What Is Happening?
As part of our continued effort to increase the stability and reliability of Second Life, we are happy to announce a new simulator that significantly reduces region crashes. This release is the result of the Havok™4 project, a project that updated the physics engine used to determine all movement of objects in Second Life.
When Will It Happen?
– Monday March 31: Evaluate how the Early Adopter deploy of RC3 went over the weekend
If all goes well over the weekend with RC3 on the Second Life Early Adopter regions, then:
– Monday March 31: Deploy the new simulator to 1500-2000 regions
– Tuesday April 1: Deploy the new simulator to the rest of the regions on Second Life
We will be watching the deploy process closely, as this is a major update, and may opt to delay the larger deploys if we see critical issues in the first phases. Status updates will be provided on the blog.
What Will Change?
We expect that many residents will not notice any changes (other than fewer simulator crashes!), and that the changes that you will see are relatively minor. As with any major update, there may be some issues – in particular some scripts that took advantage of problems in the older Havok1-based simulator may not work exactly the way they used to work. We have worked to resolve such issues and will continue to handle these special cases wherever it is technically possible.
How Was This Tested?
We have worked hard to make sure that this update is done in an open, transparent way, and tested thoroughly to ensure stability and to reduce problems as we roll the update out to Second Life.
Here are a few interesting facts about the public beta process:
– Started in September 2007 and has lasted six months
– Active daily use on over 635 regions of Second Life
– Over 1 million simulator run hours since the start of public beta
– 173 bugs fixed during the public beta
– Over 50 public in-world meetings to discuss issues and make joint decisions with beta testers
– 27 blog posts, with over 1735 comments
What Is A Physics Engine?
The physics engine in Second Life is a key component, responsible for managing all movement of avatars and objects, detecting collisions, calculating gravity, momentum and rebounds, and creating the appearance of friction or damping that slows down movement over time. The Havok4 physics engine update reduces simulator crash rates significantly, to the point that many of our Early Adopters are surprised to see a crash – they now happen infrequently on most regions.
This project increases the reliability of the Second Life simulators, which run in our data centers (as opposed to the Second Life viewer, which runs on your desktop).
What Happens Next?
The Linden Lab Havok4 team will continue to review open issues and work on critical bugs after the release. We know that you will find things that still need attention, and we fully expect that we will continue to do fixes and updates in the period following the release.
Thanks for all of your involvement, support and input. Your help has made it possible to reach the goal of deploying this important Second Life stability update.