Second  Life News 2015-05

Servers

The main server channel was updated today with a maintenance package. Release Notes.

The three RC Channels will be updated to a single new package, another maintenance release. This one has fixes for the Experience Tools package. It is planned to roll out Wednesday. Release Notes.

The project requires a number of viewer side changes to see and use the new tools. Those are in the RC Experience Viewer version 3.8.0.298001. The download link is here: Alternate Viewers Second Life.

Second Life Photography 2015-05

Seems everyone is blogging something about photography in Second Life and how wonderful it is with SL Go. I’ve used SL Go and it is a great way to go, if…

If your computer is old, under powered, has a weak video card, or you need to be mobile then SL Go is the solution. You can get faster rendering and run on Ultra graphics settings. But, if you have a good desktop, SL Go offers faster scene rendering and that is about it. Textures load quickly and while I was using SL Go I never saw a texture fail to render leaving me with a gray something in the scene. These are big pluses and I am certain improve the SL experience for many.

However, there are two things that have made my photographic experience in Second Life more enjoyable and neither of those are available for SL Go users… well, actually one. The Firestorm Photo-Tools and SpaceNavigator are the two things that make my photography easier and better. Firestorm is available for SL Go (reference – Dec 2014). So, the Photo-Tools are available for SL Go users.  Continue reading

Second Life Bits 2015-04

I’m just getting around to looking at last Friday’s (1/16) Third Party Developer’s meeting. See the video here.

Viewers

The viewers in the RC pipeline are; VMM, Maintenance, and Experience Tools.

The Experience Tools Viewer is somewhat held up by backend issues, which are being worked on now. So, there are no changes to this RC Viewer.

Viewer Managed Marketplace – nothing new in this RC Viewer.

Hover RC Viewer – (download) Vir Linden was telling the group 1/16 this new Project Viewer was in QA. Vir was thinking it would be ready in week 4 and the RC test version of the server side did make it to a main grid RC channel in week 4. Due to Wiki changes and fixes the RC downloads page does not yet have this viewer available for download. Inara in her coverage has a link in:  SL project updates 2015 week 4/1: Avatar Hover Height along with examples of the features and instructions for using it.

You must be in a region that supports the feature for it to work. For now that is only Blue Steel regions. If the region does not support the feature the controls will be grayed out. Continue reading

Lindens

Monty Linden has been the one updating the HTTP library that the viewer and servers use to communicate. This has been a long term project that has been completed for a few weeks.

Now Monty Linden is working on SL2 and consulting with the SL1 peeps. For now we will miss his work on Second Life. But, he is likely to make SL2 a better product for his work.

Alchemy Viewer

CmdrCupcake says with the Alchemy Viewer they plan on a 2 month release cycle. So, that would be a new version every other month.

The Alchemy Viewer developers are considering moving to Linden style viewer update, which would make the Lindens happy. They would like to see all viewers using the automatic update. It has been working for me with the SL Viewer, so this is probably a good thing.

Coming Viewer Change

In regard to viewer updates, currently if a user says they no longer want to run the RC version and disables their ‘willing to  run’ setting, they get downgraded to the current main release, which is always an older version. So, they effectively get downgraded when they were asking not to be upgraded.

Understandably this upsets some people. In the near future this will change and one will remain on the RC version until it is promoted to the new main/default viewer. Then they will update in sync with the main viewer versions.

This might not work out so well. While I have no doubt that the current downgrade surprised some people, it was by design. It allowed one to easily back out of an RC Viewer that did not work well for the user. Now backing out of a poorly working RC Viewer will be a more complex process requiring one to download and install another viewer version. But, that may be less confusing.

We’ll see what people do with the process.

Texture Thrashing 2015-04

CmdrCupcake (Sovereign Engineer) has been looking at texture thrashing. He found what is eating texture memory and leads to textures cycling through rendering to full load sharp images then going blurry and apparently reloading and getting sharp again only to repeat.

House Triggering Texture Thrashing in some video cards.

House Triggering Texture Thrashing in some video cards.

While it was not immediately obvious the addition of CHUI and its addition of avatar icons to the chat discussions seems to be the trigger for the current texture thrashing. These images are loaded into the viewer as UI textures. There are a ton of these textures used for chat, group chat, and friends lists. These chat textures consume memory. Continue reading

RLV & Kokua 3.7.24

Kokua has a new version of their viewer out. This version changes from RLVa to RLV. So, what does that mean? Basically, just that you need to do a clean install. The RLVa settings need to be removed and the RLV settings installed. Installing over the previous version won’t clear the RLVa settings, thus the clean install is needed.

RLVa and RLV are similar. Both add to the viewer the ability to have in-world Linden Scripting Language (LSL) scripts control the viewer. To some lesser extent the new Linden Experience Tools serve a similar purpose.  Continue reading