firestorm-logoWednesday July 11th saw the release of Firestorm Using the Linden Lab 3.3.3 viewer code base and bringing RLVa support up to 1.4.6, the release includes and extensive range of updates, improvements and changes. I don’t propose covering all of these in detail – that’s what release notes are for – but will attempt to give a broad flavour of what are likely to be the more popular changes and outline where you can find them.

Download and Installation

The download is 32.9Mb in size for Windows, and installation threw out no surprises. As per usual, I did a completely clean install – something that is actually strongly recommended for the release. If you’ve not performed a clean install of a viewer before, the Firestorm team have some notes to help you.


There are a number of updates to the menus, which can be seen in the table below:

Firestorm menu updates (click to enlarge)

The World menu gets two brand new options, the Sound Explorer and Asset Blacklist:

  • The Sound Explorer displays all current sound sources within audible range. The list will continue to update as new sounds are played. Sounds can be located, played locally for you to hear and can be blacklisted.  directly from the Sound Explorer. You can read more details in the Phoenix wiki
  • The Asset Blacklist works with an updated object de-render. With release 4.1.1, objects can now be “permanently” de-rendered (on previous releases, any object de-rendered would re-appear in your view following a teleport or re-log). With this release, all objects  so treated are listed in the Asset Blacklist, from where they can be re-rendered if required. You can read more details on this in the Phoenix wiki

Vaalith Jinn’s Local Bitmap Browser has been removed from the Build menu because this release of Firestorm sees the incorporation of Vaalith’s Local Textures functionality, as contributed to Linden Lab (which is also available for clothing and skins uploads). However, all those who use Temporary Textures need not panic – that option is still available as well.

Preferences Changes

There has been further rationalisation of the various Preferences tabs. I’ve summarised the updates in a PDF file for ease of reference, and will focus on the notable changes here.

The most significant additions to Preferences are the new Crash Reports and OpenSim tabs.

New Crash Reports tab

The Crash Reports tab offers an enhanced means of supplying crash reports to the Firestorm team and includes a link to the team’s Privacy Policy.

The Firestorm team recently repeated their commitment to support of the OpenSim environment, and this tab can been seen as evidence of that. However, given Linden Lab’s requirements around the Havok sub-licence arrangement, this tab is liable to be vanishing from future “SL flavours” of Firestorm once the new sub-licencing comes into effect.

OpenSim Grid Manager

One important element in Preferences that needs additional emphasis is the option to Enable Lossy Texture Compression, found under GRAPHICS->HARDWARE SETTINGS. This enables texture compression during rendering, which can give improved performance and a smaller graphics memory footprint – but at the cost of lower quality rendered textures which may end up pixellated. As such, it is not recommended that this be enabled unless you have little video memory on your system.


There are two new buttons making their début with this release:

  • Fly – a dedicated button to enable you to easily fly
  • Region/Estate button – provides access to the Region / Estate floater (WORLD->REGION DETAILS or ALT-R).

Additionally, buttons now display their keyboard shortcuts in their tool tips.


In addition to the options that can be set for various floaters in the updated Preferences (see the PDF file linked-to above), a number of the floaters themselves have new or revised options:

  • AO floater: A new safeguard added to the DELETE THIS ANIMATION SET button so that everything that’s not an animation link is moved to “lost and found” to prevent accidental deletion
  • Appearance floater–>Edit Outfit – now includes the Local Textures picker (from the gears button)  for testing self-made skins and clothes
  • Conversations floater
    • Contacts tab uses new coloured icons for options (Friends can see when you’re online, etc).
  • Build floater:
    • Now includes the Local Textures picker
    • Allows colours to be defined as hex values as well as RGB and will generate LSL vectors
Colours can now be defined using hex values, and have LSL vectors generated

  • Inventory floater:
    • A “Remove from current outfit” menu option has been added to folders that contain active gestures also, not just attached objects
  • People floater:
    • Nearby tab: the additional radar reporting options are included in the gear menu and the radar range slider has been removed; search now functions correctly
    • Groups tab: hidden groups show in a different colour to those displayed in your profile
    • People floater visibility now persists between login sessions
    • Buttons at the bottom of the floater nopw use icons rather than labels
  • Places floater: Search now works properly and folders correctly collapse
  • Profile floater (legacy): hidden groups show in a different colour to those displayed in your profile for other to see; The Born field is now accessible so data can be highlighted/copied
  • Temportary uploads for snapshots saved to inventory

