Saturday, April 26, 2008

Abel Halderman wins unforgettable Shortboard Pro!

Sim crashes, browser crashes and score upsets knock out top surfers

Winner Abel Halderman at the SLSA Surfline Shortboard Pro (photo: Dharma Austin)

A number of striking upsets saw top-ranked Pova Rustamova fail to make the podium and 15th ranked Abel Halderman make the most of difficult conditions and take the winners' cup at the SLSA Surfline Shortboard Pro!

For a competition that has had its fair share of bad luck during the past couple of months, one could say that the Surfline Shortboard Pro saw the worst of it on Saturday and laughed in its face! The event, orginally scheduled for March 22nd, was postponed twice, the second time due to a total grid lock-down by Linden Lab. A special competition sim was created on Rezzable Discover for the rescheduled competition in early April, but then, after postponing to 26 April 2008, Rezzable Discover was taken over by another Rezzable project and the Surfline Shortboard Pro had its third venue change. Last week saw a controversial ruling on permissable competiton surfboards, allowing a variety of surfboards to compete including those with pre-Havok4 and post-Havok4 scripts.


Finally starting on time at Surfline Aloha and Epic sims on Saturday 26 April 2008, both sims crashed about two hours into the competition (or just after Heat 4) and the spectator sim, Surfline Aloha, took one hour to return! However, Heat 5 had was already underway on Surfline Epic by that point and Heat 6, the Semi-Finals and the Finals continued as planned (in record time considering the disruptions to the sim).


"Considering all the problems that led up to the Shortboard Pro, we had some awesome surfing today," said SLSA director Milo Voss proudly. "Even with the sim crashes we had a sucessful competition with some of the best surfers in Second Life competing against each other. It was an exciting competition, although we are all happy to leave all the technical issues behind us and look forward to a smooth competition at Neart!"


With its fair share of no shows, competitor browser crashes and real life issues, twelve surfers made it into the Semi-Finals including Pova, DeVinna Toll ranked second in the season standings, Colleen Brennan, ranked third, and VW Sands who is ranked 7th. Colleen, Craig Stallion and Desirae Beaumont who all averaged 14.5 points during the Semis, went through. However, Pova saw his browser crash and was not able to continue his heat, leaving Colleen, Craig and VW to lead the heat. Despite VW's 14.16 points (equal to Abel Halderman and DeVinna Toll) only the top two scorers in his heat (Colleen and Craig) could go through to the final and he also had to go back and sit on the benches.


Congratulations to Abel Halderman on his first podium appearance at an SLSA surfing competition and for winning a historic Surfline Shortboard Pro. Well done also to second place Desirae Beaumont, third place Craig Stallion, the organisers and the SurfWatch crew.


"The level of competition was very high, especially in the finals, although Pova was missed," said a slightly shocked Abel. "I had some good rides and the conditions were favourable for me. I'm also proud of Team Tsunami, which ended up with three members in the finals."

FINALISTS & FINALS HEAT SCORES
1. Abel Halderman (14.83 points)
2. Desirae Beaumont (14.50 points)
3. Craig Stallion (14.00
points)
4. Wilfrid DeCuir (13.83 points)
5. DeVinna Toll (13.66 points)
6. Colleen Brennan (13.00 points)

SEMI-FINALISTS (semis heat score, overall score)

7. VW Sands (14.16 points, 29.32 points)
8. Rani Decosta (12.66 points, 28.16 points)
9. Express Zenovka (13.16 points, 26.16 poins)
10. Bobbi Laval (12.66 points, 25.49 points)
11. Socks Clawtooth (8.00 points, 20.83 points)
12. Pova Rustamova (3.66 points, 18.32 points)

FINALISTS' SEMIS SCORES
Colleen Brennan (14.50 points, finalist)
Craig Stallion (14.50 points, finalist)
Desirae Beaumont (14.50 points, finalist)
Abel Halderman (14.16 points, finalist)
DeVinna Toll (14.16 points
, finalist)
Wilfrid DeCuir (13.50 points, finalist)

Updated scores as of 28 April 2008. Note: the semis heat scores are the scores awarded in the semis heats only, for purposes of ranking in the competition and SLSA season ranking, semi-finalists' scores are calculated by adding the semi finalist's first heat and semi finals heat scores together (i.e. overall scores for the competition).

