Last few weeks the  cries have gotten  louder and louder and ppl are  complaining and  moaning and  even  leaving InWorldz cos  … Heck, the Founders are  just wasting our time and money  and  they keep postponing the  new physics engine.

Now you all  know I’m  NOT  tech minded and Tranquility , bless his geek mind, do try to explain  but  for us non geeks it’s often resembles the teacher in Charlie Brown on a good day.

So I thought Id try to explain  what exactly its is that has  physics delayed this time… the Assert Servers …

Dear blessed assert servers, the  servers that hold .. well… everything in a virtual world. Everything you  buy, import, build. Everything you rezz on your region is connected to the assert servers as well.

Remember SecondLife? Yea  we have almost all  been there, almost all of us were “born” in SecondLife and  I dare you to  tell  me that you  never ever in your entire SecondLife existence  havent lost something due to  Asser Server malfunction  of some kind.

Now  a few months back  Tranquillity (InWorlds co-founder and coder extraordinaire)  noticed  a problem with the  assert servers  and the  restarting of regions. He could  see that this had potential  of being a huge  one if he just ignored it (LL style) See in InWorldz the regions  are set to 45K prim value vs the 15K prim value in SecondLife. Now keep  that detail  in  mind as we  move on  in this  story .

Ok, so  I  use to  own some regions in SecondLife, just a small  Estate nothing big. I  was also a member of the Concierge group  and lots of  creators and  small, medium, big Estate owners were in that group as well. I  learned a LOT  from  all  of these  people in  my  more active time in Second Life.

It was/is a daily  occurrence that someone lost  something in SecondLife. Either from  their inventory or  when  a region  had restarted. Now let me tell you a story  of region  restarts in SecondLife.

As a region  owner / Estate owner  you  have the ability  to restart the region. Its equals  restarting your computer when  you  have run  it to  long and  stuff is hogging  our memory (very  basic terms) So … we have an Estate, regions are built on,  things are rezzed out, things with  scripts, textures, sounds, animations etc etc, These all take up  memory  on the server they are at  and are also  connected to the  assert servers that  keep  track  of; Textures, scripts, animations, who  owns what, who  can  do  what with  what objects, permission on  objects set  by the creators  etc etc.

Ok so things are starting to  lag on  a region,  so you go and hit the restart button. And wait …. and wait ..and wait …. *snore yawn * and finally ..  yay it comes back online! Now minutes .. hours .. later you get it by  IMs;  “My TV is missing?” “My dog went poof?” “Half my  house is gone?” You go “ARGH oh  no  not again please” So you  investigate. Are the stuff no  copy (please god in  heaven  let it be copy), is it their  viewers that are wonky? .. Some people do  not log in  everyday  or maybe only  once a day  or  they  might be on  vacation  or out to  visit  Aunt Mathilda for  a day or two  and wont discover their stuff  went poof till  days after.

So yea you can  do  roll backs, but then  another problem  arises. What if  its  12-24 hrs ago   the things went poof? What if others on the region  have rezzed stuff in  the meantime?  Now those things will  go  poof if you roll  back  (at this time it’s where you start pulling your hair  cos ppl are  angry  as shite and want their stuff back !!)

Now this scenario  is bad enough  on regions that has only 15K prim values… imagine this on a 45K prim  value region…  Yay  fun  times … Restart and half the stuff has gone  poof in the  assert servers. Brilliant  fucking brilliant ! Just want you  need!

You  have built an  entire region   of your dreams  and on a restart  stuff has gone, just vanished. Now sure ..  “Rollback” ..  yea but  what if half that stuff was no  copy? .. Well  tough titties o you .. its gone forever.

I can’t count the  endless times I  heard stories like this from  Estate owners not to  mention Merchants that  have ppl  IMing them like crazy  to  get substitutes or  IMing them  cos the  assert servers wont cough up  what they  just  spend  4-5-6-7 $ buying.

