Monthly Archives: December 2012

Fixed OpenSim Sun and Physics Bugs

We updated the service today with several bug fixes to the way the sun works in OpenSim, and fixed a physics bug related to sculpties.

The Sun

Each region and estate in OpenSim can have their own sun settings. These settings determine whether the sun is fixed in one place or moves throughout the day, and if it’s fixed then at what hour. Each region can furthermore specify whether to use its own sun settings, or the settings in the estate.

Note that the distinction between region and estate settings is only useful for worlds that contain more than one region. In such worlds, if you set all the regions to use the estate’s sun then you can easily change the sun for all the regions at once. However, in 1-region worlds this distinction is less important because it’s the same amount of effort to change the settings in the estate or in the region.

We fixed a bug that prevented the setting “Use Estate Sun” from working. This is the setting that says that the region declines to set its own sun settings but instead wants to use the estate’s settings.

We fixed another bug that occurred when moving between regions that have different sun settings. The proper behavior is that every time the avatar enters a region, the sun immediately changes to the settings used in that region. But before we fixed this bug, in some cases the sun remained on the settings of the previous region.

A combination of these bugs could cause the following “interesting” behavior: when a user moves between regions, the sun suddenly changes position, and after a few seconds returns to the previous position. We became aware of this bug thanks to Ener Hax who demonstrated it here: http://iliveisl.com/megaregion-environmental-time-issue-video/.

Sunset in Eoliah Village

Sunset in Eoliah Village

The final change we made related to the sun is actually a new feature, and not a bug fix. From now on, if your world is in Advanced Megaregion mode and you change the sun settings in any region then this change will automatically affect all of the regions in the world. This saves time because you don’t have to go to each region separately and change it. If you do want different sun settings in each region then disable Advanced Megaregion mode; change each region as you wish; and then re-enable Advanced Megaregion mode.

(If you’re interested in changing the sun position using scripting then see Change the sun settings using OSSL in the Kitely forum.)

Scupltie Physics

We fixed a bug (reported here) that sometimes caused scuplties to have the wrong physics shape. The sculpties’ physics shape was stuck on the basic shape (sphere, cube, etc.) instead of matching the sculptie’s appearance.

New Kitely Forums with Single Sign-On

We’ve improved Kitely today with a new, easy-to-use forums system, and several improvements to OpenSim and our website.

Kitely Forums

Ever since we started our beta, people have been asking us to create user forums to make it easier to connect to other Kitely users. We’re happy to announce that as of today, the Kitely forums are officially open and located here: http://forums.kitely.com

Kitely Forums

To make it easy to use the forums, we’ve implemented a single sign-on system: any user that is logged in to the Kitely website is automatically logged in to the forums as well. We hope that this will make the forums a convenient place for discussions among the Kitely community. Please visit the forums now and introduce yourself!

You have the option to “subscribe” to individual forums, and if you do so then you’ll get an email notification whenever someone posts something to those forums. We encourage you to subscribe to the forums that interest you and become an active participant.

Our previous support site is now deprecated, so please switch to posting your support questions in the new forums. We’ll keep the old support site up for a few more months, since it contains information that may still be useful, but eventually it will be shut down. If you’ve previously posted information which you think is still relevant to other Kitely users then please repost it in the new forums.

We would like to acknowledge the efforts of two Kitely users: Margaux Lapointe and Dot Macchi, who have been kind enough to setup their own Kitely user forums when we had none. Despite being “under the radar” these forums have been quick to attract passionate users and produce great discussion. Dot’s forum in particular, http://forum.kitelyusers.net/, showed us how much good a forum can do and pushed us to add an official Kitely forum. Thank you Margaux and Dot!

Choose World Wind Settings

In one of our recent updates we changed the default type of wind used in OpenSim from “Random Wind” to “Configurable Wind”. We did so at the request of some of our users, but since then we’ve been told by other users that they prefer to use Random Wind. We’ve therefore added a checkbox that lets you select which type of wind to use in each of your worlds. All existing worlds are now using Random Wind by default, so wind behavior will return to what most people are used to. If you rely on Configurable Wind in your world then please make sure to enable it.

Improvements to OpenSim

We’ve implemented the ability to return objects from the Top Colliders and Top Scripts dialogs. This feature simply hadn’t been implemented in OpenSim yet, so we added it, and submitted it for inclusion in regular OpenSim as well. This should not be confused with the ability to return all the objects that belong to a particular user; that feature has always worked.

The following two OpenSim improvements rely on our proprietary cloud-based infrastructure and will therefore benefit Kitely users only:

Sometimes offline users appeared as online to their friends. This problem should appear much more rarely now, and will repair itself automatically after a while.

Some of our users encountered a problem where they had accidentally created a prim with a size of zero in one or more of its dimensions. Such prims are extremely difficult to delete because viewers don’t allow selecting them. We’ve added a self-fixing mechanism to Kitely: whenever a world is started we find such prims and change their size from 0 to 0.001. That is enough to make it possible to select those prims in the viewer, and edit or delete them.

Removed Support for Internet Explorer Versions 8 and Below

As of today, we no longer support IE version 8 and below. These old IE versions were used by just 0.05% of our visitors, so this change will have a minimal impact. However, supporting those old browsers was a chore so dropping support will let us focus our efforts on more modern browsers.

Other Improvements

We added a section called “My Subscription” to the Settings page. This makes it easier for users to see their subscription status at a glance. That information was previously found in the “Get Credits” dialog, but that placement was counter-intuitive so we moved it to a more prominent location.

Kitely Is Now Significantly Faster than Regular OpenSim

We updated Kitely today with system improvements that make Kitely perform significantly better than regular OpenSim: worlds start faster, assets appear more quickly, and lag after login has almost been eliminated.

Worlds Start Faster

Kitely worlds are not always on, so sometimes they need to be started when someone enters them. Kitely was already much faster at starting worlds than regular OpenSim, and today we improved startup times even more, especially for complex worlds.

Assets Appear More Quickly

Kitely’s cloud-based asset system had already provided superior performance to regular OpenSim’s assets service. We’ve spent the last few weeks optimizing it further and now it performs even better, especially in serving textures to viewers.

Significant Improvements to Login Lag

Entering an OpenSim region is often accompanied by noticeable lag while OpenSim downloads assets and inventory. This lag affects everyone in the region; not just the user that entered. Our newly improved cloud-based assets and inventory systems almost eliminate this lag, providing unparalleled responsiveness when entering a world. Try moving around when you just entered a world to experience this for yourself!

Important Note Regarding These Optimizations

The aforementioned login-time optimizations require some preparation for each world. These preparations will run automatically the first time you start the world. This means that the optimizations will only take effect starting with the second time that the world is started.

Other Improvements

Following user requests, we added an option to remove a world’s picture. You can find this feature in the Advanced tab of the Manage World dialog: next to the picture you’ll now see a link called “Remove picture”.

Following another user request, we added Angstrom to the list of viewers that the Kitely Plugin supports.

World pictures now appear faster in the Public Worlds page, enabling you to see the search results page with less waiting.