Local Textures now part of the SL Viewer

Version 3.3.2.258114 of the official SL Viewer, released on May 29th, sees Local Textures officially reach the mainstream official Viewer. Previously, the option has only been available in Beta and Development releases of the Viewer.

Contributed by Vaalith Jinn, and an extension of his popular Bitmap Browser found in many  TPVs, Local Textures allows users to temporarily apply textures from their computer’s hard drive to their in-world objects, including the ability to apply skin and clothing textures to avatars. Such textures are not physically uploaded to the SL servers, but are accessed locally; as such, they only remain “active” for your current SL session, after which they must again be selected once more. In this, they are functionally similar to the Temporary Textures capabilities found in TPVs – but with some important differences.

I’ve covered Local Textures in detail already, and refer you to that post for an in-depth look at using the capability when building. However, it’s worth highlighting the key points here for reference:

  • Local Textures works both with applying textures to prims and to applying skins and clothes to avatars – so clothing / skin designers can test their work using the official Viewer in the same way as they can using Temporary Textures on popular TPVs
  • If you use a local graphics editor to make changes to a texture that has been applied within SL using Local Textures, any changes you save in the editor will be immediately applied to the texture in-world
  • Local Textures does not physically upload anything to the SL servers – this means that the results of anything you apply can only be seen in your own world view; anyone else will see an untextured surface in their Viewer; thus the option cannot be used to test textures in collaborative build projects
  • Local Textures does not “break” Temporary Textures in TPVs, and TPVs currently are not prevented from offering the Temporary Texture upload capability; as such, both options may be offered by TPVs (as is currently the case with the Dolphin Viewer
  • As noted in my previous article on Local Textures (linked to above), enhancements to SL may eventually break Temporary Textures at some point in the future, but this is currently far from clear.

Local Textures and Skins / Clothing

As I didn’t cover using Local Textures with clothing and skins in the previous article, here’s a brief summary:

  • Select Edit Appearance by right-clicking on your avatar or going to ME -> APPEARANCE.
  • Click on the cog button at the bottom of the floater.
    • For skin tests, select NEW BODY PART -> NEW SHAPE
    • For clothes, select NEW CLOTHES-> the require clothing item / layer
  • The desired editor will open.
  • Click on the texture box (for skins, click on the required body textures selection box).
  • The Texture Picker is displayed – click on the Local  radio button, and use ADD to local, select, apply the texture.
Selecting test skins using Local Textures

Again, the ability to make changes on-the-fly to applied textures and seeing the results immediately in-world, offers a powerful and unique capability to Local Textures that should assist creators and builders.

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SL9B: The End of Days (for applications!) and Auditorium Bookings

If you haven’t already volunteered for the upcoming central SL9B celebrations, here’s another reminder that submissions close this Sunday, June 3rd (midnight SLT).

Applications for exhibit space have been pouring in, so if you are interested in securing a plot, make sure you complete the application form and get it in. Notifications on the success of applications will be sent out as soon as possible after the 3rd June, but please be aware this may take a little time due to the number of applications received. The SL9B spooksperson recently took time out to comment on the status of exhibitor applications and to give further information on the follow-up will be for exhibitors once applications have closed on Sunday.

Similarly, the organisers are still looking for helping hands, so if you wish to volunteer to help please do so. With four event stages within the celebration regions (including the water stage!), applications are still open for live entertainers and DJs as well.

Auditorium Bookings Form Available

The SL9B Auditorium booking form is now on-line. If you would like to use the auditorium for non-commercial group discussions or presentations about self-help, SL skills, community outreach, health, fashion, news, round tables, technology, etc – then please complete this form on-line.

About SL9B

SL9B is being organised by residents, for residents – there is no direct involvement from Linden Lab. Along with the festivities there will be fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, a charity supported by Dream Seeker Estates.

Related Links

Thank once again to Mr. Crap Mariner for the SL9B video.

User Experience Tools: initial roll-out to Magnum RC

Today sees the first phase in rolling-out the new User Experience tools to the Main grid. As noted in the official release notes, the tools have been rolled-out to the Magnum Release Channel.

The new tools were previewed back in March in a rare SL blog post, which I covered at the time it was released. Today’s Magnum release adds three new LSL functions for User Experience:

  • llAttachToAvatarTemp (integer attach_point) — Follows the same convention as llAttachToAvatar, with the exception that the object will not create inventory for the user, and will disappear on detach, or disconnect. It should be noted that when an object is attached temporarily, a user cannot ‘take’ or ‘drop’ the object that is attached to them. Additionally, if this function is used with experience permissions, the user is ‘automatically’ made the owner of the object. If you use this function without the experience permission, the target MUST be the owner of the object for it to attach properly
  • llTeleportAgent (key agent_uuid, string lm_name, vector landing_point, vector look_at_point) — Teleport Agent allows the script to teleport an agent to either a local coordinate in the current region or to a remote location specified by a landmark. If the destination is local, the lm_name argument is a blank string. The landing point and look at point are respected for this call. If the destination is remote, the object must have a landmark in its inventory with the teleport agent script. lm_name refers to the name of the landmark in inventory
  • llTeleportAgentGlobalCoords (key avatar, vector global_coordinates, vector region_coordinates, vector look_at) — Teleports an agent to region_coordinates within a region at the specified global_coordinates. The agent lands facing the position defined by look_at local coordinates. A region’s global coordinates can be retrieved using llRequestSimulatorData(region_name, DATA_SIM_POS).

