Over the course of the last year Lumiya has developed from a basic text client into a app which rivals the viewer in terms of its capabilities – 3D rendering, avatar rendering, inventory access and management, outfits, touch, pay, OpenSim support. What’s more, all this has been ahieved in less than a year; it’s an incredible testament to Alina Lyvette’s abilities and determination to develop a functional, credible mobile client for virtual worlds like Second Life.
With version 2.3.3, Alina again raises the bar with a host of new features, as well a a number of fixes and updates:
- Texture updates, including textured terrain in 3D view and option high-quality textures
- Flying controls in 3D view
- HUD support
- “Clear cache” option in settings
- Chat messages and user keys can be copied to clipboard
- Option to restart sim for land owners
- Configurable LED blinking for notifications
- NEON-optimized code for texture decompression
The first big update with Lumiya 2.3.3 is textures and texture handling. First and foremost, Lumiya will now render ground textures in the 3D view, something which immediately increases the attractiveness of outdoor scenes when rendered.
Lumiya also includes a number of configurable texture options available through the 3D View section of Settings (tap the menu button on your device, then tap Settings). These are:
- High Quality Textures: toggles the high quality option on and off – this can put a device’s GPU under considerable stress and lead to extended rezzing times
- Texture Memory Limit: set the maximum limit your device can use for textures from a set of four defaults: 32MB, 64MB, 128MB and 256MB. Note that Android can limit GPU memory use to 128MB, so using the 256MB may cause problems on some devices, including locked the application completely
- Concurrent Texture Downloads: set how many textures can be downloaded concurrently (2, 4, 8, or 16)
- Terrain textures: toggle the terrain texture rendering on / off.
Lumiya 2.3.3 sees three new buttons appear on the 3D world view, two of which (in the top right corner of the screen) allow you to fly, as with a full viewer. Tap the UP arrow key to start flying / fly up, and the DOWN arrow to descent / land. Fly forwards / backwards using the movement keys in the lower right corner of the screen.
When you start flying, a STOP FLYING button is displayed. One being tapped, it does precisely what it says: stops you flying – complete with the traditional falling animation as well!
The other new button in the 3D world view relates to HUD support, and is located in the lower left corner of the screen. I will confess that I did find this functionality somewhat problematic, but this is only the initial release of the feature.
Tapping the button will bring up a list of available HUDs you can access.The key word here is “available”. While you can attach multiple HUDs to the same screen point, Lumiya will only recognise the first HUD attached to any given point. Any others will be ignored.
Tapping on a HUD name in the list will display the HUD itself in the centre of your screen. You should then be able to access the HUD by tapping on it. In practice, I found this a little problematic.
In testing assorted HUDs I found that tapping some would behave as expected, with and on-screen menu appearing, while others would not respond at all. Complex HUDs with multiple touch-points also appeared to create issues. While I could display my hug / kiss greeting HUD, only some of the touchable areas would work. I could, for example, swap between female and male stances or have a help notecard delivered, but I could not cycle through the various hug options or actually use the HUD to greet anyone…
Also, and while it is no fault with Lumiya, a further issue with HUD support is that some HUDs are extremely complicated and do not render well on small screens and thus become unusable as a result. Similarly, HUD’s using large menus can be a problem on small screens, as it is entirely possible that a menu will vanish off the right side of the screen when displayed in portrait mode, or off the bottom in landscape mode.
I’m not sure what can be done to address some of these issues, but as it stands, while an interesting feature, HUD use does require some work while also demonstrating the potential limitations of using SL on very small screens.
Lumiya 2.3.3 additionally includes the following updates:
- Clear cache – available through the Settings menu. A restart is advisable after using
- Copy chat messages to clipboard – long touch a chat message for a pop-up offering to copy the text to the clipboard
- Copy avatar key – a button has been added to profile displays allowing easy copying of avatar keys
- Configurable LED support. If your device has visble LEDs on the case, you can now configure Lumiya to set them blinking on receipt of IMs, etc., when the phone in on standby – options available through the Settings menu
- Option for region owners to perform a region restart
- NEON optimisation – for improved texture decompression and rendering.
Finally, a number of crash issues are fixed with this release, as is the issues of certain chat commands delivered on wrong channel and the arrow keys not working in chat over 3D view on some devices.
Performance and Feedback
Overall, this is another tidy update to Lumiya, although not one without a few niggles with regards to the HUD functionality. The new texture options are handy to have, particularly the terrain rendering option which does so much to improve “outdoor” 3D world views.
The Neon optimisation appears to make rendering somewhat faster – although this could be a placebo effect on my part. The configurable memory options are a big plus, particularly for those with hardware which may lack a more generous portion of memory it can spare for GPU use. The 256MB option should be used with care, given how Android can constrain GPU memory use, as should the high quality textures option – both can leave some devices gasping for air (running both completely locked-up my Galaxy S2 several times).
Running with texture in high quality mode (at the 128MB memory limit) also caused my Galaxy S2 to get extremely warm very quickly – which is unsurprising. However, this is the first time I’ve felt heat from the device through the back og the leatherette “flip open” case the phone sits in. Nevertheless the use of the high quality mode was clear to see even on such a relatively small screen.
I like the approach to trying to enable HUDs within Lumiya, and the fact that functionality can be limited by the size of rendered HUDs on a small screens is not a fault with Lumiya, it’s the nature of the device being used. However, some of the other issues I encountered (and assuming they weren’t simply on this side of the screen) would appear to need some addressing; although how this can be achieved, I’ve no idea.
Network-wise this release of Lumiya continues to perform very well over my home wi-fi.On the 3G side of things, this release did appear to be more resource hungry, although I was using the 8 concurrent texture downloads option. In some 12 minutes of using Lumiya, which included walking around indoors and out, a change of outfits and calling up menus, I apparently used some 6.46MB of data.
Overall, a further evolutionary step for Lumiya which may require some tweaking, but is nevertheless worthwhile having.