SL Viewer updates to 3.6.3-279564

The release notes for this version of the Second LifeTM Viewer were published August 12th. There are about 33 fixes and additions. There are eight known issues that remain. Your viewer will automatically update to this version if you are using the default setting to automatically update.

SL Viewer

SL Viewer

If you have “Willing to update to release candidates” enabled, you may get a release candidate. I’m still flipping coins on whether that is a good idea or not. I’ve mostly decided I need to turn off Automatic updates for everything except the main SL Viewer and I have ‘Willing’ disabled on all my viewers. I do install release candidates, but manually.

This version of the SL Viewer Second Life 3.6.3-279564 was put into RC status Aug  6, 2013. Just yesterday it was promoted to the main release. This is the exact same viewer that was the RC, which is the point. 

Update Drivers

I get a notice to update my video drivers. I am running on nVidia’s 320.49, the current stable release version out July 1. There have been 3 beta versions released since then; 326.19 (July 18), 326.41 (July 30), and 326.80 (Aug 20).

I doubt the viewer actually checks nVidia to see if there are new drivers. I suspect this is just a reminder to get you to check your driver status.

My thinking is that if you update the driver and the viewer, you can’t know which one is the source of any new problem you run into. So, I prefer to install a viewer and keep the video driver until I have time to decide if there is or isn’t a problem.

Performance

In my house I am getting 29 to 42 FPS with ALM, Ambient Occlusion, and Sun/Moon/Projectors enabled. I also am using the viewers anti-aliasing 2x. Anisotropic Filtering is enabled too.

If you have less than 512mb of video ram and you are seeing texture thrashing, you should try turning on texture compression in Preferences->Graphics (tab)->Hardware (button). See if that helps.

I’ve made some trips back to regions that I could not get to render with the previous viewer, as in textures were not loading. Those places rendered. All the textures loaded quickly. But, I saw that when I went back with the same viewer, just hours later.

NCore just released their Indy Sandals. I popped over and there are 20+ people here. The rendering is MUCH slower. The sandals are eeeeh, OK. Not for me. But, there are some nice flip-flops and flat feet there.

Some things were slow to render. I the the 20+ avatars slow things down. But, almost everything in the store did render or rendered within a few seconds of my looking at it or in the worst cases when I walked up to it. Clicking on or hovering the cursor over things doesn’t seem to make any difference now.

Some mesh things never did load and a few things never rendered a texture (the Euphoria boots I so drool over). The mesh objects outside (like entrance stairs, columns, trees…) remained spheres. They never rendered the whole time I was there. In those places my FPS was in the single digits. Inside the store with the non-rendering mesh out of sight my FPS was back in double digits, teens and 20’s.

Features

Of course this viewer has SSA and Materials. As I wrote above there are 30+ fixes. The fix for Neck and AV Center use with scripts is worth noting. Also, the viewer has automatic particle limit reduction when viewer frames per Second (FPS) drop below some level. I think it is single digit frames rates when it kicks in.

The GPU table has been updated. Which may be what triggers the notice to check your drivers. But, I guessing wildly.

You can now select particles. That will allow to easily block griefers using particles. I still do not see Ribbon Particles in this version. We are told they are coming.

The notable known bugs remaining are:

  • Brightness and Darkness legacy bump maps render incorrectly on Intel GPUs.
  • WL Haze effects are inconsistent between solid and transparent objects under water.
  • Objects with legacy bumpiness and new specular appear flat shaded.
  • Opening chat history for groups only works once per session, if at all.

That doesn’t mean those are the only known bugs. That means those are the known bugs they were working on and did not get fixed this round. Whoever assigns bugs to fix surely has more to hand out. Plus there are other fixes in the various release candidates.

About Updates in General

Serendipidy Haven has a post her blog: The tempest. After reading the article I have less empathy for those that won’t upgrade their viewer. I know some do deserve our empathy. But, many certainly do not.

Texture Handling

An interesting note that passed through the Open Source mailing list was Oz Linden commenting that the Lab is working on a ‘range of projects to improve texture handling.’

Texture Thrashing

This seems to be a old problem that many are seeing for the first time. Those with less video ram are more likely to see it. Stopping it is not a single ‘do this and you are fixed.’ It depends very much on your hardware and where you are and what you are wearing.

So, the current batch of fixes consists of taking off HUD’s. Some HUD’s apparently use large textures. The other option is to open Preferences->Graphics->Hardware (button) and enable texture compression.

You can also turn down your draw distance.

The Lab and TPV developers are trying different things to reduce thrashing. The current viewer drops textures that are behind you. That has made some problems, So, the release candidate does exhibit that behavior. I’m not sure of the 279564 build does or doesn’t. Some TPV’s were changing that behavior. They kept textures the avatar cannot see until video memory is 95% consumed. Then they start dropping textures.

So, you may see different behaviors depending on brand and version of viewer used.

11 thoughts on “SL Viewer updates to 3.6.3-279564

  1. The first thing I checked in the new viewer was the maximum network speed.
    It is still there: 10,000 kbps whereas TPV teams keep it a maximum of about 3000 kbps and advise to never go higher than 1500 kbps anyway.
    Do you have any idea at what speed the server is throttled at the moment?
    I think it used to be around 3300 kbps.

    • I’m not sure any one knows. I do know Max BandWidth is a setting for UDP and as I understand has no effect on HTTP. Unless the connection plugs up with broken UDP connections. The TPV Dev’s I know say 1900 is the max before UDP starts to have problems. They tend to use 1500 for their setting.

  2. Can you define texture thrashing. I’m wondering if it is what I see.

    I can be looking at a given spot and not moving my camera at all, and textures will go blurry and then render – alternating.

    So imagine a wall, with 4 posters on it. My viewer will sit there and blur out a random set of them ever few seconds. Sometimes all of them will be rezzed, sometimes none of them. Imagine the wall is two prims using the same texture. Sometimes one side is rendered while the other side with the same texture is blurry.

    It will often just keep doing this forever…

    HUD wise, the only HUD I use is my AO – from Akeyo. Not sure if that one is hiding some large textures or not. I tend to keep all other HUDs off unless using them to configure something at that moment.
    The HUD I use has a minimize feature to show a smaller version – but I do not know if that smaller version is a smaller texture, and even if so, might the other textures still be taking up memory even it not displayed?

    The thing -IS- modify, so would I be wise to try retexturing it with something ultra low that merely reminded me of where buttons I needed were?

    • What you are seeing is what people call Texture Thrashing.

      I doubt the AO HUD is the problem. Try taking it off and see what happens.

      How much video ram do you have?

      • I believe these are my graphics specs:

        AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor with 512MB of GDDR5 memory

        Judging by this as I am not in front of that machine at present:
        http://support.apple.com/kb/SP623
        – The 21 inch 2011 iMac.

        • In Preferences->Graphics->Hardware try settings between 256 and 512 for Video RAM. Your max setting on the slider should go to 512. Macs sometimes don’t. There is a fix. Also, try turning on Texture Compression. Run only the SL viewer. Each window open is going to use up some video ram, whether you can see it or not.

          I don’t know of much more that one can do.

          • “there is a fix”

            Oh?

            Or did you just mean adjusting that slider could be a way to fix it.

            I try to avoid using texture compression as it leaves every texture inworld blurry in a half-rezzed sort of way.

          • The resolution on this is that I googled up and found this setting:
            rendertexturememorymultiple
            in the debug settings. Which is at 0.5 by default, at least on Macs
            Setting it to 1 won’t let me up the hardware setting to 512, but did double me when I set it to 1.0, to I think 384, but the number might have rounded to something else close.

            Needless to say, thrashing went away, at least so far.

            So thank you. I wonder how many people are still suffering from this and not sure why. It only began for me about 6 months back – so I just assumed it would work its way out and then kept forgetting to look into it again, eventually getting ‘used to it…’

            Last night was the first time in months I was able to take screenshots without spending 20 minutes waiting for the exact perfect moment when everything in camera was rezzed AND I would happen to hit refresh on time before one flickered out… 🙂

            • Glad you found rendertexturememorymultiple. I had seen that fix in the SL Forum. I just could not remember the setting name. I was going to try and find it this morning. You beat me to it.

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