2019 SL User Groups 7/3: TPV Developer Meeting

Petit Lac Des Cygne; North Providence, January 2019, on Flickr
North Providenceblog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, February 15th, 2019. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. Time stamps are provided to the major topics of discussion, which will open the video in a new tab for ease of reference.

SL Viewer

[0:00-1:18 and 3:54-4:15]

The Bakes On Mesh project viewer updated to version 6.0.2.524367 on Friday, February 15th. The rest of the current viewer pipelines remain as per earlier in the week:

  • Current Release version 6.0.1.522263, dated December 5, promoted December 13. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer – 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):
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 6.1.0.524348, February 13. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.1.0.523351, January 23.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.0.2.523177, January 16.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes.

It is hoped that one of the current RC viewers will gain promotion to de facto release status, although there is one further issue in the Love Me Render viewer to be seen to. Also, the EEP viewer could see promotion to RC status in the very near future.

Viewer-Related Web Changes

Release Notes

[16:35-18:20] The Lab will be introducing a new system for release notes. In short:

  • It will use a new website for publishing release notes, and not the currently SL wiki pages.
  • Those release notes currently on the wiki will remain there for archival purposes.
  • Once visible, any issues should be reported via Jira.

User Profiles – Viewer and Web

[18:23-24:35] The current user profiles seen in the viewer, on the web, via various feeds, etc., are all currently powered by a single application. There is an upcoming system upgrade in the pipeline that might result in some breakage within this app. The Lab will therefore be moving viewer profiles back to using floater-style user profiles, as is seen with the like of Firestorm.

Upcoming changes will impact the current means of providing profile information. In particular, this means the official viewer will, in the future cease using the web format for displaying profile information (l) and will revert to a more “legacy” style, as seen in various TPVs (like Firestorm, shown r).

It is not currently clear what will happen to the current web profiles and feeds. It is hoped these will be able to continue to work, but the Lab is also contemplating a “worst-case” scenario that they may be retained for historical purposes (so snapshots uploaded to feeds are preserved and remain viewable, for example), but will no longer work as they do now – but this is not what the Lab is hoping to achieve.

This will not be an immediate change, as there may be issues along the way the Lab need to work through.

Weekend Issues

[5:27-6:31] The weekend of February 9th /10th saw some significant issues with Second Life, and extended periods of unscheduled maintenance. The problems that contributed to the issues are still being investigated, ut the Lab is close to understanding exactly what went wrong, and how to respond should a similar issue occur.

As an aside, the weekend issues result in inventory problem that caused some uses to see the “cannot remove protected categories” error. If you are still seeing this message, and have not already done so, file a support ticket.

In Brief

  • [1:20-1:46] Visual Studio 2017 Build Process Update: work on this is progressing well, but will like pause in the coming week, due to the project lead being on vacation.
  • [2:09-2:40] EPP: As per my SUG meeting and CCUG meeting notes, the simulator EEP code is now on BlueSteel and LeTigre. This will not get a further promotion in week #8, as there is a fix for another issue the Lab wants to see get wider exposure on the grid.
  • [6:50-10:18] Avatar attachment issues: there have been reports of attachments belonging to other avatars randomly appearing to be attached to your screen when logging-in to / teleporting to busy regions. The underlying problem appears to be a race condition in which the object data for the attachment is received by the viewer ahead of the avatar / attachment point data (and should correct when the latter is received).
    • In the meeting, the issue is specifically reported as occurring with “jellydolled” avatars, but this appears to be purely coincidental.
  • [10:39-11:28] New EEP Assets causing log-in freezes: a default set of new EEP object types were added to the asset library recently for use with the EEP viewer. However, if pulled into a non-EEP viewer, they can cause log-in freezes, as the viewer repeatedly generates an error message for each individual asset it encounters in loading inventory, rather than simply throwing a single message of the asset type, and simply ignoring the rest of the individual assets. There is a fix for this, but it has yet to reach the current release viewer code base.
  • [11:37-14:10] Landmark assets getting fetched twice at log-in: this appears to be a new(ish) issue. Although landmark assets only appear once in inventory, the viewer appears to be fetching them twice; once around mid-way through the log-in process, and then again at the end. The cause is unknown at present, but it has been noted by the Lab.
    • An intermediate workaround if your logins are being delayed unduly is to delete you landmarks.
    • This can might cause the degraded performance message (see below).
  • [13:07-15:33] Degraded performance message: “Linden Lab has detected degraded performance on your connection”, with a suggestion you relog, is a message users might receive when the viewer is failing to acknowledge enough of the UDP messages exchanged with the simulator.
    • This can be the result of your router being overloaded by whatever else it might be doing, so responses from the viewer fail to reach the simulator.
    • It might also be the result of issues being experienced in the simulator.
    • While a lot of asset-related UDP messaging has been removed from simulator / viewer communications, there is still much that does require / well suited to UDP, particularly where information is changing, and the viewer needs the latest update, not a re-send of a now outdated updated (e.g. object updates), as would be the case using something like TCP, which attempts to re-send the data it has, rather than any new data.
    • See also BUG-225544.
  • BUG-226352 requests allowing users to define more than a single resolution when uploading a texture

