Firestorm is renowned not only for being Second Life’s most popular viewer, but also for the degree of end-user support provided by the viewer team. With multiple language support groups, in-world classes, a wiki, an in-world support regions, and so on, Firestorm offer users a broad range of support options.
On Tuesday, January 27th, Firestorm added to all of this with a new feature on their You Tube channel, entitled “Tool Tip Tuesday”. In launching the feature, Firestorm Project Manager Jessica lyon describes it thus:
Firestorm has so many features and functions most folks don’t even know about that we decided to do a series of short videos showcasing a hidden or lesser-known feature once a week.
The first of the new videos is just over six minutes in length and provides tips on getting more out of the camera, and short cuts which may help make using the camera easier. The tips include:
Use of the SHIFT and the CTRL/CMD keys with the mouse scroll wheel (if you have one!) to assist in camera movement / placement
Keyboard options to help with camera placement (e.g. CTRL-0, etc.)
Use of the main camera floaters (default and Phototools)
Saving and loading a sorted camera position (which may not be quite what you think it is!).
So why not take a look at the first video in the series and keep a note of Tip Tool Tuesday? Even if you don’t use Firestorm, you may be surprised by what you find.
Update, Thursday, January 29th: following the publication of this review, VetronUK started work updating the ribbing on the elevator textures in her Debonair kits. With some 74 kits to update, this might take a while, but if you do have one of them, you may well be receiving an update soon. Commenting on the update, VetronUK said, “I fly these paints myself and they are some of my favourite works, so if there is something not perfect about them I do get that nagging feeling to fix them :D.” All I can say is – kudos to her for move so swiftly on what is a pretty small thing I only noticed as I fixate on things like that!
Fellow aviator Terag Eshtan, knowing how I like to sort-of customise my boats and aircraft, pointed me towards VetronUK’s Vetron brand of painting kits, and particularly the fat pack of 60+ colour schemes / variations offered for L$1,195 for the DSA C33 Debonair which I recently acquired. As well as the fat pack, Vetron also supply individual colour schemes foe the C33 at L$195 each. The paint kits are provided full perm (subject to an EULA), with the allowance for them to be modified.
While 60+ paint options is a tad excessive for me, I was intrigued to note that Vetron paint kits can include materials options as well. Not only that, but in looking through the catalogue, I found a Red / white colour scheme that I rather liked, so I decided to give it a go. and I’m rather glad I did.
Each kit is supplied with a set of textures corresponding to the aircraft with which the kit is to be used (both with and without aircraft registrations in the case of C33 kits), a control script to be dropped into the ‘plane itself, and a HUD for applying the supplied paint kit / additional options (which may vary from aircraft to aircraft).
If you want to get an idea about how a specific colour scheme might look close-up prior to purchase, try visiting the Vetron store in-world, where you can rez demo models of DSA aircraft with the various paint schemes applied.
Using one of the kits is simplicity itself – instructions are given on the Marketplace listing for each kit, in a note card included with the kits and via a very clear PDF instruction manual. However, in summary:
Rez your ‘plane and drop the Vetron script into its contents
Wear the Vetron HUD
Click the Apply button on the HUD
Use the Advanced button to select any additional options which may be available, such as adding materials (normal and specular maps) to the ‘plane’s finish.
And that’s it; simples. The HUD even includes a Restore button, which will roll changes back to the original supplied default colour scheme for the aircraft.
Customising the textures is achieve by saving the 1024×1024 files locally and then editing to them make your changes. Testing can be carried out by using the Local Textures option within the viewer, and applying your revised textures to the appropriate faces of the aircraft.
As the kit I purchased gave me a good baseline for how I wanted my C33 to appear, the work I did was pretty basic: altering the rest tints to a single colour, altering the tail and tailplane colour schemes, adding my usual registration & monogram.
The C33 kit does suffer the same issue as the original textures supplied by DSA, in that the ribbing lines on the tailplane’s elevators are significantly out-of-alignment when comparing the upper surface texture with the lower, but tbh, unless someone is looking really closely, this is unlikely to be noticed. Unfortunately for me, it’s also one of those things that, once noticed, can start nagging to be fixed. Fortunately, I wanted a two-tone tail with white elevators, so fixing this wasn’t a major problem, as I had to re-colour things anyway [Addendum: as noted at the top of this piece, VetronUK has / is correcting this.]
Once you’re satisfied with your custom textures, upload them as per usual, and if you’re working with a MOD plane like those in the DSA range, again apply them directly from inventory to the required faces of the plane – you don’t need to use the Vetron HUD. However, you can still use the HUD to apply things like materials or glossiness to the plane if you want.
For those who would like a truly unique design, or who have a specific deign in mind that they’re not confident in producing themselves, VetronUK will consider custom work. Information and pricing guidelines are available via note card from her in-world store.
As well as the C33, Vetron produce individual packs (and fat packs) for other DSA aircraft (prices vary) and also kits for other makes of aircraft as well – making a visit to the in-world store worth the effort if you have various makes of ‘plane sitting in your inventory.
All told, the Vetron paint kits are extremely easy to use, and the use of materials really add a nice added finish to an aeroplane, the normal maps somewhat enhancing surface detailing and the specular maps giving a very natural level of light reflection on metallic / glass surfaces. Certainly, I have no hesitation in recommending the kits – in fact, I’m now eyeing-up one of red / white kits for DSA’s C90 GTX King Air! I may even let you know how I get on :).
A fix for BUG-8247 “[Experience Tools] Issue with llRequestExperiencePermissions() triggering experience_permissions_denied() and XP_ERROR_NOT_PERMITTED_LAND after prior 5 minute no response period.”
Internal improvements for experience tools key-value functions.#
BlueSteel will also retain the Avatar Hover Height (AHH) server code with this release
A new Maintenance RC viewer arrived in the viewer release channel on Tuesday, January 27th. Version 184.108.40.2068030 brings with it over 30 fixes and updates to the viewer, ranging from language improvements through build issue fixes to feature requests. Using-facing updates include:
Uniquely identifying URLs for Second Life or Linden Lab domains
Interest list fixes for:
Preventing some prims / items in linksets from being deselected as a result of camera movement
Preventing Intan solo dance animations from ceasing to animate as a result of camera movement
A fix for voice / speak button failing to enable after activating voice on a parcel if it was disabled on entering said parcel
A fix for pixel width and height of the preview is not matched to value of Width or Height text-box in the “Snapshot to inventory” tab
A fix for prim size reverting to default size when scaled down and shift copied
A fix for an avatar’s sitting position becomes corrupted if ALT-SHIFT-S keyboard short cut is used while editing appearance
Feature request: CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-T shows up as notice toasts.