Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On the Technical Town Hall

Some excerpts from the Technical Town Hall transcript that I found particularly interesting or insightful, for whatever reason. Quotes are sometimes followed by my comments, when I have something to add. All emphasis in the quotes is mine.

Server scaling, other than the centralized services issues I just covered, is primarily a function texture prioritization/downloading, script processing, physical simulation, and interest list calculation.

The phrase interest list calculation gave me a fascinating little peek at how the servers prioritize what content (esp. animations, sounds, and textures) to keep ready-at-hand to feed to your viewer. It also explains why editing or hovering your mouse cursor over an unrezzed texture often makes it rez faster. And why textures you haven't accessed in a year take longer to rez than textures a dozen people see every day.

We had a serious bug through october and november that was crashing sims in the messaging code. That bug is now fixed, so sim crash rates should drop. As we find them we try to kill them.

Background: for several consecutive weeks in November, the sim where I host my Advanced Building class would crash 3-4 times within the 2-hour class session. On more than one occassion, I strongly considered retiring from teaching in SL, simply because of this issue.

I will say that we are trying to update our messaging system to more properly leverage existing standards rather than our hand-rolled one. … Doing this is, as you might imagine, a tremendous amount of work, because we have to start by taking message template out behind the shed and shooting it. Then, we need simulators and viewers to be able to discover what features they have, be able to fall back gracefully, etc etc.

I would ask folks to remember that when we undertake major changes, it is a little like trying to rebuild the engine of a car. While driving it. And changing to a hydrogen economy. Without hitting anyone, losing control, or breaking the car.

If they [libsecondlife developers] break the terms of service we treat them like any other resident, but just because they tinker does not make them criminals.

Speaking of hiring … to reinforce what Philip said, if you and a friend are somewhere other than the Bay Area, we still should talk. We are already a distributed company and I see no reason why we can’t become more of one.


Neural said...

Thanks for not retiring from teaching. :D *hugs*

Akela Talamasca said...

I'm linking this post on SLI. Prepare for more traffic.