    [30:21-31:37] In-Viewer Animation Creation: This is a project based on contributions from NiranV Dean (Black Dragon viewer). Vir and Nat Linden had been working on elements of the project, but are both also busy with other viewer-related projects (e.g. Animesh follow-on investigations for Vir, working on the VS 2017 update for Nat). Resources are also being swallowed by the under-the-hood work required for the transition to the cloud, which is also impacting assorted projects.

  • [32:18-32:35] Texture resampling & mipmap availability: this has been the subject of extensive blog and forum discussions – see my week #7 CCUG summary) One outcome of this is Beq Janus has filed a feature request so users can define more than a single resolution when uploading a texture (see the dummy uploader floater design, right). The hope is this might encourage more people to make better choices about texture resolution use (very high resolutions aren’t always required, depending on how / where they are used, but can result in unnecessary texture memory use if unwisely employed).
  • [32:39-32:50] Asset UDP messaging deprecation: Aura Linden is now engaged in this work. This will include removal of the GrantUserRights message (found in LL PropertiesProcessor::sendfriendrights() ), which has been completely disconnected in the viewer since 2.0 days.TPVs are asked to check their code to confirm removal of the message path will not cause them problems.
  • [34:37-35:19] Does SL use multi-threading: yes, in parts of the viewer and the simulator code, but not as extensively as the Lab would like.

Advertisements

2019 SL User Groups 5/3: TPV Developer Meeting

Zimminyville; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Zimminyvilleblog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, February 2nd, 2019. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. Time stamps are provided to the major topics of discussion , which will open the video in a new tab for ease of reference.

Note that, as per the warning at the start of the video, there was an immature attempt to disrupt the meeting using voice / audio, and so there are lengthy periods of silence in the video to mute out the attempts.

SL Viewer

There have been not updates to any of the official viewers through week #5, leaving the pipelines as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.0.1.522263, dated December 5, promoted December 13. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer – 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):
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 6.1.0.523335, January 23. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.1.0.523351, January 23.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.0.2.523177, January 16.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.

Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

[00:00-2:57] The three RC viewers have all had recent issues which have prevented their promotion to de facto release status.

  • Of the three, the EAM RC might be the closest to being ready for promotion.
  • The Bugsplat RC has been delayed due to the need to remove the code that allowed the viewer to be installed on Windows at account level, rather than at Admin level due to internal issue with Second life :URLs not working. This will require a further RC release before the viewer is liable to be ready for promotion.

Visual Studio Update

[2:49-3:42 and 19:50-21:51] The work to update the viewer build process to use Visual Studio 2017 is progressing well, with the focus on rebuilding all the various libraries need by the viewer to use VS 2017. The move to automate as many of the update processes as possible when updating the Visual Studio 2013 a couple of years ago means that this update should be significantly easier.

One outcome of this work is that when complete, it will allow LL to provide better  customised CEF support.

Environment Enhancement Project

[3:45-4:53 and 18:00-19:29] Please see my January 31st CCUG summary for a complete update. In brief:

  • A further simulator RC roll expected in week #6.
  • The viewer is close to being ready for promotion to RC status, and the next update should include a lot of bug fixes.
    • When this happens, it will not include crepuscular rays (and possibly some other atmospheric effects) due to performance issues that are still being worked on. Hopefully the capability will be added in the near future.
  • A final decision on capabilities that would make the cut for the initial viewer update / the release was due after the TPVD meeting, so expect further updates possibly at the week #6 SUG meeting.

