Tutorial: Viewer Camera Presets

The default viewer camera placement has long been the bane of the Second Life viewer. Placing the camera well above and behind the avatar, it gives an awkward over-the-head view of the world, rather than the more intuitive over-the-shoulder view seen in many video games.

While the camera’s debug settings have allowed a custom camera preset to be set-up, it has never really been possible to easily create, save, and swap between presets according to need.

Table of Contents

The Camera Presets controls, developed and contributed by Jonathan Yap, the developer responsible for the graphics presets options in the viewer (see Avatar Complexity and Graphics Presets in Second Life for more) and released on May 19th, changes this. It can be used to create one more more custom camera presets to suit your particular needs. This means, for example, you can now have a camera position for general exploring, another suitable for combat games, another for building, etc., all of which can easily be accessed and used at any time.

This tutorial explains how to create and use presets via Camera Presets options.

Note: at the time of writing, the camera presets options are only available in the official viewer, version 6.4.2.541639 or later.

UI Elements

There are five UI elements associated with creating and using camera presets:

  • The Camera Presets icon and drop-down – presenting the means to quickly access and use created camera offsets.
The Camera Presets icon, found in the top right of the viewer window, and a populated version of the drop-down that can be displays on clicking on it.
  • The Camera Controls floater. This provides access to provides access to the following:
    • The familiar “on the fly” controls for positioning the camera / selecting any of the pre-set camera positions, setting the camera focus or switching to Mouselook. These can also now be used to create a custom camera preset.
    • Camera Position floater for creating new camera presets numerically.
    • Save Camera Preset floater – save any preset you have created or replace an existing preset with new values.
    • My Camera Presets floater – allows you select and delete any preset you have created, or reset your camera to one of the viewer’s default front, side or rear camera positions.
    • In addition, the Camera Controls floater includes a drop-drop menu to provide quick access to any custom camera presets you have created.
The Camera Controls and camera presets floaters – click for full size, if required

Creating a Custom Camera Preset

Using the Camera Controls

  1. Open the Camera Control floater by:
    • Hovering the mouse over the Custom Preset icon at the top right of the viewer window to open the drop-down and then clicking the Open Camera Floater button OR.
    • Clicking on the Camera Controls (Eye) button in your viewer’s tool bar, OR
    • Selecting Me→Camera Controls… from the viewer menu bar.
  2. With the Camera Control floater open, clicked the required view button (Front, Side, Rear) if required.
  3. Use the camera orbit, slide and zoom controls on the left of the camera floater to position your camera as you would like it to be relative to your avatar.
  4. When you are satisfied with the camera position and angle, click Save As Preset button in the floater, and:
    • Either make sure the Save As New Preset radio button is selected and type a name for the preset in the text box.
    • Or click the radio button for Replace a Preset, then click the button to display a list of current presets and highlight the one you wish to replace (including one of the three default positions, shown in italics).
  5. When you have entered a name or made your choice, click Save.
Using the camera controls to create a camera preset

Using the Precise Controls

If you have a numeric set of camera and focus offsets you use (e.g. such as those provided by Penny Patton, or use the table below to set your camera to some typical view points):

  1. Open the Camera Control floater by:
    • Hovering the mouse over the Custom Preset icon at the top right of the viewer window to open the drop-down and then clicking the Open Camera Floater button OR.
    • Clicking on the Camera Controls (Eye) button in your viewer’s tool bar, OR
    • Selecting Me→Camera Controls… from the viewer menu bar.
  2. In the Camera Controls floater, click on Use Precise Controls.
  3. In the Camera Position floater:
    • Enter the X, Y and Z figures for the camera offset position.
    • Enter the X, Y, Z figures for the focus offset position,
    • Use the slider to set how near / far the camera is to be positioned from your avatar.
  4. When you are satisfied with the camera position and focus, click Save As Preset button in the floater, and:
    • Either make sure the Save As New Preset radio button is selected and type a name for the preset in the text box.
    • Or click the radio button for Replace a Preset, then click the button to display a list of current presets and highlight the one you wish to replace (including one of the three default positions, shown in italics).
  5. When you have entered a name or made your choice, click Save.
Setting a precise position for a camera preset

The following table offers Penny Patton’s recommended positions for over-the-shoulder camera presets.

Over the Left Shoulder
Centre
Over the Right Shoulder
Camera Offset
X= -2.0
Y= 0.4
Z= -0.2
X= -2.0
Y= 0.0
Z= -0.2
X= -2.0
Y= -0.4
Z= -0.2
Focus Offset
X= 0.9
Y= 0.7
Z= 0.2
X= 0.9
Y= 0.0
Z= 0.2
X= 0.9
Y= -0.7
Z= 0.2
Offset Scale Slider
1.5 1.5 1.5

Using Your Custom Presets

From the Presets Icon

  1. Hover the mouse over the Custom Preset icon at the top right of the viewer window to open the drop-down.
  2. Click on the required preset name to select it.

From the Camera Controls Floater

  1. Click on the Use Preset button in the Camera Controls floater.
  2. A drop-down of custom camera presets is displayed.
  3. Click on the required preset name.
  4. The preset is selected, and the button updates to display the preset’s name.
Using a custom camera preset

Deleting or Resetting Default Presets

Notes:

  • You can only delete custom presets and reset default presets.
  • No confirmation is requested: actions will be immediately implemented – so if you have overwritten one of front, side or rear camera position presets, your custom version of that preset will be lost when reset.
  1. Display the Camera Controls floater.
  2. Click the gear icon.
  3. The My Camera Presets panel opens (may default to the top left of your screen).
  4. Hover the mouse over the preset you wish to delete or reset.
    • Custom presets will display a trash can. Click it to delete the preset.
    • Default presets will display a reset icon. Click it to return the preset to its original values.

Environment Enhancement Project: a primer

The Environment Enhancement Project introduces an entirely new way to create and use environment settings for the appearance of the sky, day cycles and Linden Water, within the viewer. Among other things, EEP capabilities include the means to apply environment settings to individual parcels, allows them to the sold and bought, enable day cycles that can last up to 168 hours, and permit the use of custom Sun / Moon textures, as seen here, with settings by default automatically to all viewers they affect.

The Environment Enhancement Project (EEP) is a set of environmental enhancements designed to replace windlight XML settings to control the water and sky environments seen in Second Life, and provides a wide range of additional / new capabilities for region holders, parcel holders and general users. It represents a fundamental shift in how environment settings are used and applied.

Many have already gained familiarity with EEP whilst it has been in development, using both the original project viewer and iterations of the release candidate viewer. However, given it is such a fundamental shift in how environment settings are created and used, I have attempted to break things down into more easily digestible pieces through the use of this EEP primer, and a more comprehensive EEP tutorial.

  • This primer is designed to provide an overview of the basic EEP capabilities and options from the point-of user of someone wishing to use them.
  • The EEP Tutorial is intended to provide a comprehensive breakdown of EEP capabilities, including how to create new EEP sky, water and day settings for personal use or which can be given or sold to others.

