The Singularity team released version 184.108.40.20614 of their v1-style viewer on Sunday April 21st. The chief update with this release is for server-side baking / appearance, which I’ve covered extensively in this blog.
The following is a look at the principal updates in the 1.8.0 release. For information on contribution credits, please refer to the Singularity release notes.
Server-side Baking /Appearance Support
This isn’t actually a visible change to the viewer – but it is an important one.
Server-side Baking / Appearance is a major change within Second Life which is primarily aimed at reducing or eliminating issues of “bake fail” (when the avatar skin & clothing layers fail to render correctly and with remain blurred or show the avatar wearing the “wrong” outfit). This capability is being introduced in two parts: viewer-side support and server-side support, with the former occurring first.
Viewers which do not have the viewer-side support will not work with the Server-side Baking / Appearance service once the server-side of the capability has been activated on the grid. People using them will increasingly see grey avatars around them. Therefore, it is essential that Singularity users update to Singularity 1.8.0.
For further information on Server-side Baking / Appearance, see the following blog posts:
Singularity 1.8.0 gains options to display pathfinding information on linksets and characters. These options are on the Tools menu > Pathfinding sub-menu, or by right-clicking on an object / character and selecting MORE > MORE > PATHFINDING from the pie menu.
For those unfamiliar with working with pathfinding, I have two summary articles:
Note this release of Singularity does not include navmesh support, so as to maintain compatibility with OpenSim.
Mesh upload capabilities also reach Singularity with the release of 1.8.0, with the incorporation of the non-Havok based uploader by Nicky Dasmijn.
Script information can now be displayed for both your own avatar and for your current region in one of two ways:
- Right-click on the ground and select ABOUT LAND from the pie menu and click on the Script Info button displayed in the General tab of the About Land floater
- Right click on yourself and select TOOLS > SCRIPT INFO.
Either option will display the Script Info floater, with tabs for region memory information or avatar script information.
Marketplace Tab in Search
A handy addition for those who don’t like flicking between their browser and Singularity when trying to shop via the Marketplace – or who are using the Marketplace to window-shop for items prior to jumping to the merchant’s in-world store – is the addition of a search tab for the marketplace in Singularity’s search options, which will also allow you to sign-into the Marketplace, if you have not already done so. from within the tab.
And the Rest
As well as the options looked at above, the 1.8.0 release also includes:
- Region windlight settings
- Portuguese translation
- Texture fetch responsiveness improvements
- Experimental ability to run multiple viewers with voice enabled (VoiceMultiInstance debug setting)
- OpenSim features: export permission and ability for grids to add custom menu items.
The release also includes recent LL updates (such as “lighting and Shadows” being renamed “Advanced Lighting Model” in Preferences > Graphics) and bug fixes.
Singularity has always been a well-maintained and popular v1-style viewer, and this release ensures it will remain so, providing both the necessary support of the forthcoming server-side baking / appearance capabilities in Second Life as well as adding a number of features both specific to SL and / or which will be welcomed by OpenSim users (such as the additional export options and the mesh upload capability).
Performance-wise, running my “standard” tests with the viewer yielded the following results on my usual test machine:
- Deferred off:
- Ground: 40-42 fps
- 370 metres: 42-44 fps
- 2875 metres: 50-51 fps
- Deferred on + lighting set to Sun/Moon + Projectors; ambient occlusion off:
- Ground: 10-11 fps
- 370 metres:15-15.5 fps
- 2875 metres: 16 fps
There were two other avatars on the region at the time of test.
Overall, a very tidy update to Singularity and one which offers, alongside of the Cool VL viewer, those Phoenix users who do not wich to move to the viewer 3.x UI the option to stay with a viewer 1.x-style TPV in the knowledge that it is keeping pace with viewer development coming out of LL and with capabilities such as server-side baking.