2021 TPVD meetings week #13: summary

The Handmaiden Estate – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, April 2nd, 2021.

These meetings are generally held every other week.  They are recorded by Pantera Północy, and her video of each meeting is embedded at the end of the report relating to it – my thanks to her for allowing me to do so – and it is used with a transcript of the chat log from the meeting to produce these notes.

This as a very short meeting.

SL Viewer News

[1:13-4:55]

As noted in my CCUG summary, the Custom Key Mappings viewer, version 6.4.17.557391 was promoted to de facto viewer release status on Thursday April 1st.

The Key Mapping viewer adds the ability to assign your own keyboard short-cuts to a list of defined commands

The rest of the current pipeline of upcoming RC and project viewers remains as follows:

  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Maintenance RC viewer – Eau de Vie, version 6.4.17.557412, dated March 25.
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.14.556118, dated February 23.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26,   2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, dated November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, dated July 16, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • LMR 5 is being used to address crashes relating to older hardware using Intel Graphics drivers. These have proven difficult to track down as almost nothing is reported on where in the viewer the issue causing the crash occurred. In the meantime, those on systems using older Intel HD graphics drivers are encouraged to update to more recent versions.
  • Both LMR-5 and the Maintenance RC are awaiting merges with the new release viewer code.
  • The Simple Cache Viewer has been updated following the forced roll-back, and should be appearing as a new RC viewer some time in the next week.
  • The recent hold-up in the viewer update and release cycle means that there are now a number of Maintenance RC viewers, each with its own focus, awaiting initial release.
  • A further Lover Me Render viewer (LMR-6) is also in development,  with around 8 known issues awaiting resolution before it can be considered for initial release as an RC viewer.

In  Brief

  • [7:20-8:06] the re-working of the Map Tile code continues. It is believed “significant progress” has now been made, but no ETA on when the fully revised code will be in operation.

2021 CCUG and TPV Developer meetings week #9

Wildwood Gardens, January 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from my audio recording and chat log of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, March 4th 2021 at 13:00 SLT, and Pantera’s video recording of the TPV Developer’s meeting of Friday, March 5th, a copy of which is embedded at the end of this article.

The majority of the TPVD meeting was given over to a discussion of the texture cache issue, together with a general discussion on the simplified cache structure and also on Jelly Doll avatars.

These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, with dates available via the SL Public Calendar. The venue for the CCUG is the Hippotropolis camp fire, and the TPV Developer meeting is held at the Hippotropolis Theatre.

SL Viewer

[From the CCUG meeting & TPVD Meeting]

Release Roll-Back & Issues

  • The Simple Cache viewer, version 6.4.14.556088, had to be rolled back following its March 2nd promotion due to a number of bugs (e.g. cache location not being adhered to – BUG-230337; uploads of textures above a certain size were failing – BUG-230295).
  • The roll-back saw the Jelly Doll improvements viewer, version 6.4.13.555567 (originally promoted on February 17th) revert to being the de facto release viewer.
  • However, the roll-back resulted in some users who had updated to the Simple Cache viewer users experiencing a corrupted texture cache when using an older version of the viewer.
  • Unfortunately, LL are having problems consistently reproducing the texture caching issues, so it is unclear how matters will be resolved.

This means that for the meantime:

  • Those experiencing texture issues on the official viewer as a result of having used the Simple Cache viewer and then rolling back to, or installing, another version should try clearing cache and re-starting the viewer.
  • Until the Lab have more of a handle on the texture cache issues:
    • Those RC viewers that had been internally merged with the Simple Cache viewer will also be rolled-back to an earlier version.
    • Internal viewer testing procedures will be reviewed.
    • TPVs that have also merged the Simple Cache code will also likely need to roll back their code.
  • One suggestion for resolving this issue is for the official viewer to increment the texture cache version number, forcing a complete wipe / reset of the cache
  • Independent of the texture caching issues, and due to BUG-230337 and BUG-230295, the Simple Cache viewer will go back to a development status so the issues can be fixed.
    • Firestorm apparently has fixes for these particular issues, and these may be contributed to LL.

General Viewer Notes

  • A new Maintenance RC viewer – Eau de Vie, version 6.4.14.556149, was released on March 4th.
  • The Custom Key Mappings viewer updated to version 6.4.14.556098, also on Thursday, March 4th.

