2012 – The Short List

My previous article is the long version of this highlights list. See: Looking Back at Second Life 2012. This is a very abbreviated version of that article. See the long article for more detail and links.

The main events in Second Life™ during 2012 were: 

  1. The Mesh Deformer project continues for the full year. Collision bones are looked at as an alternative, but has too many problems. In October user made arbitrary base shapes are added to the deformer.
  2. Improved Collada support from Blender
  3. New Region Conductor software.
  4. June 4th Griefer Monday happens due to problems with Experience Permissions. So, Experience Permissions are still in development. But, Advanced Creator Tools are released in the mean time.
  5. Scripting LIST functions got improved performance.
  6. Lots of new scripting functions.
  7. Direct Delivery goes to Beta and then Main channel. Item delivery remains a problem. The Market Place remains a problem. The Received Folder come to all viewers.
  8. Diagonal Region Crossing added.
  9. Qarl’s Alignment tool rejected, but added to Third Party Viewers.
  10. UnityCore combat meter released by private developer.
  11. Imprudence and Kokua viewers remain in development limbo through the year.
  12. First there is hope last names will return. Then it is confirmed that will not happen.
  13. The Lab proposed guess blogging in the Linden Blog.
  14. Viewer is changed to allow .anim file uploads for animation.
  15. Pathfinding moves through development and rolls out. Pathfinding Scripting Templates are added to the SL Wiki.
  16. Various video problems come up with the viewer and are resolved.
  17. The Third Party Viewer Policy is changed and creates drama.
  18. Avatar status checks are nerfed by crippling llRequestAgentData().
  19. Work is started on fixing Avatar bake fail. This turns into a major project affecting many parts of Second Life. The project makes it to QA in ADITI and is anticipated to arrive in first quarter 2013.
  20. Esbee and Charlar Linden depart the Lab.
  21. ADITI login and inventory problems start and are partially repaired. New hardware is order for ADITI.
  22. Encroachment Return is added to allow neighbors to remove encroaching prims.
  23. Mixing mesh and prims is shown to result in prim cost savings.
  24. The ban and flight elevations limits are raised to about 4,000 meters.
  25. The Havok Physics Engine is update 2 or 3 times. Each update creates region crossing problems during the RC phase. RC regions are re-arranged to mitigate problems.
  26. Adjacent regions are organized to run in physically adjacent servers. The Lab consolidates 3 data centers into 2 and reorganizes regions again.
  27. The Adult Content User Group dies out.
  28. New texture compression is added to the viewers for those with small amounts of V-RAM.
  29. HTTP Request functions are improved.
  30. Memory management in the viewer is worked on. Conflicts with Microsoft’s Skydrive are found. The work slows viewer development for weeks in late 2012.
  31. The Lab starts using user created art to promote SL.
  32. Region configuration is changed to avoid requiring region restarts.
  33. Second Life birthday celebrations are turned over to residents.
  34. Second Life gets new hardware. It requires some shutdowns of SL to get it installed. Numerous server restarts are run to allow operating system updates.
  35. A database cleanup is run that reduces the data by 85% and results in a final assets database of 192 terabytes.
  36. Local textures comes to the SL Viewer.
  37. Region idling comes to the SL system, providing improved performance.
  38. Multi-Threaded Region-Crossing Phase I makes it to the main channel. Phase II makes it into QA on the ADITI grid.
  39. Asymmetric textures, much wider than tall, were failing to completely rez until zoomed in on. Merov Linden fixed that problem.
  40. Auto-replace and Spell Check show up in the Viewer.
  41. Large Groups Editing and Opening problems are solved.
  42. The pre-baked textures for Library avatars made it to a main grid RC channel. This feature is part of testing for the new Server Side Avatar Baking.
  43. The scripting user group closes in July.
  44. In July the One Voice fund raiser is run for Gala Phoenix’s legal fund to fight a flagrant case of DMCA abuse.
  45. SLCC, the annual community convention is canceled.
  46. Torley Linden puts out a new video tutorial.
  47. Free translation services from Google and Bing end.
  48. Simon Linden added a feature to the viewer’s script editor. Start typing a function or event name and then wait for the tool tip. Then press TAB to have it injected into the code. Try it then it will make sense.
  49. The Materials System project is announced in August. Server side code for it is running in ADITI by late 2012.
  50. The viewer moves toward more HTTP protocol connections for improved performance.
  51. People suffer the problem of mixed up images in the Market Place.
  52. In August a failure in the wiki forced a restore from backups. Lots of article editing was lost.
  53. Kelly Linden demonstrates HTML HUD’s.
  54. The idea of Virtual Landmarks is implemented by a private party.
  55. The Lab’s Viewer is restricted to use only on the Lab’s grid.
  56. SL Viewer is adapted to Apple’s Mountain Lion system and then to Apple’s Cocoa system
  57. In August we see privately owned orientation regions popping up.
  58. In August the Lab posts a page with 5 videos on: What is Second Life?
  59. Changes start being made to the Interest List code to improve rez time.
  60.  Photo Tools for Second Life start to appear in Third Party Viewers.
  61. A fix is released to Linden Support to fix inventory problems where folders appear outside the main root folder.
  62. September 9th we see the JIRA CHANGE.
  63. SL Wind system gets some improvements.
  64. Memory leaks hold up 3.4.x viewer development for weeks.
  65. In late September Sudden Massive Lag is crashing events.
  66. On October 10th the Lab releases their new game Patterns.
  67. Viewers are improved to do a better job of recognizing video cards.
  68. More video quality/performance presets are added to the viewer.
  69. Oskar Linden departs the Lab.
  70. Restrictions on rezzing objects larger than 256x256x10m are tested to stop some griefing problems.
  71. November is the month people started to have problems with the world map not working well.
  72. ADITI had a problem with free Linden$ not distributing as normal. That got fixed.
  73. A new CHUI Project Viewer was released. (Chat Hub User Interface)

