SL project news: week 1, 2013: forthcoming RC releases, viewer, and new work

RC Deployments for Week 2

The Lab is still getting back up to speed following the Christmas / New Year break, so expect further information to be forthcoming on Main and RC releases for week 2, 2013 via the Server topic of the Technology Forum.

However, as it stands, there are two projects which it is hoped will reach RC channel release in the week commencing Monday 7th January, 2013. These are Caleb Linden’s threaded region crossing code and Andre Linden’s interest list code.

As I’ve previously reported, the threaded region crossing code was subjected to a pile-on test on Aditi towards the end of 2012. The results were, on the whole, a little disappointing for those taking part – although expectations may have been set a little high. While there were some improvements noted – particularly when travelling between regions on foot and with a heavy script load – overall, there were sill issues with crossing between regions in vehicles (particularly ground vehicles).

Airbourne antics: vehicles still exhibited region crossing issues duing the threaded region pile-on test in December 2012

Airbourne antics: vehicles still exhibited region crossing issues duing the threaded region pile-on test in December 2012

Issues arising from the pile-on test are still being looked at, and Caleb repeated his request that anyone noting specific issues should raise a JIRA directed for his attention. For those wishing to try out the code, the GC Test regions are still available on Aditi.

The Interest List code is still subject to receiving an OK from the Lab’s QA team. There will doubtless be an update on this – and on the planned RC releases in general – at the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday 8th January, 2013.

SL Viewer News

Not a lot to report on here at present. The Beta viewer reached the 3.4.4 code base Just before Christmas 2012, (3.4.4.268497, December 20, 2012). There may be a rendering issue which may require addressing and might lead to a slight delay in releases; apparently, not all tests are giving the same results, so LL are still investigating the matter. Work is continuing to update the GPU tables for the viewer; further cards have been added to the table, and several blanket entries have been removed (such as all unrecognised nVidia cards being detected as nVidia Ion GPUs).

As reported over Christmas, CHUI rolled through a number of rapid releases in its development version, and the main project version rolling to 3.4.3.268587 on December 22nd. Both the development and project versions of the viewer are on the 3.4.3 codebase, and the most recent development release was made on January 4th (3.4.3.268703). Both versions are available from the Alternative Viewers download page.

While the core of the Mac version of the viewer is built using OSX 10.7 (with Xcode 4.3.3), work is progressing in moving the viewer to OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, which is expected to happen “very soon” according to Oz Linden, although no date is available as to when.

New Pathfinding Capability

VoidPointer Linden is working on a new flag for pathfinding characters. STAY_WITHIN_PARCEL is designed so that when set, pathfinding characters will only set goal points during wander, evade, pursuit, etc that are within the parcel they get created in. If the parcel is a non-regular shape, it is still possible a character will cross between it and neighbouring parcels (unless the navmesh is cut through the use of an exclusion volume), but goal points will only be set within the originating parcel. The code is still in development, and so the constraints on where a character can wander when it comes to irregular parcel shapes, but VoidPointer is not making any promises on this.

He's completely batty! - Voidpoint Linde at the Server Beta UG meeting, Jan 3rd, 2013

He’s completely batty! – Voidpointer Linden’s avatar at the Server Beta UG meeting, Jan 3rd, 2013

There is no stated delivery time for this new feature, other than it is currently being worked on.

Server Object Rezzing Code

Baker Linden has been looking to improve how objects with large file sizes are handled by the simulator software when being rezzed. He describes the work thus, “What I’ve been working on is hopefully significantly decreasing lag spikes when rezzing large, complex objects. Large does not necessarily imply size, but size of the files being read. When an object is rezzing, we have to parse the object / mesh files and create our in-world objects with that data.”

Until now, reading and parsing of any files related to objects which require rezzing has been on the main thread. When several such objects requiring rezzing at the same time, the simulator stalls. Baker has been moving the reading / parsing operation to a background thread in the expectation that rezzing multiple “large” (again, in terms of file size, not the size of the object itself) objects will not choke the simulator.

The key point about this work is that it is specifically aimed at preventing the simulator processes from choking and a region stalling when there are a number of large object files being read / parsed, not at actually “speeding up” the physical rezzing process. As such, it is unlikely that objects will appear any faster in people’s in-world view as a result of this work. However, what it does mean is that the simulator code will be better able to handle rezzing multiple “large file” objects without the attendant region lagging which can occur as a result of the simulator being unable to process messages from viewers and other simulators, etc.

Information Sources

  • Opensource Developer meeting, Wednesday 2nd January, 2013
  • Beta Server meeting, Thursday 3rd January, 2013.

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One thought on “SL project news: week 1, 2013: forthcoming RC releases, viewer, and new work

  1. dilspi

    As i understand it, region crossing is like rezzing (for the new region).
    So Baker’s code might be helpful for the region-crossing-optimization as well.

    Reply

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