2019 SL User Groups 7/2: Content Creation summary

The Grumpy Troll; Inara Pey, January 2019, on Flickr
The Grumpy Trollblog post

Updated, February 16th: the suggestion to make suitable mipmaps available to users when uploading textures (see the end of this summary) has been translated into a feature request by Beq Janus, allowing users to select multiple image resolutions when uploading a texture – see BUG-226352.

The majority of following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, February 14th, 2019 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 Bugsplat RC viewer updated to Wednesday, February 13th, to version 6.1.0.524348.

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, but 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

  • Anchor Linden has pinned down a couple of further bugs.
  • The hope is that BoM will progress to viewer release candidate (RC) status in the near future, although this is down to internal testing at the Lab.

Environment Enhancement Project

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 includes the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. The assets can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

Due to performance issues, the initial implementation of EEP will not include certain atmospherics such as crepuscular rays (“God rays”).

Resources

Current Status

  • On the simulator side, EEP is now on the BlueSteel and LeTigre channels (representing roughly 20% of the main grid).
  • There is “one last” major issue with the current viewer code to be resolved. This is related to experiences, and Rider Linden believes he has a fix for the problem.
    • It is therefore hoped the EEP viewer will move to RC status very soon.
    • The next update to the viewer should include fixes for BUG-226249.
  • There have been some changes to the data returns by llGetenvironment, and further changes will be made in the coming week. These changes will be reflected in the wiki documentation.
  • There is also a bug that can cause avatar tags to be corrupted in certain EEP environments, as demonstrated by Whirly Fizzle (below).
Whirly Fizzle demonstrates the corrupt avatar tags that can occur under certain EEP environments. Credit: Whirly Fizzle
  • This pass of EEP will not, as previously reported, include Godrays at this point in time. It is hoped these will be added in the future – although when in the future is not clear.

Animesh Follow-On

  • Vir has some prototype hooks in the code that allow body parts in the inventory of an Animesh to be used to customise the skeleton of the Animesh. This doesn’t (as yet) include any communications from the viewer to the simulator, which s the next thing Vir will be examining.
    • This next part of the work may possibly hampered by the fact there is an “embarrassingly large” number of ways to transmitting object information between the viewer and the simulator.  None of them are particularly comprehensive, making it harder to determine how best to add messaging specific to Animesh.
    • As a result Vir is also looking at a means of rationalising things to make it easier to add object information communications to the system beyond Animesh.
  • There have been requests to provide a means to obtain things like the tri count for Animesh. Vir believes it might be easier to add the means to obtain streaming cost, etc., (as this information is already supplied for in-world objects), and / or to give a more straightforward means of indicating whether something can be linked into an Aminesh object or not.
    • Tri counts are being required so creators can check whether or not linking objects together for an Animesh will take them over the tri count limit for Animesh.
    • A problem here is that the simulator doesn’t have the full tri count information for any mesh object, only an estimate to assist in making LI calculations; so using LSL to extract the information could require more in the way of back-end work to expose the required information obtained from the viewer.
    • There is also a risk that as time goes on, the rules regarding what is allowed for Animesh might change – including the tri count. Any such change could therefore invalidate the accuracy of scripts with a hard-coded tri count limit.
  • A request as also been made to enable / disable Animesh via LSL. This is currently not on the cards, unless a compelling use-case can be defined.
    • A suggestion has been that using LSL to disable Animesh could help reduce LI when Animesh objects don’t need to be animated. However, due to the fact Animesh is rendered differently to static objects, this would likely not work in the way people imagine.
  • Vir still hopes to re-work Reset Skeleton a system command so that anyone triggering a reset of their avatar skeleton when they see it deformed can send that update to all other viewers in the scene perform a reset for that skeleton, rather than users having to manually select and reset the affected avatar.
    • If this is done, it is unlikely to include any LSL support, due to the risk of it being over-used in scripts, with the potential for performance hits.
  • Another request is to have a viewer-side option to reset Animesh skeletons. This is viewed as a good idea, as there is already a debug setting (DebugAnimatedObject – set to True) for this, which could be better exposed, although it doesn’t work with Animesh objects attached to avatars.

