About to let some steam out and this is stuff that probably wouldn’t fit in a Community Assembly.
This is pretty much a rehash of
Most have been addressed, but there are quite a few things that still apply from way back then: so here is an update version for this year.
So prepare for yet another long epos. Some F-bombs may be present.
So what killed multi-con attendance numbers? Optimization. People were clearly having issues loading content (probably from LOD loss instead of networking as they sounded fine) among other things. and this drove folks away. While the event it self was fantastic, as soon as the ‘main carry attractions’ were over ( Talking to my self (very nice), and Mythbuster B Team chat), folks dissipated really fast. This was really noticeable as in the end we had much smaller number attending the Avatar competition show.
I recall during the “Talking to my self” skit, some big fans of James were difficulties still loading in content or seeing where the queue even started, but were coming in fine through the audio. It is sad to say but catering to just systems capable of running HMDs might be hifi’s downfall:
Now to my rant/ essay.
High Fidelity has very good tech on the network architecture but as an game engine it is barely barebones and as a Company, have moved away from an Open Source approach and more Closed.
But even after 3 years of pointing at it, the basics like Proper LOD optimization, and instead rely on stuff going missing, confusing end users more when their Middle-end PCs that work in VRChat or NeosVR get melted by High Fidelity or barely see shit. Of course you are talking about the Goliaths’ Unity vs Davids’ Garage Engine of High Fidelity… so that is a big ass leap, but come on, basics to improve usability for the average? Godot is fucking leaps above, and they are also an Open Source Engine. Even BLENDER Eevee is magnificent and they achived that in 3 years.
So what is so hard to gather resources to improve the engine? Other projects seem to do fine. Money? Resources? How do these other projects get so much then?
There are also quite a few things that grate my gears not related to the Optimizations among other things:
High Fidelity needs a community to succeed, and we have some seedling of it; but dismissing its main driving forces which were here in the beginning will drive them to prospect elsewhere. Give us the Soil and Water, and we will make something beautiful.
- More focus smaller community events, fast build compos which ever. multicon was great, but was a failure since Hifi wanted more out of it. Maybe Focus on Nurturing the Existing community not trying to import other communities over. It is much cheaper than trying to pull off a huge event. Bingo is great, but creative endevours? That makes the platform UNIQUE from VRChat or Neos, or Sansar, on the fly building. Fast Builds, etc what ever. Quit relying on the energy of the existing community, as some of us tired trying to keep everything running. This, I am in agreement with @FlameSoulis
More Incetives to develop projects and attract prospective freelance content creators. Worklist was great, but it has also been neglected for years, (and probably just removed from use entirely.). There still isnt enough population to warrant some minor income from marketplace either. And with the removal of the Money tree, even less so from new users.
- After Worklist was just forgotten about, most of this stuff was one-on-one, but even that changed lasted year; but even that excluded new creators that hadn’t established them selves. We need young creative blood. We have three - four handfuls of active hardcore old guard, but even that is dubious. We lost many great ones over the many years because of inaction and frustration; and some have even been banned from hifi domains due to them venting too much and cracking.
The sudden Clamping down on Community communication. Community Assembly is something, but its not; Its only a single time when our grievances are heard; but years of feedback has also been lost as they barely ever read the forums, things been more corporate. Road map is something of a good direction to communicate what is being worked on, but github also does that, and the canny roadmap is a bloody popularity contest of who can advertise something louder. We had the forum for ages, yet another suggestion place has been added. I have a feeling, even this rant is most likely lost in the wind.
- Absolutely mind numbing number of alternations of communication methods, and non moderation of stuff. Telegram “exists” and was advertised, but it is a mess for communications. Discourse (this forum), Gitter, Worklist, and now we have Canny, and it just feels more is added for the sake of trying to communicate, but not succeeding that well. Please eliminate those that dont work and really focus on a platform. Github was working fine when issues were being responded; but it also feels like things are lost in the cracks constantly from all this moving around. You guys really need an ACTIVE COMMUNITY MANAGER that talks to us. Greeters are great, but any input feels as if lost through a hierarchy or not returned back upon at all unless you stick around asking the same question over and over again, wasting ones time.
- Most things mentioned in the past have to be constantly reminded of in Assemblies or re-added to Canny. It is damn draining to keep pushing for stuff for years and not seeing anything in return. "Is it in canny" is also responded to is Yes: So it feels like even canny is only read by a few.
