Tag Archives: TPV Developer meetings

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 channels were updated as follows:
    • BlueSteel and LeTigre received the improved region capacity and access capabilities previously on the McRib micro-channel, which has been reabsorbed into the RCs
    • Magnum received a new “secret” update, which has been under testing on the Snack channel, and Snack was absorbed into it.

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[02:56] This RC viewer was withdrawn due to a high crash rate.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.

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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.

SL project updates 2017 12/2: TPV Dev and Content Creation meetings

The Heart of the Seablog post

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

  • Content Creation User Group meeting, held on  Thursday March 23rd, 2017 at 1:00pm SLT
  • The TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, March 24th, 2017 at 12:00 noon SLT.

A video of the TPV Developer meeting is included, and timestamps to it are included in the text, where relevant. Notes from the Content Creation User Group appear towards the end of this update.

SL Viewer Pipeline

Maintenance RC Re-issue

On Thursday, March 23rd, the Lab released a new Maintenance RC viewer – version 5.0.5.324882 – to replace the faulty March 16th release.  As such, it includes the same set of updates, and I’ve written an overview of the core changes.

Voice RC

[0:19] The Voice RC viewer, version 5.0.4.324770, has a problem with the SSL Certificate Authorities update included with it. This triggers some code deep within the viewer which should not be triggered. This tends to affect TPVs for than the official viewer (the issue was actually noted by Firestorm). It’s be at least a couple of weeks before this matter is resolved, and until it is, the Voice RC viewer will not be progressing, and the Lab is unlikely to expand the cohort of users running it. Alongside of this, but separate to is, is an issue which is giving the viewer a higher than expected crash rate. which is also being looked into. Additionally, among the updates to this viewer and not included in the release notes, is support for the Opus Interactive Audio Codec, although server-side support is still required. This should eventually see further Voice quality improvements.

64-bit Project Alex Ivy

[3:10] As noted in part 1 of this week’s update, the 64-bit viewer was updated on Friday, March 17th to version 5.1.0.503537. This viewer is showing a significantly lower crash rate, although it does have some other issues. It should have a further update in the next two weeks.

360 Snapshot Viewer

[4:06] It appears unlikely that the 360 snapshot viewer will be update in the next week due to the ongoing work with the 64-bit viewer.

Asset Fetching Via HTTP

Vir Linden has been focused on the viewer side of this work, which will see the remaining inventory asset classes – landmarks, gestures, animations, shapes, sounds and wearables (system layer clothing) – switch from UDP delivery through the simulator to HTTP delivery via the via the Content Delivery Network(s) the Lab uses.

[4:42] The viewer for this work may be appearing in week #13 (week commencing Monday, March 27th). However, this is dependent on some back-end web configuration work being completed so that the required simulator changes can be correctly enabled on the Main grid.

Once these remaining assets have been shifted to delivery to the viewer via HTTP / CDN, the remaining UDP messaging for asset delivery will be turned off on the simulator end. This may be around July / August time (to be confirmed once the HTTP updates have reached release status), and will mean any older viewers still using UDP messaging for asset data fetching will be unable to do so.

New JIRA – Soon

[14:35] There is a new JIRA update coming, in line with recent updates made by Atlassian. It is currently on internal testing at the Lab, but there is no time frame as to when it will make a public appearance.

FMod Studio

[16:00] Around the start of the 64-bit viewer project there was a potential for an open-source contributed project for using Fmod Studio with viewer audio. This is likely to be re-examined, and if found suitable it may be up for adoption. However, given it will require a licence, which is likely to take a while to be processed by the Lab, it will not prevent the 64-bit viewer progressing forward toward release. Instead, the code module will be integrated as and when the licence has been obtained.

Content Creation Meeting Round-up

Animation Transitions: as noted in my March 9th CCUG meeting notes, people have been noting issues with animation playback, some of which appear to be related to llSetAnimationOverride, one of the server-side functions for controlling your animation state (see  BUG-7488 as an example).

Vir has been looking at this, but no definitive cause has been found. One suggestion is that it might be related to  Walk Adjust cutting in, which can occur when transitioning from standing to almost any other state when using llSetAnimationOverride. Although is that some transitional animation, such as a pre-jump or landing might be accidentally set to loop, causing an apparently freeze / lock. Vir will continue to poke at this.

Avatar Rendering Calculations:  work continues on refining the rendering cost calculations for avatars. However, this work is still not ready for shipping. Theses adjustments are twofold: to account for more “recent” changes which have been made since the system was last properly evaluated, and to address known issues in how the calculations are made.

Applying Baked Textures to Mesh Avatars: this is still on the short list, but is not an adopted or active project within the Lab as yet.

Rigging Animated Attachments to the Skeleton: there are issues trying to rig animated attachment to the avatar skeleton (e.g. a set of nunchaku or a gun that twirls before being holstered). While they may work OK using a specific avatar shape, problems can occur should the shape be changed (e.g. the nachaku  / gun no longer accurately positions relative to the hand). Medhue Simoni suggests items like this might be rigged and animated to the relevant attachment point instead.