You can use either this primer or the tutorial to better understand EEP (the information here is also presented in the tutorial, which also explores the various floaters and options in greater depth).

For official information on EEP, please refer to the Environment Enhancement Project SL wiki page.

Note: at the time of writing this piece, the official Second Life viewer – version 6.4.0.540188, dated April 15th (or later) to see / use EEP capabilities. However, TPVs will be releasing version supporting EEP in due course.

EEP allows you to have a little fun, if you wish. Credit: Bellimora

EEP Basic Concepts and Terminology

In brief EEP:

  • Uses environment objects that you can keep in your inventory and / or share with others – including selling (subject to the SL permissions system) via in-world stores and on the Marketplace.
  • Provides parcel-level control of environments.
  • Allows up to four different, independently controlled sky layers.
  • Allows custom textures for the Sun, Moon and clouds.
  • Provides an extended day cycle of up to 168 hours (thus allowing a 7-day, 24-hour day / night cycle to be defined, for example).
  • Means that as environments settings are simulator-side, and so by default are automatically seen by anyone using any EEP enabled viewer on entering the region / estate / parcel.
  • Still allows the use of “personal” settings seen only be the use applying them, for the purposes of photography, machinima, etc.

Terminology

EEP uses some key terminology that should be understood.

  • Settings: used to define the environment you see. There are three settings types:
    • Sky: define the atmosphere and lighting for a day (or night); the movement, density, etc., of the clouds; and the appearance of the Sun and / or the Moon (which remain in a fixed point in the sky).
    • Water: define the appearance of Linden Water (prim or mesh animated water is not affected): water colour and reflection; wave movement; amount of light refraction, etc.
    • Day Cycles: collections of Sky and Water settings that are combined to present a dynamically changing environment over a user-defined time period representative of a “day” (by default this is set to the legacy Second Life day / night cycle of 4 hours, but can be extended out to represent physical world time periods of up to one week).
    • Note that Sky and Water settings are referred to as Fixed Environments.
  • EEP assets: physical “containers” for storing EEP settings. These are inventory items that by default, are stored in the new Settings folder in your inventory (see below), they are split into three types:
    • Sky – Sky settings. Icon: a blue sky with clouds.
    • Water – Water settings. Icon: a water droplet.
    • Day Cycle – for Day Cycles. Icon: a split Sun / Moon.
    • EEP assets (permissions allowing) can be exchanged, given away, and / or sold through a store or via the Marketplace.

Note that EEP settings are:

  • Created or edited using their corresponding EEP asset (e.g. to create Sky settings, you use the Sky asset type).
    • New EEP assets can be created directly from inventory, just like any other system inventory asset type (notecard, clothing item, gesture, script, body part).
    • Creating / editing EEP assets and settings is covered in depth in my EEP tutorial.
  • By default stored within a new system folder in inventory – the Settings folder. This folder may be hidden until such time as an EEP asset is created.
By default, EEP assets are stored and created in the Settings folder in your inventory (l). If you want, you can manually sub-divide your settings into suitable folders for easier tracking (r)

EEP Permissions

There are a few notes on permissions associated with EEP settings / assets.

  • Copy/no-copy: EEP settings assets may never be marked no-copy. A person who owns a setting object may always make a copy of it in their inventory.
  • Transfer/no-transfer: the no-transfer permission is persistent. If you import any no-transfer day or water setting into a day cycle, that day cycle will also become no-transfer. Once saved, this change cannot be undone.
  • Modify/no-modify: these permissions behave as normal.

EEP Library Assets

EEP includes a collection of Sky, Water and Day Cycles, together with a set of textures that can be used for clouds and / or to replace the Sun and Moon, etc.

  • These are located in Inventory (CTRL-I) → Library → Environments.
  • They can be used in one of two ways:
    • Unmodified, directly from Library → Environments.
    • By copying them to your inventory (e.g. to your own Settings folder, if it is visible through the creation of an EEP asset; if not, any other folder can be used), where they will become modifiable, allowing you to adjust them / use them to create your own settings.
    • See my EEP Tutorial for editing / modifying EEP assets and settings.

Differences to Windlight

Some of the key differences between EEP and windlight are:

  • EEP settings are stored in inventory assets, not as XML files saved to your computer.
  • Because they are server-side, EEP settings are by default seen by any viewer affected by the. This can mean:
    • Parcel owners using a specific set of environment settings no longer have to request visitors manually switch to them.
    • Settings are no longer dependent on visitors to a parcel with a custom environment having the precise windlight XML file stored on their computer.
  • EEP setting do not require any external storage (e.g. Dropbox) in order to be shared with other users, if they are to be given away.

Tutorial: Second Life Names Changes

via and © Linden Lab

Second Life offers Premium Account holders the opportunity to change the the first name, the last name or both the first and last names of their account at any time, or to revert to any name they name have used in the past (again, first name, last name or both).

This Tutorial is intended to provide an overview of using the Name Change capability.

Important Points

First some points to note:

  • Premium members may change their first name or their last name or both their first and last name whenever they wish.
    • First names are free-form.
    • Last names are selected from a list, with the available names updated periodically.
  • There is a fee applicable each time the capability is used. This fee is displayed as a part of the Name Change process.
    • VAT at applicable rates will be added to accounts in VAT-paying countries.
  • Once a first name+ last name combination has been applied to an avatar account, it cannot be used by any other account (so “Josephine Bloggs” cannot use Name Change to become “Inara Pey”).
  • It is possible for you to revert back to any previously-used name assigned to your account.
  • If you are Premium and use the Name Change capability, then subsequently downgrade to Basic, you will retain whatever avatar / account name you have at the time you downgrade. You will not not “revert” to any past name you may have had, and you won’t be able to change you name again until such time as you re-up to Premium.
  • Name Changes is not replacing Display Names – these will remain available at no charge to all who wish to use them.
  • Name changes are made via the Second Life dashboard, and you must be logged-out of Second Life in order to make sure any Name Change you make is correctly applied to your account.

Changing Your Name

Note: It is possible (and based on some feedback received), that a name change might take a little time to propagate through SL’s various services, which may have some impact on things like scripted objects such as security systems.

Premium Members can change their names as follows:

  • Log out of the viewer if you are currently in-world.
  • Log on to your dashboard at secondlife.com.
  • Click Account on the left-menu.
  • Click on Change Name.
  • The Change Your Account Name page is displayed. This comprises:
    • The account availability of Name Changes (including a link for Basic account holders to upgrade to Premium.
    • The fee that will be applied to your account, including and VAT that may be added.
    • A reminder than you can change your first name, your last name or both.
    • An option to go ahead and change your account name.
The Change Your Account Name page
  • Click the Next Step button to proceed.
  • The Choose a New Name page is displayed. This comprises three parts:
    1. The Change First Name option.
    2. The Change Last Name option with a list of currently available last names names.
    3. A list of previous last names you have used – if you have not previously used Name Changes, only your current last name is displayed.
The Choose a New Name page, showing the three options for changing your first name (1); selecting an new last name from a list of currently available names (3), and for any previously-used last names (if available – 3)

Change Your First Name Only

  • Leave the Change First Name option checked.
  • Use the text input field to enter your desired first name.
  • Uncheck the Change Last Name option.

