are twofold: to account for more “recent” changes which have been made since the system was last properly evaluated, and to address known issues in how the calculations are made.

Applying Baked Textures to Mesh Avatars: this is still on the short list, but is not an adopted or active project within the Lab as yet.

Rigging Animated Attachments to the Skeleton: there are issues trying to rig animated attachment to the avatar skeleton (e.g. a set of nunchaku or a gun that twirls before being holstered). While they may work OK using a specific avatar shape, problems can occur should the shape be changed (e.g. the nachaku  / gun no longer accurately positions relative to the hand). Medhue Simoni suggests items like this might be rigged and animated to the relevant attachment point instead.

NPCs / Animated Objects: this is still not a formal project at the Lab, but there has been some discussion on the potential feature set, were it to become a project.

Scripted method to position bones: see BUG11407. VIr’s concern with this approach would be the level of complexity / risk of conflicts with animations / need to expand the scripting capabilities on the back-end in order to make full scripted positions of bones useful. However, within the meeting, it was seen as being more useful in being able to fine tune poses for things like photography (e.g. to prevent hands vanishing into breasts or thighs), and thus supplant something like Anypose. As a result, Vir’s agreed to look at tools like Anypose and have a fresh look at the JIRA.

Other Items

Bento Ridable Horse

Strawberry Singh has all the information on a new Bento Rideable horse, which has a release had of Saturday, March 25th. As the name implies, this is a horse which makes full used of the Bento skeleton extensions (so when worn, it is an extension of your avatar).  Berry has produced a tidy video on the horse, and I’ll finish this update by embedding it – read Berry’s blog post for the specifics.

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SL project updates 2017 12/1: server, viewer, Aditi testing

Field of Dreams; Inara Pey, March 2017, on FlickrField of Dreams / L’intangible – blog post

Server Deployments

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest information.

  • On Tuesday, March 21st, the Main (SLS) channel received receive the same server maintenance package previously deployed to the three RC channels, comprising new internal logging output and changes to increase stability and security
  • There is no planned deployment for the RC channels on Wednesday, March 22nd. As all three were restarted as a part of the week #11 deployment, they will not be restarted.

SL Viewer

Maintenance RC Viewer

A new Maintenance RC viewer, version 5.0.4.324646 was released on Thursday March 16th.  This update includes a range of bug fixes (please refer to the release notes) and improvements as per my overview of the release. However, the updates to Avatar Complexity recorded in the release note appear to be absent the viewer / not working correctly. There are:

  • “We will now remember your choices of whether to render or not render certain avatars. You can set this by right-clicking on someone in-world and choosing Render avatar -> Default / Always / Never” – avatars still revert to Render Normally following a re-log
  • Your selections can be seen (and changed) in Preferences -> Graphics -> “Exceptions…” (under) Maximum Complexity – this “Exceptions” option does not appear to be in the viewer
  • We’ve also added a setting to always render your friends, regardless of complexity – also does not appear to be in the viewer.

A bug report has been filed on this.

Voice RC Viewer

The new Voice release candidate viewer, version 5.0.4.324770, arrived on Monday, March 20th. This viewer offers a number of improvements to voice:

  • Fixes the apparent position of voices in local voice
  • Improves retry behaviour when there are problems connecting or during temporary connection problems
  • Logs more detailed information to the Lab for quantifying connection issues
  • Improves security of the communication between the viewer and SLVoice

Alex Ivy 64-bit Viewer

The 64-bit viewer for Windows and Mac was updated to version on Friday, March 17th.  This update should include the following:

  • An open-source wrapper for CEF called Dullahan (link for those who are curious about the etymology of Lab project names) which will replace llCEF, making it easier to render web content through the viewer
  • The same versions of Dullahan / CEF and libVLC (audio handling) on both the Windows and Mac builds.

In addition, the 64-bit Mac build now uses MacOS Sierra, and will be backwards compatible as far as OSX 10.9 (Xcode 8). The 64-bit Windows build still uses Visual Studio 2013, and will support Windows 10, 8 and 7. Vista support is TBC.

