An “Interesting” SL Viewer Bug

The SL Viewer and its genetic children are the magic lens by which we “Live” in the Virtual World of Second Life. When it is doing wrong things, it sullies our enjoyment and makes it more of a chore than an enjoyable pastime. That’s why bugs like I discuss today are especially important to exterminate. Sadly the Executioner for this bug seems to be taking the slow boat approach. And I’ve run into it full speed ahead.

Wait! What? Did you see that?

We’ve all had this happen. You look at something, glance away then look back … and it’s totally different. What’s worse is that what you think you see is not really what SL knows to be there. You’ve just run afoul of a disconnect between your SL Viewer and the Simulator. But technology is technology, and these sorts of things happen sometimes, so it’s no big deal. Except for this “Interesting” little bug I ran into.

Kudos Given Where Kudos Due

There are some very hard working members of the SL Community, chief among them are the group of people that live under the Firestorm Development banner. One in particular has, time and again, proven their worth above and beyond. I won’t mention names so this compliment doesn’t fizzle on me, but I’m sure they know who they are. (*tip o’ the hat*)

Optimized Myself Off the Cliff

Some time ago the folks that build and upgrade the code base of the SL Viewer added a feature to optimize the amount of “Visual Data” that needed to be sent from Simulator to Viewer and back again. They gave it the code name “Interesting” because it was based on rules that determined how interesting parts of the World Scene are to the User. But it has had some interesting side-effects too. One of those is the tendency to lose sync with the Simulator more often than before. Once┬álost, recovering proper sync is proving harder too.

It’s a common problem in automated systems. Optimization to the point of failure. I do it to myself and my own programs pretty routinely. But it shouldn’t escape out the door. If it does escape and go into common distribution, it should be stomped into history as rapidly as possible. That hasn’t happened with BUG-7084.

Sins of the Father

What makes this bug even more damaging is that its source is in the “Core” code that is supplied by Linden Lab to Third-Party Viewer developers. That means TPVs┬ámust also build the same bug into their product. Even though they’d love to fix it, it’s in a place within the main body of the SL Viewer that they are not allowed to change willy-nilly. They must follow certain rules. Those rules say basically they can’t fix the bug even if they know how. Jammed in a corner, no way out … sounds like a blues song to me.

Interesting … Isn’t

The problem really comes home to roost when you are depending on visual changes to control how something works. Basically the pictures on the front and the text floating above should tell the User what they can do and what is expected. But when they “See” stuff that isn’t there, and do not see the stuff that is there, they can’t work things at all. Before long they’ve gotten pissed off and flown off elsewhere. (Probably back to WoW or something similar.)

The result is that things appear broken in ways that are not easily fixed. The “workarounds” are totally illogical and definitely not intuitive, so folks that aren’t “old hands” just give up and move along. In short, the “improvements” to the SL Viewer collected under the Codename “Interesting” are neither interesting nor fully functional. There are some big holes that need filling. Still.


As you use your SL Viewer to look around, it is constantly updating a list it keeps of all the things you’ve seen, are seeing and are about to see. Think of it like a “Table of Contents” for the things directly around you. When something in the nearby surrounds changes, the SL Viewer is supposed to make a note of those changes in the list. Typically the way it does that is to just write a new copy on the front of the list and ignore the older copy further down. This works because when it has to draw the thing again, it will find the newer copy nearer the front of the list and never make it all the way down to the older (and outdated) copy. Unless that newer copy never quite makes it into the list.

And that’s BUG-7084.

Resolution Please?

That Issue is marked as Accepted. That means Linden Lab has said they will fix it. But it hasn’t undergone any mention or visible progress in quite some time. It might not see a resolution before LL releases the next version of their Virtual World empire. But it sure would be nice if they would. After all, people will make a snap judgement about their future products based primarily on how well they maintain the ones they already have.

Visit the DGP4SL Store on SL Marketplace


Comments are closed.