This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:
It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.
Official LL Viewers
Current Release version 184.108.40.2062263, dated December 5th, promoted December 13th. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer – No change.
Release channel cohorts:
The BugSplat RC viewer updated to version 220.127.116.114348 on February 13th.
The Bakes on Mesh project viewer updated to version 18.104.22.1684367 on February 15th.
The suggestion we visit Elvion, which recently opened its doors to the public, came to us via Miro Collas, another reader who always keeps can eye out for regions in Second Life we might find appealing, and to whom I again offer my thanks for doing so 🙂 .
Occupying a quarter region parcel on a Homestead region, Elvion has been designed by Bo Zano (BoZanoNL) as an elven style sanctuary, rich in atmosphere and with a suggestion of mystic magic; and it is a quite breathtaking place to visit: simple but elegant in its presentation, rich in detail without feeling overcrowded.
Aside from a single tower towards the north-east of the parcel, not far from the landing point, the entire location is open to public exploration and enjoyment.
To help with this, a single track runs through the parcel from the south-east corner through to the north-west. A short distance, perhaps, but a good start to explorations. From its starting point was the edge of a small bay, it skirts around the water, passing the entrance to the glade where the private towers resides. Past this, it passes over a little bridge to pass along the edge of another glade to reach a second bridge pointing back to the tower.
This second glade is bordered on its far side by high falls and is home to a large pavilion. It is here that a further sense of fantasy is presented to visitors: a dragon circling slowly over the grass of the glade, sharing the space with gossamer butterflies as rabbits hop around below. Sunlight filters through the trees at the edge of the glade, while lights dangle from branches in strings, adding a further ethereal look to the parcel.
This is far from all there is to Elvion, however, wander across the glade or follow grassy trails through the trees, and you’ll find elk grazing at the edge of the water and just beyond, a rocky arch offering a way to where a further mystical element can be found: a stone carved with glowing runes with unicorns just before it.
Another aspect to the parcel is the wildlife; elk graze, heron and egret watch over the waters, birds sing from trees and sit on rocks while swans patrol the waters and a woodpecker keeps himself busy on a tree trunk. These all bring the place to life, and a further depth and attracts the ear and eye.
I’ve often commented that when it comes to designing somewhere special, be it a private home or a place we can share with others, it is all too easy to focus on the space and land capacity offered by an entire region, be it full or Homestead. Elvion, however, is one of the wonderful gems in Second Life that demonstrate this is not the case, and that with care and attention to detail, it is possible to present a special, photogenic place worthy of sharing with others and which is an absolutely delight to visit and spend time within.
As I covered this in Firestorm 6.0.1: Animesh Early Access, aside from highlighting some of the more user-visible updates in that release, this article provides information on those updates specific to Firestorm 6.0.2.
Please use the table of contents above right to jump to any specific topic of interest. Full details of all changes, and contributor credits can be found in the official release notes.
The Usual Before We Begin
As per my usual preamble:
There is no need to perform a clean install with this release if you do not wish to.
Do, however, make sure you back-up all your settings safely so you can restore them after installing 6.0.2.
Please refer to the official release notes for a full breakdown and changes, updates and credits associated with this release.
Notable Firestorm 6.0.1 Updates
The following is a short update of some of the more user-visible updates present in the Firestorm 6.0.1 Early Access release, presented for the benefit of users who may not have downloaded that version.It includes both Lab-drived and Firestorm-specific updates. For a more detailed overview on that release, please refer to Firestorm 6.0.1: Animesh Early Access.
Animesh allows the avatar skeleton to be applied to any suitable rigged mesh object, which can then in turn be animated using suitable scripts and animations contained within the object’s Contents. This opens up a whole range of opportunities for content creators and animators to provide things like independently moveable pets / creatures, and animated scenery features.
While Animesh is likely to primarily be used by content creators, it has been designed so that any suitable rigged mesh can be converted to Animesh directly from the Build / Edit floater . Do be aware, however that simply converting an object will not cause it to start animating – you’ll need suitable animations and a script to run them. Like any other object utilising animation, this is done by adding the animations and scripts via the Edit > Contents tab for your converted object.
The best way to get started with Animesh is to use the available resources. These include:
Derender Animesh: depending on your system, Animesh may impose some performance impacts, particularly where a lot of Animesh is active within a scene. To help mitigate this, Firestorm 6.0.2 includes an option to derender all Animesh in a scene (Developer menu > Rendering > Derender All Animesh). Note that this is only temporary, and derendered Animesh will reappear after a teleport or re-logging.
Auto-scaling amortisation of the new Animesh dynamic bounding box calculations. This fix limits the overhead of the new dynamic bounding box calculations to AvatarExtentRefreshMaxPerBatch per AvatarExtentRefreshPeriodBatch frames. The default is 5 avatars per 4 frames, so in a busy region, 25 avatars would take 20 frames to refresh the bounding boxes.
Performance tweaks by reducing Matrix operations per render pass.
More JointMatrix Palette caching tweaks:
The cache has been moved to drawable for more benefit (reduces CPU overhead when rendering shadows and materials by caching the jointmatrixpallette).
Sacrifices some potential cache locality but savings seem to outweigh this.