How about this  for  fun;  You  come home,  jobs been  crap,  kids having a bad  day, wife all  PMS and you  finally  sit down  and log in. You have planned this al  day  ..  you  wanna relax, go sailing,  flying, shoot someone in the RP group  you’re in. So you  log in  and …  the damn  inventory  wont rezz,  so  you  clear cache and relog  …. still  nada ..  ok ..  so  now you   start asking around and gets told  “You  need to  log into  an  empty  region   to  let your inventory  load completely” .. Ok  fine,  you  grumble  cos  you  just wanted to  relax and now you  have  issues up  your wazoo …. So  yo  relog again  and log into an empty  region  you  got the name of ..  Hey ..  not working … the region is being restarted  and its stuck in  limbo  or  taking its sweet time  getting back  online, so your landed at a region  where there are tons of ppl  and  chatter and crap  and you  still  cant  get  your inventory to bloody  load. All of this sound familiar?

Personally  the first time I experienced a major loss due to the assert servers in Second Life was after I  had a party  on a region  I  just bought.  I  had  rezzed out  30K L$ worth  of  things  for the party  and  next day  when I  went to  collect it … it was  gone ..  poof vanished. And yea  it was all no  copy  stuff. To  bad so  sad little Lady. LL didn’t give a crap  and the merchants ?  well   it’s really  not their fault  is it?

So  all  of these scenarios are what Tranquility  is  working very  very  hard to  prevent  from  happening in InWorldz. It’s not because the don’t care, it’s because they  do  care. It’s not because  the Founders think  Physics are not that important  it’s because  they  know exactly  how important it is. How important it is for  people to  sail, fly, shoot, and so  on  but  they also  know that is not gonna happen  if people can’t  get to  their  boats, planes,  scooters,  guns cos the assert server  gone ballistic of if the   roleplay region  you go  to   just got restarted and half the  builds are missing cos the assert servers decided they  had a bad day .

Hang in there cos Physics are round the corner and Tranquility  is  working  very  very  hard to  get  YOUR stuff secured so  you  can   spend 2012  goofing about  with  what ever physics stuff you wanna goof about in.

  1. Bradd Laval says:

    Well explained.. I feel for the land owners who get IM’d about missing stuff and it’s not their fault. They can lose money in reimbursing or rentals lost.

    • ladysakai says:

      Hi Bradd
      Im glad you like my post as it was you that pushed me over the edge to make it 😉 I had been thinking of it for a while now but you sorta forced me out the door . Yea I feel for them as well… its really not our fault when things go poof but we sit with the crap when it happens and as mentioned on twitter today. People really dont give a crap about the tech explenations. They want it to work end off.

  2. annaloom says:

    Lady S – Congrats! You have made the most profound well laid out statement “yet” about the non-existence of the Physics we all long for.
    Your support for the founders, especially Tranq (bless ‘is little ‘eart!) is echoed by my thoughts. It is a helluva lot of work to do to try to get those asset servers doing what they should do and as you say, they have to be right before we can move forward.
    SL used to and still does drive me nuts and already with InWorldz one can see the leaps forward in twelve months that in some respects has overtaken SL.
    InWorldz is definitely home for me and for many of us.
    Thanks for writing such a supportive and explanatory Blog

    • ladysakai says:

      Hi Anna
      Your most welcome 🙂
      I felt I had to as Ive been talking to some people in world and they are frustrated untill I take time to explain exactly what it is Tranq is doing. In a non tech way. Once they hear what poor, shoddy assert servers can do they all take a step back and go “oh I didnt realise, no Id want that to be fixed first” So yea. Explain it to the common people like myself and we understand and we will support. Not that Im saying the Founders dont take time to try to do just that but sometimes to many tech words creep in and ppl shut down and stop reading/listening.
      I can say that its only cos of my years in SL and mainly through the Concierge Information Group Ive learnt so much from other Estate owners and merchants and that some of them have been willing to explain things to me tech-dunse that I am 😉
      For years and years I defended the Lindens .. the Lindesn that was walking among us trying to help best they could. As years went on and the top brass kept making hairbrained decisions and not focussing on the core issues, like crap servers, I felt like just giving up. I still support the Lindens that are honestly trying to help but are facing the same as the rest of us. The top brass that just dont get they have to fix the backbone of the patient and not keep looking for a new cute colour nailpolish. Well its does make for a pretty looking corpse but other than that *shrugs*

