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Server side baking


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Each sim resides on 1 core of a  server micro-processor  card  located at Linden labs  facility. Probably about  4 to 8 sims  on each server micro-processor card.  Perhaps 16 homestead  sims on 1 server microprocessor card. You said you already know details of how SSB works  so i wont say more.

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Cully Andel wrote:

I've looked on the forum / blog and can't find this.

 

Can someone please explain in non techie language exactly how server side baking works? I know the theory behind it but what/ where is the server? 

Actually I've been thinking about putting together a post to answer questions for a while - here goes:

1) BAKING - WHY IT'S NECESSARY: An avatar wearing "system" clothes is always rendered with exactly three texture files - one for the head, one for the upper body and one for the lower body. This means that if your avatar is wearing a shirt that covers part of the skin and reveals others, there needs to be an upper body texture that shows part of your skin and part of your shirt texture files combined together. This combining is what "baking" is.

2) HOW IT USED TO BE DONE: When you put on or took off a piece of clothing your viewer would take all the texture files and combine them, after downloading any files it didn't have already loaded. It would then produce the new "baked together" textures and upload them to the servers so other people could see you properly. The viewer then downloaded these textures from these textures and applied them to your avatar so you'd see what other people saw. This explains the "sharp/blurry/sharp" sequence you saw when changing clothes - the initial sharp version was the local version of the baked files that only you could see and the blur was the process of getting the files from the server after they had been sent. Texture files are surprisingly large and many home internet connections have slow and unreliable uploading capabilities because uploading isn't important for most home web surfing so the need to upload the files could cause problems.

3) HOW IT'S DONE NOW: When you change clothing you send a short text-like file to the servers telling what you want to wear. Then the "baking" servers (which are new servers whose only purpose is to do this) fetch the various textures, create the combined files and send them to everyone at the same time. Textures only take one trip through the system instead of up to three.

4) POSSIBLE PROBLEMS: The new, separate servers send the information to your viewer in parallel to the information from the old servers that have data on the layout of the land and the locations of objects. SL already opened a lot of connections at the same time and some home modems/routers don't handle these multiple connectons well. If it takes a long time for avatars to rezz now it doesn't mean the texturing itself is slower, just that you're having problems getting the information.

5) WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT THIS KIND OF PROBLEM: You can reduce the number of OTHER connections SL is opening. Turning HTTP textures off will close some of the other parallel connections and going into the debug settings and changing "MeshMaxConcurrentRequests" to 8 will also help if you go to areas with a lot of mesh objects/mesh wearing people.

6) WHY DOESN'T SL JUST REDUCE THE NUMBER OF CONNECTIONS THEMSELVES?: There is currently an ongoing project to do just that - the necessary server changes are already in place and the viewer changes necessary should be out for testing in a few weeks.

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I like to use photoshop as an analogy.

 

Say you're making a nice new shirt for SL. You use templates so you download the relevant files, which takes time. You then have all these layers that need to be made in to one single  texture.

Think of the old way as an amatuer doing it. It takes time because they don't really know what they're doing. They make mistakes and it ends up looking a bit messy sometimes. They get it all together, into one texture and upload it. 

 

The new way is the master texturer. They already have the relevant tools and can put it all together in a far shorter time with less mistakes. No waiting for templates and other files to download. No faffing around with correcting mistakes.

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Orca Flotta wrote:

I did see a marked improvement in both render time and reliability.

 

+1

SSA is the best improvement LL came up with in a long time. Maybe because, unlike most of their other new shinies, SSA is really an improvement.

Not to pick on you Orca, just to comment that for me it is rubbish, has not improved things at all but made them worse.

Busy areas, no obvious change, people still take up to a couple of minutes to render from grey.

For me personally, it's a big negative hit.  Whereas in the old days, I could change a clothing layer and pretty much immediately i'd start to see a change, now I can wait up to a minute before seeing any change at all and this is exacerbated by there being no change in the UI at all other than an apparent change in inventory. 

Waiting up to a minute when i'm the only person in the region is just plain wrong.  There's no chance of trying things on in a hurry to see what different things look like.  Of course that's not always the case but when it takes that long, it's clearly not an issue at my end but suggests that something in the LL infrastructure is struggling badly.

