The Great Bakes-On-Mesh Debate

Well, we are getting an upgrade to the Server-Side-Avatar-Baking service. That is fact. What the service does is old news. The blogosphere was covering it in 2012. By August 2013 it was considered a success. (Ref)

So, what is the service, aka SSA or SSB? Prior to 2012 the classic avatar skin, tattoos, underwear, shirt, and jacket were composited into a single texture in your viewer and used to render your avatar. This is like the process we use in Photoshop, GIMP, and other image editors when we bake a set of layers into a single JPG or PNG image.

...Wait

…Wait

A significant part of the viewer’s render process was the baking effort. Once I was dressed and my clothes baked into an image safely cached on my computer, I was good. BUT… whenever I saw a new avatar, my viewer had to collect all their textures; skin, tat, bra, and top and bake their clothes into a texture to put on the avatar and render it. Everyone was doing that.

With 6 possible zones (ie., hair, head, upper, lower, eyes, skirt) to bake and 3 of them having 5 layers we were downloading a bunch of textures just for the classic body. So, something like 15 or 20 textures per avatar. In a region with 40 avatars… that is like 40×20=800 textures… if they were 1024 textures that could be as much as 3+GB of texture, admittedly in extreme cases. Plus, our viewer had to composite them before the avatar could be rendered. Each viewer was doing this and the region was coordinating the downloads. Continue reading

More on Second Life Names

Ryan Schultz talked with Patch Linden about the returning ability to pick a last name. And today in the Content Creators UG meeting Oz Linden spoke more about the coming ability to change your name.

First, both are making it clear this is something that will change in late 2018. Oz hopes before the end of the year, not the last minute of December, but not real soon either.

Isle of May @ Weed - 30

Isle of May @ Weed – 30

Anyone, new or old, can change their first and last names. It will cost RL money to change your name. Price has not been decided. Some MMO’s charge US$20 and a few more. So, whatever rumors you hear on price, that is wild speculation so be skeptical.

You will be able to change first and last names. So, all those scripts that depend on remembering an avatar name, they are going to be obsolete. If you have a need to remember an avatar, your script will have to use the UUID, as the UUID for an avatar will never change.

You can create any first name. Last names will be selected from a list. I think it was Hamlet that was writing about watching a Linden trying to come up with last names to select from. Oz says they will be selecting names users submit. They will probably update the selection list in batches. Continue reading

New Stuff Coming to Second Life – Last Names?

The Lindens are talking… somewhat. But, we will have to capture one and waterboard them to get any real details. See their post, Happy 15th Birthday, Second Life! Fifteen Reasons to Celebrate.

We already know about lower land prices and double tier. But, you may not know they are planning to go farther with making land cheaper. Don’t think they are going to lower their income. They are just looking for ways to shift the cost to us.

Just Waiting

Just Waiting

Part of that shift is finding ways to make Premium Membership more enticing. So, Premium Members can expect nice stuff coming their way.

We know Animesh and Bakes-On are coming. And there is the migration of SL systems to the cloud.

Windlight is getting an upgrade. We know that change as Enhanced Environment Project or EEP. I’ve been writing about it over the past weeks. Of the known things coming, this is the one I am really excited to see. Continue reading

Second Life Did What?

They dropped the price of land. Wow!

Goodbye Mystical Fea / Au Revoir

Goodbye Mystical Fea / Au Revoir

OK, it is not a major thing, just 10%. But, that is significant. Also, the steps up increasing land owned are smaller. So, it is cheaper to increase the amount of land you own.

You can read about it here: MORE LAND FOR LESS MONEY?

For Premium Members they have doubled the allotment of free land on the mainland. Premium Members can have 1,024m2 of land tier free. That is a 32x32m square of land or 105×105 ft. This is twice the previous allotment.

It won’t change my life. But, I will think more about getting land. But, having JD on one side and Mercede’s Beach Haven on the other would make it hard to move away.

OpenCollar No Longer OpenCollar?

More SL drama. Unfortunately, about 100,000 SL users will be affected. It seems in November 2017 there was a sudden change in the OpenCollar programming team. Wendy Starfall and Garvin Twine were doing most of the work, programming, marketing, support, etc. for the last 6 years.