  3. jerirahja says:

    I have been here well over a year now – and have not missed the need for physics – I know my artists are in the wings waiting in baited breath for it – because what can be created in “The Arts” with physic is mind blowing. We have major plans At Alexanderia Kingdom region – Where Gulliver Travels, Creative Power, Wizard & Wizzy’s Workshop, along with Acquarella: After the Apocalypse.
    Major additional works will be made on those art sims and new Major productions will start with new artists and new sims as soon as physics is introduced – but we will wait – just the anticipation – is always a way to drive one a tad bit crazy – cause we plan and our planning list grows wild with the anticipation……

    Jeri Rahja

    • ladysakai says:

      Hey Jeri
      Ya Im like you .. I really dont miss the physics as such but I do understand the need that some have for it … Im sure your artists are just iching but good news is that it wont be long and then while they are bedazzeling us with their workk they can do so knowing their stuff wont go poof on them 😉

  4. Lady Sakai —

    I run standalones and minigrids, both on home computers, and with OpenSim hosting companies, and never had assets disappear. And I just checked with OpenSim core developer Justin Clark-Casey, and he says he hasn’t heard of asset vanishing problems with the latest versions of OpenSim.

    I did have temporary inventory loss issues on OSGrid during one of their recent upgrades (they were moving the entire database over from one version fo OpenSim to another) but they were very fast to restore everything.

    About a year and a half ago, OpenSim underwent a very major refactoring, which significantly increased stability and performance. All hosting companies (with possible exception of ReactionGrid) and most grids (with exception of ReactionGrid, InWorldz, and OpenLife) are running a post-refactoring version of OpenSim. Other benefits — more secure hypergrid (for those who like to have it on), media-on-a-prim, mesh support, NPCs, Bullet physics, etc…

    Another advantage of running OpenSim at home — or with an OpenSim hosting company — is that you can export your entire region and inventory whenever you like.

    That’s not an option for closed commercial grid, of course. If you’re running a proprietary role playing game, you don’t want folks exporting your exclusive content. But for people, schools, groups, companies using OpenSim for meetings, events, creative building, collaboration, etc… it’s good to have some regions under your full control.

    Merchants in particular should be running private regions or grids as warehouses and manufacturing facilities, and upload their finished products to closed commercial grids for sale. That way, they will always have the original regions, and can make as many backups as they want.

    Meanwhile, I hope that InWorldz wll find a way to take advantage of all the work being done by the wider OpenSim community. It’s not particularly productive to have to redo all that work yourself — but the more time they spend improving core functionality, the further away they get from compatbility with mainline OpenSim. And the more time, and money, they have to spend on solving problems that have already been solved. Getting back on track with the standard deployment of OpenSim will allow them to focus their resources on improvements over standard OpenSim — making their grid better than others — instead of simply on catching up.

    • ladysakai says:

      Hi Maria
      Things that are NO COPY do vanish in SL when we do restarts. Not all the time but sometimes it goes poof. Now the why and the how you have to talk to someone that is a coder about not me. I can only tell you what goes on after the fact when it is gone and no amounts of rollbacks will make it appear again. Talk to any Estate owner in SL and they will tell you that they have had at least one incident of this during their time of business. I dont know of the tech stuff in OS so I have a hard time commenting on that. I do agree that seeking compatebility is the future for various grids be they open or closed but thats its a different debate 🙂

    • Jim Tarber says:

      Maria, either you were mislead, or you just don’t understand what was said, or whoever said it doesn’t understand. Refactoring has nothing to do with code improvements. When done correctly, refactoring has no functional effect on the resulting code. It is simply a cleanup of ugly code to make it more readable for the developers who have to work on it. It has NO effect on reliability. Here, in more detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refactoring

      InWorldz has been refactoring the old Open Sim code for about 18 months now, as well as replacing most of the major systems of Open Sim with entirely rewritten, scalable, and much more reliable components.

