SL projects updates week 13/3: TPV developer meeting March 28th

A TPV developer meeting took place on Friday March 28th. The core items discussed in the meeting are reported below, with timestamps in the relevant paragraphs indicating the point at they are discussed in the video embedded here. My thanks as always to North for the latter.

Release Candidate Viewers Status

Stat Test RC  and Google Breakpad RC

[00:10] The Stat Test release candidate viewer (version 3.7.5.288371 at the time of writing) is not intended to ever move to a formal release status. Its function is to help with identifying how big an impact a bug within the Google Breakpad RC was having on viewers by comparing crash rates.

The fix contained in the Stat Test viewer is now also in the Google Breakpad RC, which was updated on Thursday March 27th to version 3.7.5.288464 (download and release notes). It’s thought that this RC is getting “pretty close to final form”, something that will likely be confirmed once the new update has been in the release channel sufficient long enough for decent statistics to be gathered in week 14 (week commencing Monday March 31st).

Interest List RC and Merchant Outbox RC

[01:00] As noted in part 2 of this report, the Interest List RC returned to the release channel wither version 3.7.5.288404 (download and release notes). This RC had been removed from the release channel on March 21st due to the number of RC viewers in the channel at that time.

The Mechant Outbox RC, which contains fixes for accurately detecting Merchant status and improves recovery for Merchant Outbox errors, was updated on Friday March 28th to version 3.7.5.288408 (download and release notes). This update means that as of Friday March 28th, all RC viewer in the release channel were up-to-date with the current release version of the viewer.

Voice RC and Sunshine / AIS v3 RC

[01:35] These two release candidates were withdrawn from the release channel on March 21st to reduce the number of RC viewers vying for promotion to release status. These have yet to be updated with the current release viewer code, however, it is anticipated that the Voice RC will be returning to the release channel early in week 14, and that the Sunshine AIS will hopefully reappear later in the week.

The binaries for the Vivox updates are currently available to TPVs for testing an incorporation, so the removal of the Voice RC from the release channel should not have unduly impacted any work being undertaken by TPVs in updating or offering Vivox 4.6.x to Windows and Mac users. Unfortunately, Vivox have yet to supply updates for Linux.

Project Viewers

Project Zipper

[01:52] The Project Zipper “fast installer” viewer was updated to version 3.7.5.288507 on March 28th, also bringing it up to parity with the current release viewer, although it remains at project status (download and release notes).

Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift project viewer is currently on a closed beta, and so the code is not publicly viewable. The beta is reported to be going “really well”, although other sources indicate that there is a lot of dissatisfaction in how the UI works, up to an including demands that the entire UI needs to be re-thought.

Given any change in the viewer UI tends to attract a high degree of negativity right out of the gate (and also given the fact I’ve not actually seen the “Riftlook” UI), it’s hard to say how many of the concerns are objective as opposed to subjective in nature (e.g. the issue is genuinely one of ease-of-use as opposed to it being one that is considered “unusable” because it’s either not how it’s worked in the past, or requires a re-training of muscle memory) .  However, if the issues are objective and indicate significant issues of usability, it will be interesting to see how the Lab responds.

Upcoming Viewers

Group Bans

[02:24] The Group ban viewer is progressing, as noted in part 2 of this report, a new version is available through the Server Beta wiki page, and can be tested on the Morris region on Aditi. There is yet more work to be done on this, so it’s unlikely to move to an official project viewer or RC status in the short-term.

Snowstorm

A new Snowstorm RC viewer is in development, and Oz Linden is hoping to include a few more things in it. I believe this viewer may include the LSL syntax updates of STORM-1831, although the hope is apparently to get some more items into it alongside what is already there. As there are already so many viewers either in, or queuing-up for RC status, there is currently no rush to move this viewer forward.

Release Viewer

[04:02] Commenting on the current release viewer version: 3.7.4.288138, formerly the FmodEx Hotfix RC, Monty Linden indicated that there are almost a year of fixes the stream threading between the current viewer and previous versions. These include many fixes for issues where the viewer can drop a stream entirely. However, whether these include a fix for the issues where a stream containing externals ads (for cars, insurance, etc. – see FIRE-12798) can be completely dropped by the viewer and require a re-log in order to reconnection, is unclear.  However, Monty has offered to take a poke at things.

