Update: 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 22.214.171.124816 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).
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:
- If you are using the 32-bit version of Alchemy: vcredist_x86.exe
- If you are using the 64-bitersion of Alchemy: vcredist_x64.exe
(The above links will take you to the respective download pages at Microsoft, where you can review the file details prior to downloading.)
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.
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
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).
Alchemy 3.8.0 brings with it some changes within the Preferences floater, which include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following.
Graphics Tab Updates
The Screen Space Reflections check box has been removed, the associated functionality being noticeably broken in some viewers.
The Chat tab has some re-organisation and the addition of a new Auto Response tab (which also sees the removal of the Do Not Disturb option from the General tab).
Alchemy 3.8.0 provides a new Tag Colours tab for setting colours against other avatar tags.
- Access to the Bumps, Pushes and Hits panel has been moved from the Develop Menu to the Help menu
- The ability to disable HTTP Inventory fetching has been removed from the Develop menu, in line with all inventory fetching now being HTTP only.
Please refer to the Alchemy 3.8.0 release notes for further information on updates and fixes in this release.
A tidy update which possibly hides more than it reveals, depending on the full extent of the changes made, and how visible they are to users. The above are the most visible, but I could easily have missed others that will have day-to-day appeal to Alchemy users.
For those seeking RLV support, it’s not with this release, but the announcement write-up seems to give the impression it is one of the things for an upcoming “full” release of the viewer.
In my original piece, I commented on the Avatar Hover Height functionality apparently only being accessible through chat – as noted above, Drake Arconis has corrected me on this; the slider / spinner can be accessed via Quick Preferences. I would still perhaps question the move of the option, rather than leaving it in the avatar context menu, where it would reside with accessing the other functions associated with avatar appearance; however, given the slider and spinner are available, this is something of a minor niggle.