Tag Archives: Server Releases

SL projects update 30/2: server, viewer, group chat

The Bayou, April 2014; Inara Pey, May 2014, on FlickrThe Bayou, April 2014 (Flickr)

Server Deployments – Week 30 Recap

  • On Tuesday July 22nd, the Main channel was updated with the infrastructure project deployed to the Magnum RC in week 29, and which adds support for the upcoming changes to the Skill Gaming policy, and includes the updates previously on LeTigre and BlueSteel- release notes
  • On Thursday July 24th, all three RC  channel were updated with the infrastructure support for the upcoming changes to the Skill Gaming policy, and the updates previously deployed to LeTigre and BlueSteel – release notes.

SL Viewer

The Library Refresh viewer was updated to release candidate status with the release of version 3.7.13.292194 on July 23rd. This viewer contains an update to a large set of the libraries used by the viewer to provide security, stability and consistency improvements to this and future viewers.

Group Chat

Simon Linden: continuing to work on group chat issues

Simon Linden: continuing to work on group chat issues

The anticipated group chat test didn’t materialise at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday July 24th as a result of Simon Linden coming across a last-minute issue which needed to be resolved ahead of further tests. He and Oz did, however, explain some recent discoveries within the chat system.

“While the earlier update to group chat didn’t give us any significant performance boost, we got a lot more information out of the servers,” Simon said. “And what we found was a big part of the group chat system load is not the chat messages you care about, but the updates to who is in the session or not.”

Oz added, “Those updates happen whether or not you’re displaying who’s in the session, in every group you’re in.”

Simon continued, “You can actually see this in the viewer if you add a line of code to log something whenever an update comes in to tell you who’s in the group chat … you’ll be surprised how many you get. The load goes up as the group size goes up … with a larger group, people are joining and leaving more often, and there are more people to update.”

People joining / leaving a session are recorded by the chat server. “It has a list of who’s online and in the group chat at that moment,” Simon explained, “it’s adding and removing from that list, and [generating] the resulting updates, that are the problem, [causing them] to be sent to everyone else still active in the group as they do so.”

The growth curve of these updates is described as exponential, and there is a knock-on effect with them as well; as group chat sessions share server resources, it is possible that a large group chat session, with multiple users joining  / leaving it and thus causing it to generate lots of updates can affect other group chat sessions hosted on the same group chat server, slowing them down as well.

While the chat servers are due for a hardware change, which is hoped will improve performance to a degree, simply adding more hardware to the chat service back-end isn’t seen as a solution, as it’s the exponential manner in which the updates grow which needs to be reduced and controlled. The testing Simon had hoped to run during the Server Beta meeting was to test some improvements he had been making to the queuing of the updates and in combining messages to hopefully reduced the load. However, in running over the code, he encountered a glitch that he needs to resolve before the testing can proceed.

Another issue with the group chat system is that when users log-in to a Second Life session, they automatically join all 42 of their groups, sending a “I’m here!” message to all 42 groups so that they can start receiving messages from active groups. This has obviously been exacerbated each time the limit on how many groups a person can join has been raised, so as Oz pointed-out during the meeting, “upping it again would make it even worse, so until this is dealt with, don’t even ask… :-) .”

HTTP Updates

As indicated by Monty Linden at the last TPV meeting, there are further server-side updates which should further assist with improvements to texture and mesh asset downloads. These are now nearing the point where they are likely to be surfacing (although quite when isn’t clear), prompting Oz to comment, “We’re setting up some experiments with server side changes that will complement the pipeline viewer, but are not strictly speaking dependent on it. When we’re confident that our test setup is ready, including how to measure the results, we’ll invite you folks to help us test.”

 

SL projects update week 30/1: server, viewer

Server Deployments – Week 30

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread in the forums for the latest information and updates.

