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 188.8.131.528371 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 184.108.40.2068464 (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 220.127.116.118404 (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 18.104.22.1688408 (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[01:35] These two release candidates were withdrawn from the release channel on March 21st to reduce the number of RC viewers vying for promotion to release status.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.
[01:52] The Project Zipper “fast installer” viewer was updated to version 22.214.171.1248507 on March 28th, also bringing it up to parity with the current release viewer, although it remains at project status (download and release notes).
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.
[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.
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.
[04:02] Commenting on the current release viewer version: 126.96.36.1998138, 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.
[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.
[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.
[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.