Tag Archives: TPV Developer meetings

SL project updates 20/3: TPV Developer meeting

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Black and White Women – blog post

The majority of the notes in this update are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, May 19th, 2017. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. Timestamps in the text below will open the video in a separate window at the relevant point for those wishing to listen to the discussions.

Server Deployments Re-cap

  • There was no Main (SLS) channel deployment or restart on Tuesday, May 16th.
  • On Wednesday, May 17th, the three RC channels were updated as follows:

SL Viewer

[1:00] The Voice RC viewer has an elevated crash rate, and the Lab currently haven’t determined why.

The Maintenance RC viewer updated to version  5.0.5.326444 on Thursday, May 18th. This viewer currently has a lower crash rate that the other RC viewers (although it has not been out that long), so might be a candidate for promotion. I have an overview of this viewer for those interested.

64-bit Viewer

[2:23] The last major functional addition for the 64-bit Alex Ivy viewer is currently with the Lab’s QA. If all goes well, a further project viewer update should arrive in week #21 (commencing Monday, 22nd May).

This introduces a new executable to the viewer – SL Launcher – which runs an update check at start-up. If there is a new version of the viewer available, the Launcher manages the download and installation – including ensuring Windows users get the right version for their operating system (32-, or 64-bit).  If there is no new version to install, or once the viewer installation has completed, the Launcher will launch the viewer as a child process, and will shut down when the viewer exits at the end of a session.

The plan is to move the crash data capture package to the Launcher in the future, which will give full end-to-end monitoring of the viewer in the event of a crash.

360 Snapshot Viewer

[6:07] The work on the 360 snapshot viewer is once again progressing. A new library has been added, which provides the appropriate meta data so that websites supporting 360-degree viewing can correctly such images taken by the viewer on upload, eliminating the need to process them separately via the web service currently supplied by the Lab.

This work is currently being tested, and should find its way into a project viewer update some time in the next two weeks or so, with a release candidate hopefully not too far behind that.

Region Crossing Hand-off / Caps Router Issues

[7:43] Fantasy Faire experienced very high levels of region crossing hand off problems with avatars trying to move between the various regions. A similar issue has surfaced at the just-opened Home and Garden Expo.

While it issue isn’t new, the Lab found a cause is the Caps Router running out of connections due to the number of avatars it is attempting to serve. New monitoring has been put in place which will determine how many connections the Caps Router is using, and when it is approaching its limits. The data gathered will be used to help better determine how many connections are needed, allowing the Lab to adjust the number supported.

This work is going to be carried out incrementally, starting with an initial RC deployment in week #21 containing conservative adjustments in the hope of avoiding creating additional bottlenecks in changing things too radically at one time. However, the hope is that the changes will in time result in two improvements:

  • It could result in an increase in the number of avatars a region can comfortably support
  • As this is an issue at the SERVER level (not the simulator), the changes should help reduce people on regions with few avatars on them experiencing issues as a result of the region being hosted on the same server as one (or more) regions with a lot of avatars on them.

As a result of understanding the problem, the Lab was aware the issue was impacting the Home and Garden Expo even before it had been reported.

Unsuccessful Teleports Impacting Region Performance

[14:20] During investigations into the region issues at Fantasy Faire, the Lab noted that a simulator running a busy region has to carry out a lot of work to determine whether or not someone can teleport into it, which can degrade overall simulator performance.

To combat this, the Lab is going to change the teleport re-try throttle following a failed TP. As viewer-initiated teleports are already somewhat throttled, the change should not affect them. However, it will likely mean that the very rapid retry TP HUDs (aka “TP hammers”) will break or degrade in their performance unless adjusted.

The hope is that by reducing the load placed on a simulator as it tries to deal with too rapid a succession of TP requests which cannot be granted as the region is full, overall performance will be improved and those already in the region will enjoy a better experience.

This change should be appearing in a server RC update soon.

Additional comments on teleport failures:

  • A queuing system will not be added, as this is deemed to be too difficult to implement and manage.
  • There is no relationship between the size of an avatar’s inventory and the frequency with which that avatar may experience teleport failures. However, the amount of items attached to an avatar, the scripts they are running, etc.
  • The Lab can monitor teleport failures in real-time.