Change Your Last Name Only

  • Uncheck the Change First Name option.
  • Leave the Change Last Name option checked.
  • Click the radio button next to last name you would like to use.

Change Both Your First and Last Names

  • Keep both the Change First Name option and the Change Last Name option checked.
  • Enter your desired first name in the text input field under Change First Name
  • Click the radio button next to last name you would like to use.

Reverting to a Previously Used Name

If you have previously used Name Changes, and would like to change back to an “old” name:

  • Enter the first name in the Choose a First Name text input field (if required).
  • Click on the require last name from the list of your previously used Last Names (if available).

Completing the Change

  • When you are happy with the name(s) you have set / selected, click the Review Changes button.
  • A summary of your changes is displayed (if you have made no changes, you’ll be taken back to the Change Your Account Name page).
The Name Change summary – use it to make sure you are happy with the name(s) you have selected
  • Make sure the details are as you want them, or use the Go Back link to change your selection(s).
  • If you are certain of the changes:
    • Log out of the viewer if you have not already done so.
    • Click on Continue to Checkout.
  • On the check-out page, you are presented with your payment options:
    • Via an US dollar balance on your Tilia account.
      • Requires acceptance of the Tilia Terms of Service, if you have not already done so.
      • If you have a sufficient US dollar balance on your Tilia account, but do not with to use it, click the Don’t Use button.
    • Via any credit / debit card already tied you your Second Life Account.
    • By clicking the More Payment Options… and making a selection (e.g. assigning another credit / debit card to your account).
  • When you have selected your preferred payment method, click the blue Buy Now button to complete your Name Change.
Name Change payment options

SL Jira Tutorial part 2: feature requests

Introduction

This tutorial has been written as a guide to filing SL bug reports and feature requests using the Second Life Jira. It comprises two parts:

Bug Reports:

  • What is / is not a bug report.
  • Filing a bug report.
  • What a Security Exploit is.
  • Filing a Security Exploit report.
  • What happens to a report once filed.

Feature Requests (this section):

  • What a feature request should be.
  • Filing a feature request.
  • Using a proposal.
  • What happens to a feature request once filed.

Both sections are self-contained and can be bookmarked / referenced independently of one another for ease of use. However, to further assist in finding information, the table of contents on the right can be found in both part of the tutorial, and can be used to reference specific sections of either one.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements and Thanks

I would like to express my thanks to the following people for their input into this tutorial and for sanity checking the contents: Alexa Linden, Grumpity Linden, Kyle Linden, Soft Linden and Whirly Fizzle.

What is the Jira For?

As noted above, the Jira is primarily for:

  • Filing reports on bugs that impact Second Life (covering the viewer, the simulator and the web), and which in doing so adversely impact the user experience.
  • Putting forward suggestions on features and capabilities that might enhance Second Life for users.

The Jira can also be used by third-party viewer (TPV) developers to have their viewer added to the TPV Directory, or for reporting TPVs that may be violating the TPV Policy / Second Life Terms of Service. Both of these options fall outside the scope of either part of this tutorial.

When using the Jira, please keep in mind:

  • It should not be used to report problems which are specific to you or for general enquiries about things like log-in issues; tier payments; running Second Life on a specific hardware configuration, land issues, and so on.
  • If you believe the bug presents a security risk (such as allowing griefing or exposing sensitive information), you should use the SEC bug report, details of which can be found in Security Exploits.
  • When adding comments to a report / feature request (see Commenting on filed requests), these should focus on technical feedback / input pertinent to the issue/ request being made. Personal opinion or general discussions on a bug / feature request can be held through the Second Life forums.

Feature Request Overview

Feature requests are ideas for the technical improvement of Second Life that are submitted to Linden Lab by users. While not all are accepted / actioned, many enhancements have come about as a direct result of submitted feature requests. However, when considering filing a feature request, some basic points need to be considered:

  • The chances of how and when a feature request being adopted depends on a number of factors, including:
    • How well the case is written up:  the more informed a feature request is, the more likely it is to be considered by Linden Lab. Think of a feature request as a mini project proposal.
    • Scope: requests that are focused on achieving a single, clearly defined goal are more likely to be viewed positively than requests that call for sweeping (and potentially vague) changes to SL.
      • It is better to file multiple feature requests on ideas / suggestions than to try to cram multiple ideas into a single request.
      • Remember, the Lab need to be able to digest your idea(s) and be able to see how they might fit with current work being carried out, or might fit with future work being planned. Keeping to one idea per feature request helps with this.
    • How the idea fits with the current roadmap of improvements: the Lab is constantly working to improve Second Life, and look at feature requests in terms of what is on their current roadmap of improvements. Requests that match what is planned many be implemented sooner than others.
    • How well it benefits the entire Second Life community: LL is especially interested in ideas that improve everybody’s experience. It is rare that resources are available for very special case needs.
    • Offer of code (viewer feature requests only): if a request for a new viewer feature includes code supplied under a contribution agreement, the feature might be adopted ahead of others / alongside of the Lab’s own work in enhancing the viewer, again allowing for the above points.
  • Use images and attachments.
    • Providing a mock-up image of how you’d like a new panel in the viewer to appear, or a diagram showing the flow of how a new feature would be used, etc., can be a lot clearer than a wall of text.
    • If the idea warrants it, don’t be afraid to provide an outline in the Feature Request form and then provide a more comprehensive project proposal as an attachment (see Using a Proposal, below).

Before You File a Feature Request

It is possible that the idea you have may already be the focus of a feature request, so please consider using the Jira search capability to look for similar ideas before submitting a request.

If you find that a feature request already exists for the idea, you can opt to click the Watch option (top tight of a feature request, under People) to receive updates to the Jira via e-mail (you can uncheck Watch should you no longer wish to receive these updates).

You can receive e-mail updates on a Jira by clicking the Start Watching… (l) option (under People in the top right of a displayed Jira). The option will update to Stop Watching… (r), indicating you’re receiving updates. Click the option again to stop receiving updates; the option will revert to Start Watching.

Filing A Feature Request

Setting the Project and Issue Type

  • Log-in to the Second Life Jira using your Second Life log-in credentials.
  • Click on the blue Create button in the top menu bar.
  • Check the top of the form and make sure:
    • Project is set to 1. BUG Project (BUG).
    • Issue Type is set to New Feature Request.
    • Use the drop-downs to set either, if required.
When filing a feature request, make sure Project is set to 1. BUG Project (BUG), and Issue Type to New Feature Request.

