Second Life and the Future of Apple Users

For SL users there is the Apple question, will Second Life™ run on Apple? Or… continue to run on Apple?

In June of this year Apple announced its discontinuing support of OpenGL after macOS 10.14 Mojave (scheduled for release Sept 2018), the core aspect of SL’s render engine. It will take a couple of years for Apple to phase it out. But, updates and support officially stop now. For some time support has been really bad.

● 1325 Colorful Disaster

They explained their reasoning when some game developers declared they would stop making games for Apple.

The reasons;

  • OpenGL was designed 25 years ago.
  • Core architecture is from the beginning days of 3D graphics.
  • Designed is based on outdated thinking.
  • OpenGL is a legacy tool with updates ‘tacked’ on.
  • Hardware GPU work flow has changed.
  • Never designed for multi-threading.
  • Today’s rendering is asynchronous.

On the PC side of things OpenGL is still supported. We can’t know for how long. Khronos, OpenGL’s developer, has introduced Vulkan. (See: State of Graphics: DirectX 12 & Vulkan – 4/2016) Development is exciting and popular. The group is on the forefront of some interesting tech. But, I don’t know that it will be helpful for SL. Continue reading

Gaming in 2016 – Predicting 2017?

According to SuperData Research  people spent US$91,000,000,000 on games. Billion… This is an all-time record. But, they are hyping things a bit. In 2015 Statistica shows $91.5 billion spent and $99.6 billion in 2016. I suppose it depends on where one gets their numbers and categorizes them. Game revenue is notoriously flaky as companies like to hype their increasing sales and keep decreases secret.

Still that is about a 10% increase year-to-year. Eight billion isn’t chump change, unless your spending $10 trillion on credit, like some governments…

Data From Statistica

They break the revenue down into subcategories. Handheld games are dying. Smartphone games are the hot item. They show the largest growth from 2015 to 2016 and that is expected to continue, which seems reasonable as smartphones are selling well.

In 2005 smartphones sales were just $3.8 billion. Eleven years later in 2016 sales of smart phones was $55 billion, a 1,447% increase. So, as more people get smartphones there are more possible users of smartphone games. According to Statistica a little less than half of the 2016 game revenue was from smartphone gaming. Continue reading

Nvidia Titan-X Pascal

August 2, 2016 Nvidia released their top of the line video card the Titan-X. There is a previous generation Titan-X. To distinguish between the previous gen and the current generation we have to include the architecture descriptor; Maxwell (previous) or Pascal (new).

How much faster is this Titan-X Pascal than the previous one? Almost twice as fast.

You can see the card is about 30% faster than the GTX1080.  Continue reading

Video Cards: GTX1060 vs RX480

There is debate in the SL Forum as to which video card is a better choice for Second Life™. I’ll try to provide the information needed to make a decision. But, I don’t see a deal maker or breaker that would pull the choice to any one card.

Also there are no good benchmarks, yet, of which new cards work best with Second Life. The following benchmark tests show the cards’ performance are very dependent on how the game is designed.

In the above video he is testing DirectX12 verses Vulkan. Vulkan is the next generation OpenGL. While development on OpenGL has not stopped, it appears to be similar to SL and Sansar. Except I have no doubt Vulkan will be the render engine of choice for most game makers moving on from OpenGL.  Continue reading

NVIDIA Settings 2016

Minor updates 2022/04

Calla Cela got settings for her NVIDIA card, specifically her 970, from NVIDIA tech support. She made this handy video. Using it I decided to check my settings it has been forever since I looked at them. zOMG! When the Lindens changed the install folder name, (like L O N G ago) my SL setup apparently went away…

There are some gotcha’s in her video. Nothing wrong. Just some places where you are likely to hit a wall. Continue reading

NVIDIA 1080 Released

May 7th NVIDIA released two new video cards; GTX 1080 and GTX 1070. The 1080 seems to be the most impressive card going, at least for the moment.


GTX1080 – Image by: NVIDIA

These cards sell for GTX 1080 US$599 and the GTX 1070 for $379. It sounds expensive, but these cards outperform anything else being made by a large margin. The Titan X is listed on Amazon for $1,149. The GTX1070 outperforms the Titan X. It outperforms the 980 by nearly 2 times and generates VR imaging at more than twice the rate. Continue reading

State of Graphics: DirectX 12 & Vulkan

In Second Life we run on OpenGL. Most Windows games run on DirectX. Microsoft has announced DirectX 12. It will essentially make NVIDIA 500 series and older cards obsolete. To use DX12 you’ll need a 600 or newer series card. This video explains what is happening. OpenGL is not left out.

It looks like ATI/AMD is making a replacement for OpenGL called Vulkan. It sounds like Vulcan is targeting more devices than DirectX 12. I expect to see Vulcan working on an Android mobile device way before DX12. I still have serious doubts we will see real time 3D render of good quality on mobile devices in the near future.

So, is the Lab planning to upgrade SL to Vulkan? I don’t know. I’ve asked. Vulkan is open source.

Word is OpenGL will still be developed. I think that odd. OpenGL is referred to in one place that came up in my research as a high level API, higher than Vulkan. The basic geek speak uses high and low to refer to how close you are to the hardware… the closer you get to the hardware the more programming you have to do. With higher level languages the more the language does for you.

Think of it this way… a low level addition command would be written as: place this value in Reg#1 and this other value in Reg2 then preform an XOR operation on then and place the result in Reg3 then move Reg3 to memory as variable X. A high level language would let you write the code as A + B = X and handle all the registers, operations and moves for you.

There are good reasons for using higher and lower level languages and API’s. But, generally we want API’s that produce more overall efficiency. From the other stuff said about Vulkan I would think it should be called a higher level API…. it does way more for the programmer. Whether it is higher or lower it is the next gen descendant of OpenGL.

For those of us playing in SL this means little today. But, suggests that play in Sansar will mean we will need a 600 series card or higher.

If you are looking for more details start at the Wikipedia: Vulkan API.


NVIDIA 15 Times Faster?

I came across a link to this article in the SL Forum: NVIDIA, AMD, Intel Explain How OpenGL Can Unlock 15x Performance Gains. That means if you are getting 20 FPS you should jump to 300 FPS.

The long version is the video and it is way techy:

So, what are they saying? Loosely… They are creating sides of the render process that are not locked together. This means the CPU and GPU are mostly never waiting on each other. As it is now, single note pads (large blocks of memory} are being cleared, being drawn to by a single process to build up images, then used, and erased with the process starting over. Multiple processes need multiple note pads. The next process can’t use the resources until the preceding processes release the resources/note pads. The memory that makes up the note pads has to be moved around. Continue reading