Automatic Additional Logging after Region Crashes

[29:27] It was asked if additional logging could be automatically enabled on a region crash. This is something that cannot be done, and Oz’s belief is that doing so would result in an additional load on the simulator during recovery, and so not be a good idea.

Avatar and Object Rendering Cost Investigations

[31:00] The Lab is continuing work in reviewing the rendering cost calculations for in-world objects and avatars, work I first reported on in September 2016. However, the numbers aren’t at a point where any adjustments can be made to the calculations.

Fun Fact

Oz Linden marked his seventh anniversary at the Lab this week – so a belated happy rezday to him! Some of us can likely remember his 2010 appearance at the SLCC, when Esbee Linden introduced him to the audience in Boston 🙂 .

Oz at one of the viewer / open-source panels at SLCC 2010, with Esbee Linden just visible to the right

 

 

 

 

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SL project updates 18/3: TPV Developer meeting; viewer changes

Rustic Retreatblog post

The notes in this update are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, May 5th, 2017. The video of that meeting is embedded at the end of this update, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. Timestamps in the text below will open the video in a separate window at the relevant point for those wishing to listen to the discussions.

AssetHTTP Viewer

[1:32] As noted in part 2 of this week’s updates, the AssetHTTP RC updated on Thursday May 4th to version 5.0.5.325940.  While the sample of users on this version is small and needs to be broadened over the coming days, the crash rate is reportedly already significantly better than it was.

Project Alex Ivy 64-bit viewer

[2:28] An update to the 64-bit RC viewer is expected to appear on or shortly after Monday, May 8th. This includes numerous updates including 64-bit Havok sub-libraries for Mac and improvements for handling web-related elements.

Following this update, the only anticipated major updates for this viewer will be those related to the new viewer management process, which includes checks to try to ensure Windows users receiving the correct flavour of the viewer (i.e. if you’re a 32-bit Windows users, you should automatically get the 32-bit version of the viewer during updates; if you’re 64-bit Windows users, you should get the 64-bit version of the viewer).  These updates are already being integrated into the viewer for the next update, so it is entirely possible the 64-bit viewer will be updated twice in the coming week.

[3:52] There was a slight mistake with the current version of the viewer which meant people on 64-bit Windows were getting the 32-bit version in error, which led to incorrect stats. This will be corrected with the new update.

[22:32] The Lab plan to update the viewer build instructions on the wiki to reflect this viewer as soon as it goes out as a release candidate viewer.

[24:32] Mac users should note that this viewer does not support OS X versions below 10.9.

360 Snapshot Viewer

[7:05] Given the status of the 64-bit viewer, the Lab is resuming work on the 360 snapshot viewer, although there currently isn’t any ETA on an update to the current version.

Voice Viewer

[2:05] The Lab has resolved the issues found in the Voice viewer RC, with the updated version – 5.0.5.325998 – appearing on May 5th during the TPV Developer meeting.

[17:16] As some fundamental issues with Voice are being addressed with this viewer, the SLVoice plugin that comes with it will not work with older viewers, and the SLVoice plugin from older viewer versions will not work with this viewer. This is a deliberate change and means that TPVs will need to integrate the entire Voice update, rather than just parts of it.

[19:14] This viewer also improves overall Voice connection, by both making connections more likely to succeed in the first place, and by making improvements to the retry / reconnection process. However, particularly aggressive anti-virus packages which fiddle with network connections can still cause Voice connection issues.

[18:35] In difference to previous statements made at the back-end of 2016, the Lab currently has no plans to disable older versions of Voice. However, they might revisit the idea in the future .

Upcoming Maintenance Viewer

A new Maintenance RC viewer should be appearing shortly with a number of updates / changes, some of which were outline in part 2 of this week’s updates, and repeated below for completeness.

Inventory Improvements

[9:26]  To try to help with inventory losses through accidental deletion of objects which have mistakenly been moved to Trash, the Maintenance RC viewer will have the following behaviour changes:

  • The prompt displayed when you have over 5K items in Trash will be amended to show the trash folder when you’re ready to purge it – before you can purge it.
  • Backspace will only delete on Mac systems (as it’s the only option available), it will no longer delete on windows.
  • The purging Trash notification will give you the count of items you’re deleting and will be unavoidable.
  • The “Are you sure you want to delete this thing” warning will be seen at least once per session.