SLS Share / Facebook Photos Upload

[07:26] As reported on March 20th, the ability for users to upload photos from the viewer to their Facebook accounts was disabled by Facebook, apparently because of the inclusion of SLurl with the photo uploads.

The Lab has made changes in the viewer and in the intermediate server layer which should address Facebook’s concerns, however, Facebook has yet to unblock the upload capability at their end, and at the time of writing there has been no word on when this might be done.

The viewer-side updates have yet to reach the release viewer, but are currently in all of the release candidates in the viewer release channel.

The SL Share photo upload panel as it is in the current release viewer (), left, and as it appears in the RC viewers awaiting promotion, right. The SL option has been removed to meet Facebook's requirements
The SL Share photo upload panel as it is in the current release viewer (3.7.4.288138) on the  left,complete with the option to include a SLurl; and as it appears in the RC viewers on the right, with the SLurl option removed to meet Facebook’s requirements

Mac Issues

[08:30] A request has been made for the Lab to provide a list of Mac / Cocoa issues to help TPVs keep track of things. As reported last time this issue was raised, the Lab are hampered in trying to deal with Cocoa-related issues, as their Mac developers are working on a number of projects, and so specific issues are dealt with individually, rather than as a part of an overall project.

HTTP Issues

Monty Linden:
Monty Linden:

[19:53] The Firestorm team asked if the Lab had any data on how well the HTTP code changes were going and if they were seeing anything unexpected with server-side loads. The prompt from this question came by the fact that as downloads of the Firestorm 4.6.1 release have increased, so the number of user complaints which appear as though they might be related to HTTP have increased. Monty Linden replied:

Not that I can tell. Nothing is getting to me if there is any such story. I’ve heard the anecdotes, and whenever I’ve looked into them, the stories behind them are generally pretty random. It’s people associating recent changes with behaviour they’re seeing and assuming some correlation where there isn’t any.

Now, that said, there are some patterns that continue to persist that have existed for the past few years that I’ve been dealing with transport issues. The simulators always have had problems in the lib services with connection quotas being exceeded, and that’s still going on today. A busy region on a busy sim hots is still a problem, but I can’t say it’s worse than before. It should be better, but the data I’m getting – which is almost none – doesn’t point to any problem. I’m sorry that’s not definitive, but it’s all I’ve got at this point.

It has been reported that HTTP downloads on sims which have a lot of textures and objects, but few avatars are significantly better than HTTP downloads where there is a large number (20+) avatars. In the latter circumstance, it has also been reported that switching back to UDP appears to improve downloads. However, Monty warned against this, as UDP puts significantly more load on the simulator, which can have a noticeable impact for every user connected to that simulator.

In discussing how to confirm whether or not users really are seeing HTTP issues, Monty continued:

The first thing would be to look at the log file. If you’re getting permanent failures in texture HTTP, it’s going to show up in the log file with a fail on a final retry with an error code and a bunch of related information.So you can pretty much confirm pretty quickly whether or not they’re getting serious permanent failures for texture operations … and these will be distinct from 404s. 404s are nots founds, and you’ll see those every now and then simply because the texture reference is not valid. But other reasons for a permanent failure would be interesting.

When I updated the texture console, I put mesh errors in, but I didn’t do anything about HTTP errors, but there would be another useful area to put things in the future for monitoring error counts. but for now the log file will have the truth. Let me know what you find, because that will point us in one direction or the other.

On our services, I absolutely definitely see busy sim hosts having their input channels saturated. And when that happens, you are going to have retries, and I’ve seen some pretty hard cases of that. Some of the big social things that get put on Second Life [such as RFL] often get put on concentrated sim hosts, and these really get victimised by this problem. But again, permanent failures, they’ll be in the logs and you can look at that. Beyond that, I’ll se what i can find out.