Photo credit: Dharma Austin

Up-dated story 28 April 2008

SurfWatch Results: All the results from Saturday's competition (26 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: And now, completely new heat line-ups! (26 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Surfline heats draw announced (24 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: New surfboard ruling for Surfline (24 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Surfline reopening celebration, Thursday (23 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New boards for Shortboard Pro (22 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Rezzable changes Surfline venue (17 Apr 08)

SurfWatch:
SurfLine Shortboard Pro competition postponed (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Second Life grid lock-down could stop SurfLine competition (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Wave concerns continue to dog SurfLine preparations (4 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Tide turns as Shortboard Pro Heats Drawn (3 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New waves, new sim for SurfLine Shortboard Pro (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Registrations close for Surfline (25 Mar 08)
SurfWatch: SLSA announces competition date changes (13 Mar 08)

URL: Surfline finals video on YouTube (Video credit: Sally LaSalle)
SL
URL: SurfLine Aloha

LIVE RESULTS -- Surfline Shortboard Pro

SurfWatch is reporting live from the Surfline Aloha and Epic sims on Surfline's first SLSA surfing competition, the Surfline Shortboard Pro -- Starting Saturday 26 April 2008 from 1100 hrs Second Life Time (SLT or PDT) or 1800 hrs GMT.

SEE LIVE RESULTS NOW


This is the third competition in the SLSA surfing season and the event promises to be a unique test of surfing skills with Pipeline 2.0 waves being used in a competition for the very first time, a newly designed sim that has been created especially for the competition, new laws of Second Life physics affecting how surfers interact with waves and water too and some new Havok4 boards out there too!


SurfWatch will endeavour to post competition results throughout the Surfline Shortboard Pro. However, please bear with us since this is also the first time that live results have been made available for a full SLSA Second Life surfing competition.

Live results also available on the mobile (cellular) Internet via SurfWatch Mobile

Useful links

SurfWatch: And now, completely new heat line-ups! (26 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Surfline heats draw announced (24 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: New surfboard ruling for Surfline (24 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Surfline reopening celebration, Thursday (23 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New boards for Shortboard Pro (22 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Rezzable changes Surfline venue (17 Apr 08)

SurfWatch:
SurfLine Shortboard Pro competition postponed (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Second Life grid lock-down could stop SurfLine competition (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Wave concerns continue to dog SurfLine preparations (4 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Tide turns as Shortboard Pro Heats Drawn (3 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New waves, new sim for SurfLine Shortboard Pro (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Registrations close for Surfline (25 Mar 08)
SurfWatch: SLSA announces competition date changes (13 Mar 08)

SL
URL: SurfLine Aloha



And now completely new heat line-ups!

The Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) announced completely new heat draws for the Surfline Shortboard Pro surfing competition late Friday. The surfers remain the same, the number of surfers remains the same, the venue remains the same, but most of the heat line-ups are changed. So, here they are:

HEAT 1

Pova Rustamova (RED)

Ashleigh Dickins (BLUE)

Cipriano Grut (GREEN)

Paeida Allen (ORANGE)

Crusader Arado (PURPLE)

Socks Clawtooth (BLACK)


HEAT 2

DeVinna Toll (RED)

Bobbi Laval (BLUE

Buffy Munro (GREEN

Meteus Rieko (ORANGE)

Shelby Fitzgerald (PURPLE)

Warren Barthelmess (BLACK)


HEAT 3

Colleen Brennan (RED)

Kimmy Fitzgerald (BLUE)

LeahJane Cazalet (GREEN)

Jaay Zymurgy (ORANGE)

Express Zenovka (PURPLE)


HEAT 4

Christine Daffodil (RED)

Abel Halderman (BLUE)

Mick Lunasea (GREEN)

Wilfrid DeCuir (ORANGE)

Kai Eldridge (PURPLE)


HEAT 5

VW Sands (RED)

Desne Aabye (BLUE)

Carolin Gausman (GREEN)

Rani Decosta (ORANGE)

Pyper Dollinger (PURPLE)


HEAT 6

Vic Bonetto (RED)

Desirae Beaumont (BLUE)

ONeil Auer (GREEN)

Craig Stalion (ORANGE)

AlexSurfer Hirons (PURPLE)


Notes: The (COLOUR) in brackets denotes the colour of the surfer's competition shirt. The above revised heats draw replaces the heats draw announced by the SLSA Thursday.


