Alchemy 3.8.0: Experience this, and colour that

Alchemy-logoUpdate: Drake Arconis has pointed-out an inaccuracy in the original version of this review in relation top the Avatar Hover Height slider and spinner. I’ve now corrected the article to reflect his feedback.

Alchemy released their latest beta viewer on Tuesday, June 16th. Version 3.8.0.35816 is described as “another step in the road to Alchemy’s first major release and includes hundreds of new fixes and improvements over it’s predecessors.”

Quite what all the fixes and improvements are is a little hard to tell without pouring over this and the last release, as the release notes are light on details – assuming the “hundreds” in the description for the release is not hyperbole. Ergo, this review is more a set of highlights for the release.

What we do know is that this beta brings Alchemy right up to date with the Lab’s most recent 3.7.30 code base, and includes the Experience Tools updates (which, as they are at RC status in the official viewer, and there are no known issues with them, are ripe for incorporation in RPVs).

Installation

The viewer comes in Windows 32/64-bit, a Mac universal 32/64 bit and Linux 64-bit flavours via the download page, However, some Windows users may see the following message when trying to run the viewer:

The application was unable to start correctly (0xc000007b)

As per the Alchemy release notes, should this happen, please download and install one of the following two files from Microsoft:

(The above links will take you to the respective download pages at Microsoft, where you can review the file details prior to downloading.)

Experiences

Alchemy 3.8.0 supports the Lab’s new Experience Keys / Tools. This means that when you visit a location using the Experience Keys capabilities, you will receive complete information on the Experience and the permissions it requires you to give in order to join it, as opposed to the brief summary which is displayed by viewers that do not currently have the Experience Keys code included in them.

In addition, it also means you can review the details of the experiences you have joined, and those to which you may have contributed, through the Experience floaters, accessed via Me > Experiences.

Alchemy now includes support for Experience Keys, allowing users to see full details of an experience and the permissions it is requesting (l), use the persmisions floater to search for experiences and review the details of those they've joineed / to which they have contributed or those they own (c) and review the details of individual Experiences they've joined (r)
Alchemy now includes support for Experience Keys, allowing users to see full details of an experience and the permissions it is requesting (l), use the permissions floater to search for experiences and review the details of those they’ve joined / to which they have contributed or those they own (c) and review the details of individual Experiences they’ve joined (r)

For details on Second Life experiences, please read my early review of the official experiences release candidate viewer (note a more updated review of Experience Keys will be produced when the capability has been formally rolled-out).

Avatar Hover Height

Hover
The Avatar Hover Height slider / spinner can be found in Alchemy’s Quick Preferences

Alchemy 3.8.0 includes the on-the-fly Avatar Hover Height capability from the Lab. However, rather than being a slider / spinner control accessed from the avatar right-click context menu, it has been implemented as a chat command: “/hover”, followed by the amount by which you wish to adjust your avatar’s apparent height. For example, “/hover 0.1” will raise your avatar’s apparent height by 0.1 metres, and “/hover -0.1” will decrease you avatar’s apparent height by the same amount.

Update: As noted in the comment from Drake Arconis, the slider for Avatar Hover Height can be found on the Alchemy Quick Preferences (use the cog at the top right of the screen to display – see above right right or the floater itself).

Continue reading “Alchemy 3.8.0: Experience this, and colour that”

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Second Life project updates week 25/1: server, viewer

Flux Sur Mer; Inara Pey, June 2015, on Flickr Flux Sur Mer (Flickr) – blog post

Server Deployments Week 25

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest updates / news.

  • On Tuesday, June 16th, the Main (SLS) channel received the server maintenance package previously deployed to the three RC channels, comprising further Internal server logging changes.
  • There will be no deployment or restart to the three RC channels on Wednesday, June 17th.

SL Viewer

On Friday, June 12th, the Lab issued a new viewer directly to release status. Version 3.7.29.302599 offers no functional changes to the the previous release viewer, but does include two DLL files – MSVCP100.DLL and MSVCR100.DLL which were missing from the Windows version of the viewer, and as a result causing problems for some users by their absence.

As a result of this release, the Attachment fixes RC viewer (Project Big Bird) RC viewer updated to version 3.7.31.302640 on Tuesday, June 16th, and the Experience Tools viewer updated to version 3.8.0.302622.