Main (SLS) Channel

On Tuesday July 22nd, the Main channel was updated with the infrastructure project deployed to the Magnum RC in week 29, and which adds support for the upcoming changes to the Skill Gaming policy, and includes the update to improve L$ transaction logging for payments made by scripted objects previously on LeTigre and BlueSteel- release notes.

Release Candidate Channels

On Thursday July 24th, all three RC  channel should be updated with the infrastructure support for the upcoming changes to the Skill Gaming policy, and includes the L$ transaction logging update and Temp attachment fix previously deployed to LeTigre and BlueSteel.

SL Viewer

On Tuesday July 22nd, the de facto release viewer was updated to version 3.7.12.291824, previously the Maintenance RC release candidate. This viewer includes over 40 MAINT fixes, including:

  • MAINT-3135 Cocoa Viewer: Mac: Maximizing the viewer leaves garbage on the screen
  • MAINT-3171 Alt-clicking while moving mouse can move the camera significantly
  • MAINT-2980 Reevaluate the 512 meg texture cap
  • MAINT-4216 Double clicking on anything in COF removes it from your avatar – including skin, shape, hairbase and eyes – results in bakefailed avatar
  • MAINT-4001 Received Folder is movable within Recent Tab – see my notes here on this issue
  • MAINT-3610 SL viewer partly ‘eats’ chat-message.

Tuesday July 22nd also saw two other viwer updates:

  • Tthe Group Ban RC viewer updated to version 3.7.13.292225. This allows group owners and those assigned to a specific role to ban (and eject) others from joining the group. Useful for dealing with spammers and other trouble-makers in open enrollment groups. For an overview of the group ban viewer, please refer to my preview notes
  • The Oculus Rift project viewer also updated to version 3.7.12.292141, to bring it up to parity with the release viewer 3.7.12 code base. Note at the time of writing, there were no supporting release notes for this update – please refer to the Alternate Viewers wiki page for the downloads.

Group Chat

Simon Linden is planning on a further group chat test at the Server Beta User Group meeting on Thursday July 24th. Commenting on this at the Simulator UG meeting on Tuesday July 22nd, he said, “those have been really helpful with our development.   The more people who can come, the better. The test is usually at the end, a little before 4:00 if we don’t run out of other topics.”

SL projects update 29/2: server, viewer, TPV meeting

My apologies for this appearing a little on the late side; things have been a bit manic in the physical world of late (not helped by the Tour de France and the German GP this weekend!), and I’ve been slipping behind on blog posts (I’ve also got to talk to my minions about vacation scheduling….).

Note that the following notes are taken from both the Server Beta User Group meeting of Thursday July 17th and the TPV developer meeting on Friday July 18th, the video of which is supplied below (my thanks to North, as always). Items taken from the later are time stamped within the text, so you can locate and listen to the discussion in full via the video.

Server Deployments Week 29 – Recap

  • On Tuesday July 15th, the Main channel was updated with the Experience Keys project, which had previously been running on Magnum. This roll-out coincides with the release of the Experience Keys project viewer (see below) and the release of the Lab’s first Experience Keys demonstrator game, The Cornfield.  Please refer to the release notes for further information
  • On Wednesday July 16th, the Magnum RC was updated a new infrastructure project that adds support for the upcoming changes to the Skill Gaming policy. Release notes
  • On Thursday July 17th, BlueSteel and LeTigre were both be updated with the Experience Keys project, but otherwise remained on the same  server maintenance project as week 28, which addresses a JSON-related bug, an interest list related race condition, and to improve L$ transaction logging for payments made by scripted objects. See the release notes (BlueSteel) for details.

SL Viewer

Group Ban Viewer

The Group Ban viewer reached release candidate status on Wednesday July 16th, with the release of version 3.7.12.292031. This viewer allows certain group members to ban avatar from a group or from joining a group  When an existing group member is banned, they are also automatically ejected from the group. Please refer to my Group Bans overview for further information, if required.

