Alchemy viewer updated to version 188.8.131.52561 (Beta) on April 16th. This is another progressive update, containing a lot of under-the-hood improvements and fixes – notably around rendering – and a new visible update in the form of a client-side animation override capability, modelled after the one most popularity seen in Firestorm.
The update also sees a Linux 64-bit release as well, although going by the comments following the release notes blog post, there appear to be log-in issues associated with the Linux version.
This, and the previous “beta” release are intended to get the team’s own updates in front of users ahead of some major updates which will be forthcoming as Alchemy (as with all other viewers) merge with some significant releases coming down the pipe from Linden Lab (including the Avatar Complexity capabilities and – eventually – the Project Bento updates).
As the AO update is the most visible change with this release, and given I am not a regular Alchemy user (although I find it possibly the best viewer for video capture), the rest of this article focuses on the AO aspect of the update.
The client-side animation override (AO), is intended to replace he need for HUD-based scripted animation overrides, instead driving animations – walks-sits-standing poses, etc – directly through the viewer, thus freeing-up simulator resources. Using one does require a little work in setting-up (but so can HUD-based systems), but you can run multiple animation sets directly from the viewer.
Essentially, the AO system comprises three parts:
- The animations you wish to use, which you will need to copy / move from any associated HUD system to your inventory – placing them in a folder within your Animations system folder is often a good way to do this
- A configuration note card defining the animation you wish to use. Like configuration note cards found in many ZHAO -based animation overrides (so simply using the note card found within your scripted AO system should work OK), this defines animations by type: stand, walk, sit, etc (you can also manually create an animation set if no configuration note card is available)
- The viewer UI elements.
Once you have done this, you’re ready to set-up the client-side AO system. You can access the AO floater in one of two ways:
- By adding the AO button to your viewer toolbar and then clicking on it to open the AO floater
- By hovering the mouse over the AO icon at the top right of your screen to display a minimised AO floater.
The latter is actually the easiest, given the way Alchemy have implemented to AO system. Assuming you take this approach, click on the spanner icon in the minimised AO floater to expand it.
Now, simply drag and drop the configured animation note card from your inventory to the AO floater. This will cause Alchemy to configure the AO system ready for use, and result in a list of your animations appearing in the floater. At the same time, a set of links will be created in the Animation Override folder in your inventory – do not delete these!
Alternatively, if you don’t have a configuration note card for an animation set, click the + button on the AO system floater, type in a name for your animation set, then drag and drop all of the animations you want to use in the set from your inventory into the AO system floater.
Note that you may see an error message displayed when yo drop a note card into the AO floater, informing you Your version of Alchemy does not know how to display the notification it just received … Should this happen, wait for the floater to finish reading the card and click OK to remove the message – it won’t stop things from working.
You can add multiple configuration note cards if you wish. Just make sure all the named animations are in your inventory, and each configuration note card is uniquely named. To select different sets you have created within the AO floater, simply click on the selection arrow next to the name of the current AO set and then select the set you wish to use from the drop-down list, and check the tick button to the right of the animation set selection box.
To activate the selected AO set, click the icon in the top right of the viewer window to set the AO system to active.
There are a number of other options associated with the AO floater, and these are indicated in brief below. Refer to the Firestorm AO documentation for more complete information on client-side AO, including links to tutorial videos.
For further information on the Alchemy updates, please refer to the full release notes.
As noted above, I’m not a regular Alchemy user, and so cannot really comment on day-to-day use of this viewer. However, and as noted, I’ve yet to find a viewer which offers as fast or as smooth operation on my particular hardware set-up when it comes to recording video for machinima, and this does keep bringing me back to this viewer.
If only it had Phototools to ease the process of setting and manipulating windlight settings efficiently.