The surfing competition starts at at 11.00 hrs SLT (1800 hrs GMT) on Saturday 26 April 2008 on the Surfline Aloha and Surfline Epic sims.

SurfWatch: Surfline heats draw announced (24 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: New surfboard ruling for Surfline (24 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Surfline reopening celebration, Thursday (23 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New boards for Shortboard Pro (22 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Rezzable changes Surfline venue (17 Apr 08)

SurfWatch:
SurfLine Shortboard Pro competition postponed (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Second Life grid lock-down could stop SurfLine competition (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Wave concerns continue to dog SurfLine preparations (4 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Tide turns as Shortboard Pro Heats Drawn (3 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New waves, new sim for SurfLine Shortboard Pro (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Registrations close for Surfline (25 Mar 08)
SurfWatch: SLSA announces competition date changes (13 Mar 08)

SL
URL: SurfLine Aloha


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Surfline heats draw announced

The Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) announced heat line-ups for the Surfline Shortboard Pro surfing competition for the second time this year on Thursday. The twice postponed event is now scheduled to take place at the Surfline Aloha and Epic sims on Saturday.

32 surfers are now expected to compete in the Shortboard Pro, six less than registered for the event last time. However, most of the top 10 ranked surfers of this SLSA season have registered, with the exception of Milo Voss, who is focussing his efforts on organising the Shortboard Pro (thank you Milo!), fifth-ranked Timbo Flanagan, who it is believed is on a leave of absence from Second Life and 8th-ranked Lanelle Saunders.

Pova Rustamova, number one in this year's standings, Devinna Toll (no. 2) and Colleen Brennan (no.3) are all registered to compete and will take part in Heats 1, 2 and 3 respectively. Registered also are the top three surfers from last weekend's VSA Surf Jam event, Buffy Monro, Socks Clawtooth and ONeill Auer, who are all now down to start the Surfline competition in Heat 1, perhaps making Heat 1 a bit of a pressure cooker!

Meanwhile, despite Havok4 changes, most surfers seem to be happy with the new Surfline competition venue. "The waves are really nice," said Mateus Rieko, who will surf in Heat 5 on Saturday. "I love this sim. Everything about it is cool!"


HEAT 1

Pova Rustamova (RED)

Abel Halderman (BLUE)

Buffy Munro (GREEN)

Socks Clawtooth (ORANGE)

Warren Barthelmess (PURPLE)

ONeil Auer (WHITE)


HEAT 2

DeVinna Toll (RED)

Vic Bonetto (BLUE)

Shelby Fitzgerald (GREEN)

Craig Stalion (ORANGE)

Express Zenovka (PURPLE)


HEAT 3

Colleen Brennan (RED)

Ashleigh Dickins (BLUE)

Desne Aabye (GREEN)

Jaay Zymurgy (ORANGE)

Kai Eldridge (PURPLE)

AlexSurfer Hirons (WHITE)


HEAT 4

VW Sands (RED)

Desirae Beaumont (BLUE)

Paeida Allen (GREEN)

Rani Decosta (ORANGE)

Crusader Arado (PURPLE)


HEAT 5

Bobbi Laval (RED)

LeahJane Cazalet (BLUE)

Carolin Gausman (GREEN)

Meteus Rieko (ORANGE)

Wilfrid DeCuir (PURPLE)


HEAT 6
Christine Daffodil (RED)

Kimmy Fitzgerald (BLUE)

Cipriano Grut (GREEN)

Mick Lunasea (ORANGE)

Pyper Dollinger (PURPLE)


Notes: The (COLOUR) in brackets denotes the colour of the surfer's competition shirt. A revised heats draw list may be issued on Friday night to take into account any last minute changes.

The surfing competition starts at at 11.00 hrs SLT (1800 hrs GMT) on Saturday 26 April 2008 on the Surfline Aloha and Surfline Epic sims.

SurfWatch: New surfboard ruling for Surfline (24 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Surfline reopening celebration, Thursday (23 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New boards for Shortboard Pro (22 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Rezzable changes Surfline venue (17 Apr 08)

SurfWatch:
SurfLine Shortboard Pro competition postponed (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Second Life grid lock-down could stop SurfLine competition (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Wave concerns continue to dog SurfLine preparations (4 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Tide turns as Shortboard Pro Heats Drawn (3 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New waves, new sim for SurfLine Shortboard Pro (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Registrations close for Surfline (25 Mar 08)
SurfWatch: SLSA announces competition date changes (13 Mar 08)

SL
URL: SurfLine Aloha

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New surfboard ruling for Surfline

Following discussions with competitors and other SLSA members, the SLSA (Second Life Surfing Association) has changed its policy on permissable surfboard scripts for Saturday's Surfline Shortboard Pro. It was announced late Wednesday (SLT) that the competition will now permit surfers to use "any Heather-scripted short board".

