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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