 A problem with obtaining logs is that people will often encounter problems like this a few times and the revert back to an earlier release of the viewer. So, if you are using a viewer (SL or Firestorm) with the HTTP updates and encounters persistent rendering issues or failures when moving around SL, please consider taking a couple of minutes to fill-out a JIRA, attach your log file and submit it. Monty is very sensitive to HTTP issues, but in order to respond to them, he needs data, not anecdotes.

Other Items

AIS v3

[02:56] Oz Linden reported that ther server-side AIS v3 code will be enabled across all three RC channels (LeTigre BlueSteel and Magnum) in week 14. As BlueSteel and LeTigre had AIS v3 enabled with server update 14.03.07.287758 and Magnum with  update 14.02.21.286985, I can only assume that it was disabled again with the Magnum update 14.03.12.288004 in week 13.

Male Avatar Chest Rendering Broken / Mesh Clothes Breaking on Male Avatars

This issue related to BUG-5537, where there is a discrepancy on how the AV mesh shape is rendered/viewed by oneself and by others in the male AV chest portion, so that while an item of rigged mesh clothing looks fine to the user when viewing his avatar, other people see parts of the avatar’s chest still poking through the outfit. There has also been discussion of the issue on the forums.

The Lab is currently investigating the issue, but have no definitive answer on the problem as yet.

 

 

 

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SL project updates 7/3: viewer updates, AIS and misc items

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting of Friday February 14th, a video of which is included below. My thanks, as ever, to North for the latter. Timestamps relative to the recording are given in braces both at the start of each section and within the text where appropriate.

SL Viewer

Release Viewer Update

[01:20] The Facebook Hotfix RC (version 3.7.1.286557) released on February 12th was promoted to the de facto release viewer on Friday February 14th. Based on the Fitted Mesh viewer code, this viewer has a single fix for a  problem in the in-viewer web browser that made it impossible to login correctly into Facebook. The rapid promotion was made because the issue was seen as obnoxious by those people who have connected their SL and Facebook accounts, and it was felt those who do may want to post Valentines-related messages and images to their Facebook accounts.

HTTP RC

Robbie Monty Linden sports new look
Robbie Monty Linden sports new look

[02:32 and 36:56] As noted in part 2 of this report, the HTTP viewer has been rebuilt using the Facebook Hotfix / Fitted Mesh viewer code to version  3.7.1.286567.

However, it has suffered from the number of RCs currently in the queue, or as poor Monty put it, getting “stuck behind everyone”.  This  viewer has one of the lowest crash rates on record as an RC, and given this, the expectation is that it will be promoted to release status “pretty soon”.

One of the major issues Monty faced with the viewer-side updates was directly related to mesh, and thread race conditions, and he admits that not all of these have been resolved. This is partially due to some of them being  infrastructure-related Heisenbugs, which are time and labour-intensive to resolve. However, they shouldn’t impact the stability of the updates made to date.

Remaining RC viewers

[03:54] The three remaining RC viewers  – the Maintenance RC (3.6.14.285499), Interest List RC (3.6.14.285213) and Google Breakpad RC (3.6.14.285686) are in the process of being rebuilt to the 3.7.1 release code, so updated versions should be appearing in the release channel in the next week (ish).

Project Viewers

[04:23]

  • It is unclear whether the Merchant Outbox project viewer (3.6.13.284731) will move forward or pulled back to have some more work done on it, and it is unlikely to move towards viewer release “any time soon”
  • The Sunshine / AIS v3 project viewer was rebuilt to the 3.7.1 code (Fitted Mesh and the Facebook Hotfix), with a new version (3.7.1.286565) appearing on February 14th. It is anticipated that this viewer will move forward to a release candidate status fairly quickly now that the Facebook Hotfix has been promoted, reducing the number of viewer RC cohorts currently in the release channel.

AIS v3

[05:16 and 14:50] A surprising piece of news passed-on in the meeting was that the AIS v3 server-side code has been deployed across all channels on the Main grid. This initially caused some confusion during the meeting , as there has been no mention of this in any server-side release notes. Nyx Linden queried the situation with the ops tem and received a confirmation that the new AIS capabilities had been deployed to Agni [21:40, via text], but are currently disabled [22:29 via text]. It would seem likely that the capabilities will be enabled once the Sunshine / AIS v3 project viewer moves to release candidate status.