Completing the Form

  • Summary (required field): provide a concise summary of the feature request (also forms the request title).
    • If the request is related to a specific project (e.g. EEP), please include the project name at the start of the summary in square braces (e.g. [EEP]).
  • How Would You Like This Feature To Work (required field): provide an outline of how your proposed feature should work.
    • Be as clear and concise as possible.
    • Try to provide a step-by-step guide to how the feature would work.
    • If the feature is viewer-related and requires a new or updated UI panel, offer image mock-ups of how it should look using the Attachments option, and reference them here.
  • Why Is This Feature Important To You? How Would It Benefit The Community? (required field): describe why the feature would be useful to you / to Second Life users in general.
    • Be as clear as possible.
    • If the request is intended to overcome a specific shortfall in SL, outline what that shortfall is.
    • If there are a number of potential benefits, list them in turn.
    • If possible, include a use case on how the featured would be used, if implemented.
    • Include any relevant images that may help explain things, and reference them here.
  • Attachment: use this option to add any suitable attachments to the request (e.g. mock-ups of new / updated viewer panels).
    • Multiple images can be submitted, but ensure each is clearly labelled / annotated and properly referenced in the relevant text fields in the first part of the feature request form.
    • Keep in mind that individual images can be no larger than 10 Mb in size.

Note that feature requests do not have to be long or complicated. The image below illustrates a simple, straightforward request that has been accepted by the Lab.

Sample feature request, showing that they need not necessarily all be long and complex – click to enlarge, if required

Using a Proposal

If you are offering a significant feature request – such as a new user interface option for users, a new viewer or simulator capability, etc., – consider offering a complete proposal to the Lab, submitted as an attachment to a feature request.

A proposal can:

  • Let you summarise your idea in the Feature Request form, and then go into greater detail in your proposal.
  • Allow you to structure your idea clearly, and present it logically and together with related images (UI mock-ups, etc.).

Keep your proposal to a single idea, and don’t forget to explain how it should work and why it would be of benefit. It doesn’t have to be a treatise, just so long as it explains the idea, why you believe it is important and how it would benefit the SL community.

A proposal can be attached to a feature request as a .PDF file or included as a link to a publicly viewable Google Docs file.

For a good example of a feature request see the Hover Height proposal submitted to Linden Lab in 2015, and which led to the inclusion of the “on the fly” hover height adjustment capability in the viewer.

Submitting Your Feature Request

When you have confirmed the information is correct and as clear as possible, and any images / files you wish to include are attached, click the Create button at the bottom right of the form to file your bug report.

Refer to What Happens Next?, below, for information on what happens to a filed bug report.

Commenting on Filed Requests

Sometimes after filing a feature request, there may be additional information you wish to add. You can generally do this via the Comment button at the bottom of a feature request page.

  • Who can comment on a feature request depends on a variety of factors, including general permissions, the security level for the report (Public or Triagers and Reporters), together with the current status of the report (Open, Needs More info, Accepted).
  • If the Comment button is unavailable, you will need to request permission to make Jira comments. Send  an e-mail to letmein-at-lindenlab.com, giving your avatar name and a clear reason for requesting access.
  • Note that you do not need comment rights in order to file bug reports or feature requests.

What Happens Next?

The Jira Workflow

A submitted feature request follows a set workflow, as shown in the diagram below.

The Jira workflow – simplified
  • Awaiting Review: when you submit a feature request, it enters a queue for review (triage) by the Lab’s QA and Product teams.
  • Triage: incoming requests are triaged on a weekly basis. The outcome is generally one of the following, as indicated in the status area of the report:
    • Needs More Information: if the report is vague or not easy to understand or doesn’t contain sufficient information needed to understand the request, it will be flagged by the Lab as requiring more information from the reporter.
      • This sets the Needs More Info flag on the feature request, and in addition a comment is generally provided by the Lab as to what is required.
      • The reporter should review the request and any comment(s) recorded by the Lab and attempt to provide the missing information.
    • Information Provided: when additional information has been added to a request, it is essential the Info Provided button is clicked. This will update the bug report to inform the Lab that the information has been supplied. Note that a failure to click the button could result in a delay in a request being further actioned.
The Needs More Info flag (arrowed) and the Info Provided button
  • Accepted: the feature request is accepted by the Lab and cloned into their internal JIRA system for tracking.
    • However, Accepted does not mean a feature request will acted upon immediately. Rather, it may mean the Lab are sufficiently interested in the idea to keep track of it, but implementation may be held until such time as it fits / can be slotted into the SL development road map.
    • Sometimes, on further reviewing a bug report / feature request, Linden Lab may request even more additional information, and will re-open the original (see Needs More Information, above).
    • Once an accepted report / feature request has been implemented, the originating Jira will be Closed with a status of Resolved.
  • Closed: the request is not to be taken any further. Typically, a feature request will be closed and annotated with one of the following reasons:
    • Duplicate: there’s another feature request covering the same idea.
    • Unactionable: the described feature has been declined by the Linden Lab feature request review team.
    • Not Applicable: the reporter has decided to close the issue.
    • Resolved: the request has been implemented.

Where Next?

SL Jira Tutorial part 1: bug reports

Introduction

This tutorial has been written as a guide to filing SL bug reports and feature requests using the Second Life Jira. It comprises two parts:

Bug Reports (this section):

  • What is / is not a bug report.
  • Filing a bug report.
  • What a Security Exploit is.
  • Filing a Security Exploit report.
  • What happens to a report once filed.

Feature Requests:

  • What a feature request should be.
  • Filing a feature request.
  • Using a proposal.
  • What happens to a feature request once filed.

Both sections are self-contained and can be bookmarked / referenced independently of one another for ease of use. However, to further assist in finding information, the table of contents on the right can be found in both part of the tutorial, and can be used to reference specific sections of either one.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements and Thanks

I would like to express my thanks to the following people for their input into this tutorial and for sanity checking the contents: Alexa Linden, Grumpity Linden, Kyle Linden, Soft Linden and Whirly Fizzle.

What is the Jira For?

As noted above, the Jira is primarily for:

  • Filing reports on bugs that impact Second Life (covering the viewer, the simulator and the web), and which in doing so adversely impact the user experience.
  • Putting forward suggestions on features and capabilities that might enhance Second Life for users.

The Jira can also be used by third-party viewer (TPV) developers to have their viewer added to the TPV Directory, or for reporting TPVs that may be violating the TPV Policy / Second Life Terms of Service. Both of these options fall outside the scope of either part of this tutorial.

When using the Jira, please keep in mind:

  • It should not be used to report problems which are specific to you or for general enquiries about things like log-in issues; tier payments; running Second Life on a specific hardware configuration, land issues, and so on.
  • If you believe the bug presents a security risk (such as allowing griefing or exposing sensitive information), you should use the SEC bug report, details of which can be found in Security Exploits.
  • When adding comments to a report / feature request (see Commenting on filed reports), these should focus on technical feedback / input pertinent to the issue/ request being made. Personal opinion or general discussions on a bug / feature request can be held through the Second Life forums.

