Further update, 13th May: Alina Lyvette, Lumiya’s creator, passed word to me on the “long touch” issue with objects in the 3D view: “Yes, it’s not 100% reliable at the moment, it uses a makeshift solution of reading back the frame buffer instead of true collision test, and it’s known to fail unpredictably on so many phones. I’ll do a true collision test for the next release and it will be rock-solid, just need time to do that (and a few interesting tricks to make it work within Android limitations ^.^
Updated 13th May: Susie Bagley and Lirusaito have both commented that object information can be displayed in the 3D view; something I was unable to do on my own phone. This article has therefore been updated to reflect the capability.
Lumiya, the SL client for Android, developed by Alina Lyvette follows Radegast in becoming the second text-based SL client to offer a 3D rendering capability – and is the first to offer such a capability to mobile devices running the Android Os, with the release of version 2.0.0.
There are limitations at present – but this is an initial release, so please bear that in mind. The release notes describe them thus:
- No true avatar rendering (yet), avatars are displayed as default faceless figures.
- Terrain and sky are not textured.
- “Mesh” is not supported. Sculpted objects are (mostly) supported.
- Particle systems, local lighting and other fancy features are not supported.
I took the new version for a quick spin using my CTA (Crash Test Alt), after Latif Khalifa tickled my ribs about the release via Twitter.
Accessing the 3D renderer is simple and straightforward: simply tap the 3D View button at the top left of the screen after logging-in to SL via Lumiya. This will take you directly to the in-world view (which may take a little time to load, depending on your phone / connection). The view itself has two further buttons in the lower right corner, with up (move forward) and down (move backwards) arrow icons.
Once rendered, the View delivers a lot of detail, and managed to capture my PrimPossible piano perfectly, as well as other sculpts without problem, despite the caveat given against sculptie rendering in the limitations. You can pan left / right by dragging a finger across the screen; your avatar will also turn as you pan around (circular panning) – and your avatar will be seen to turn by Viewer users around you. The scene doesn’t currently pan up / down at present, but this doesn’t limit use. Avatar movement is a simple glide, rather than having any form of animation at present, but again, that in no way impacts on things.
As one would expect, rotating the phone will cause the scene to rotate as well, so for those with large screen sizes, the 3D view can be used in landscape mode, providing a wider field of view. About the only disconcerting thing some may find with the 3D View is that the default avatar form is a grey male – although we can expect this to improve as the capability is enhanced.
The view isn’t interactive, so there’s no actual touching of in-world objects to obtain menus, etc; for this you have to use the existing touch option, which does mean a certain amount of screen swapping, but again, nothing that is in any way problematic (although I did have a habit of tapping my ‘phone’s Back button once too often and ending up back in an apps window – but that was operator error, nothing to do with Lumiya!).
However, pressing on an object displayed in the view for a few seconds should display information about the object across the top of the screen (my thanks to Susie Bagley and Lirusaito for pointing this out, as the feature has not been working on my Galaxy S2).
Tapping your ‘phone’s Menu button will display options to open Lumiya’s settings screen (where you can alter your Draw Distance, for example), and to log-out of Second Life & Lumiya.
The Lumiya website notes:
- On modern phones and tablets with Tegra 2 chips and comparable hardware, it will give you around 5-10 FPS in quiet locations. Initial world generation takes a few seconds.
- On older generation phones with CPU frequencies in 300 MHz range, it will give you around 1 FPS at best, and initial world generation takes tens of seconds. It may still be useful to give you a brief idea of your surroundings.
- Draw distance can be reduced to improve performance, but not much.
I found that the 3D View ran very smoothly on my Galaxy i9100 S2 over my home wireless connection, with no lag or delay in processing. When running via 3G, things were obviously slower, with both initial rendering and actual movement showing lag, which leading to some amusement as my CTA, when seen through a Viewer, appeared to shoot across a room and proceed to repeatedly wallop a wall while still standing still in the Lumiya display. Light taps on the movement keys recommended to give the network a chance!
Bandwidth-wise I ran Lumiya on 3G with the 3D view enabled for 5 minutes while wandering around, which totted-up 2Mb of data usage. Hardly an intensive test, I know, but it gave a rough feel for things.
The Lumiya website notes the following on system requirements for running the 3D view option:
- It can work with plain old OpenGL-ES 1.0 without VBO support, but the performance will suffer a lot. Modern phones usually have VBO support, and Lumiya will use it when it is available.
- The native code parts are compiled for ARM processors (Alina notes that if people have Android ‘phones using other processors and would like to see the 3D rendering option on their ‘phone, they should contact her directly).
It is early days for this aspect of Lumiya, and I’m curious to see where it goes and what else can be included (and added to the client as a whole). As it is, Alina is to be commended for what she has achieved; this is really quite a remarkable client capability to have, and really shows huge potential and promise.