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Blue Moons, Backwards Rainbows and Infinitely Distant Stars


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So here are the release notes to the latest patch.

None of these things are important to me.

I could easily go on another 17 years in SL with the moon remaining blue, the rainbow backwards and the stars infinitely distant. In fact, all of this is kind of poetic. In fact, I used to use "avatar feet shadows" as a catch-all term for the Lindens endlessly tinkering on arcane issues that weren't pertinent to the main functioning of SL, and now I'm going to switch this to "infinitely distant stars" because I think that sums it up best nowadays.

None of these issues listed seem vital to me except possibly mesh uploading and crash fixes and it's not clear if these are the main crash problems these days.

Nearly all of these issues have to do with the "look" of SL, the graphics, which a certain category of complainers on the forums flag as the chief target of their venom, and which earns their undying scorn over different "engines" and "this 'n that" that distinguish SL from Unity worlds.

I flag this just to point out that this sort of patch and notes are actually the norm, it's what a lot of them are about, it's not just this one -- most of them are like this in recent years.

Broken search is not what the patches are about.

Group chat is not what the patches are about.

I really do not care about EEP and ALM. Very rarely I might turn them on to make a picture or at the insistence of some art sim, but generally, they grind my SL to a halt so I keep them off. I don't need the sky to be pretty. Yes, that means it is strange when I log on and haven't turned on "midday" yet (see below) which is what I keep on pretty much all the time so I can see things, even on very arty sims that want to keep you in the dark.

I don't think I'm that different than most players of SL, except for a small, vocal cohort of those who like making photographs, putting lots of effort to pre- and post-processing and posting them on Flickr. 

The amount of trouble that EEP and Windlight etc have caused the Lindens -- witnessed by their program notes for ages (go look at them) makes me wonder if it was all worth it.

But they are driven by a notion of industry progress, industry peer pressure, and you on the forums who scorn them for the way their graphics look.

After I install this new patch and log on, I see my outfit won't show, I'm a ghost, and only a quarter of my inventory has loaded, although I cleared cache. So it means now a half an hour of trying to fix all that and iron out the new patch for myself.

Oh, but Prokofy, didn't you make a "clean install"? Of course I did. First, I rescued the chat history folder and re-named it. Unlike any other product I own, SL has the strange feature of wiping out content that is on my own hard drive when it has a new update. 

 

Release Notes

Love Me Render #5

A collection of graphics and rendering fixes, a little like a weather report, including but not limited to:

  • Mesh uploader
  • Specular reflection brightness
  • Crashes fixes
  • Alpha masked attachments
  • Camera distance to avatar in neighbor region
  • Blue moon
  • Backwards rainbows
  • Sunglow and moonglow will now stay put
  • Moon and moonlight mismatches
  • Drippy clouds on the horizon
  • Dim clouds
  • Specular reflections from the heavenly bodies
  • A weird AMD bug where nametags appear on the wrong side of things, but only with ALM turned on.
  • Infinitely distant stars, relatively speaking.
  • Dark skies, not so dark anymore.
  • ALM is awesome, graphics presets should remember them, now they do.
  • Third Party Viewers replaced dynamic_cast with a static_cast for performance. We followed suit.
  • New Water Reflection modes for increased performance. Previously, Preferences > Graphics > Advanced Settings > Water Reflections, had a minimal setting but was missing a “none” setting to turn off reflections.
    • This update implements no reflections with two settings:
      • Water is opaque
      • Water is transparent
    • The full list from fastest, lowest quality to slowest, best quality is:
      • None (opaque)
      • None (transparent)
      • Minimal (clouds only)
      • Terrain and Trees
      • All static objects
      • All avatars and objects
      • Everything

Known Issues

This build has a fix for BUG-230789 “[MAINT-E] Alpha failures with Release 6.4.18.558266 (64bit).” The fix involves rolling back a previous commit to fix BUG-227673 issues with bakes-on-mesh and alpha modes, so that issue will need to be addressed in a future release.

