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RiverScallen

Pilot's dismay - simcrossings now worse than ever!

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I have been experiencing really bad sim-crossings and non-responsive sims in the Blake Seas lately. My experience as an aviator - and many of my friends agree -  its getting worse.  First it was the latest edition of Firestorm that makes flying in SL really horrible. Most of us uninstalled the latest version and reverted back to ver. 56880 due to the problems we are encountering. I fly every day - every day i see more planes crashing. Please tell us that the powers that be is taking this seriously. Many of my friends, including myself have also cancelled our premium memberships as we feel very little is being done to fix SL!  I seriously question my time in SL and whether its worth it. I have been active in supporting the economy. Many of us (just count the number of airports) are here for either flying or sailing. to enjoy what SL can offer us. It is becoming tedious. Please don't ask me about my system etc.  I run a state-of-the-art gaming PC with all the bells and whistles. I am on a high speed high bandwidth Fibre Internet connection.  I did not experience SL so bad in the past as its now. Something is very wrong.   Why are trouble SIMs belonging to LL in the open seas areas not being fixed ?  I mean we all know the Bingo Strait - seems the trouble sims are not being attended to. I am just asking what is going on? Is this FireStorm or SL  - maybe someone can tell me.  

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If you want to know if it is Firestorm or SL in general just download the official viewer and start testing. Maybe if you make a more pinpointed case of issues and file a Jira. 

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1 hour ago, Jules Catlyn said:

If you want to know if it is Firestorm or SL in general just download the official viewer and start testing. Maybe if you make a more pinpointed case of issues and file a Jira. 

I am not responsible to FS nor SL - the people accountable for the service must really make an effort to see whats happening.

 

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3 minutes ago, RiverScallen said:

I am not responsible to FS nor SL - the people accountable for the service must really make an effort to see whats happening.

We all need a little help sometimes. Yes, it is not the players responsibility to research an issue but helping LL along a bit with data never harmed anyone.

Edited by Jules Catlyn
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1 hour ago, RiverScallen said:

I am not responsible to FS nor SL - the people accountable for the service must really make an effort to see whats happening.

 

How will they know what's happening unless someone gives them actionable information?

"The latest Firestorm is broken" - let me guess: you stop moving a second after crossing the region border and freeze for a few seconds before you start moving? There's now a clamp on how long the "interpolation" that is used to create the illusion that you're still moving during a region crossing will take place and it defaults to one second. If you want longer interpolation, go to the debug setting "RegionCrossingInterpolationTime" and increase it. Be glad that a certain evangelist didn't get them to make the default no interpolation at all like he wanted.

After a quick run down the Bingo straight, it looks like the region "Muta" is "out of sync" with its neighbors. That happens occasionally with regions and has been happening for years. Take out a ticket and tell them the problem; a certain restart procedure will fix that.

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12 hours ago, RiverScallen said:

I am not responsible to FS nor SL - the people accountable for the service must really make an effort to see whats happening.

 

  • Have you tried a different viewer?
  • Have you tried a different *aircraft*?
  • Have you paid for anything that you are not receiving?

No one owes you anything, the "responsibility" is on you, not Linden Lab, not Viewer Developers. All of this is worth every real life legal tender penny you pay for it. Based on your description in your OP it appears to be more your problem than most others. So how about you look into your own house before throwing blame around?

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My alt was over near Lagissaria the other day and found a water sim that I could not get into with a yacht.  The sim crossing was just too slow.  So, using my premium powers, I started a support chat and the the Lab rebooted the sim within a few minutes.  Problem solved.

I recommend everyone report bad crossings to the Lab - especially if you are paying $99 a year.  If they have to reboot all of the Blake's sims 5 times a day, they will soon realize they need to fix the underlying cause.  Bitching here is fun, but not productive.

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On 9/27/2019 at 7:34 PM, RiverScallen said:

I am not responsible to FS nor SL - the people accountable for the service must really make an effort to see whats happening.

