Update:this release has seen further issues for those using Webroot anti-virus (problems include low FPS, high ping rates to the simulator, very slow rendering, etc.). If you have Webroot installed on your system and are experiencing issues, please try manually whitelisting the viewer’s cache folder.
Tuesday, August 18th saw the release of Firestorm 22.214.171.124323. This release comes a little later than had been planned, thanks largely to a series of last-minute blockers caused be assorted external influences (such as win 10 driver issues for Intel).
This is once again a major release, packing a huge amount into it, and which brings Firestorm pretty much to parity with the Lab’s code base. It also sees the return of the Linux 64-bit build to the fold.
Given the sheer number of updates in the release, I do not intend to cover everything here, but rather offer 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 Usual Before We Begin Notes
For best results when installing this release:
As this is a full release, expect an announcement on the blocking of version 4.6.1 and 4.6.5 to be made once the dust from this release has settled.
Log-in Screen Updates: Text Mode and Remember User Name
Login Screen > Select Mode >Text
When enabled, this disables the viewer’s 3D rendering, allowing Firestorm to be used as a “text viewer” for low-end systems and launches the viewer with the in-world view blanked out, but all of the menu options and tool bar buttons accessible HUDs (which are not displayed) and other attachments can be manipulated via the Touch option in the Inventory context menu.
The Remember Username check box has been added to Firestorm in response to a series of requests to bring back this functionality from the Phoenix viewer – see FIRE-5735.
Additional Log-in Screen Fixes
- The issue of Remember Password box checking itself after a failed log-in attempt and refusing to uncheck itself (see FIRE-16535) has been fixed
- Several focus issues within the login panel have been fixed (see FIRE-6930)
The 126.96.36.199323 release brings Firestorm up to parity with the Linden 3.8.2 code base (with some additional updates from the current 3.8.3 code base). Chief among the LL updates are the following.
Viewer Build Tools Update
This release means that Firestorm is now built using the updated viewer build tools, notably Visual Studio 2013 for windows and Xcode 6.1 for Mac, with some additional tool improvements, all designed to provide improved performance and stability, as well as easing the viewer build process. Details on the new build tools can be found in my blog post on the subject, however the key points with this change are:
The Windows version of this viewer will not install on Windows XP systems, regardless of the Service Packs also installed (previous versions of the release viewer would install on Windows XP system which had Service Pack 3 installed)
The Mac version of the viewer will not install on any version of OS X below 10.7.
Firestorm 4.7.3 includes the Lab’s Project Big Bird fixes for a wide range of viewer attachment loss issues, which tend to noticeably occur after regions crossings (physical or teleport), such as: attachments appearing to be detached in your view, but not to others, and vice-versa; attachments appearing to have detached from you, but showing as attached in Inventory, and so on. These also fix issues such as adding multiple attachments at the same time failing to attach everything selected, and attempting to wear an outfit with too many attachments failing.
Project Layer Limits
This changes how system clothing layers (shirts, pants, under shirts, jackets, etc.), are handled. Prior to this update, an avatar could wear a maximum of 5 items of any single layer – say the jacket – at one time. With this change, an avatar can wear any combination of layers up to a global maximum of 60 – so you can wear 1 pair of pants and 59 jackets if you so wish, or just 60 jackets, etc.
Note that this change does not apply to body layers – skins, shapes, eyes, etc., for which the limit is still one of each, nor is it applicable to attachments, which retain a limit of 38 per avatar.
Experience Keys / Tools
Firestorm 4.7.3 adds the full set of Experience Keys / Tools controls and floaters in the viewer. For those not familiar with Experience Keys / Tools, I offer my own overview from July 2015.
This update means that on entering an area where an Experience is running, Firestorm users will see the full permissions request dialogue, rather than an abbreviated version.
In addition, Firestorm gains the additional Experiences-related panels and floater options. So users can now access the Experiences floater via Avatar > Experiences, and the Region and About Land floaters have also been updated to include Experiences tabs and information.
Viewer-Managed Marketplace (VMM) is designed to enable merchants to manage the creation and management of Marketplace product listings through the viewer, bypassing the need to use the Merchant Outbox (and have copies of items stored on the Marketplace inventory servers) or using Magic Boxes (as VMM fully supports the sale on No Copy objects). It was fully deployed in July 2015, and all merchants have had their Marketplace listings migrated to VMM, and should by now have also migrated their Magic Box listings and items to VMM.
Firestorm 3.7.3 now fully supports VMM functionality, providing the Marketplace Listings panel and hiding the Marketplace Listings folder by default.