Resolved Issues

  • BUG-230789 [MAINT-E] Alpha failures with Release 6.4.18.558266 (64bit)
  • SL-15096 Sky regression in LMR #5
  • SL-14994 BugSplat Crash: SecondLifeViewer!LLUUID::operator==(966)
  • SL-14990 BugSplat Crash: ig75icd64+0x2971ad
  • BUG-230331 Presets don't restore Advanced Lighting Model
  • BUG-230088 Undefined behavior in class2 windlight cloud fragment shader.
  • BUG-230087 Sun gamma is incorrect and results in washed out or too dark textures
  • BUG-230047 Clouds are unusually dim in EEP
  • BUG-230049 Stars render around center of sim instead of center of camera.
  • BUG-230032 Name tags, floating text and object selection outlines shows in front of objects and avatars with Advanced Lighting Model turned on with an AMD GPU.
  • SL-14529 Replace dynamic_cast in animesh
  • SL-14275 Water Reflection new modes
  • BUG-229436 [EEP] Specular reflection too bright when the camera is outside the light radius
  • BUG-229013 [EEP] Moonset inconsistent
  • BUG-229122 [EEP] Glow should be directly behind the sun or moon when it is near the horizon.
  • BUG-229102 [EEP] Rainbow colours are reversed
  • BUG-228952 Mesh Debug Normals display incorrectly. Normal Maps on scaled objects appear to use incorrect mesh normals for shading calcs.
  • BUG-228914 [EEP] Deferred Soften Shader fails to link when Atmospheric Shaders are disabled. This causes Debug viewer builds to crash.
  • BUG-228781 [EEP] Specular color interpreted wrong (too bright) from point lights.
  • BUG-228581 [EEP] Specular map reflections are way too weak.
  • BUG-229689 [EEP] cloud texture is rendered backwards
  • SL-12740 [EEP] The EEP moon has a hardcoded blue light that is not present in Windlight-based viewers
  • BUG-227041 Camera distance to avatar in neighbouring region incorrect
  • BUG-226620 [EEP] Specular reflections from the sun/moon are broken at low gloss values
  • SL-9931 [EEP] Clouds are dripping as they hit the horizon

June 4_020.png

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Posted (edited)

Since the very beginning, the moon has been further away than the stars - they cross in front of the moon. If they are fixing that, then it's about time.

Edited by Phil Deakins
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Posted (edited)

I agree with Prokofy that LL is concentrating too much on shiny and too little on usability of the platform.
I think that the problem is that for most of the usability problems there are no easy fixings.

Putting the stars behind the moon sounds a lot easier to fix to me.
But I can be wrong, I'm not that technical.

Let's wait and see how the retention rates sky rocket, now the moon is fixed.

Edited by Sid Nagy
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These fixes impact me as I create stuff using materials, which the original EEP update broke. I'm not the only creator who has been waiting for this update to make it into the official viewer. Hopefully the other viewers will add it soon. Some of the EEP issues were smaller than the materials issue, but rolling them all in together makes sense.

Different teams will have different skills, so you weren't going to get something unconnected fixed faster by telling the LMR people to stop working on fixing EEP.

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2 hours ago, Polenth Yue said:

These fixes impact me as I create stuff using materials, which the original EEP update broke. I'm not the only creator who has been waiting for this update to make it into the official viewer. Hopefully the other viewers will add it soon. Some of the EEP issues were smaller than the materials issue, but rolling them all in together makes sense.

Different teams will have different skills, so you weren't going to get something unconnected fixed faster by telling the LMR people to stop working on fixing EEP.

What percentage of your customers actually use EEP, see materials in all its glory, and have ALM turned on?

I'm one of your customers, and I don't have ALM and most of the time I don't bother with trying to see materials and yet still enjoy SL

What is LMR? Actually, it doesn't matter. My point isn't so much about the literal to-do list in this literal release notes, which is how you're taking it. It's about priorities. It's about what keeps getting fronted. 

So if LL is tasking their engineers to do things like Infinite Stars, to serve a small pro-sumer class of creators, and succeeding in this so that you're happy and they're happy then...what about the rest of us?

