by Pixeleen Mistral on 03/07/10 at 9:35 pm
Friendly fire has become a serious issue that even the best of us can no longer control
Non-violent protests at Help Island Public – demanding more violence in Second Life – and a furious Jira thread have resulted in a rollback of the most recent Second Life server update – an update which crippled combat and brought un-wanted peace to the players of Second Life.
Accusations began flying as players discovered that what Falcon Linden called anti-griefing code in the new server release could cause bullets and arrows to act oddly – first being added to an invisible queue without appearing in world – then suddenly appearing in uncontrolled waves washing across the sim. Fair combat was clearly impossible under these condition – so the battle moved to the Jira bug tracking system and Help Island.
Players used the Jira bug tracker to point out that the sim performance throttling can occur on even lightly used sims if others sharing the same physical server are overloaded, and an uhappy Suzanna Soyinka said, "This throttling logic is ridiculous ill thought out and I’d like to personally slap the programmer that thought it was a good idea".
Other unhappy combatants took up signs and crowded into Help Island to demand action. This created a classic in-world confrontation between Help Island regulars concerned that players needing help might be frightened by the sign wielding protesters, and the protesters anxious to get the Labs attention by any means necessary.
Over on the Jira, thamala aabye risked a ban for dissing Falcon Linden: "Horseapples, Falcon. Every time you folks break something the next thing we hear is "UM UM UM WE DID IT TO STOP GRIEFERS!" and none of us are buying it anymore. We’re more than capable of handling griefers ourselves without your interference and wrecking the roleplay/combat systems that thousands of your residents enjoy every day. Telling us that all of our bullets and arrows queuing up and then releasing all at once in a hellish storm ISN’T A BUG makes you look like a complacent fool whose never actually logged in to secondlife."
Luckily, über coder Andrew Linden stepped in to help out Falcon with something more substantial then well worn anti-griefer excuses.
A veteran of countless server deploys, wily Andrew actually did some experiements then concluded that there was a real problem. A rollback announcement came ahortly after Andrew Linden, exhausted from the jira-battle raised a white flag over server release 1.40 saying, "Thank you Thord and your armies of combatants. We tested my experimental server-1.40.2 and then a server-1.38.4. The results were pretty clear that server-1.38 has much less lag: single digits simulator FPS in 1.40, while 1.38 tended to be in the 20′s and 30′s during the fighting –> something is messed up in server-1.40. I’m going to recommend to the deploy team that they rollback or at least provide a rollback option. We’ll see what happens."
Could this be a sign of a new, more responsive Lab? Perhaps, but one might also wonder why it took a manic Jira voting campaign and protests in-world to spur the Lab into action. Testing – we’ve heard of it.
With both regular militia and Gorean combat affected, the potential impact on Second Life was frightenting – as Xerxes Trevellion explained "Arrows to cease moving, sure, we all were used to that, it sucks mind you, but again, expected. But with the new H7, what now happens is not fair to any of us whom play the way we play. You fire in heavy lag, and all of the shots you should have hit, miss, because they are throttled, but the Avatars still move, and because of this, Friendly fire has become a serious issue that even the best of us can no longer control. Before with H4, when the arrows were sticking or hanging in air, you moved around them as best you could, you learned this from experience, now you can’t, as you have no clue where any of them are, then BOOOM!!! Your lit up like the 4th of July sky. Also, Avatar movement is greatly inaccurate, as the original poster, Jara, specifically accused me of using a scripted movement enhancer, of which I do not have nor would ever use. "
Will friendly fire on the part of the Linden developers cripple the virtual world? Kagehi Kohn made an impassioned plea on the Jira for a better approach: "Every damn time someone has even an idea about expanding script function we also get that same excuse, "But griefers might use it!" Bull! And, even if true, that is what fracking ban lists are for. You want a sane solution, how about being able to ban a product, by original key. That way if some moron shows up to grief the sim their damn device flat out doesn’t work? That would be logical. But, the problem here is that **legit** products use the same sort of code that some of those griefer devices use. Thus, you throttle a minor annoyance, and fuck up 10,000 legitimate products in the process. Worse, all the bad, stupid, logic in the system to handle this is wasting processor time, physics logic time, database time, etc., which just adds to a fracking mess that you are fixing not by putting a stop to the defective products, but by hosing 100% of everyone else’s, including basic stuff, like the physics of the avs, and non-griefing scripts, which are also, apparently, fracking mixed up in the same damn mess. I bet you people deflate your tires, to keep people from stealing your car, because locking the doors is too complicated too, right? "