Non-HTTP Asset Fetching / UDP Path Deprecation

[17:16-17:45] The work to remove all asset fetching UDP messaging from the simulator code will see the updated code deployed to Aditi in DRTSIM-400 (pre-RC readiness). It will then appear in an RC release on the main grid some time in the next couple of weeks. Once deployed, this will mean anyone using really old viewers that do not have HTTP asset fetching will no longer be able to obtain responses to asset requests.

Linux Viewer News

[21:54-23:20] The Lab is starting to receive some good input from Linux contributors to help get the official Linux flavour of the viewer back up and running. As noted in my previous TPVD meeting summary, this may not be a 100% functional version of the viewer; for example, Voice will likely not be supported, due to the fact that Vivox no longer supports Linux, and internal changes to the viewer mean that older version of the Linux voice plug-in will not work with the current viewer code. Those that need voice on Linux can try running the Windows SLvoice EXE (or even the entire Windows viewer) under Wine or similar emulation.

Other Items

  • [9:46-11:05] Mac OS voice issues: these are known about by the Lab. The Mojave issue cane be solved by giving the voice application permission to use the microphone; if users can’t get the permission dialogue, the route (for now) is to delete the viewer completely and re-install – just be sure to keep an eye out for the dialogue after the re-install and when trying to use voice (check all your monitors, check behind other open application windows, etc.).  There is also a contributed fixed from Firestorm’s Tonya Souther (and currently in the BugSplat RC) that should also help with Mac OS voice issues.

2019 SL User Groups 3/2: TPV Developer Meeting

The Forest - Winter Wonderland; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
The Forest – Winter Wonderland, December 2018 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 18th, 2019. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. Time stamps are provided to the major topics of discussion , which will open the video in a new tab for ease of reference.

SL Viewer

[2:40-4:00]

The following viewers updated on Wednesday, December 16th, 2019:

The remainder of the official pipelines remain as:

  • Current Release version 6.0.1.522263, dated December 5, promoted December 13. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.1.0.522564, December 19.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 6.1.0.522614, December 18. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

The EEP viewer is now very close to being promoted to RC status, and if all goes to plan, the simulator EEP support should be going to RC as well very soon.

Viewer Build Process

[4:04-7:24] The Lab is starting on moving their viewer build process to Visual Studio 2017.  This may lead to changes appearing in the build process as this work progresses. So far the work is proceeding smoothly, and is not anticipated as taking too long to complete. After this, the Lab plans to track their build process updates a lot more closely to Visual Studio releases (VS 2019 will be appearing this year).  Mac builds are to OS 10.13, and use Xcode 10.

Linux Viewer Status

[11:40-17:42] A couple of TPV Linux developers have contacted Oz Linden concerning assistance with the Linux build of the viewer. The holiday period, plus the fact Oz was on vacation immediately following it, means he has not followed up on the offers as yet, but will be doing so. It is hoped that this means work on supporting Linux will once again resume soon.

The Lab’s plan had been to provide a basic Debian build for Linux, avoiding the need to rebuild all the libraries for different tarballs. However, but suggestions have been made to consider using snaps / flatpacks instead. Currently the Lab is open to trying to incorporate the progress other have made in supporting Linux, including setting up build environments to support them with the aim of providing a Linux flavour for the viewer once more, with the caveat that any work carried out must not break the build processes for the other platforms.

There are a couple of potential caveats with any Linux viewer build that emerges from this work:

  • It will not have direct Voice support because a) Vivox no longer support Linux; b) changes to the Voice API means older versions of the SLvoice.exe plug-in will not work. (although voice via Wine is possible).
  • It is unlikely to have Havok support. It is felt that the number of Linux user actually employing the official Linux viewer has always been so small that the effort to incorporate the Havok libraries is not seen as worthwhile. This may be revised as work progresses.

Non-HTTP Asset Fetching / UDP Path Deprecation

[7:44-10:36] All asset types are – and have been for some time – fetched via HTTP / the CDN. However, the old UDP message paths for such fetching has remained in place. This is now being deprecated from the simulator code. The patch for this is not ready to go, and should be rolling out across the simulator release channels over the next few weeks, a little later than originally planned.