Voice

vivox[07:35] There have been a number of issues with regards to voice in SL, particularly of late. As noted in my week 6 report, there was some recent back-end work carried out which should improve things for those using viewers running with the most recent versions of the voice SDK (SLvoice.exe).

Discussing the matter at the TPV Developer meeting, Oz Linden revealed that Vivox had reached out to the Lab to assist with issues being experienced, and as a result of this underlined the issues with viewers using older versions of the SDK (and which will not see any real improvements to their voice performance as a result). Vivox have requested that TPVs provide details on any older versions of the SDK they are running, and details of specific issues they are encountering, as well as offering encouragement to update.

As a new version of the SDK is due to be released in the near future (hopefully within a couple of weeks), it may prove to be an opportunity for TPVs to update, given it has a number of audio quality fixes and Vivox have offered to assist in dealing with issues being experienced with voice in SL.

In addition to this, Oz is looking to work with Vivox to try to get any new versions of the SDK used by the viewer made available to TPVs at the same time it is made available to the Lab, thus eliminating the need for TPVs having to wait for LL to QA and integrate the package into the LL code prior to being able to merge it into their own code, allowing them to test new SDK releases in parallel with the Lab. These will hopefully include 64-bit binaries of the SDK as well a 32-bit versions.

Group Ban Lists

[48:23] It had been hoped that Baker Linden might be providing an update on the overall status of his group ban list work. However, this was unfortunately not the case, although Oz provided a small update on things, stating that he has been able to sit down with Baker to review the updated viewer code, which is now with QA. Hopefully this means it will be appearing in at least a project viewer in the near future.

Continue reading “SL project updates 7/3: viewer updates, AIS and misc items”

SL projects news 6/1: Server, viewer, SSA and AIS project viewer

Simulator User Group meeting, Tuesday February 4th
Simulator User Group meeting, Tuesday February 4th

Server Deployments: week 6

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread in the forums for the latest updates / changes.

Main (SLS) Channel

On Tuesday February 4th, the Main channel received the server maintenance package previously on the three RC channels, which includes a crash mode fix and a fix for llModifyLand() modifying the wrong location in region, when called in a child prim.

Speaking at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday January 23rd, Maestro Linden described this fix thus:

For example, if a child prim is offset by <8,4,0> from the root prim, then calling that function in the child prim will try to modify the terrain at <8,4,0>  of the region,  which may or may not work depending on who owns the parcel.

The fix is to make it modify the land underneath the child prim (which of course follows the same permissions rules – you can only modify land owned by the script owner.

Release Candidate Channels

On Wednesday February 5th, all three RCs should receive a new server maintenance package, which includes a crash fix.

SL Viewer Updates

Google Breakpad

Google Breakpad reappeared in the viewer release channel as an RC (version 3.6.14.285686, dated January 29th) on February 4th. As per usual, the RC does not contain any functional changes or updates, but contains a Google Breakpad updates and restructures the crash reporting mechanism to support out of process crash reporting. These changes will give the development team more call stacks from crashes more frequently, to improve the triaging and debugging of issues.

HTTP Viewer

The HTTP RC gained a further update on Monday, February 3rd, with the release of  version 3.6.14.286010, although it had been anticipated this viewer might update to the de facto release viewer this week.

AIS v3

The Server-side Appearance “polish” and AIS v3 project viewer, version 3.6.14.285190 was released on Tuesday February 4th. In terms of SSA This includes:

  • Stability and performance improvements for SSA: retry logic, removing redundant requests, detecting various appearance stuck conditions.
  • Code cleanup with the removal of a lot of code related to the old client-side baking framework.
  • Bug fixes, mostly appearance-related
  • Support for AIS v3 (which requires server-side updates.

For more information, see my announcement of the release.

Group Ban Lists

Baker Linden continues to work on Group Ban Lists, commenting at the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday February 4th that, “I’m finally finished with (what I think is) the major viewer side changes, so I’ll be getting everything ready this week for a deploy hopefully in the next upcoming weeks, so be ready to test the crap out of group bans on Aditi soon!”

