Catznip R12.1: Animesh and more

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019 saw the long-awaited release of Catznip R12.1 – the release coming a little over a year since the last update.

The key feature with this update is support for Animesh, although it also sees Catznip come up to parity with the Lab’s viewer cove (release 6.0.1.522263 at the time of writing), which means there are a lot of bug fixes and other tweaks within the viewer.

Table of Contents

 

Catznip R12.1 also introduces a number of features and enhancements directly from the Catznip team.

These notes are designed to cover the most visible changes with the release. For details on specific bug fixes, please refer to the R12.1 release notes.

Log-In Splash Screen

The first major change with Catznip R12.1 can be seen within the viewer splash screen. This includes a revised destination panel and revised information tabs.

Web Links

The splash screen now includes five buttons located to the left of the large Catznip logo. These are links to:

  • The Catznip Patreon page.
  • The Catznip Flickr pool (empty at the time of writing).
  • Clearer buttons to Catznip on Google+ (although Google+ will be closing on April 2nd, 2019), Facebook and Twitter.

Destination Guide Panel

The Destination Guide panel has been overhauled for better access to destinations by selected category and to display information, as outlines in the image below.

The updated Destination Panel of the Catznip log-in screen

Revised Information Tabs

The log-in screen information tabs located below the destination panel have also been revised, so it contains the following tabs:

  • What’s New: primarily useful during Catznip beta releases, when it lists all the JIRAs that were fixed or added for that particular beta.
  • Grid Status: displays information from the Second Life Grid Status RSS fed.
  • Modem World: displays posts recorded by this blog’s RSS feed.
  • Reddit : displays recent threads from the Second Life Reddit community.
  • Seraphim: lists blog posts recorded in the Seraphim blog RSS feed. Clicking the location column will set your login location to that specific event.
The log-in screen information tabs

Note that the tabs are considered experimental, and feedback on their inclusion from Catznip users is requested.

Lab Derived Updates

This version brings Catznip up to parity with Linden Lab release viewers through to release version 6.0.1.522263 (formerly the Spotykach RC viewer, promoted on December 13th, 2019. Major updates in that release include:

  • Voice Server:
    • Second Life: Vivox version 4.9.0002.30313.
  • Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) Dullahan:
    • Dullahan: 1.1.1080
    • CEF: 3.3325.1750.gaabe4c4.513446.
    • Chrome: 65.0.3325.146.

Animesh

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.

A razzle of raptors? Animesh used to animate rigged mesh raptors from Linden Lab

The best way to get started with Animesh is to use the available resources. These include:

Catznip Updates

Avatar Rendering Optimisations – Quick Preferences

The new Quick Preferences panel complexity rendering options

Catznip R12.1 adds a further set of options for rendering avatars. These can be found in the Quick Preferences floater, in the form of a new drop-down set of options. These are:

  • Everyone Normally: the default: all avatars will appear subject to your complexity limit (set via the slider).
  • Only Myself: On your avatar will be rendered normally, all other avatars will be de-rendered.
  • Myself and Exceptions: your avatar and any exceptions you have set (either by checking the Friends and / or the Nearby Avatars check boxes and / or setting specific exceptions via the Others… button) will be rendered normally, all others avatars will be de-rendered.
  • Everyone as imposters: overrides the “# Non-impostors” slider and shows all avatars (other than exceptions) as imposters.
  • Everyone as silhouettes (works best with Nearby Avatars unchecked): shows all surrounding avatars as an untextured outline.
    • Handy for teleporting to busy events; just enable first before teleporting to prevent all avatar related textures from being downloaded, saving texture memory.

Notes:

  • These sittings are persistent across log-in sessions.
  • If any of these settings other than Everyone Normally is applied, a warning message (Not Everyone Is Rendered Fully) will be automatically displayed at the bottom of your screen, together with a button to reset to Render Everyone. This warning and button will also persist across log-in sessions as a reminder why you may not be seeing all avatars around you.

