There’s a lot going on with Second Life these days, and we wanted to talk about a few of the projects that are either out or in the works!
Project Valhalla: CEF - Media on a Prim and in-Viewer Browser Overhaul
A new age of modern HTML5 content is upon us, and we're overhauling the way shared media (aka "media on a prim") works so that you can enjoy all kinds of modern web content within Second Life. Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) is coming to replace the aging QTWebkit framework. What you can now see in a Project Viewer is the latest released version of Chrome - so it will render all modern web technologies - like HTML5, CSS3, WebGL; has the latest security patches; and will be easy to keep updated to a recent version. What does this mean for your Flash content? What about Quicktime? They may still work, but because both can only be viewed if the user has correctly installed a 3rd party plugin, we can't promise support and you shouldn’t expect that it will work for everyone. Standard HTML5 is the way of the future and this Viewer will enable it for anyone. There are still bugs to squash, and we’re iterating quickly to bring you a smooth inworld media and browsing experience. If you have comments about this feature - please post to the forum thread about this topic - located here.
Rendering Complexity / Quick Graphics
Often the most resource-intensive part of rendering a scene in Second Life is the avatars around you. The Viewer has a measurement of how avatars are affecting your performance, and now we are putting the control over whether to render them in your hands!
A new *Avatar Maximum Complexity* control lets you prevent expensive-to-render avatars from lagging you; any avatar over the limit is displayed as a solid color rather than rendering in full detail. A default limit is set based on the rendering performance of your system. You'll also get a notice when your own rendering complexity changes, and an indication when you're over the limit of too many of the avatars around you.
Bundled together in this Viewer is a change that allows you to create and quickly change presets of your graphics settings, so as you go from a club to an art gallery, to the beach, or to your home, you can quickly adjust your settings to fit the scene. Learn more about these changes: avatar rendering complexity: graphics presets: and try the Release Candidate Viewer. If you have comments about this feature - please post to the forum thread about this topic - located here.
A neat quality-of-life improvement for busy Residents, incoming notifications are sorted into categories where you can view, interact with each or many at a time, and use them to manage the numerous important notices that arrive throughout the day. Try out this feature in this RC Viewer. A special thank-you to Resident Aki Shichiroji for the initial feature design!
Due to the numerous recent security problems affecting Flash, it has been completely removed from our website. A modern way to animate starter avatars in the join carousel and some other exciting news for registration is coming out really soon. Keep an eye out!
Recently we shipped the Mesh Importer Viewer, which now performs name-based LOD association and handles models with many materials - no post-import assembly required. You can visit the Knowledge Base article for more details.
Inventory loss is a dogged and complicated problem that we are constantly pursuing. A recent simulator change now prevents loss of no-copy items due to a failed rez. A number of other improvements to inventory robustness are in the pipeline and will be rolling out soon.
Last year we created a better implementation of the HTTP layer in the Viewer and used it to substantially improve texture loading. In this new RC Viewer, we've upgraded all the rest of the HTTP uses in the Viewer. This will make many other features perform better and more reliably, and is establishing the foundation for future improvements.