Tag Archives: Radegast

Radegast updates to 2.18

Radegast is a third-party Second Life / OpenSim client which has proven to be especially popular with those on low-end systems over the years, and gained a solid level of support from the visually impaired, who found the client a lot easier to use than a full viewer – so much so that a special accessibility guide was produced, and special classes held in using the client.

Sadly, ongoing health issues impacting Latif Khalifa, Radegast’s creator, reached a point where, in November 2014, he had to signal that he was unable to continue maintaining the client, although he ensured the source code remained available for anyone who wanted to do so on behalf of the community.

Well, the good news is that on Thursday, July 9th, Radegast was updated to version 2.18. The even better news is that the person making the update was – Latif Khalifa!

The new update brings a number of improvements to the client, which the release notes list as:

  •  Support for Group Bans (RAD-471)
  • Double click on inventory item to wear/attach (RAD-472)
  • RLV support for @acceptpermission (RAD-500)
  • New Automatically Accept Dialogue Function (RAD-490)
  • A fix to allow the main window to minimize to the system tray correctly (RAD-497)
  • Add log-in support for SirinHGpole-Grid to the grid manager (RAD-503).

The Group Ban functionality in Radegast operates the same way as for any viewer:

  • Avatars can be banned from a group by either selecting them in the group members list if they are already a member and using the Ban button (below left), or by using the Group Ban Picker to ban one or more avatars pro-actively from joining the group by using the Ban … button in the Banned Residents tab (below right)
  • Group Ban capabilities can be be awarded to any role in the group by enabling the GroupBanAccess option in the  Allowed Abilities section of the Roles sub-tab.
The Radegast 2.18 update adds Group Bans to the client

The Radegast 2.18 update adds Group Bans to the client use the Ban button in the Members and Roles list to eject and ban a person in the group; use the Banned Residents tab to track those previously banned or to pro-actively ban users from joining the group.

For those unfamiliar with Radegast, it is a full feature but lightweight client able to run on Windows, Linux and Mac OS. It provides pretty much all of the capabilities found in a full viewer, including full inventory management, mesh upload capabilities, voice support, etc.. In addition, it has a few options of its own such as an API for plug-ins, speech recognition and an AI capability (ALICE).

For those who may be without their viewer for some reason, but would prefer to see what is going on in-world, the Windows and Linux versions of Radegast provide a 3D scene renderer in which you can see the world and move around in it, chat with others and – via the Objects option – interact with the things you see around you.

Radegast's in-world view option (the Scene Viewer)

Radegast’s in-world view option (the Scene Viewer) – note this does not support windlight, etc.

All of this has made Radegast a flexible, usable and popular client, and if you’d like to know more about it, please refer to my Radegast coverage in this blog.

Given Latif is still recovering from illness, this update may not signal his full return to supporting Radegast; when I did ask him about this update, he replied, “there were several updates, such as group bans that were done, but unreleased. So why not get them out ;-).” As to the future, we’ll have to see what comes along; but certainly, seeing Latif back in the saddle with this release is great.

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Radegast: “Road’s End”

On November 5th, Latif Khalifa posted a notice to the Radegast blog that he is ending development of the Radegast viewer, and ceasing work on other virtual worlds open-source projects in which he has been engaged. Citing health reasons, Latif stated:

It saddens me to have to inform you that I won’t be able to continue work on Radegast or my other opensource projects. My health has been deteriorating over the past few years to this point where my use of computers is down to just a few minutes daily. Not being able to work for several years bring its own set of problems.

This isn’t necessarily the complete end for Radegast – as Latif notes, the code is open-source, and as such will remain available should anyone wish to continue with its development.

Radegast is a lightweight virtual worlds client that offers considerable flexibility of use for users, including the ability to render in-world scenes in 3D, thus enabling avatar movement and interactions. Almost all of the core capabilities found in a the full viewer are available within  Radegast, including inventory management, the ability to change outfits, chat, IM, teleport, undertake group management activities, manipulate objects and their contents, script, use voice (local chat) listening to music streams, use avatar gestures, and more.

Radegest gives you almost all the capabilities of a full viewer in a lightweight package (image courtesy of Radegast)

Radegest gives you almost all the capabilities of a full viewer in a lightweight package (image courtesy of Radegast)

Radegast has particularly seen considerable use with visually impaired users, offering speech recognition for controlling UI and entering text in chat and text-to-speech for reading out loud incoming messages, and a special accessibility guide has been written in support of this.

As Latif has kept the client up-to-date with all major SL and OpenSim changes to date (including mesh rendering, server-side appearance for SL, etc.), there is no danger of it suddenly ceasing to work in the immediate future for those who do use it on a regular basis; so there is no need to immediately abandon it, even if the option to continue developing it isn’t taken up by another developer.

Radegast takes mesh and sculpt rendering in its stride in the 3D scene view

Radegast offers a full 3D rendering view. While it might now have ALM, windlights and all the intensive bells and whistles, it takes avatar movement and rendering mesh and sculpts in its stride (click for full size)

Latif himself has been a towering force within the open-source community, working on a number of viewer projects, including Singularity and, most recently, Replex, and he has been heavily committed to the support of the OpenSim community as well as working to improve the user experience in Second Life. He is the founder of the Advanced Worlds SL group in support of  the creation, design and development of technologies for virtual worlds, and the promotion of open standards and open-source software.

While there has been no similar notice on the Replex blog, that Latif has indicated a withdrawal from his open-source projects suggests that work on this viewer may also be suspended unless someone else is steeping into the breach. However, I am still awaiting confirmation on this.