What Makes a Good Bug Report?

Ideally, a good bug report should:

  • Focus on a single issue.
    • Even if problems appear to be related, resist the urge to incorporate multiple issues on a single report, as this can confuse matters when trying to triage a report.
    • Instead, file multiple bug reports and cross-reference them. Those with authority to do so can then formally cross-link the reports as related issues.
  • Be a set of directions, providing:
    • A summary of the issue encountered that can form the title of the bug report.
    • A clear description of what happened when the issue occurred.
    • A set of step-by-step instructions on what you were doing when the issue occurred that allow someone else to follow them and (hopefully) encounter your issue, helping them understand it.
    • A description of what you were expecting to happen had you not encountered the issue.
    • Information on the viewer you were using, your location in Second Life at the time the problem was encountered, etc., all of which can easily be obtained from the viewer, as described in the instructions, below.
    • Relevant supporting information. This might comprise one or more of: any error message which may have been displayed; a screen shot of the problem; the inclusion of relevant log files, if appropriate.

As a reminder: when filing a bug report please keep in mind that if the problem you’ve encountered doesn’t require Linden Lab to make a change that can affect all users, then it probably isn’t appropriate to file a bug report against it.

Before You File a Bug Report

Known Bugs

It is possible the issue you are encountering is already known, or the subject of an existing bug report. So before you file a new bug report please consider:

  • Checking the viewer release notes to see if the bug is listed as a Known Issue. This can be done in one of two ways:
    • From within the viewer you’re using via Help → About, and then clicking on the Release Notes link at the top of the panel.
    • By checking the release notes for viewers listed on the Alternative Viewers pages to see if the issue is recorded among them.
  • Using the Jira Search option to see if the issue has already been reported.

If you find that a bug report already exists for the issue, you can opt to click the Watch option (top right of a bug report, under People) to receive e-mail updates on the Jira (you can also uncheck Watch at any time to stop receiving updates).

You can receive e-mail updates on a Jira by clicking the Start Watching This Issue (l) option (under People in the top right of a displayed Jira). The option will update to Stop Watching This Issue (r), indicating you’re receiving updates. Click the option again to stop receiving updates; the option will revert to Start Watching This Issue

A Note to Users of Third-Party Viewers

Third-party viewers (TPVs) surface options / include capabilities that may not be visible / available in the official viewer. Because of this:

  • If you encounter a problem with a TPV that you think might affect users on other viewers, please check to see if it can be reproduced on the official SL viewer.
  • If you can reproduce the bug on the official viewer, please file a bug report through the Second Life Jira using / referencing the official viewer, not your preferred TPV.
  • If the bug only occurs with the TPV you are using, please file a bug report with the developers of the TPV through whatever means they provide. Bug reports filed on the Second Life Jira that only reference a TPV are subject to being closed without action.

Official SL Bug Report Information

Official information on the SL bug reporting is available at :

Filing A Bug Report

Setting the Project and Issue Type

  • Log-in to the Second Life Jira using your Second Life log-in credentials.
  • Click on the blue Create button in the top menu bar.
  • Check the top of the form and make sure:
    • Project is set to 1. BUG Project (BUG).
    • Issue Type is set to Bug.
    • Use the drop-downs to set either, if required.
When filing a bug report, make sure Project is set to 1. BUG Project (BUG), and Issue Type to Bug.

Providing Details of the Bug

Required Fields

The following fields of a bug report are mandatory:

  • Summary: provide a concise summary of the issue (also forms the report title).
    • If the bug is related to a specific project (e.g. Animesh), please include the project name at the start of the summary in square braces (e.g. [Animesh]).
  • What Just Happened?: provide a description of the actual behaviour you saw as a result of the bug.
    • Be as clear and concise as possible – the more information of a clear nature you can give, the better the issue can be understood and the bug investigated.
    • If you received an error message as a result of the bug, you can type or copy/paste it here.
  • What Were You Doing When It Happened?: give step-by-step instructions on how to reproduce the problem.
    • Treat this section of the form as if you are explaining the bug to someone who has never encountered it and / or has never used the function / capability being used when the issued occurred.
    • Make sure you list all the necessary steps that are needed to reproduce the issue as you encountered it, no matter how obvious these steps might appear to be.
    • Use the Attachment button (see below) to include any images of the issue as you saw it and which help to explain things. Make sure they are clearly annotated and cross-referenced in this section.
  • What Were You Expecting To Happen Instead?: give a clear and concise description of what you were expecting to happen instead of the bug.
    • If it helps, use step-by-step instructions here as well.
    • Use the Attachment button (see below) to include any images of what you expected to happen, if required / possible. Make sure they are clearly annotated and cross-referenced in this section.
  • Environment: use this section to provide information on the environment – viewer and simulator – in which you encountered the problem. This information can be obtained directly from the viewer as follows:
    • Make sure you are in the region were you encountered the issue (this must be done when reporting possible simulator bugs).
    • In the viewer, go to Help → About Second Life → Info tab.
    • Click on the Copy to Clipboard button at the bottom of the tab.
    • Paste the information into this field of your bug report.
Obtaining environment information through your viewer
Optional Fields

The following fields are optional, and can be used to provide any additional information you may feel is useful is helping to understand / reproduce / resolve a bug.

  • Is There Anything You’d Like To Add? use this section to add any further information you think might be of value in assessing the bug – or leave blank if not required.
  • Where: an additional field for entering the SLurl for the region where the issue was encountered (a Map link can also be used).
  • System: two fields to help refine the nature of the issue.
    • The first allows you to select the affected area of Second Life: viewer, simulator, SL website, Linden-made content in SL.
    • The second offers a series of further options based on the first section.
  • Attachment: use this option to add any suitable attachments to the report, such as images of the issue and / or of error messages or your viewer’s log files (see Log Files for more).
    • Multiple images can be submitted, but ensure each is clearly labelled / annotated and properly referenced in the relevant text fields in the first part of the bug report form.
    • Note that individual attachments can be no larger than 10 Mb.
  • Security Level: a drop-down to select the security level to be assigned to the report. These are:
    • Public – viewable to anyone logged-in to the Second Life Jira.
    • Triagers and Reporter: only viewable by those with specific Jira access and the person raising the report – anyone else trying to view it once filed will receive a “permission violation” message.
    • If you are unsure of which to set, leave this option as Public.

Log Files

One of the most useful aids for helping to deal with bug reports are Second Life log files. All viewer log files can generally be found in the following locations:

  • Windows log files location: C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\SecondLife\logs.
  • Mac OS log files location: /Users/[user name]/Library/Application Support/SecondLife/logs.

