There was no new news on the server updates at Thursday’s Beta Server meeting. We did get a bit more information.
(There is a link to the Materials Project Viewer in the left column – more below)
Maestro Linden tells us that Monty Linden’s HTTP Project needed more ‘baking time’, in case there were any subtle issues. This is the project that changes more of the communications between your computer and the Second Life™ servers over to the HTTP Protocol. I suppose since they had the opportunity to roll the package out to all three RC channels before going to the main grid they took it. Or… they may not have had anything else ready to rollout.
The Blue Steel and Le Tigre regions had the new Animation scripting functions. Maestro says there is some redesign that was being done. That work was not going to complete in time for a new rollout. He said, “We ran out of time while doing the usual set of tests for any server release.” But, he expects it to be back next week.
You may know that there was a pose ball problem that was due to the new animation functions. If a user had a custom ‘sit’ animation set, the seat wouldn’t be able to stop the ‘overridden’ sit animation properly. There is a fix in progress that will avoid breaking existing pose balls.
Maestro explained, “Because if the seat called llGetAnimationOverride(“Sitting”), it would get an empty string unless the exact animation also happened to be in the seat’s inventory.” There is a security thing where using animation names verses script UUID’s creates some confusion for scripts.
Maestro commented, “Kelly [Linden] has a nice solution to this problem, which is to make ‘llStopAnimation(“sit”)’ stop your custom animation, if you had overriden your sit animation. Conveniently, this change means that existing pose balls won’t need any updates to play nicely with the new AO system.”
If you are wondering if your existing AO’s will be broken, the answer is no. The new functions do not change how the animation system works. They just add more capability.
There was some discussion of how the animation system works. Maestro and Kelly were explaining how the viewers and servers handle animations. The server keeps track of the animation in use by the avatar and supplies the animation UUID to the viewer. If the viewer does not have the animation cached, it requires that UUID. The request is passed to the Asset System, which then send the animation to the viewer.
Kelly explains this is an animation by animation thing. The servers never send groups of animations.
Group Ban Functionality
Baker Linden is working on adding the ability to ban people from groups. He has the first draft of the technical doc written, and is having some other lindens looking over it to discuss anything that might need to be changed. If no problems are found, he can start coding.
A question came up as to whether it will be possible to ban users by age, avatar age, which is based on join date. This would allow group owners to limit members to avatars that have been around at least a week, or whatever age they want.
Baker tells us that is not in the plan. But, he will add it to the future possible enhancements. He did say that adding a ‘ban reason’ is in the plan. That doesn’t mean it will make into the project.
Another thing that came up was adding more control in groups by Role. The everyone role would not have rez rights or might have fast return time out. Other roles might have rez rights or longer return times.
Some thought about having a simple capcha test on group join. Not a popular idea. I also do not see the point.
The subject comes up every now and then. Maestro says he has no info on the progress just that it is being worked on. He said, “…I know that it’s being worked on, but don’t know what the ETA is for that project hitting RC.” So… speculate from there.
We are having lots of minor, but annoying, problems from the changed Interest List. One of those is a problem racers experience. When running laps in an uban setting with buildings they can come around a corner and see cars which are not there. After a couple of seconds they disappear, poof. This is the server catching up the viewer with server updates. The last the viewer knew was these cars were there. But, they went out of sight and the server stopped supplying position updates for them.
Sometimes you find avatar emotes, facial expressions, are not getting updated. You may see several emotes displayed at the same time, which distorts the face. If the avatar was insight when an emote was applied but out of sight when it was removed, the viewer seems to assume it is still applied. So, new emotes being supplied are added.
The mini-map may show sitting avatars at 0,0,0 in the region. That will change when they stand.
Attachments that go invisible while the avatar is out of site will remain visible because the server does not tell the viewer about the script change. The state will only get sent to the viewer if the change happens while the avatar is in your field of view.
You may not see avatars that arrive in region behind you. They may not show up until you cam around or people move around in such a way as to trigger a server update.
The coming Viewer Hints may help with some of these. Also Phase II of the Interest List will fix some problems too.
The missing prims is another ongoing problem. This is where some prims in the region simply do not display. They are there and you can walk on them or into them, bump. But, until you right-click on them they remain invisible.
All these things are thought to be from the Interest List changes and that seems likely. Whatever, Andrew Linden is working on getting them fixed.
I have provided lots of updates on the Materials System this week. Just jump to my HOME page by clicking on the title, Nalates’ Things & Stuff. Or click Materials in the Category field in the left column.
Check the video at the top of this article to see what people will see with the Materials Viewer and without it. The char texture on the right has some baked in shadows. But, it still looks a bit flat as the light moves over it, because the shadows do not move. On the left there is a normal map in use so the shadows move providing a much more realistic illusion of a 3-dimensional object.
For more information on Materials see Loki Eliot’s enthusiastic article titled: Second Life Materials Feature is AWESOME! I agree and have been playing with it too.
Be sure to see my article on Specular Maps: Specular Maps Tutorial. I think the specular maps are going to one of the amazing things advanced clothes makers are going to use to add big WOW!
While there has been some recent talk by SL residents, this is still pretty much on hold. Opinions are divided on whether to roll it out now or wait and get the WHOLE avatar system fixed.