An “obsolete platform viewer” has also been issued by the Lab. Version 3.7.28.300847 of the viewer is a “static” release of the viewer which is aimed at providing users on Windows XP or versions of OS X below 10.7 to be able to continue to log-in to SL following the upgrade of the tools used to build the viewer. As I reported at the time, the key points to note about this viewer are:

  • It will not receive new features or bug fixes
  • It will not be promoted to release status
  • It does not change the Lab’s support policy on Windows XP or versions of OS X below 10.7, and is purely – as noted – an interim offering to help people
  • It will be provided for as long as is reasonable – but not indefinitely.

 Other Items

 Experience Keys  / Tools

As noted above, the Experience Tools RC viewer has been updated to match the current release version as the Lab continue to work on the back-end services. One issue that has been encountered  – albeit it in a single case so far – is that access to the KVP store used to hold information on the experience can be delayed in very permissive areas where there is a lot of natural in-world rezzing going on (e.g. public sandboxes) – see BUG-9027. This is because access to the store uses the same resources as used for rezzing objects.

The concern with the problem is that it could have an impact of grid wide experiences. However support for running experiences on a grid-wide basis is, in the Lab’s eyes, “still some time in the more distant future”, as they are focused on the region / parcel level and ensuring the capability works within these extremes first. As such, this issue is unlikely to prevent the initial deployment of the Experience Tools capability, although the Lab will look into this particular matter at a latter date.

Combat and Damage

During the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, June 16th, the subject of damage, combat and protection within regions controls. Commenting on the matter Simon Linden said, “I’m beginning to think more and more we need regions set to different modes … something safe for general use, then raise the limits for combat (and the like) where you are freer to hurt yourself.  It’s just an idea at this point, but the one-setting-for-everything seems to always make someone unhappy.”

The problem here is that the existing Linden Damage system is seen as being somewhat inflexible, hence the development of various combat systems within SL. However, that there are so many systems now available, makes the Lab hesitant to change things, as Simon went on to explain:

We’ve talked before about working on the damage feature but I think that’s a case where everyone has their own usage, and so it would be better to have the features so others can make the damage systems they want. We probably can’t alter the current one. I’m sure somewhere somebody is using it and we can’t break their content. We could add to it, if it’s backwards compatible, but like I said, I think it would be better to hear what the CS and other system builders want to make their system nicer.

As Simon states, this doesn’t mean the Lab are about to make changes, or consider making changes where combat systems and damage are concerned; just that they are aware of the limitations within the current land settings.

That said, a recent change within the LL viewer has been noticed. Under it, damage cannot be set it the parcel level only; also, the viewer does not display the health meter on damage enabled parcels, but people can be “killed” and teleported home.  While Oz acknowledged this may be due to the Lab not fully following through on a set of changes to the viewer code, Simon also pointed out that the two-state on / off capabilities between regions and parcels has never really been fit for purpose:

Basically if you have any larger or high level setting, as well as a smaller scale (like regions vs parcels)  the higher one can’t just be “on” or “off”. It needs to be “on with override smaller settings” , “on without override”, “off override smaller settings” , “off without override” … It just doesn’t work with simple on/off settings.   You need more info about the intent on how it relates to the smaller areas

However, he again warned against anything being done on this in the near future, commenting, “if we want to fix this in SL, it means viewer UI changes, new data being passed back and forth to the simulator (which can be a hassle depending on the messages), new values in the database (which is another issue) and of course simulator changes.” In other words, were anything to be done, it would be a large-scale project, something which the Lab has yet to even consider taking on.

SL12B Community Celebration: not long now

The train now arriving (or is that leaving...?) platform ? ...
The train now arriving (or is that leaving…?) platform ? …

The clock is counting down to the start of the SL12B Community Celebration.  On Sunday, June 21st, the gates will be thrown wide, for a week of events and and attractions, after which they’ll remain open for a further week so people can tour and enjoy without the celebratory events and activities.

With the count ticking down the hours and minutes, the remaining schedule in the lead-up to the start of celebrations reads like this:

  • Wednesday June 17th (noon SLT) at noon SLT – Thursday, June 18th: Sims closed for walk-through
  • Friday, June 19th and Saturday, June 20th: Extra time for adjustments
  • Saturday, June 20th: Press day
  • Sunday, June 21st (noon SLT): Sims open!

And, of course, Tuesday, June 23rd marks the actual day of Second Life’s 12th anniversary!

If you’ve applied to be a part of the Press Day on Saturday, June 20th, you should hear about things soon, with an invite to join the press group. In the meantime, a final sneak peek video from me, also available on the SL12B website.