What about the rest of SL that isn't an Infinitely Remote Star?

Try to hear it.

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1 hour ago, Prokofy Neva said:

What percentage of your customers actually use EEP, see materials in all its glory, and have ALM turned on?

I'm one of your customers, and I don't have ALM and most of the time I don't bother with trying to see materials and yet still enjoy SL

What is LMR? Actually, it doesn't matter. My point isn't so much about the literal to-do list in this literal release notes, which is how you're taking it. It's about priorities. It's about what keeps getting fronted. 

So if LL is tasking their engineers to do things like Infinite Stars, to serve a small pro-sumer class of creators, and succeeding in this so that you're happy and they're happy then...what about the rest of us?

What about the rest of SL that isn't an Infinitely Remote Star?

Try to hear it.

LMR was the project fixing these things, separate to the main viewer fixes. You still got your main viewer fixes while LMR was being worked on. That's why the notes seem like a lot, because suddenly the main viewer and the LMR viewer are the same thing.

I wouldn't say the fixes are only for creators. Other people do notice the problems, but don't understand what's causing the problems. A recent thread was from a creator who'd had multiple customer complaints, because the product looked different when seen with a broken EEP viewer. The customers knew something was wrong, but not why or who was to blame.

Don't take this to mean I think all this is ideal. Releasing EEP without checking what it did to existing content was not a good move. I wouldn't have chosen EEP as my most wanted feature either. But they launched it, they broke things, and that means they did need to fix them.

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LL was able to hire some good graphics people, who are focusing on the graphics part of the system. Also, graphics is well understood, and some of the viewer problems were just from using old technology. We all had a good talk about this at the last Creator User Group.

Server side is less well understood. It looks like Simon Linden gets stuck with all the hard bugs, and there's only one of him.

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6 hours ago, Polenth Yue said:

LMR was the project fixing these things, separate to the main viewer fixes. You still got your main viewer fixes while LMR was being worked on. That's why the notes seem like a lot, because suddenly the main viewer and the LMR viewer are the same thing.

I wouldn't say the fixes are only for creators. Other people do notice the problems, but don't understand what's causing the problems. A recent thread was from a creator who'd had multiple customer complaints, because the product looked different when seen with a broken EEP viewer. The customers knew something was wrong, but not why or who was to blame.

Don't take this to mean I think all this is ideal. Releasing EEP without checking what it did to existing content was not a good move. I wouldn't have chosen EEP as my most wanted feature either. But they launched it, they broke things, and that means they did need to fix them.

Polenth, this omnibus LMR patch isn't the only LMR patch ever, there have been a number of them, I read every one. And it's easy enough to establish that the "main viewer" patches have tons of little tiny things that aren't vital, too.

Creators are the most vested interest group and their small sub-set of customers who either notice, as you say, or follow these issues obsessively. But read what I wrote. Most people do not. Go and stop any avatar in Ambat or any popular club or just riding down the road and ask them if they know what materials is and if they have seen a Blue Moon or noticed their motorcycle or lawn chair or adult couch wasn't shiny in the right places. They won't have noticed. 

I'm glad to hear you have identified the chief issue of EEP is that it shouldn't have been released back in the day as there wasn't anyone clamouring for it except a small group.

I would submit that by launching shinies that glitter and impress a few, breaking things and then fixing them, the Lindens can create the illusion of progress. Maybe it's an important illusion of progress in some respects but it's not core progress.

There need not be only one Simon Linden as this is a profitable company and they can hire more engineers.

The Creator User Group gets its way often but is a tiny percentage of the user base. Search has been broken for nine months, meanwhile.

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The Moon got stuck on my horizon line with eep , figured out how to make it disappear. Even with a  2020 MBP w/ 16 gigs can't move with all the shiny buttons on , so they don't matter to me--I 'live an SL life' versus a photoshop album version.

Just hope with Oz gone the engineers don't spend time on the verbally loud crowds desire to have options 95% of us never use . Just to say they have the feature.