      The asset storage system was completely replaced about a year ago with a high-performance super-scalable replacement for the Open Sim code.

      The Phlox script engine is the envy of all virtual worlds, including Second Life, providing flexibility and performance orders of magnitude beyond any other engine.

      The storage for all region data has also been completely replaced with an entirely new scalable system.

      And most recently, the poorly-performing inventory back-end system used by Open Sim completely replaced with an entire new, highly-scalable and flexible “NoSQL” inventory system, based on the same technology used by the largest and most scalable systems on the internet (including for example, Facebook). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_Cassandra

      These are all critical foundational services that must be scalable and reliable prior to expansion, or things start to fall apart when the usage grows past a threshold (the way Avination servers more or less collapsed when they approached 1200 regions earlier this year). Instead we now see Avination on a steady decline since April, having lost nearly half it’s regions, has lost about half it’s regions since then. InWorldz has avoided advertizing until this critical work is complete, exactly for these reasons.

      The foundation must be solid before you invite hundreds of new regions onto the grid. Due to the world-of-mouth spread of reliability, it’s a bit of a race against time. However, at least for InWorldz, this work is almost complete now, see the “Quick Progress Update for November 2011” here, http://inworldz.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=10798

      As for you not seeing any inventory loss on your standalone and other machines, it’s not a matter of who hasn’t seen loss, it’s who has. Running a single-user standalone server doesn’t generate the kind of scalability problems that a commercial grid will have. Open source developers such as Justinn also won’t see it; you have to be an operator of a high-load grid. Avination certainly saw it earlier this year. Second Life sees it fairly regularly as well. It is a fundamental mistake to equate a few positive tests with the lack of failures everywhere. InWorldz has been closely monitoring their core servers, asset, region, inventory servers, watching for the warning signs of a system under stress, and taking preemptive action to prevent problems as much as possible, so that end users will not see these. This is why the focus has been on replacing these non-scalable Open Sim components with entirely new, high-performance, scalable server components, while most of the other grids have been waiting for the Open Sim developers to do the same. But they probably won’t ever see these issues on their test servers, and standalone servers.

      As for being unable to export whole regions to for use on other grids, that is a *feature* of InWorldz, offering protection of intellectual property for content creators. It is *the* required feature that allows InWorldz to benefit from such a great collection of shops and products.

  5. sorornishi says:

    Great post Lady. I think Tranq can take as long as he needs. I know he wants this just as much as anyone else, if not more so.
    I think part of the problem with SL is that too many partly-fixed bugs are swept under the carpet and the fact that Tranq doesn’t do that is why InWorldz gets my cash and my love.
    What can be worse than building on dodgy foundations? (rhetorical obviously).

    I’ve been here a long time, I can be patient when needs be.

    • ladysakai says:

      Hi Soror
      Thank you 🙂
      Yes Tranq has said several times that he is as anxious as anyone to get the physics engine online.
      The special thing with IW is that they refuse to push things out they know wil fail or break at some point. That is comendable to say the least. Now if Tranq had the staff that LL has things would be looking differnt now but they dont so things are moving slowly.
      IW could do that same as LL did and get investors in, sure but we cant forget what is going on at LL and how its affecting SL that we know and love. SL is not the SL I was born in and that is sad indeed 😦

  6. what about the Phlox thing? is that part of the physics?

    i know that the Bullet Sim physics module thing is moving forward and a focus of the OpenSim developers and i am waiting for that myself

    physics is the only thing i miss from SL and i am sorry to hear your frustration with it for InWorldz

    the standard physics in OpenSim (i think it’s ODE) is lacking compared to SL

    be patient if you can and smile if you can’t – if this is our biggest problem in life, then life is good =)

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  1. […] I don’t have a top-end Nvidia card or Vista/7. It does point to the relevance of a post by Lady Sakai concerning the fact that it is taking Tranq a little longer than previously thought to introduce […]

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