Tag Archives: Inara

What Does Second Life Need?


Inara Pey recently posted an article explaining that the new world Linden Lab is developing (lets call it Linden World 2.0 or LW2 for now) is not being made to replace Second Life. This article and the discussion that followed got me wondering, what does Second Life need to do to compete with it’s younger sister?
Before we start, lets agree to keep things realistic. Cheaper is not going to happen, at least not in the short term. SL’s income stream to LL is supporting the development of LW2. They are not about to jeopardize that. Perhaps, once LW2 is self sufficient it can “pay back” to SL in some way.
Some things that do seem possible to me include:
Avatar 2; The Lindens started down this road with their mesh starter avatars, they should continue. Avatar 2 needs more adjustments than Avatar 1, the new adjustments could simply be grayed out for adjusting Avatar 1. Most people I have talked to agree that the bone structure and accompanying rigging needs tweaking (at least). They would probably require a whole new skin format in place of the 3 part one used by Avatar 1.
Scripting; I am not a scripter but every scripter I know maintains a library of work-arounds. Perhaps it is time to take a look at them with an eye to treating them as areas to correct/expand llsl or as bugs.
Content Creation; Mesh is all the rage in SL, and for good reason. It opens a whole new world of possibilities. What we need is an intuitive method of building mesh for SL. This probably can’t be done in world, think of the additional server load! Blender is a nightmare of counterintuitive operations. What would be best would be for LL to create/adopt/outright buy a platform specialized for SL. I would envision an application that would open a sandbox and an avatar (my own?). Easy to use controls that build on the prim construction techniques I already know with the added ability to push and stretch into organic shapes. Easy save for import into SL with the LI known in advance.
Social Networking; More and more often timely information from LL comes via Twitter. As someone who’s RL does not use social networking this drives me nuts! It should be possible for LL to develop a Twitter-like pseudonymous, avatar friendly communication network and use that.
What do you think? I am sure there are ideas I have not thought of, dreams of features that would amaze me. I look forward to your input.

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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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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External Reference Points


http://www.youtube.com/user/draxtordespres Drax, yes that Drax, of Flufee fame and the hyper German on Metarality has begun a new project. The Drax Files will be monthly Youtube interviews with creative people in SL. Drax’s Mechinima alone are worth a look, but the first interview is with Kriss Lehmann, the RL person behind Botanical, in my opinion the premiere creator of trees and landscaping in SL. Drax mostly lets Kriss tell his story, filling the screen with Mechinima of the Botanical sim and RL via Skype.

Well done Drax, we look forward to more of the same!

*****************************************************************************

http://www.virtualvision2020.com/ Virtual Vision 2020 is an ongoing attempt to understand, foster and cultivate community in SL. Their current project is a request for literary submissions involving a Legend of Second Life, they would like to develop a (or several) prehistory, kind of a mythology of SL. An inspired idea.

Visit their site, take the surveys, they are short, but thought provoking. If you are so inspired, submit a legend, you only have until March 31 so don’t procrastinate!

Many thanks to Inara Pey at http://modemworld.wordpress.com/ and Gianna Borgnine at http://metarealitypodcast.com/ for the heads up.

 

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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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Linden Lab Severs Major Communication Link with Residents


There have been major changes made to the Second Life jira bug reporting system, and not for the better!

Effective immediately the jira is a closed system. No one outside Linden Lab will be able to see what you report. There will be no opportunity for residents to comment on bugs that effect everyone, or even to know if what they observe is a known issue or unique to them. Once LL declares an issue you report “Accepted” or “Closed” it will not be farther updated, you will just have to hope you recognize something in the Release Notes as a response to your jira post.

There is considerable speculation about the Lab’s reasoning in taking this action (see Tonya Souther’s blog, or Nalates’ blog, or Inara Pey’s blog). To me the reason is immaterial, it is shutting down one of the best avenues for communication with the Lab.

One of the things Linden Lab, and Rod especially seems not to understand is that Second Life is not Linden Lab’s toy that they let us play in. Second Life is a joint effort of Linden Lab and the Residents of Second Life. That has been true since the day Stellar Sunshine build the beanstalk. When we work together Second Life shines as a community of innovative people on both sides of the viewer. When the Lab withdraws communication or when the wackadoodles among the residents stifle communication with their rants, we all are the poorer for it.

May you live in interesting times.

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This is really important! Once this is implemented mesh clothing should “just fit” if it is made to the proper av. No more changing you body to fit your clothes or alpha underwear!

Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

Update: Sometimes working on multiple posts to your blog isn’t a good idea. Between drafting and pushing this one, Qarl updated his code, as Cinders points out. Sorry Qarl! Correct link is here

Slightly later than he’d hoped, but keeping to his promise, Qarl has released version 0.3 of the Mesh deformer, stating:

Quick announcement – I’m releasing version 0.3 of the deformer code. Primary changes: 1) should now apply cleanly to recent linden viewer code, 2) deformation tables are computed in the background on another thread, so no frame stalls.

There appear to be a couple of elements missing from the patch – as spotted by Henri Beauchamp in a comment following Qarl’s post, so developers may want to hold-off grabbing the code for a bit.

I’ll be watching the various Viewer blogs for updates to see when the patch is incorporated. It’s likely to…

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