The rest of the official viewers in the pipeline remains as follows:

  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.14.556118, February, 23, 2021.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

There may be a viewer promotion during week #10 (commencing Monday, March 8th).  While no final decision has been made, it is possible the LMR 5 may be the viewer that gets promoted.

Viewer Rendering

[CCUG Meeting]

  • Euclid Linden continues to work on separating UI rendering from general scene rendering in order to improve overall viewer performance.
    • Currently the UI is completely redrawn every frame, along with the rest of the scene, whether or not it requires update.
    • This can take up to 40% of the rendering time, depending on the complexity of the scene being rendered, with around 10-20% being an average, so it is hoped the changes will particularly help those on less-capable systems.
    • There may be some subtle / slight reduction in UI responsiveness under certain circumstances, so a means to tweak the UI update rate may be provided via something like a Debug setting.
    • Note: this work is not physically altering the appearance of the UI, only the frequency with which it is drawn.
  • Ptolemy Linden continues to work on more general rendering performance improvements and rendering bug fixes.

In Brief

  • [CCUG] Map tiles are still being worked on. In the future the lab may look to implement a new means of generating the Map tiles in a more robust way.
    • The Lab has an internal proposal for updating terrain textures, but it has yet to be formally adopted.
  • [CCUG] Allow upload of ground  constrained animations – on the LL’s list,  but has not been looked at as yet.  Vir believes that as the capability is already supported (but undocumented) is should only require an alteration to the simulator animation code to ensure the constraints are correctly understood.
  • [TPVD] Firestorm has entered QA, with a release planned for mid-March.

Date of Next Meetings

  • CCUG: Thursday, March 18th, 2021.
  • TPV Developer: Friday, March 19th, 2021.

2021 TPVD meetings week #7: summary

Eulennest, January 2021 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, February 19th, 2021.

These meetings are generally held every other week.  They are recorded by Pantera Północy, and her video of each meeting is embedded at the end of the report relating to it – my thanks to her for allowing me to do so – and it is used with a transcript of the chat log from the meeting to produce these notes.

The latter two-thirds of the meeting included a large amount of local text chat related to VRAM and texture handling. Please refer to the video for details.

End of an Era

[0.00-1:06]

As I recently blogged, Oz Linden, who initiated the TPVD meetings and who has, with the exception of when he’s been on vacation, chaired them is departing the Lab for retirement on Friday, February 26th (see: Oz Linden announces his forthcoming departure from Linden Lab). As such, this marked the last TPVD meeting he would attend, with – I believe – Vir Linden now set to carry them forward.

Given this, Oz had a few words to say to the TPV community at the start of the meeting:

 I want to say that working with the third party viewer community has been  – I mean this is how it started for me, and it has been a theme throughout, and it has been a very great pleasure working with all of you. It’s really been terrific, and thank you. Thank you for making me look good, and thank you for all you contribute to this really impactful and fun product.

SL Viewer News

[1:21-2:52]

  • Current release viewer: Project Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 6.4.13.555567 and dated February 5, 2021, promoted February 17.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.13.555871, February, 18, 2021.
    • Simple Cache project viewer, version 6.4.13.555641, February 16, 2021.
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7, 2021.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

Project Jelly Viewer

This viewer essentially improves the rendering of Jelly Doll avatars.

  • Originally introduced in 2015 (and with various improvements since) as a means to allows users reduce the avatar rendering load on their systems by having any avatars around them that exceed a certain complexity value (set via a slider) render as a solid colour and minimal detail.
  • There have always been a number of issues with the manner in which these avatars are rendered. For example: the colours used have been seen as intrusive so users often avoid the capability, while there have also been technical flaws such as the original code. attempting to render all of a Jelly Doll avatar’s attachments, defeating the intent of the code.
  • As a result, the Project Jelly viewer improves things by both rendering avatars as simplified grey humanoid shapes, and by not making any attempt to render attachments.
  • In addition it also improves to how avatar imposters are rendered and updated.
  • These improvements should result in demonstrable improvements in view performance in environments where there are a large number of avatars and the capability is sensibly used.

General Viewer Notes

  • Of the RC viewers, all three appear to be in good shape for promotion as the next de facto release viewer, although no decision has been taken on which will be promoted next.
  • At the CCUG meeting, some users expressed a preference to see the Love Me Render 5 viewer promoted next, but there is no commitment to this being the case, as promotions are governed by stability / crash rates.
  • A new Maintenance RC view is anticipated as appearing soon.