Lab releases SSA / AIS project viewer

On Tuesday February 4th, Linden Lab released the new Server-side Appearance (SSA) / Advanced Inventory System (AIS v3) Sunshine project viewer – version 3.6.14.285190.

The SSA "polish" / AIS v3 project viewer was released on February 4th
The SSA “polish” / AIS v3 Sunshine project viewer was released on February 4th

The SSA updates in this viewer primarily comprise:

  • Stability and performance improvements for SSA: retry logic, removal of redundant requests, detecting various appearance stuck conditions
  • Code cleanup with the removal of a lot of code related to the old client-side baking framework
  • Bug fixes, mostly appearance-related.

The AIS v3 updates require server-side updates to be deployed as well in order to be used. Once this has been done, users should note improved the reliability of outfit changes, including speed of changes and a further reduction in the failure rate experienced when changing outfits.

There is no current release date for the server-side support for AIS v3, and there will likely be further testing prior to a deployment being made; the Lab has actually been waiting for more TPVs to produce test viewers with the AIS code in order for this to happen. Hopefully, with the code now in a project viewer, more TPVs will be in a position to build test viewers for this purpose.

However, anyone wishing to specifically test the AIS v3 code, particularly if they have been experiencing outfit change issues, might want to try the project viewer on the four SunshineTest regions on Aditi.

Related Links

SL projects updates 5/2: viewer, GPU table, Rift, Leap Motion

Server Deployments: week 5 recap

  • On Tuesday January 28th, the Main channel received the server maintenance project previously on the three RC channels, which contains a single fix for a crash mode.
  • On Wednesday January 29th, all three RC channels received a new server maintenance project, which includes a crash mode fix and a fix for llModifyLand() modifying the wrong location in region, when called in a child prim – see part one of this report for further details.

SL Viewer Updates

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting of Friday January 31st, a video of which is included below. My thanks, as ever, to North for the latter.

Fitted Mesh

As noted in part one of this report, a new version of the Fitted Mesh viewer arrived in the release channel as an RC on Monday January 27th. Version 3.7.0.285669 includes a number of fixes, included a hoped-for resolution for FITMESH-6 and FITMESH-20. However, there is an issue with the fix, as reported by Latif Khalifa of the Singularity team, and which the Lab has confirmed.  The viewer will therefore have a further RC update in week 6 (week commencing Monday 3rd February).  If the new RC proves stable and reliable, then the Fitted Mesh viewer will be looked at as a contender to go to release status.

Interest List

Despite having been reported as having a much improved crash rate, the Interest List RC, version: 3.6.14.285213 released on January 14th, still appears to be reporting higher than expected crashes. The Lab is not 100% convinced the crash measurements are correct, and they may be measuring high. This is being poked at, but means in the interim the viewer will remain an RC.

HTTP Viewer

The HTTP RC viewer, version 3.6.14.285253 released on January 16th, is performing well and now stands as the strongest contender for the next promotion to the de facto release viewer.

Maintenance Viewer and GPU Table

The Maintenance viewer, version 3.6.14.285499 released on January 23rd has generated interest due to the inclusion of MAINT-3131 “Death to GPU Table”.

Essentially, the GPU table is used to define your graphics card to the viewer and the default graphics settings which are applied as a result when you first start the viewer. As many will be aware, the GPU table is manually maintained, and as a result is not a very effective mechanism for managing GPU evolution.

MAINT-3131 is part of ongoing work which the Lab hopes will eventually eliminate the GPU table. Discussing the work, Oz said:

The idea is to do two things: ask the [graphics] driver [on a local system] what version of OpenGL it supports, and use whatever capabilities that can be relied on to find that out;  and then to measure the performance of the GPU by doing a series of memory bandwidth tests. Basically copying big blocks of video memory back and forth a few times and seeing how long it takes. The theory is that it ends up being at least as good a predictor of what the GPU is capable of as we’re currently getting by the guesses in the GPU table, and maybe better.