11 thoughts on “2012 – The Short List

  1. I will take this moment and laugh at the Mesh Deformer project. Everyone was right, that was such a simple bit of work even I can’t believe that LL didn’t just dash it off. Boy, the people who said it was far more complex than pitched were terribly wrong.

    I’ll also take a moment to laugh at the original estimates, and reality of Pathfinding. Just think, you could have had improved in-world experience? Good call.

    I laugh because I can. I miss nearly everyone in SL, and I still feel sad that I couldn’t stay. I’m glad to see it wasn’t put on life support, but it’s a pity they seem to using game development methodology to manage planning and development versus software development methodology.

    Happy New Year Nal – keep up your good work.

      • LOL.
        Everyone needs a little “I told you” in their year. I left off a few other items, so I can at least feel somewhat mature.

    • “I will take this moment and laugh at the Mesh Deformer project. Everyone was right, that was such a simple bit of work even I can’t believe that LL didn’t just dash it off. Boy, the people who said it was far more complex than pitched were terribly wrong.”

      Are you sure everyone was speaking about how simple the work would be or how important the work would be?

      I recall people taking issue to your mentioning that Lindens weren’t convinced mesh clothing would be a really big deal, not anything about whether it was simple or difficult to implement; we don’t care about that because I assure you we waste more hours working around the absence of a deformer than Lindens would actually creating it.

      There’s no “I told you” about the Mesh Deformer project other than mesh clothing still is a big deal and is undersupported regardless of whether the work is simple or not. Not really something to laugh about.

      • There’s are several entirely huge I-told-you-so’s about mesh clothing, starting with me saying that mesh clothing wouldn’t be a big deal and continuing through the idea that adding deformation was a small project a single resident could accomplish inside of a few weeks.

        If all you recall is the former item then you’re still back in 2011. Hurry into 2012 so you can laugh at Resident sanctimony. Or actually don’t hurry, I’m [thinking] you’ll still be able to do it in 2013.

        Edited [ ] by Nal

        • I’ll take your word for it that anyone was parading on about how small the project would be and how it’d be accomplished in a few weeks.

          It’s still my opinion that the I-told-you-so that matters most is that mesh clothing turned out to be the biggest use-case of mesh and is still undersupported until there’s a working mesh deformer. The fact that it still isn’t done may cause you to finger point and laugh but the majority of us are probably thanking goodness Qarl took up the chore and stuck with it as long as he has, and are thankful too that Lindens like Oz have worked with him as much as they have, despite all the friction.

          Even if the deformer never sees the light of day in a release viewer, the work done on it is something worthy of praise, not finger pointing in the past and thinking up I-told-you-sos. I’d say what you’re doing is what being stuck in years before is like. Don’t feel alone if no one else joins you in that but everyone I know is forward-facing and hoping the deformer project actually works out.

          • I don’t recognize your name but assuming you were around during the mesh rollout and when the ‘mesh deformer’ project was first floated and done, you remember that I said I was wrong about how much focus would be on mesh clothing. It was a mistake of mine. What I said at the time was that making mesh deform on avatars was a big project and to include it in the overall mesh project would have sunk the whole thing. The mesh deformer pitch on kickstarter was something like $3k which was absurd and I said so at the time. I learned that people will believe what they really want to believe. Anyone with actual technical knowledge in the area involved in getting mesh objects to deform to the existing SL av knew this was a complex project. I wanted to tackle it as part of creating a new, modern avatar, but that got sunk because many assertive creators believed in the kickstarter project. Oz has done a good job dealing with it, despite the ridiculousness involved. A year later and many many hours of Linden engineering and design time later (as well as resident money thrown away), you have nothing. In addition, other planned projects got shelved or delayed.

            Mesh clothing does seem to be quite popular, you are correct. Interestingly it’s so popular despite the required deformer. I suppose if the mesh deformer had actually worked then all the prim clothing creators would be out of business. I admit I would like to have seen all those sculpties go extinct – a hack that drains performance and ‘almost’ works.

            SL really is a magical environment, and I still think about it going on a year later. I guess I need to go cold turkey or I’ll just keep wasting cycles that I could use on something else.

          • Ahh I understand your sentiment more now, Char. It does seem a lot of us were thinking short term, but I don’t think anyone would’ve objected to the deformer waiting if Linden Lab stated that definitely your idea of a “modern avatar” was coming. That would’ve been great.

            And definitely getting mesh out at all was the best move. More people shouldn’t have been angry that it shipped without something like the deformer.

            Too bad then and even now the whole thing couldn’t be handled better and if you had ideas like that more of us knew about it.

  2. Rocky year as usual.

    Thanks for bringing to light all the small and important things alike that might otherwise go missed for those of us that can’t make user group meetings and keep up with the release notes as well.

    Hopefully you’re just as enthused to do the same the year ahead.

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