Singularity 1.8.4: materials, particles, 64-bit Windows and more

singularity

Update: Singularity 1.8.4 was updated with release 1.8.4.5434 on November 16th, after an issue with the coamera controls was discovered in the 1.8.4.5433 build. Not other changes were made, and the functions / updates described in this overview remain current for the the 1.8.4 release.

Thursday November 14th saw the release of Singularity 1.8.4.5433, which brought to the v1-style viewer a 64-bit Windows version to sit with the existing 32-bit Windows version, and alongside the 64-bit Linux offering.

The new release adds a good number of Lab-driven updates to the viewer, including materials processing support (which has been available in various pre-release / alpha versions of Singularity for a while), inclusion of Google Breakpad for better crash reporting, support for the GetMesh2 capability for improved mesh object downloading and inclusion of support for the new LSL particle options. The release also brings with it a host of TPV updates and improvements, either from the Singularity team or which have come by way of other viewers.

The following is a rapid-fire overview for the release, rather than an in-depth review. As always, for a complete list of updates and changes together with all attributions for originators / contributors, please refer the official release notes.

Materials, Particles, Breakpad

Materials arrives in the Singularity release viewer
Materials arrives in the Singularity release viewer

Materials processing support has been available for a while with pre-release and alpha versions of Singularity, and with 1.8.4.5433, they arrive in the release version. For those familiar with using materials (diffuse, normal and specular maps), the Texture tab on the Build floater presents the expected options in a familiar layout.

A couple of nice additions with materials are the Synchronize Materials check box in the main build floater, and the carry-through of the UUID field from the texture picker to the normal / specular map pickers. The former makes it a simple one-step process to keep parameter changes between the different maps on the face of an object in synch, while the latter makes it easy to apply maps using their UUID if known.

The particles support sees Singularity able to support the latest particle parameters, including ribbon particles and particle glow. However, while testing the viewer, I found that it does not appear to support the particle muting capability LL also introduced, whereby right-clicking on a particle stream will mute the corresponding emitter.

The Google Breakpad crash reporting system is enabled by default on first installing release 1.8.4. Providing such reports allows a TPV team to better understand and deal with potential crash modes within a viewer and identify and eliminate potential errors which can result in crashes, and users are therefore encouraged to keep the option enabled. However, if you don’t wish to send any reports, or don’t wish to be asked prior to a report being sent should you crash, you can change the crash reporting setting through a drop-down menu in Preferences > General (shown below).

Google Breakpad enables crash reporting to the Singularity team, and can be configured through the Preferences > General tab
Google Breakpad enables crash reporting to the Singularity team, and can be configured through the Preferences > General tab

 

Menu Updates

Singularity adds some nice little touches to the use of the pie menu, and adds the option to switch between using the pie menu and context menus.

  • Shift-clicking on the central “hole” in the pie menu will either step you back through levels (if you have been using the More > option), or close the pie menu
  • The pie menu can be displayed when in Mouselook by holding the ALT key and right-clicking. It can be cleared by holding the ALT key and left-clicking
  • For those who, like me, prefer context menus, they can be enabled in place of the pie menu via Preferences > System > Use Context Menus instead of Pie Menus.

Other Updates of Note

This release of Singularity also includes the following updates:

  • Inclusion of the latest fixes for the latest ATi/AMD Catalyst drivers
  • Addition of the default camera presets to the Quick Preferences panel
  • Several improvements to the instant message panels
  • Improved reliability of the texture cache
The mini-map gets updated with additional options on the right-click menu
The mini-map gets updated with additional options on the right-click menu
  • Mini-map updates:
    • right-click option to hide or show objects
    • Ability to show Whisper, Chat and Shout range rings (hat rings aware of OpenSim chat range settings)
    • MiniMapPrimMaxAltitudeDelta and MiniMapPrimMaxAltitudeDeltaOwn debug settings added to allow customisation of objects displayed on the mini-map based on proximity
  • Linden tree animations re-enabled  (Advanced > Rendering > Animate Trees)
  • Clicking on clock toggles display of local time
  • Grid URLs can be entered directly into the login panel’s grid field, bypassing the need to open the Grid Manager
  • OpenSim / Aurora sim updates, including:
    • Support for variable-sized regions
    • More OpenSim conformity
    • Issue with teleport failures and saving scripts taking a very long time on OpenSim regions run in the same simulator instance fixed
  • And more, again, please refer to the release notes for details and for the code attributions of all updates.

Windows 64-Bit

The 1.8.4 release of Singularity sees the arrival of a Windows 64-bit version. There is a known issue with this version of the viewer, which lacks support for the  Quicktime plugin, so certain types of parcel media will not play. However, this does not affect streaming music and media on a prim (MoaP).

While my tests are far from conclusive, I have spent time running the 64-bit version on the SL Aditi (beta) grid and have encountered no problems or crashes.

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9 thoughts on “Singularity 1.8.4: materials, particles, 64-bit Windows and more

  1. Yay, you like my context menus! Context menus are actually a little work in progressy, in that the look and feel of them may be below par.. I’ve been pretty much only using pies before, so please feel free to give feedback if anything should be different. I was thinking to make some entries just hide entirely instead of being disabled, would that be better? Also, most submenus can have their entries simply added to the current menu, if that would be better for any, I am taking requests for that. They are built from the same XML as piemenus, so submenus may feel a little too 8.

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    1. I’d personally prefer context menus which have a degree of consistency with the SL viewer’s menus. That is, options which are common to both are largely presented in the the same order. Where there are TPV additions, my own feeling is to have these logically presented (so that if they “fit” with ssub-sections of the LL approach to context menus, then put them in the relevant subsection, if not, add them in a section of their own.

      As to sub-menus, I think these are potentially better than just having a long primary menu & I like functions being suitably grouped into logical sub-menus – just avoid trying to go down too many levels.

      Generally, I find context menus preferable to the pie menu, as I find they are more natural and intuitive, and they are easier to locate options when using multiple viewers as the same principle applies to all of them: scan down and move to the right. Muscle memory is therefore easier to train. Kudos to you for adding them!

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