Texture Resampling

Thanks to a somewhat confused blog post at New World Notes, there has been a lot of talk over the last couple of days about a “debug setting that miraculously improves texture quality”. In actual fact, there is no such thing – as Beq Janus explains in her own blog (see: Compression depression – Tales of the Unexpected) and in the forums (see bi-curious? You should be – or why your assumed wisdom may not be correct).

As Beq correctly points out, there is no “magic” debug setting to improve the resolution or quality of all textures, and Second Life cannot displayed textures with a resolution greater than 1024×1024.

What Beq did confirm is (as per their descriptions) the referenced debugs can be used to upload textures much larger than 1024×1024 Second Life. However, such textures will be resampled to 1024×1024. The particularly interesting thing here is that in resizing such images, the viewer uses bilinear resampling which – contrary to perceived wisdom pointing to bicubic resampling – can actually result in far better quality in the finished 1024×1024 texture.

Beq’s forum post and (particularly) her blog post explains what appears to be happening – and how direct resizing very high-resolution images using bilinear resampling to 1024×1204 prior to upload will also result in better quality textures with viewed in-world.

Does this mean that the upload texture size limit should be increased? Well, no. The crucial part of this is that the different is only seen with 1024×1024 textures – which have issues in terms of the amount of memory they eat, and in the fact they are already drastically over-used. As such, increasing the allowed upload resolution prior to resampling might further elevate the use of 1024×1024 textures.

In the meantime, the forum post has triggered some interesting discussion around bilinear and bicubic resampling, and where each might be preferable to use, and how bilinear could benefit the production of seamless normal maps.

A further suggestion resulting from these discussions (or the resurgence of a suggestion) is to make all the mipmaps for an uploaded textures available, rather than the just the level selected at upload (so, for a 1024×1024, the 512×512, 256×26 and 128×128 mipmaps are also made available to the user, allowing them to experiment and see how the different resolutions work on surfaces.  A feature request Jira has been requested for this idea.

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2019 SL User Groups 5/2: Content Creation summary

Nevglide Forest; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Nevgilde Forestblog post

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, January 31st, 2019 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.

Environment Enhancement Project

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, (hopefully) crepuscular rays (“God rays”), better horizon haze and fogging (but will not include rain / snow).

Resources

Current Status

  • There should be a further EEP simulator RC deployment in week #6 (commencing Monday, February  4th).
  • It has been decided that due to a number of performance issues that have yet to be resolved, EEP will not initially have crepuscular rays when the viewer is promoted to RC status, although hopefully these will come in time.
  • There is an issue with the Linden terrain appearing blurred in the viewer, this should be fixed in the next viewer update.
  • When importing windlight settings into EEP, it should be remembered that there will not be a precise 1:1 match when converting; some elements of an environment’s lighting might be darker or lighter than their windlight equivalents (as can be seen with the sample EEP assets now available in the EEP viewer’s system library). This is because the underpinning rendering in EEP is very different to the current windlight rendering.

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

  • There are still a number of issues to be resolved within the viewer (e.g. bakes not being seen by other viewers,plus the “black skirt” issue that can result in an avatar appearing to wear a long, jet black “skirt”, at least one UI issue with a button not working correctly) so no updates at the moment.

Animesh Updates

  • Vir is looking at the way object updates are handled in order to find the best way to send and receive shape information to Animesh objects, should the system be extended to allow shapes to be applied to Animesh.
  • Right now, the Reset Skeleton option only applies to the local view; there have been requests to make this a system command (so if I use Reset Skeleton, a message is sent to all viewers around me to perform the reset against my skeleton as well, rather than other users having to do it manually if they see something wrong with my avatar after I’ve changed shapes).  This could also potentially benefit Animesh, and Vir is also looking at the idea as well.
    • The focus here will probably be on triggering the reset through the UI, as described above, rather than allowing a LSL function to trigger it. The problem with the latter is the risk of people using it indiscriminately in avatar models, triggering unnecessary (and impactful) updates on systems.
  • Adding attachments to Animesh is also a request, but this isn’t being looked at right now.
  • Currently, an Animesh can keep an animation as a prim property, regardless of whether or not the animation is there (e.g. add a bouncing animation to an Animesh, remove it, and the animation will persist, even if the Animesh is copied and distributed). This is not expected behaviour and will likely be fixed.