Those still requiring information on VMM are referred to my blog posts on the subject, which also include links to the Lab’s official information resources.
Dragging Folders into My Outfits
A recent change to viewer functionality meant that it was no longer possible to drag and drop sub-folders of items into the My Outfits / Outfits folder – see BUG 9209 (FIRE-15603). This changed caused some consternation among those who use My Outfits to order their outfits. As a result of the use-cases supplied to the Lab within the JIRA, this has been reversed in an upcoming release, and has been cherry-picked for inclusion in Firestorm 4.7.3.
Other LL updates
Please refer to the Firestorm release notes.
The Firestorm Preferences panel and tabs continue to be refined in release 4.7.3, with several options further re-factored, a number of options added, as well as numerous improvements and fixes being made.
- The following new options have been added to references > User Interface > Top Bars:
- Show Location in Top Menu
- Show Favourites Bar
- Show Navigation and Search Bar
- Show Search Bar
- New option to hide / show your L$ balance: Show Currency Balance (also: right-click top menu bar > Show Currency Balance)
- The following options have all been renamed and moved to Preferences > User Interface > Top Bars:
- Show Lag Meter has been renamed to Show Traffic Indicator In Upper Right Corner of the Screen
- Use legacy period mean per second display for lag meter has been renamed to Use legacy period mean per second display for traffic indicator
- The following options have all been moved to Preferences > User Interface > Top Bars
- Show media controls in top menu
- Show simulator channel in status bar
- Show Menu Search.
Other Preferences updates include:
- Settings for notifications about objects coming in too fast moved to Preferences > Notifications > Inventory
- An option has been added Added to allow a custom colour for the URL Query Part: Preferences > Colors > Chat Color > URL Query Part
- When Preferences are opened, focus is set to the search box by default
- Changing the keyboard layout no longer requires a relog to take effect: Preferences > Move & View > Movement > Use AZERTY keyboard layout
- The payment confirmation threshold amount is now customisable: Preferences > Firestorm > Protection > Confirm before paying: L$[AMOUNT]
- Fixes for:
Snapshots and Photography Updates
Firestorm 4.7.3 brings back the smaller snapshot preview panel, which now works with the larger, unified preview panel. Clicking the << button on the snapshot floater with the large preview panel open will cause it to close, and the smaller panel will be opened at the top of the floater. Clicking >> will close the smaller preview panel and open the larger.
- The snapshot floater now remembers last used snapshot option
- The ability to use depth of field when underwater has been added, and can be accessed through both the DOF / Glow tab of Phototools (Enable DoF when underwater) and via Preferences >Graphics > Depth of Field > Enable while underwater
- CTRL-SHIFT-S now correctly refreshes the snapshot & does not reset the menu selection
- The SLShare floaters (Flickr, Facebook, Twitter) now display in Mouselook
- Snapshots will now save to inventory when showing the full monitor screen
- Snapshot floater no longer gets stuck if snapshot to email fails
Firestorm 4.7.3 adds Chalice Yao’s Avatar shadows capability, as implemented in Marine Kelley’s Restrained Love Viewer.
This capability attempts lighten the load placed on your GPU when rendering complex rigged meshes (such as avatar bodies) when running with shadows enabled in the viewer. I have a review of this capability, as seen in the Restrained Love Viewer.
The main differences are Firestorm defines the settings descriptively, rather than as numerical values, and present them through both Preferences (Graphics > General > Avatar Shadows) and Phototools (Light > Avatar Shadows).
The four options are:
None – Avatar shadows are disabled with the exception of unrigged attachments, therefore offering the biggest potential boost in performance.
Simplified – Fast performance. No rigged mesh shadows are cast. Avatars wearing mesh bodies will cast the system avatar shadow along with the shadows of unrigged attachments, rather than the rigged mesh body shadow.
Optimized – Slower performance, but still faster than Complex. Avatar shadows are simplified to offer noticeable performance improvements when running in locations with a number of complex avatars.
Complex – Legacy shadows. Like the LL viewer, slow performance with complex rigged attachments.
Communications and Group Updates
Firestorm 4.7.3 has many tweaks and fixes to conversations, groups, which include but are not limited to the following.