This initial roll-out does not include the expanded Experience Permissions System, as Oskar Linden points out in a forum post on this week’s server releases. Instead, the new functions work with the current runtime permissions system (specifically PERMISSION_TELEPORT), although plans are in-hand to roll-out the new permissions systme at some point in the future.

No details have yet been released on the Professional Creators Programme that was mentioned in the original preview blog post, but if you are interested in learning more about the tools, the Advanced Creator Tools Notification Group is still open to membership, and you are encouraged to join the Group.

Oskar notes that LL will be actively monitoring the forum thread announcing the roll-out, and anyone encountering issues with the new functions is encouraged to post feedback in the thread, cross-referencing any relevant JIRA they raise.

Given the functions are now on the Magnum RC, and people are being encouraged to provide feedback, this roll-out would appear to move the User Experience tools outside of the associated Closed Beta programme.

For ease of reference, here’s the video LL released with the original preview announcement:

Related Links

Lumiya: take a seat and look at the map!

Alina has been beavering with Lumiya, the Android client for Second Life. Earlier this month I reported on the release of the 3D world view in the client; since then she’s been working on both extending the capabilities of the world view and making a couple of them more robust, as well as adding some additional new features. This has resulted in a couple of rapid-fire releases : 2.0.2 and 2.0.3, both of which are reviewed here.

My review system is a Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100 running Android Gingerbread. Draw Distance on Lumiya is set to 96m, sounds are enabled, but media is off.

“Long Touch”

In reviewing the 3D world view last time, I made mention of issues I experienced with the “long touch” feature: touching the screen over an in-world object & maintaining pressure for a second or two to display information on the object. This didn’t work well with my Galaxy S2 i9100, and Alina reported it was a little unstable on other ‘phones as well. She’s now improved the  functionality, and it should work on all devices.

Touch-to-sit

The biggest world-view addition with this release is the ability to sit on poseballs and chairs. This again uses a a long touch approach – press a finger over the item you wish to sit upon and hold for a second or two in order to display a menu.

Sit option

Simply tap the SIT ON button to sit. Note that if the item has an associated menu, you might get an additional TOUCH button, which will display the associated menu in the Chat window, if tapped.

Additional menu button

The camera angle can be a little awkward once seated, although you’ll appear perfectly seated through other people’s Viewers. As you’ll likely be chatting or IMing when seated, the Lumiya camera angle shouldn’t be too much of a problem, and you can still orbit the around yourself to see what is going on.

 

Seated view in Lumiya…
…and as seen in other Viewers

Standing once more is obviously a case of tapping the STAND button in the lower right corner of the screen.

Minimap Options

Lumiya now has Minimap / radar functionality. You can access the map by tapping the Menu button on your device from any Lumiya screen except the in-world view.  The results are impressive, with the local sim shown complete with any parcel boundaries. The display is split-screen, with (in portrait mode) the map displayed to the top, and a list of nearby people below. Rotating the screen (if your device supports it), displays the panels side-by-side – useful if there are a lot of people around you. In both views, the list of people is scrollable if it extends beyond the panel boundary.

Minimap and radar display (in landscape mode)

A nice touch with the map panel are two zoom buttons, allowing you to zoom in / out of the map (useful if there are a lot of people close to you). Tapping any of the familiar green avatar dots will highlight the avatar’s name in the radar list; conversely, tapping a name on the list will draw a circle around the appropriate avatar dot. Pressing on the name of someone in the radar list will display a pop-up menu, from which you can (with version 2.0.2):

  • Open an IM conversation with them
  • View their profile
  • Pay them Linden dollars.

Note that there is a slight limitation with the radar, in that avatars beyond 1024m metres distance from you will not have their range accurately reported. This is due to a protocol issue within the SL code rather than a bug within Lumiya (and is why you will sometimes see distances in Viewer radar displays given as “>XXX” (where XXX is a value) on entering a region before the radar settles down properly). Alina hopes to have a workaround for the issue in a future release.

People Search

A People Search option is now available from within the Contacts screen. This allows you – as the name suggests – to search for a specific avatar using all or part of their user name. Search results are displayed as a list, and tapping a name automatically opens an IM screen with the option to open their profile provided by a button in the top right corner.

Chat Logs

You can now opt to save all chat and IM conversations to an SD card. This option is available via the SETTINGS menu (tap your device’s Menu button and then tap settings – note that because of the additional features in some windows, you may have to additional tap MORE to see the SETTINGS option).

Other Nips and Tucks

These releases also see:

  • Offline IMs now include date and time when they were actually sent
  • Chat windows now scroll to last message when on-screen keyboard pops up
  • Issue with Group chat issue with messages not always being delivered is fixed
  • Issue with some regions failing to render in the 3D world view fixed
  • Numerous bug fixes and crash issue fixes.

