WordPress Updating 3.9

WordPress has been releasing several updates. Today I see they have released version 3.9. If you are a WordPress user, this is an interesting update for you. This update has lots of improved editing features. There are lots of people writing nice reviews of this release. So, I’ll only link to those:

If you use Ultimate TinyMCE, you won’t like the new editing window. Version 3.9 basically trashes its interface. 3.9 does not provide all the bells and whistles that Tiny MCE has. So, Tiny MCE users lose some functionality.

Second Life News 2014-16

RL kept me out of the Server-Scripting UG today. From the forum post we know:

The main server channel did not get a roll out this week.

The server RC channels Blue Steal and Le Tigre will not change this week. They continue to run the Sunshine package with AISv3 enabled. (Agent Inventory Services)

In a number of 3rd party viewers it is possible to make inventory links. The inventory links allow us to use No-Copy items in multiple outfits. But, the AISv3 code is not returning a property formatted link. The result is the inventory list on the viewer side gets out of sync with the server side. Continue reading

Second Life Normal Maps

Drongle asked in the Content UG meeting about what I’ll call the breakeven point when using normal maps. When does a normal map cost more or less than the number of triangles it replaces?

Normal Map

Normal Map

This question comes from considering the cost added by downloading and rendering another texture, the normal map. As GPU’s render triangles faster every day, there is a moving point at which it may be cheaper to add some number of triangles and skip the normal map. But, where is that point?

The answer is: it is different on each computer. The only way to know is to test. But, that only tells you for the specific hardware you are using.

It would be good to have a rules of thumb that works for the majority of people. Nyx Linden says, “It depends on how overloaded the GPU is in terms of computing and at which stage of the pipeline, the overall memory usage, which depends on the scene and the available hardware, etc. turning on normal maps for a surface is going to increase the load on the GPU computationally, regardless of what texture detail the normal map is. Adding a more detailed normal map will increase memory needs and the stress of managing all the extra texture data. That being said, if you can get away with significantly simpler geometry for a little bit of texture data, that would speed things up greatly for any users that are geometry bound.  Continue reading

Firestorm Q&A 2014-15

There was a Firestorm Q&A on Saturday afternoon. Inara Pey has a synopsis and index for the video (2hr 37min) and link to the video on her site: April 12th Firestorm meeting: video, transcript and notes. The points that interest me follow.

The 64-bit Firestorm download was offline for a short time while the FS Team got a certificate problem resolved.

The Dynamic User Interface (DUI) that was the center of the April Fool’s Joke is put into some more perspective. It is real. It is possible to build a viewer that allows the panels to be moved outside the viewer window. The current version of the DUI viewer is broken. It is only a proof of concept viewer. So, while the moving the panels works it is not for everyday use… or any use, other than to see the panels move.  Continue reading

The State of Avastar & Fitted Mesh

Numerous people are running into the problem with their mesh clothes creations not working well with the Second Life avatar. Gaia Clary’s latest comment in the SL Forum is here:

‎2014-04-14 06:35 AM - edited ‎2014-04-14 06:36 AM

Maybe I [Gaia] can add 2 remarks here:

  1. You could use the Morph targets to create a dummy character and implement the SL Shape sliders to shape the dummy into the SL shape. Then you can use that dummy as reference for making your mesh garments of course. But note that the morphs themself [sic] take no active role in the fitted mesh deforming.
  2. If you wanted to create something reasonable then you would create some sort of controllers that modify the Collision Volume bones. If properly done, then you could immediately see how your mesh would react in SL with changing slider values.

The main problem is to understand which bones are affected in which way by which slider. Most of this is noted down in the avatar_lad.xml file. And yes, in Avastar we actually have ported the SL Shape slider system into Blender This works as intended for the dummy itself. But for the mesh garments there is still something wrong (so right now we do not have a complete solution )

BTW: Blender allows to export shape keys to Collada, so in theory you could take our workbench blend file, then export the character with shape keys, and then try to upload that to Maya. Maybe that works, maybe not, I have never tried it myself.

(Reference)

At the Content and Mesh Import User Group we got some new information on the problem and what it might take to fix it. Don’t get your hopes up. It looks like we are going to have to learn to work around the problem. But, At least we know what the problem is and can quit wasting time searching through viewer code.  Continue reading

Linden Lab TOS and Creative Commons

I’m bring this up because I saw some people proclaiming we can use Creative Common licensed items within SL and with the Linden Lab Terms of Service (LL TOS). This is an area where people have to sort out intention, time, and who/when complexities to make decisions.

To actually know what one can do in this regard you must consult a licensed intellectual properties attorney and even then you will only get an opinion. Until a judge rules on a matter it is all opinion.

Going back a bit in time, many think the legal panel discussions (UCCSL) in SL revealed we do not grant SL ownership. Their idea is the TOS only APPEARS to do that but not really. Also, that it was never the INTENTION of LL to take ownership.

You can hear the panel discussion (3 hours) from links in my article: Second Life TOS Update 2013-42. Continue reading

Second Life News 2014-15 #3

Viewers

The current main viewer is version 3.7.5-288464. This is the Google Breakpad RC Viewer promoted to the main release viewer. If you dig around in the log files section you’ll find more ‘marker files’ and more logged information. The Lindens have moved the start of logging, no easy task, further toward the beginning of viewer start  up and the end of shutdown.

Marker files are uniquely named and often have no data inside or very little. The purpose of the files is to basically leave breadcrumb trail for the error reporting process to follow. They are written because if the viewer crashes it often won’t be able to log an error. So, at certain points a ‘marker file’ is written so the next time the crash reporter runs, which is before viewer actually starts, it can check to see what the viewer did in its last run and report when it crashed. The marker file gives some idea of how far the viewer got in its process before crashing. Continue reading

Second Life and the Mac WebKit Problem

Me... a Protester?

Me… a Protester?

 My readers will know Mac users have a problem. There is no near term solution to the problem for several reasons. Even more confusing is there are multiple problems. And today a group approached me hoping to put together a movement to show Linden Lab the extent of the problem and the interest in getting it fixed.

So, I’m scratching my head wondering if the Lab is in a position to fix the problem… and which problem are we talking about? Since I’m not a Mac user, I’m probably not the best one to write this, but no one else seems to be covering it.

I’ve touched on Mac issues in the past; Second Life News 2013-11, Firestorm Viewer News 2014-7, Viewer Release Pipeline Update, and others. The SL Viewer and Third Party Viewers are moving to support Apple’s Cocoa frame work or may be I should say did so move in 2013. But, that has left Apple users on older operating systems behind. SL apparently has problems running in the older Apple OS’s. This has resulted in Apple users staying with older viewer versions.

As we near another release of the Firestorm Viewer those issues are coming to a crisis point for some users. The recent blocking of Firestorm 4.4.0 is bringing home the point of the team only allowing 3 versions to run on the SL grid and blocking older versions. People are getting the idea the team is actually blocking older viewers.  Continue reading