The SLSA had said Tuesday that all competitors would be provided with a surfboard with a new Heather Goodliffe script adjusted for the post-Havok4 environment, but some competitors had major concerns given that they had been practicing for the competition for weeks using pre-Havok4 boards and getting used to brand new boards the weekend of the competition could only be detrimental to their performance.

"For the Surfline Pro Comp on Saturday, April 26, any Heather-scripted short board will be acceptable. Beginning with the Neart Comp, the new Havok4 scripted boards will be required." read the SLSA Forum announcement posted by SLSA director Carenahh Kuu.

However, Carenahh's fellow director Milo Voss was quick to confirm that "surfboards with beta scripts are not allowed, only the old scripts, the new boards currently being given out for the competition and the H4 boards that are that have already hit the retail market. None on the open market have the new beta scripts, as far as I am aware, and Heather Goodliffe knows who has her test boards. We will be doing random board checks as needed to enforce these rules and to ensure that they are applied fairly to all competitors."

Those that would like to surf with a new Havok4 competition board in Saturday's competition, must sign up for their free Havok4 Heather Goodliffe board via the SLSA Forum by 11 PM SLT on Thursday. The surfing competition starts at 11.00 hrs SLT on Saturday on Surfline Aloha and Surfline Epic sims.

SurfWatch: Surfline reopening celebration, Thursday (23 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New boards for Shortboard Pro (22 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Rezzable changes Surfline venue (17 Apr 08)

SurfWatch:
SurfLine Shortboard Pro competition postponed (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Second Life grid lock-down could stop SurfLine competition (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Wave concerns continue to dog SurfLine preparations (4 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Tide turns as Shortboard Pro Heats Drawn (3 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New waves, new sim for SurfLine Shortboard Pro (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Registrations close for Surfline (25 Mar 08)
SurfWatch: SLSA announces competition date changes (13 Mar 08)

SLSA Forum: Surfline SL announcement
SL
URL: SurfLine Aloha

Surfline reopening celebration, Thursday

Surfline's Kalani Koga and Gweneth Lange on the brand new Surfline Aloha

Surfline Epic and Aloha sims are up and running and ready for SLSA Shortboard Pro competitors to hit the waves on Saturday, following extensive remodelling of the two sims. Surfline's official reopening celebration takes place tomorrow with French folk/jazz strummer Yan Etzel performing live on Surfline Aloha. Surfline Epic has been converted almost entirely to one long surf break with a thin strip of sandy beach to rezz surfboards and now runs pipeline waves and fluffies. Surfline has kept prims on Epic to a minimum (security orbs, wave markers and the wave generators) and active scripts are also minimal.

Several top SLSA surfers have been testing out the waves for themselves. "I like some of the action, but I don't like some of the other things," said top-ranked SLSA surfer Pova Rustamova. "Now, if you catch some fluffies at the base of a pipe, you can trick out, but it's straight surfing in the pipe."

"I think the break works well for surfing and is a solid competition wave set up. With Havok4 new physics, the ride is faster, so you have time to get up and hit your first trick or two before you have to carve around," commented Flynn Sheridan, veteran surfer and SLSA founder, who obviously couldn't resist popping down to Surfline to experience the new surf break first hand.

"The sim's good insofar as no lag and the pipes are running good, not stalling," continued Pova. He's hoping for some more foam mixed with the pipes to give the rides more variations, but, like everyone, he's focusing hard on surfing with the new Havok4 physics. "Boards just aren't riding like they were pre-Havok4. The board physics are a work in progress and so we are all in a learning phase."


The newly remodeled sim features a deck for dancing overlooking white sandy beaches and the waveline, windsailing, Surfline beachwear and board shops. Outer islands can be reached by footbridge with private spots for sitting and enjoying the atmosphere.


