2018 SL UG updates 50/2: Content Creation Summary

Soul2Soul Highlands; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrSoul2Soul Highlandsblog post

The majority of the following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, December 13th, 2018 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

SL Viewer Updates

The Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.0.1.522263, was promoted to release status on December 13th.

New Project Work

Vir Linden is now looking at a number of areas that might spin-out into a new project, although it is currently not clear what that project might be. The areas he is reviewing are:

  • Animesh follow-on – this may include avatar shape support  (which would allow more fully-rounded NPCs), and also more attachment-like behaviour for Animesh attachments.
    • Shapes are viewed as potentially being the easier of the two to handle, although will require additional work on the appearance messaging.
  • Mesh uploader improvements.
  • General viewer bugs.

Beq Janus has also been examining the mesh uploader and making improvements tied to the upcoming Firestorm Animesh release, and Vir is interested in the potential for some or all of these to be contributed to Linden Lab.

Beq’s updates to the mesh uploader include a better (and resizeable) preview window, a new costs breakdown panel, and more.

Bakes On Mesh

Project Summary

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos, clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies as well as system avatars. This involves viewer and server-side changes, including updating the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures, and may in time lead to a reduction in the complexity of mesh avatar bodies and heads.

This work does not include normal or specular map support, as these are not part of the existing Bake Service, nor are they recognised as system wearables. Adding materials support may be considered in the future.

Resources

Current Status

As per my Current Viewer Releases page, the project viewer was merged with the Animesh release viewer (and at the time of writing was at release 6.0.1.522127, dated December 7th, 2018).

Anchor is currently engaged in investigating the hover height issue that can leave avatars of “non-normal height” (notably, but not exclusively, small avatars) floating 0.2 to 0.3 metres off the ground if non-height related changes are made after hover height has been set. This appears to have been introduced as  a result of a simulator update (See BUG-225893 “Hover height on assets has changed somehow” for more).

Left Channels

There appears to be some confusion over the left texture channels introduced with Bakes On Mesh. Essentially, these are unassigned channels, designed to work as the creator wants them to work. The assumption is that they would be used in a manner consistent with the use of the right arm / foot channels, but they are not populated by default. There has been a request to auto-populate them with the standard skin textures, but this is viewed as a possible update for any follow-on to the current Bakes on Mesh work.

Documentation

A wiki page explaining Bakes on Mesh is under construction, but not yet ready for public consumption.

Future Work

Nothing has been decided upon in regards to any Bakes on Mesh follow-on. Requests have been made to allow UUID based texture application via the Bake Service (to enable support for existing clothing layers designed to be applied via a scripted applier system). It’s not been determined if this will be done, or whether an alternative route will be taken, such as defining a new class of wearable. There should, however, be a LSL change to allow textures to be identified and used by name (although this may not have been deployed at the time of writing).

Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements allowing the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) to be set region or parcel level, with support for up to 7 days per cycle and sky environments set by altitude. It uses a new set of inventory assets (Sky, Water, Day),  and which include the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. These can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

The project also includes a new set of render shaders to support atmospheric effects such as rainbows, crepuscular rays (“God rays”), better horizon haze and fogging (but will not include rain / snow).

Resources

Current Status

Rider finalising work on the last of the SL functions for EEP support: llSetAgentEnvironment. This allows the environment parameters as applied to individual agents (avatars) within an experience (so if part of the experience requires the environment to be foggy at a certain point, avatars in the experience will have their view become foggy – but visitors who have not allowed the experience to control their avatar (e.g. because they are just observing) will not be similarly affected).

This support will hopefully be in the next set of simulator updates (currently still only available on the Snack RC channel). Once this work has been completed, Rider will be focusing on the viewer once more. The other anticipated aspect of simulator work – crepuscular rays – is “still coming”.

