We now have SSA enabled on the Le Tigre Release Candidate channels. For a list of regions running SSA see my article: Le Tigre Regions List. So, what is it like? Well, my opinion is it really depends somewhat on the viewer you are using, but generally better.
So, far my best experience has been with the Production release of the SL Viewer version 3.6.1-278007. I’ve had some crashing as I tp from SSA to non-SSA regions. But, otherwise, it is the best I’ve seen.
The Beta version of the SL viewer is another story. It is the worst of those I tried. I expect that to change. It is called beta for a reason.
I’ve been switching between viewers and visiting the same places. Since I have separate caches for each brand of viewer, I should get very similar results for first visits to a region with each viewer.
My Firestorm 4.4.2 (34167) does pretty well. It is a bit slower rendering things in a region. But, that is perceptual thing on my part. I found some textures just never render.
I did run into the problem that some hair just would not render. The shape would rez. But the textures would never render. It just stayed gray.
Exodus is about the same. I did find some textures that just never rendered.
Cool VL Viewer was also pretty good but it gets confused about what my last outfit was. It decides to restore my outfit to something I wore when using Cool ages ago. I think you have to change outfits in Cool. Otherwise it doesn’t acknowledge outfit changes in other viewers. Plus when you go back to another viewer your outfit is mostly the Cool outfit, but it’s not quite right. Annoying.
Please see Henri’s comment below. The outfit problem has been handled. (7/12)
People that came in behind me always seemed slower rendering than those that rezzed in front of me. Even after I turned to look at them.
I got an nVidia timeout while using Cool. I’ve heard that is an nVidia driver problem and that the current Beta version of the SL Viewer has this problem too. I haven’t hit it. There is a work-around fix from Microsoft that nVidia mentions.
Avatar rez and render speed is very different depending on whether one is in a SSA enabled region or not.
In SSA regions avatars rezzed (meaning I can see their shape) in just a couple of seconds and rendered (meaning I can see color) completely in another 5 to 15 seconds. Most of the avatars behind me also rendered.
In non-SSA regions the avatars were taking 15 to 60 seconds to render. Also, some were rather slow rezzing. Plus those behind me did not render until I turned around and looked at them. They did rez. So, they were gray people shapes. In Exodus they remained a green blob longer than in SL Viewer. In Firestorm some remained orange particle dots longer.
I did see a few avatars with each viewer that refused to rez and/or render. Checking profiles I found them to be long time players, 2 or more years old. I am assuming they are using non-SSA capable viewers.
I did find some textures just won’t render. It did not seem to matter which viewer I was in. Since I was changing viewers I was changing cache too. So, I don’t really know what the problem is.
I think things are better with SSA. A time change from 15-60 seconds down to 5-15 is not earth shaking. But, never having bake fail will be wonderful. I can’t even guess at the number of times I’ve been changing clothes and could not get my avatar to fully render. My Ctrl-Alt-R keys were wearing out.
With SSA rebaking is going to be different. Since all the baking happens within the SL SSA system there is little if any chance of image corruption. Pressing the rebake keys is not going to force the system to rebake your image. It will force your viewer to download a new copy of the baked texture cached in the SSA system.
Your cached image will be saved for an undetermined about of time. Outfits like the library avatars that are worn often will be essentially permanently cached. Depending how frequently and outfit is worn, it will cache for a longer period.
There is something like a UUID for each combination of things the avatar can wear. The items make a value unique to the entire outfit, well the parts of that have to bake. If someone else manages to wear the exact same combination, they will get the pre-baked texture. The Lindens only expect that happen very rarely, except with Library avatars.
If you change outfits every day and say a week later put on a previously worn and baked outfit, you might get your previously baked texture. But, Log says while possible it is unlikely. But, if you wear yesterday’s outfit after a change to another outfit, you will probably get the previously baked texture.
As fast as the system seems I am not sure you will be able to notice when you get a newly baked texture and when you reuse one. So, which texture you actually get is probably irrelevant.
So, if you can manage to get a corrupt cached image, pressing rebake is not going to fix it. You will need to add something to change the content of the COF (Current Outfit Folder). I understand some third party viewers may add a feature to force the SSA system to rebake a texture and send you a new one. We’ll see if that becomes a problem or not having such a feature is the problem.
If you are interested in testing SSA you need some places in Le Tigre and outside the channel that has lots of people. You can try these places:
- Arapaima – Blue Steel –30± people
- Orburs – Magnum –25±
- Myanimo – Le Tigre – 30±
- Vilania – Le Tigre – 25±
- Ungren – Main channel Second Life Server 13.06.21.277682
KarenMichelle reported her testing in a post in the SL Forum: Deploys for the week of 2013-07-08.
There is a rumor that using a skin that is 50% gray will make your avatar invisible on SSA enabled regions.
Plus a non-SSA viewer user can change appearance in a non-SSA region and then go to a SSA enabled region and render. That didn’t used to work. But, if they change in an SSA enabled region they go gray.
Log Linden talking at the Server Beta User Group meeting thinks the SSA system will probably spend another week in an RC channel. It may move from the Le Tigre channel to the larger Magnum channel. That means it will take longer to roll grid wide than I anticipated.