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

 

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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.

2018 SL UG updates #42/2: CCUG summary

Storybook Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrStorybook Forest – blog post

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, October 11th, 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.

Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements, including:

  • The ability for region / parcel owners to define the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) at the parcel level.
  • New environment asset types (Sky, Water, Day that can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others.
    • Day assets can include four Sky “tracks” defined by height: ground level (which includes altitudes up to 1,000m) and (optionally) 1,000m and above; 2,000m and above and 3,000m and above, plus a Water “track”.
  • Experience-based environment functions
  • An extended day cycle (e.g a 24/7 cycle) and extended environmental parameters.
  • There are no EEP parameters for manipulating the SL wind.
  • EPP will also include some rendering enhancements  and new shaders as well (being developed by Graham Linden), which will allow for effects such as crepuscular rays (“God rays”)
    • These will be an atmospheric effect, not any kind of object or asset or XML handler.
  • The new LSL functions for finding the time of day according to the position of the windlight Sun or Moon have been completed, and are more accurate than the current options.
  • EEP will not include things like rain or snow.
  • It will still be possible to set windlight local to your own viewer.

Resources

Current Status

EEP is now running on around a dozen Linden-controlled regions on Agni (the main grid). Expect the server-side code to creep to other RCs soon.

Currently, running EEP on the simulator side can result in some strange skies when seen on non-EEP viewers (deep black skies, racing clouds, etc.). Rider and Graham Linden are working to improve this.

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.

Resources

Current Status

Work is contining 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.

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

Viewer Status

The Animesh RC viewer updated on Thursday, October 18th to version 6.0.0.520636. The sees the viewer merged up to the release viewer and has some fixes for issues, notably:

  • Optimisations for dynamic bounding box computation on avatars and Animesh objects.
  • Animesh attachments should now match the impostor state of the attached avatar.
    • This may cause some discrepancies with the render max avatar setting (as a worn animesh should give a count of 2 (avatar and Animesh). However, this has yet to be tested
  • Animesh objects should no longer disappear when crossing region boundaries using the Mac viewer.

The hope is this will be the final RC update to the viewer, and that it will, in due course be promoted to release status.

Animesh vs. Mesh Alpha Flipping

One of the benefits of Animesh is that it should be more efficient, design-wise than the more usual alpha-flipping, potentially with a lower rendering cost. However, there are still questions around overall efficiency when it comes to general performance.

A problem here is trying to do like-for-like comparisons; something the Lab hasn’t attempted to test. Rather, their focus has been to test whether the overhead of Animesh itself is going to be detrimental to overall performance. As such, creators who have been using alpha-flipping with animating meshes will need to test the potential benefits of switching to Animesh for their existing products for themselves.

In Brief

  • Animesh tri count limit: the debate over whether the 100K tri count per Animesh is “enough” rumbles on (although it often feels as if only one creator perennially believes it should be higher for in-world objects). In short, the total is unlikely to be revised up or down, although project ARCTan might affect it in the future.
  • Mesh uploader: while no formal project has been announced, the Lab is hoping to take a look at the mesh uploader in the future with a view to improving it. So, if you’re a mesh creator and have some ideas on what might be done in this direction, now might be the time to raise your feature requests / bug reports.
  • Are upload fees an encouragement for efficiency? possibly, but questionable, in the Lab’s view.
    • Given that the upload cost is a one-time fee that could be made up after a few sales of the item / item the upload is used in (in the case of textures).
    • Plus, those wanting to use high-res textures directly may complain over an increase in upload fees for larger textures, but would probably keep right on uploading rather than questioning whether or not they need such high-res images on every surface they are texturing.

 

2018 SL UG updates #41/2: CCUG summary

A simple 5-minute (including uploading the textures) demo of EEP, replacing the Sun and Moon with Mars and Jupiter respectively, then adjusting their respective sizes &; putting them in the same quadrant of the sky

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, October 11th, 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.

Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements, including:

  • The ability for region / parcel owners to define the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) at the parcel level.
  • New environment asset types (Sky, Water, Day that can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others.
    • Day assets can include four Sky “tracks” defined by height: ground level (which includes altitudes up to 1,000m) and (optionally) 1,000m and above; 2,000m and above and 3,000m and above, plus a Water “track”.
  • Experience-based environment functions
  • An extended day cycle (e.g a 24/7 cycle) and extended environmental parameters.
  • There are no EEP parameters for manipulating the SL wind.
  • EPP will also include some rendering enhancements  and new shaders as well (being developed by Graham Linden), which will allow for effects such as crepuscular rays (“God rays”)
    • These will be an atmospheric effect, not any kind of object or asset or XML handler.
  • The new LSL functions for finding the time of day according to the position of the windlight Sun or Moon have been completed, and are more accurate than the current options.
  • EEP will not include things like rain or snow.
  • It will still be possible to set windlight local to your own viewer.

Resources

Current Status

  • Testing still in progress on Aditi, with test parcels for users still available.
  • Test region: Aditi EEP Testing (secondlife://Aditi/secondlife/EEPTesting/128/128/23).
    • Parcels cost L$1, but as Aditi funds are provided by Linden Lab, you are not paying for anything with your own money.
    • You MUST be using the EEP test viewer why trying to purchase a parcel on the test region – if you are using any other viewer, your purchase will time out.
  • Feedback via Jira (bugs and requests) and / or through comments on the forum feedback thread.
  • An update to the project viewer is expected soon.
  • Graham Linden is continuing to work on the shader support.

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.

Resources

Current Status

The update to the Bake Service to support 1024×1024 textures has run into problems. Anchor Linden is working on fixes for the issues, and once these have been implemented then the viewer should receive and update as well.

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 RC viewer updated on October 8th to version 6.0.0.520211. It had been hoped with would be the last RC version, but issues mean this will not be the case.
  • Performance issue:  BUG-225584 and forum thread. This is related to the new dynamic bound box used with Animesh. Vir is working on the issue, and Beq Janus from the Firestorm team has been involved in investigations as to the degree of potential impact. There have been one or two sensationalist blog headlines – best to read the forum thread and the bug report.
    • Part of the thread has spun away into handling attachments on Animesh. While this is not a part of the initial Animesh release, hopefully the discussions can be split off into their own thread.
  • Imposters issue: Animesh objects can imposter independently to avatars. This can result in an avatar rendering normally when seen by others, but any attached Animesh being impostered (or possibly vice-versa).
    • This is being fixed so that an Animesh attachment will now have the same imposter setting as its parent avatar. The update will be in the next RC update.
  • There is a Mac-specific graphics issue that can result in Animesh objects vanishing from the scene when crossing a region. This is also being worked on.

Animesh and the Marketplace

  • There has been some preliminary discussions in the Lab on how to make Animish distinguishable / locatable on the Marketplace (e.g. categories, etc.).
  • No decisions as yet, but the Lab is interested in feedback at CCUG meetings or through the Animesh feedback thread.
  • Problem here is the risk of confusion cross-over. Do trees animated via Animesh require their own sub-category under “Animesh”, should they have  an “Animesh” style sub-category under trees and shrubs (itself already a sub-category of Home and Garden >: Landscaping)?
    • There’s also the question of what to call an over-arching category: “Animesh” is a truncation of “Animated Mesh”, and has been used within the project, etc., but those unfamiliar with the project might be confused by it; so might “Animated Mesh” be preferable? A problem here is “Animated Mesh” itself is a little ambiguous in meaning.
  • Triangle counts have been suggested as an alternative, but this requires some form of automated count system for items uploaded to the MP, which in turn would require significant changes to the MP tools.
    • Even if a tri count could be auto-generated, would people take more notice of it or a given LI?