Complexity Calculations, Project ARCTan

There have been rumours that there may be a new function added to the Bake Service to handle complexity calculations. Vir indicated that while there has been some discussion on how and where to run the calculations (which will all be revised as a part of Project ARCTan), no decision has been made as to whether there will be changes to where the calculations are performed.

In Brief

  • The Firestorm Animesh release is currently with the preview group (I’ve been using it for the last couple of weeks in different iterations), and may go to a broader “public beta” release before being formally issued. If the “public beta” happens, the fully release for the update will likely occur early in 2019.
  • In my previous CCUG update, I reference the changes made to the rate to updates made to the rate of rendering cost calculations. This was due to Animesh having unintended consequences (such as repeatedly showing the complexity alert dialogue (e.g “You may not be visible to X %age of avatars”). During the Firestorm 6.0.1 beta testing, this change resulted in complaints from content creators, leading to a decision to back it out of the upcoming Firestorm release.
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2018 SL UG updates 48/2: Content Creation Summary

The EEP sky over Hippotropolis,designed by Whirly Fizzle. Credit: Whirly Fizzle

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, November 29th, 2018 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Animesh

Avatar Rendering Cost Calculations Adjustment

An upcoming change that should be appearing at some point in a Maintenance RC viewer will see the avatar  rendering cost calculations adjusted in respect to Animesh.

The updates for the calculations were made more frequent in the Animesh viewer (now the release viewer), with the intention of now accurately handling the rendering load with Animesh objects attached to an avatar.

However, there are some types of attachment that make frequent updates to prim properties, and when these are combined with the Animesh-related complexity calculations, it can trigger unintended side-effects (such as repeatedly showing the complexity alert dialogue (e.g “You may not be visible to X %age of avatars”).

The  update will throttle the number updates to try to prevent the alert being displayed with every single change, no matter how small, to the complexity cost (significant changes will still generate the alert). It is also hoped the update will address the issue of the complexity alert dialogue being triggered simply by using CTRL-ALT-T.

Silas Merlin has provided a free, Full Permissions Animesh creation that can be used as an example of making / converting rigged mash for Animesh use

Possible Rate limits?

Even with the above change, there is still concerns over code that frequently changes prim parameters, because of the additional load it places on the graphics pipeline in calculating / handling the updates. The engineering team is therefore discussing potential rate limits being imposed on such updates in the future – however, this is not something that will be implemented in the short-term, but is something that will be considered over time, most likely as a part of the ARCTan projects as a whole.

Firestorm Animesh Support

A limited beta test version of Firestorm should be available very soon. Depending on how well this performs in testing, a public beta should follow, paving the way for a release in the near future. This update will primarily focus on Animesh integration, but will include some other updates and feature improvements, including significant improvements to the mesh uploader by Beq Janus – as she demonstrates in the video below.

Bakes On Mesh

Project Summary

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos, clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies as well as system avatars. This involves viewer and server-side changes, including updating the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures, and may in time lead to a reduction in the complexity of mesh avatar bodies and heads.

This work does not include normal or specular map support, as these are not part of the existing Bake Service, nor are they recognised as system wearables. Adding materials support may be considered in the future.

Resources

Current Status

At the time of writing, a new version of the Bakes on Mesh project viewer was about to undergo QA testing with the Lab, as is expected to appear either on Friday, November 30th, or in the early part of week #49.

This is currently being considered as the “feature complete” version of the viewer, and Oz Linden requested that creators wishing to leverage BoM to please put it to the test to see if there are any serious bugs / issues that need to be addressed.

Depending on the level of feedback gained, and the type of feedback (positive / negative)  it is possible the viewer could quickly progress to release candidate (RC) status and perhaps even to release. However, without feedback, the Lab will not be able to fully assess its suitable for RC, etc., promotion.

For testing, note that the back-end support for BoM (which has recently received a “significant” performance update) is now grid-wide on Agni (the Main grid).

Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements allowing the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) to be set region or parcel level, with support for up to 7 days per cycle and sky environments set by altitude. It uses a new set of inventory assets (Sky, Water, Day),  and which include the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. These can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

The project also includes a new set of render shaders to support atmospheric effects such as rainbows, crepuscular rays (“God rays”), better horizon haze and fogging (but will not include rain / snow).

Resources

Current Status

Rider continues work on the last of the SL functions for EEP support: llSetAgentEnvironment. This allows the environment parameters as applied to individual agents (avatars) within an experience (so if part of the experience requires the environment to be foggy at a certain point, avatars in the experience will have their view become foggy – but visitors who have not allowed the experience to control their avatar (e.g. because they are just observing) will not be similarly affected).

This should be the last of the server-side updates for EEP, allowing Rider to re-focus his attention on the viewer, including updating the experience dialogue to inform users their environment may be modified (where applicable). It’ also hoped that when ready, the next update to the viewer will have more / the rest of the EEP shader updates included.

SL Permissions System

Sansar uses a “supply chain” permissions system. In short, this allows creators to offer goods that can be purchased by others, modified and resold at a higher price, with the original creator receiving a “commission” on each sale, based on the original item’s sale price.

This has generated some interest among content creators engaged in both Second Life and Sansar in seeing a similar system introduced here – or perhaps in extending the Full Permissions option to additionally limit the further resale of unmodified Full Permission items.

However, any changes to the permissions system can have significant impact, and as such, are not something the Lab is liable to approach lightly or tackle in the short-term (or, as Vir Linden puts it, tends to have Lab engineers hiding under the furniture at the thought of changes! 🙂 ).

In Brief

  • A reminder that if there are specific improvements people wish to see with Second Life, feature request Jira are the best way to bring them to the attention of the Lab.
  • Vir Linden is currently working on a set of under-the-hood inventory improvements. After this, he will likely work on various “low hanging fruit” fixes within the viewer, etc.
  • The texture caching project is currently gated by the work on the rendering side of EEP, however, TPVs are advised not to make any significant changes to how they handle texture caching because of the Lab’s own project.
  • The code for Linden Realms is to be open-sourced – read here for more.
  • The next CCUG meeting will be on Thursday, December 13th, 2018.

2018 SL UG updates 46/2: content Creation Summary

Animesh is live!

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, November 15th, 2018 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Animesh

Animesh is now official released. Blog posts:

This means that the Animesh code will now be merged with all current RC and project viewers in the coming days /  weeks. Firestorm support for Animesh will be coming soon, as is the other case for TPVs that have not already started making releases with Animesh support.

Resources

To help people get started with Animesh, there is already a range of available resources, including:

Discussion

  • Concern has been raised about the 2 Animesh attachment option for Premium members impacting performance at major events given the lack of “public” testing of the ability (which had always stated as being one Animesh attachment per avatar across the board).
    • Interestingly, when the one Animesh attachment per avatar was first set, it was seen as too limiting, with some wanting as many as five per avatar.
  • The tri count cap remains unchanged at 100K per Animesh.

Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements allowing the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) to be set region or parcel level, with support for up to 7 days per cycle and sky environments set by altitude. It uses a new set of inventory assets (Sky, Water, Day),  and which include the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. These can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

The project also includes a new set of render shaders to support atmospheric effects such as rainbows, crepuscular rays (“God rays”), better horizon haze and fogging (but will not include rain / snow).

Resources

Current Status

  • There are a couple of blockers that have come up on the next viewer update, and which are currently being worked on, and should hopefully be cleared by the end of the week.
  • The first scripted functionality for EEP is now available: llGetEnvironment. This:
    • Returns a list containing the current environment values for the parcel and region as a list of attributes.
    • Takes a list of attributes to retrieve in parameters and returns them in the order requested.
  • llGetTimeOfDay has also been revised in line with EEP.
  • Graham Linden is continuing to work on the rendering side, including crepuscular rays. He is however, also engaged in other work related to viewer rendering (such as project ARCTan).
    • As a part of Graham’s work, there is a further update to the EEP sky settings that will allow the atmospheric settings to be altered

Bakes On Mesh

Project Summary

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos, clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies as well as system avatars. This involves viewer and server-side changes, including updating the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures, and may in time lead to a reduction in the complexity of mesh avatar bodies and heads.

