Second Life 2013 in Review

I’ve found it interesting to look back to see what has happened in Second Life™ during the past year. In 2012 I did that and published: Looking Back at Second Life 2012. A much shorter version of that is: 2012 – The Short List.

In the sidebar I have an Archive selector. You can select any month to find articles within a specific month. I also try to make use of WordPress categories and tags. Each article has a section that shows published date, categories, and tags. Use category and tags links to find more articles on a specific subject.

This article is about 9,000 words long. If I have time I’ll make the TL:DR version like I did last year. But, don’t count on it.


Second Life in 2013


(50 articles) – In early January Caleb Linden was working with Multi-Threaded Region Crossing improvements being tested in the Preview Grid (ADITI). By the 10th an RC made it out. Coincidental network problems had everyone thinking the rollout was a fail, it wasn’t. By the end of the month this was the update that made it to the main channel. By the end of the month we found out ejecting a player with this update in place would crash the region server.

A network link and its backup in the Phoenix co-location center failed about the middle of the month causing massive lag and preventing many from logging in.

Bandwidth Problem

Bandwidth Problem

Late in the month another problem increased bandwidth use. Those people with limited bandwidth accounts were hit hard. See: Second Life News 2013-4 (3).

Andrew Linden was working on the first round of Interest List improvements and expecting them to make it out of QA. They made it to the RC channels the 3rd week of January. While the changes added rez fails the area rez was faster.

This is the month that SL wind changed. It should be more consistent and change direction less often. The Lindens did NOT expect this to help sailing.

Support for the Neck and Center attachment points was rolled to the RC channel.

VoidPointer Linden was hoping to get STAY_WITHIN_PARCEL working for Pathfinding characters. Baker Linden was fixing a problem with rezzing large objects. Those fixes made it into SL QA in January.

Sudden Massive Lag had been a problem plaguing SL. Toysoldier Thor was reporting on the problem and agitating to get it fixed. The Lindens had hoped a January update had fixed it. As of mid-January it had sort of fixed but left and equally annoying and similar problem.

Flatter-bots were news.

Deferred Render was being added and had problems. At the time this was known as the Lighting & Shadows feature of the graphics settings. We now call it the Advanced Lighting Model (ALM). It is now required for several features of Second Life, like Materials.

This month we were asking Nyx Linden if they could tell us how many people are using ALM. In December will still be asking.

Monty Linden was changing how SL servers communicate with viewers. The HTTP Library was in the process of being upgraded. Monty had realized that a number of routers could not handle the load SL was placing on them. People were having problems connecting to SL or staying connected. In January this was a growing problem.

At the end of January DNS problems associated with SL became an issue. The Lab was having trouble tracking down the cause.

Server Side Appearance (SSA) or Baking was in the works. At the time the Firestorm team thought they would roll out a viewer in February. That didn’t happen.

Chat Hub User Interface (CHUI) was in development with no ETA in sight. But, we were getting updates of the Project’s Viewer.

An Early Look at Materials

An Early Look at Materials

The Lindens released the Materials System code to third party developers. Then deemed it premature. A better release was planned for later. A beta version of a Materials Viewer was expected but did not arrive in January. Materials server side code was running on ADITI, the Preview grid. We found out using Materials would move items into the Land Impact accounting system.

An upgrade of the text display was updated. The system is based on Free Type a third party provider. The update caused problems and the Lab was in the process of fixing things.

Viewer statistics reporting was being upgraded.

Viewers were changing from 4 graphics levels to 7. A new Draw Weight for Avatars was added. STORM-68 (set default permissions for newly created items) was near to being released. I think we finally got that feature in December.

The Havok physics engine was updated.

In early January Microsoft’s Skydrive and mesh upload were incompatible causing crash on upload. Some memory use problem was causing viewer’s to crash. Later in January this became a more pervasive problem crashing viewers not uploading. I suspect more people were starting to use Skydrive. (SL Skyrive Problem – fix) This turned out to be a tenacious problem extending form mid 2012 to mid 2013.

A change started causing old landmarks to deliver people below ground. Redoing the LM fixed the problem.

Jeans without Alpha Layer

Jeans without Alpha Layer

The Mesh Deformer remained stalled. But, during this month the JIRA STORM-1716 saw a new round uninformed discussion and annoyed sarcasm by Karl.

ADITI inventory problems continued as we waited for word of more hard disks being added or some other fix to the system.

The Content Creation Improvement Informal User Group (CCIIUG) informally closed. This is the group Geenz Spad was running related to Materials Development. Informal or not, AFAIK the group is gone.

This is the month Linden Lab announced acquiring Blocksworld. (An iPad App)

Near the end of the month I published a stats summary for 2012: Second Life 2012 Statistics.

Linden Lab releases Dio.

We see a demo of LEAP Motion Controller and Second Life. 

2 thoughts on “Second Life 2013 in Review

  1. Fantastic Summery condensing the whole year. Linden Lab truly were busy this year. For me the materials feature is my favourite feature of the year but I have acknowledge the year long efforts to improve the grid.

  2. Pingback: Rod Humble Leaves Second Life | Nalates' Things & Stuff

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