 

If you won't make any effort to figure out if the problem is actually on your end, a Firestorm specific problem, or something on LL's side of things, why should they either? It may not have occurred to you, but your issues affect you a lot more than SL as a whole. You just aren't that important in the grand scheme of things and aren't entitled to any extra time just because you have a nebulous complaint that may not even be repeatable.

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To put things very plainly and frankly, it is very possible the OP is using a crappola vehicle. 90 of 100 SL vehicles of any types are utter junk and I'm not referring to the models, but rather the scripts inside them (and ACS scripts are the worst).

It's also easy to prove that vehicle quality is likely the culprit. Go to Manji's Automotive Factory on Heterocera and drive any of his demo cars and go as fast as you can over as many region borders as you can. You will cross borders as fast as though you are just flying your own naked avatar across. Seriously: go try it - Demo razzes are here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Burns/110/78/70

Then compare those quality vehicles to your own. I dare ya.

Edited by Alyona Su
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It has now reached PATHETIC proportions to say the least.

I have been flying the same type of aircraft every day for more than a year. IT IS GETTING WORSE! Period! The Neglect of SL is astounding!

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I recently went from Hanibaram in the continent below Bellisseria through the channel and through Bellisseria then to a short channel up to the continent that's above it. I brought an alt along. Other than the alt getting unseated at the first region crossing, the next 109 region crossings went fine. I was only doing 15 - 20 knots though.

SL is a general purpose sandbox. It wasn't designed specifically for vehicles, and certainly not as a flight simulator. SL isn't being neglected, but I doubt Linden Lab has much interest in spending a lot of developer time on making your flights better. They've got many other things to do.

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Posted (edited)

Seems to be a bug in Firestorm 6.3.2. As far as I can tell, the "Stop" option for "Movement at Region Crossing" no longer works.

boguspos03.thumb.png.1c70f63289cd180ac51cdfce7f5d8af4.png

It's BAAACK! We had this fixed. But some people didn't like the hard pause at region crossings.

bogusinair.thumb.png.38fa36412a734f7ce58b48b4a4992e67.png

Above the ground, below the ground - still broken.

Short version - at every region crossing, there's a short pause while one sim process hands over control to the new sim, which implies copying a lot of data across a network and some handshaking with the viewer. SL viewers try to guess what's going to happen during the pause, to make region crossings look seamless. The guesser is not very good if you're moving faster than walking speed. I put a fix in Firestorm to not guess at all. That's "Stop" mode, and it's been in Firestorm for months. It's good for fast vehicles, and really bothers some people with slow boats, because it looks jarring. LL picked up on this and put in their own fix, which is the old guesser with a new time limit on how far ahead it can guess. When Firestorm picked up that code from the LL viewer in 6.3.2, that apparently broke the "Stop" setting. Hence the pictures above.

Edited by animats
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37 minutes ago, Parhelion Palou said:

... the next 109 region crossings went fine. I was only doing 15 - 20 knots though.

this ^^

going slow helps, as it allows time for the viewer to connect to the neighbouring region(s).  A good indicator of when the next (neighbouring) region has connected properly is the Minimap.  When the next region is rendered fully on the minimap then we are in almost every instance, good to cross.  What kills us is crossing into a region to which we (our viewer) haven't yet established a full connection

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On 9/29/2019 at 1:32 PM, Alyona Su said:

To put things very plainly and frankly, it is very possible the OP is using a crappola vehicle. 90 of 100 SL vehicles of any types are utter junk and I'm not referring to the models, but rather the scripts inside them (and ACS scripts are the worst).

It's also easy to prove that vehicle quality is likely the culprit. Go to Manji's Automotive Factory on Heterocera and drive any of his demo cars and go as fast as you can over as many region borders as you can. You will cross borders as fast as though you are just flying your own naked avatar across. Seriously: go try it - Demo razzes are here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Burns/110/78/70

Then compare those quality vehicles to your own. I dare ya.

