Category Archives: Veiwers and tech stuff

A Meeting with the Big Cheese


I attended this week’s Server/Sim/Scripting user group meeting today. Oz, Simon and Kelly Linden were there for the entire meeting. Ebbe Linden arrived about half way through and stayed for nearly half an hour after the meeting closed, fielding general questions, suggestions and comments.
Probably the most significant announcement was that the server code for Group Ban will be grid wide after the RC sims roll tomorrow. There is a Linden viewer with the appropriate code available at the Alternative Viewer Downloads page. You will need this viewer to use the group ban features but your actions will be in force no matter what viewer anyone else is using, even if you change viewers after taking the action.
There was a discussion about problems when terraforming land with pathfinding enabled.
[12:18] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): so if we do a significant amount of terraforming we should restart the region before continuing with whatever we are building?
[12:19] Mona (mona.eberhardt): Not exactly, Shug.
[12:20] Mona (mona.eberhardt): If you do a significant amount of terraforming, it’s advisable that you do NOT rebake the navmesh before you’re done. And when you’ve rebaked, do a region restart. Because, if you rebake repeatedly, you’ll eat up the memory that can be allocated and you won’t be able to rez a thing.
I am not sure I fully understand all of that since I do not use pathfinding, but you should look into it if it pertains to your work.
From Ebbe:
[13:06] Ebbe Linden: Experience tools are getting closer…Simon may know better how close….we just did a big test of them earlier today…but I’m not sure when they’ll be ready for prime time…soon I hope…
[13:07] Simon Linden: It’s getting closer but I’m not familiar with the plans on making them available for others
[13:07] Bagheera: yes please, what are experience tools?
[13:08] Simon Linden: They’re a set of functions and permissions that lets someone build a more immersive experience. So things can happen that won’t nag you with permissions — you opt-into the experience, for example, and a few regions later it can still animate you without re-asking all the time.

[13:11] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): re. new avatars; can we expect more sliders to work in time
[13:11] Ebbe Linden: Shug? Sliders work now….
[13:11] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): not all of them
[13:12] Ebbe Linden: face?
[13:12] jira.phoenixviewer.com (whirly.fizzle): Well not all of them. You can’t for example mod your face with the sliders like you can with a classic avatar
[13:12] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): yeah
[13:13] Ebbe Linden: Yep, face is not doing anything with the new avatars…bummer…we’re looking at that to see if we can get eyes and mouths cranking again…
[13:13] Nal (nalates.urriah): That would make lots of people happy
[13:13] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): that’s good news, the face mods are probably the most important for individualizing your av.
[13:14] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): and I should point out, face customization is one thing SL was way ahead of everyone else on in the beginning.
[13:16] Ebbe Linden: I agree face is critical and having a stone face like my current avatar is not cool…a couple of steps forward and a step backwards…

It was very encouraging to see Ebbe interacting with those there. Is it possible that the us vs. them divide is getting smaller and the ivory tower is, if not crumbling, getting more accessible?


ps. I took some editorial liberties with the clips from transcript, consolidating thoughts and correcting spelling for example.

“Some of the best lessons are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom of the future.” Dale Turner

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Firestorm Viewer Update!


Firestorm 4.6.1 is available for download! I have been using the 64bit version for over a week with no problems.

There is a warning about the download: “New untested download server! Results may vary! We are using a new server for our downloads and we do not know how well it will perform. Please be patient if your download is slow and know that we are monitoring things.” I strongly recommend checking the sumcheck to be sure it did not get corrupted in the download process. Also be patient and perhaps download in a few days and/or in the wee hours of the morning.

As always, do a clean install!

 

“I love it when a plan comes together!Hannibal; The A-Team

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My Window on the World


A while back I suggested a topic for Strawberry Singh’s weekly meme at her blog. With many of us using third party viewers and with all of the different adjustment possible, especially with Firestorm, it should be interesting to share how we see the world, how we arrange our viewers. Strawberry posted the suggestion at her blog.