Maintenance Release RC

[04:20] This viewer, version 3.7.12.291824, has been tracking with the same crash rate as the current release viewer (3.7.11.291465), and as such is expected to be promoted to the de facto release during week 30 (week commencing Monday July 21st). However, it has been reported that the Mac Alt-Cam bug (BUG-6760) fix doesn’t work and has been referred back to the Lab for further investigation.

Oculus Rift Project Viewer

[04:56] It is anticipated that an updated version of the Oculus Rift project viewer will be appearing soon, potentially in week 30. The update will bring the viewer up to par with the current 3.7.12 release code base.

Log-in Test Viewer

[04:44] There is a special log-in test viewer currently on closed use (there is no publicly available version), which is being used for some kind of A/B testing related to logging-in to Second Life. Precisely what this testing is geared towards is unclear.

Viewer Autobuild Process

[05:50] Oz Linden has been working on improving the viewer autobuild process, and there is a new version of autobuild, together with a wiki page on the changes and improvements. The new version brings with it a number of improvements, such as stricter library version checking, full transitive dependency checks, additional error checks, etc. This is considered to be one of the steps required in order for the viewer to be compiled using Visual Studio 2013. Full details in the video for those into self-compiling viewers.

 Third-party Viewer Directory Updates

[00:20] The Third-party Viewer Directory, which lists all Second Life viewers and clients which have gone through the self-certification process, has been revised.

Until recently, the directory was listed by viewer crash rate – with the most stable at the top. However, this was something of a hit-and-miss approach due to a number of factors, including significant changes made to the code within the viewer which is used to detect and report crashes. So instead, viewer and clients are now split into three categories:

  • Those which are actively maintained “full” viewers which are updated regularly to track new developments in the Linden Lab viewer, and implement a full graphical environment
  • “Lightweight”, text and mobile clients, such as Lumiya, Group Tools, Radegast and so on
  • Those viewers which have not been updated recently enough to be considered fully compatible with current Second Life services (e.g. they lack things like server-side appearance, etc.).

Group Chat

[11:56] Work is continuing on group chat. At the TPV Developer meeting, Oz Linden summarised this work as:

We are working on group chat; I don’t really have much to report on that this week. We’re doing a set of experiments and collecting a lot of data, and then we’re going to come up with the next round of changes to make. One of the things we’ll try to do, once we think we’re done with this project – and I have no predictions for when that will be – is tell people how it went and what we’ve done.

It may well be that before we’re done, we’ll come back to this group and say we’re making changes to interfaces to viewers for group chat in order to improve the situation. I don’t know of any of those yet, but I’m not ruling them out. We’re going to try to make group chat a lot better, and if that means not being 100% backwards compatible, then that’s what it means. At this point we’re not looking at changing the protocol with anything else. Not ruling it out, but that’s not the correct direction.

Experience Keys

The Cornfield, the Experience Keys demonstrator game

The Cornfield, the Experience Keys demonstrator game

The current creator beta programme for Experience Keys has now been filled. Commenting on it at the Server Beta meeting, Coyot Linden referred to it as proving “wildly popular” and that the Lab have “heard some really cool ideas for new experiences”. He also referred to this being “round on” of the beta programme – so there may be more opportunities for creators to be involved in the future.

During the Server Beta meeting, a request was made for the Linden to consider allowing the popularity of an Experience (e.g. the number of people engaged on it) to be made available, with the suggestion it could be done in a number of ways:

  • As information made available only to the Experience owner (so they can see how popular a given experience they’ve created is proving to be
  • As information which can be (perhaps optionally) published by the Experience owner (e.g. via the Experience Profile)
  • As information which can be displayed in the Search tab of the Experience floater, allowing users to search for the most popular experiences at any given time.

Commenting on this, Simon Linden said, “The numbers will definitely be interesting, but we’ll have to think carefully about what and how to expose it.   As an owner, it makes sense for you to have an idea what’s going on with your experience.  I’m not so sure about others.”

