The following is a look at the principal updates in the 1.8.1 release. For information on contribution credits, please refer to the Singularity release notes.
Windows Download and Install
The new version has seen some extensive code clean-up, which may have contributed to the installer weighing-in at 5Mb smaller than the 1.8.0 installer. As always, installation was painless and quick; as this is the first time I’ve installed Singularity on my new system, I didn’t have any concerns about clean installs (which tend to be a rarity with Singularity away, as it just gets on and does the job).
Media on a Prim / Shared Media
The headline announcement for the release is that Singularity supports Media on a Prim (MOAP), the ability to see and interact with shared media (such as viewing a web page displayed on a prim, or watching a YouTube video, etc. Shared media AutoPlay is disabled by default, but can be enabled if preferred, via Preferences > Audio & Video and checking Automatically Play Prim Media.
Import / Export Options
While MOAP is the headline update for Singularity, it’s the enhanced import / export options which are liable to be of particular interest, especially to content creators.
In covering this, I’m going to stay first-off and in large, friendly letters, that Singularity respects object permissions. Therefore, it will only export those items for which you are owner and creator in full, and it will not let people run away and do naughty things.
Support for uploading .anim files has been added to Singularity 1.8.1, along with the following.
linden_ genepool Export / Import
For those working with avatar shapes, perhaps the interesting news is that Singularity 1.8.1 now supports wearable export/import in linden_genepool format. This means shapes supported in this format (saved as XML) can not only be used in Blender/Avastar, they can be re-imported into SL with the need to fiddle with the shape sliders after being modified externally using something like Blender.
Wavefront and Collada Export
Singularity 1.8.1 also includes the ability to export those objects to which you have full permissions (again, creations which are entirely your own) as .OBJ or .DAE files (as well as to .XML via the pre-existing Export option).
The options can be accessed directly by right-clicking on the object in-world and selecting MORE > MORE > TOOLS in the pie menu. If you do not have permission to export the selected object, the export options will be grayed out and non-selectable.
Voice morphing becomes available in Singularity with 1.8.1. This subscription service provided by Linden Lab allows people to use – wait for it – voice morphing in Second Life, and has been a part of SL since the arrival of Viewer 2.1. With Singularity, options are accessed via the Active Speakers floater (requires Voice to be enabled, obviously), and the overall UI changes are shown in the image below.
Alongside this update is the ability to adjust your own voice volume from the Active Speakers floater.
Radar Updates and Avatar Lists Right-click Options
There have been a number of tweaks to the Radar floater with the new release, and those familiar with Singularity will quickly spot them.
This release also sees a right-click functionality added to avatar lists – such as the Radar – which allows you direct access to common actions you might want to carry out with another avatar, such as IMing them, paying them, offering them a teleport, and so on.
Web Profile and V3 Web Search Support
The Singularity avatar Profile floater now includes a button (top right) which will open the avatar’s web profile in a separate panel, allowing both it and the Singularity Profile panel to be viewed independently of one another and closed independently of one another.
Singularity 1.8.1 also sees an additional tab added to the Search floater, which contains the V3-style web search capability, and an option to search from a separate floater if preferred.
For OpenSim, Singularity 1.8.1 now offers hypergrid map support and high-altitude building.
And the Rest
For a complete list of the top-line updates to Singularity 1.8.1, please refer to the release notes, which provide more information on things like LSL support updates, improvements to the script editors, the ability to start / stop scripts running in an item directly from inventory, notes on new shortcut commands and chat bar commands, an improved auto response function, performance and stability updates, the latest available SSA code updates, and more. The release notes also credit those responsible for the various updates and improvements.
The keen-eyed may have noticed there’s no mention of materials processing support. This is because the Singularity team opted to pass on adding the support with this release. Given that Linden Lab are themselves still working on the viewer-side code, and have themselves just made a significant set up updates available to TPVs and users within the Materials Project viewer, this is actually an understandable move on the Singularity team’s part.
That said, preparatory work has been carried out in readying Singularity for materials processing support, so expect it to appear in an upcoming release just as soon as the team are satisfied LL are not about to drop a significant set of updates on people.
One other change which has occurred with this release is that F1 no longer opens Help, although it will still open a web browser window / tab. This is because the Singularity team are thinking about picking-up a V3-style help; however, they need more hands to make this happen. So, if you are interested in giving them a hand and have the necessary skills to make it happen, please give Siana, Latif or one of the team a shout in-world.
As ever, a tidy set of updates incorporated into a v1-style viewer which is solid, reliable and which shouldn’t overly tax older computers. For those looking for a v1-style viewer which supports SSA (which Singularity has done since the release of 1.8.0 in April) and which offers a very credible list of additional TPV capabilities, then Singularity 1.8.1 is very much worth taking the time to look at and to take for a spin in-world.