Other Notable 6.0.1 Updates
Additional updates in the Firestorm 6.0.1 pre-release worth noting are:
Mesh Uploader (for full details on the mesh uploader changes, please refer my Firestorm Mesh Uploader notes): Beq Janus has overhauled the mesh uploader to improve its use and the information it provides. She has also provided comprehensive documentation on these updates, which are summarised below:
Upload cost and physics cost calculation breakdowns – see image below for more.
Physics details, the costs of the different types of physics (convex hull, prim).
Resizable preview window with higher resolution image and improved shading/lighting.
Correct highlighting of degenerate mesh.
Improved error handling for physics models (avoid some MAV errors).
UV Guide overlay.
Note Firestorm 6.0.2 includes further updates to the uploader
Experimental Teleport Attachments Fix (Debug Settings > FSExperimentalLostAttachmentsFixKillDelay): a timer delay designed to prevent attachments from being detached temporarily after a teleport has completed. Works with FSExperimentalLostAttachmentsFix when set to TRUE; set to 3 seconds by default.
Left-click None option (Build Menu): allows transparent prims / mesh to be clicked-through that might otherwise be in the way when trying to touch other objects (via LL).
Auto Replace for Note Cards: dynamic replacement of text within note cards when the Auto Replace function for spelling is enabled via Preferences > Chat > Typing > Auto Replace (see the Firestorm wiki on Auto Replace).
Linden Lab Derived Updates in Firestorm 6.0.2
This version brings Firestorm up to parity with Linden Lab release viewers through to release version 22.214.171.1242263 (formerly the Spotykach RC viewer, promoted on December 13th, 2019. Major updates in that release include:
Second Life: Vivox version 4.9.0002.30313 (Mac and Windows) (Opensim: Vivox version 4.6.0017.22050 (Mac and Windows); Linux: Vivox native voice version 3.2.0002.10426, Firestorm only).
Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) Dullahan:
Page of test URLs for Dullahan. With the Developer Menu enabled (Ctrl Alt Q) press Ctrl-Shift-Z then the Home page button.
Firestorm 6.0.2 Updates
Appearance and Inventory
The Avatar menu includes new short cut for the Avatar > Avatar Health > Refresh Attachments option (Alt-Shift-R).
Inventory: Delete Links: the Replace Links inventory option now includes the ability to delete all links to an object:
Open your inventory.
Locate the object which has links you wish to delete (or one of the links themselves). Right click on the item / link and select Replace Links.
The Replace Links dialogue box opens, recording the object link name, the option to replace it with a new name and a new Delete Links Only check box.
Click the Delete Links check box to activate it. The Replace field in the dialogue box is replaced by the warning Links To This Item Will Be Removed.
Click Start to delete all links.
Experimental Lost Attachments Report (Debug Settings > FSExperimentalLostAttachmentsFixReport): when enabled, this reports attachments that were attempted to get detached during a teleport or region crossing to nearby chat.
Inventory should no longer automatically opening to show new items regardless of settings (FIRE-23476).
Enabling Disable Random Eye Movements (Preferences > Firestorm > Avatar > Disable Random Eye Movements) will no longer cause the avatar’s hands to splay (FIRE-23457).
Revisions and updates to the mesh uploader introduced in Firestorm 6.0.1
Allow intentional degenerate placeholders – this fixes the problem of “Physics mesh too dense” false positives (FIRE-23367 and FIRE-23387).
Allow override of client side mesh validation as a workaround for edge cases and different grid validation.
This effectively restores previous server-side MAV error dialogues alongside client-side warnings.
Fixed up 3-point lighting (so it has 3 points) that was messed up in a rogue merge.
Fixed up black bar in mesh preview when the mesh uploader is used with low resolution screen (FIRE-23340).
Increased panel height to avoid warning message overlapping.
Texture picker should no longer open the wrong floater when pressing space in preview mode (FIRE-23582).
Firestorm is still using RestrainedLove API: RLV v3.2.1 / RLVa v126.96.36.199680.
With Firestorm 6.0.2 @setgroup is throttled to one (unowned) call every 60 seconds across all objects. An object a @setgroup lock may bypass this throttle once, to allow @setgroup=n,setgroup:[;]=force to succeed regardless of any/other objects’ command history.
This will break all animated group tag cyclers introduced after the @setgtoup feature was added to Firestorm 5.1.7. However, it has been introduced at Linden Lab’s request due to the performance issues multiple frequent @setgroup calls were causing (each call generates a database write). Further, Linden Lab will shortly be introducing a server-side throttle to active group changes and group role changes, and so @setgroup will be broken in any viewer using it.
Please do not blame Firestorm or any other TPV using @setgroup for this change. There is nothing that can be done about it, given the forthcoming server-side throttle. We did attempt to contact all the sellers of these group title animators on the Marketplace many weeks ago to warn them that the feature had to be removed & sadly only one creator removed their listing.
Other RLVa Changes
New ‘RLVaSplitRedirectChat’ setting: splits long chat lines when @redirchat restricted.
Debug: RLVaSplitRedirectChat) – set to TRUE.
Menu bar > RLVa > Split Londe Redirected Chat
@setoverlay_alpha causing a diagonal line to appear on the rendered texture.
@shownames exceptions should not have their name anonymised in nearby chat.
@shownames exceptions not having the correct colour on the minimap (FIRE-23473).