Surfline's reopening celebration party takes place on Thursday, 24 April 2008 from 13.00 to 15.00 hrs SLT (20.00 to 22.00 hrs GMT) on Surfline Aloha sim.

By Tauri Tigerpaw.

SurfWatch: New boards for Shortboard Pro (22 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Rezzable changes Surfline venue (17 Apr 08)

SurfWatch:
SurfLine Shortboard Pro competition postponed (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Second Life grid lock-down could stop SurfLine competition (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Wave concerns continue to dog SurfLine preparations (4 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Tide turns as Shortboard Pro Heats Drawn (3 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New waves, new sim for SurfLine Shortboard Pro (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Registrations close for Surfline (25 Mar 08)
SurfWatch: SLSA announces competition date changes (13 Mar 08)

SLSA Forum: Surfline SL announcement
SL
URL: SurfLine Aloha

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New boards for Shortboard Pro

Registrations slow to pick up for the weekend's competition

Speculation over the surfboard scripts to be allowed at Saturday's competition came to an end today as Heather Goodliffe announced retail availability for new Havok4 scripts. According to Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) sources,
Heather will issue all competitors with a new-script competition surfboard for the Surfline Shortboard Pro which is scheduled for April 26th.

"We can't thank Heather enough for this solution," said Milo Voss, SLSA director. "What an awesome gesture! Also thanks to Rani DeCosta and Sally LaSalle for their support and follow-up. Here's looking forward to a great Surfline Shortboard Pro!"

"We've had updates ready for a while but we feared Linden Lab's fixes to their H4 issues would cause the updates to be broken, putting everyone back at square one," said Heather Goodliffe in a message posted in the SLSA Forum today. "In working with the Linden's, though not guaranteed, the sense is this will not be the case."


However, Heather was clear to point out that the new board scripts are not intended to change the way that the boards handle or interact with the wave (a fact borne out by SurfWatch's own tests on the new boards), although new board scripts that do affect handling are in beta testing. The new publically available board scripts fix three main issues: 1) the way the board floats on top the water in Havok4; 2) the camera settings, so that it doesn't automatically zoom in and out on the tubes; and 3) an improved sit target script.


Possible future changes to board scripts that would affect board handling and maneuverability are being worked on in tandem with working together with Linden Lab on potential longer term solutions for both surfboards and surfable waves. SurfWatch hopes, at least, that removing the uncertainty of what boards are permissable at Saturday's competition might prompt more surfers to signup for the remaining places in the Shortboard Pro heats since to-date some 30% of the competition places have yet to be filled.


Meanwhile, whilst a board replacement program has not been ruled out, it has been made clear that a board recall or board replacement program is not on the cards at the moment. "I'd hope most people would prefer I focus my talents on improving surfing in Second Life and not exchanging boards," said Heather's note. Very true (unless, of course, you've just invested in one of the latest new sculptie surfboards this year, in which case you'd probably just want it to work, wouldn't you?)

Update 23 April 2008, 06.50 hrs SLT
Well it seems that SurfWatch reported too soon as to the end of
speculation about permissable competition board scripts. A lively debate is currently in process in the SLSA Forum on whether to use the new boards or the older boards with the existing pre-Havok4 scripts and frankly, since there are a lot of good points on either side, it may be too close to call at the moment!

SurfWatch: Rezzable changes Surfline venue (17 April 08)
SurfWatch:SurfLine Shortboard Pro competition postponed (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Second Life grid lock-down could stop SurfLine competition (5 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Wave concerns continue to dog SurfLine preparations (4 Apr 08)
SurfWatch: Tide turns as Shortboard Pro Heats Drawn (3 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Linden Labs Code Change Threatens Second Life Surfing (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
New waves, new sim for SurfLine Shortboard Pro (2 Apr 08)
SurfWatch:
Registrations close for Surfline (25 Mar 08)
SurfWatch: SLSA announces competition date changes (13 Mar 08)

SLSA Forum: Surfline SL announcement
SL
URL: SurfLine Aloha

Monday, April 21, 2008

INTERVIEW - Sidewinder Linden


By Tauri Tigerpaw.
Exclusive to SurfWatch.


SurfWatch managed to track down one of the busiest men in Second Life this year: Sidewinder Linden, the program manager for the Havok 4 project. Since Second Life surfing has been so drastically affected by the latest Havok server code, we wanted to ask the man himself what was going on, how current Havok4-related surfing issues might be addressed and what's the plan for the future.


