Singularity 1.8.5: Fitted Mesh, “mouse move” and more

singularityThe Singularity team have issued a new release of their viewer – version 1.8.5.5617 – which brings with it a host of new features, options, additions and fixes. There’s quite a lot packed into the release, so this is another overview of the updates, rather than an in-depth review.

Fitted Mesh

With this release, Singularity now supports Fitted Mesh. Reading FITMESH-6,  I believe I’m correct in saying this release includes the fixes from Runitai Linden which addresses those issues and FITMESH-20, although there may be a couple of outstanding points in the fixes.

Sadly, I can’t test the viewer against the fitted mesh test articles the Lab supplied to me in order to preview the release of the original project viewer as I, um, managed to accidentally delete said assets *cough* …

“Mouse Move” and Additional Mouselook Options

I emphasise “mouse move” is my term, not that of the Singularity crew, although it pretty aptly describes the function. Most people are probably familiar with the fact that we can left-clicking and holding the button down, it is possible to turn our avatar. In Singularity, it is now possible to point to your avatar, left-click (and hold) the left mouse button and then right-click (and hold) the right mouse button, move around.

This may sound odd, given the various ways avatar movement can already be achieved, but as I use a trackball, I have to say I found it particularly effective in moving around (although fingers did tend to get a little tired when moving for extended periods, but that’s more to do with the position of my trackball, rather than a problem with the implementation. I can see the option potentially being useful when moving around game / combat environments and when used with “worn” means of transportation.

Mouselook Options

Version 1.8.5 includes the ability to select which parts of the UI to show when in Mouselook. The options are floaters, menu bar and notices and can be toggled on / of via check boxes in Preferences > Input & Camera >UI Hidden in Mouselook. Note that checking items means they will not appear in Mouselook.

Select which UI elements you wish to hide / se when in Mouselook
Select which UI elements you wish to hide / se when in Mouselook

Also, when operating in Mouselook, you can now ALT-Tab  between Singularity and other open applications and back without getting thrown out of ML.

Camera Updates

There are a couple of very useful camera updates with this release:

  • Allow alt-camming and terrain parcel selection from farther away, easing tasks such as partitioning regions and zooming around
  • A Reset Camera Preset Angle to Default option has been added to the View menu for undoing changes made to camera angle by CTRL and/or SHIFT+scrolling. In relations to this, the release notes additionally state: option to change camera angle through this method is now off by default, and that if your camera angle had been messed up in the last release, this option can spare you a full reset

Underwater Shadows

Merfolk and those into underwater exploration can now have their time beneath the waves enhanced as  Singularity will now render shadows underwater (requires ALM and shadows to be enabled via Preferences > Graphics).

Underwater shadows
Underwater shadows

Rendering  / Graphics Updates

This release sees some significant updates to rendering / graphics, including:

  • Fixes to shader compilation problems and standards compliance issues
  • Enhanced support for Intel GPUs on Linux
  • Enhanced support for Nvidia cards (NVAPI) which among other things allows automatic use of discrete GPU in dual GPU systems
  • SSAO separated into its own shader allowing speed optimization by running it at a lower-than-native framebuffer resolution
  • Several improvements to the performance of the rendering engine.

Other Bits

The release also sees:

  • Support added for the new LSL linkset scaling functions (: llScaleByFactor, llGetMinScaleFactor, and llGetMaxScaleFactor)
  • Improved performance of glow and ribbon capabilities
  • Ability to display cost per sq. m. for parcels on sale on the map
  • Ability to resize the Appearance floater.

There are also a number of bug fixes and other enhancements, so please refer to the release notes for a full run-down of everything from the team.

Feedback

Quite an extensive update from the team again, and one which should more than satisfy Singularity users. The addition of Fitted Mesh, enhanced support of particle capabilities and the linkset scaling are liable to please a lot of people, and the list of fixes for issues should also keep users happy.

As noted above, I quite like the new “mouse move” option in third-person view; using my trackball meant I could wander around and adjust my camera height somewhat to give me a good variation when looking ahead a lot more easily than when using the cursor keys (which is usually how I move). This proved very useful when negotiating confined spaces, such as inside my boat. The underwater shadows are also a pretty (literally and figuratively) cool addition.

All-in-all a very tidy release, and kudos to the Singularity team.

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Yet shall the lovers reunite: looking ahead to LEA AIR 6

As I recently noted, the Linden Endowment for the Arts have announced the successful applicants for the 6th round of Artists in Residence (AIR) grants.

Tyrehl Byk: returning to the LEA
Tyrehl Byk: returning to the LEA

All of the successful applicants, who will be receiving the use of one full region supplied by the LEA each for a six month period, are to be congratulated. However, and without wishing to sound like I’m playing favourites, there are a couple in particular that I’m looking forward to.

The first of these is Tyrehl Byk. The master of the particle, Tryehl’s work is nothing short of astounding, as anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing shows like Catharsis and Particle Phantasmagoria can more than confirm.

I’ve no idea what Tyrehl has planned for his installation at the LEA, or whether it will be particle-focused; but I am convinced it will not disappoint, and I’m already eagerly waiting to hear more – which admittedly may not come until he’s ready to unveil his installation.