This work does not include normal or specular map support, as these are not part of the existing Bake Service, nor are they recognised as system wearables. Adding materials support may be considered in the future.

Resources

Current Status

  • The required Bake Service update (which in part allows the support of 1024×1024 textures) was deployed in week #46.
  • Anchor Linden is now working on updates to the viewer, which is considered to be the only blocker to Bakes on Mesh going live.
  • Additional channels have been added to the Bake Service already which include the left arm and left leg. A request following this update was to allow upper and lower body skin textures to these channels – this will not be a part of the initial Bakes on Mesh release.
  • It has yet to be tested, but as Animesh objects do not have the necessary shape support for the Bake Service to use, it is thought BoM will not work (or at least not work as anticipated) with Animesh attachments on an avatar.

Normal and Specular Maps Support Experiment

As noted in the project summary above, Bakes on Mesh will not by default support normal and specular maps when released.

However, in week #45, Cathy Foil suggested it might be possible to allow Bakes on Mesh to indirectly support normal and specular maps using a combination of three additional bake channels within the Bake Service and a scripted “applier” option, similar to current skin and clothing applier mechanisms.

Since that time, she’s been carrying out tests using the existing three Aux Bake Service channels, added to the system as a part of Bakes on Mesh. While the approach appears to work with normal maps, there are a number of questions relating to alpha blending, deriving specularity (normal maps use the alpha channels for specular power in the SL materials setup), etc. These would require more in-depth testing through a suitable viewer, and as such, this isn’t seen as a viable approach at this point in time.

New Projects

No decisions have been made as to what user-visible projects will come next.

  • There is an infrastructure related project for inventory, but this shouldn’t have user-visible impact.
  • Project ARCTan (avatar and object complexity calculation improvements) has been on hold, awaiting resources, which are now becoming available.
  • There are a mix of options in the pot for Animesh and BoM follow-ups, but any follow-on work hasn’t been officially defined.
  • There are a number of other potential projects the Lab isn’t ready to announce as moving forward just yet.

Next Meeting

The next CCUG meeting will be on Thursday, November 29th, 2018.

Animesh officially released for Second Life

Anmesh Halloween boogie, October 2017, Courtesy of Alexa Linden

On Wednesday, November 14th, Linden Lab announced the official release of Animesh, with the promotion of the Animesh viewer as the de facto release viewer.

Animesh has been in development for about a year, and like Bento, has been a collaborative effort between Linden Lab and Second Life content creators.  Essentially, it allows the avatar skeleton to be applied to any suitable rigged mesh object, and then used to animate the object, much as we see today with mesh avatars. This opens up a whole range of opportunities for content creators and animators to provide things like independently moveable pets / creatures, and animated scenery features.

Alpha flipping: use of multiple mesh models to achieve a sense of movement by rapidly cycling through them via script, revealing and then hiding each one in sequence – in this can giving the illusion the squirrel climbs and swings from the bird feeder

One of the potential advantages with Animesh is that it might help eliminate the need to “alpha flipping” across multiple versions of a mesh creature in order to simulate its movement.

To explain: if you right-click and edit animated mesh creatures in SL, you’ll see that they can appear to have multiple parts, most of which are invisible. When they are active, a script renders then sequentially, causing each of the models to be rendered in turn before hiding it again using an alpha mask.

Like a set of flip book drawings, this gives the illusion of movement: be it a sheep or horse or cow raising and lowering its head to appear as if it is grazing, or a rabbit hopping back and forth over the ground, or simply mimic the movement of legs as an animal wanders along a pre-determined path. As long as the script is cycling the motion is repeated.