Windlight Quick Preferences

Windlight Quick Preferences

The windlight tab on Catznip’s Quick Preferences floater gains a set of new options, as shown in the image on the right and described below:

  1. The Day Cycle, Fixed Sky and Water drop-downs all now have a button to open their respective edit floaters.
  2. Sliders for:
    • The overall Scene Gamma and the Sun Angle.
    • The East Angle of the Sun.
  3. A Reset Windlight button to revert to the default windlight (this button is also present on the Troubleshooting preferences tab).

Avatar and Appearance Improvements

R12.1 brings together the avatar troubleshooting options together in a single right-click context menu, and include a new option for re-syncing animations.

To view the menu, right-click on your own avatar or  a nearby avatar and highlight Fix Avatar to open the sub-menu. This comprises:

  • Rebake Textures (your avatar only).
  • Refresh Textures: clear and redownload all textures on every attachment including (baked) body textures
  • Refresh Attachments (your avatar own): if one of your attachments ends up ghosted (you see it but others don’t) then this will fix it for both of you.
  • Sync Animations: resyncs an animation being used by your own avatar or all avatars using the same animation / animation set.
    • This option has also been added to the Advanced menu, where it will restart all animations your viewer is running in your view.
  • Reset Skeleton: default LL option.
  • Reset Skeleton & Animations: default LL option.
  • Stop Animating Me (your avatar only):  default LL option.
The right-click Avatar Context menu > Fix Avatar options for (l) your own avatar and (r) other avatars in your view

In addition, Catznip R12.1 also includes the following appearance related updates:

  • While editing your shape (or any wearable such as alpha, physics, shirt, etc…) any change you make will result in the name of the relevant parameter slider name / panel  in the editor being displayed in bold and with an asterisk alongside it, as will the category title.
    • Dragging a slider back to its previous value will switch it back to an unchanged state so you can always tell, at a glance, what exactly you’ve changed and what will happen when you click Save.
  • The Wearing panel has been updated as follows:
    • The total/remaining attachment count is displayed.
    • Touch/Edit context menu options are now available for temporary attachments
    • temporary attachment from the Appearance / Wearing / Temporary Attachment accordion.

Other Updates of Note

  • Chat: Preferences > Chat now includes options to control how much vertical screen space can be occupied by nearby chat toasts and how long they linger on the screen before starting to fade.
Preferences > Chat: options to control how much vertical screen space can be occupied by nearby chat toasts and how long they linger on the screen before fading
  • You can now page back / forth through a linkset using the highlighted arrow keys when Edit Linked is enabled

    Building:

    • When using Edit Linked in the build floater, it s now possible to page back / forth through objects in the linkset from the currently selected object.
    • Texture repeats larger than 100 and now allowed.
  • Show in Inventory: Inventory offers for an item that can be previewed (note cards/landmarks/textures) now offer to show the object rather than its location in inventory.
  • Inventory previews:
    • Previewing textures in inventory when mouse hovering (or when opening the full preview floater) should be faster.
    • When hovering over a folder that contains a single texture you’ll see a texture tool tip for that folder.
  • Drag & Drop:
    • Drag & drop uploading now supports all file types that can be uploaded in the viewer.
    • Additionally, when dropping a single file the upload floater will appear so you adjust settings (or preview).
  • RLVa: please read the RLVa_2.2_Release_Notes.

Feedback

Performance-wise, R12.1 compares well with R12, and for me slightly tops-out Firestorm. The inclusion of Animesh, together with the merge up to LL’s code base means Catznip is in a good position to capitalise on upcoming new features like the environment Enhancements Project (EEP).

While it is a small addition, the inclusion of an East Angle slider for the Sun position on the Windlight Quick Preferences is an excellent addition for photographers – the more than can be down to better surface environment and camera controls where they can be easily be accessed by photographers is always a good idea (and one of the principal reasons I use Firestorm, with its convenience of the Pototools panel.

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