The relevant log files you should include with your bug report are:

  • SecondLife.log: stores status and debugging output from the Viewer during the current logged-in session.
    • This file grows while the viewer is active. If it gets too large, it is trimmed by the crash logging application.
  • SecondLife.old: when the viewer re-starts, it renames the existing SecondLife.log to SecondLife.old. SecondLife.old is used when the Viewer reports a freeze in the previous execution.
  • SL_Launcher.log: stores status and debugging output of the launch and update processes that start the viewer or update it. This file is appended to, not overwritten, but will be trimmed over time.
  • SL_Launcher.old: back up copy of SL_launcher.log created from the prior launch.
  • SecondLife.start_marker: a marker file that should only live as long as the Viewer is running.

You can combine these log files into a compressed (ZIP) file for easier attachment to your bug report.

Submitting Your Bug Report

When you have confirmed the information is correct and as clear as possible, and any images / files you wish to include are attached, click the Create button at the bottom right of the form to file your bug report.

Refer to What Happens Next?, below, for information on what happens to a filed bug report.

Security Exploits (SEC)

A Security Exploit report is a special kind of bug report designed to deal with threats to Second Life, its Residents or content. Examples of Security Exploits include:

  • Exposure of real life Resident identity without consent.
  • Risk of destruction of content.
  • Permitting unauthorised access to Second Life/Linden Lab resources.
  • Compromising a client or server host, subjecting it to remote control, potential griefing vectors, etc.

There are two ways to file security exploits:

  • Via a Second Life Security Exploit report, as described here. This is the preferred method of raising such issues.
  • Via email to security-at-lindenlab.com.

Notes:

  • By their very nature, SEC bug reports are not available for public viewing.
  • SEC issues should be reported as soon as they are identified, together with all relevant viewer / simulator environment information.
  • The SEC project (and security mailing list) is only for reporting security exploits that might compromise a Residents identity or the Second Life Grid. All other requests including account issues and account security will not be addressed – these should be reported directly via the Second Life Support Portal.

SEC Bounties

Linden Lab offer a L$10,000 (approx US $40) bounty for each previously unknown exploit that can be verified. These bounties are generally awarded after the reporter helps confirm that an issue has been fixed, and are contingent on not disclosing the issue prior to Linden Lab resolving the issue.

Filing A Security Exploit Report (SEC)

  • Log-in to the Second Life Jira using your Second Life log-in credentials.
  • Click on the blue Create button in the top menu bar.
  • Check the top of the form an make sure Project is set to 2. Second Life Security Exploit (SEC). Use the drop-down to set it, if required.
  • Note that Issue Type will automatically default to Bug.
When filing a SEC report, make sure the Project drop-down is set to 2. Second Life Security Exploit
Basic Tab
  • Summary (required field): provide a concise summary of the exploit (also forms the report title).
  • Environment (required field): use this section to provide information on the environment – viewer and simulator – in which you encountered the problem. This information can be obtained directly from the viewer as follows:
    • Make sure you are in the region were you encountered the issue (this must be done when reporting possible simulator exploits).
    • In the viewer, go to Help → About Second Life → Info tab.
    • Click on the Copy to Clipboard button at the bottom of the tab.
    • Paste this information into this report.
  • Description (required field): provide a clear and unambiguous description of the exploit.
    • Provide step-by-step instructions on how the exploit can be revealed / leveraged and to ensure a “solid reproduction” of the issue.
    • Include information on all notable uses, events, indicators, outcomes, information exposed, etc., related to the exploit (and as relevant to the exploit).
    • If the exploit is specific to a location in Second Life, supply a SLurl or map reference to that location.
  • Attachment (optional): use this option to add any suitable attachments to the report, such as images showing how the exploit works and / or its outcome.
    • Multiple images can be submitted, but ensure each is clearly labelled / annotated and properly referenced in the relevant sections described above.
    • Note that individual attachments can be no larger than 10 Mb.
Advanced Tab
  • Priority (optional): set your considered priority for the issue. Note that this may be adjusted when the SEC report is triaged.
You can use the Advanced tab to set the severity of the exploit (This can also be done by the Lab when the issue is triaged)
  • Please do not complete any other parts of the Advanced tab of the form.

Submitting Your SEC Report

When you have confirmed the information is correct and as clear as possible, and any images / files are attached, click the Create button at the bottom right of the form to submit your bug report.

Refer to What Happens Next?, below, for information on what happens to a filed SEC report.

Commenting on Filed Reports

Sometimes after filing a bug report, there may be additional information you wish to add. You can generally do this via the Comment button at the bottom of a bug report page.

  • Who can comment on a bug report depends on a variety of factors, including general permissions, the security level for the report (Public or Triagers and Reporters), together with the current status of the report (Open, Needs More info, Accepted).
  • If the Comment button is unavailable, you will need to request permission to make JIRA comments. Send  an e-mail to letmein-at-lindenlab.com, giving your avatar name and a clear reason for requesting access.
  • Note that you do not need comment rights in order to file bug reports or feature requests.

What Happens Next?

The Jira Workflow

A submitted bug report follows a set workflow, as shown in the diagram below.

The Jira workflow – simplified
  • Awaiting Review: when you submit a bug report, it enters a queue for review (triage) by the Lab’s QA and Product teams.
  • Triage: incoming bug reports are triaged on a daily weekday basis. The outcome is generally one of the following, as indicated in the status area of the report:
    • Needs More Information: if the report is vague or not easy to understand or doesn’t contain sufficient information needed to reproduce a bug, it will be flagged by the Lab as Needs More Information from the reporter.
      • This sets the Needs More Info flag on the report. In addition, a comment is generally provided by the Lab as to what is required.
      • The reporter should review the report and any comment(s) recorded by the Lab, and attempt to provide the missing information.
    • Information provided: when additional information has been added to a report, it is essential the Info Provided button is clicked. This will update the bug report to inform the Lab that the information has been supplied. Note that a failure to click the button could result in a delay in the report being further actioned.
The Needs More Info flag (arrowed) and the Info Provided button (highlighted in red)
  • Accepted: the report is accepted by the Lab and cloned into their internal Jira system for tracking. However:
    • Accepted does not mean a bug report will acted upon immediately. There are a number of factors which may influence if / when it may be actioned, including things like the severity of a bug and work in progress which may help resolve a bug. As such, a bug report can remain as Accepted for an extended period of time. before any action is taken.
    • Sometimes, on further reviewing a bug report internally, Linden Lab may request even more additional information, and will re-open the original report to comment / update to allow users to do so. Therefore, you should always maintain a watch on the bug reports you have filed.
    • Once an accepted bug report has been actioned and the issue resolved, the originating report will be Closed with a status of Resolved.
  • Closed: typically, a bug report will be closed and annotated with one of the following reasons:
    • Contact Support: the issue is not a bug and should be handled through the Support Portal or Second Life Answers.
    • Expected Behaviour: what has been reported is seen as “normal behaviour”, and so no further action will be taken.
    • Duplicate: there’s another issue about the same problem.
    • Cannot be reproduced: the bug, as described, cannot be reproduced, and therefore cannot be investigated / resolved.
    • Unactionable: the described issue is not in a form that allows action to be taken (e.g. the report doesn’t define a bug / problem, etc.).
    • Not Applicable: the reporter has decided to close the issue.
    • Resolved: it is believed the issue has been fixed / resolved.

