The Third Party Developers Meeting was Friday (9/26). So, we have some news about what is happening on the development side of Second Life™.
The main viewer is: 126.96.36.1994015, which is the maintenance release I covered last week in Second Life News 2014-38 #2.
There is still only one RC viewer: Login Viewer version 188.8.131.524345, I covered it earlier this week in Second Life News 2014-39.
Oz Linden tells there are other viewers in the pipeline that will appear “very, very, very soon”.
One he mentioned in the meeting is: a Pipelining Viewer, which is going from QA to RC Monday or Tuesday – This is said to be a way faster viewer. It is compatible with CDN and the two changes are synergistic. Monty Linden described the two working to gather as a “friggin’ scary good” change.
I covered the Project Viewers in the 2014-39 article (link above). The Benchmark Viewer will be the end of Linden Lab using a GPU Table to decide how to set the viewer’s graphics settings at install. Instead a small benchmark test is run to see what a video card can do then appropriate settings are chosen.
The test the Lab has decided on is how fast your card can move data in and out of the video memory chips (VRAM). There are 2 or 3 other tests that guide the process when that result is ambiguous. The Lindens decided a good guess was good enough and way better than a slow to update GPU Table.
The benchmark tests only run on a clean install. Once a user changes their settings and/or has a settings file for a specific login, like when updating, then that takes precedence and the benchmark testing is not run. If you choose to return your graphics settings to the default then the benchmark is run to select what will be your default settings.
You can rename your settings file to see what the new viewer decides about your system.
Oz explains that this benchmark is unlikely to select the settings you most prefer. The goal of the Lab was to avoid the problem of someone having a new system with a video card not in the GPU Table being set to ridiculously low graphics settings. All they do now is make a best guess.
If you try this benchmark and it makes a bad guess as to what your settings should be, please file a JIRA report and include the log file.
Gumpity Linden is interested in knowing if anyone has stuck graphics settings, where the benchmark decides on a setting and then you cannot change the settings.
Voice fixes should roll out next week (40). These are fixes that indirectly improve voice service. It solves mostly problems with how log outs clean up ending connections and release the Vivox server resources. There is also a fix that blocks a stalking tactic.
The Lindens have a request out to Bare Rose to ask if they will help test the CDN (Cotent Delivery Network). If you know the owner, contact them and let them know what the Lab is doing with CDN and to check their email and join up.
You can check your PING time to your CDN servers using the command: ping asset-cdn.agni.lindenlab.com
In the TPD UG they were seeing 13 to 29ms ping times, with one up at 45ms. These times are much better than most ping times to the main SL servers. My ping time tends to run 40 to 180ms.
Development of the CDN feature will move to testing in one of the RC channels. No one is sure when that may be and the Lindens won’t say. More on that further down.
Hover Height Project
Work is being done now. It is planned that the adjustment will be a feature that appears in the avatar’s right-click menu. This should allow for easy adjustment of standing and sitting heights.
For now the setting is not persistent from session to session.
The granularity is probably going to be better as this feature uses a float value rather than Hover’s integer value. The new value does not go through the appearance process. It is applied after all those changes are added up and applied to the avatar. Determining the height of an avatar is a legacy process and according to the Lindens way to complicated to try and change. So… they tacked another adjustment on at the end when the legacy system is finished deciding.
The Lindens are thinking about whether or not to place the value in a Debug Setting that could last across sessions. Like most Debug Settings it would be per user per viewer. If the Lindens don’t then I expect Third Party Viewers to add it.
There is no estimated ETA for when we will see the new feature arrive. Since sitting and standing are involved, I can’t even guess what it is going to take to build this feature. So, thus no guess from me as to when we may see it.
If you haven’t noticed changes in group chat that is because other changes that needed to be made were blocking group chat changes. Oz expects chat changes to start making it out some time in week 40. Oz won’t give us a time mostly because it allows them to sort of single-blind test the changes.
Remember when Pathfinding came out? Everyone reporting a problem was blaming Pathfinding and dumping their reports into that channel. Most of the problems reported had nothing to do with Pathfinding nor were they being affected by Pathfinding. It made it difficult for the developers working on Pathfinding to find the bugs related to Pathfinding, which slowed development work. Oz is avoiding that problem with chat fixes.
There is a problem with chat server ports getting used up. When that happens people cannot chat and the servers appear to most peeps to have stopped communicating. A premium member has to report the problem as free members cannot. Even then support often sees the server as running and does nothing. Support cannot detect if the server is responding or not. So, unless a specific request is sent to restart a group’s server, nothing happens.
This reporting limit to premium members is proving to be a serious problem. The reporting limits are unlikely to change. But, the Lindens think they have the problem figured out and have a fix for the chat problem. It is one of the fixes that should come out soon.
Until then groups should let their most frequent users know who in the group is a premium member and willing to report group chat server stalls for a restart.
Oz also mentioned that Ebbe Altberg (Linden CEO) is often asking about group chat and progress on fixing it. So, it definitely is not forgotten. I suppose the knowledge from the SL1 fix will be used in building SL2.