2015 viewer release summaries: week 18

Updates for the week ending: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

This summary is published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version: 3.7.28.300918 April 23 – unchanged download page, release notes
  • Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Avatar Layer Limits RC viewer updated to version 3.7.29.301305 on April 28 – (parity with current release viewer) allows users to wear up to 60 wearable layers (jackets, shirts, tattoo, alpha, etc.) in any combination  (download and release notes)
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V3-style

V1-style

  • Cool VL Viewer Stable branch updated to version 1.26.12.41, and the Experimental branch to version 1.26.13.10 both on May 2nd (release notes)

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

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Giant art is what you get, walking on the Moon

Art Walk on the Moon - LEA14
Art Walk on the Moon – LEA14

Let it be known that the Moon heads towards Earth! Long range telescopes have detected there might be art on the moon. Be aware that Bad Astronomy calculated the impact for Thursday, May 7, 2015, 1.01 PM SLT time! Engineers have constructed the Moonrezzer to transport people to see this unique phenomenon, and a cadre of journalists will lift off on Monday May 4th to send early reports! Stay tuned!

Thus reads – in part – the announcement that Art Blue’s latest art installation / retrospective The Art Walk on the Moon, which official opens on LEA 14 at 13:00 SLT on Thursday, May 7th, and which has a special press preview on Monday, 4th May, also at 13:00 SLT (the tour is limited, numbers-wise, so a screening area has been set-up on neighbouring LEA 16 for late arrivals).

For those unfamiliar with Art Blue, he is a collector and curator; a futurist and historian. Over the years he has taken it upon himself to collect art created in virtual worlds and preserve it, offering for people to view through special presentations such has this, and his Ferrisquito exhibitions (the Bryn Oh retrospective of which I covered in September 2014. Part of his work also involves purchasing art pieces from their creators so that they can be preserved and exhibited on OpenSim.

Art Walk on the Moon - LEA14
Art Walk on the Moon – LEA14

The Art Walk on the Moon is an ambitious, immersive and interactive installation presenting a broad range of art pieces created over the years by many artists working in both Second Life and OpenSim, including (and not limited to) Molly Bloom,  Feathers Boa, Brenda Geissen,  Giovanna Cerise, JadeYu Fhang, Cherry Manga, Yooma Mayo. Fuschia Nightfire, Bryn Oh,  Maya Paris, Gem Preiz, Nexuno Thespian, and Renn Yifu.

The installation actually comprises a number of set pieces which are both separate to one another, while in some cases sharing links with one another. For example, the art displayed in the lower exhibition space can be seen via a flycam tour located in the Moonrezzer Amphitheatre, while some of the  pieces displayed can be reached via the teleport boards, or visitors can fly around them.

From the start-point – an airship which is itself an OpenSim creation floating over the the lower exhibition space – one can use the teleport boards to move around the installation. Before you do so, do make sure sounds and media are enabled, and that you’ve collected the introductory note card, and had a good look around. In particular, do note the blue “Creators Link” cubes; these can be found throughout the installation and when clicked will take you to a web page of information on a particular artist  / object associated with them.

Art Walk on the Moon - LEA14
Art Walk on the Moon – LEA14

When starting your explorations, I’d recommend taking the teleport to the Moonrezzer Amphitheatre. Here you can take a flycam tour of the exhibits in and around the amphitheatre. Simply sit on one of the blue chairs, click on Wells’ time machine under the awning and tap ESC a couple of times to free your camera. After a few seconds, the flycam tour should initiate, taking you around the pieces on display and providing information about them in local chat.

Another launch-point for reaching exhibit spaces is the Moonrezzer Springfield Bet, which acts as a gateway to both the The Soulrezzer and The Moonrezzer installations (the latter of which can also be reached directly via the teleport boards). Make sure you obtain a code for claiming your gift at The Soulrezzer before you teleport up to it.

The Soulrezzer is a skyborne installation featuring fractal art by Aurora Mycano.  Click on the yellow poseballs to drift with the art to the rather heavy beat of The Soultaker by Blutengel (see the image towards the bottom of this article). At the centre of the piece sits The Soultaker, guarding a box. Touch the box and enter the code you received at Springfield Bet on channel /1 to open it and claim your gift. An information display in the lower part of the sphere containing The Soulrezzer includes a teleport circle which will return you to the ground – or you can simply step outside and fly down.

The Moonrezzer forms the nexus of the installation. Here you can opt to walk on a blue moon either under scripted control (click on the blue spheres being offered by one of the helpers), or under your own power using a pair of moon boots by Gem Preiz (take the boots from the large box, wear them, and then click on the green spheres being presented by a helper).

Scattered across this moon are twelve assistants who hold aloft various items of art – although you may have to cam out a way to be able to see them. To make things a little easier, a yellow teleport portal at The Moonrezzer’s arrival point will take you to a ship floating over the moon, where you can sit and watch the unfolding display of art below you – simply tap ESC after sitting to auto-focus your camera, or cam around freely yourself.

As well as teleporting around and the teleport boards have a number of additional destinations not covered here), you’re also free to fly / walk / swim around the various areas, and there are lots of small details to be found through careful exploration, and there are various Easter eggs to be discovered – sit at the chessboard at The Moonrezzer and see the king or queen appear on the board, inviting you to touch it, for example.

Art Walk on the Moon - LEA14
Art Walk on the Moon – LEA14

Utilising shared media (including videos by Wizardoz Chrome), streaming music, and supported through on-line information pages and Rez Magazine, The Art Walk on the Moon is an installation that does require time to be explored and appreciated fully and which can lead you in several directions.  It is also, Art tells me, to be his last major installation in Second Life, and it’s closure on June 30th will be marked by a special performance at which, he says, “the Soulrezzer reveals the secrets of your soul, and the life of Art Blue ends in space as CODE64 will take him away.”

