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Everything posted by animats

  1. Oh, good. I had a collision with one of those ban lines while flying a helicopter over Belli back from visiting the new area on the east side. Helicopter stuck in the ban line. Sent in an AR.
  2. animats

    pivot point

    Chin Rey and I recently discovered that #2, "including a small, transparent piece that is offset on one side of the door's hinge edge", breaks llCastRay. Ray casts through such objects randomly go through it. I ran into this with a large semitrailer truck my NPCs couldn't see. Got that down to a dummy semitrailer physics model with strange cast ray problems. Had others with scanners over to check it out. Found out that three tiny triangles to make the physics and visible models match caused a problem. Rey gave me a door with an offset extra vertex to try, and it has the same llCastRay problem in an even simpler situation. My NPCs will walk through it, but an avatar gets a collision. Haven't gotten to the bottom of this yet.
  3. Yes, the code in the viewer supports mipmapping. When the viewer uses it, I have no idea. The viewer has several tools for adjusting resolution. It can load a texture at reduced resolution from a progressive JPEG 2000 file. It can send a texture to the graphics card at a lower resolution than it loaded it. It can send mipmaps to the graphics card and let the graphics card do multiple resolutions. It can even replace a texture already in the graphics card with a lower resolution version. I looked at that code once, looking for a bug which was crashing self-compiled viewers. Somebody did all their homework. All the hard stuff is done. When it does what is not clear. Some of those policy decisions are clearly not optimal. They date from an era when graphics cards had far less memory, and when the sim servers were serving the textures in their spare time. But there's no obvious place to go in there and start re-tuning the texture loader. The policy is spread over many places in the code. It's thus hard to change. LL has talked about looking into that.
  4. It's not even clear that's a copyright violation. See AM General LLC v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. et al, recently decided in New York. Blizzard can put Humvees in their games without paying the company that makes them in the real world. The court framed this as "is there any likelihood that anyone would confuse a real-world Humvee with a video game Humvee?" No way, so it's OK. Ducati, the motorcycle maker, lost a case on this in Europe. There have been decisions the other way. But mostly where the copyright holder is in the entertainment business. It's complicated. It's an interesting area. You can't copyright a functional object under US law. That's why you can buy third party auto parts. (The auto industry has lobbied Congress to give them copyright in body sheet metal so they could shut down the third party body part business. Congress didn't go for that.) Trade dress is a distinctive look for marketing reasons, which doesn't apply to a Humvee but might apply to a Harley. Design patents could apply, but they only have a term of 15 years; then the design is public domain. Despite this, Herman Miller has been suing makers of furniture who copy the Eames chair from the 1950s, with some success. Incidental appearance of a branded product in a movie comes up all the time. See here for a lawyer's take on it. It's usually OK, but there are cautions. There are useful Nolo Press books on intellectual property if you want to read up on this.
  5. Good question. I hope it doesn't become part of your excess baggage as you move from sim to sim.
  6. That worked! Then I was able to de-render another 200 objects or so and have a clear sky. Fortunately I don't fly near there.
  7. Spent about 10 minutes trying different distances and selections, but never got a hit on the dome.
  8. If the graphics card runs out of texture memory, sometimes the viewer will reduce some textures to lower resolution. What GPU and how much VRAM do you have?
  9. Can't de-render this thing. Can't even select it for editing. And it's full bright. Strange. I can fly up to it. Still can't select it. I can cam inside and de-render the contents. But not the dome itself or its ground. Is there some way to hide this glowing monster?
  10. For roleplay, there are some existing communications products that rely on external servers. This used to be a bigger thing in SL. The NTBI/Gentek Telecom people had, and still have, telephones you can get. You can dial other stations and set up a text chat. They went all the way with this. There's a phone book. There are in-world central offices, microwave relay towers, central office switches, and an operations center. At one time you could call 911 and reach an in-world 911 call center, which could connect you to the SL Coast Guard and various other RP emergency services in SL. The instructions to 911 operators began with "Arrive in Five". Their job was to move roleplay forward in a professional manner. But modern-day roleplay went into decline in SL, and the 911 center was no longer staffed. Now it's gone. In case of emergency, dial 911. The lights are off, no one is there to answer. It must have been interesting in its day. You can still get phones that work on this system, but there's nobody to call.