- My observation is that (Current) HiFi employees have been go on other Social VR Platforms just to enjoy them selves because they really can’t talk about HiFi. It feels like its Fight club over there. “We dont talk about that”. Outside of Community Assemblies, Have we seen any fulltime-employee (but @Philip, occasionally between his meetings) outside of their working hours just hanging out?
There are absolutely Awful vulnerabilities and it took ages for them to release the info on the Filters. We requested these since I started doing Foxbombing. It took a year before filters, and another year for them to release the information for end users and domain holders; yet they keep info on some techniques used at multicon close to their hearts especially regarding Avatar Entities. The Transparency from High Fidelity is just missing, and for an “Open Source” project it is starting to annoy. Why must non-business stuff of the platform be held to secret. Or is everything considered business now? Its been happening for what feels like years now.
- Public Bug Bounties. Give rewards for finding exploits and reporting them discretely. We have self proclaimed hackers here, lots of greys, but what about nurturing the white hats? And then actually doing something about them which helps everyone not just hifi hosted domains.
- Running just any script: has been problematic for a while now, users have no control what script is being run on their systems, @humbletim ages ago made some client script whitelists, but never had any incetives to put them in the mainline branches. Canny: http://roadmap.highfidelity.com/feature-requests/p/client-side-script-whitelist/
- Audio Injection is still an issue: there are no admin or user tools to see/ mute who is playing what sound, so folks spamming it and you cant even tell who said what. It is a wonder it has not been abused more akin to SL.. Only way to counter this is to boot the audio server, as clients can trigger audio injections via just console scripts and set locations to whatever, they dont even need collision sounds or entities. Most of the time the muting of the client also fixes or identifies them, but identifying them in a large ass crowd is impossible without the tools or randomly going through people to find them. Other solution is just reject any audio injection that is not voice based.
Marketplace: Ugh where do I even begin:
- Images: why must is be such a fregging weird scale… Its fairly large too!
- Scripts Opensourceness: Both Strenght and weakness of hifi. Scripters are mainly getting shafted as we cannot minify our code or obfuscate when we submit to the marketplace, they aren’t even obfuscated by the marketplace. We also cant use tools like typescript to if putting stuff on the marketplace. So @Judas, It is sorta like as if you have to upload all the original files (Blendfiles) model you made, everything including the Photoshop files of textures with all the layers intact so dont go out hifi-peen comparing. This is why marketplace is not even close to secure for scripters. Script kiddies currently can just “copy paste” code and claim it as their own.
@FluffyJenkins and I both have tons of marketplace items that will be “removed” within a few weeks, because we have to add a JSON file. Fluffy has even more items than I do. I am planning to just protest, and not update them.
- This is trivial to do, but it takes time to add those. And for a platform that cannot keep users, its hard, very hard to put in the time to do menial stuff we aren’t really interested in doing.
- Marketplace stuff could be just automated by Hifi; On creation of item and selection of key components but they haven’t even though of it. Why do we have update scripts we have made ages ago that worked well until now with a JSON file that for all points where to find everything for certification purposes. Its much easier for folks that dont care for certifications just to share links to scripts, similar to what @FlameSoulis and @Maki been doing, than deal with the marketplace, especially if our code has to be open source regardless of the certification.
- Appification: Why must our scripts be apps and always on the tablet? Some functionality can be put behind menus, but the more scripts we put on the marketplace, suddenly the tablet becomes flooded with so damn many apps, all which are useful.
- And speaking of Marketplace, the Update feature of just updating scripts of the marketplace item are still non-existant. We technically have to download the assets, update the script then reupload everything to update something. It is a damn hassle that could be streamlined with some clever web programming
- And Speaking of Updating, Things break, my sign script has been broken after an update broke it years ago, so even if we put something on the marketplace and it worked for a nice while. No help was ever given and it stayed broken, and then removed from marketplace. It still relies on a bug with avatar attachments and scaling being fixed, but it never got addressed.
Without folks or money its hard to find the motivation, and without folks to spread money (as community is tiny), there is no awesome content, and without content being advertised, there nothing to for prospective folks to stick around for. It is a Chicken and Egg question, but NEITHER exist in big quantities now.