The problem with alpha-flipping is that is can be render intensive, impacting viewer performance, so the hope is  – and as well as bringing other benefits – Animesh will, over time, hopefully encourage creators to switch away from alpha flipping methods of animation.

Animesh also includes the ability to attach a single object to an avatar (or two, if you are Premium) which can then behave independently of the avatar. Quite how this will be used remains to be seen – but again, one obvious option is more render-efficient pets, or perhaps an animated item of clothing that simulates being blown by the breeze, and so on. Another potential is with things like avatar tails – while Bento also allows for items like these, the use of an Animesh with its own skeleton could avoid potential conflicts when trying to use two Bento items that use the same set of bones in the avatar, and so conflict with one another.

There are some initial limitations with this release of Animesh. As a couple of quick examples: when it comes to pets, for example, because rigged mesh is used, it’s not possible to simply put a pet on the ground after carrying by using Drop so it can run around – you have to go via Detach and inventory. Also, there is no avatar shape associated with Animesh at present, which may limit its adoption for use with NPCs, as there is no real ability to custom body shape and size (the addition of a body shape to Animesh, and the ability to modify it via the sliders is being considered for a future Animesh project).

Animesh Resources

To help people get started with Animesh, there is already a range of available resources, including:

Rigged mesh can be set to be used as Animesh through the Build / Editor floater

In particular, the user guide and test content offer the best way of getting started with Animesh for those who haven’t tried it thus far.

Again, Animesh isn’t just for content creators: it has been designed such that just about any Rigged mesh can be converted to Animesh directly from the Build / Edit floater. Do be aware, however that simply converting an object will not cause it to start animating – you’ll obviously need suitable animations and a script to run them.

Like any other object utilising animation, this is done by adding the animations and scripts via the Edit > Contents tab for your converted object. If you’re not a scripter / animator, you can still use the Animesh test content and have a play around with things.

Quite where Animesh will go will be known in time – even at the Content Creation User Group meetings some fairly imaginative use-cases were being pondered by some (using Animesh in vehicles for animating wheels, for example). To try to help users find Animesh content, the Lab note they’ve created a new Marketplace category – Animated Objects – but going on a brief parse through what’s there already, this may need some form of curation if it is to be for Animesh – several of the items I notes didn’t appear to be Animesh – so be sure to read descriptions carefully and perhaps check in-world as good start to appear.

As with all things, Animesh can be subject to bug and issues, and Whirly Fizzle has created a JIRA filter for Animesh for easy tracking of known issues. If you do hit upon a bug or issue, do be sure to raise a Jira report and label it for [Animesh].

A razzle of raptors? Animesh used to animate rigged mesh raptors from Linden Lab

Additional Links

 

2018 SL UG updates 45/2: CCUG summary

Frog Hollow; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrFrog Hollowblog post

The majority of following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, November 8th, 2018 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

SL Viewer Updates

The Spotykach RC viewer updates to version 5.1.10.521459 on Thursday, November 8th, 2018. Otherwise, all other viewer remain as per part #1 of these weekly updates.

Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements allowing the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) to be set region or parcel level, with support for up to 7 days per cycle and sky environments set by altitude. Uses a new set of inventory assets (Sky, Water, Day) that can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and which can additionally be used in experiences. A new set of render shaders to support atmospheric effects such as rainbows, crepuscular rays (“God rays”), better horizon haze and fogging (but will not include rain / snow). The ability to change the Sun and Moon and cloud textures with custom textures.

Resources

Current Status

The new simulator update deployed to the Snack channel on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018. This allows environment information to be pulled from the parcel or region, and further scripting work is due in time. There will also be further updates to the viewer in due course.

There has been a request to allow parcel owners set the transition time for EEP settings when moving between parcels, rather than just using the fixed (roughly 10-second) transition time. This is something Rider is reluctant to consider for the first pass of the EEP work, as it is a complex matter to tackle, and constitutes the kind of scope creep he’d rather avoid in trying to get the first pass of EEP out of the door. However, it is among the items to be considered as a part of any EEP follow-up project.  This said, it will be possible to set the transition time on EEP settings directly applied to avatars (once the scripted EEP support is available).