Estate and Parcel Permissions

[10:42] The Estate management floater is to be revised somewhat to make it easier to use, while the Permissions check boxes, etc at estate / parcel level are to be changed to better convey what happens when setting them. In particular, these will address BUG-4994 and see some improvements to access /  ban list management at the region level, so that more than four names are visible in the list. at any one time.

This will only be the first iteration of these changes, and Grumpity linden indicates that the Lab will continue to look at how much more can be done to improve these controls without starting to make things complicated.

This viewer will also include the changes needed to support the improved access controls for regions set to Public Access (see New region and parcel access controls coming to Second Life) – a project known internally at the Lab as Jigglypuff. The server-side changes should be on RC from Wednesday, May 10th.

Limiting the Number of Items a You can ADD from a Folder

[14:18] A new limit has been placed up the total number of items which can be added from a folder at any one time. This is specifically to prevent those situations where someone mis-clicks ADD on a top-level folder – say Clothing – to find they are stuck with the viewer trying to add everything in that folder and every sub-folder within it to their avatar.

Lower Default Media Volume

[16:58] In response to requests, the upcoming Maintenance RC will also have a lower default volume for media playback than is set by the Lab in current viewers.

SL project updates 16/3: TPV Developer meeting, servers

The majority of the following notes are taken from the following sources:

  • The TPV Developer meeting of Friday, April 21st. A video of the meeting is embedded (my thanks to North, as always), and time stamp reference appearing in the text relate to that video
  • The Server Beta User Group meeting of Thursday, April 20th.

Server Deployments – Recap

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest information.

  • On Tuesday, April 18th the Main (SLS) channel received the server maintenance package previously deployed to the RC channels in week #15.
  • On Wednesday, April 19th, the RC channelsreceived the improved region capacity and access capabilities previously on the McRib micro-channel, which has been reabsorbed into the RCs

Simulator OS Update

The simulator build using a new version of Linux is now on the Main (SLS) grid, but currently restricted to the Cake micro-channel. Region holders with a defined interest in testing their products, scripted objects ,etc. on the build should contact Concierge Support to request an opt-in to the channel.

SL Viewer

Release Viewer

[02:15] The release viewer was updated on Wednesday, 19th April with the promotion of version 5.0.4.325124, formerly the Maintenance Release viewer.

  • This viewer includes a number of important updates, including:
  • Avatar Complexity Rendering Updates, including avatar rendering exceptions
  • Grid Status Display Toolbar Button
  • Improvements to the snapshot floater, inventory offer messages
  • Block list improvements

See my overview of this viewer (from when it was an RC release) for more.

HTTP Asset Viewer

[02:38] The AssetHTTP release candidate updated to version 5.0.5.325600 on Thursday, April 20th. This viewer moves fetching of several types of assets to HTTP. This update was primarily to merge the HTTP code with the new release viewer, but also includes additional logging code in an effort to try to determine why the previous version had an elevated crash rate.

Voice Viewer

[02:56] This RC viewer was withdrawn due to a high crash rate. An updated version may soon be available, but is dependent upon another bug being fixed, described as a “really loud, horrible screech in your headphones” if you teleport when someone is talking.

Once available this is seen as an important update for TPVs to pick-up, not only for the new voice updates but also because it fixes a number of bugs in certificate handling.

Project Alex Ivy 64-bit Viewer

[03:45] This viewer is awaiting a further update, which will hopefully appear in week #17 (commencing Monday, April 24th), pending the outcome of QA testing. The update will include 64-Havok on the Mac (it is already in the Windows version).

E-mail Verification

On Wednesday, April 19th the Lab posted about Making Email From Second Life (More) Reliable, and the need for users to verify their e-mail addresses with the Lab (detailed instructions on which can be found here).

[05:17] There will be an update viewer supporting this (for IMs-to-e-mail, etc.), available “soon”.

Improved Estate / Parcel Access Controls

[09:08] A viewer supporting the server-side changes to the Public Access settings at region / parcel level (in short, parcel owner will not be able to set their parcels to restricted access if the region is explicitly set to Public Access at the Estate level), will be out shortly. Commenting on this, Grumpity Linden said:

Hopefully, we’ll have the first iteration out next week [week #17], and we might have to have some back-and-forth to make sure that the behaviour makes sense.