  11. I'm encouraged that LL is cleaning up some parts of the system. I was expecting them to box up antiquated server code and obsolete versions of software it uses into a Docker container, allowing them to run long-outdated versions in "the cloud" for years to come. I was pleased to discover recently that the viewer (Firestorm version) can now be built on Linux with the standard GCC compiler, library, and tools, and with the standard version of Python3. A year ago you had to install obsolete tools from about 2013 to build the viewer. I gather this was a problem in Windows land, too, and a worse one, because you needed obsolete, unsupported versions of the Microsoft toolchain, which are hard to get. On the viewer side, some of the technical debt has been paid down.
  12. Blender is - OK. Not great, but OK. As of 2.8x, not too bad. Over a decade ago, Blender had the user interface from hell. Hundreds of buttons in search of a user interface. You needed to divide the screen into four views to see what you were doing. 13 pages of hotkeys. It was like EMACS meets 3D. Today, it has a sort of OK user interface. Still has 13 pages of hotkeys. The functionality is pretty good. There's a good renderer, it understands the latest physically based rendering descriptions, and wiring up a shader wiring diagram usually isn't necessary any more. I can't say I like it, but I can get work done with it. Everything takes way too long, though. You're working down at the face and vertex level, where you can do anything if you have enough time and artistic talent. SL needs something mid-level like Sketchup or Archimatrix or Dreams for the average user who wants to make something.
  13. Patch to Firestorm submitted, ref https://jira.firestormviewer.org/browse/FIRE-29021
  14. Quite aware of this, having been coding some improvements to the viewer lately. It's not unmaintainable, but due to technical debt, maintenance is harder than it needs to be. I see some real promise in the way the "cloud uplift" is going. The uplift clearly moves more functionality out of the sim code to other servers. I'm guessing here, but the uplifted architecture might go like this: You log in, and some load balancer assigns you a slot on a "user server". There are many user servers on Amazon Web Services, each serving maybe a few hundred users. More user servers are started and stopped as more or less users are logged in. That's what AWS is good at, dealing with variable load. The user server is running part of the code of today's sim servers. but not the part that does the 3D world. Your inventory, preferences, chat logs, groups, friend lists, Marketplace stuff for sellers, etc. are loaded from databases. The user server then finds out where you were in the 3D world. and sets up the connections to the proper sim server for that region. The sim server is running part of the code of todays's sim servers, but minus the stuff the user server does. That includes all the stuff listed above, which the 3D world does not need to know about. Anything which can be done in the user servers takes load off the sim servers. How much can be done in the user servers? Everything listed above, at least. It's noteworthy that Oz Linden has said that inventory has been moved out of the sim servers, because that does have some in-world connections. A big win would be to move appearance, clothing, wearables, and attachments out of the sim servers. The sim server has no interest in what you're wearing. Attachments don't collide. That info is between the user server and the viewer, with help from the asset servers where the mesh and texture files live. Going further, all worn scripts could run in the user servers. Sometimes they'd have to ask a sim server for some info or ask it to move something. But most worn scripts are for clothing adjustment, and they need zero interaction with the sim server. LL may or may not be doing that. But it's a big win if done. This leaves the sim server doing mostly physics, object movement, and object scripts. Most of the load associated with avatars is elsewhere. Avatars would also have far less excess baggage to be copied from sim to sim as they move. So the impact of teleports and region crossings would be much less. The sim servers rarely have much trouble with object movement and physics load. Most of the load is scripts, as anyone who looks at the performance window in the viewer is aware. The payoff is more avatars per sim before things slow down. Maybe many more. A thousand avatars in seats is just a thousand stationary prims to the sim server. A huge problem with LL as a social system is that too many people in one place makes it choke. Now this basic problem can potentially be overcome. SL can have big concerts. Even Fortnite can't put a few thousand people in one place. They have to fake it with multiple copies. I don't know if this where "uplift" is going. This is me speculating on how LL is implementing what they've said they are doing. But if there's a split between sim servers and user servers, which it looks like there is, this is where it leads. It's a way to make SL scale better. (Yes, viewer overload. See my other posts on that.)
