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