This past Friday was the Third Party Developers’ meeting. This is usually the best source for information about developments in the pipeline at the Lab. This week there is not a lot of news.
Benchmark RC Viewer – I been talking about this one. It is the one that ends the use of a GPU table to figure out the default video settings for a new viewer install.
Maintenance RC Viewer – This one is a collection of fixes and feature improvements.
AISv3 Fixes aka Attachments RC Viewer – This is a viewer version created to fix problems with AISv3 that were holding up Firestorm Viewer development. The problems were Linden Lab problems and we could see them in the SL Viewers. But, the bugs were a reason the FS Team was not merging the code into their viewer. More on this later. The AIS fixes were moved into this RC Viewer and the code changed to solve issues and make for easier merging into third party viewers.
Oz says this set of code changes are relatively easy to merge and this is the RC Viewer now seen as most likely to promote soon.
There are two project viwer that have been there for a time; XP Tools and Oculus Rift.
A Snowstorm Project Viewer is up (Project Snowstorm Viewer version 188.8.131.526071) and has a number of Open Source changes.
Oz says there are no big surprises in the wings for viewer world. The reason is most of their energy is going into improving the viewer build tools. This is a lot of work just to get things back to where they once were, mean back to building viewers. This is similar to automotive manufactures tearing down their assembly line and rebuilding it. Before they start they are building cars. After they are done they are back to building cars. Of course the cars are a new model and they assembly line uses new tech and is more efficient.
The new tools are being used with the Mac versions of the viewers. They are not working as well as they want. Once they eliminate problems with the Mac builds they will move on to the Windows builds.
There is no work on a 64-bit version of the viewer. Where they can changes and improvements are made with a 64-bit version in mind. But, it is not a project now.
Group Chat Changes
Oz tells us there are 1 or 2 more rounds of changes planned for Group Chat. As usual they are not saying what they are, secrecy to get better feedback is the idea.
People are noticing the latest set of changes and commenting on it. Chat has definitely improved.
Where is Oz?
If you are used to contacting Oz on Skype, those days are over. But, you can find him in IRC and in Google Hangouts. I’m not giving details. If you knew how to reach him on Skype, you probably know how to reach him via the other channels.
Avatar Hover Thing
The Linden previously working on Hover is going back to it. That work is starting back up. Oz expects to probably have an update on the project in 2 weeks.
The one working on this project was off working on the Build Tools.
The past couple of days people have seen a problem with things staying grey. That was a problem with CDN that both the CDN provider and Lab have been working to correct. The Lindens posted an update in the Tech section of the SL Forum. I’ve covered it. The short story is it is getting fixed.
Oz commented that changing anything at this scale is an adventure. I take that to mean it is an adventure when one cannot possibly know what is coming. One just has to try it to learn.
Oz was giving kudos to Whirly for helping with remote testing of CDN. Whirly is in the UK.
Viewer Managed Market Place
This project is proceeding. The Lindens hope to start testing in ADITI before Thanksgiving.
This project is planned as a SLOW rollout. They will deliberately slow it so there will be no changes to the MP during the peak shopping season. So, we won’t see RC’s on the main grid before January 2015.
I posted yesterday about Jessica’s announcement on the FS Blog. At the TPDev meeting she said she was expecting angry emails from this release of the viewer.
The FS Team is planning a late December release. Jessica in messing with OZ suggested a 12/24 release… If you regularly read this blog you know about no change windows. These are periods of time when the Lindens stop rolling out new software or viewers when the Lab is running on reduced staff, like holidays. During this time if something goes wrong people have to be called back from planned days off. Not something anyone likes.
Billing Numbers & Problems
There is some discussion going on about how non-premium members can request help from Lindens for problems only they can fix. Gary Linden suggested that those needed chat server restarts could use billing numbers for those chat server restarts. Gary Linden had made this recommendation when we were having lots of chat server stalls. Izzy Linden thinks this help via billing only works for specific issues.
We did learn the Lab has no problem with non-premium members filing a Region Offline case to get a region restart.
There are cases where users end up with multiple Trash Folder. Users cannot delete them. This is a problems only the Lab can fix. But, there is no way for non-premium users to file a case and get it fixed.
The Lindens are thinking about how to add more cases the non-premium members can file and yet not overload support.
Return to Last Position
The Lab has seen a large number of issues involving inventory problems from people using return to last position. This once was a feature of the SL Viewer. You could right-click and select the option to return an item to its last rezzed position. The problem is there was no way for the viewer to know if the last position was in the current region. Rezzing something in a region from the last position from another region became a basic griefer tactic and problem for people that did not understand the limits of last position.
The latest release of Firestorm 4.6.7 has the Last Position feature disabled for no copy items by default. Too many people were losing no-copy items using the feature. But, there is a debug setting that will allow overriding that default setting. So, there is a small stream of problems coming from people misusing the FS feature.
There is a really good user case for having the feature. Region builders really like it.
But, Oz sees no fix for Return to Last Position anytime soon. While Oz sees it as very handy, he sees way too many ways for it to go wrong. It was disabled in SL Viewers some time ago because of various problems, mostly griefer issues. People lost a lot of stuff that ended up rezzing at 0,0,0 in the region because of problems at the location of the Last Position coordinates. It was NOT disabled because it worked so well.