Performance

Alina has been working on overall performance with the 3D rendering, which should benefit those using dual/quad-core systems. Certainly, when running on my Galaxy S2 over my local wifi connection, rendering did seem to be a lot faster – barely a 2-second wait from hitting the button to having prims and sculpts fully rendered. Running on 3G, there was still additional lag (unsurprisingly), but again, in terms of rendering, it was somewhat faster and smoother than version 2.0.0.  Avatar movement was still prone to some delay, although I didn’t find my Crash Test Avatar bouncing off walls when seen in a regular Viewer to anywhere near the same extent, as the overall response time from 2.0.3 encouraged quick, light taps of the arrow keys, rather than pressing and holding, which tended to be the case with 2.0.0.

Overall bandwidth use while on 3G worked out roughly the same between version 2.0.0 and 2.0.3: 5 minutes (with in-world rendering of my home and moving around) accounting for some 2 Mb of bandwidth (UK O2 network).

In-world view

Opinion

Lumiya continues to grow, and the new additions with these releases make it an even more attractive option for those on the go who have an Android device and need to access SL. With options such as inventory access and improved avatar rendering coming in future releases, as well as other goodies, Lumiya is fast becoming the mobile client of choice for those on Android.

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Dio: Linden Research register a trademark and put-up a beta site

Update 31st May: Tateru has provided the following update with feedback from Linden Lab on the new website: “The Dio staging/test server has now been closed off, and Linden Lab expresses thanks for the notice of the security issue. Linden Lab also adds that yes, it is not ready to talk about it in any detail other than that it will be something new and completely separate from and unrelated to Second Life and that it is not yet ready for public consumption.” As such, the links to the site given in this article no longer work. (With thanks to Tateru for permission to quote her update.)

Tateru has reported on a new trademark having been registered by Linden Research Inc. You can find the full details on her site, but the key point is that it is for an entirely new product – called Dio (which, among other things, Wikipedia points-out is the Italian name for “God”).

The name would appear to be connected to a new website, which has a rather interesting home-page:

New website

Any attempts to go further than this page leads to a log-in page with confidentiality statement (as identified initially by Miro Collas):

Log-in page

The metadata for the pages supplies a clue to their purpose: “Dio allows you to create and play user-created stories.” As such, it’s a reasonable to assume the website is connected to Linden Lab’s range of “new products”, first alluded to by Rod Humble at SLCC-2011. Details were vague then, but have become clearer thanks to various clues dropped by Humble himself and as a result of other goings-on, including:

Given the site links to a secure log-in, complete with confidentially statement also points towards it being connected to Linden Research’s call for product Beta Testers, initially made in March this year and which still appears to be open.

Call for Beta volunteers – opened March 2012

Speculation on the site is open to all – doubly so given, as Tateru points out, security is somewhat billoxed – allowing people to discern rather a lot, including URLs for image assets, one of which is rather novel to say the least, and another to what appears to be an Apple-related wallpaper. Others appear to be more “game / story” related.

One of the images gleaned via examination of the Dio site’s source-code

Commenting on Tateru’s article, Psyke Phaeton points out that site’s URL’s might be an oblique reference to Baron Bwimb of Ooze, the self-proclaimed baron of the Paraelemental Plane of Ooze, in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, and provides a link to  another webpage from the site, entitled “Baron’s Test Story”.

Speculation is bound to continue now the cat is out of the bag. Tateru is seeking further feedback from Linden Lab, and will update her article if / when any feedback is forthcoming. I’ll follow suit here, depending on the amount of information that is forthcoming. In the meantime, for more speculative analysis, keep an eye on her comments page.

With thanks to Tateru Nino, Miro Collas and Pyske Phaeton. Note that some of the image links given in this article may become unresolvable, depending on how the apparent security breaks in the Dio website are fixed.

Exclusive (almost): sneak preview of the SL9B sims!

A photo preview of the event builds for SL9B has been posted on the official blog, in preparation for the development of a photo archive of the event that will be added to the Flickr stream as preparations continue – and which will run through the entire event itself.

Remember, these are still early days; the sims open for exhibitor builds on June 4th, so expect a lot more to appear on Flickr from then on!

To further whet your appetites, the SL9B spooksperson was granted access to the sims and has recorded a special preview film 😀

About SL9B

SL9B is being organised by residents, for residents – there is no direct involvement from Linden Lab. Along with the festivities there will be fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, a charity supported by Dream Seeker Estates.

Key Dates

  • Closing date for applications: June 3rd (application forms: exhibitor, performer, volunteer)
  • Sims open for exhibitor building: June 4th
  • Completion date for exhibitor builds: June 16th
  • Technical Rehearsal: June 17th
  • SL9B Opening: June 18th, 11:00 SLT
  • Entertainment starts: June 18th 12:00 SLT (midday)
  • Entertainment finishes: June 24th
  • Exhibits close: June 27th

Related Links

Once again, huge, huge thanks to Mr. Crap Mariner for the videos