My View:

2014 01 19 for Strawberry's meme text blur

I captured this with the Windows snipping tool.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Arthur C. Clark

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SSA and The One-Legged Man Upstairs


I have been waiting since Tuesday for the other shoe to drop. Nothing! Or nearly nothing at least. Linden Lab and the Third Party Viewer developers are to be congratulated on a job well done. By any reasonable measure Server-side Appearance is a rousing success!

A relatively small number of people have had “issues”:

1- User hardware. Lets get this out of the way first. If your equipment and your connection to the internet do not meet minimum requirement for SL you will have problems! One ray of sunshine – it is back-to-school season and there are lots of sales on computers that will work. If you use a cell phone connection to log in, you should expect problems, especially during high traffic times.

2- Temporary textures and Z offset. These are both gone, at least as we knew them. LL replaced Temp Textures with Local Textures, this actually works better except only you can see them. Kind of suck for collaborative work. Z offset was replaced with Hover which was kind of clunky until Henri Beauchamp (Cool VL Viewer) got his hands on it. I anticipate his fix to work it’s way into Third Party viewers fairly quickly.

3- Sun-99 and the Current Outfit folder. This really is a bug. Some people have ended up with more than one current outfit folder, this messes with SSA since it bases your appearance on that folder. If you have this problem contact LL support, they have a fix.

4- Corrupt skin and/or outfit textures. SSB does not handle this well, any corrupt texture will cause the effected part of your body (head, body, legs) to stay gray. Best advice, try changing stuff on the effected area.

Additional reading:

Inara Pey’s excellent summary.

Nalates posts here and here.

Firestorm Blog.

 

Bugs will appear in one part of a working program when another ‘unrelated’ part is modified. Murphyism

 

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Are your friends looking sick? Get in the Sunshine!


SSB (Server-side Baking (or Appearance)rolls to the entire grid

today (Tuesday). If you are not using a properly equipped viewer avatars will not be seen properly. Jessica Lyon has a good post at the Firestorm Blog which applies to all viewers. There has been a long run-up to this new feature. No one can say they were not warned! LL and many private blogs have been talking about this for many months! This is a major improvement to the avatar rez process, a major improvement!

I am sure there will be wackadoodles who will be crying “the sky is falling” and the end of Second Life. Ignore them.

Those accessing SL with very old equipment will have the most problems, some will find they can not access the grid at all. My best advice to them is to try various Third Party Viewers in the hopes of finding one that works. Text viewers will of course get you on line but with limited or no graphics. You knew that sooner or later all computers become obsolete.

Bugs will appear in one part of a working program when another ‘unrelated’ part is modified.   Murphyism

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Some thoughts on Firestorm


There was a Questions & Answers meeting with the Firestorm team last week. Inara Pey has a transcript (edited for clarity) on her blog, along with the entire 2 hour 45 minute video.

Some highlights and news:

CHUI– It was last year when the Lab decided to revamp the Communication interface (why they chose to name it after a rather uncommunicative Star Wars character is speculation for another day). While I respect their choice to “do it the right way”, this resulted in complex and deeply embedded changes to the underlying viewer code Firestorm is built from. As of now those changes are not yet finalized. The challenge this set before the Firestorm developers has been huge! They anticipate it will be another 2 or 3 months before they have a new version that has this integration incorporated sufficiently to release a good-enough viewer update. It will not be perfect or even up to their usual quality standards, that will likely take a few months into next year.

Materials– This is the much anticipated feature that will give textures a 3D look. This is almost ready in the Official viewer pipeline but the Firestorm team can only integrate one thing at a time and retain their sanity. It should also be included in the next viewer update.

Version Control– This will probably upset some people, an explanation is in order. The Lindens report that of the 1,800 viewer versions logging in to Second Life, 1,600 are Phoenix/Firestorm! The grid-wide deployment of server-side appearance/baking will break a large number of them. Firestorm will take the opportunity to limit the number of allowed versions to 3 (the current version and the 2 most recent old ones). There will perhaps be a few days of a warning period when there will be 4. This is a huge problem for people limping along with old, outdated equipment! There is a harsh message for those people; Firestorm is a high-end, feature and option rich viewer! It was never intended for use on minimal system hardware! Perhaps the Official viewer, or Singularity will work.