The other item I’m fairly bouncing about getting to see is from a team new to the LEA, although they have already established themselves as a creative tour de force in performance arts within Second Life, having established the Basilique Performing Arts Company.

I’m of course talking about Canary Beck and Harvey Crabsticks who, as their stunning Romeo+ Juliet approaches the end of its fourth season, will be trasferring it to the LEA as a part of an interactive, educational multi-media exhibit which will allow visitors to not only witness performances of their interpretation of Shakespeare’s immortal play about tragic love and loss, but to immerse themselves in the world of Romeo and Juliet.

“We envision building a full, open-air sim laid out on ground level making the scenes in Romeo + Juliet come to life. We hope that becoming associated with LEA will help us expand our reach to a broader audience,” Canary states, announcing the plans in her blog. She goes on:

At the centre of the sim will be the Basilique Playhouse where the play will be performed on a weekly basis, beginning in March.

The aim of this project is to build on our past work in presenting the play, augmenting the experience for visitors beyond spectator status, but rather as involved, participating, and interactive “actors” in the work, in three dimensions.

Extending on the themes of the play, and surrounding the playhouse, will be four highly immersive and distinct quarters giving the visitor the impression they have stepped back in time.

Relive the Basilique Performing Arts Company's Romeo+Juliet and immerse yourself in scenes from the play
Relive the Basilique Performing Arts Company’s Romeo+Juliet and immerse yourself in scenes from the play

The four immersive environments will comprise a public piazza and streets that one would have found in Verona at the time of the play’s setting; the Capulet family’s mansion where Romeo and Juliet first encounter one another at a ball, which will contain Juliet’s bedroom and the orchard beneath it where Romeo famously woos her; the town of Mantua, to which Romeo is banished after killing Tybalt; and finally, the chapel in which will reside Friar Laurence’s cell and the Capulet family tomb where Romeo and Juliet find their eternal rest.

Visitors will be able to witness performances of the production, re-create famous scenes from the play themselves, and engage in an interactive, HUD-based hunt / game based on challenges and clues surrounding the play, and the life of William Shakespeare.

The installation is to be developed in phases over a two-month period, opening its doors to the public on March 1st for perfomances and the additional quarters opening progressively as they are completed.

Having see the dedication and talents of Canary and Harvey – and the Basilique Performing Arts Company – I have little doubt that everything that is being promised will be delivered. This really is an exhibition – an event – you will not want to miss. Hopefully, and with Canary’s permission, I’ll be able to bring more news on this project as things progress.

Travel to the Far East in support of Creations Park Team Fox

Creations Park Chateau: home to the Creations Park Fine Art Gallery and Rooftop Garden
Creations Park Chateau: home to the Creations Park Fine Art Gallery and Rooftop Garden

 

Dance under the stars and see-in the New Year

As a special celebration of the Chinese New Year, which in 2014 falls on Friday January 31st, Creations for Parkinson’s Team Fox is hosting a moonlit dance to which all in Second Life are warmly invited (subject to region capacity, obviously!).

In keeping with the fact that the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, and the New Year festival itself is sometimes referred to as the Lunar New Year, the dance is to be held under the stars on the Creations Rooftop Garden,  which will be specially transformed for the event.  Festivities kick-off at 17:00 SLT on Friday January 31st and will run through until 19:00.

The Creations Park Rooftop Garden: venue for the Chinese New Year Dance
The Creations Park Rooftop Garden: venue for the Chinese New Year Dance

So, come mark the start of the Year of the Horse and join in the celebrations and fun, which will include wishing lanterns and free gifts as well as music and dancing. All donations will go directly to Team Fox and the fight against Parkinson’s Disease.

Be sure to accept the local windlight settings on your arrival, or  manually set it to Phototools Moon Light 02 (if available in your viewer’s windlight presets, otherwise try midnight).

Gung Hei Fat Choy!

Travel to Old World Japan

Old World Japan – Return to Kyoto is a group exhibition opening on Monday February 3rd  at the Creations Park Fine Art Gallery, and which will run through until the end of March.

The exhibition will include works by ooYukichioo, Silent Ying (who brings the traditional game of GO to Second Life, complete with scripted board and demonstrations at the gallery as well as presenting historical art of the game being played),  Shambala Kimono, ButterflyAire Fine Art, EvanArt SL Photography, LeLiiLa SL Photography, Zanth Fine Art and more.

Art by Shambala Kimono forms a part of the Return to Kyoto - Old world Japan exhibition
Art by Shambala Kimono forms a part of the Return to Kyoto – Old World Japan exhibition

All donations at the exhibition will go directly to Team Fox. Money from art sales with either be donated in full to Team Fox or on a 50/50 basis. The opening will be marked by a special themed dance on Monday February 3rd from 18:00 to 20:00 SLT – so get your kimonos ready!

The February Exhibition is one of a number which will be taking place throughout the year at the Creations Fine Art Gallery. The current schedule of exhibitions comprises:

  • February – March: – Return to Kyoto – Old World Japan
  • April – May:- The Language of Flowers
  • June – July: Creations Park Photo Exhibition
  • August – September: Dreamscapes
  • October – November: Abstractions
  • December – January: Spirit of the Season

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