SurfWatch: How did the issue with Second Life's surfing waves come to your attention?


Sidewinder: One thing I hope you'll see as a consistent theme throughout our work is that we made a point of reaching out in many ways to many communities: hundreds of hours (maybe more - I didn't count) of in-world time, day and night, working with people. In all of that, no one mentioned surfing, and I honestly didn't think to ask about it.

My first encounter with Heather Goodliffe's waves was in trying to figure out why certain regions were having performance problems. After some 'look for high impact scripts'-work with some regions, we figured out that those waves were a particularly heavy impact, and noticed that if they were removed, the simulator stats were much better. Even after meeting with several residents to talk about this, none mentioned that they had any function past visual (which is amazing to me at this point). So it was post-Havok4 update that we understood that these are built for some 'purpose' other than to look nice.


SurfWatch: Now that the wave functionality is understood, is Linden Labs working with developers like Heather Goodliffe towards a fix?


Sidewinder: The current status is that we looked at the waves when we started getting performance complaints on some regions. We did not evaluate them in detail, so we have not done any in depth analysis yet (yet - that doesn't mean that we won't), and had encouraged the owners of them to talk to the builder, since I had guessed that the builder might have already done an update - many have. We do have a variety of high priority items on the deck at the moment.


The next step will be to talk to Heather about some strategies for creating a wave set that has lower impact, and at the same time discuss whether there are any efficiency optimisations we can do to improve things from the simulator perspective. Although Havok4 does many things faster than Havok1, there are some physics operations that are less efficient in the Havok4 physics engine, and we have discovered that some inworld content trips on those areas. In some cases, we have found optimisations that will help with speed, and in others the scripts or approach need to be tweaked a bit to avoid the issues, and we do not know just yet what the mix of those two solution strategies will be for this case.


At the moment, the team has been engaged in a few issues. For example, one is a problem with targetomega, which has caused some rotating objects inworld to spontaneously stop for what was mysterious reasons. That absorbed a lot of team time over the last week, along with a few high priority issues having to do with internals. I've talked with Heather, and explained that due to that, and internal coordination on this update release, we are still talking about sequence of addressing the rest of the open issues. There are a couple of sailing issues, and this one - that we now understand has wider impact than we thought - and other issues besides.


I don't have a specific fix date for the waves, because as you can see, we don't at the moment really know what the problem is. As far as we can tell, the float heights for Havok1 were not fully correct, so in our first Havok4 builds we 'fixed that bug' only to find out that many folks relied on the incorrect behavior. There are a number of other issues related to flotation and boats that are in this category, and we are doing some research to figure out a best path on this.

SurfWatch: So, any insight on possible solutions?

Sidewinder: The two obvious paths are:

1) to re-implement the bugs that used to be in Havok1 (in the cases that that is possible) so that Havok4 emulates the broken behavior, and thus 'old things work the way they did'. This strategy is nicer to existing content, but has the side effect of 'breaking the future' - in other words, we'll never get new products that can be better for using a physics infrastructure that works better and more consistently. That's always a hard call... in many cases we've found workarounds to support older content without compromising the future, but it is not always possible.

2) to not re-implement bad behaviors from Havok1, and accept the fact that there will be older content that either needs to be updated or will not work the same in Havok4. There are some cases where path 2 has been the 'righter choice'. One example is with cars. Many, many builders wanted us to increase the maximum motor speed on cars to 256m/S, whereas now it's 64 m/S. We did that, as a collective decision with the builders, knowing that older cars that used 'tricks' to go faster than the motor speed would run excessively fast on Havok4. We faced a similar issue in the internals of boat and 'floatie' behavior. We thought we'd identified some bad behavior in Havok1 in that area that was exploited to make things 'work' with the older simulator, and we are trying to figure out whether we had to break some old boat behavior to fix the future. In this case, we just figured out a way to avoid that, and are preserving the old boat behavior. These calls can go either way depending on the details.

SurfWatch: Surfers currently have a number of post-Havok4 issues with board performance, for example the older surf boards floating under water level. Some surfers are reporting boards riding in different positions on the waves and board maneuvers are handling differently. Can you comment?

Sidewinder: Different handling is actually expected. This is true of other vehicles as well. The jump from Havok1 to Havok4 involved some major changes in how the Havok physics engine calculates physics and its behavior around collisions, friction and damping are different.