    Quick Prefs floater:

    • Added option to enable/disable LookAt crosshairs (marking where people are looking)
    • Added option to enable/disable on-screen reporting of colours under the cursor
    • Name tag offset slider added, allowing placement of name tags to be adjusted (affects tags on all avatars, but only in your view)
  • Snapshot floater:
    • Temporary snapshot upload option added for when saving to inventory
    • Floater will now open at last-used tab

Scripting Updates

Builders and scripters  also get a wide range of new and additional options to work with, all of which are listed in the release notes, including (for scripters):

  • The LSL preprocessor, which has a comprehensive set of instructions on the Firestorm wiki. As mentioned in the PDF file, the Pre-processor in enabled via PREFERENCES->FIRSTORM->BUILD
  • The ability to right-click on an object and compile the scripts within in LSL or MONO or remove all scripts from the selected object (note that this will remove ALL scripts in a selected linkset, so remember to use EDIT LINKED if you only wish to remove scripts from ONE prim in a linkset)
  • The Firestorm AO can now be controlled via scripts.

Growl Support

Growl is a notification system which allows applications to send alert you about events and actions. Firestorm can use this to alert you of received IMs, when you are working in other applications. The option can be set via PREFERENCES->DIALOG ALERTS->ENABLE GROWL NOTIFICATIONS, however it does require that you have Growl installed on your computer.

Other Notable Updates

  • ALT-H shortcut reinstated and now brings up teleport history directly
  • Gestures no longerstick on wait states
  • Six new Windlight  presets
  • A range of translation updates and improvements
  • Custom skin improvements and the inclusion of a brand new UI skin, AnsaStorm
  • Text buffer is now increased and text that exceeds the maximum length of the text buffer will automatically split into multiple messages
  • CTRL/SHIFT+Scrollwheel now alters camera focus and offset:
    • ESC resets to default camera values
    • SHIFT+ESC resets camera angles
  • Profile, script info button and estate kick function added to top scripts and top colliders floaters
  • The legend area of the fast timers window is now scrolable so all the entries can be looked at
  • Non-default fonts improved to properly display unicode
  • Many LL-driven fixes and enhancements and code contributions from other TPVs that have been made to the Snowstorm code base

Feedback and Performance

I’ve been running Firestorm 4.1.1 since the release and found it to be potentially more stable than 4.0.1 (which would tend to fail on me when using Windlight presets and taking photos). However, a direct performance check with any earlier version isn’t really possible, as I’ve moved my in-world location recently, and so have no prior test results while using my home sim. However, given the major of viewer tests are always going to be subjective, and I am using the same hardware and viewer settings as always (see the relevant panel on the home page of this blog), here’s some very broad feedback on performance.

At 370 metres, running in default High graphics, with no deferred rendering options switched on, this release clocked a very respectable 42-45fps on my PC. Dropping to ground level saw this decrease to around 28-32fps, while at 2875m (the height of my build platform), the viewer was hitting 53-56fps.

Enabling deferred and shadows on this release appears to generate a much sharper drop-off than I’ve noticed with Firestorm 4.0.1. At 370m and above, fps remains relatively constant in the mid-teens (around 15-17fps). At ground level, it drops to around an average of 9fps – the lowest I’ve experienced in Firestorm for a good while. However, this could be as much an artefact of my new home region as anything. Tripping over to one of my other “test regions” did lift the fps rate with shadows enabled very slightly (averaging 10-11fps), but overall this release does seem slower on my hardware. Again, this could be an artefact of the LL code – I’ve noticed those who have reviewed recent LL releases have reported drops in fps.

In terms of tools and features, there is much here that should satisfy Phoenix diehards; to me it appears that, features-wise at least, Firestorm is pretty much on a par with Phoenix. It is also fair to say that the release is a logical consolidation for Firestorm, rather than a radical update – and this is to be expected. The viewer is maturing, and as such, development should be more a case of evolution rather than revolution.

Please note that all credits for contributions, features and code included in this release of Firestorm can be found in the release notes. 

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17 thoughts on “Firestorm

  1. re. “clean install” – I have had pretty good luck with just doing a normal install (I had to resort to a clean install only once). A normal install keeps most of my settings, and there are many, many pages of settings. I find it worth the chance to at least try to install without doing a clean install.