NPCs / Animated Objects: this is still not a formal project at the Lab, but there has been some discussion on the potential feature set, were it to become a project.

Scripted method to position bones: see BUG11407. VIr’s concern with this approach would be the level of complexity / risk of conflicts with animations / need to expand the scripting capabilities on the back-end in order to make full scripted positions of bones useful. However, within the meeting, it was seen as being more useful in being able to fine tune poses for things like photography (e.g. to prevent hands vanishing into breasts or thighs), and thus supplant something like Anypose. As a result, Vir’s agreed to look at tools like Anypose and have a fresh look at the JIRA.

Other Items

Bento Ridable Horse

Strawberry Singh has all the information on a new Bento Rideable horse, which has a release had of Saturday, March 25th. As the name implies, this is a horse which makes full used of the Bento skeleton extensions (so when worn, it is an extension of your avatar).  Berry has produced a tidy video on the horse, and I’ll finish this update by embedding it – read Berry’s blog post for the specifics.

SL project updates 2017 10/3: TPVD meeting

Mystical Fae Forest, Elvenshire; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrMystical Fae Forest – blog post

The notes in this update are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, March 10th, 2017. Audio extracts from the core points of the meeting are included.

SL Viewer Pipeline

There have been no further updates to any of the official viewers since part 1 of this week’s updates, leaving the pipelines as:

  • Current Release version: 5.0.2.324126, dated March 3rd, promoted March 6th – formerly a Maintenance RC viewer download page, release notes
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Alex Ivy (LXIV), 64-bit project viewer, version 5.1.0.501863 for Windows and Mac, released on January 10th
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer updated to version 4.1.3.321712 on November 23rd, 2016 – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review
  • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847 dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

A further Maintenance RC viewer is in the offing; expect that soon.

Love Me Render Viewer

The Love Me Render RC viewer containing rendering pipe improvements was withdrawn due to assorted issues, in part justifying the move of rendering fixes to their own viewer branch to prevent them bottlenecking viewer releases (which could have happened if they had been a part of the “regular” Maintenance RC). It will hopefully reappear once the issues prompting its withdrawal have been dealt with.

64-bit Viewer

The Project Alex Ivy 64-bit viewer has a new update currently with the Lab’s QA team. It has “quite a bit of work” in it, and should hopefully appear early in week #11 (week commencing Monday, March 13th). This update will include:

  • An open-source wrapper for CEF called Dullahan (link for those who are curious about the etymology of Lab project names) which will replace llCEF, making it easier to render web content through the viewer
  • The same versions of Dullahan / CEF and libVLC (audio handling) on both the Windows and Mac builds
  • The 64-bit Mac build now uses MacOS Sierra, and will be backwards compatible as far as OSx 10.9 (Xcode 8)
  • The 64-bit Windows build still uses Visual Studio 2013, and will support Windows 10, 8 and 7. Vista support is TBC.

360 Snapshot Viewer

Work is expected to resume on the 360 snapshot viewer, which will include further integration with various means of sharing snapshots – such as through the new Second Life Places pages.

New Viewer Management Framework

The next 64-bit update after the one referenced above will include the new viewer update process, which is specifically targeted at Windows users. This will run a process when updating the viewer to check the version of Windows being run (32-bit or 64-bit), and ensure the correct version of the viewer is downloaded and installed. In time, this process will eventually take over producing crash dump data as well.

Some concern was raised over forcing 64-bit users to run 64-bit versions of the viewer if they have found 32-bit versions to be easier (for whatever reason). However, the Lab believes this is unlikely to be the case.

Viewer Build Process

The viewer build process is changing with the arrival of the 64-bit viewer versions. One aspect of this is a new version of autobuild itself. The build process also uses the same compiler switches for building all of the various libraries which go into a viewer build, which are controlled by a new repository. This should smooth the build process and means that for Windows, the process can build either the 64-bit version of the viewer or the 32-bit version, providing the core 64-bit repository is used and depending on how an address size switch is set.

32-Bit Windows Support

There is still a large number of Second Life users running computers with 32-bit windows. As such, the Lab intends to support 32-bit windows for as long as the numbers warrant it / it is practical to do so. However, those on 32-bit versions of the operating system are liable to experience higher crash rates and poorer viewer performance, simply because of the memory limitations inherent in 32-bit Windows.

Voice Updates

The next Voice update should be appearing soon, which fixes the left / right orientation of Voice on the Mac. There are still some connection issues to be resolved, but hopefully the viewer will reach LL’s QA team in the next week or so, paving the way for its public appearance.

Abuse Report Categories

Currently, the report categories associate with Abuse Reports (ARs) are currently held in the viewer. This means that any changes made to the categories may not be reflected in all viewers, complicating the Governance Team’s work it triaging incoming reports.

While first mooted in August 2016, the Lab is now looking to make the Abuse Report categories a simulator-side capability downloaded to the viewer (most likely at log-in). This would both make it easier for the Lab to revise the abuse categories (were their ever a need to do so) and, over time, help eliminate the problem of incorrect abuse categories existing in older viewers.

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