The code linked to MAINT-3131 is believed to be the code needed to carry out the memory bandwidth tests (and likely recording the results), the idea being that it can be monitored to note how well it measures the performance of things the Lab believe they understand, and see if it handles them more effectively / efficiently. Should this work proceed the way the Lab hopes, then the hope is the GPU table can be removed from the viewer in the future.  It is thought that the bandwidth testing, which will likely only take place when or shortly after the viewer has launched (and then only after the GPU identifier string has changed), will be a “pretty good proxy” for measuring a GPU’s performance a GPU compared to just asking the OpenGL driver what it can do.

Continue reading “SL projects updates 5/2: viewer, GPU table, Rift, Leap Motion”

SL projects updates week 3 (2): upcoming server releases, Fitted Mesh, HTTP, Oculus Rift & more

Server Deployments: week 4

Because Monday January 20th is a holiday in the USA, Maestro Linden has posted details of the deployments which will take place in week 4. Despite the US holiday, the deployments will still take place on Tuesday and Wednesday as usual.

As always, please refer to the week’s forum deployment thread for the latest news and updates.

Main Channel: Tuesday January 21st, 2014

The Main channel should received the server maintenance project which has been on the RC channels for the last couple of weeks. As notes in previously SL projects updates in this blog, this comprises:

  • The forced delay in llLoadURL has been reduced to 0.1 seconds
  • New LSL functions for uniformly scaling linksets (integer llScaleByFactor(float scaling_factor), float llGetMinScaleFactor(),float llGetMaxScaleFactor() )
  • Preliminary support for custom default permissions on newly created objects – currently awaiting viewer-side support via STORM-68, which has yet to be released
  • Preliminary support for the viewer fetching the LSL syntax rules from the simulator, for up-to-date syntax highlighting in the script editor – currently awaiting viewer-side support via STORM-1831, which has yet to be released.

Release Candidate Channels, Wednesday January 22nd, 2014

All three RC channels should receive the same server maintenance project, which contains a single fix for a crash mode.

SL Viewer Updates

The following section contains notes taken during the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday January 17th, a video of which is included below. My thanks, as ever, to North for the latter.

Fitted Mesh

As reported here, the Fitted Mesh viewer reached release candidate status on Thursday January 16th, with the release of version 3.7.0.285178, which also includes a number of bug fixes and STORM contributions from third-party developers.

Issues Affecting ATI/AMD Users

There are reports of additional issues arising within the Fitted Mesh viewer which are not apparent in other version of the SL viewer.  These issues appear to impact those using ATI/AMD graphics cards and have Advanced Lighting Model disabled.

In the first issue, non-rigged mesh is invisible when viewed on the Fitted Mesh viewer (see FITMESH-20), which was reported for the new release candidate version of the viewer. In the second (FITMESH-6), worn mesh which is not rigged to the collision bones is seen to stretch away towards the 0,0,0 point of the region the avatar is standing in (which is oddly similar to how viewers without the Fitted Mesh updates render garments rigged to the collision bones in an avatar).

Rigged mesh which is not using the collison bones as seen with the Fitted Mesh viewer
Rigged mesh which is not using the collison bones as seen with the Fitted Mesh viewer when running on systems with ATI / AMD graphics and Advanced lighting Model disabled (image courtesy of Willow Wilder)

Again, these problems only appear to impact those using ATI/AMD graphics cards and who are running with ALM disabled. Initially, the problem had been thought by the Lab to be a  driver issue, but testing reveals the problem to occur across a range of ATI/AMD drivers, including the most recent Catalyst updates.

New Sliders and Asset

Redpoly Inventor has also raised a feature request (see FITMESH-19) for what he calls a “Mesh Clothing Adjuster” which can be used to scale specific parts of the collision skeleton in order to achieve better fitting for the likes of knee boots, tank top straps or any clothing that doesn’t look good with alphas. He also includes code with the JIRA which people can add to their viewer in order to create slider to the shape menu which controls the clavicle volumes.

Continue reading “SL projects updates week 3 (2): upcoming server releases, Fitted Mesh, HTTP, Oculus Rift & more”