In  Brief

  • [12:36-14:09] Viewer rendering:
    • There are still no firm decisions as to how the viewer rendering API will be handled in the move away from OpenGL. for the most recent information I have on this, please see my February 5th CCUG meeting notes.
    • As per my February 18th CCUG meeting summary, the current focus is on bug fixes and UI performance improvements.
    • Other proposed UI work is related to the new user experience and making the viewer easier for new users to get to grips with the viewer.
  • [15:20-18:00] Chrome Embedded Framework (the media handler used by the viewer) will cease supporting Windows hardware that is pre SSE3 (2004). It is believed that few (if any) Sl users are running systems old enough to be affected by this – and if they are, they are liable to have more issues than simply losing their media playback capabilities.
  • Firestorm has entered a QA cycle in preparation for what will be something of a maintenance release with a focus on closing the gap between it and the more recent Lab viewer code releases. It is hoped this will be the first in a more regular cycle of 3-monthly releases.

2021 TPVD meetings week #5: summary

Grauland, December 2020 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, February 5th, 2021.

These meetings are generally held every other week.  They are recorded by Pantera Północy, and her video of each meeting is embedded at the end of the report relating to it – my thanks to her for allowing me to do so – and it is used with a transcript of the chat log from the meeting to produce these notes.

SL Viewer News

[0:00-4:10]

The Project Jelly viewer updated to version 6.4.13.555567 on Friday, February 5th. This presumably brings it to parity with the current release viewer code base, and moves it closer to potentially being the next viewer to gain promotion to de facto release status, although no decision has been made on this as yet.

  • Current release viewer Dawa Maintenance RC Viewer, version 6.4.12.555248, dated January 25, 2021, promoted February 1st, 2021 – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7, 2021.
  • Project viewers:
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.12.553511, issued on January 7, 2021.
    • Simple Cache project viewer, version 6.4.11.551403, November 12.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • With Dawa now at release status, the current RC viewers are being bought up to parity with its code base.
  • As noted in my most recent CCUG summary, the Love Me Render (LMR) 5 graphics RC viewer is close to being ready for promotion from project to RC status.
  • The simple cache viewer (VFS replacement viewer) is in “decent shape” for promotion to RC status once updated to the Dawa code base.
  • There may be further UI work for the Legacy Profile project viewer (returns avatar profiles,etc., back into the viewer, a-la Firestorm) which may delay this viewer from progressing.
  • For OS X users, a viewer is in the works that will “get Apple’s notarisations working”. This has been something of a long standing issue, and the viewer should be appearing in the near future.

Project Jelly Viewer

[9:06-11:32]

  • This viewer essentially improves the rendering of Jelly Doll avatars.
  • The idea behind Jelly Dolls (first introduced in 2015, with various improvements since)  was to give users the means to reduce the load of having to render extremely complex avatars on computers with low hardware specifications by:
    • Explicitly selecting a nearby avatar and set its display value to Do Not Render, reducing them to a simplified, “flat” grey avatar form.
    • And / or setting a “complexity value” within the viewer that, if exceeded by any avatar in the field of view, will render it as a Jelly Doll.
    • Both the grey and the Jelly Doll forms are simplified avatar outlines, with the latter rendered as one of a number of solid colours selected by the viewer from a colour map. The term was coined by user Whirly Fizzle after the British Jelly Babies brand of sugared jelly sweets.
  • There have always been a number of issues with the manner in which these avatars are rendered. For example:
    • On the visual side, many users have avoided the viewer’s complexity setting (to the detriment of their viewer’s performance) as they do no like seeing solid, brightly coloured avatar forms in their field of view.
    • On the technical side, the code currently attempts to render all of  avatar’s attachments. As these tend to be the most costly to render, this can defeat he object of the code.
    • Also, the baseline formula for jelly doll calculations doesn’t allow for consistent results.
  • As a result, the Project Jelly viewer:
    • Does not attempt to render attachments, but instead renders affected avatars as a simplified, easy-to-render humanoid shape.
    • Render all such avatars in grey, no longer using the previous colour map, in the hope this will encourage more people on lower-end systems to use the capability, as the grey avatar forms tend to be less intrusive within a scene.
  • [13:38 via chat] In relation to avatar rendering / Jelly Dolls, it was asked if better global controls for rendering could be provided. In reply, Grumpity indicated that in addressing performance as a whole, such global controls might be considered in the future.

