There seems to be a change in the Server updates side of things. Mazidox Linden is now writing the Deploys notice in the SL forum and conducting the Server Beta UG meeting. I like his style in handling the meeting.
The main channels are being restarted today. But, just restarted. No new package.
The RC channels will get a new package. But, as today is the first working day of this week, Mazidox did not have the release notes for the new package. We should see that later… today? this week?
The main viewer for Second Life™ remains 188.8.131.523027.
Last Friday the Third-Party Devs’ meeting revealed a bit about the viewer pipeline. That colors the viewer updates here.
Second Life Love Me Render Viewer version 184.108.40.2063361 – No change. This is the version receiving changes to the render pipeline. The release notes describe the changes as;
This viewer release includes several fixes to the Rendering pipeline (always a little scary). Please report all issues to us in Jira, we’ll be watching for them.
- Improvement to mesh LOD calculation (account for CTRL+0)
- Improvement: Agents that render as jelly dolls should have their attachments render at 0 LoD to prevent loading higher LoD complexity in memory thus deterring crashes -> debug setting RenderAutoMuteByteLimit has to be > default of 0 for this feature.
- Bug: Mesh avatar deforms constantly – was due to bounding box / LOD swaps
- Bug: Some mesh turned invisible when camera is moved – was caused by fix for MAINT-6125.
- Bug: Setting one avatar to “Do not render” causes all avatars to become impostors
The render pipeline is the one part of the viewer few people mess with, Lindens or Third-Party. There are exceptions. But, I’m never sure who is or isn’t digging into the heart of the render engine or just playing with the switches.
This is the place where everything comes together. All the strands of spaghetti have an end somewhere in this plate (code). Changes here are fraught with unintended consequences, which is probably the main reason these changes are a separate project.
Not being into the viewer code my thinking this is the last major chunk of legacy code is a guess. I do know that OpenGL is advancing and its provider is developing Vulcan, which some are calling the OpenGL replacement. Vulcan is a low overhead graphics render engine. Depending on who you read, it is the VR capable engine for the future. But, OpenGL is being upgraded and as I read things, it too is getting upgrades to be VR capable. They seem like similar competing projects. The developers say they are planning for OpenGL and Vulkan to co-exist.
When I last asked OZ, there were no plans to change the viewers to Vulcan. It is hard to know if the Lab is even keeping up with the OpenGL advances.
I suspect the reason for the Lab avoiding Vulcan is Vulcan’s incompatibility with some older hardware. The Lindens are sensitive to the user’s hardware and support it as best they can within limits. If you wonder what people are running, look at Steam’s Hardware Survey.
The best take on OpenGL and Vulcan and which will be used where and which can do what and which may or may not replace the other… is a post in the developer’s (Khornos) forum here: Here are the facts on the ground.
Second Life Maintenance Viewer version 220.127.116.113567 – No change. This version is catching all the non-render pipeline changes and fixes. See the release notes for a list of the changes and fixes in this version. There is an assortment of fixes and improvements. None are big shakers. But, they are nice changes I look forward to.
This will likely be the next version to be promoted. May be this week… But, probably next week.
Second Life Project 360 Snapshot Viewer version 18.104.22.1681712 – This version is still on hold while the Alex Ivy 64-bit viewer is worked on. Oz is telling us once work on CEF (Chrome Embedded Framework – mostly the viewer’s internal media player) is completed some people (person?) will move back to working on this version.
Second Life Project Alex Ivy Viewer version 22.214.171.1241863 – This seems to be the focus of the Lab’s effort. A couple of deal breaker problems were being worked on. As this version has not updated, I assume they are still solving those problems.
Viewer Review & Notes
I’ve been using this version of Alex Ivy and Firestorm this past week. When photographing, it is Firestorm hands down. The Photo Tools make adjusting shadows and time of day way easy.
I see the Alex Ivy 64-bit crash on exit, often. It doesn’t seem to matter if I run for a few minutes or a couple of hours. There is no consistent crash pattern I’ve recognized. It does seem it will run indefinitely. I’ve run for hours logged in without crashing, until I exit… and then the crash is a sometimes thing.
Firestorm gets iffy after a couple of hours. I start to see things stop working or oddly working. I do get crashed now and then. But, when playing with RLV it is hard to tell if it is the viewer behaving oddly or the collar and some RLV setting giving me a hard time.
Cool VL – This viewer updated 2/18 to version 126.96.36.199. There is a 64-bit version for Windows and Linux.
A seldom discussed feature of Cool VL is its support for Lua Scripting, programming the viewer. See: Lua scripting and viewer automation feature.