Before the finger is pointed at "oh it's your connection or hardware probably", let me clear that up.

CPU: Intel® Core i7-3930K CPU @ 3.20GHz (3200.07 MHz)

Memory: 24520 MB

OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1 (Build 7601)

Graphics Card Vendor: NVIDIA Corporation

Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 680/PCIe/SSE2

Wired (not wireless) to a router that happily handles hundreds of connections to a 120Mbps internet connection.

For some SSA is a win, it seems mostly those without hardware that would have otherwise baked fast enough.  For those with faster hardware, SSA is now a bottleneck.

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Sassy Romano wrote:

For me personally, it's a big negative hit.  Whereas in the old days, I could change a clothing layer and pretty much immediately i'd start to see a change, now I can wait up to a minute before seeing any change at all and this is exacerbated by there being no change in the UI at all other than an apparent change in inventory. 

 

If you want to see outfit changes instantly go into "Edit Appearance." It used to be that when you changed your outfit without going through "Edit Appearance" it would apply the local bake to your avatar temporarliy and then load the bake from the servers but with there's no longer typically a local bake. When you're in editing mode it DOES create a local bake for just such previewing purposes though.

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Sassy Romano wrote:


Busy areas, no obvious change, people still take up to a couple of minutes to render from grey.


From this statement I am assuming then a no better / no worse scenario as far as other Ava's are concerned. However,

 


Sassy Romano wrote:


For me personally, it's a big negative hit.  Whereas in the old days, I could change a clothing layer and pretty much immediately i'd start to see a change, now I can wait up to a minute before seeing any change at all and this is exacerbated by there being no change in the UI at all other than an apparent change in inventory. 


 

This is a puzzle to me as I am certain it must be to you.  SSA is handled by a seperate set of servers.  If it was a server problem, i.e., server lag, then everyone would have the problem.  Which would bring us to the question, why is your system taking so long to process the data?  Somewhere in the process there is a 'failure to communicate.'

I don't know which Viewer you use (totally your business), but I would certainly file a bug report, "Avavtar takes an inordinate amount of time to bake since switching to SSA."  I  know it can be really hit or miss getting bug reports responded to.  But if all LL or the TPVs hears is complaints with out any other info to go on it does become rather hard for them to fix without any detailed info to go one should they decide to take up the problem.

On a final note, the changes to the UI (Client Side) were put in place ahead of SSA going live.  They were just sitting there "idle" waiting for the implementation Server Side.  Unless you waited till SSA went live to upgrade to an SSA capable viewer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know everyone has a different experience with SSB/Sunshine, but it's far from a perfected technology.  I see rapid changes MOST of the time.  After I've changed clothing two-three times, it simply stops updating.  If I reload textures, the unbaked textures reload as unbaked gray textures.  

At that point, I MUST relog to bake.  My partner uses a different viewer and her results are even worse.  She's lucky if her clothing changes appear at all after the first time.  She must relog almost every time she changes clothes.  

It's not just me either.  At clubs I frequently see many gray people who never bake.  Never.  They remain gray for the entire time I'm there.

We're both on good broadband connections.  I get consistently 29mbps down and 6 mbps up, so it's not my local connection.  She is on a similarly fast connection.  We're using different viewers and I've tried others.  The fact is that SSB isn't a 100% successful change.

When all is said and done, in MY experience, SSA/SSB/Sunshine is MUCH WORSE than client side baking was.  But it does no good to complain.  I just get told over and over "It works fine for me."  So what?

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Jaffee Gaffer wrote:

When all is said and done, in MY experience, SSA/SSB/Sunshine is MUCH WORSE than client side baking was.  But it does no good to complain.  I just get told over and over "It works fine for me."  So what?

It's Jira time.  A complete, actionable bug report is the way to go.  Include SecondLife.log (or equivalent), a description of your local network (router, wired/wireless hops, ISP/Carrier), and regions involved.  Create a descriptive 'Summary' and include the text "[sSB]" on the end.  Should triage faster that way.

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