Engine work is lacking: LOD is probably the most important one. But it is something that needs to be done on the engine level. I have potential solutions but theyd just be stop gaps, as the main drain is Avatars. We need really need Custom LOD levels and perhaps an automatic one. This becomes even MORE important as Quest comes out. This should have been done already with the Android daydream stuff, but not many use that or able to use that, so mainline improvements should have been done… Remote connectivity and smaller hardware en-mass.
- Engine still has long standing shader issue that have not been address 3 years after reporting them. Which would just absolutely confuse any prospective content creators. I understand that staff changes but jeesh. This is highly pertained to Material Optimizations and etc.
- Rushing of Avatar Shaders before even Custom Avatar LODs are in place. Oh boy! the optimization nightmare for the poor engine team.
- Material Entities are great in concept, poor in application: They are the last to load inthe scene and sometimes are not even applied prior to user coming close enough for the frustrum culling not to consider them.
- GLTF: Years? when? Avatars? When?
- Physics: Uf, Many issues here too big to list.
Avatar Soft Attachments are great, but they keep BREAKING. I can’t make use of a feature if it breaks constantly. Is it even being tested by QA? Is there a QA? It would make waves for makin customizable avatars.
- Custom Blendshapes: When? 3 years after suggestion, nothing. ugh
- Automatic atlassing. MMD Avatars are fun, but absolutely WRECK drawcalls. And apart of optimization should be to somehow take control over stuff that isnt normally controllable. It is a hard problem but it should be addressed.
- Centralization: Domains Cannot be hosted on an independent network closed off the internet. There is quite a bit of stuff that relies on High Fidelity Inc and it’s services: So it needs quite a bit of work to disconnect the servers. How is this decentralized?
Network Stuff: While I praise High Fidelity for this, there is some odd choises regarding transmission bones. The Base Avatar bones should be prioritized over simulated bones, and there should be a capability for morph bones too that only are transmitted when the avatar loaded. No Scaling of Bones, etc, as once defined.
- Scripts only know what the server tells them the client can see: Otherwise the scripts see nothing: This can cause interesting conditions with Entities.findEntities where not all entities in the domain are given, and instead entities that were loaded are only shown. This means inconsistant behavior.
The current unique things that High Fidelity has over the other platforms:
- It can host crowds, but without people there are no crowds. It also doesnt matter much if most people are even able to render a crowd, how the heck are we gonna keep the crowds in before they just, dissapate.
- On the Fly building: but the edit tools are bare bones. Everyone just sticks doing everything elsewhere… We will just have to wait until someone’s mad enough to do something about it.
Quick Scripting: This is High Fidelity’s current main double edged sword. and it Is huge, its much easier to get working and experiment with stuff. Everything is controlled via scripts, and we don’t have to compile libraries just do some basic stuff. The entry cost with some knowledge is much easier than jumping compiling Dlls for injected mods into Unity Games.
- This can be expanded to allowing everything for avatar customization to procedural animation of avatar and even web cam tracking, if someone is determined enough.
- Server Owning: Probably more specific to more technical folk, but its great to actually own our own domains.
High Fidelity should really get these nailed down better. Multi-domain stuff was also fascinating as a concept, but that was removed from scope ages ago.
But slowly, there has been stuff, which once made High Fidelity unique aren’t there anymore.
I came to High Fidelity because of the potential of what you can do with Avatars. I stayed due to opportunity to learn and maybe make some dosh on the side.
Removal of Face Tracking still absolutely stings me. That’s what made High Fidelity High Fidelity for me. Barely a shadow remains; someone technically could make a script available in the marketplace it most likely wouldn’t be free as it requires quite advanced knowledge, but honestly should be a core free feature. That is hard work however.
There still is tons of potential, and there have many things such as avatar customization (Detailed here in the past) that could technically allow for more security for ones own avatar (since only thing an fbx copy would take is base mesh, while External Blendshape API script access is non-existant without a custom client). But I’d be happy for Bone prioritization too I suggested above.
Avatar customization and custom avatar base-meshes, It would have been something unique to differentiate from Unity VR platforms and Sansar.
That, is my steam vented.
In short, I don’t have the patience to waiting for action on feedback we have given for years. This is probably the last long ass post, atleast for a while. As I’ve tried for years, and now I am out of tea.
I will persevere tho, but in the future I may not have the same vigor to push for stuff as I have prior: There are other opportunities, and I need to save my energy.