This means anyone using really old viewers that do not have HTTP asset fetching (notably for the likes of system body parts, system clothing, gesture, animations, sounds, landmarks and textures) will no longer be able to obtain responses to asset requests.

[34:52-35:15] The Lab will also consider requests to move other functions away from UDP to other capabilities.

In Brief

  • Reports are increasing on the time it takes mesh attachments (clothing, body parts, to “snap” into place when logging-in or teleporting to a region where there is a number of other avatars.
  • Some Firestorm users are also reporting texture corruption issues linked to the above, which may be linked to Malwarebytes anti-virus software..
  • Firestorm is hoping to move the current version with Animesh support to a “full” release around the end of January, hopefully).
  • Catznip is planning a release without Animesh support, to be followed by a release with optional Animesh release.

2019 SL User Groups 1/2: TPV Developer Meeting

Lutz City; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrLutz City, November 2018; blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, January 4th, 2019. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. Note that was a brief meeting, with extended silences while things were discussed in chat.

This was a shot meeting, given not a lot has changed since the December 21st, 2018 meeting, and a no change window has been in effect at the Lab. Note that in the recording, there are some significant pauses in voice, and the time stamps below reflect this.

SL Viewer

[1:04-3:00]

Still no viewer updates since 2018, week #51, leaving the official viewer pipelines as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.0.1.522263, dated December 5, promoted December 13. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.1.0.522564, December 19.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 6.1.0.522614, December 18. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.0.2.522531, December 18.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes.

RC Viewers

Both the EAM and Bugsplat RC viewers are close to being at a point where either could be promoted to de facto release status. The current Love Me Render (rendering improvements) RC is liable to receive at least one more update before it will be ready to be considered for promotion. However, none of the viewers are ready for promotion in the immediate future.

Project Viewers

The Bakes on Mesh project viewer is still awaiting bug fixes, and the EEP viewer is awaiting UI updates and more atmospheric shader work, all of which is covered in my previous Content Creator UG summary. Both are expected to go to release candidate status “very soon”.

Texture Fetching and Caching

[12:58-19:39] Linden Lab is working on both overhauling how textures are fetched and how they are cached by the viewer. This work involves pretty much rebuilding the entire texture fetching pipeline(possibly using HTTP 2), and changing the state the data is cached in by the viewer (uncompressed, rather than using JPEG 2K, removing the need for the local computer to decode / decompress the texture for JPEG 2K when loading it from cache into memory).  This should itself improve texture loading, as well as all of the changes hopefully bringing improvements to texture handling as a whole, as well as hopefully getting to a point where cache clearing has even less significance than it does at present (and hopefully remove more of the myths about cache clearing).

This work has been on the back burner for a while, but a resource has once again been assigned to it, with a focus on fixing the bugs in the fetching changes. If all goes well, these updates – which also change how texture memory is used – should be appearing in a release candidate viewer some time “in the next several weeks”.

This topic kicked off a text chat technical discussion on texture handling among TPV developers, that continued through to almost the end of the meeting. Please refer to the video for details.

General Notes

  • [5:14-5:32] TPVs should hopefully get the most recent crash stats in the next couple of weeks.
  • [6:09-6:32] Again, as per my CCUG summary, the Lab has received contributions from Beq Janus (mesh uploader improvements) and Nicky Dasmijn (improved search capabilities on preferences and settings). These should be appearing an a maintenance RC once implemented by the Lab.
  • [7:38-9:20] The Lab has ceased doing debug builds with viewer. This speeds the build process as enough data is gathered via deb info to remove a dedicated debug build. However, it does mean viewers using the debug build path many well fail during the build process, and one TPV is reporting issues with deb info – although this may be due to their build process being at a variance to the Lab’s.
  • [10:50-11:12] The Lab’s development viewer builds for Mac now use macOS Sierra (10.12). It’s not certain if this is the case for the production builds as yet.

2018 SL UG updates 51/3: TPV Developer meeting summary

Dagger Bay; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrDagger Bayblog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, November 30th, 2018. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it. Note that was a brief meeting, with extended silences while things were discussed in chat.