Viewer Log-in Changes

[4:41-8:05]

  • Oz Linden is working on the viewer log-in process that are designed to prevent people logging-in to Second Life when their inventory is “broken” (and potentially making their situation worse).
  • The updates to the log-in process means there will be additional checking on the status of an avatar inventory data on the back-end as a user logs into Second Life.
    • If errors within the data are found, the log-in process suspended, in order to prevent the errors being propagated to the viewer, and then viewer then exacerbating the situation by trying to manipulate the inventory database further on the basis of the invalid data.
    • Should this happen, the user will receive a massage that explicitly states that log-in has failed as a result of inventory issues with the request the user contacts Support. This message will also provide some specific information the user can pass to Support when they contact them.
    • Support will then use the information supplied to initiate the required corrective action to resolve the issue.
  • While this may impede users with inventory problems from logging-in, the hope is that these changes will actually make the resolution of inventory-related issues easier to correct at source and thus have less of an overall impact on affected users.
  • This is seen as a priority change, and the Lab hopes to be in a position to have the back-end changes tested and the viewer-side updates available by the end of the month.

In  Brief

  • [4:17-4:32] The Lab is making some changes to how deployments are managed within the AWS environment. If done correctly, this work should result in no user-visible changes.
  • [11:38-14:11] Post-Uplift issues:
    • There remain some issues still to be fully resolved as a result of the transition to AWS, including (but not necessarily limited to):
      • The problem with Map tile not being generated. This is being addressed.
      • The fact that the chat servers currently need to be restarted more frequently than pre-Uplift. This is still being diagnosed.
      • Teleport failures resulting in an “wrong” or “invalid” region message. This is also being diagnosed.
    • However, the Lab caution against assuming any issue that is encountered is a result of the AWS transition. The general rule remains, if you’re seeing a specific (and preferably reproducible) issue, raise a bug report.
  • [14:31-15:33] in response to a question on the avatar skeleton (why 159 bones, but capped at 110 on upload?),  vir pointed out the 110 bone cap is per sub-mesh in a character, rather than on a complete character (which can have several sub-mesh components. The reason for the cap is down to older GPUs that can be used in SL being unable to handle the transform matrices.
  • [19:54-20:28] Premium Plus: internal discussions have resumed on the deployment of Premium Plus, but there is nothing to share in terms of time frame, etc., at the moment.
  • [21:49-24:15] The recent Marketplace issues are seen as a combination of both the continuing work to improve the Marketplace experience and the work to transition it to AWS.
    • As the MP involves multiple back-end services, there are a lot of interdependencies that can be impacted particularly as a result of the AWS transition work, and not all of these can be accurately QA’d, as the sheer volume of transaction, etc., the MP sees hourly cannot be easily or accurately replicated.
    • The current focus is on general MP stability (including its various dependencies) in order to hopefully make future maintenance and update easier / smoother.
    • The most preferable way to deal with the MP would perhaps be to take the service down entirely for a a period of time and overhaul it, and then re-release it. However, given the impact this would have, it is simply not a viable option.
  • [24:42-25:45] Generally speaking, LL believe SL to be a lot more stable / robust now than previously, simply because it is running on much more recent hardware and within an infrastructure where they no longer have to worry about things like hardware that is well beyond its operational life failing, whilst any underpinning hardware / infrastructure issues are more-or-less immediately addressed by AWS. This in itself allows LL’s engineering and ops teams to be more focused on running the software side of things.

2021 TPVD meetings week #3: summary

Yukina, November 2020 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 21st, 2021.

These meetings are generally held every other week.  They are video recorded by Pantera Północy, and her recording of each meeting is embedded at the end of the report relating to it – my thanks to her for allowing me to do so – and it is used with a transcript of the chat log from the meeting to produce these notes.

SL Viewer News

[0:00-2:15]

  • Current release viewer version 6.4.11.551711, formerly Cachaça Maintenance RC viewer promoted on November 12 – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Dawa Maintenance RC Viewer, version 6.4.12.555058, January 20, 2021.
    • Project Jelly viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 6.4.12.553798, January 7, 2021.
    • Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version 6.4.12.553437, January 7, 2021.
  • Project viewers:
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.12.553511, issued on January 7, 2021.
    • Simple Cache project viewer, version 6.4.11.551403, November 12.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • Viewer updates / releases had been held-up due to some Uplift related issues. This have now been rectified, and viewers should start rolling forward again.
  • As noted in my 2021 week #3 CCUG summary, the Dawa Maintenance RC viewer was the only viewer updated during the week, and this will likely be the next viewer to be promoted to de facto release status.
  • The Simple Cache project viewer (VFS replacement) and the Legacy Profile project viewer are both now “close” to be promoted to release candidate (RC) status. That latter had been blocked due to some required UI fixes, with Kylie Linden indicating these are in progress.
  • Graphics fixes continue to be added to the LMR-5 project viewer, but this is liable to end in the next week or so, in order to allow this viewer to progress onwards through RC and eventual de facto release.