Where Next?

Bakes on Mesh – a basic primer

Updated with an overview of “Bakes on Mesh appliers” for Mesh bodies and head yet to be updated to support BoM.

Monday, August 26th, 2019 saw the formal release of Bakes on Mesh (BoM) for Second Life, and with it, an attempt to make system wearables (skins, tattoo and clothing layers) usable on modern mesh avatar bodies, utilising the avatar Bake Service and without the need for a dedicated applier system.

While Bakes on Mesh has been in development for over years, and much of it is known to many users, this article has been written to provide something of an introduction / overview of BoM, covering things like system wearables, the Bake Service, that changes that have been made, where to find information on using BoM, and what it may mean for Second Life users in the future, depending upon how well the capability is received by creators.

Some Basics

System Wearables and the Bake Service

System wearables as they appear in inventory

Without going too deeply into specifics for those unfamiliar with them, system wearables are a special kind of inventory asset (some of which are shown on the right) that can be directly worn / added to the system avatar to produce a “dressed” look.

These wearables come in a number of “layers”- skin (which must always be worn on the system avatar), tattoo, undershirt, shirt, and jacket.

The naming of the layers isn’t that important – a creator could be assign a bra or a shirt or a pair of pants to any one of the tattoo, undershirt, shirt and jacket layers, depending on how flexible they want their clothing to be. What is important is that the always follow an hierarchy: skin is always at the bottom and so “covered” by the other layers, which are in turn “covered” by the next (so undershirt wearables always apply “over” tattoo wearables; “shirt layers “over” undershirt wearables, etc), with the avatar able to wear up to 62 wearables in any combination of layers at one time.

This might sound very complex, but for those familiar with the system, it is very easy to grasp; however, what is important is what comes next. When an avatar’s look is complete, the information about all these wearables are sent to the simulator and then to a back-end set of servers called the Bake Service over a series of channels called the “bake channels”, which define where the layers appear on the avatar. These channels are:

  • BAKE_HEAD, which defines all the wearable elements that have been applied to the head (e.g. skin, and tattoo layers used for make-up)
  • BAKE_UPPER, which defines all the wearable elements – skin plus any tattoo, undershirt, shirt and / or jacket layer(s) that have been applied to the avatar body above the waist and below the neck (with the left arm mirrored from the right).
  • BAKE_LOWER, which defines all the wearable elements – skin plus any tattoo, undershirt, shirt and / or jacket layer(s) that have been applied to the avatar body from the waist to the feet (with the left leg mirrored from the right).
  • BAKE_EYES and BAKE_HAIR (both pretty self-explanatory).
  • BAKE_SKIRT, which defines skirt / dress style wearables.

The Bake Service then composites (bakes) the layers received on each of these bake channels into a single texture, and sends the results out to every viewer able to “see” the avatar. So, for example, facial / head skin and any make-up tattoo(s) received via the BAKE_HEAD channel are baked to become a texture seen on the avatar’s head, while the layers received over the Bake_Upper channel are baked into a texture seen on the avatar’s upper body, and so on, ensuring the avatar consistently appears to everyone dressed at the user intended, while also removing the need for individual viewers to manage the complex layering and rendering of all the individual wearable layers on other people’s avatars.

Mesh Bodies and Complexity

Since their introduction, mesh bodies have not been able to leverage this approach. Instead, they require a dedicated “applier” mechanism to achieve the same ends, together with the use of an alpha layer to hide the system avatar.

Further, to enable clothing items to be layered – so you can have an applied shirt / blouse appearing to be “under” a jacket, for a example, mesh bodies have had to be constructed in a complex manner, with several layers closely packed together (colloquially called “onion layers”) that effectively mimic the system wearable layers. This actually makes the avatar a lot more complex than they otherwise might be, resulting in their relatively high rendering costs.

Enter Bakes on Mesh

So, Bakes on Mesh has been developed to allow system wearable to be applied directly from inventory to worn mesh faces (e.g. avatar bodies and wearables) that have been correctly flagged by the creator to support Bakes on Mesh. Through Bakes on Mesh, Linden Lab hopes:

  • Users can avoid the need to use appliers, but can add wearables to their mesh avatar directly from inventory.
  • Creators will be able to simplify avatar mesh bodies and heads by removing the need for some of the “onion” layers. This should – if done – reduce the rendering complexity for bodies and heads, thus hopefully improving people’s SL experience (as avatars won’t be quite so resource intensive or require quite so much “assembly time” when encountering them on logging-on or after teleporting somewhere).

Notes:

  • As with all new features, use of Bakes on Mesh will only be apparent to those actually using viewers running the Bakes on Mesh code; anyone not on such a viewer will likely see something of a mess.And as with new features, it will take time for the Bakes on Mesh code to be implemented by all TPVs.
  • Bakes on Mesh does not mean user “have” to go back to using system wearables nor does it mean that applier systems can no longer be used. It is simply a means of making system wearables work with mesh bodies and heads, hopefully with the benefits given above. Those who wish to can continue to use applier-based clothing as they always have.
Bakes on Mesh adds new options for applying suitable textures to the baking channels for application on a mesh body by the Bake Service

An introduction to using BoM can be found in the Bakes on Mesh Knowledge Base article. This includes information on trying BOM using a test mesh body – the best way to do this is to use Aditi, the beta grid. I’m not going to go into specifics here, simply because there are multiple resources available to assist users and creators – some of which are noted at the end of this article, and I want to keep this as a more general, easy-to-understand primer.

When considering Bakes on Mesh it is important to remember it is not necessarily intended as an outright replacement for appliers and current mesh bodies from the get-go. Rather, it is initially an alternative – although if the popularity / take-up among creators and users are sufficient, then over time it could obviously become the system of choice over appliers and more complex mesh bodies. However, existing mesh bodies / heads and applier systems will continue to work as they always have.

