…also known as…
Typical party scene above, no big deal, right? Ah, but it was a very big deal — it was a live beta test of InWorldz’ new script engine (dubbed Phlox by its main author, Tranquility “Tranq” Dexler) on the Birthday sims.
Last week, I noted the gawdawful lag one had to fight to move anywhere, let alone see the displays, and lamented, “Too bad Phlox was too new to try out here…” I won’t claim credit for putting the idea into the collected heads of the IWz folks, but they did do just that, this past Friday, and invited everyone to give it a try.
A week ago, the rubberbanding was on the order of “fours steps forward, three steps back, repeat”. Flying was no better — although I should add that sim crossings have never been a problem for me in InWorldz, even pre-Phlox. After getting the word through Twitter that Phlox was being rolled into the Birthday regions, I decided to re-trace the path which winds down and around through all four sims, from Time Capsule Plaza to the party venue. The result: NO rubberbanding, not once — not even in region B, where the number of visibly moving prims implies the heaviest script load. I had the Stats window open while strolling down the lane; time dilation never went below 0.95, and stayed solidly at 1.00 once I got to the party space.
Mind you, my frame rate was down below 10 fps for most of that… but I attribute that to the number of textures my viewer was trying to load, not the server. I can keep graphics set to Ultra almost anywhere without a problem (even in SL!), but this was stretching the limits — not of my hardware (AMD quad-core; Radeon HD 6800 vid card) but of the bandwidth and the viewer’s capacity to render it in a timely fashion.
Before I left, the party had drawn a peak of 37 avvies to the sim, many of whom brought additional scripted goodies to push Phlox’s envelope, with no noticeable increase in lag. I’d call that success, and solid grounds for congratulations to Tranq, Legion, Jim, and whatever other InWorldz Code Monkehs were in on the Phlox project.
In short: Woot!
As of this morning, I don’t know when Phlox will be officially declared “out of beta” and rolled to the remaining InWorldz servers… but I’m anxious to have it working at home, as well as out in the commercial regions — it’ll be so much easier to go shopping.
Anyway… I took advantage of the new ease of movement to record three more displays at InWorldz’ 2nd Birthday before the sims come down:
Ophion’s Egg, by Alizarin Goldflake
… and this quietly pastoral scene promoting Mooville, the land owned by BeBe and John Mahogany (in the region called Soda Springs):
This is usually the part of the blog wherein I make some attempt at editorial comment, and the subject of “proprietary” revisions to OpenSimulator code certainly is ripe with possibilities. One camp adamantly insists that all improvements to OS server code be folded back into the overall effort; those are the ones who chastise InWorldz for not staying “in the fold”. The other camp points out — correctly, IMO — that the folks who own and run InWorldz are not sheep.
As far as I know, there is no contractual obligation, either implied or explicit, to “give back” when using open-source code under license. Whether or not there’s an ethical obligation… well, let me put is this way: righteous indignation and strident insistence that my behavior conform to yours for no more compelling reason than you said so is not effective persuasion.
Meanwhile, instead of give-back, I consider what InWorldz is doing with Phlox as “paying it forward,” to their customers — that is, people like me who are pleased to pay them indirectly for the work they do to improve conditions on the regions we lease…. people like me who appreciate every minute of the code-grinding that got them the results we then enjoy.
It will, no doubt, be interesting to see what the InWorldz team decides to do with Phlox beyond implementing it in their own world… Will they offer it up to the larger OS community? Will they sell it to Linden Lab, who sorely need something like it, but who really ought not to get it for free? Whatever they decide, I trust them to always have the best interests of their own world, and the people in it, on their minds.