New Simulator Build

DRTSIM-323 is the channel on Aditi (the beta grid) which is carrying the a new version of the simulator code using the Lab’s latest build of the server operating system. In includes the regions: Fire Ants, Bug Island and Mauve (again, these are on the beta grid).

HTTP Asset Fetching

This is another project on Aditi only at present. As previously noted, it will eventually see the move of the remaining Second Life inventory assets  – landmarks, gestures, animations, shapes, sounds and wearables (system layer clothing and body shapes) – to delivery over HTTP and via the Content Delivery Network(s), rather than via UDP through the simulator.  Testing is still progressing, and an initially project viewer repository has been offered, but is not currently listed in the Alternate viewer page, as the server-side of the new code is only available on Aditi, as noted.

If you want to test the new capabilities (uploading new assets – particularly sounds and animations and then running them – you can obtain the project viewer (for the time being) from the Server Beta Group meeting agenda page on the SL wiki. Note the links are liable to vanish as the agenda page is updated, and that this viewer will only currently work in testing the new fetching capabilities when logged-in to Aditi.

Other Items

  • A new feature that aims to improve landowner experience and help premium members in also in the early stages of testing. no details as yet on what it is, but it has previously been hinted at in recent TPV Developer meetings. More details to come, as they become available
  • There is a general capabilities failure issue which can occur when connecting to region on on Aditi, which prevents users entering the region. It is under investigation, but JIRA reports if you persistent encounter the problem in respect of one more more regions on Aditi would be welcomed.

SL project updates 2017 11/1: server, viewer, misc

Spring Spirit, Dalaran; Inara Pey, March 2017, on FlickrSpring Spiritblog post

Server Deployments

There was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, March 14th. As there had been a deployment & restart in week #10, the channel was not restarted this week.

On Wednesday, March 15th, the three RC channels should all receive the same new server maintenance package, comprising new internal logging output and changes to increase stability and security.

A major reason for the slow-down in apparent server updates is significant effort is being put into SL’s back-end services, much of which lacks any obvious user visibility. As Simon Linden said at the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, March 14th, “Second Life needs that stuff for the long haul – we’re working on projects to keep SL going for years to come.”

SL Viewer

There is currently no change to the current official viewer list, which comprises:

  • Current Release version: 5.0.2.324126, dated March 3, promoted March 6 – formerly a Maintenance RC viewer download page, release notes
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • None at present.
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Alex Ivy (LXIV), 64-bit project viewer, version 5.1.0.501863 for Windows and Mac, released on January 10th
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer, version 4.1.3.321712, dated November 23rd, 2016 – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review
  • 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.

It is anticipated that the 64-bit viewer will receive an update this week, which should include:

  • An open-source wrapper for CEF called Dullahan (link for those who are curious about the etymology of Lab project names) which will replace llCEF, making it easier to render web content through the viewer
  • The same versions of Dullahan / CEF and libVLC (audio handling) on both the Windows and Mac builds.

The 64-bit Mac build now uses MacOS Sierra, and will be backwards compatible as far as OSx 10.9 (Xcode 8). The 64-bit Windows build still uses Visual Studio 2013, and will support Windows 10, 8 and 7. Vista support is TBC.

Second Life Community Platform

The new Second Life Community Platform officially launched on Tuesday, March 14th. You can read my overview of the platform here.

Second Life Places

Second Life Places allows region and parcel owners to create a web browsable page for their location(s) in-world where they can be shared through blogs, websites, etc. Included with each page are buttons to allow visitors to the page to launch their viewer and teleport directly the specified location.

The programme has been in beta since November 2016, and you can read my overview here. However, it appears that beta will be coming to an end in the near future, and the programme will be open to all who meet the criteria for setting-up their own pages.

SL project updates 2017 10/3: TPVD meeting

Mystical Fae Forest, Elvenshire; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrMystical Fae Forest – blog post

The notes in this update are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, March 10th, 2017. Audio extracts from the core points of the meeting are included.