It depends what you are using the vehicle for. If you are racing around a sim then the ACS scripts or tweaked ones at least were top of their class. It has been a while since I did any racing in SL, but that was what they were best for... with Tama tunings in particular they lap faster than my reactions doing oval full sim tracks in a matter of seconds. It has been a while since I had any interest in racing, they aren't good for sim crossings and when I see one in a boat I know that is just going to cause problems... but they certainly aren't junk. Just junk at sim crossings.

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Meanwhile I can rent a server for less than 15 bucks a month, install Arma 3 on it, load up a 20km by 20km map, and fly/drive/boat to my heart's content. Why bother with sim crossings?

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On 9/27/2019 at 4:14 PM, RiverScallen said:

Many of my friends, including myself have also cancelled our premium memberships as we feel very little is being done to fix SL!

I see this kind of comment all the time and there's more than enough people to make up the difference. 🙄

On 9/27/2019 at 7:34 PM, RiverScallen said:

I am not responsible to FS nor SL - the people accountable for the service must really make an effort to see whats happening.

I don't think you're going to find a lot of assistance complaining on the forums or demanding someone else fix it for you. Since you've already tried those and know what the problems you're facing you could use this as an opportunity to help yourself and the community or you could just rage quit - IDK

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On 9/27/2019 at 5:34 PM, RiverScallen said:

I am not responsible to FS nor SL - the people accountable for the service must really make an effort to see whats happening.

 

Case in stupidity: Stuff is broken, I refuse to say how or why. Fix it now!!!

/fail

 

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22 minutes ago, Pussycat Catnap said:

Case in stupidity: Stuff is broken, I refuse to say how or why. Fix it now!!!

/fail

Don't blame a user. I've documented failures, filed JIRAs, posted videos of repeatable region crossing failures on Vimeo, put logging of sim to viewer messages in Firestorm and put the results in a JIRA, put logging in vehicles and had them log failures to a server and published the statistics, and gone to Server User Group for a year to complain.

Region crossings are still broken.

No additional effort from the user side can help much. It's a sim-side problem. Sometimes, we don't know why, some component of an avatars/vehicle/attachments set doesn't make it from one sim to the other. That's what a failed region crossing really is - some parts made it and some parts didn't. You're stuck partway through the process, and re-connection of the components can't take place. So you're stuck. With enough logging added to the viewer, some of us have seen this happen in the message traffic to the viewer. But we can't find out why. As users, we can't see what went wrong sim to sim. That's LL's job.

(There are other problems with region crossings that don't involve a total fail, like those nose dives and rubber banding. Those are separate bugs.)

The elephant in the room is this total region crossing fail bug, the worst breaking of immersion in Second Life. This bug devalues mainland, inhibits large-scale roleplay and events, and limits free movement in SL's big world.

As far as I can tell, there are only about two developers deep inside the sim system at LL, and they're the same ones working on EEP,  the conversion to AWS, the sim overload problem, and any new bugs that come along. LL has too few people trying to do too much. Fixing this requires several more really good C++ programmers and more money.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, animats said:

Don't blame a user. I've documented failures, filed JIRAs, posted videos of repeatable region crossing failures on Vimeo, put logging of sim to viewer messages in Firestorm and put the results in a JIRA, put logging in vehicles and had them log failures to a server and published the statistics, and gone to Server User Group for a year to complain.

Region crossings are still broken.

Yeah I get that.

I just think... I have a LOT more sympathy for you than for the other person.

When you make that statement, it is very easy to feel for your cause. But you have done every reasonable thing possible and still no result.

 

That said, I suspect this issue will plague SL until the servers get shut off. We're dealing with a tech-stack that dates to the late 1990s, being used with today's modern internet expectations. The architecture of the mere concept of a 'sim' is a dated idea...

We have region crossing problems... because we have regions...

I still feel more motivated after your post to say "improve it"... because you cite efforts made and attention called.

 

 

Edited by Pussycat Catnap

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Posted (edited)

I don't consider this a problem impossible of solution. It's just one that's expensive to solve.

I've had a long career in Silicon Valley, and have some idea of what I'm talking about here. Here's what Linden Lab is facing.