The Firestorm Team deserves high praise for openly communicating with us,their users. They promise more meetings like this in the coming months.

 

 

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clark

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New viewer release process implemented


Finally an explanation I can understand of the new release process the Lab is using for LL viewers. Well done Inara!

Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

Update July 23rd: As release candidate viewers are now available for download on the Alternate Viewers wiki page, I’ve added some notes on manually installing and running multiple release candidates to this article.

secondlifeThe new viewer release process announced by the Lab in May 2013 has officially been implemented.

Officially called the Viewer Integration and Release Process, It is designed to improve how the Lab can put new viewers before users and progress them through to a release status while avoiding bottlenecks such as those witnessed in late 2012, when an issue with the Viewer Beta channel effectively stopped any new viewer releases for around a two-month period.

With the new system, early versions of viewers will still be made available through “dedicated” project and beta viewers, all of which will be available for download via the Official Alternate Viewer wiki page. However, the major change to…

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News about the Mesh Deformer


Whirly Fizzle Posted a new and important comment to STORM-1716. Qarl Fizz has a new version posted at his web site.

  • the team over at inworldz recently asked if i could help them integrate the clothing deformer into their new mesh viewer. which is nice, i think, because people really want to fit their clothing. and so far they can’t.but the inworldz guys took it a step further – they asked if there was anything i could do to improve the code. and i said yes, it could be made faster. and they put-up a bit of money to make it happen.

    Attached is a patch to the deformer code which (by my quick estimates) makes the deformation process 21 times faster. many thanks to David and McCabe for making this possible.

This is, at least potentially, very good news since one of the complaints about the deformer is that it is slow.

Lately I have been trying out mesh clothing on an unaltered LL starter shape. The results have been disappointing (with a few exceptions). A working deformer might well move things along. Of course there are other problems, the learning curve for mesh clothing makers is steep and torturous. There is a tendency to overuse the alpha layers resulting in see through areas of your avatar, especially around the edges and where clothing hangs loosely open.

We have waited quite a while for the Lab to incorporate a working deformer. Hopefully this will enable them to work on it right after Project Sunshine is complete.

May you live in interesting times.

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Firestorm Release with Server Side Baking/Appearance


Today the Phoenix Firestorm Project released Firestorm 4.4.1.34164. For all intents and purposes this is a mandatory release since Linden Lab will be releasing SSB in about 2 weeks.

For those who do not know what Server-Side Baking is all about, Inara Pey has a good overview at her blog.

Some people with very low end computers and/or graphics cards will have hardware issues. Nalates Urriah has some good recommendations for upgrading inexpensively.

I for one look forward to the improvements both to our avatars and to simulator performance this will bring.

May you live in interesting times.

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Buckle-up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride


At the recent Firestorm Viewer question & answer meeting Jessica Lyon, Firestorm Project Manager, gave a forecast of what we can expect in Second Life over the next few months. You can watch the meeting here, or read summaries by Inara Pey or Nalates Urriah .

Simply stated Linden Lab will be introducing several new features that will effect both the sim servers and all viewers. They are not doing this to annoy us, these are important changes to the way things are done within the programs that are SL in addition to valuable new features. Because the viewers are changing too this requires significant coordination and cooperation between the third party viewer developers and the lab.

If experience is any teacher at all, each of these changes will present problems when deployed to the full grid. All viewers, including the official LL viewer will have bugs and problems. Everyone is doing the best they can to avoid problems and still deploy the new code expediently. We may as well get the pain of the transition over with so we can return to our normal lives in an improved world as soon as possible.

There WILL Be Drama! The wackadoodles will predict the end of Second Life. There will be back seat drivers with “a better way”. The conspiracy theorists will ascribe ulterior motives. Pay them no attention. We have survived bigger transitions in the past with much less to gain.

Hang in there!

Be kind to your third party viewer team, they are doing the best they can in a challenging situation; remember, they are volunteers!

Don’t be too hard on LL, in the long run we will be better off.

May you live in interesting times.

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