Animesh

Project Summary

The goal of this project is to provide a means of animating rigged mesh objects using the avatar skeleton, in whole or in part, to provide things like independently moveable pets / creatures, and animated scenery features via scripted animation. It involves both viewer and server-side changes.

Resources

Current Status

The Land Impact fix for Animesh is now deployed to the RC channels – this ensures that Animesh objects with a regular prim root (rather than a mesh root) should have their default 15 LI including in land impact calculations. If all goes according to plan, this fix will hopefully be deployed to the main (SLS) channel in week #46.

There are no specific updates in the works for the viewer at present, so the simulator update might see Animesh go to release status in the immediate future.

The meeting covered a lot of ground covered in the previous meeting – performance / bound box fixes; avatar shapes for a follow-up project, etc., so please refer to my notes from that meeting for details.

Bakes On Mesh

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos, clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies as well as system avatars. This involves viewer and server-side changes, including updating the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures, and may in time lead to a reduction in the complexity of mesh avatar bodies and heads.

This work does not include normal or specular map support, as these are not part of the existing Bake Service, nor are they recognised as system wearables.

Resources

Current Status

Work is continuing with fixing the Bake Service / appearance service. Some of this work is currently with the Lab’s QA team. Anchor is also working on some viewer-side issues as well.

Normal and Specular Maps Support?

By default, Bakes on Mesh will not support normal and specular maps. This is because the Bake Service managing the avatar appearance does not recognise normal or specular maps, and updating it to do so is seen as a major task in terms of software and hardware.

However, in examining the issue, Cathy Foil has put forward a way to allow Bakes on Mesh to indirectly support normal and specular maps using a combination of three additional bake channels within the Bake Service and a scripted “applier” option, similar to current skin and clothing applier mechanisms.

Would this conflict with mesh body parts that already have a specular or normal map already assigned? While she’s not tested the idea in practice, Cathy believes not, as the additional Bake Service channels are not actually applied to the avatar,  they are simply a means to communicate what should be applied.

However, Graham Linden believes that even this approach would still require alterations to correctly composite the normal and specular maps. It would also likely need some kind of alpha masking capability to ensure odd outcomes are avoided (such as a normal or specular map for, say an underwear layer bleeding through to a skirt layer of clothing).  Cathy has indicated she’ll try doing some testing ahead of the next CCUG.

If nothing else, the provision of further Bake channels that might be seen as for “general purpose” use could lead to creators using them in a variety of ways, leading to further consumer confusion simply because there is no standard approach to how each auxiliary Bake channel is to be used.

2018 SL UG updates 43/2: CCUG summary

Alexa Linden’s Funky Love EEP sky

Animesh

Project Summary

The goal of this project is to provide a means of animating rigged mesh objects using the avatar skeleton, in whole or in part, to provide things like independently moveable pets / creatures, and animated scenery features via scripted animation. It involves both viewer and server-side changes.

Resources

Current Status

Land Impact: a simulator bug has been found that is being fixed. In short, if an Animesh object has a conventional prim as its root, the required 15 LI for the Animesh skeleton is not applied. This LI is an aggregate value for Animesh skeletons during testing Animesh performance for a defined set of test Animesh objects across a range of systems.

This has led to some alarmist blog posts about prim returns, following a (somewhat sensationalist) forum post on Animesh being delayed by 2 weeks (itself guesswork) on the matter. Given that Animesh hasn’t reached release status, and there are few (if any) commercially-available Animesh objects at present, it’s not unfair to say both the blog posts and the forum thread are something of an over-reaction.

Performance Impact: (see BUG-225584 and forum thread). This is related to the new dynamic bound box used with Animesh. Beq Janus from the Firestorm team has been involved in investigations as to the degree of potential impact, and has discovered a potential baseline performance impact of around 8-10% between an Animesh-capable and non-Animesh viewer, regardless of the presence of Animesh.