AMD GPUs “Blue View” Issue

[3:21-11:02]

Some users running systems with AMD GPU has been encountering a issue with scenes being rendered with a strong blue bias when running the SL viewer with Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled and using the most recent (post October 2020, I believe, and particularly the latest Adrenalin drivers) AMD drivers.

  • General reports can be found here, and a formal bug report is available: BUG229727.
  • LL have acknowledged the issue, and believe it to be driver related. However, AMD driver bugs must apparently be reported using a specific reporting tool provided by AMD, and thus far LL have been unable to reproduce the bug when running said software and so are apparently having issues getting AMD to accept it.
    • The issue appears to be somewhat similar to an Nvidia bug of a few years ago, possibly resulting from a switch to using a BGRA for textures rather than the more usual RGBA format.
  • There are reports that an AMD driver update issued on January 21st, 2021, but at the time of writing this summary, this has yet to be more broadly confirmed.
  • In the meantime for those affected by the issue,the following workarounds are recommended:
    • Rolling back to an older driver version (e.g. Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.11.2).
    • If that doesn’t work:
      • Disable ALM in the viewer (Preferences → Graphics → uncheck Advanced Lighting Model).
      • Log out and back into the viewer.
      • Enable ALM (Preferences → Graphics → check Advanced Lighting Model).
      • Remember to disable ALM prior to ending your session (so you only need to re-enable ALM when you next log-in.

In Brief

  • [16:32-34::45] The meeting saw a significant amount of text chat concerning the technicalities of viewer CPU / CPU core usage, TPV work in trying to rebuild viewer threading, etc. As this is text-based (and may not be of relevance to many users), please refer to the video from around the 16m 32s mark through to .
  • [34:47-48:00] and continuing after the brief discussion on chat lag] A further text conversation is on graphic API options and moving away from OpenGL. This is covered in my 2021 week #3 CCUG summary, but it appears that around 20% of Windows users running systems incapable of supporting Vulkan (notably those using Intel integrated graphics).
    • That said, Vulkan isn’t the sole option available to LL, and much is still in discussion internally at the Lab.
  • [48:37-49:15] Some are experiencing an increase in chat lag post-Uplift. LL are currently re-starting the chat servers as an interim means of improving reliability of chat services, but it’s not clear if this is also helping reduce general performance issues.

2021 TPVD meetings week #1: summary

Midnight in Paris, November 2020 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 8th, 2021. Unfortunately, other commitments prevented me from attending the meeting, so I am solely reliant on Pantera’s video. However, for some reason, the region hosting the meeting was re-started mid-session (possibly the result of a rolling restart), and on resuming, Pantera suffered a recording glitch that meant the second half of the meeting did not get captured.

While I have the chat transcript of the full meeting (my thanks again to Pantera), given that the majority of commentary is via Voice, replies to questions and comments are unavailable, so this summary only covers the period of the meeting that was recorded successfully.

SL Viewer News

[1:33-3:51]

On Thursday, January 7th:

  • The Jellydolls viewer (updates to avatar appearance based on rendering costs) was promoted to Release Candidate status with the issuing of version 6.4.12.553798.
  • The Custom Key Mappings RC viewer updated to version 6.4.12.553437.
  • A new Love Me Render (LMR 5) viewer, version 6.4.12.553511,  was released as a project viewer.

The rest of the current official viewer pipelines remain as follows:

  • Current release viewer version 6.4.11.551711, formerly Cachaça Maintenance RC viewer promoted on November 12 – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Dawa Maintenance RC Viewer, version 6.4.12.553053, released December 3rd.
  • Project viewers:
    • Simple Cache project viewer, version 6.4.11.551403, issued on November 12.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16, 2019.

