Update: July 30th: Alina has released version 3.0.2, which should fix the issue of exporting conversations to the Android Documents folder, and which provides the ability to drag a visble HUD on your screen to reposition it.
Lumiya, the go-to Second Life / Open Sim client for Android has been extensively updated, with version 3.0 released on Wednesday, July 27th, and a further 3.0.1 release with additional fixes, options and requests, hitting Google Play on Thursday, July 28th.
For those unfamiliar with Lumiya, it is an extensive Android client offering all the essential functionality found in the viewer: ability to chat, IM, carry out group functions, manipulate inventory and outfits, manage transactions, interact with objects (including viewing & editing scripts, permissions allowing), teleport to places, view the map, and so on. And, for those who wish a more immersive experience on their android device (providing it has the processing power), Lumiya provides a real-time scene rendering capability, allowing you to see the world and other avatars, touch objects, operate your camera, walk, fly, and so on.
With version 3, Alina Lyvette, Lumiya’s developer, has completely overhauled the client, and while there are still some little niggles, the result is once again quite astonishing.
For regular Lumiya users the most obvious change is to the client’s UI. This has been completely re-worked top-to-bottom, offering a far more intuitive, mobile device style approach, incorporating things like pinch / zoom screen actions, sliding menus, and a much cleaner look and feel. By default, Lumiya now launches in its blue / white appearance, with the blue / black an option, alongside a new pink appearance option. In addition, the 3D mode has been overhaul to make use of mobile device gestures such as pinch / zoom and drag, and the buttons have been revised and improved to give the in-world view a much cleaner look.
The log-in screen retains much of the “old” look, with short cuts to select the details of any account previously used to log-in to SL with Lumiya & auto-populate the user name / password fields, and to access the client’s settings, together with a drop-down to access the grid selector (where you can also add new grids) or to show your password in text when logging-in.
Once logged-in, the UI is in conversation mode, with local chat open the conversation screen opens. This has two points of particular interest: the first is the Android menu icon in the top left corner of the screen (see above), which replaces the Lumiya icon. tapping this will display the Lumiya menu (which can also be displayed with a simple left-to-right swipe of the screen).
The second is that profile icons are now displayed in the chat and contact tabs throughout Lumiya – in the image above, for example, the profile picture for Preiddeu Annwn is displayed in the image above.
The new UI design does mean there are some significant changes to where some options might now be found which will take users a little time to get used to; however many of these changes make Lumiya feel more “viewer like” in its approach. For example, group options have all now been brought together under the group profile display, rather than various menu / drop-down options. What’s more, they now allow group roles to be created and assigned, and member’s abilities edited.
So, accessing a group profile is now a matter of clicking Group tab in the Chat window, then tapping the required group and tapping the Profile icon in the top right of the group message display. The group’s profile is displayed in a layout similar to that of many TPVs, with individual tabs accessing various options. Thus, people can be invited into the group from the Profile tab (providing you have the ability to invite new members); roles can be added / edited from the Roles tab; and members can be operated on from the Members tab.
Given the extend of changes to the IU, the easiest way to familiarise yourself with them is to spend time using Lumiya. Keep an eye out for changing icons, and things like the Android three vertical dots icon (generally top right of the Lumiya window), indicating when further options are available within in given screen.
The 3D View
The other very noticeable change to Lumiya for existing users is the 3D world view (Lumiya menu > 3D View). As noted above, this now uses Android pinch and drag gestures to manipulated the camera by default, leaving the (redesigned) on-screen buttons for avatar movement and flight. However, for those who prefer to toggle the movement buttons between avatar and camera movement, it can be reinstated via Lumiya menu > Settings > 3D View, and then checking Show Camera Button. note that even with the camera button enabled, you can still use Android gestures to manipulate the camera as well. For ease of reference, screen captures here show the camera button.
The two overlay buttons – Chat and Outfit – do just that: overlay the in-world view with your chat options or Outfit folder, allowing you to converse or change outfit, as per previous versions of Lumiya. However, the two buttons which are likely to be of particular interest in the new 3D view are the HUD button (lower left) and the Target Picker (top right of the Lumiya window).
The HUD button, when touched, displays a list of the HUDs you have attached. Tapping the name of the HUD in the list should display it on your screen, allowing you to access it. How well this works may be dependent upon on a number of things including the size of your screen, the complexity of the HUD itself (number of components, how it is scripted). I had some mixed successes playing with assorted HUDs, with some displaying and responding to touch, while others (particularly those which expand on touch) providing problematic – although my tests were far from exhaustive.
The Target Picker offers an improved means of interacting with in-world objects. Tap it and you’ll go into a “Mouselook-like” world view (your avatar is effectively de-rendered). You can then drag the “sights” on the screen around until they are over an object with which you want to interact. The object will turn red and up to three buttons are displayed in the top left of the window upon selection: Touch, Sit and Info – each of which is pretty self-explanatory – displayed next to the name of the highlighted target (depending on the nature of the object, the Touch button may or may not be displayed). Tap the Target Picker icon at the top right of the window to return to full 3rd person view when you’ve finished with the object. Note that when sitting on an object, a new “stand” arrow button is displayed in the lower right corner of the screen.
Other Updates of Note
Running through all of the changes in Lumiya 3 would be the equivalent of writing an entire user guide; therefore, the above is intended to highlight some of the changes, particularly those around the 3D view, which continues to improve with each release. As noted earlier in this article, the best way to find out what has changed is to update and try Lumiya 3 out. However, there are some other updates worth mentioning in passing:
- Lumiya now retains your entire chat history on a persistent basis(no need to enable chat history). However, any history from earlier versions cannot be accessed / viewed, and there is an issue in exporting history – see below
- You can now play animations from inventory
- There’s a new settings option to keep Wi-Fi awake while connected
- A fix for incorrect avatar shape being displayed when wearing skeleton deformers
- Multiple bug and crash fixes.
There are a couple minor niggles I did find. The first is with Lumiya failing to correctly display layers on mesh bodies (so that, for example, a tattoo worn over a skin on a mesh body would render the tattoo, but in the process, alpha-out the underlying layers (see right).
This is apparently down to how rendering might be handled within the limitations of the GPU on a device. Alina is investigating the problem, although she cannot guarantee a solution.
Another (known) issue is the export option (Chat > Chat menu options > Export Chat History) still isn’t working as expected, despite the 3.0.1 update, and further investigation is underway. This issue should now have been corrected with the release of version 3.0.2, which came a few hours after this review was published.
Once it is working correctly, this should allow individual conversations (open chat, IMs, group chat) to be individually exported to the Android Documents folder. Once there, they can further by manually moved elsewhere (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, etc). This isn’t quite as neat as the manner by which older versions of Lumiya handle chat histories, but it does still allow histories to be preserved within and outside of the application.
Lumiya has always been a cutting edge Android application, providing a surprising amount of capability when accessing SL. Version 3 now builds on this with a very slick UI, some good 3D view improvements and some changes to functionality which give it more of a “viewer” feel.
For those who have an Android device with a decent screen size (e.g. 5in or larger), and who need access to Second Life while on the go without the need for the full-blown rendering bells and whistles of a viewer, there really isn’t a better way than to go than Lumiya. Yes, there is a one-off purchase price associated with it – but when you consider what you’re getting for the price, and the amount of effort that has been poured into making it possible, the cost is frankly trivial.
Kudos to Alina once again for all the work she has put into this client, and on the version 3 updates.