SL project news week 44/1: viewer updates

A quick start-of-week update on the status of releases with the offical SL viewer. News on specific projects (Mesh, deformer, interest lists, etc.) to follow in the week.

Beta and Development Viewers

The beta viewer situation remains in review, with the latest release –, released on the 24th October – still available for download. Crash rates remain the major issue to unblocking matters and getting things moving again.

In the meantime, an updated development viewer ( was released on the 25th October, but otherwise things remain largely unchanged, and as stated above, project related viewer releases remain blocked. Expect further updates to be reported later in the week.


The aim remains for LL to use FMODex within viewer builds following FMOD’s decision to discontinue making core FMOD libraries available for builds see JIRA OPEN-150). However, the issue is not currently a priority within LL due to other matters (such as resolving beta viewer crashes and unblocking the release pipe).

OpenAL has again be suggested as an alternative to FMODex; however, commenting on this, Oz Linden again repeated that, “I don’t think it very likely that we’re going to use OpenAL.” In the meantime FMODex is in use within the Singularity viewer, and that code has recently been ported into Firestorm, where it is currently being worked on.


The Communications Hub User Interface project viewer launched last week. As I reported at the time, this is an attempt by LL to re-centralise communications within the viewer, and has both good and bad points to it.

The fully expanded Conversations floater in the CHUI project viewer

As might be expected with an initial pass of a project viewer, CHUI has generated extensive feedback from testers as to issues and problems both large and small. These very much reflect the fact that CHUI is still in its nascent stages, and that further work will be going into it to both iron-out bugs and improve performance / capabilities. A survey on the project viewer is due to be made available this week, whether this goes ahead based on the level of feedback currently being generated through the JIRA (which has been reasonably high from those testing the new functionality almost feature by feature), remains to be seen.

Zapping, scrubbing, eyeing and digesting

Curiosity remains at Rocknest, carrying out further soil sampling operations.

With a sample delivered to the observation tray and then to CheMin on Sol 71, sample gathering resumed on Sol 74 (October 24th) with a fourth scoop of the sand-like material being gathered and examined via camera in preparation for it being delivered into the CHIMRA processing system for further cleaning operations.

The sample was transferred into CHIMRA, which is mounted on the robot arm of the rover (the sample scoop itself forming a part of the overall CHIMRA mechanism) on Sol 75 (October 21st). Further cleaning of the CHIMRA sieves and filters is required to ready them for the delivery of samples to the highly sensitive SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) system aboard the rover itself. Because SAM is so very sensitive, it was determined to go ahead with further planned cleaning cycles despite visual examination of the scoop and the visible part of the CHIMRA inlet revealing them to be well coated in Martian material.

At the same time as sample gathering was underway, Curiosity continued to monitor its environment with the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS – the rover’s weather station) and Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instruments of its science payload.

The laser system on ChemCam was also used to zap the soil around the rover for analysis by ChemCam’s own spectrometer. One target in particular, dubbed “Crestaurum”, was struck 30 times by the laser on Sol 74, resulting in a dark pit some 3 mm (roughly an eighth of an inch) across being created in the target location, 2.7 metres (8 feet) away from the laser at the top of the rover’s mast. The shots themselves brought the total number of laser firings in the mission so far to a staggering 10,000.

Zapping the surface in this way vaporizes the material hit by the laser, allowing the ChemCam telescope system to images of the resultant plasma which can be fed via fibre-optics to ChemCam’s own spectrometer. Working in tandem with both the Chemistry and Minerology (CheMin) and SAM systems, which analyse surface samples directly, ChemCam provides a far broader range of data on soil composition, etc., for return to Earth than has previously been possible with rover missions.

Pew! Pew! Pew! ChemCam zaps the Martian sand at Rocknest. Before and after images capture by ChemCam’s Remote imager, showing the target area prior to being hit 30 times by the ChemCam laser, and the cratered result

Rather than discarding the fourth scoop sample following cleaning operations within CHIMRA, the sample was used for two further activities.

In the first, on Sol 77, around 20 grams of the material was delivered to CheMin for analysis, making it the second sample of surface material delivered to that system.

In the second, on Sol 78 and after CheMin had completed initial analysis of its new sample, a further measure of the material was delivered to Curiosity’s on-board observation tray for visual analysis.

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Viewer release summary 2012: week 43

This summary is published every Monday and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Viewer Round-up Page, a list of  all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware) and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy
  • By its nature, this summary will always be in arrears
  • The Viewer Round-up Page is updated as soon as I’m aware of any releases / changes to viewers & clients, and should be referred to for more up-to-date information as the week progresses
  • The Viewer Round-up Page also includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.  

Updates for the week ending: 28 October, 2012

  • SL Viewer updates:
      • Beta version rolled to, October 21, and then to on October 24  (release notes)
      • Development version rolled to on October 25
  • Catznip rolled to R7 on October 23 – core updates: Mini-map improvements, Appearance floater updates and improvements; improved inventory floater and tools;  right-click rigged mesh detach; Remove Folder option in context menu; Legacy Search Places re-introduced; temporary and permanent object blocking; Build tool updates; Chat and Group enhancements; Preferences updates
  • Dolphin released version on October 27 – core updates: “Restore to last in-world position” re-implemented for objects; “Previous Owner” display in the edit floater ported from Firestorm; The shape editor floater now reports the correct avatar height; log-in panel on splash screen visually cleaned-up
  • Kokua Beta released October 24 – although reports at in HELP->ABOUT
  • Niran’s viewer rolled to 2.0.2185 on October 24 – core updates: updates to top windlight toolbar buttons and to new Preferences overlay; additional button options; minor rendering updates
  • Zen rolled through on October 22 to on October 23 – core updates (both): Implemented OpenAL and GStreamer Plugins; removal of FMOD libraries & code; fixed and exposed “Email Me IMs” and “Enable Plain Text” Chat Preference Panel booleans; RenderAnimateTrees reintroduced via Debug Menu; missing DLL files added (release notes)
  • Cool VL updates:
    • Stable branch rolled to on October 26 – core updates: The new target omega code enabled by default; added script editor support for new LSL functions and constants updated per the latest LeTigre RC channel deploy; assorted fixes and clean-ups
    • Experimental branch rolled to also on October 26 – core updates as per main release, plus: implemented latest mesh deformer code; lowered the max number of simultaneous connections to 12 for new HTTP code; fixed a “blurry texture bug” resulting from implementing the HTTP core based texture fetcher
    • Release notes
  • Libretto – removed from round-up page due to website being unavailable for a month and no response from creator on status (also removed from the SL Third-party Viewer Directory)

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