  15. Did a Drivers of SL drive today. Boat, helicopter, motorcycle, heavy truck. Larson truck. Old, rough ride, rocks from side to side. Good test. This truck is always rolling a little, and, as explained above, that gets amplified at a region crossing. The new limiting works. At every region crossing, the roll stops at about 20 degrees. That's the idea; there's some bogus motion, but it's limited. Slow boat. Sailing with an SL yacht club. Absolutely no going underwater, going into the air, rolling over, or other totally bogus motion. We're out on a complex boat that takes about five seconds to cross regions. The first second is extrapolated, then there's a stop for the rest of the region crossing. The viewer can hide a quarter-second region crossing, as when an avatar walks across a region bound in a non-busy sim. It can almost hide a half-second. It can make a full second look better. Beyond that, you have to accept a stop. There's only so much the viewer can cover up. Maybe the region crossing delays will get shorter after "cloud uplift". AWS offers very fast inter-computer links within their data centers. We've done what we can viewer-side.
  16. Not very back. The web site still says "©2011 Makena Technologies, Inc." More new players are entering the metaverse business. Venture capitalists are writing about it again. Amusing comment by a VC: "This is not new either. Second Life has been around since 2003, has over 30m registered users of which about 500k are active monthly. Alas, it has not become mainstream, doesn’t have tournament prize pools of $30m, millions watching and generally speaking is not considered “cool” in high-school." (Ref.) This is why I keep pushing on performance issues. SL's speed problems are fixable. Not easily. Maybe not by the current team with the current budget. But fixable. Yes, many of the older SL users are not happy about kids moving in, but that's where the market is.
  17. Yes. Also, Oz Linden has said that the mobile viewer does not put in you in world; it just does chat, groups, etc. Today's Lab Gab said that the "cloud uplift" is being done one piece at a time, in small pieces. That suggests that the sim server code is being split into "user stuff" and "3D world stuff." and put on different servers. The 3D viewer needs to talk to the region sims, but the text-only mobile viewer does not. When the mobile viewer comes out, it's likely that anything it can do has been moved out of the region sim processes. This is a good thing. The less the region sim servers need to know and do, the faster they can run. Less excess baggage dragged around as an avatar moves from one sim to another. The region sim servers don't really need to know what you're wearing to do their job. They just track that so they can tell the viewers. To the sim, you're a cylinder with rounded end caps. If the region sim servers can pass the buck to the user server that's handling your current login when some viewer wants to know what you're wearing, teleports and region crossings become much lighter-weight operations. Being overdressed stops impacting the region sim servers. Don't know if they're going that far.
  18. Just watched Lab Gab, on the "cloud uplift". No new viewer is planned. Oh well. It was mentioned that inventory management has already been moved to "the cloud". That's progress. It's probably the most complicated non-world thing the simulator does. Originally the region sims did the whole job of running SL. Then asset serving (meshes, textures) was moved out, which is good. Now inventory. Over time, more stuff that doesn't involve the live 3D world may move out - chat, money, Marketplace interface, groups, LSL compiling, mesh uploads, etc. Those are more like standard web server tasks, and will be easier to maintain if they're not entangled with the main sim code. Also, AWS's scaling features are good for such things. Looks like they're going that route.