I am guessing (hypothetically) that the board float height is the same issue that we see with some boats, and that they may need script tweaks to work well. But, since we are just in the process of figuring out which way to go with these issues, I would not want people to rush off and assume one way or the other. The real answer is: it's in discussion as we speak. We have office hours twice a week and I strongly encourage any builders of boards to join the process because this way they can actually discuss issues - which for some things is much more effective at figuring out issues than just posting comments.

SurfWatch: What about wave performance, specifically?


Sidewinder: On the wave front, I suspect that the solution may be a combination of script or design adjustments and some optimizations (if we can find any - none really stood out as obvious when we looked at the waves the first time).

So I think part of this is the reality that, as with operating system upgrades, some things can be made transparent and 'just the same', and others will change and need updates for people who want 'very detailed behaviors' to match. In some cases they can match, and in others it may be slightly different no matter what we all do. We are working through the list, and are trying to make things work well for everyone, within the constraint that we don't want to cripple the future to support the past - and that's always a hard line to walk with these kinds of upgrades.

SurfWatch: Is there anything else you would like to pass along, Sidewinder?

Sidewinder: I'd like to thank everyone for being involved, and if there are specific behaviors, in specific cases that are problematic, those will be very helpful to know about. We'll keep working the issues, and want involvement from people who are seeing problems. It's most useful for us to hear from the builders and scripters, as they have a deep understanding of how their products work internally. We have held informal "vehicle workshops" so that builders can demonstrate behaviors that are not correct, and maybe it would make sense to do this again with surfing, once we get the wave mechanics figured out.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Buffy grabs second Surf Jam win


Surfing competitors have got to be wondering "is there no stopping Buffy Munro?" after her second consecutive Surf Jam win at Majini Island on Saturday (she also won March's event). This was the third Vibrations Surf Alliance competition event of the year and the first surfing competition held in Havok4 conditions.

"Honestly, I felt that I was not doing great! Out of the five waves in the final, I bellied three," said Buffy modestly [see photo right]. "But two waves were good and that's all you need. It has been hard as I have had to change my technique because of Havok4.

"It was also good to see some other vibers taking part for the first time. And it was great to have Socks on the podium when it was his first Surf Jam! WOOOOT!!!! GO VIBERS!!!!!"


The Surf Jam finals saw Buffy, who finished the finals heat with 13.25 points, surf off against Socks Clawtooth (13.00 points), ONeill Auer (10.25 points), Abel Halderman (9.25 polint) and Wilfrid DeCuir (9.25 points). Fourteen surfers took part in the competition, with first timer Socks Clawtooth taking second place on the winners' podium and January's Surf Jam winner ONeill Auer taking third place.


Left to right: Oneill Auer, Buffy Monro and Socks Clawtooth

Majini was closed to incoming traffic for the duration of the competition which meant no avatar traffic, allowing the organisers the luxury of spending more time keeping the competition and waves rolling and less on crowd control. "We saw some awesome surfing action!" said organiser VW Sands. "All through the event, we saw some killer surfing with scores of 15-16 being posted. All the riders did great and I hope everyone had as much fun as I did from behind the scenes."

"Even after Second Life throws a stick in our sprocket, we still manage to have a blast surfing," continued VW. "Surf Jam III can be summarized as yet another example of how the surfers of Second Life, with a collective chilled-out attitude can have fun together regardless of technical glitches, sunken surfboards or sim hiccups. Big thanks to all the surfers, marshalls and judges. And congrats to all the finalists and to Buffy, Socks and ONeill - simply awesome!"


FINALS STANDINGS

Buffy Munro (13.25 points)

Socks Clawtooth (13.00 points)

ONeill Auer
(10.25 points)
Abel Halderman (9.25 polint)

Wilfrid DeCuir
(9.25 points)

SEMI FINALISTS

"Pinky" Pinklady (14.00 points)
AlexSurfer
Hirons (12.50 points)
EvilBob (10.00 points)

Cloudy Matova (8.50 points)

"Quench Spotter (8.50 points)


SurfWatch Results:
VSA Surf Jam 19 Apr 08 - FINALS RESULTS
SurfWatch:
First post-Havok4 Surf Jam is ready to roll!
SurfWatch:
1st post-Havok4 havoc Second Life surfing competition
SurfWatch: SURF REPORT -- Majini Island

SLURL: Majini Island