This viewer will also hopefully resolve issues such as BUG-4994 which results in a parcel being set to Group access (and gaining ban lines) if both the Public and Group access options are checked, are also resolved as a part of the work.

Improved Estate Ban List Management

[12:18] in February it was indicated that the current capabilities for managing estate ban lists are far from ideal. The ban list is confined to a small area of the World > Region Details > Estate tab, which is currently shared with three other lists. It is also non-searchable, making locating individuals for removal from very large lists time-intensive and difficult.

The Lab is working to provide a larger space for managing estate ban lists, with Grumpity Linden noting:

What I hope is not going to be unreasonably complicated to do, is to actually give you additional information, like when the user was banned and by whom. But we still need to see whether that is hard to do. It’s not going to be a part of the other UI changes for estate controls, because we want to get those out quickly; [but] I expect both of these things will require a couple of iterations.

Other Items

Second Life Statistics Stuck

[10:04] There is an issue with the statistics for the number of concurrent users on-line, Linden dollar exchange rate and number of daily sign-ups, which have remained frozen at the same values since April 12th, 2017 (the number of users on-line statistic, often referenced on the log-in splash screen by a number of viewers spent several days stuck at 44,647, for example) – see BUG-100468. The Lab is looking at the issue, but state it might take “a little while” to determine the problem.

Media Volume Issues

This breaks down into two areas:

  • Groups involved in the Community Gateway programme report that many incoming new users complain about the default volume at which the official viewer auto-plays streaming media on logging-in. An informal request has been made for the Lab to adjust the volume level downwards, but no work has been done on this (and no JIRA formally requesting the change has been raised)
  • [17:30] BUG-40937: “Shared media a great distance away (different region even) sometimes plays at maximum volume when entering a region or moving camera slightly” – the Lab has promised to discuss this, but is making no promises as to what might be done by way of resolution.

Fun Fact – Maintenance Viewer Internal Names

[19:37] Grumpity and Oz Linden revealed that they use internal project names to identify the various Maintenance viewers which are either under development or in flight. For some time now, these viewers have been named for assorted alcoholic drinks!

“For a while we stuck with drinks beginning with ‘s’,” Grumpity said, “but we had to expand.”

“They started getting pretty obscure!” Oz added.

SL project updates 2017 14/2: TPVD meeting, server updates

Maison de L’amitieblog post

The notes in this update are taken from the following sources:

  • Server Beta User Group meeting, held on  Thursday April 6th, 2017 at 3:00pm SLT – transcript here
  • The TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, April 7th, 2017 at 12:00 noon SLT.

A video of the TPV Developer meeting is embedded at the end of this update. My thanks as always to north for providing it. Timestamps in this report, where relevant, will link you to the point in the video where items are discussed (via a new browser tab).

SL Viewer

No changes to the current pipeline since part one of the week’s update:

  • Current Release version 5.0.3.324435, dated March 13th – snapshots to e-mail hotfix
  • Release channel cohorts:

    • Maintenance RC viewer version 5.0.4.325124, dated Monday, April 3rd  – review
    • Voice RC viewer version 5.0.4.324770 released on March 20th – several improvements to voice
  • Project viewers:
    • Project AssetHttp project viewer, version 5.0.4.324828 dated  March 30th – This viewer moves fetching of several types of assets to HTTP / CDN – overview
    • Project Alex Ivy (“LXIV”), 64-bit project viewer, version 5.1.0.503537 dated March 17th
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer, version 4.1.3.321712 dated November 23rd, 2016 – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review
  • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847 dated May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

64-bit Build Instructions & Windows Crash Rates

[11:15] The Lab plan to update the viewer build instructions on the wiki to match the 64-bit build process once the 64-bit viewer reaches release status, and the build process is seen as stable.

[29:14] The 64-bit build is being tested across all versions of Windows back to Windows 7. While the current project viewer cohort of users is small, there is evidence that Windows 7 64-bit systems have a “significantly higher” crasher rate with the viewer than Windows 8 or Windows 10, with Windows 10 systems having the lowest overall crash rate.