The early founders, from the history I can find, are Nandana Singh (now Nirea Resident) and Athaliah Opus. Several involved in the OC Project say they have ignored the project for the last 6 years or so. Leaving it to Wendy, Gaven, and others in the team to do the work and pay for websites and land (regions). But, we would have to define what the speaker means by ‘ignored’.

A point came when Nirea and Athaliah decided the OC project was going the wrong way. It seems that while the open source OC code was being maintained with no income for the programmers from it when the active programmers decided to sell an add-on under a brand name called Virtual Disgrace and some other things based on OC open source code.

“You can't stop the future You can't rewind the past The only way to learn the secret ...is to press play.” ― Jay Asher

You can’t stop the future You can’t rewind the past The only way to learn the secret …is to press play

The entitlement mindset folks decided it was an outrage that programmers working for free should even consider working for a profit and not giving them everything free… So, the great divide opened. The eventual result Nirea and Athaliah reclaimed the OpenCollar in-world group and kicked Wendy and others on the new path out of the group.

OpenCollar remained fee. But, the programmers were making other toys and selling them on their own. I could use the OpenCollar code and make a toy and sell it. But, you would still be able to get the free OpenCollar code and made your toys and sell them. Continue reading

Second Life and the CLOUD

Inara Pey has apparently sat through a dry video of Tara Hernandez’s, Senior Director of Systems and Build Engineering at Linden Lab, presentation at Amazon’s Las Vegas promotion for their services. She has written about it here: SANSAR AND SECOND LIFE IN THE CLOUD: LL SPEAKS AT AWS RE:INVENT. The video is here:

That is a 34-minute video on YouTube. There are some gems in the video that interest Second Life™ people.

I had not realized the first iteration of SL used a graphics engine designed to circumvent the Windows graphics and go directly to hardware. This go-to-hardware was the early game-graphics optimization used by most of the industry. That is long gone. Now OpenGL is the optimization that interfaces with all the various graphics systems in use with SL.

Inara covers the main parts SL’ers will find interesting. But, the video is loaded with tidbits about Second Life and how they are changing away from the problems with ideas for Sansar. So, some seldom talked about SL things are described in the video.

There is about 10+ minutes of tech description on Sansar and how it works. And toward the end some words on how they plan to adapt Second Life for life in the cloud.

Third-Party Dev Meeting (Leaks) 2017 w44

There is some news this week. Most are from a couple of leaks. They give us a clue as to why the release of the Firestorm viewer is delayed. So…

The Linden Voice RC Viewer has 1 bug still left. The Lindens are hunting for the cause of an intermittent channel misconnection. If I understand the voice system mistakes which region you are in and connects your voice to the wrong region. Of course, voice doesn’t work when that happens.

in simple words

in simple words

Vivox, the providers of SL voice, is working on the problem and thinks it is in the SDK….

The Alex Ivy RC Viewer got an update Thursday. The viewer is doing well and Oz Linden is happy with it. However, there was a bug in the updater part of the code. It caused those updating some problems. I ran into it. A manual install corrects the problem.

The Lindens can’t get a good grip on how well the 64-bit viewer is doing as the 32 & 64-bit versions report as the same viewer. From other indicators, the Lindens know 32-bit version has people crashing way more often than previous versions. The 64-bit version is crashing way less than previous versions. Apparently, there is a WAY SIZABLE difference between 32 and 64-bit versions.

Crashes are typically early in the login… Oz suspects it is crashing during the benchmarking tests. Continue reading

Planned Second Life Updates

The Linens have announced some new things coming to Second Life™. Some are good, some are a pain.

In the pain department first, there is an increase in the fee to buy Linden dollars (L$). It is going from US$0.60 to $0.99 per transaction. This goes into effect today, Nov 2, 2017. Dang. I need Lindens…

Also, when cashing out the fee goes from 1.5% per transaction, with a $3 (USD) minimum and a $25 (USD) maximum to 2.5% per transaction, with a $3 (USD) minimum, and no maximum. This happens January 3, 2018.

- to The Mist -

– to The Mist –

Why? Thank criminals and government regulators. The cost to remain compliant with regulations is going up.

In the goodies department, money is being budgeted for; new features, engineering support, customer support, billing systems and upgrades, and customer acquisition outreach. These are all good things. I like new features. Animesh is the exciting one. The improved server-side baking for 1024 rez and adaption for use with mesh bodies and other mesh attachments is intertwined with animesh phase I & II. But, it has great potential to reduce avatar induced lag.  Continue reading