Other Items

  • Visual size overlay when editing appearance: this feature request from Penny Patton (see BUG-225513) has been accepted by Linden Lab, but is currently on the back-burner of things they may consider in a future project, but is not currently being actively worked on.
  • Next meeting: it is likely the next CCUG meeting will be on Thursday, February 14th. However, check the wiki page for confirmation ahead of February 7th.

2019 SL User Groups 4/2: Content Creation summary

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbugblog post

The majority of the following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, January 24th, 2019 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

On Wednesday, January 23rd, the following viewers were updated:

Environment Enhancement Project

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

  • The simulator code is now out on the BlueSteel RC channel, which has also absorbed the Snack RC.
  • A further project viewer update is expected for the EEP viewer. This is currently awaiting QA clearance, which should hopefully be followed by an RC viewer soonTM
    • The latest EEP viewer (version 6.0.2.523088 and dated January 16th, at the time of writing) includes sample EEP assets in the Library section of inventory, in the environments folder. These will also be included in all versions of the EEP viewer as it moved towards release status.
    • It is not clear on whether the final shader updates (e.g. crepuscular rays) will be ready by the time the viewer goes to RC status.
  • The focus now is not on adding features but ensuring there are no significant blockers to EEP progressing to release status.

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

  • Anchor Linden has resumed work on Bakes on Mesh.
  • This work is currently focused on fixing viewer bugs and moving the viewer forward.

Non-HTTP Asset Fetching / UDP Path Deprecation

  • A further reminder that UDP message paths for inventory asset fetching is being removed from the simulators.
  • When complete, this means anyone using really old viewers that use UDP messaging rather than HTTP / CDN will no longer be able to obtain responses to asset requests.
  • This work is running a little behind the planned completion date of January 9th.

In Brief

  • Texture caching: the updates to the viewer texture cache are part of Graham Linden’s work, and he is currently focused on EEP and shader work.
  • Mesh uploader: as reported in my previous TPVD meeting update, Beq Janus contributed her updates to the mesh uploader to LL. These are being worked on for incorporation in the official viewer. This is no largely working, but has some UI inconsistencies to be ironed out.
  • ARCTan: this is the work to revise the calculations for avatar / object complexities
    • It is still at the data gathering phase. This data can then be used to redefine the formulas used in calculating complexities, leading to the necessary adjustments to things like rendering cost, LI, and upload costs.
    • This work also involves updates to the respective back-end services so that they can acquire all the information needed for the calculations, rather than relying on viewer-side analysis.
    • Texture use should also be considered in the new calculations – although this may be in terms of the number of textures, rather than their size.
    • ARCTan may also look at instancing of meshes (e.g. more than one instance of a specific mesh in a scene, if this is not done already (as textures already are).
  • Animesh follow-up: still at the discussion stage internally at the Lab.

2019 SL User Groups 2/1: Content Creation

Winter's Hollow; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrWinter’s Hollowblog post

The majority of the following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, January 10th, 2019 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

There are still no updates to the current crop of official viewers in the pipelines, leaving things as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.0.1.522263, dated December 5, promoted December 13. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.1.0.522564, December 19.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 6.1.0.522614, December 18. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.0.2.522531, December 18.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Hover Height / Vertical Positioning Issue

Ever since server release 18#18.10.25.521081 was deployed at the end of October / beginning of November 2018, there have been reports of a hover height / positioning issue for full mesh avatars of less than “normal” height. This can leave such avatars floating 0.2 to 0.3 metres off the ground if non-height related changes are made after hover height has been set (BUG-225893).

Current Status

Anchor Linden has found the root cause for the issue, buried in the Bake Service. He has a fix for the problem, and it will be going out as soon as possible after it has been through testing and QA.

Animesh

Animesh and Pathfinding

As noted in my Simulator User Group update, there is increasing interest in Pathfinding now that Animesh is available, and there is a forum discussion going on around the ways and means to move Animesh which encompasses tests with Pathfinding.

