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Archive for May, 2013

Server Side Baking on the way!

Firstly I would like to extend my sincerest appreciation to the overwhelmingly positive response by our users to my last blog post. Truly it is that kind of support that keeps our spirits high and morale strong and that motivates us to keep on keeping on. Thank you!

Big changes coming!

As some of you may have already seen, LL has released a blog post about the upcoming Server Side Baking (SSB) changes, also known as Server Side Appearance (SSA), also known as Project Sunshine. You can see the blog post here http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Featured-News/Faster-Avatar-Loading-on-the-Horizon/ba-p/2026857 AND a Torley video explaining the whole thing here http://youtu.be/jwglL3VXI80 (highly recommended you watch it!). The release of that blog post and the video suggest it wont be long now before LL flips that switch.

Huge migration – please be patient!

Although the majority of Firestorm users are on 4.4.0, as of today, according to LL statistics, we currently have roughly 85,000 users still on Firestorm versions that do not support Server Side Baking. On top of that we have roughly 60,000 users still on Phoenix versions that also do not and will not support Server Side Baking. This works out to roughly 145,000 users who will need to migrate over to whatever our most recent Server Side Baking supported Firestorm version happens to be. During this time we ask that you please understand our support team is going to be absolutely inundated. Please be patient with them. They will be doing their best under extremely difficult circumstances the likes of which we’ve never had to deal with.

Update coming…

You may have noticed that I said, “…whatever our most recent Server Side Baking supported Firestorm version….” This is because we are hurriedly trying to get a 4.4.1 release out with major bug fixes to our 4.4.0 release. However, since we still have no accurate ETA from LL on when they will roll SSB out, we do not know if we will be able to get 4.4.1 out in time. Whether you update to 4.4.0 now or wait in hopes that we’ll have a 4.4.1 out will be up to you, but I would recommend you update now.

In Torley’s video he mentions a stage that “includes some polish.” This refers to a code drop from LL a few weeks ago with a little over 100 code changes. We very much hope to be able to include this code in the 4.4.1 update; however, at the time of writing this, the state of that code is, by LL’s definition, “unstable.” Chances are we won’t have this polish for 4.4.1, which may or may not lead to yet another update to 4.4.2.

Keep yourself informed daily!

A lot is up in the air right now for everyone. We are all approaching a time of confusion and difficulty, but in the long run it will all be for the better. Accurate planning is nearly impossible, and things may frequently change at a moment’s notice. I ask that you keep an eye on the blogs during this time to keep yourself updated frequently with what is going on and help everyone by trying to keep yourself and those around you informed.
Recommended blogs for keeping up to date:
http://modemworld.wordpress.com/ General SL information
http://blog.nalates.net General SL information
http://letteponnier.blogspot.ca/ Firestorm specific, esp support related.
And of course we will continue to keep you posted here.

Sincerely,

Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc.

A message from Jessica Lyon

I have never taken the liberty of speaking my own personal opinion on this blog as it is not a place for personal opinions. It is a place for political correctness, fairness and unbiased, unemotional facts. However, today I’ve decided to make an exception because I feel some opinion is called for at this point in time.

Flaming Blog Comments

Anyone reading the comments on our blog posts since the release of 4.4.0 would almost be lead to believe we were actually trying to ruin SL by releasing a viewer with bugs. They might even be lead to believe we intentionally put the bugs there. To those of you who have non-constructively complained just for the sake of complaining, flamed us, trolled us, attacked us, and criticized us publicly as if we were trying to release a broken viewer to ruin everyone’s SL experience…. Kindly walk away from your keyboard. Thanks. Your negativity does not help anyone and only makes it harder for us to remain motivated in spending countless hours of our spare time trying to improve your user experience. If you have a problem we do want to know about it constructively, but not in the context of hate. Furthermore, I will probably be disabling comments on release blogs going forward because they are either being used for drama and hate or support requests. There are proper channels for support requests and blog comments is absolutely not one of them. As for the hate, it helps no one.

Now…Allow me to address…

We’ve been accused of not caring and/or not trying to deliver to you a good product. This team works damn hard to make every new version of Firestorm better than the last. But we are not perfect and the viewer is a very complex piece of software to develop and especially test. The more changes we make to Firestorm the harder it is for us to merge new and required code from LL into it. We have a user share in the 6 figures on Firestorm and that number continues to grow constantly,  it is impossible for us to develop a viewer that works flawlessly on the near infinite spectrum of computer systems out there. So I ask that you try to understand the complexity and difficulty of what we do before you flame us for not making the viewer perfect for you. Quite frankly, I find it offensive that some seem to think we don’t care and/or accuse us of not trying, so let me be crystal clear! We would not be doing this if we did not care, and Firestorm would not be as popular as it is if we were not trying.

We’ve been accused of not testing enough prior to release. While the development of 4.4.0 was somewhat rushed on account that we had to get the LL Server Side Baking code out into a release, we were also extra diligent in testing everything to the best of our ability. knowing that everyone would need to be on this release when LL flips the switch for SSB, IT HAD TO BE GOOD. So I even created an additional level of testing with our preview group, re-purposing it as a third tier of QA with roughly 1700 users to run the release builds prior to officially releasing it. And they tested it… and it took several different release builds before we felt we had it right… before the consensus among our internal development and support tests, our beta testers and preview group testers said “This is ready for release”. Well perhaps it wasn’t ready, and as the leader of this project that blame should lie squarely on my shoulders not those of our developers, support personnel or quality assurance testers. Please stop flaming our volunteers.

For those of you disappointed with 4.4.0, so am I. Even though it seems the vast majority had few problems we did release with some significant bugs. None of which I might add, showed up significantly in our testing. Inventory not loading, Textures not rezzing, Black rectangles in snapshots,  Prims not showing up, low performance are some of the problems that either did not show up in our testing or was missed but which did end up existing in the release.

I am sorry that the release of 4.4.0 was not as great as we had hoped and expected it to be. However, we have worked very hard to provide information to you on how to fix these problems and all while we work very hard to try and fix them properly for our next update.  We have been very busy working on a 4.4.1 update to address some of the issues our 4.4.0 release had and are trying to get it out to you as soon as possible. No release date can be offered at this time, please be patient with us.

 

Sincerely,

Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc

Frequently Asked Support Questions of May 17

Frequently Asked Support Questions of the week leading up to May 17th are…

  • Mesh failing to render and the truth about that debug you might be using
  • Notifications purging between logins
  • System layers removing themselves when saved

Please see the following link for solutions and explanations, and please pass this along!

http://letteponnier.blogspot.com/2013/05/fasqmay17.html

NOTE: No support can be given on blog comments! If you need support please visit our support page.