Firestorm Viewer News 2014-7

So, if you can’t download the new release that means their server melted. You may only get part of the file. You may get a corrupt file. At this time no one knows what will happen. So, it seems it is going to take some time to get the new release and there is a good chance there will be problems for days.

Most web servers are set to handle 50 to 100 concurrent users. Creating web sites that scale and have hardware available to grow into is an art of balancing cost and capability with demand. 5,000 users per hour is 83 per minute. If the download takes 3 to 6 minutes that could be 250 to 500 concurrent users. That is a decent load for any web based server.

I am thinking I will definitely wait until the rush is over. If the first day saw 5,000 users per hour and that sudden drops to 500 per hour, we could be talking 10 days… really!?! Possibly. May be not. We are about to find out.

You have been warned. If you see people complaining in chat that they are having download issues, please tell them about this information. Advise them the download server is OVERLOADED and likely will be for  days.

If you are thinking why not use Torrent? Remember. I can download a file, alter it and toss it back into Torrent. You’ll be downloading my file not FS’s file. Since your SL ID/password provides access to RL money, chances are good that someone would make an attempt to spike the Torrent feed with a Trojan copy. The FS Team is not going to open their users up to that problem. No Torrent from FS Team.

If you see a Firestorm Torrent, know that it is not being run by Firestorm. You may not be getting the REAL Firestorm files from the Torrent. Be way skeptical. I won’t be downloading a Torrent version.

There is also the problem of people linking directly to the download file. I’ve done that in the past. I won’t be doing it again. It is best to go to the blog page and download from there. The reason for that is the information about the release and how to install it is important. FS Support is often over whelmed by users asking questions about problems the blog told them how to avoid. Be smart, help out, read the blog and link to the release article. Save everyone lots of pointless work.

Voice

Vivox has new monitoring software. It is revealing bugs in Vivox. The company is fixing the problems they are finding. A new release will be out in the next month or so. It won’t be in the coming March release of Firestorm.

Fitted Mesh & Firestorm

Fitted Mesh support will be in the next Firestorm release.

There are some things to consider as users and designers (designers meaning clothes makers). Jessica pointed out the pattern of behavior associated with new tech release in Second Life. It goes as follows:

One of biggest problems is designers and users fail to read the manual (RTFM) and have imaginary ideas about what the tech is, does, and how it works or needs to be built. The result is a creation looks different in different viewers because people did not read the manual. That difference of course gets blamed on the viewer. In reality it is the users and designers not understanding what is happening.

For an example Jessica used LoD (Level of Detail). If you are making mesh items you know handling LoD is one way of reducing land impact costs. With clothes we tend to ignore LoD. But, it still has an affect on render cost and appearance.

It is LoD that affects what we see and our viewer’s performance as objects render. Its another of those annoying balance things. This LoD is what makes things look odd at a distance and then take their proper shape as we approach them. SL uses 4 levels of LoD. The highest level of detail has the most polygons. The lowest level of detail has the fewest polygons. It is this changing polygon count that can change the shape of poorly made items. But, few polygons make for faster rendering.

As users we know we can turn LoD up and things look great. Or we can turn LoD down and performance goes up. With good performance from using low LoD a sphere may not appear so spherical. It may look more like a dodecahedron (a 20 sided dice), a faceted ball, a ball made of flat surfaces… or however you describe it.

Also, the viewer changes LoD as we move near to and away from an object. How and when depends on viewer settings. A good designer will make sure things look good at low LoD and then they will look great at higher LoD.

It is common for designers to have LoD turned up for a nicer render. But, some forget to check their creation at low LoD settings (use 1.5) and thus are selling things that look crappy to users on the default settings for graphics settings at anything less than Ultra. In some cases some things look bad even on Ultra because the designer built for an abnormally high LoD setting.

The problem in these cases is not the viewer. You might say it is the users’ settings and to some degree you are right. But, I some others think this is mostly a designers’ problem caused by lack of knowledge. Some designers handle these types of problems well other do not.

Expect these problems with Fitted Mesh. It is going to be some time until new designers figure out what is happening. Some will have to experience complaints and lost sales before they figure it out. As buyers we have to learn who knows what they are doing and who doesn’t. A designer telling you to use a higher LoD setting is NOT solving the problem. They are lagging SL.