 

 

 

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On 6/8/2021 at 6:09 AM, Prokofy Neva said:

None of these things are important to me.

I could easily go on another 17 years in SL with the moon remaining blue, the rainbow backwards and the stars infinitely distant.

😿

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Sheesh.

FIX THE BOOGZ

NOT LIKE THAT

 

On 6/8/2021 at 9:09 AM, Prokofy Neva said:

So here are the release notes to the latest patch.

This patch is a graphics roll up patch. It will only contain graphical fixes.

Stuff like this gets released in blocks so LL can better tell how reliability & performance has been impacted.

Yes there are other bugs. Believe it or not, there's more than one developer working on SL.

On 6/8/2021 at 12:56 PM, Sid Nagy said:

Let's wait and see how the retention rates sky rocket, now the moon is fixed.

Rendering is a low bar.

If stuff looks broken, then the whole product stack is assumed to be junk. This applies to all applications & games, not just Second Life and is a base expectation. Graphical issues have a disproportionate impact on retention.

This isn't getting distracted by shiny, this is the cumulative work of one specialist addressing issues in a fundamental pillar of the experience.

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It's like a  busy car workshop that gets lots of cars brought in with very specific but general engine problems, so the management team decides to hire a few good paint experts extra.
"Sorry we are unable to fix the engine problems, we hardly have mechanics for that, but look how the paint is shining on your car".

Edited by Sid Nagy
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27 minutes ago, Sid Nagy said:

It's like a  busy car workshop that gets lots of cars brought in with very specific but general engine problems, so the management team decides to hire a few good paint experts extra.
"Sorry we are unable to fix the engine problems, we hardly have mechanics for that, but look how the paint is shining on your car".

What a perfect analogy!

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Coffee Pancake said:

Sheesh.

FIX THE BOOGZ

NOT LIKE THAT

 

This patch is a graphics roll up patch. It will only contain graphical fixes.

Stuff like this gets released in blocks so LL can better tell how reliability & performance has been impacted.

Yes there are other bugs. Believe it or not, there's more than one developer working on SL.

Rendering is a low bar.

If stuff looks broken, then the whole product stack is assumed to be junk. This applies to all applications & games, not just Second Life and is a base expectation. Graphical issues have a disproportionate impact on retention.

This isn't getting distracted by shiny, this is the cumulative work of one specialist addressing issues in a fundamental pillar of the experience.

It's very, very, VERY typical of MOST PATCHES in that the focus is OVERWHELMING on graphics, EEP, the look of SL, and not its function, like group chat or SEARCH which has been BROKEN for NINE MONTHS.

How do I know? Because I read every single release note. And given your literalist fixation on the overall valid point I've made here, I doubt that if I go and dredge up every single patch from the last 2 years to prove my point, that it will ever be made to you because you don't want to concede that form not function is the obsession of the LL team. So I'm not going to bother with that.

Yeah, I get that are multiple developers, teams, and you all in that SUG and other type of technical groups who are superior to us norms in your knowledge of the inner workings of SL. But I have never been afraid to state the obvious about all this nerdy work, and I'm not afraid now.

It is being distracted by shiny. Actually, "distracted" isn't even the right term, as if top management just lets the nerds do their thing, which, while once the case, hasn't been in recent years. It's actually more about Managed Dysfunction. For all kinds of reasons, LL has not been able to tackle head-on at root some of the functionality issues and put all their human power and resources on them. We have now come to see that part of this was about a very brave CEO who, instead of saying "I am retiring to spend more time with my family" as he learned he had months to live, decided instead to see through SL moving to the cloud -- your inventory and mine, as if that matters, more than his family? Who decided to sell off a failing branch and sell the Lab itself to give it both a liquidity event for original investors and a chance for new energy and life. Would you do that or would I if given months to live? No, we wouldn't. So I get the circumstances, but even before Ebbe, the trend was not to look hard at all the key dysfunctions of governance, rule of law, copyright, functionality that are really required for a functioning special community of this nature. Ebbe gave a gift that was really quite phenomenal and it should not be squandered. 