There is little doubt that his presence, if he is forced completely away from virtual worlds, will be very much missed – as the comments following the announcement on the Radegast blog demonstrate. In the meantime, my personal message to Latif – someone I’ve been privileged to call a friend for a good while now, and who has always been a huge amount of fun, even when we’ve bumped heads on occasion(!) – is simply this: look after yourself, and am hoping things  improve in the future.

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Radegast Tech Support Class: helping blind users

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Radegest is a lightweight client for OpenSim and Second Life available for Windows, Linux and Mac. As well as providing text-based capabilities, it was the first lightweight Second Life client to offer a 3D world view (windows and Linux), allowing users on low-end systems to have a visual experience when using a virtual world.

Offering a similar level of capabilities and interaction as a full viewer, and supporting recent updates and improvements to the SL service (mesh rendering, HTTP protocol updates, Marketplace Direct Delivery, Server-side Appearance, etc.), Radegast has become very popular among users with visual impairments and with audio gamers. So much so that Roxie Marten and Celene Highwater of Virtual Ability Inc., have written a comprehensive Accessibility Guide to help people get started with Second life through Radegast. This not only serves as an excellent introduction for the visually and aurally impaired, but forms a thorough introduction for anyone wishing to gain familiarity with using Radegest.

Radegest gives you almost all the capabilities of a full viewer in a lightweight package (image courtesy of Radegast)

Radegest gives you almost all the capabilities of a full viewer in a lightweight package (image courtesy of Radegast)

Because of Radegast’s popularity among the visually impaired, Celene Highwater will be teaching a special class on Radegast for all those interested in assisting new users understand the client and in helping them become a part of the growing community of blind SL users.

The class will be held at the The Tavern on Wolpertinger, on Thursday May 29th, at 12:00 noon SLT / PDT, and will take place in text, or voice upon request.

Anyone who is interested in learning the ins and outs of Radegast in order to help blind or visually impaired users make effective use of the client, is extended a warm invitation to attend the session.

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Return to Radegast

rade-logo

It’s been over two years since I last looked at Radegast, the lightweight virtual worlds (SL and OpenSim) client for Linux, Windows and Mac. However, given it has just had two short-order updates, it seemed appropriate that I also bring my coverage of it a little more up-to-date.

Given so much has gone on with the client since I last blogged on it, this isn’t so much a review of the recent updates – or any updates – but more of a quick reminder of what Radegast is and what it can do.

For those unfamiliar with Radegast, it is a feature-rich client, offering almost all the functionality of the actual SL viewer, with the core functionality perhaps summarised as:

  • Chat (local, IM, group, friends conference)
  • Inventory management (manipulation, deletion of the items, moving them around, sending to other people by dropping item on their profile)
  • Manipulation of object contents, notecard and script editing
  • Ability to wear/take off clothes and attachments from the inventory
  • Avatar appearance – others using 3D client will see you appear correctly, and will not be able to tell that you’re using a text client
  • Backup of all scripts and notecards from the inventory
  • World map
  • Object finder – list objects nearby, sort them by distance, name, see details
  • A.L.I.C.E AI chat – turn it on in tools menu and have fun with automatic responses to chat/IM generated by a built-in Artificial Intelligence
  • Radar functionality
  • Movement controls
  • Support for activating gestures from the inventory
  • Streaming music
  • Accessibility improvements for visually impaired users, including speech recognition for controlling UI and entering text in chat and text-to-speech for reading out loud incoming messages
  • Experimental voice support for local chat
  • Partial RLV support
  • Group management
  • 3D scene rendering for Windows and Linux
Radegast provides a 3D scene rendering in which you can interact with others and object, move around, teleport, move your camera ...

Radegast provides a 3D scene rendering for Windows and Linux in which you can interact with others and object, move around, teleport, move your camera …

All of this makes it an extremely powerful client, and one which can offer significant advantages over some of the more traditional text-based clients for SL power users who may have a need to access SL from a computer other than their usual system – such as a low-powered laptop while on the move (an option which could also potentially be more cost-effective for such users when compared to SL Go).

Since my last hands-on review of Radegast (version 2.2), there have been a series of updates which have ensured the client has kept pace with developments within SL. These mean, for example, that Radegast supports Marketplace Direct Delivery, Server-side Appearance, interest list updates and support for the recent server-side HTTP protocol improvements. In addition, bugs and issues have continued to be addressed, there have been further improvements to inventory handling, attachment point updates, rendering improvements (including some I encountered very early on and which are now long-since fixed) and a whole lot more.

Radegast takes mesh and sculpt rendering in its stride in the 3D scene view

Radegast takes mesh and sculpt rendering in its stride in the 3D scene view

One area in particular that has been focused upon with Radegast is that of accessibility by the visually impaired and audio gamers. Roxie Marten and Celene Highwater have written a comprehensive Accessibility Guide to help people get started with Second life through Radegast (and which also serves as a very good introduction to the client for anyone who has not used it before), and Latif has done a considerable amount of work on improving the Radegast speech plug-in.

If you’re looking for a means of accessing Second Life from something like a low-end laptop while on the move, and would prefer to be able to see what’s going on in-world (on Windows and Linux) rather than relying on text only, or if you have an old computer you’d like to occasionally use for SL access but which labours under the load of running a full-blown viewer, then there is little doubt that Radegast offers a very capable alternative. And as nice and shiny as SL Go is when on the move, it’s also nice to remember that there are alternatives, particularly if you have to take the old laptop with you …

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