SL Viewer Pipeline

There have been no further updates to any of the official viewers since part 1 of this week’s updates, leaving the pipelines as:

  • Current Release version: 5.0.2.324126, dated March 3rd, promoted March 6th – formerly a Maintenance RC viewer download page, release notes
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Alex Ivy (LXIV), 64-bit project viewer, version 5.1.0.501863 for Windows and Mac, released on January 10th
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer updated to version 4.1.3.321712 on November 23rd, 2016 – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review
  • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847 dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

A further Maintenance RC viewer is in the offing; expect that soon.

Love Me Render Viewer

The Love Me Render RC viewer containing rendering pipe improvements was withdrawn due to assorted issues, in part justifying the move of rendering fixes to their own viewer branch to prevent them bottlenecking viewer releases (which could have happened if they had been a part of the “regular” Maintenance RC). It will hopefully reappear once the issues prompting its withdrawal have been dealt with.

64-bit Viewer

The Project Alex Ivy 64-bit viewer has a new update currently with the Lab’s QA team. It has “quite a bit of work” in it, and should hopefully appear early in week #11 (week commencing Monday, March 13th). This update will include:

  • An open-source wrapper for CEF called Dullahan (link for those who are curious about the etymology of Lab project names) which will replace llCEF, making it easier to render web content through the viewer
  • The same versions of Dullahan / CEF and libVLC (audio handling) on both the Windows and Mac builds
  • The 64-bit Mac build now uses MacOS Sierra, and will be backwards compatible as far as OSx 10.9 (Xcode 8)
  • The 64-bit Windows build still uses Visual Studio 2013, and will support Windows 10, 8 and 7. Vista support is TBC.

360 Snapshot Viewer

Work is expected to resume on the 360 snapshot viewer, which will include further integration with various means of sharing snapshots – such as through the new Second Life Places pages.

New Viewer Management Framework

The next 64-bit update after the one referenced above will include the new viewer update process, which is specifically targeted at Windows users. This will run a process when updating the viewer to check the version of Windows being run (32-bit or 64-bit), and ensure the correct version of the viewer is downloaded and installed. In time, this process will eventually take over producing crash dump data as well.

Some concern was raised over forcing 64-bit users to run 64-bit versions of the viewer if they have found 32-bit versions to be easier (for whatever reason). However, the Lab believes this is unlikely to be the case.

Viewer Build Process

The viewer build process is changing with the arrival of the 64-bit viewer versions. One aspect of this is a new version of autobuild itself. The build process also uses the same compiler switches for building all of the various libraries which go into a viewer build, which are controlled by a new repository. This should smooth the build process and means that for Windows, the process can build either the 64-bit version of the viewer or the 32-bit version, providing the core 64-bit repository is used and depending on how an address size switch is set.

32-Bit Windows Support

There is still a large number of Second Life users running computers with 32-bit windows. As such, the Lab intends to support 32-bit windows for as long as the numbers warrant it / it is practical to do so. However, those on 32-bit versions of the operating system are liable to experience higher crash rates and poorer viewer performance, simply because of the memory limitations inherent in 32-bit Windows.

Voice Updates

The next Voice update should be appearing soon, which fixes the left / right orientation of Voice on the Mac. There are still some connection issues to be resolved, but hopefully the viewer will reach LL’s QA team in the next week or so, paving the way for its public appearance.

Abuse Report Categories

Currently, the report categories associate with Abuse Reports (ARs) are currently held in the viewer. This means that any changes made to the categories may not be reflected in all viewers, complicating the Governance Team’s work it triaging incoming reports.

While first mooted in August 2016, the Lab is now looking to make the Abuse Report categories a simulator-side capability downloaded to the viewer (most likely at log-in). This would both make it easier for the Lab to revise the abuse categories (were their ever a need to do so) and, over time, help eliminate the problem of incorrect abuse categories existing in older viewers.

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