You can now reorder the IM conversations (personal and group) in your Conversations floater by left clicking and dragging them to the preferred position
New conversations additions include:
- Ability to only allow conference chats from people on your Friends list: Preferences > Chat > Chat Windows > Automatically ignore & leave all conference (ad-hoc) chats > Dont ignore conference chats invitations from my friends
- A new Add Participant button has been added to IM windows as seen on CHUI
- You can now drag avatar names directly from the radar / friends list / contact sets / People search results etc into an IM window to start a conference chat – and this includes multiple selections
- You can now open a request friendship dialogue by dragging & dropping an agent name onto the legacy contacts list
- Using CTRL-Shift-Enter in Nearby, IM or group chat will add line break
- Using ALT-Return in chat text boxes will send OOC chat
- When Comm > Online Status > Reject teleport offers and requests is enabled, the user will receive the following warning when attempting to request a teleport: You cannot send a teleport request at the moment, because ‘reject all incoming teleport offers and requests’ mode is on. Go to the ‘Comm’ > ‘Online Status’ menu if you wish to disable it
- If it is open, typing now prioritizes focus on the “Conversations – Nearby Chat” floater over the toolbar chat bar (to restore the old behaviour, set FSLetterKeysFocusNearbyChatBar to FALSE in Debug Settings)
An option has been added to set group chat snooze duration individually per group (Preferences > Chat > Chat Windows > Set group) When enabled, snoozing a group chat will open a dialogue asking for the snooze duration. As the default value is taken from Preferences, you can simply confirm the dialogue if you don’t want to set an individual value.
Also of note:
- You can now opt to block / reject all group invites, without the need to enable Unavailable mode via Comm > Online Status > Reject all group invites.
- A “Ban Member” option has been added to the right-click context menu in group chatters list
- Snoozing group chats will no longer reopen when a blocked avatar makes a post
- The the group snooze button now correctly starts the snooze timer when the button is clicked.
Building and Scripting Updates
A simple compile status indicator has been added to the script editor, which displays the following indicators:
Loading icon – Script is compiling.
Green – Script is running.
Yellow – Script not running
Red – Script error.
An option has been added to route llOwnerSay messages to the script debug window instead of local chat. This operates on a per account setting and is enabled via Preferences > Chat > Visuals > Route llOwnerSay to script debug window or Script editor preferences > Advanced Options > Route llOwnerSay to script debug window.
Firestorm Preprocessor Updates
- The Firestorm Preprocessor can now also be disabled on a per-script basis using the “//fsprecompiler off” marker.
- A new option has been added to the Save / Recompile button when the Firestorm Preprocessor is enabled, which enables the save button to recompile scripts when no change in the opened script has occurred (Script editor preferences > Advanced Options > Enable recompile button)
- A warning is given when the Firestorm Preprocessor is toggled
- The context menu is no longer missing in the script editor if the preprocessor is enabled
- Texture into no longer reports the same face multiple times (see FIRE-15946 and BUG-9149
- Some symbols confusing the script optimiser (see FIRE-16034)
Other Improvements, Updates and Points of Note
Additional UI improvements include, but are not limited to:
Hover Height has been added to the Quick Preference panel
- It is now possible to inspect attachments for other avatars by right-clicking on them and selecting More > Inspect
- 64-bit versions of Firestorm can now use more memory for textures to help fix the texture thrashing problem. They now get a texture limit of 1GB, which results in 2GB max textures in memory
- RenderVolumeLODFactor has been added to the sanity checker. As the maths involved in RenderVolumeLODFactor breaks badly when set to 10 or more (giving no genuine improvement), Firestorm now clamps the upper value at 8, although ideally it should not really be set to anything higher than 4 at the very most
- The viewer no longer freezes when opening Preferences or initiating an IM session if a large number of chat logs are saved
- When deleting an outfit from the Appearance panel, the delete confirmation dialogue now includes the name of the outfit that will be deleted to help avoid occidentally deleting the wrong outfit: Avatar → Appearance → Outfits (see FIRE-15888)
- FModEx updated to version 4.44.56
- KDU updated to v7.6.0
- Numerous additional bug fixes
There is no RLV/a update with this release; Firestorm 4.7.3 is still using RLVa-1.4.10a, API version number 2.8.0. However, there are a range of fixes and improvements – please refer to the release notes for details.
InWorldz IZURLs can now be created (FIRE-15972)
An avatar’s name is now updated when the simulator sends a new name on OpenSim (FIRE-13414)
AviWorlds removed from the grid manager
This is another huge release from the Firestorm team, and while I’ve attempted to highlight the updates people are most likely going to be interested in, do please run through the release notes to see everything that has changed since the 4.7.1 beta.
I’ve been using Firestorm 4.7.3 since it first reached beta, and through the preview programme and found it to be very reliable and stable overall, and completely fixes the attachment issues so frequently encountered during region crossings. I’ve not used all of the features (by far) in anger, but I have found that things like Avatar Shadows work well, and that the Lab side improvements have given me a small boost in overall performance.
All in all, excellent stuff from the Firestorm team!