For instance: I love N-Core shoes. But, I am having issues with their choice of LoD use for the mesh versions of their shoes. I skipped buying a L$4,000+ fat pack of a shoe I REALLY like because by the time I back the camera off enough to see my entire avatar, the shoe started coming apart visually. The LoD is kicking in way too soon and distorting the shoe. When I have my avatar filling the screen and visible from head to toe, I want the shoe to fully render. I can turn my LoD setting up. But, that only affects what I see. Everyone else sees my shoes coming apart. Not something I want.

Also, I think the polygon density is too high in these shoes and that drives up render cost slowing things down for me and everyone around me. I am hoping to see N-Core improve things with time, as the shoes are gorgeous. (Use Ctrl-Shift-R to see the wire frame view and reveal the polygons in a mesh item. In general the polygons should be about the same size as the polygons in the avatar. There are reasons for making them smaller. But with normal maps as part of materials now, we should be able to have them larger than the avatar’s and have more detail.)

These are the problems we will be dealing with for some time. Jessica is warning FS users now. Don’t expect a lot of sympathy from her or Firestorm support if you don’t read the manual.

There is an SL Wiki page on how to make Fitted Mesh: Rigging Fitted Mesh. It doesn’t really tell people every thing they need to know. But, it is a good starting place.

I have warned of problems with the SL Viewer and Fitted Mesh upload in a recent article. Those things are being fixed. But, uploads of Fitted Mesh are not working all that well just now. Nor is the avatar in the wiki that good a model to start from.

I want to remind people this is not just a Firestorm issue. ALL viewers have this problem, because it is not a viewer problem. It is the technical nature of how 3D worlds work. Just like RL, if you ignore gravity, you tend to get hurt. 

6 thoughts on “Firestorm Viewer News 2014-7

  1. Maybe Ebbe Altberg can let Apple know how the Apple code structure is a fail . CEO to CEO. How many laptops will Apple sell if they don’t run 3d games?

    I know a lot of creators use macs so people no longer being able to function in world is more than just more people logging off. The creative end and commerce will be damaged.

    I am major disgusted with this whole thing — to spend programming time so a few people can hop up and down with some visor on their heads flapping their arms but ignore working on a platform for customers with more expensive machines who probably have more money to spend in SL and who probably do more creative work is long term death.

    And from what I read fitted mesh will be an eyesore for apple users — why stay in world to see that?

    Seems like the sky did fall for mac users and no fix in sight–

  2. Just clearing things out about the HTTP (llcorehttp) changes: they are publicly available in the viewer-http branch (and, for some older changes dealing with LLHttpClient and Curl, in viewer-sunshine), so they are not just in a “private release” and anyone can test them and backport them; the latest changes have been backported to the Cool VL Viewer (all branches) as soon as they were published, in early January this year.

    I do concur with your statement about Monty’s code quality: he did things the right way, he did spot and fix the weaknesses in the old code, and his code is mostly bug-free.

    • Thanks for clearing up ‘private release.’ I got a different take listening to the videos. I expected things to be as you describe. It just didn’t sound that way, at least to me. Thanks.

  3. Thanks, Nalates, now I understand why recent releases of the SL and Firestorm viewers, both incorporating the latest CHUI code, have so many issues with my (old) Macs — namely, the chat lag bug where keystrokes take seconds, nay, sometimes even minutes, to appear on screen.

    I found it so strange that it has affected Mac users for so many months without even the slightest hint on what could be done to fix the issue. I guess it’s “unfixable” — because the framework was changed and it’s unlikely that anyone (either at LL, or the TPVs) will ever go back to the old code?

    It’s such a pity, really. The latest incarnation of viewers give me almost twice the performance (in FPS) than the “old” ones, which is simply too dramatic to be ignored. But… at the cost of forfeiting text chat, which is unacceptable. This is a tragic dilemma!

    • At least they are working on Chat…

      Apple required adoption of Cocoa. This has proved to be a problem for most Apple developers and certainly for SL devs.

  4. Pingback: Second Life and the Mac WebKit Problem | Nalates' Things & Stuff

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