SL Viewer

[0:53-4:05] The Love Me Render RC viewer updated to version 6.0.2.522531, dated December 18th.

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

Currently, it would appear that the BugSplat RC will most likely be the next RC viewer promoted to release status.

As per my most recent CCUG summary, the Bakes on Mesh viewer will most likely have one more round as a project viewer before moving to RC status. It is also hoped that the EEP viewer will go to RC status in early January.

Feedback from estate / region owners / managers is still being sought for the Estate Access Management viewer, so if you have estate / region management rights for a region / estate, please give the viewer a go and report any issues back to the Lab via Jira.

Voice Service Update

[5:08-6:02] The Lab is planning an update to the voice service back-end over the holiday period. This should have been deployed prior to the break, but had to be postponed. When deployed, it could cause a brief interruption to services, and users may have to re-log to regain voice. Notification of the deployment will be given ahead of time via the grid status page. There is also a roll-back plan in place if the update causes issues.

 

2018 SL UG updates 48/3: TPV Developer meeting

Black Bayou Lake; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrBlack Bayou Lakeblog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday, November 30th, 2018. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to North for recording and providing it.

SL Viewer

[0:46-3:50] No overall changes since the start of the week and the EEP viewer update. This leaves the official viewer pipelines as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.0.0.520636, dated October 18th, promoted November 14th. Formerly the Animesh RC viewer – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.0.1.521759, November 20th.
    • Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.0.1.521757, November 15th.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 5.2.0.520057, September 28th.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 5.1.9.519462, September 10. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17th, 2017 and promoted to release status 29th November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

It is hoped there will be two viewer releases prior to the end-of-year no change window coming into force, with the likelihood that there will be at least one. The viewers potentially in the running for promotion are: the Bugsplat RC and / or the current Maintenance RC, and / or possibly the Bakes on Mesh viewer, even though this is currently still at project viewer status.

[13:35-15:10] It is also hoped that EEP will reach Release Candidate status before the end of 2018, but it will not be ready for promotion as a release viewer until 2019. This will also require the server-side support to be deployed to at least the primary RC server channels, if not grid-wide, something the Lab hopes to do “as expeditiously as we can”.

Also: see my previous CCUG summary for updates on EEP and Bakes on Mesh.

No Change Window

[3:54-4:25] The 2018/2019 no change window comes into effect from close o business on Friday, December 21st, 2018, and will run through until at least January 2nd, 2019.

Firestorm Bridge Issue  – Server Release 18.11.01.521329 / 18.11.01.521593

[4:35-8:45] Since the deployment of server release 18#18.11.01.521329, there has been an issue with the Firestorm viewer LSL Bridge being set so that the scripts are not running. The issue also reproduces on server release 18#18.11.01.521593 (currently grid-wide), and on the limited EEP release, 18#18.11.13.521670. See BUG-225839 for more.

Part of the problem here is that the Bridge itself is something of a hack, both in the way it operates, and in the way it is created. Currently the focus is on working to create the Bridge in a cleaner, more efficient way (such as avoiding the need for code to be compiled twice). Longer-term, LL and Firestorm hope to review the Bridge functionality, with LL hopefully being able to provide server messaging, etc., to allow as many Bridge functions as possible to be performed without the need for LSL hacks.

It is hoped that the solutions developed between LL and Firestorm will ultimately resolve the need for the Bridge functionality, which will help reduce simulator script utilisation (as every active Firestorm Bridge is eating into script resources). In the meantime, work on this will not delay progressing the upcoming Firestorm Animesh release.

Complexity Calculations, Project ARCTan and Firestorm Animesh

[10:21-15:45] As noted in my CCUG meeting notes, Vir Linden is making adjustments to the avatar complexity calculations associated with Animesh attachments, which should appear in the next LL Maintenance RC viewer.

  • Most of this code has already been picked-up by Firestorm and incorporated into their upcoming Animesh release.
  • Further changes to limit the rate of prim parameter changes on worn objects are being considered by the Lab, and are likely to be introduced as a part of project ARCTan, which is re-evaluating all rendering costs associated with avatars and in-world objects.
  • ARCTan will be resuming in 2019, so any further updates on this front should not interfere with any Firestorm release plans.
  • It is also hoped that any further LL viewer releases will not disrupt any Firestorm Animesh release once it is ready to go. Depending on which viewer(s) Linden Lab promote before the end of 2018.
  • While it is anticipated EEP will reach RC status before the end of 2018, it does not appear that this will impact the Animesh release, but it will have major implications for Firestorm in general (e.g. OpenSim support).

