Hey Residents. So, in addition to the usual links and bug fix listing, I’m going to use this blog posting to cover the first of three topics I want to address this week…
I’m going to be blogging about three topics of great importance to us (the WindLight Team) and you (the Residents) this week. These are:
* The state, cause, and expected resolution of ATI and Apple problems.
* Aesthetic issues/changes/fixes with WindLight (including avatars looking messed up, overbrightening of textures, etc.)
* Performance and stability– is WindLight a glowing gem of engineering or a buggy, laggy mess? ONLY THE STATS CAN TELL. News at 11.
Before I jump into the first topic, ATI and Apple problems, I want to just list out the bugs fixed in this release, as I think many of you will be quite delighted! (This may be the highest votes-per-bug release we’ve had yet!) The fixes are:
* VWR-3258: WindLight: Performance drops and triangle rendering glitches on some ATI cards with VBO on
* VWR-3590: Using NVidia drivers 169.09 BETA and ATI drivers on vista cause Windlight to render shiny objects as either invisible or transparent
* VWR-3287: WindLight: Tree lighting appears uneven and harsh during certain times
* VWR-3162: WindLight: Objects, avatars, and water sometimes disappear after zooming camera
* VWR-925: WindLight: Enabling Atmospheric Shaders disables shader water on various NVIDIA GPUs
* VWR-3418: WindLight: Intermittent colored screen flashes that sometimes happen with mouse clicks
* Crash on mac when editing appearance
* Bogus “computer does not meet Second Life’s minimum system requirements” warning from Windlight
* Debug setting RenderGlowMinLuminance values are now clamped properly.
Now, onto the notes on ATI and Apple problems. As many of you have noticed, we seem to have an inordinately large number of (or at least persisting) bugs related to certain ATI cards (under Vista, for example), and certain Apple configurations (Leopard, etc.) The reason for these in both cases is tied to the vendors themselves. Here’s the scoop:
This is the fundamental issue at hand:
ATI’s drivers do not currently support linking of GLSL shaders on x1950 and above and on all ATI cards on Vista.
In layman’s terms, this means a lot of the higher end rendering features that require shaders simply won’t run in those cases. Erg. But, ATI has told us that the new 7.12 drivers coming out this month may very well fix those problems. So be sure to check out ATI’s driver page regularly. In the meantime, rest assured that we’ve both cracked a lot of the bugs and can currently ensure at least the following:
* Sky/cloud shaders DO work and SL runs decently
* Other shaders don’t work (no water, no glow), but that doesn’t affect general SL functionality
* Fallbacks all work now. No transparent shiny.
I know it sucks for the time being, but it’s one of the problems we face with the current matrix of graphics cards (Intel, Nvidia, ATI), shader language support (Cg, GLSL, HLSL), driver versions, and cross-OS support (Win, Mac OS, Linux). Oh, to have one standard to rule them all! 🙂
The situation with Apple (especially with things like GeForce 8600M and Leopard problems) is a similar one- we’re limited by their support for advanced features in their drivers/software. However, they’ve really stepped up their game recently and we’ve been working with them strongly over the past couple of weeks. Here’s the latest from BigPapi Linden, one of our graphics devs:
“I’ve been having a lot of back and forth with Apple over the last two weeks and it’s already bearing fruit. They found the cause of shaders falling back to software on the 8600M MacBook Pro. Don’t have an ETA as to when a fix for this will make it into a release of theirs, but the problem can also be solved from our end with some shader loading cleanup and streamlining, which I will be doing as soon as Runitai is done with the crysis drivers shader fix. They’re still investigating Leopard issues, but solving the 8600M might have a trickle down effect.”
So that’s the latest there. We did recently solve some of these types of problems (like VWR-3258), but we are a bit tied in a lot of these things by the manufacturers. Good news is we have direct dev relationships with them at this point and you can pretty much be assured we’re solving them as quickly as the latest drivers/updates permit. Oh, to have one standard to rule them all! 🙂
- See the full list of open WindLight bugs.
- See the big list of fixed WindLight bugs!
- Issue tracking/reporting
Come to WindLight office hours! These are at:
- Brampton Linden Stage: 106/166/25
- Tuesdays 8:00am – 9:00am PDT (ongoing)
- Thursdays 1:00pm- 2:00pm PDT (ongoing)
If you miss a session, transcripts are posted here.
Below you’ll find links to important info related to WindLight:
Have a great time lighting your worlds!!
Pastrami Linden and the WindLight Team