If you are interested in previewing the installation and blogging about it ahead of the opening, be sure to be at LEA 14 by 13:00 SLT SLT on Monday, May 4th. Otherwise, as noted, The Art Walk on the Moon officially opens at 13:00 SLT on Thursday, May 7th.

My thanks to Art Blue for his invitation to tour Art Walk on the Moon ahead of the press opening.

Firestorm 4.7.1 Beta: It’s here!

firestorm-logoSunday, May 3rd saw the release of Firestorm 4.7.1.45325 Beta. This is another big update which brings Firestorm pretty close to being up-to-date with the Lab’s viewer.

However, it has been given a beta status as there are further important updates coming out of the Lab, such as fixes for AIS v3 attachment issues, the new Viewer-Managed Marketplace functionality, etc. As such, the Firestorm team will be working on a further release, which will be made available once the Lab has made these updates and new functionality generally available through their viewer release channel, and this will count as a “full” release of Firestorm.

Given the sheer number of updates in the release, I do not intend to cover everything here, but rather an overview of some of the more major / interesting changes, updates and  fixes to be found in the release.   for full details of all changes, and all due credits to contributors, etc., please refer to the official release notes.

The Before We Begin Notes

For best results when installing this release:

Version Blocking

As this is a beta release, there will be no blocking of any older releases of Firestorm until after the next “full” release is made.

Lab Updates

The 4.7.1.45325 release brings Firestorm up to parity with the Linden 3.7.26 code base (with some updates from the 3.7.27 and 3.7.28 releases). Given the last release (4.6.9) brought Firestorm to parity with the Lab’s 3.7.8 code base, this means this release includes a significant number of updates direct from the lab, which include, but are not limited to, the following.

Avatar Hover Height

The Lab’s Avatar Hover Height option is included in this release, allowing users to make on-the-fly adjustments to their Avatar’s relative position above the ground / the  floor / an object it is sat upon, via a slider or spinner, with a range of +/- 2 metres. The option is accessible via the avatar right-click context menu  / the pie menu, which displays the slider / spinner.

Avatar Hover Height allows for on-the-fly adjustments to your avatar's relative position above the ground, etc.
Avatar Hover Height allows for on-the-fly adjustments to your avatar’s relative position above the ground, etc.

Avatar Hover Height can be used whether you are standing, sitting, using a poseball, etc. However, note that it is a change to the graphical representation of your avatar – the option does not make any associated change the avatar’s height in terms of platform physics.

Default Permissions

Firestorm 4.7.1 includes the new default permissions panel for setting the initial permissions on created items – objects, uploads, scripts, notecards, gestures and wearables.  contributed to the official viewer by Jonathan Yap under STORM-68, the new panel can be opened via Preferences > Firestorm > Build 1 > Default Creation Permissions.

The STORM-1968 default creation permissions are now integrated into Firestorm
The STORM-68 default creation permissions are now integrated into Firestorm

Other Lab Updates of Note

  • GPU Benchmarking Feature: in common with the Lab’s viewer, Firestorm no longer uses the GPU table to define your GPU and initially set the viewer’s graphics. Instead, a test is carried out when the viewer is first installed to determine the GPU type and graphics settings are initially set as a result of this test. You can, of course set alter your graphics settings to suit your needs  / load your settings for any saved presets you have
  • Server-side Appearance (SSA) polish / Advanced Inventory System (AIS v3): stability and performance improvements for SSA, including retry logic, removing redundant requests, detecting various appearance stuck conditions; the removal of code related to the old client-side baking framework; appearance bug fixes 
  • HTTP Pipelining and faster inventory fetching: significantly improves the download of data (currently avatar baking information, texture data, and mesh data) to the viewer and improves inventory fetching and loading on logging-in
    • As HTTP fetching using HTTP is now used exclusively by SL (support for UDP fetching has been removed from the simulators), the option to disable HTTP Inventory has been removed from the Developer menu
  • Joint offsets in rigged mesh attachment fixes: removes the unpredictability from attaching multiple meshes with joint offsets which meant you could see yourself with different joint positions at different times, and the way you saw yourself might not match up to what others saw. Instead, wearing the same set of meshes should always produce the same joint positions, and the way you see yourself should consistently match the way others will see you. The process for removing attached meshes is also more robust, so you should be able to reliably get your old joint positions back after meshes are removed.
  • Obtain LSL syntax table from the simulator so that it is always up to date: see STORM-1831
  • Added glossy reflections for projectors: This feature makes use of the glossiness parameter to calculate the “gloss” of projector reflections – see STORM-2067
  • New unified snapshot floater and updated SL Share 2 capabilities: see Snapshots and Photography Updates, below.

Preferences Overhaul

Perhaps the most noticeable update in this release is the complete overhaul of the Preferences panel, tabs and sub-tab. Every major tab in Preference has been revised and rationalised, and most of the sub-tabs have been revised / added-to, along with a number of new sub-tabs being added to various tabs.

Firestorm 4.7.1 sees the Preferences panel extensively overhauled, with revised tabs and updated / new sub-tabs, such as the new Mouselook, Teleports and Map & Minimap tabs under Movement
Firestorm 4.7.1 sees the Preferences panel extensively overhauled, with revised tabs and updated / new sub-tabs, such as the new Mouselook, Teleports and Map & Mini-map tabs under Move & View

The result, while possibly confusing when first discovering a particular option has been moved, is actually a better, more logical set of Preferences tabs and sub-tabs.

Documenting all of them is beyond the scope of a review such as this, and the recommended means for finding options and to gain familiarity with the new layout is to use the Preferences search bar.

Continue reading “Firestorm 4.7.1 Beta: It’s here!”