[18:06-18:20] The current plan from Firestorm is – and assuming no significant blockers arise – to have a release out prior to the no change window coming into effect, which Firestorm prefer to respect.

MP4 (H.264) Video Playback

[19:52-23:26] There has been an ongoing issue with regards to MP4 encoded video playback in Second Life being “broken”. In fact, due to assorted (and complicated) patent / licensing requirements, support of MP4 (specifically H.264 encoded video, together with similar formats), was deliberately removed from the official SL viewer.

The issue had been under legal review within the Lab, and it had been hoped an official announcement would be forthcoming after the change to the official viewer was made. However, it matter has again been referred to the legal team at the Lab for further consideration.

It’s not clear how long it will be before the Lab’s legal team determine whether or not MP4 support can be returned to the viewer, nor how long it make take to re-introduce the viewer-side support, should the go-ahead be given. The latter is described as a “non-trivial” task, but also one the viewer team would be willing to undertake if legal provide the necessary OK.

In the meantime, to try to explain the situation to their users, who have been impacted since the 5.1.7 release in July 2018, Firestorm has issued a blog post on the matter: Why Is My TV Not Working. I refer readers to that blog post for further details – especially the explanation relating to why accepting “patches” to “fix” the issue may not be advisable.

In-Viewer Animation Creation

[19:12-19:50] and [23:25-27:12] This is a project based on contributions from NiranV Dean (Black Dragon viewer), this is now an official LL viewer project. It had recently been stalled due to other work, but resources are again being allocated to it.

This work will likely include some major UI changes, and has caused some discussion on possible (albeit hard to implement) means to directly manipulate bones without resorting to sliders. However, the initial aim is to hopefully provide a means by which simple animations can be created from within the viewer (remembering that most animators / animation content creators will likely continue to use their preferred tools for doing so), rather than trying to provide some complex toolset within the viewer.

In Brief

  • [9:27-10:20] December TPVD meetings: due to other commitments, December will likely only have one TPVD meeting, on Friday, December 21st, 2018.
  • [27:47-32:08] Linden Realms: There is a brief discussion on open-sourcing the Linden Realms code, first mentioned at the CCUG meeting. See my blog post here for more.
  • [32:13-33:10] and [34:02-34:28] Further work on Pathfinding to come? Oz Linden indicated that he’d like to see Pathfinding improved / made easier to use, but it has until now been something that has tended to fall just below the line of things to do that get resources allocated. Might this change in 2019? Animesh might be one related tool that might benefit from a better / improved Pathfinding implementation.
    • Those that have spent time delving into Pathfinding and can provide a considered write-up on shortcomings and / or improvements are asked to do so (presumably via Jira), in order to help the Lab to define a list of things to be addressed / considered.
  • [33:15-33:49] Premium on Aditi: support for Premium accounts will be coming to Aditi (the Beta gird) “real soon now”, although precisely when is still TBD.
  • [34:29-40:05] Premium Account Lock-Out: a discussion on the lock-out on “delinquent” Premium accounts (those that fall behind in payments): in LL’s view, there should be a fairly long grace period before any lock-out applies; some users have found this not to be the case.
    • The reason Premium accounts are not “simply” downgraded to Basic until payment is made rather than locking the account, is that there is no way to block access to any land the account holds and which may be due tier.
    • If anyone has an example of an immediate Premium account lock-out (or experiences one), they are asked to contact the Lab with the specifics.
    • There has been a fear amount Basic users that they may lose their inventory should they become delinquent in payments – however, it s no longer the Lab’s policy to delete accounts after 90 days of delinquency (or at all).
  • The final 16 minutes of the meeting covers a range of general discussion points ranging from direct AO support through the viewer (without script intervention), how the viewer was open-sourced, issues over the current viewer contribution agreement methodology, forum threads, etc.  – please refer to the video below for that section of the meeting