Key Points of Bakes on Mesh

This list is not exhaustive, but is intended to give a feel for Bakes on Mesh and its use:

  • System skin layers, tattoo layers, clothing layers and alpha layers all work – the mesh just needs to be flagged by its creator as supporting Bakes on Mesh and correctly set-up for alpha layers to work as intended.
    • As an alternative, there are assorted “BoM appliers” designed to work with mesh bodies  / heads that have not (yet) been updated with Bakes on Mesh support – see below for more.
  • You do not need a full body alpha to wear a Bakes on Mesh flagged mesh. If the flag is present when you wear the mesh, the body section it is flagged for disappears. So, if you wear a lower body “Bakes on Mesh ready” avatar part, then entire lower body of the system avatar will disappear.
  • The Bake Service has been updated to support 1024×1024 resolution textures, so it offers the same texture resolution for wearables as offered through applier systems (prior to Bakes on Mesh the maximum resolution for wearables was 512×512).
    • Obviously, the wearable must be made at this resolution in order to utilise it; a 512×512 wearable will not magically appear to be 1024×1024 resolution when applied.
  • In order to be fully effective, mesh bodies using BoM and BoM wearables should match the system avatar UV map as closely as possible.
    • Fortunately, most of the current range of avatar bodies sold under brands such as Maitreya, Slink etc., do tend to stay close to the system avatar UV map. So any new BoM-specific versions / updates should continue to do so.
  • Alpha support means that  layers means that mesh bodies should no longer need to be split into multiple pieces for individual alpha-masking to prevent a body clipping through clothes. Alpha requirements are back in the hands of the clothing creator, and should be made alongside the clothing, so that when used and providing the body is correctly set-up they should just “work”. In addition, clothing makers may not longer need to include auto alpha scripts.
  • Changing mesh body parts should be easier, providing both bodies are flagged to use Bakes on Mesh. The body takes whatever is worn on the system body – skin and make-up instantly appear on each change of head, for example.
  • Skin makers will be able to offer more options by including tattoos with their skins, allowing for a variety of make-up options, whilst there will no longer be any limitation on the use of tattoos (one per zone).
  • Applier support will still be required for the following: nails; eyelashes; standalone ears, hands, feet, lips, bust implants, etc.; lip gloss; materials finishes (see Some Possible Points of Contention, below); neck blenders, anything not intended to look “painted” on.

New with Bakes On Mesh

To provide full “wearables” support, Bakes on Mesh introduces some new elements that will be of key import to creators:

  • The introduction of 5 new bake channels – LEFT_ARM_BAKED, LEFT_LEG_BAKED, AUX1_BAKED, AUX2_BAKED, AUX3_BAKED:
    • These can only be used with Bakes on Mesh, and are not available to the system avatar.
    • LEFT_ARM_BAKED and LEFT_LEG_BAKED are intended to help with making mesh avatars where the left and right limbs have different textures (and so can be asymmetric, as can currently be achieved with applier systems).
    • The AUX channels are general purpose, and could be used for body regions not possessed by system avatars (such as wings) or for other purposes.
    • This means BoM has 11 possible channels for wearables to use for textures, and for the baking service to produce.
    • However, the new channels listed above do not have alpha support like the other channels, and so cannot have “holes” cutting through the mesh face they are worn against.
  • BOM also adds a new wearable type called Universal.
    • While specifically added to allow the wearing items that use the new  channels described above, the Universal wearable has slots corresponding to all 11 of the bake channels, offering extensive flexibility of use. In layering order, universal wearables go between the tattoo and body layers.

Note that for others to see your avatar correctly when you are using Bakes on Mesh they must also be using a Bakes on Mesh viewer. If they are not, they will see your avatar as a mesh of red, blue and yellow colours showing through your mesh parts.

Left: Bakes on Mesh when seen via a non Bakes on Mesh viewer: the system avatar will show through the mesh body parts, covered by default system-supplied BoM marker textures. Centre and Right: using a “Bakes on Mesh applier” on a non-BoM body and head and via a Bakes on Mesh capable viewer. The centre image shows the “before” avatar state: the system layer skin and clothing are worn, but do not conform to the mesh body and head (which must be worn without their corresponding alphas for this type of applier to work), and so “poke through” (highlighted in places by the red circles). The right image shows how things look after the”Bakes on Mesh” appliers have been used – the system layer clothing and skin now mostly conform to the mesh head / body, with the exception of fingers and toes (highlighted) which will generally require an additional “glove” or “mask” fix.

“Bakes on Mesh Appliers”

During the testing of Bakes on Mesh, at least two experimental applier systems were produced to allow BoM to be tested on non-BoM flagged bodies and heads. For example, Omega produced an experimental BoM applier system, with instructions here.

Since then, and given that several mesh body and head creators have yet to produce BoM flagged updates to their bodies / heads, several more such “BoM appliers” have been produced, some of which are available for free, some are provided by the mesh head / body creator, and others are available at a nominal cost, and may be for specific purposes (e.g. the Bakes on Mesh skin applier (Omega) by Conor Shostakovich at L$125).

These essentially work by allowing you to dress your system avatar with the required system wearables, then wearing your mesh body / head without their alpha masks, and then using the applier to apply the system layers to the mesh body / head in a similar manner to “traditional” appliers – but again, as a single composite layer when baked.

  • How effective these systems are can be variable.
  • Due to differences in the way skin skin textures / UV maps work and the way mesh bodies tend to be put together, such appliers may not work particularly well around feet and hands.

Note: links to products does not constitute endorsement. Always check the Marketplace for products and reviews.

Such appliers are intended as an interim “fix” for using Bakes on Mesh until such time as the major head and body creators provided full Bakes on Mesh support.

Some Possible Points of Contention

However, there are what might be regarded by some as “negatives” around Bakes on Mesh, a couple of the more prominent ones being:

  • The Bakes Service – and thus Bakes on Mesh – does not support materials (normal and specular maps). How much this impacts people’s acceptance of BoM is open to debate. However, when needed, materials still can be added manually (if the mesh / mesh face in question is editable) or via a suitable applier.
  • Appliers are convenient, as they are an all-in-one solution requiring only one or two items in inventory – the outfit applier HUD and possibly an intermediary relay tool like Omega.
    • With Bakes on mesh, wearables are all individual inventory assets, which could lead to inventory growth, some of which might be quite extensive as a result of creators providing multiple options / layers (although in fairness, some applier systems can be like this – I have seen a Hugo’s Design outfit with no fewer the 40 individual items, both system layer clothing and multiple applier options).
    • Some of the inventory “bloat” BoM might cause can potentially be managed via the use of the viewer’s Outfits capability (although this obviously also adds to bloat with inventory links) or via a new form of applier system that utilises system wearables created at 1024×1024 resolution.

How much these may impinge on consumer’s willingness to adopt BoM remains to be seen.

Closing Remarks

Like all new capabilities, Bakes on Mesh will take time to gain understanding and traction. Also like all new features, it has its outright fans, and those who have – even before really getting to work with it in earnest – decided its is bad / wrong / pointless / a step back, etc.

I’m personally sitting in the middle. If it does what is claimed on the tin, and if it gains traction among mesh body and head creators (and several have been working on BoM for the 12+ months its been in development) and clothing creators, then it could do its own little bit towards a better “optimisation” (quotes used intentionally, as there is still a lot more than can be done in terms of optimisations cross SL), and make things a little better for everyone.

But it will take time for Bakes on Mesh to mature in terms of general use – creators need to update their heads / bodies (although Slink is apparently ahead of the curve, and their new bodies are said to work with existing appliers, and other creators may also be providing products / updates, I’ve just not encountered any as yet). Those making system wearables are going to need time to update to the 1024×1024 where preferred (if they haven’t already, and so on. And, most obviously, it will take a little time for the Bakes on Mesh code to percolate out to all TPVs.

In the meantime, some links to useful resources.

Resources