The latest update to the Animesh viewer (version 6.0.0.520636 at the time of writing), should mitigate a lot of the performance impact resulting from the dynamic bounding box.

Animesh vs. Avatars: while there will be a baseline impact for Animesh objects, this should be less than the baseline impact seen with avatars, which not only have a skeleton, they also have a shape and appearance elements associated with them. The the complexity of a mesh body to an avatar (with a baselines of around 400 faces, plus mesh clothing, attachments, etc., and avatars tend to be a lot more complex than most considered Animesh should be.

Animesh follow-up: there has been a lot of talk about a follow-up project for Animesh since the project started. These include adding a body shape (allowing Animesh humanoid objects to gain slider support), which is viewed by the Lab as being possibly the preferred follow-on project, although it is acknowledged given the wide variety of arbitrary mesh forms that could be converted to Animesh, slider use might be limited. However, it is unlikely any follow-on project will be an immediate follow-on to the current work, as there are several other projects currently in the pipeline awaiting attention.

Animesh attachments: another long-term request has been to attach objects to Animesh creations. A problem here is that attachments are managed by the simulator-side avatar agent – and Animesh objects do not have an avatar agent associated with them, so they don’t have the back-end support for tracking attachments. This is an issue that needs to be solved before attachments on Animesh can be handled – and even then, there is the question for potential performance impact. Various alternative ideas have been suggested to allow for attachment support n Animesh, but these may also have their own issues, and are unlikely to be adopted.

Animesh “assembling” issue?: we’re all familiar with the way mesh bodies “assemble” when logging-in / teleporting to an occupied region: the various mesh elements stack-up, usually at their default attach points, while some may appear offset or oversized, then the position, rigging, LOD, etc., data is received by the viewer and things “assemble” into an avatar. This behaviour can occur with multi-part Animesh objects as well, and there is a report that sometimes the Animesh “assembling” can leaves parts floating around for up to a minute before “snapping into place”.  Thus far, the problem has only manifested with one creator using the pre-release of the Firestorm Animesh viewer, so it’s not clear whether there is an underpinning issue with Animesh or not.

Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements allowing the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) to be set region or parcel level, with support for up to 7 days per cycle and sky environments set by altitude. Uses a new set of inventory assets (Sky, Water, Day) that can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and which can additionally be used in experiences. A new set of render shaders to support atmospheric effects such as rainbows, crepuscular rays (“God rays”), better horizon haze and fogging (but will not include rain / snow). The ability to change the Sun and Moon and cloud textures with custom textures.

Resources

Current Status

As per my week #43 SUG update, a simulator update has been updated to fix the issue of racing skies when EEP-enabled regions are seen on non-EEP viewers. In addition, Rider is working on the first pass of the LSL support for EEP.

Bakes On Mesh

Work is continuing with fixing the Bake Service issues. however, as Anchor Linden, the lead for the project, is on vacation, this work will likely remain open until his return.

Other Items

  • Animations: there have been multiple requests for improvements to the animation system, including: allowing animation constraints to be set; extending the .ANIM format, animations by .DAE file and support for animation scaling. The Lab is aware of the requests being made, although not formal project has been defined at this point.
  • Morph Targets: there have been requests to allow morph targets within the avatar shape so that the shape sliders can be manipulated via LSL (so an avatar “gorging” itself at a scripted meal gets fatter, as a simple visual example). There are concerns that opening the body shape parameters to LSL manipulation could result in over-use and performance impact (e.g. rapid LSL adjustments to “animate” an avatar rather than using an actual animation), but some ability to allow morph targets is seen as potentially “interesting” – although this is not to say it will become a project.
  • Date of next meeting: due to the start-of-month internal meeting at LL, the next CCUG meeting will be on Thursday, November 8th, 2018.