#SL Open Source Viewer News Week 8

Some interesting news is out regarding the SL Viewers. We’ve seen the ATI-AMD users run into the Pink Prim problems and many nVidia users have run into Video Memory problems. The recent update to the nVidia drivers seems to have increased the crash rate. It is not only the SL Viewers, 3rd party and the Lab’s, that are having problems with OpenGL. Other games are having problems too, but that is all unclear and poorly defined. However, we do know there are some problems in Second Life.

Open Source Group

Oz Linden is back from vacation so things in viewer development are moving again… or may be more accurately the communication about viewer development is flowing again.

Development Viewer

I got my last update to the Development Viewer Feb. 6th. As I write this there have been no new releases of the Dev Viewer. It is still on 3-3-0-248913. Oz says, “…[Dev Viewer] gets built whenever anything is pushed into it, but there hasn’t been anything for a bit over a week now. There are many things queued up, but because there are some bugs in the current beta that we want to fix before confusing things further, everything is on hold.”

In programming-speak I suppose that means all features, improvements, and other bug fixes are waiting of fixes to ‘crash’ issues in the Beta version. Some of those fixes are requiring some extensive changes in the render pipeline.

OZ says, “…the crash rate went up significantly, which is what we’re trying to get fixed before we merge in more stuff. Snowstorm has quite a lot in that queue, actually.”

One of the group has been talking to Runitai or following the project mailing list says Runitia Linden is rewriting some of the viewer’s shaders, which should fix the ATI/AMD pink prims problem (Firestorm JIRA links to SL JIRA SH-2908). I suppose it will fix more things than just the pink things. May be it will be faster too and make better use of the newer OpenGL.

Another attendee says the viewers and Win8 are having problems.

On an aside: If you have not looked at the previews of Windows 8, or whatever its going to be called, I suggest you do so. Operating systems like Windows are changing to something that is more compatible with ‘smart devices’; tablets and phones. I am not at all sure Win8 is going to be a good thing for gamers. So, if you have not upgraded to Win7, you may want to consider it, because, you may find Win8 unsuitable for your Second Life use.

I suspect the touch screen user interface so deeply integrated into Win8 will wreak havoc on many games.


VWR-12597 – Camera Focus on ground – Camera skips and hops. This problem is showing up again.

Find Widgets

Find Widgets is impacting FPS for some. You can see it in Fast Timers. (Ctrl-Shift-9) See: VWR-28354‘Find Widgets’ causing large spikes in fast timers when torturing prims, reducing frame rates.

An interesting tidbit is that OZ had no idea what Find Widgets or Torturing Prims was about. If one is not involved in the core render code and interface development Finding Widgets is a novel term. I’m not sure what it does. I do know it eats up frame time on my computer. While Runitai assures me it normally only ever uses 2ms or less, I’ve never seen it as low as 2ms.

Torturing Prims is a term residents use to describe a style of making prims into unusual shapes. If you haven’t been following my blog you probably missed: Ayumi Cassini Does Second Life: The ultimate guide to prim twisting. Check it out. I don’t really consider that article as describing my idea of torturing prims, but it is certainly a neat tutorial. Also, it is what Oz was given as the definition of torturing prims.

I’m not dissing Oz. I’m making the point that individual Lindens do not know everything about Second Life, even some one as knowledgeable about Second Life as Oz.

Develop Viewer Code

The purpose of the Open Source group is to help with developing viewer code. Oz pointed out where to learn about submitting code for inclusion in the viewer. See: Develop Second Life Viewer Code.

It’s a good way to get your name listed in the viewer credits.

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