Alchemy 3.8.5: skinning and getting under the hood

Alchemy-logoOn Sunday, October 25th, the Alchemy team announced the release of version 3.8.5.36974 of their viewer. This is an update which primarily focuses on a lot of under-the-hood updates and fixes which may not always be obvious to users, but which are intended to further improve viewer stability and improvements. However, it also includes some interesting tweaks as well, of which more below.

As always with any viewer release, please refer to the release notes for details on updates, improvements and fixes, as provided by the development team.

The first noticeable change with this release lies with the version number, which leaps from 3.8.2 from the last release to 3.8.5 – the result of Alchemy (alongside UKanDo and Kokua) pacing the Lab’s version numbers for viewer updates. The idea with this is to make it easier to quickly identify which of the recent releases from the Lab has been merged into a release from any TPV with a matching version number. So in this case, Alchemy is merged-up to the Lab’s 3.8.5 code and the October Maintenance release viewer.

The other major visual change to the viewer with this release is a new skinning option. This allows users to choose the look of the viewer UI skin, and to create their own skins, which they can use on their own or share with others, marking alchemy as the latest viewer to offer support for custom skins.

The option can be found under Preferences > Skinning, and as the release notes indicate, the viewer currently includes just two options at present, in order to keep the install size down: Alchemy’s own dark skin (default) and the Lab’s classic V3 viewer skin.  However, the release notes appear to suggest that further skins may be added to the viewer – or perhaps made available for download through the alchemy website – in due course. There will also apparently be a guide produced, offering users instructions on making their own skins.

The Skinning option, new with Alchemy 3.8.5 allows the use of custom UI skins with the viewer
The Skinning option, new with Alchemy 3.8.5 allows the use of custom UI skins with the viewer

Using a skin simply requires selecting it from the list of available options, clicking the Apply button and then confirming your selection by clicking on Yes in the follow-up dialogue box. Restarting the viewer will then apply the selected skin.

Other Updates

The Alchemy 3.8.5 refresh option allows you to refresh textures / meshes worn by yourself or other avatars
The Alchemy 3.8.5 refresh option allows you to refresh textures / meshes worn by yourself or other avatars

As well as the above, the 3.8.5 release of Alchemy includes:

  • libcurl 7.45.0, boost 1.59, the replacement of C++11 with C++14
  • ALCH-312 – a Refresh option has been added to assist with loading avatar mesh and textures
  • ALCH-278 – the Group list (CTRL-SHIFT-G) now includes an “eye” icon to show if the group can be viewed in your Profile (icon shown) or is hidden (icon not shown) – groups are hidden through the Group Profile floater, as usual
  • ALCH-270 – a message logger and builder for packet and message inspection for debugging and fixing OpenSim. This feature will be locked to developer builds
  • ALCH-297 – the Fast Timers legend is now scrollable by the scroll wheel
  • ALCH-290 – the Destination Guide now updates when teleporting between OpenSim grids
  • Numerous bug fixes and many under-the-hood changes.

There is still no RLV support for Alchemy with this release, which may disappoint some. However, what is there makes for a useful update, and ensures Alchemy stays on par with the Lab’s continuing run of updates and additions to the official viewer.

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