SL Voice: Linux Updates and Blocking Older Versions of SL Voice

[0:49] Vivox, the company that provides the Voice back-end service and delivers the Voice plug-in for the viewer are no longer providing updates for Linux. This means there will no longer be any Voice updates for the Linux flavour of the viewer unless Vivox reverses that decision.

[1:42] The plans to block older versions of SL Voice to ensure  users are only using the most recent versions of the plug-in, first announced in the latter part of 2016 and placed on hold in December 2016, remain on the back-burner with Oz  Linden noting, “We don’t have any time line for disabling older Voice versions … We may or may not get to it.”

Region Access Changes

There are two changes to region access which are currently in progress.

Region Capacity and Access

[2:36] The first is the Improved Region Capacity and Access updates as reported by the Lab on Tuesday, April 2nd, and which are being rolled-out in stages. There has been some negative reaction to these change (some basic account users have been particularly vocal about the upper capacity to a very busy region being “reserved” for Premium members); however, the deployment which was placed on its own limited server channel (McRib),  appears to be going well and so will be rolled to a larger selection of regions in week #15 (commencing Monday, April 10th).

[3:28] The Lab will continue to look at avatar capacity within region types  as they continue to make other changes to the system, and if the opportunity arises to increase the numbers, they “probably will” (quote). Of course, increases to region capacity on the back-end can have a negative impact at the viewer end of the equation, where the viewer and client system potentially have to work than much harder.

Revised Region and Parcel Access Controls

[4:40] The Lab is revising how Public Access controls are set at both region and parcel access. This involved changes to both the back-end (already on RC) and a set of changes to the viewer UI. You can read more about this in my separate report here.

Simulator Operating System Update

[4:07] As noted in recent SL project updates in these pages, the Lab has been working on a new region simulator build using an updated version of Linux. These work has been on test on Aditi (the beta grid) for the last several weeks (on channel DRTSIM-323), and is due to move to an RC release in week #15, pending no last-minute show stoppers arise in final QA  / test.

This is an extensive back-end change to the simulator, which should be largely invisible to users. However, the Lab will be watching the initial deployment carefully, because as Mazidox  Linden commented at the server beta meeting, “It won’t change anything you should notice, and could change anything, at the same time.” This being the case, there is a standing request that as the update is deployed, those using regions running on the RC channel(s) on which it is running (see the week #15 server deployment notes in the Second Life Server forum, once published) to be extra vigilant and report anything untoward they may see / encounter.

Once this operating system update has been completed, the Lab will start work on a further update.

Other Items

Rendering Cost Calculations

[19:25] The Lab is running a background project to look at the cost of rendering a wide range of Second Life features across a range of different client systems running the viewer. The tests for this work have now been defined and are about to be put into use. Once sufficient data has been gathered, the Lab will use it to determine what might need to be done to improve the accuracy of the avatar rendering calculations with a view to making them more accurately reflect the real cost of rendering high poly count items. Changes will be communicated through forums such as the TPV Developer meeting ahead of any implementation.

[33:55] One potential project which might help with mesh avatar complexity is to allow system layer texture baking to be applied to mesh avatars. This has been the subject  of numerous discussions at the Content Creation User Group meetings (see here and here for more), and while it is still not officially adopted as a project by the Lab, they are continuing to take a detailed look at the idea,

Ban List Improvements

[28:00] This was first raised at the TPV Developer meeting held of Friday February 17th. Essentially, the region ban lists are seen as difficult to use, particularly where the ban list is extensive. There have also been requests that the upper limits for both region and parcel ban lists are raised.

Both subjects are still subject to discussion within the Lab, and while no project is currently on the cards to deal with either, it seems likely that were they to be addressed, they would be addressed together. It has been noted that one possible driver for change might be the upcoming changes being made to how Public Access is managed for regions where it is set (see above).

Windows 10 / Nvidia Shadowplay Bug

Whirly Fizzle has reported a bug which appears to have started with a recent Nividia driver update or a Windows 10 update. In short, launching the Nvidia GeForce Experience and enabling ShadowPlay on a Windows 10 system with Nvidia graphics, which tend to result in a viewer crash. See BUG-11530 for more, including a response from Nvidia on the issue.