Valhalla: CEF comes to Second Life

secondlifeUpdate, Firday October 9th: It was indicated at the TPV Developer meeting on Friday, October 9th that QuickTime media may still work on this viewer, rather than being disabled. However, this should not be taken to mean either QuickTime or Flash are to be supported by the by the Lab, and media creators should not rely on either Flash or QuickTime working correctly for everyone.

On Wednesday, October 7th, the Lab issued the long-awaited project viewer utilises the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) for media handling – and more – in Second Life.

The Valhalla Project viewer, which sees the viewer version number increment to 4.0, is intended as a replacement for LLQTWebKit, which has traditionally supported web-based media in Second Life.

The latter has been subject to increasing issues over the last few years, such as the libraries used within the viewer being out-of-date, and it being focused on both Flash and QuickTime, which have issues of their own.

As a result, the Lab started looking to replace LLQTWebkit with CEF a little over a year ago, and actually blogged about the change in July 2014 when discussing upcoming improvements to SL. At that time, it had been anticipated that a project viewer would be appearing “soon”.

However, a number of other projects served to stall the work on CEF; most notably the change-over to the new tool chain and build process for building the viewer. Understandably, this caused the Lab to hold off from making large-scale changes to the viewer code until after they were confident of the builds using the new tool set, and this inevitably pushed a number of project back – including the CEF work.

Commenting on the CEF project during the TPV Developer meeting on Friday, September 25th, Oz Linden indicated that the release of the viewer was finally on the horizon, and confirmed that when issued, it would not support QuickTime and would have Flash support disabled by default (see update at the top of this article).

Loki eliot has been poking at the new viewer, including visiting a virtual world from inside a virtual world when he logged on to Sine Wave's Gojiyo, which is now being promoted as a part of the sinewave.space "federation" of virtual worlds (see my article here)
Loki Eliot has been poking at the new viewer, including visiting a virtual world from inside a virtual world when he logged on to Gojiyo, which is now being promoted as a part of the sinewave.space “federation” of virtual worlds (see my article here)

The Valhalla viewer, version 4.0.0.305703, is liable to remain a project viewer for an extended period in order to allow  the CEF capabilities to be thoroughly tested, and to ensure content creators who make web media systems (TVs, etc.) and those using in-world media capabilities, have plenty of opportunity to update their products / systems as and where required. Commenting on the status of the viewer in the release notes, the Lab also states:

This is the first iteration of a Project Viewer – which means that while a lot of the problems facing the old MOAP implementation should now become a distant artifact of the past, we are still cranking through the many new issues with our CEF-based solution. See a bug? If you don’t see it filed already – file a Jira! We look forward to your feedback. Thanks!

There are a number of known issues already with the viewer, which are worth noting here as well:

  • Mac issues:
    • Search window crashes
    • Mac keyboard issues can prevent logging in
  • The in-viewer destination guide doesn’t work under chrome
  • Drop down lists do not work in internal web browser or MOAP
  • Profiles and marketplace are asking for a login each session

WebG and HTML support within the browser potentially offers some interest means of more interactive media elements within Second Life. Draxtor and Loki have been playing around with the new viewer and some of the more interactive elements, and have produced a short demo video. Loki has also been playing with the viewer more extensively, and you can read his thoughts about it as well.

 

 

 

Bring your Little Bee to life in Second Life

Neural's "Honey Bee" finish for the Little Bee is beautifully reflective of the boat's spirit
Neural’s “Honey Bee” finish for the Little Bee is beautifully reflective of the boat’s spirit

As regular visitors to this blog know, I’m quite the fan of Ape Piaggio’s boats (and also her autogyro!). I’ve owned her Kv23H FoilStream since the start of the year, and more recently was involved in helping with the development and promotion of her tender-style speedboat, the AD25H Little Bee, as well as owning a copy.

Both boats come with painting systems, and a friend of mine, Neural Blankes, has been producing a range of paint kits for both of them, which I think are well worth taking a look at if you have either boat are looking for a really eye-catching finish for it.

Neural's "sunset" finish for the Little Bee - one of (at the time of writing) 35 paint kits she has produced for the boat
Neural’s “sunset” finish for the Little Bee – one of (at the time of writing) 35 paint kits she has produced for the boat

As a fan of the Little Bee, Neural has focused on that boat to produce (at the time of writing) 35 paint kits, some of which are beautifully complex in design and execution, and all of which offer very unique loks for the boat, both in terms of hull finish and cockpit colours.

Prices for the kits vary, but this reflects the level of work Neural has invested in creating the different looks. I admit to being quite partial to the Honey Bee finish, which beautifully encapsulates the spirit of the boat – and I know Ape herself has been motoring around on the water with a Bee in that finish 🙂 .

Neural's FI (Foilborne Industries) custom finish for the Little Bee
Neural’s FI (Foilborne Industries) custom finish for the Little Bee

Neural is also responsible for a number of special custom finishes for individual Little Bees for close friends, and the results are impressive – I can say this with hand on heart, as Neural came to my assistance and helped me in my efforts to produce a specific look for my Bee when it wound up somewhat comprised due to my lack of talent in graphics manipulation.

While not as extensive as those for the Little Bee, Neural’s range of kits for the FoilStream can also be found on her MP store, and offer an equal level of quality and distinctive looks.

So, if you are looking for a design that is eye-catching and just that little bit special for either your Little Bee or your FoilStream, I have no hesitation in recommending Neural’s work.

Note: the Red Ensign visible in some of the images above is the flag I use on my Little Bee, and not a part of Neural’s kits. Bee owners can fly the flag of their choice.

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