Second Life News 2013-32 #3

As previously reported, the server rollouts went as planned. The main channel did not get updated this week.

Server Beta Meeting 2013-12

Server Beta Meeting 2013-12

Blue Steel

This Release Channels got the single update rolled out this week. It is a maintenance package with LSL fixes. Details are here: Second Life News 2013-32.

Le Tigre & Magnum

These two channels remain the same as last week.

Next Week

For now the Lindens are planning to roll the Blue Steel Package to the main channel next week. They are planning to roll the SSA package (Le Tigre & Magnum) to the main channel the week after (34).

If you are wondering why SSA (Server Side Appearance) is not rolling forward, it has to do with what some call the ‘ovens.’ The ovens are the backend servers that do the baking for SSA. Those servers are getting an update next week (33). Simon Linden says this will happen behind the scenes and without down time. 

Blue Steel is planned to get another server maintenance package next week (33). About that Simon says, “There’s a new server maintenance release for next week but it doesn’t have much exciting in it … there’s one fix for a performance problem that can occur in very specific situations where you have to have neighbor regions, AVs over on those regions and such, but that will hopefully just be a silent improvement.

Other Items

One of the ideas that came up in discussion is individual rez limits… a land owner was thinking about how to reduce their griefing problems in sandboxes they provide. Guests could be limited to to a certain amount of Land Impact (LI). Group members another limit.

As rezzing things is s server intense task for the system, rezzing is a favorites tactic used by griefers.

Simon responded, “That would be an interesting way to slice it … having very open land but put hard limits on each AV’s usage.

If you think this would be a good idea, file a JIRA and include ‘Feature Request’ in the title. You might also reference the Beta Server Office Hours/Minutes/2013-08-08 near time mark: 15:40.

Oculus Rift

There isn’t much the Lindens are saying about their progress with the Oculus Rift support. Simon did say he got to try out the viewer now in code development. He thinks it is ‘pretty cool’ but, needs work. He also says they have no ETA for when the viewer will see light from outside the Lab.

While there is no official ETA for the Oculus Rift/Oculus VR, or whatever the headset gets named, the Rift company peeps mention the Summer of 2014 as their target. So, there is no reason to rush viewer develop at the Lab.

What we hear about the Rift is going to be an odd mix of information and omissions. I am taking it, from what I’ve heard, there are no restriction on Lab employees commenting about the Rift. But, we know there are strict restrictions on talking about Linden products in development.

Simon has said a few things about the Rift. “It requires very careful building in SL, however, as it really needs high frame rate. It can be pretty unpleasant when it’s not adjusted well or the motion is off.” I suspect Simon’s ‘careful building in SL’ may be a reference to coding the viewer rather than how we stack prims and paint on textures. But, how we build regions does influence performance and that will influence the Rift. Also, “We’re still getting the basics going … some simple things like a menu, UI buttons and clicking in-world are tough to get right in the Rift.

There are reports of people losing their balance while trying to stand with the Rift on. (no telling if the video for real – but Google on the subject) There is a long discussion on the Oculus Developers forum: Controlling movement with a Wii Balance Board. There are other reports of people getting sever motion sickness using the Rift. These problems are usually associated with poorly adjusted Rift headsets or games. The Oculus Rift developers are talking about the motion sickness problem here: Motion Sickness – Causes and Possible Solutions

There is also the problem with eye-distance focusing being thrown off by current 3D technologies. See: Is 3D Safe for Kids? The Rift is going to have the same problems.

There are many problems to be solved. Some of the health problems could derail the whole VR thing. It may still be a thing before its time. But, I am hoping we see it soon… even if I get motion sickness, which would be the first time, but keyboards are cheap.

Just remember, all human endeavor faces problems. Consider history and think of Pres. Kennedy deciding to send men to the moon. So too, the Rift’s problems will likely be over come.

SLI

If you don’t know, SLI (Scalable Link Interface) is, for our purposes, about having 2 video cards. SLI is an nVidia term. ATI’s comparable tech is called Crossfire. The old information is SL will not take advantage of two video cards. That is sort of true. The last time I got into it, I found that two cards can be used by tweaking the nVidia video settings. One card does the image render and the other decompresses textures. So, using two cards is a bit faster, but a long way from being twice as fast.

The limit on the viewer side is the render pipeline is said to be a single process thread. It seems there are some challenges getting OpenGL to run multiple image render threads. But, most of those have to do with getting cards to build parts of an image into a single composite. When the cards can divide up work so one is rendering even numbered frames and the other odd numbered frames it apparently gets easier, but then there are timing issues. Whatever the details, that is getting past what I know and care much about.

For use with the Rift, SLI and Crossfire may become more popular. The Lab might even consider adding SLI/Crossfire support to the viewer. I am betting a TPV Dev will at some point after the arrival of Rift headsets. I am guessing CtrlAltStudio is headed that direction. They have released an update to their viewer: CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.0.0.34218 Release: Stereoscopic 3D Support Completed.

With nVidia the x90 cards are typically two video cards jammed into on physical card, 1 card 2 GPU’s. SLI with two of those cards gives the computer 4 GPU’s. Such setups are often used to drive multiple display screens.

For SL the x90 cards are a bit of over kill… IMO. That is why the 580, 680, & 780 cards are about the most advanced cards used with SL. I’ve talked with a couple of people that use dual 590’s. I haven’t seen or heard of many people using 590 or 690 cards with SL and certainly not dual 590’s. The 790 is currently an imaginary card. People are debating whether the 790 will ever be manufactured. It may or may not. Sometimes nVidia skips a generation with their x90 cards.

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