This means that the majority of users in SL are able to see mesh objects rendered correctly in-world, if not import them. However, the release announcement from Jessica Lyon is liable to make difficult reading for some:
“We stated some time ago our active development commitment is now focused on the Firestorm viewer and that continues today. We still feel strongly that the end of V1 functionality is an inevitability, so it is more important to develop an alternative viewer for our users they will enjoy for when that time comes than to spend our efforts on a dying viewer and then leave our users with no alternative once it’s gone. However, we also promised we would try to keep the phoenix viewer alive for you until it is no longer feasible to do so. As you can see, we are not walking away from that promise, but it is important to understand that Phoenix is no longer our top priority. When necessary we will continue to keep it up to date with advances/fixes from other third-party viewers and provide them the credit they deserve for that work. But ‘we’ are no longer actively developing Phoenix on our own steam.
“Any future releases of Phoenix will be sparse and only if needed. I will not commit to saying this is the last Phoenix Viewer Release, but I will also not commit to saying it isn’t the last either. I will say… this is one of our last. As time passes we will determine if another release is absolutely necessary and/or sensible and make a decision then on whether another update is mandatory in order to keep our promise to you.”
While it may not be a popular move, one can hardly blame Jessica and the team for taking this position: maintaining an aging code base which itself is built on something LL no longer maintain (Snowglobe) is liable to become harder and harder as time goes on, and for a Viewer to remain functional and relevant, it needs to keep pace with the evolution of the grid and as the Phoenix / Firestorm project has made the step of producing a V2/V3 hybrid, it makes sense for them to focus on that work in order to do so, rather than splitting efforts (and doubling the workload) to try and maintain two sets of code.
As well as mesh rendering, this release also brings with it:
- The Firestorm 3.2 log-in / splash screen options
- Contact Sets
- Removal of the Google chat translation API options from Preferences
- A host of “small” fixes and changes
A signficant element not updated was that of RLVa – it was decided that Kitty’s time and focus is better spent on the numerous projects with which she is already fully engaged: her own Viewer (Catznip, reviewed here), working on bringing the spell checker to Viewer 3.x, her continuing support of RLVa for other V2/V3 TPVs, and so on). In the release blog, Jessica suggest that those wishing to update to the latest RLVa implementations should give either Firestorm or Catznip a try.