  2. Of course we can’t force you to do clean installs, but PLEASE, PLEASE, if you do a regular install, and you encounter issues, do us and yourself the favor and run a clean install afterwards to see if this fixes your issues. Engaging our support team without doing so will waste your time as much as ours, because the first thing we will ask of you is to do a clean reinstall.


    1. I understand that Zi, but to me it is worth the try. There are 37 pages (tabs) in preferences and I probably have something changed from default on half of them. Remembering all of that is a pain for those of us who are just users not experts. I have suggested to some ppl that they take a snapshot to disk of all 37 pages as a way of remembering the settings. Perhaps it would be possible to generate some kind of text file with all settings in one place that we could save from install to install.


  3. The new FS maybe configured for Opensim now, but as regards InWorldz my avatar, as always was the case with FS in IW, remains as an orange cloud and refuses to rez although I’m seen normally by other people inworld. I think this is something to do with the LSL bridge not being able to create itself and I don’t know whether that is a fix down to the FS team or something the InWorldz people have to facillitate…?


  4. Well I’m really glad Firestorm committed to open sim as Ludmilla, Zen and many others Tpv.
    On a personal base, i used the previous version, after making sure bridge was off, on Osgrid!
    But of course, ill pass on this 1, as i found the viewer i wish and makes Sl the most enjoyable experience already and is updated weekly as well!


    1. The only refresh option I’ve ever used in any snapshot floater is the button in the thumbnail image itself, and that is still there (have been using it today putting 4.1.1 through its paces while prepping a future blog post.


    2. Oh I’m everso sorry. I found it. It’s a button *inside* the snapshot preview.

      Miss. Inara, please feel free to delete these posts. Sorry!


      1. Exactly as you said, in fact. Only I typed my reply without refreshing so didn’t see it. So now I look even more silly. ha ha!


        1. Don’t fret. On the scale of silliness, this is minor. The number of times I’ve had to remove both feet from my own mouth in the life of this blog (and when I was writing elsewhere) are too many to count!


  5. Now if only LL would allow the ability for viewers to become properly V1-like. FS has done a fantastic job of recreating some aspects of it, but some of larger issues still stand (IM’s, menus, proper font, and it’d be awesome if they got some CCS integration too). I like what they’re doing for the most part, just a few little irks here and there beyond what I wish they could do.


  6. SickJessica, i was one of the latest and strong supporters of the v1 style layout till i found Niran’s!
    Yes there are many features i was used to on phoenix and found they are indeed not needed at all .
    But after a week adapting and struggling with Niran’s interface, i was able to start enjoying Sl as i never did before and now, more then a month, i can only use it!
    I know i miss the ability to login on other grids with it (reason i still have old imprudence installed) and the lack of import temporary textures makes My soul mate still uses old pre mesh phoenix a lot more then she wants..
    And for sure the lack of a inbuld ao is something i sure miss as well!
    But the truth is that 1 adapts and now i can’t even think of using a v1 style interface anymore, or in fact any but Niran’s so intuitive and easy clean 1!
    If firestorm allows a mode that will let you only have your hud attach on screen and use shortcuts for all the rest, i have to tell you, start using that 1, cause the freedom and way you will look at the world will be much more enjoyable!
    And i would like to know if any tried Firestorm can use tone mapping? Cause that’s the new shinning and amzing way of being in world now!


    1. I’m happy for you, however I find Niran’s easily the most confusing viewer I’ve used to date, and I’ve struggled through Dazzle, v1.5, and beta v2.

      I could tell you why, and I would if you really want to know, but I think I’ll just uninstall it and let you have your peace – You are happy with it, and that’s what counts for you.


  7. Ok… I guess its time. I’m going for Firestorm 4.1.1. I tried the first v4 release and liked the v1 style interface. I was very hopeful, but there was a big problem with sim crossings. Even at slow speed I could not go more than 8 sims without crashing.

    I checked the Blake Sea this past weekend. I used Phoenix 1.6.1 and took my 30prim speedboat across over 80 sims without a crash. I was curious to see if the “Hell Week” server updates had destroyed sea travel and so far it has not. So, I believe FS 4 should be able to duplicate the Phoenix feat.

    I know this isn’t a big deal to most users, but if they haven’t fixed the sim crossings by boat I will go stark raving mad. So much of my second life revolves around the sea now, it’s an absolute must have. I’ll document my experience dutifully.


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