Again, the Lab currently aren’t working on Pathfinding, but they are aware of the discussions and following them. In particular, there is interest in hearing back from people who have used Pathfinding sufficiently who could perhaps help define a set of best practices for using the capability / who have used it sufficiently with Animesh to be able to point to deficiencies in the system or could suggest means of improving it.

Animesh Sex?!

Early on in Animesh development a feature request was put forward suggesting a switch be added to the viewer so that if Animesh creators are on a parcel with parcel privacy enabled, they will obey the setting and not be seen from outside of the parcel so long as the root prim remains within the boundary (see BUG-202592). The idea would be to prevent “adult / sex” Animesh from being accidentally seen.

The bug was closed without action, and a suggestion has been made to add a scripted capability to do the same things. This seems to be something of an edge case / overkill, given animated objects of a sexual nature can be seen within a region with privacy enabled, even if the using avatars cannot.

Animesh Marketplace Sub-Categories

  • There are currently no plans to add sub-categories to the Animated Objects category of the Marketplace.
  • If it is  felt there is a name to add further sub-categories, suggestions should be made via the CCUG meetings and also the Web User Group meetings.

Environment Enhancement Project

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

  • Graham is continuing the final work on the shaders for things like crepuscular ray support, and Rider is working on a clean-up of the new EEP UI elements.
  • An updated project viewer that includes all of this work is anticipated as being available in week #3 (commencing Monday, January 14th, 2019).
  • Rider will also be updating the EEP LSL documentation in the wiki.
  • Sample settings objects are expected to appear in the viewer library “soon”. These will comprise all of the current default windlight settings found in the official viewer, plus a selection of windlights found in Firestorm.

ARCTan

ARCTan is the code-name for the project to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs to make them more reflective of the actual impact of rendering both, which it is hoped will also help correct some inherent negative incentives for creating optimised content (e.g. with regards to generating LOD models with mesh). This project has been on a slow burn through 2018, but is due to resume in 2019 – although when is still to be determined.

Other Items

  • iOS Client: Mention was made of the preliminary work being carried out to develop an iOS client. For details, please refer to the following blog posts:
  • Wiki updates: these is apparently some issue with the SL wiki which is causing problems with updates to the “official” pages managed by Linden Lab.
  • Mac Retina fixes: there are apparently issues of UI blurring with Mac Retina screens. There are fixes in-hand, but the time frame for deployment is not clear, although a new build of the viewer with Retina support was due to go to the Lab’s QA team on Thursday, January 10th.
  • Next CCUG Meeting: due to the Lab’s internal All Hands meeting (delayed from the start of the month), the next CCUG meeting will be on Thursday, 24th January, 2019.

 

2019 SL User Groups 1/1: Content Creation

Snow Falls; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrSnow Falls, November 2018 – blog post

The majority of the following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 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

Due to the end-of-year / new year break, at the time of writing, the official viewer pipelines remain unchanged from 2018 week #51:

  • Current Release version 6.0.1.522263, dated December 5, promoted December 13. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.1.0.522564, December 19.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 6.1.0.522614, December 18. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.0.2.522531, December 18.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Voice Update

There was a back-end update to SL voice on Wednesday, December 26th, 2018.

Hover Height / Vertical Positioning Issue

Ever since server release 18#18.10.25.521081 was deployed at the end of October / beginning of November 2018, there have been reports of a hover height / positioning issue for full mesh avatars of less than “normal” height. This can leave such avatars floating 0.2 to 0.3 metres off the ground if non-height related changes are made after hover height has been set (BUG-225893).

Current Status

Anchor Linden has been investigating this, and the current thinking is that it is related to a change made to the Appearance / Bake Service, rather than to a simulator update. However, it is still proving difficult to reproduce 100% of the time, so investigations are still in progress.

Animesh

  • The number of Animesh items on the Marketplace is increasing, and “Animesh” is now sufficiently recognised as a search term that using it will turn up relevant results, as well as using the Animated Objects category as a means of filtering.
  • The SL feature roadmap for 2019 is still being discussed, but Vir hopes to be able to put more work into Animesh in order to make Animesh characters easier to customise (e.g. applying a body shape). However, this work will not be appearing on the immediate horizon.