In Brief

  • A portion of the meeting was taken up with Blender / Maya specific conversations on bone placement for making taller avatars or for use in things like snakes and ropes.
  • There was some discussion on altering the axis rotation in the mesh uploader to match the likes of Maya and Substance Painter. As Vir noted in the meeting, there are an array of potential improvements that could be considered for the uploader – but as yet, a specific project hasn’t been defined to it – and any such project would likely be open for creator input.
  • Support for additional material maps: there has been various discussions (in the forums, etc), but SL supporting additional material maps – roughness, metalness, displacement, etc. Nothing official is on the table from the Lab,  but earlier in 2018, Kitty Barnett did some experimenting with displacement maps with the Catznip viewer – although this should not be taken to mean this is something that will be supported by Catznip or other viewers.
    • Vir hopes that Graham Linden will be able to give some thoughts on expanding material maps support in the future CCUG meeting.
Displacement maps, experimented with by Kitty Barnett earlier in 2018, might – if they could be implemented – add further depth to surfaces. For example: top left – a prim wall with a brick texture; top right: a prim wall with a texture and normal map applied, as we’re used to seeing in Second Life – some depth is added to the cement grouting between the bricks etc. Bottom centre: the same prim wall with the same texture added, but now using a displacement map: note the greater apparent depth between bricks and cement grouting, etc (highlighted).

 

 

2018 SL UG updates #39/3: CCUG summary

“All these worlds are yours….” An alien sky by Cube Republic, using the EEP test viewer

The majority of the following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, September 27th, 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 Update

The Rakomelo Maintenance RC, version 5.1.9.519298, dated September 5th, was promoted to de facto release status on Wednesday, September 26th. This means all other viewers currently in the pipelines will be merged with this code and updated in the coming days.

Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements, including:

  • The ability for region / parcel owners to define the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) at the parcel level.
  • New environment asset types (Sky, Water, Day that can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others.
    • Day assets can include four Sky “tracks” defined by height: ground level (which includes altitudes up to 1,000m) and (optionally) 1,000m and above; 2,000m and above and 3,000m and above, plus a Water “track”.
  • Experience-based environment functions
  • An extended day cycle (e.g a 24/7 cycle) and extended environmental parameters.
  • There are no EEP parameters for manipulating the SL wind.
  • EPP will also include some rendering enhancements  and new shaders as well (being developed by Graham Linden), which will allow for effects such as crepuscular rays (“God rays”)
    • These will be an atmospheric effect, not any kind of object or asset or XML handler.
  • The new LSL functions for finding the time of day according to the position of the windlight Sun or Moon have been completed, and are more accurate than the current options.
  • EEP will not include things like rain or snow.
  • It will still be possible to set windlight local to your own viewer.

Resources

Current Status

There will be a formal LL blog post on EEP testing at the start of week #40, which will include links to the current versions of the test viewer and also the SLurl for Aditi testing. I’ll be updating this summary with the details once officially made public. These will include the latest iteration of the viewer

Those who have been fortunate enough to attend the CCUG meetings have been able to get some advanced testing done, and there have been a number of additional bug reports and feature requests raised – use the EEP Jira filter to review all raised issues / ideas.

The latest version of the test viewer (made available at the meeting) will result in visible changes to cloud speeds. This will cause clouds in settings created using the initial version of the test viewer to travel much faster and to the north-east.

Another simple EEP demo showing how different textures used on the Sun or Moon within individual sky settings can be blended together when creating a day cycle & some of the motion effects – in this case the Sun (as Mars and Jupiter zig-zagging gently up and down). Oblateness is due to manual recording ratio, and is not representative of the texture shapes when seen in-world.

Cliff Notes on EEP

  • Graham Linden’s shader work has yet to be added to the viewer (so no crepuscular (God) rays, etc., as yet).
  • Firestorm uses a broader range of setting for atmospheric / water effects (haze, density, etc.) than the official viewer. This has led to windlights imported into EEP settings not displaying correctly (see BUG-225537) Rider had increased the settings range in EEP to match Firestorm.
  • Rider and Graham are discussing how procedural texturing might work in EEP(!)
  • EEP does not support the ability for anyone to create a new EEP settings object simply by saving the one they are viewing ( as can currently be done with legacy windlight settings). However, existing windlight settings stored locally in the viewer can be imported to EEP and converted.
  • EEP will break RLV controls on windlight.
  • The EEP test viewer can be used as an ordinary viewer on Agni (the main grid), but EEP settings cannot as yet be applied, and it may lead to a duplication of the EEP Settings folder when switching back to the test region on Aditi.

Cloud Perturbation

Rider hopes to be able to add a means to provide a degree of perturbation when non-seamless cloud textures are used, so that they don’t appear so tiled when viewed in-world.

Continue reading “2018 SL UG updates #39/3: CCUG summary”