Second Life Mesh Update Week 31

Today’s meeting had a good turnout, about 37 people. Of course with that turnout comes a number of people that have not been regularly attending and the newly frustrated without a clue that want to have things fixed. I’ll skip all that boring stuff and get to the interesting items.

Mesh Cost

For many this is the only issue left with mesh. Mesh cost is complex. New mesh builders that have yet to learn the tricks and complications of Prim Equivalency (PE) are shocked that some factors of mesh can cause cost to double, triple, or more.

Mesh Meeting

The Script Hit

The thing one has to consider is which of the three primary cost factors, Streaming, Physics, or Simulation weight, is controlling your cost. Your PE is going to be the highest of the three. Adding a script can affect the objects tier cost. However, adding a script only affects your Tier Cost when the objects Simulation Weight is the controlling factor. So, one has to consider all the factors to get the best PE/Tier cost.

One of the big server impacts is making a prim or mesh dynamic. The word dynamic in this case meaning making an object physical or scripted. Once made dynamic the object is placed in the cue for additional consideration by the server. That has been the case for some time but the only cost to residents was lag.

That is changing with mesh and link-sets with mesh objects. Adding a script puts all objects in a link-set containing a mesh item in the cue to have the server check to see if the object is moving or otherwise changing. Server load is increased. A script uses up CPU cycles and memory beyond what the server needs to check for object changes.

In the past the Lab did not charge for the additional load of a script. So, adding a script to a prim or prim link-set makes no change in tier nor does it count against prim limit. Nice. We were getting a real deal.

Now the Lab is taking a different tactic and it is surprising many people. They plan to charge for those things that incur a cost for the Lab. The charge is to be more equitable and pass cost to those using the resources. In some cases that cost is a direct business cost, like electricity, and in other cases it is an indirect cost like lag. It is up to the Lab to figure out those costs and stay profitable.

New Model

It is up to us to decide if we are willing to pay what the Lab wants to charge. There is no point in arguing with the Lab. Vote with your L$. If the costs are too high and we refuse to pay, SL is history. If the cost is worth value received, we’ll pay and SL will flourish and profit. There is a reason so many are playing in SL and not OpenSim. It goes beyond just simple tier cost.

In a link-set adding a script anywhere in the set adds the link-set to the cue. This is true whether the link-set has a mesh or not. Every object, mesh or prim, in the link-set is added to the server cue for additional consideration. The current state of Linden technology does not let them determine if the script contains a MOVE command requiring server updates or a Text Float command not needing updates. So, the server must check to see if any of the objects have changed in a way that must be sent as an update to all the avatars around it. If a mesh is in the link-set, the owner will now be charged according to the new policy. Link-sets without mesh remain on the old policy.

Is that unfair to mesh? Yes. If you think the world is supposed to be fair, sue your parents or whoever for misleading you. The Linden problem is that mesh is new and they are just now setting policies on mesh costs and related costs. They can add these fees in without breaking legacy items. With all previous link-sets a prim charge for scripts would break legacy items. Linden philosophy is to avoid breaking things, unless absolutely necessary. So, link-set stuff that has been in place for years would suddenly exceed prim count and returns would kick in. Tier costs could surprisingly jump. So, only new link-sets with a mesh object will see the new charge apply. It is unfair but politically acceptable.

Hopefully you figured out that these costs discussed are charged for via the tier accounting. So, to charge they have to tweak the prim count and thus PE came to be. Changing PE affects the prim limit too.

Those that make link-sets with mesh have quickly realized this script cost gotcha. Suddenly the PE explodes as each prim in the set adds more prim cost to PE. An example is a link-set with 128 prims and a PE of 64, nice savings, going to a PE of 130 after one script is added. Ouch!

Prim Cost Wiki Update

Today just before the meeting the Lindens got the cost equation and factors in the wiki updated. Start here: Mesh Calculate Prim Equivalent Weight You can look at the History tab and compare versions to quickly see the changes.

The simulation cost from the dynamic factor appears to double when a script is added. See: Mesh Server Weight

Mesh Project Viewer

The viewer for those testing the mesh viewer on the main grid has changed. Use: Download: SLV Dev – Thu Jul 28 2011 19:08:34 GMT-0700. This is the version the Lindens request you use for debugging mesh on the main grid. The more testers the sooner they can find bugs and get it ready for use in a main release.

The Latest Dev Viewer is: Second_Life_2-8-3-237297_Development and it does not contain mesh features.

Mesh Use Drop Down

There is a new item in the new Mesh Upload Panel. But, it isn’t in all the mesh viewers. I haven’t seen it yet. It asks what the mesh is to be used for. The dropdown-list will likely change over the next few days. The idea behind it is to get some idea of what is being uploaded as mesh. Rigged mesh as clothes, avatars, attachments, jewelry, weapons, or various miscellaneous objects.

Shinny Mesh

There is a known problem with mesh and shinny. Shinny does not work if there is any transparency in the mesh’s texture. Also, 32 bit TGA files are treated as transparent even if there are no transparent sections.

Mesh Upload Panel

The upload panel for mesh is probably going to change a couple of times before mesh is merged into the main SL viewer.  They are going to be adding more information about physics and streaming costs.

Lion (MacOS 10.7)

Runitai Linden says they are working on getting SL working with Lion. See viewer build: 237389 (Not mesh enabled).

Jira CTS-606 – develop->render metadata-> physic shapes turns the viewer window black. This is marked as fixed but users are finding the problem persists on iMac.

The Perpetual When

Once again the Lindens were asked when Mesh would make it to the main grid, meaning the whole grid. Charlar Linden says mesh is on over a hundred volunteer regions. Charlar also says the Mesh Update will roll out on one of the Release Channels THIS WEEK.

The next big step is getting mesh features merged into the main viewer channel.

So… the plan is to start aggressive roll out. Having 100% roll out by the end of August appears is even more firm.

Rigged Mesh Not Selectable

Rigged mesh on OTHER avatars is not selectable. It is not possible to select a rigged mesh being worn by another avatar to see who made it. Runitai says that is by design and has something to do with llRayCast() complications and performance. Runitai says they will consider whether that can be changed.


Mesh is moving ahead and appears to be moving quickly. The roll to a release channel will be interesting. If that goes well it is a big step in moving to 100% mesh roll out.

Many are still being surprised by the cost of mesh and whining and complaining. So, far I am finding it cheaper and better for my purposes. But, so far, my experience is very limited.

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