  19. So far, so good. I've tried an assortment of vehicles; boats, cars, motorcycles, helicopters. The sakura are so close! On the part of Robin Loop from Electra to Neumogen on Heterocera, there are many Japanese parcel owners. They've all put Japanese cherry blossom trees along the road. It's a beautiful drive. So I drove it in a classic car, using my viewer fix in Firestorm. Driving with this fix makes high-speed region crossings feel like a moment in a muddy spot. You slow down and maybe stop for a moment, then push through, going straight the whole time. No need to take your finger off the up arrow key. Low speed region crossings are very smooth. Some sailors were unhappy with the previous "stop" fix. If that was a problem for you, please IM me. I'd like to go for a ride on your boat while recording video. Thanks.
  20. I see it's now marked as "deprecated do not use" in the wiki. I'd suggest keeping it, but only for when an object is sending to its own creator. It's useful for objects that want to phone home with debug info. (SL doesn't have good logging facilities for debugging. It's nice to see something added in this area.)
  21. Oh, that's a nice piece of work. That pin-wheel escapement is basically OK. Standard early tower clock design. But the wedges are going so far into the pins that they sometimes get jammed and push the pin wheel very slightly out of line. That's a situation with random friction, which has to be messing up the timekeeping. You can hear the different collisions as it runs. Some ticks sound different than others. You can even see the pin wheel go out of line slightly. It's a nice problem to figure out how to make an accurate mechanical clock in SL. It may be possible. The physics engine in non-overloaded sims runs at 45Hz. If you can make things repeatable enough that your error is never more than half a physics cycle, it might lock into the rhythm of the physics engine and keep good time. At least until some avatar with too much stuff TPs in and causes "time dilation" as the server struggles to keep up by slowing the physics engine. (I tried to build a tower clock once, for a steampunk convention. I got the laser cutter files for a wooden clock and used them with a plasma cutter to cut the parts from steel. But TechShop's old plasma cutter was too inaccurate and the verge escapement didn't work.)
  22. Smooth crossings. Works for both a fast motorcycle and a slow sailboat, with no user adjustments needed. Needs to be tested in more situations. So far, so good. I've built a modified version of Firestorm for my own use with a new movement prediction limit system. Boats behave like they do in the LL viewer. The boat moves forward smoothly for one second (that's LL's current limit, not mine), then stops, then rubber-bands back a few meters. So that doesn't change. Ground vehicles on bumpy ground, though, get hard-stopped before bogus motion gets out of hand. No flying into the air or diving into the ground has been seen yet. Movement after a region crossing is stopped after an error predictor calculates that the error will exceed set limits. Currently, I have those set to a position error of 0.25m and an rotation error of 20°. During a region crossing, the viewer moves the vehicle and avatars forward in the direction they were going over the last 5-10 seconds. If the previous movement was very smooth, as when sailing, prediction is allowed for up to 1 second. On roads, it's about 1/10 second. After the region crossing completes, there's the usual snap-back Camera control hasn't changed, so you still get the camera continuing to move while the vehicle is stopped. Anyone want to look at that? Code here, for viewer developers. Licensed Firestorm/LGPL. I will be talking to the Firestorm developers about putting this in. There's no perfect solution to this, but this one is better than what we have now.
  23. SL should work on lower end computers, but here's what gamers have now. Steam has about 20,000,000 concurrent users at any one time. Highest ever in one game was about 3 million. Nice big market there. Here's an automated survey from data Steam collects: https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey That market is out there, waiting for SL to serve it properly.
  24. That is very, very good. LL needs to pay Luca for that at commercial rates and run it as a TV commercial.
  25. Hm. It's too bad that SL never has had a standard for prim water, understood by all swim HUDs, AOs, and boats. Then we could build locks. As well as swimming pools, of course. There's something called a "marine railway", a cradle which picks up a boat in one place and moves it somewhere else. I have something like that so I can launch my boat across the beach in Reeds Landing. But it's sized to the boat. An adjustable-sized one would be a nice piece of work. Leave space for a connection between the water levels, please. Maybe someone will design a solution.
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