Environment Enhancement Project

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 Linden is working on updates to the EEP settings tabs for both the Region / Estate floater and the About Land floater (parcel-level controls). These should be appearing in an EEP viewer update “soon”TM.
  • The viewer will hopefully be moving to RC status in the near future. In the meantime, it is hoped that the back-end will be expanded to a to least one further RC soonTM as well.
  • By the time the back-end role-out occurs, support for crepuscular rays should also be available through the viewer.

ARCTan

ARCTan is the code-name for the project to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs to make them more reflective of the actual impact of rendering both, which it is hoped will also help correct some inherent negative incentives for creating optimised content (e.g. with regards to generating LOD models with mesh). This project has been on a slow burn through 2018, but is due to resume in 2019 – although when is still to be determined.

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 Anchor Linden is still involved in determining and trying to fix the hover height / vertical positioning issue for smaller avatars, BoM is still pretty much on hold.

In Brief

  • Viewer contributions: The Lab have received contributions from the Firestorm Team:
    • Beq Janus has contributed her improvements to the mesh uploader (see my Firestorm 6.0.1 review).
    • Nicky Dasmijn has contributed improvements to the viewer’s search capabilities on preferences and settings.
    • Hopefully, these updates will be appearing in a Maintenance RC viewer at some point in the future.
  • SL 2019 Roadmap: It’s been acknowledged that 2019 is going to be something of a balancing act for Second Life between new features implementation and also all the infrastructure work involved in the transition to the cloud.
  • Baked Mesh “seams” issue: there have been reports of issues with “seam” appearing on meshes using baked textures. This appears to go back to a normal maps related issue (BUG-5975). Within the Lab, it had been thought the problem was the result of the used normal maps being discontinuous, rather than a shader issue. Further investigation will require further examples with “non-broken” normals in order to determine if it is a shader bug.

2018 SL UG updates 51/2: Content Creation Summary

Whirly Fizzle’s EEP Saturn

The majority of the following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, December 20th, 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.

With the Christmas / holiday break now on our doorstep, this was a short meeting.

SL Viewer

There have been two further viewer updates:

  • The Estate Access Management  RC viewer updated to version 6.1.0.522564 on Wednesday, December 19th. See my preview of this viewer here for more information.
  • The Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) project viewer updated to version 6.0.2.522550 on Thursday, December 20th.

Hover Height / Vertical Positioning Issue

Ever since server release 18#18.10.25.521081 was deployed at the end of October / beginning of November 2018, there have been reports of a hover height / positioning issue issue for full mesh avatars of less than “normal” height. This can leave such avatars floating 0.2 to 0.3 metres off the ground if non-height related changes are made after hover height has been set (BUG-225893).

Current Status

Anchor Linden has been investigating this, but is hampered by the fact the behaviour cannot be properly reproduced with consistency. This is making a root cause determination difficult. As this work is currently Anchor’s main focus at the moment, it means the Bakes on Mesh project is somewhat on hold.

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 the notes above, Bakes on Mesh is “on hold” at present while Anchor is otherwise engaged in bug hunting.
  • There are apparently a couple of issues with BoM still to be ironed out, and there is also an internal wiki issue preventing the Bakes On Mesh documentation being published on the SL wiki.
  • Allowing for the hover height / positioning issue mentioned above and the remaining work on Bakes on Mesh (+ the QA testing), it’s possible it will be a few weeks after the start of 2019 before this project progresses again.

Environment Enhancement Project

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

  • This week has seen updates to both the simulator code (available on Aditi for test, and also on limited release on Agni via the Snack RC channel) and, as noted above, to the viewer.
  • It’s hoped that the last of the shader work (e.g. crepuscular rays) will be completed in January.
  • The set agent environment scripted controls (allowing the entire environment for an avatar to be replaced when using an experience) is now in place.
    • Documentation for this will be pushed on the wiki after the holiday break.
  • Rider Linden is working on some further UI clean-up / clarification.

In Brief

  • There has been an issue with joint aliases not being correctly supported (the “avatar_xxx” aliases were not working for all the bones in the skeleton). Vir now has a fix for this, which should be appearing in the relatively near future.
  • Date of next CCUG meeting: Thursday, January 3rd, 2019.