Update: In further tests of the FIRE-9097 “fix” at lower resolutions (e.g. 2650 pixels across), I found it can re-introduce the tiling artefacts in snapshots.
General Viewer News
The release of an update to the materials beta viewer on Wednesday June 5th (184.108.40.2066961) was followed at the weekend by the arrival of a further beta version – 220.127.116.117049 – with accompanying release notes. Commenting on the rapid-fire releases, Oz linden said at the Content Creation User Group meeting on Monday June 10th, “We’re getting close to the end of its beta cycle (or put another way… report your bugs now).”
We’re all aware of the snapshot tiling issue which plagued SL photographers for a good while, which would leave “tiling” artefacts on images taken at higher resolutions than the user’s monitor resolution when running in deferred mode (now known as Advanced Lighting Model). A fix for this issue (MAINT-628) finally reached the public in late 2012, but brought with it some additional issues. On of the most notable of these was the appearance of black rectangles in very high resolution images.
This latter problem most recently caused an additional outcry when the LL “tiling” fix was finally incorporated in Firestorm viewer earlier in 2013, with many users incorrectly blaming the Firestorm team for the problem.
Well, for all and sundry, Firestorm users or otherwise, there is some potentially good news on the horizon.
Commenting on the broader issues reported with snapshots duing the Open-source Dev meeting on Monday June 10th, Oz Linden said:
It looks like there are fixes in the MAINT pipeline for those. I don’t know how soon those will be out… I can try to find out if they have a project build ready.
Additionally, there is further news specifically for Firestosm users. While it is somewhat outside the scope of “SL project news”, it is neverthless reporting here.
Nicky Dasmijn has been working on the problem, and has implemented a fix for the issue (see Firestorm JIRA FIRE-9097), which should correct matters for snaps of up to 4096×4096 pixels without any “rectangle” artefacts appearing or with any regression to issues of tiling, and which may work at high resolutions than that for some.
I tried a very rough-and-ready test of the fix. I found that capturing images up to 5,000-5,600 pixels across with the aspect ratio maintained worked OK for me. Anything around 6,000 pixels across saw JPG images save OK, but rectangle artefacts begin to appear when saving in PNG (see both images on the right)
However, as I’ve recently been experiencing other GPU issues, I’ve been unable to ascertain if the rectangles are down to an issue with the code or simply a matter of my GPU running out of resources when processing PNG images above 5600 pixels across.
The fix is currently in a recent Firestorm pre-release, and will hopefully make the cut for the next formal release. It is currently unclear whether the code has been / will be contributed to LL, and if so, whether they will adopt it or opt to go with their own forthcoming updates (as indicated by Oz in his statement above) or opt to combine it with their own fixes (depending on the nature & scope of the latter).
Future “STORM Project Viewer” Release
There are a number of code contributions which have come via the Snowstorm route which have been queued awaiting a suitable release. These cover a range of additions to the viewer, and example of which is STORM-68 (As a Builder, I want that ability to set default permissions on creation of objects, clothing, scripts, notecards, etc.).
Commenting on STORM contributions in general, and in light of the forthcoming changes to the viewer release process, Oz said, “I’m trying to get all the storm issues merged up so that I can be ready to put out a project viewer as soon as the new viewer version manager is deployed.” Whether STORM-68 (which is apparently seen as “largely good to go”, although it may also require a server-side change), or the fixes for snapshot issues mentioned above will be among them remains to be seen. However, a “STORM” project viewer could well be adding even more features to the SL viewer in the near future.