Part of the concern here is about the popularity figure potentially being used by griefers as a means of targeting popular regions / activities and causing disruption. Following Simon’s observation, Dolphin Linden added, “yeah, technically the number can be made available. But how and to whom needs to be thought about, but numbers about your own xp can be tracked if you want with a little bit of work. We might also be able to just get an ordered list of the top 10 experiences or something, without disclosing actual numbers.”

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SL projects update week 29/1: server, viewer, Experience Keys

Server Deployments – Week 29

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest status / updates / issues.

Main (SLS) Channel

On Tuesday July 15th, the Main channel was updated with the Experience Keys project, which had previously been running on Magnum. This roll-out coincides with the release of the Experience Keys project viewer (see below) and the release of the Lab’s first Experience Keys demonstrator game, The Cornfield.  Please refer to the release notes for further information.

Release Candidate Channels

On Wednesday July 16th, the Magnum RC should be updated a new infrastructure project that adds support for the upcoming changes to the Skill Gaming policy. This would appear to be the changes required to support the new Skill Gaming region type. Release notes.

On Thursday July 17th, BlueSteel and LeTigre will both be updated with the Experience Keys project, but will otherwise remain on the same  server maintenance project as week 28, which addresses a JSON-related bug, an interest list related race condition, and to improve L$ transaction logging for payments made by scripted objects. See the release notes (BlueSteel) for details, and part 2 of my projects update for week 28.

SL Viewer

As noted above, the Experience Keys project viewer, version 3.7.12.291846, was released on Monday July 14th. This provides viewer-side support for accessing and managing SL experiences using the new Experience Keys permissions capabilities.

The Search tab on the new Experience floater - part of the Experience Keys project viewer

The Search tab on the new Experience floater, accessed from the Experiences option in the Me menu in the Experience Keys project viewer

This viewer can be used in conjunction with the Lab’s Experience Keys demonstrator game, The Cornfield, and with other experiences as they are opened to public use. Please keep in mind that the viewer may not behave correctly until after the server-side deployment of Experience Keys support has completed on Thursday July 17th.

For further details on Experience Keys, please refer to the following:

There are also some further notes from Dolphin Linden on the subject, below.

Yet More on Experience Keys

Dolphin Linden at the Simulator UG meeting

Dolphin Linden at the Simulator UG meeting

Dolphin Linden again attended the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday July 15th, where he answered more question on the Experience Keys project.

Lucia Nightfire offered up a couple of points of feedback which appear especially relevant to the new capabilities:

  • An estate / parcel setting to disable all non-experience scripts. This would be useful in game experiences, as it could prevent participants cheating by using non-game scripted objects
  • An estate / parcel setting to block all grid-wide experiences from running on an estate / parcel. Currently, any grid-wide experiences which come on-line have to be explicitly blocked by name, which means if an estate / parcel owner didn’t want any grid-wide experiences running on their land, they’d have to keep adding them to their block list as and when they become aware of them. A single check-box option would eliminate this.

Feature requests are to be filed on both of these points, which the Lab have agreed to look into.

Other Bits

Sim Crossing Hiccups

There have been renewed reports of region crossing issues which seem to be occurring regularly, but only between certain regions when tested. The issues mainly appear to affect vehicles and take the form of the avatar taking an exceptionally long period of time to cross between regions – with the vehicle the avatar is say upon taking up to 30 seconds longer. When this happens, the avatar appears to be visually unlinked from the vehicle, but the vehicle itself fails to get auto-returned, as the simulators appear to consider the avatar and vehicle as still being linked.

Motor Loon provided some specific details on the issue, and has indicated he will raise a bug report using the information he has, as the Lab are unaware of any specific problems which may cause this. However, while it has yet to be confirmed, it was also reported at the meeting at a similar issue on a region crossing between two regions was resolved by restarting them in a specific sequence.