Server-side Baking / Appearance
Yesterday, I reported on the SUN-74 issue (Apparent avatar skin and eye texture asset corruption with Server Side Appearance), which can impact users with avatars wearing modifiable skin and/or eyes and/or hairbase who enter (via teleport or crossing a region boundary) an SSB/A-enabled region while using a non-SSB/A enabled viewer (e.g. such as Phoenix or the v1.23.5 viewer) and leave them with a corrupted copy of the worn skin / hairbase or eyes. At the time I noted that the matter was under investigation by Linden Lab, and no decision had been made on how to handle it.
Whirly Fizzle demonstrates one aspect of the SUN-74 issue – on a non-SSB/A viewer, her MOD skin has turned black / invisible and her MOD eyes have turned white as a result of entering an SSB/A-enabled region and responding with YES to the given prompt.
Speaking at the TPV Developer meeting on Friday May 31st, Oz Linden provided an update on the issue and spoke more generally on the issue of the use of olfder (non-SSB/A capable viewers) going forward:
We don’t actually know what’s ultimately going to be done about that; that’s a subject of vigorous discussion that’s going on even as we speak, so we’ll see how that plays out. I think it’s fair to say that regardless of what happens with that particular issue … I will just make the observation that there are still people really, really old viewers [and] there is no way, no way at all, that we could even begin to test for compatibility back with all of those viewers.
As it is, as recently as this last week there were 1,665 different viewer version strings reported as connecting to the main grid (these include 151 versions of Singularity, 50 versions of Phoenix, 262 labelled as Firestorm, and so on). Some of these may be “one offs” self-compiled builds (which may or may not have the most recent updates to support something like SSB/A), but even so, given the overall number of viewer strings, it is understandable why the Lab view attempt to ensure so many different viewer versions were fully compatible with anything on the grid is a next to impossible task.
This does not mean that the Lab is going to ignore SUN-74, right now they are still investigating the problem and trying to reproduce it in a consistent manner (which is apparently proving difficult for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that some older viewers simply crash when attempting to repro the corruption). However, what it does underline is the need for people to upgrade to an SSB/A-enabled version of their preferred viewer sooner rather than later.
The reason for this is that very soon the Lab will start undertaking more widespread testing of the new service by enabling it across a number of regions across the grid. These regions may not necessarily be constrained to any of the usual RC channels, but could well be a mix of regions from all of the various simulator channels, making them harder to identify and avoid. This testing will be to gain greater insight into how the service stands up under “real avatar loads” – something which is impossible to carry out to any great depth on Aditi, as there simply isn’t the volume of users active there.
Once this more widespread testing starts, then it is entirely possible that users who remain on non-SSB/A capable viewers are going to encounter issues and problems beyond seeing grey avatars which the Lab are not going to address, simply because the issues can be resolved by a viewer update.
So the word really is, update, update, update.