There are other worlds and games that are always by their nature going to be shinier and SL cannot reach their level simply because it allows user generated content and not just game dev content, the end. This shouldn't have to be mentioned every time.

Graphics are only one factor of retention. As I have tried to indicate in a small way with polls I conduct in world plus -- PS, my thousands of customers over the years, hello, not trivial. Quite valid in fact. Why do they leave SL?

o relationship gone bad, heartbreak, or partner steals content because they let them on their account -- big factor

o can't afford the price of owned or rented land

o nothing to do, nowhere to stick, friends have all left or even died in RL, just can't gel

So "pillar of experience" be damned, frankly. Linden has never gotten the new user ramp in right, and still has crazy insane stuff like literally falling off mountains into an abyss in your first minute as their idea of "education". At least it's not killing rats as you steer a motor vehicle around.

Governance and functionality have always taken lower places in their techie-wiki oriented world. It's actually an achievement of Ebbe's in his 7 year tenure that he got rid of some of the worst of that and made SL more normal. Made it have Bellisseria, where people can be happy and flourish. Added groups space, even if chat doesn't work. Made land cheaper with more prims. That last bit is way more important to the common man than infinitely distant stars.

Infinitely distant stars, my a$$!

 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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4 hours ago, AnnabelleApocalypse said:

Can I surmise this thread as "I want to have a tantrum because nothing in the latest patch is directly relevant to me"?. Or is there more nuance here that I am missing?

Yeah, the nuance is that it's not about me, and not about just this latest patch, but ok, carry on.

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New stuff is easier to fix?  The developers are probably still employed by LL.  Fixing something someone else developed and who knows how many people have tried to fix is more than likely, a PITA.

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4 hours ago, AnnabelleApocalypse said:

Can I surmise this thread as "I want to have a tantrum because nothing in the latest patch is directly relevant to me"?. Or is there more nuance here that I am missing?

Yep - which is quite normal for the OP. Not really, though they'll try to pretend otherwise, usually by pretending to speak for others.

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4 hours ago, Rowan Amore said:

What a perfect analogy!

It's really not .. in SL's case, the rendering is a critical and complex part of the engine. There are no "simple shiny" easy fixes here as Sid is trying to imply, this is not a trivial nothing-burger patch.

 

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2 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

It's very, very, VERY typical of MOST PATCHES in that the focus is OVERWHELMING on graphics, EEP, the look of SL, and not its function, like group chat or SEARCH which has been BROKEN for NINE MONTHS.

Because ... those are all VIEWER PATCHES we get full release notes and source code .. the viewer is mostly concerned with fetching data and rendering it. THAT'S WHAT IT DOES.

Group chat and search are SERVER SIDE and we get what information LL feel like handing out. We wont get viewer release notes that contain "made search work just how prok likes it". Ever .. because that's not how search works.

CAPSLOCK is OBNOXIOUS every other WORD isn't it.

2 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Yeah, I get that are multiple developers, teams, and you all in that SUG and other type of technical groups who are superior to us norms in your knowledge of the inner workings of SL. But I have never been afraid to state the obvious about all this nerdy work, and I'm not afraid now.

Guessing how stuff works and then getting angry about it doesn't seem like a fun hobby.

 

2 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

There are other worlds and games that are always by their nature going to be shinier and SL cannot reach their level simply because it allows user generated content and not just game dev content, the end. This shouldn't have to be mentioned every time.

That's not actually why at all ... SL is a dynamic canvas, games are a static one. The actual assets we upload in SL can be used in game engines and rendered faster and prettier. 

The arguments here against high detail user content is not based around the raw detail of the things. The engine is by design, weaker, and unable to function like a game engine, and the best we can do is to min/max content to try and streamline the load.

SL's weaknesses are a direct result of SL's core architecture. If we had a game engine, SL would render super fast .. but it wouldn't be SL anymore and half the stuff we do and take for granted wouldn't be possible.

 

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