General Viewer Notes

  • Viewer updates have been delayed both due to the holiday break and as a result of a couple of processes being broken as a result of the cloud migration process.  The latter have now been fixed.
  • Currently, the OS  X (Mac) build  process for the official viewer is currently “broken” and in the process of being fixed.
  • The LMR 5 viewer comprises a number of EEP fixes together with fixes for water reflection rendering and for the Mesh uploader preview image. The full list of fixes from the release notes comprises:
    • SL-12740 [EEP] The EEP moon has a hardcoded blue light that is not present in Windlight-based viewers (Lab internal Jira).
    • SL-13888 The model is displayed with artefacts in the upload preview floater (Lab internal Jira).
    • SL-14275  Water Reflection new modes (Lab internal Jira).
    • BUG-228581 [EEP] Specular map reflections are way too weak.
    • BUG-228781 [EEP] Specular color interpreted wrong (too bright) from point lights.
    • BUG-228914 [EEP] Deferred Soften Shader fails to link when Atmospheric Shaders are disabled. This causes Debug viewer builds to crash.
    • BUG-229013 [EEP] Moonset inconsistent
    • BUG-229122 [EEP] Glow should be directly behind the sun or moon when it is near the horizon.
    • BUG-229689 [EEP] cloud texture is rendered backwards
  • The Profiles viewer had been expected to be promoted to RC status, but there appears to be a UI issue that needs to be addressed before this can happen.
  • It is not clear which of the RC viewers will be the next to be promoted to de facto release status. However, given the amount of testing against the Custom Key Mappings RC viewer, this could be a strong contender.

Upcoming UDP Changes

[10:35-14:45]

  • Following on from the switch away from using UDP messaging for asset handling between the viewer and the Lab’s back-end systems that took place in recent years (assets are all handle by HTTP), the Lab is now looking to make a similar switch away from UDP messaging for all “mission critical” (e.g. messages that need to be handled in a specific order / receive responses in a specific order).
  • These changes are to be made over time and on a “case by case” basis.
  • Exactly how this is to be done has not been entirely worked through; it may be that some changes can be made without impacting TPV developers with a lot of additional work on their side of things.
  • Part of this work will involve moving some of the message handling for chat to TCP as well.
  • This work will take time to complete; however, once it is finished and once the replacement messaging protocols have been a part of the official release viewer for around 12 months, the Lab will seek to removing UDP message handling from both the viewer and the back-end code where it is no longer required.
  • The reason for doing this is because UDP is not a reliable messaging format when information is required in a specific order, and can be at the heart of assorted issues users can experience. Ergo, the aim is to make things a lot more predictable and robust.

In Brief

  • [4:02-5:06] There are a number of services still being adjusted post-uplift, these include:
    • World Map tile generation.
    • Land Store.
    • Some noticeable performance glitches.
    • These adjustments likely mean there were be a slightly higher cadence of server-side changes, but the focus is on trying to fix things and get back to the usual Tuesday / Wednesday simulator deployments  within the next week or two.
  • [5:08-5:53] There is a further update to help with Group Chat issues   that will hopefully be deployed in week #2 (commencing Monday, January 11th).
    • This is not seen as a “total fix” for issues, but part of the continuing work to improve things.
    • The focus is to “sharply limit” the amount of group chat traffic generated by people logging into or out of Second Life. This means that the member lists for very large groups may not report everyone in the group who is on-line, but will report all those actively using the group chat function as being on-line.
  • [5:55-10:17]There is to be a “real push” to make improvements to the Second Life Voice service. This will likely be based around a new Voice SDK supplied by Vivox.
    • As a part of this work, the Lab is gathering data on users who are still running on very old viewer versions / old version of the SLplugin.EXE for voice, as part of this work will likely result in some of the oldest, low-quality codecs used by the Voice API being disabled in the Voice package from Vivox at some point in the future – which may “break” Voice for those still using those really old versions.
    • The reason for disabling these old codecs is because they are of much lower quality output, and if just one person in a group voice chat is using a Voice package reliant on them, everyone in the same group chat is downgraded to the old codec, impacting the Voice quality right across the session.
    • This work will also focus on trying to correct / eliminate the “little” voice drop-outs that can occur (so those listening don’t hear every single word the speaker says).
  • [13:55-16:25] Another change with the viewer is the on-going removal of code that is not longer being actively used. A  further example of this is that there are two protocols used for handling requests for logging-in to SL. One of these (XML-RPC) is almost never used nowadays, so this code may well be removed – with warning beforehand – in the future.