They have a huge system written in C++. It's a real time system. Those are rare and outside the experience of the average programmer. It's a big, distributed, real time system. Those are even rarer. Probably less than 1% of programmers have ever worked inside anything like the sim side of SL. It's not anything like web services. The protocols are different, the constraints are different, and there's much more persistent state. (The web works even with bad code because you can reload pages and restart servers freely. The one part of web servers that really has to be reliable, the database, is a solid technology decades old. SL is not like that.) Thus, the huge pool of web programmers does not provide good candidates for working on SL internals.

SL is a unique system. There is nothing else like it. A new hire can't ask questions on Stack Overflow. There are no books on the technologies used. For almost everything else that's really hard, from machine learning to self-driving cars,  for Hadoop or Rust or UE4, there are books, courses, and conferences. Not for working on SL. There's no external support.

It's not even much like a standard massively multiplayer online game. Those are typically a standard game engine in the client, with a single server managing a shard of the game world for a small number of users. SL is a huge cluster of tightly coupled machines with a lot of coupled state.

Anybody who works on SL has to be a good C++ programmer who can figure out code with few comments. The original designers are long gone, the internal documentation is limited and incomplete (you can read the message format documents, on the wiki, to see this), and, judging by the viewer code, the code is not extensively commented. This is what technical debt looks like.

Some of that technical debt has to be paid down. The sim to sim protocols need good analysis tools, error checks, and documentation of all the states and how they change. You have to have an unambiguous definition of correct operation and a way to check for it to find and fix incorrect operation. That's months of work. The upside is that whomever does this will really understand what's going on, and hopefully document it so the rest of the team does, too.

There are programmers who can deal with that. In Silicon Valley, they are very expensive. About $200K a year in San Francisco. (Yes. Look on a job site like Glassdoor for senior C++ jobs in San Francisco. The average apartment in San Francisco rents for US$3400/month.) Someone who can do this could sail through an interview at Google or Facebook. Someone who takes that job is taking a career risk. They could get into a growth area like self-driving cars or ad targeting, where there's a next job around the corner if this one doesn't work out. Experience inside SL doesn't directly translate to a job anywhere else, which, in an industry which wants people productive on day one, is a big problem. So it can be a career setback. That means LL has to pay extra money.

Or you could hire some juniors and train them up, which would take six months to a year before you could trust them on anything critical. They'd start at maybe $100K a year. If they're not making $150K two years in, they're gone. And you have to manage them, which will take at least a quarter of the time of a senior developer.

You can try remote work, but it's risky with something this tightly coupled.

Fixing region crossings probably costs a year and about US$500K. That's the problem.

Edited by animats
typo
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On 9/27/2019 at 7:34 PM, RiverScallen said:

I am not responsible to FS nor SL - the people accountable for the service must really make an effort to see whats happening.

 

If users don't report the bugs in detail, programmers can't fix them. 

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2 hours ago, Blaise Glendevon said:

If users don't report the bugs in detail, programmers can't fix them. 

Whist this is certainly true, your average SL user is not your average systems manager of an industrial computer system, so the quality of the report tends to be low.    @animats big contribution has been to document the issue of sim crossings bugs (I think there are several) in a way that a programmer can use the info.

My approach is different, I just tell LL every time I have a failure.  Even if all they do is look and see it's me again, it still cost them.  If we all did it, they would soon put in resources to fix the issue because faults would cause them costs.

If it's broken - report it, every time.  Something like:

Going from 'region name' to 'region name' is broken.
SL Date & Time:
Vehicle:
Number of occupants:

 

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I think reporting every sim crossing failure is a waste of both your time and LL's (although they probably spend less time to throw it away than you did to write it out and submit it.)

Sim crossing failures depend on a great many factors, most of them out of LL's control.  The vehicle's scripting, your avatar's complexity, number of passengers and their complexity, speed of crossing, angle of crossing, performance of your and your passengers' internet connections, the condition of the gaining region including scripts and textures.  Possibly your inventory size and structure, the phase of the moon, and how many butterflies in China are flapping their wings.

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