Tuesday February 7th saw the resumption of The Phoenix Hour broadcasts via Metamix TV. Given the sim was full and the stream hit a capacity limit, I’m guessing the show was somewhat eagerly awaited. As I couldn’t get either into the sim or onto the stream, feedback on the show will have to wait until it is available on the Metamix channel and I’ve had a chance to watch it.
In the meantime, and coinciding with the show, a Maintenance Release of Firestorm was made – 18.104.22.16880. Here’s a quick overview of the elements that caught my attention.
Points of Note
- There is an impressive list of additions, changes and fixes for the release, as well as a number of known issues. You are advised to read-up on the latter prior to installing
- It is recommended that you do a completely clean install of the release
- This release does not include the V3.2 FUI from LL – that’s coming down the road (see below) so far as I can tell, the parametric deformer also isn’t a part of the release.
Particle Editor and Other Highlights
While I’m not going to launch into a full review – I’m saving that for when the FUI version of Firestorm arrives – this release includes a number of cool bits worth mentioning. Most notably among them is Zi Ree’s client-side particle editor, which has been the cause of some angst having been released ahead of Firestorm (for which it was specifically being developed) within the Zen Viewer.
There is a comprehensive guide to using the particle editor on the Firestorm wiki, so I’m not going to delve massively deeply into it here. All I will say is, full kudos to Zi for making it so ridiculously easy, even I can understand it and play with particles…
Another nifty addition from Zi that builders are likely to find handy is the BUILD->DUPLICATE option (CTRL-D). This allows builders to immediately duplicate any prim or linkset they’ve created – hand on repetitive builds.
Inventory gains the ability to search by creator, UUID, description and ALL and filter options to display Links, hide Links or hide everything else but Links to the inventory gear menu.
Estate owners / managers also get some useful updates with this release by way of Ansariel Hiller:
- ALT-R will now open the Region / Estate floater
- The TOP OBJECTS floater (from the DEBUG tab of the Region / Estate floater) now includes a button allowing Estate owners / managers to teleport to offending objects
Camera smoothing is also now in the Move / View tab of Preferences, as is the ability to adjust the transition time for shifting focus, while the camera View Angle is updated to allow the entry of numerical values – all options machinimatographers should find useful. The transition time option is something I first encountered in Niran’s Viewer, and really like, especially when exploring SL and appreciating the sights I find – so it’s good to see it in Firestorm. I also particularly like the options to disable some of the more annoying notifications thrown out by the Viewer during routine operations.
There are even a couple of new skin options: Firestorm High Contrast and also Vintage – the latter of which harks back to V1 in terms of button colours and presentation.
And all this just scratches the surface of a lot of effort by many within the team to add features and enhance the Viewer’s overall capabilities – kudos to all.
Given this is a maintenance release, I wasn’t expecting to see the kind of dramatic improvements I’ve been fortunate to experience with other Viewers, Shining Fixes notwithstanding – and that’s pretty much the case. Overall, through nigh-on three hours of playing with the Viewer and leaping around the place, banging prims together and generally poking my nose in and seeing what happens, performance has been pretty much on a par with the 3.2.2 release, with the occasional boost in fps when shadows are enabled. Shadows themselves also seem to render more crisply with this release, although that could simply be a trick of my eyes.
Crash-wise, outside of the issues listed by the team, I did initially have some problems running with shadows active in that clicking the PEOPLE button with deferred & shadows active initially caused me to crash several times. As the problem later went away, I’m assuming it may have been either issues within my PC, or possible issues with the sim I was on at the time.
Overall, this is a worthwhile update to Firestorm – although a read-through of the known issues is well advised.
You can get your copy via the Firestorm wiki.
And for those awaiting the arrival of the V3.2 FUI in Firestorm, here’s a teaser from the team: