Firestorm 6.2.4: EAM and paving the way

On Monday, July 15th, 2019, Firestorm released version 6.2.4.57588 of their viewer.

However please note that this release is for Second Life only.

Essentially a  maintenance update, Firestorm 6.2.4.57588 brings the viewer up to parity with the official viewer, adding a range of fixes, improvements and updates from both Linden Lab and via the Firestorm team. The major new feature for this update is the Estate Access Management options.

As such, this release paves the way for Firestorm to be able to adopt the Lab’s Bakes On Mesh and Environment Enhancement Project, once these have in turn been released by Linden Lab.

Table of Contents

As per usual, this article provides an overview of the more visible updates in the release. Please refer to the release notes for a full list of updates and all associated credits. Also, note that this update means that version 5.0.11.53634 will be blocked from logging in to the Second Life grid in about three weeks.

A small personal note: my apologies to Firestorm users who may have been directed to this post by the Firestorm team’s release announcement or the Firestorm 6.2.457588 release notes and were unable to find it. My ISP suffered a major (8+ hour) outage some 90 minutes before the release was made, preventing me from uploading and posting this overview. 

Why A Second Life Only Release?

As noted above, Firestorm 6.2.4.57588 is for Second Life only. This is because Firestorm are changing how they support Second Life and OpenSim grids. You can read the full details in the official Firestorm blog post Second Life and OpenSim are No Longer Joined  at the  Hip, but in short, and in the future:

  • The Firestorm code is forked into two repositories: Second Life and OpenSim.
  • The Second Life dedicated viewer’s grid manager will only offer Agni and Aditi (SL main and beta grids).
  • The OpenSim dedicated viewer’s grid manager will NOT offer Second Life grids.
  • If you wish to access both OpenSim and Second Life, you will have to install both versions of Firestorm
  • the two versions will install entirely independently to one another and will not share settings or cache, so they will not conflict with each other.

To assist is identifying the two differernt grid versions, the Firestorm downalod pages has been changes to clearly differentiate between Second Life and OpenSim.

The revised Firestorm grid download selections

Note that at the time of writing, the OpenSim download page points to Firestorm 6.0.2.56680, which still works on both SL and OpenSim, and will use the same settings folders as 6.2.4. This will change with the next Firestorm update.

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 6.2.4.
  • Please refer to the official release notes for a full breakdown and changes, updates and credits associated with this release.

Lab Derived Updates

Firestorm 6.2.4.57588 brings the Firestorm viewer up to the current (at the time of writing) Linden Lab release viewer, version 6.2.3.527758, formerly the Rainbow RC viewer promoted on June 18th, 2019.In addition, this release includes some upstream fixes from current LL RC viewers, such as the HiDPI retina display support on Mac systems (Love Me Render RC).

Please refer to the Firestorm 6.2.4 release notes for details of specific Lab-derived fixes for this release.

Estate Access Management (EAM)

It has long been the case that the lists for managing access to a region / estate have been crammed into the General tab of the Region / Estate floater (World > Region / Estate or ALT-R). This has made the management of these lists – particularly the Banned list – difficult when reaching large numbers.

The Estate Access Management (EAM) project was introduced by Linden Lab to address the various shortfalls with the presentation of these list, through both back-end changes and a refactoring of the Region / Estate floater. Firestorm release 6.2.4.57588 includes the updated viewer UI, allowing estate owners and officers to make use of the improved tools.

In particular, the EAM moves the access control elements of the Region  / Estate viewer away from the General tab and into their own dedicated tab (show below).

Estate Access Management: as they have previously appeared (left) and as they are under EAM (right) – note: user names have been redacted from this lists shown

In terms of adding or removing names and groups, the new Access sub-tabs work in much the same way as the list boxes in previous releases. However, with the new design, additional functionality is added to some of the lists:

  • The Banned list additionally records:
    • The last date on which a banned individual logged-in to Second Life (to assist with housekeeping the list – if an account hasn’t been used in X months or years, why keep it on the list?).
    • The date on which an individual was banned.
    • The name of the estate officer / region holder who implemented the ban.
  • The Banned tab can be sorted into ascending / descending order by banned name, date last logged in, date banned, or by person banning them. Click on the column title to sort.
The Banned list provides more functionality: search, re-ordering, date banned, who did the banning (only applicable for banned implemented after the EAM back-end was deployed by Linden Lab earlier in 2019, pre-existing bans will have “n/a” in the new columns, as indicated by the Banned By column in this image. Note that names have been redacted from this list
  • The Estate Managers, Allowed and Allowed Groups tabs can be sorted into ascending / descending order by name. Click on the column title to sort.
  • The Allowed Groups, Allowed and Banned tabs all include a search option.
  • The number of allowed Estate Managers is increased from 10 EMs to 15 EMs – again in response to many requests from region holders.

Firestorm Updates

Menus

  • Avatar Menu > Health > Scripts: Displays your avatar’s script usage – memory, URL, containing object, attachment point. This information was previously found in About Land > Script Info > Avatar tab).
The avatar script information has been moved to the Avatar >Avatar Health menu
  • Preferences > Chat > CmdLine > Teleport to region x:
    • Updates “Teleport to sim x” to read correctly in Preferences.
    • “mapto” command now allows coordinates in destination region to be specified when using the command in chat. Format: “mapto regionname | x y z”, where x, y and z are the corresponding coordinates.
When using the CmdLine option, you can now teleport to specific co-ordinates (x,y,z) within that region
  • Graphics:
    • General Tab: the Avatar shadows rendering drop-down (Simplified, Optimised, Complex) has been removed, as the options are currently incompatible with the latest rendering changes by the Lab, and which are included in Firestorm 6.2.4. Avatar shadows in the viewer should now render with their “full complexity”
    • Hardware Settings: adds a check box for Max HiDPI support with Mac OS X – this will require a restart.
  • Sounds and Media > Sounds: adds a new drop-down to select the output device for playing in-world sounds.
    • Selecting Default will always select the first output device in the list.
    • If Default is selected but the previous device is no longer available, the viewer will automatically switch to the next available “default” device as defined by your operating system.
    • Manually selecting an output device from the drop-down  prevents the viewer from automatically switching to another device if the selected device is no longer available. Instead, the field will show “Unavailable Device” until such time as the nominated device is again available, or the drop-down is changed to Default or an alternate is manually selected.
The sounds output device drop-down for in-world sound playback
  • Privacy > LookAt: new slider to clamp yout lookAt target at a specified distance of up to 4m from your avatar’s head, showing the general direction of  viewing but not the actual lookat target.
    • Requires the check box to be enabled to work.
The new LookAt clamp option and distance slider
  • Backup: clicking the Backup Settings button when a back-up has been taken will display a modal asking you to confirm you wish to overwrite the existing back-up. Click cancel and set an alternate back-up path if you wish to save your settings as a different back-up file.
The new back-up modal, displayed if you already have a back-up file on your computer

Inventory and Appearance

  • Right-click texture refresh: adds the ability to refresh the textures of a worn object.
  • /zoffset_reset: when typed in local chat will reset your avatar’s hover height 0. Works alongside the /zoffset_up and /zoffset_down chat commands.

World Map

  • The Advanced Information display on the World Map (enabled via Preferences > Move & View > Map & Minimap > Show additional region information on World Map) has been moved to a line beneath the region name.
The Advanced Information on the World Map is now displayed on a separate line for clarity
  • Parcels with a null name should display correctly in the world map. See FIRE-23641.

Building And Scripting

  • The Edit / Builder floater texture picker now allows textures to be applied to object faces using their UUID, providing the texture exists in your own inventory.
You can now apply textures to object faces using their UUID, providing the texture exists in your own inventory
  • Firestorm > Build 1: now includes an option to reveal the path to the external script editor. See FIRE-23606.
  • OXP Import: the upload option has been revised to read “Upload Content” to avoid confusion. See FIRE-23686.
  • Collada export: should no longer break for meshes with 64K+ vertices. See FIRE-24016.

Other Updates of Note

  • The Firestorm Havok version now supports transcripts and log folders for Agni (the main grid) and Aditi (the beta grid). See FIRE-24023.
    • For example: chat  and IM logs will be stored in your default  / selected location (see via Preferences > Network & Files > Directories > Conversation Logs & Transcripts Location) but log from Aditi will be stored in a folder called “[avatar name].second_life_beta”.
  • “Specify Version” (for FS Support groups) and “Specify Build” (for FS QA groups) viewer tags have been updated to includes current version or build, operating system, viewer skin, RLVa status. The Tooltips and modals have been updated to reflect this, and the settings in support and QA groups work independently of each other.
  • Toolbar Buttons: there is a new Stop Animations toolbar button.
  • FMOD Studio 2.00.01 (updated Windows, Linux, Mac).
  • KDU v7.10.7 (updated Windows, Linux, Mac).
  • Voice Server Version: Vivox Version 4.9.0002.30313 (Windows and Mac). Note in reference to Firestorm:
    • Voice for Opensim 4.6.0017.22050 (Windows and Mac).
    • Linux uses native voice files Version: Vivox 3.2.0002.10426.
  • LibVLC Version: 2.2.8.
  • Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) Dullahan updated:
    • Dullahan: 1.1.1320.
    • CEF: 3.3626.1895.g7001d56.
    • Chromium: 72.0.3626.121.
  • RLV support: RLV v3.2.1 / RLVa v2.2.0.57583 – see the Catznip RLVa 2.2 release notes.

Feedback

On the surface, this might seem a small update in terms of new features and / or updates. However, there are a lot of fixes and improvements that may not immediately be apparent to all users. In particular, and as noted, paves the way for Firestorm to be in a position to merge and release the upcoming Bakes and Mesh and Environment Enhancement Projects after they have been released by Linden Lab, and without too much of a delay between the official releases and Firestorm updating.

From a  Windows user’s perspective, I’ve been using the various updates to Firestorm 6.2.4 during the beta and preview releases and have encountered no significant issues. Performance has (for me) been on a par with the 6.0.2 release, and I’ve not seen anything to give me cause for concern.

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17 thoughts on “Firestorm 6.2.4: EAM and paving the way

  1. I was most excited about the HiDPI feature for macOS but unfortunately when enabled it makes it impossible to zoom or cam around an object with the mouse.

    Surprisingly it is a known bug and the warning “May impact performance or have adverse affects” was apparently added for *that* reason: https://jira.firestormviewer.org/browse/FIRE-24013

    In my opinion that warning is a bit misleading because it absolutely *will* have adverse effects – i.e. it makes the viewer practically unusable unless you don’t change your camera view. Perhaps the option to turn this on should have been hidden from everyday users given it was being included broken in a public release.

    “Off by default until we get a fix that works”… why let everyday users turn it on at all?

    In the LL viewer it was fixed at least as early as June 5 because I have Second Life version 6.2.3.527758 and there is no problem with the HiDPI graphics in that.

    Like

      1. Not support but I did raise a bug issue. Being a bit naive about Jira (I only just made an account) I added it as a bug immediately when I found the problem because I assumed with the viewer having only been released a few hours ago it must be something they didn’t spot.

        But then my bug was marked as a duplicate due to it already being known in the one I like to above.

        I’ve not mentioned it to FS support – is that an IW group? Is that likely to help (seeing as it is a known problem) ?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If the Jira has been recorded and noted – that’s all you have to do. And never feel shy about the risk of filing a duplicate. Firestorm – and Linden Lab with their Jira – would much rather have duplicate reports rather than no reports 🙂 . Plus, there is always the chance a second report contains more information than an earlier report, further helping with analysis and resolution!

          Liked by 1 person

    1. IT has no impact on normal shadows. However, some time ago, Marine Kelley – through her Restrained Love Viewer – introduced a means to rendering *avatar* shadows at different levels, the idea being to lessen the impact of rendering avatar shadows on the viewer. How effective this actually was, is perhaps debatable; however, changes made to the rendering engine by Linden Lab means that the tweaks Marine made no longer work – avatar shadows in the viewer should now render with their “full complexity”.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Depending on your value or “broken”, it is more likely due to the fact that the Lab is changing how sky rendering is changing – the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP). The server-side support for this has been deployed for a while now, but the viewer-side updates have yet to be released, due to some remaining rendering bugs.

      So, your problems might be due to the fact that there are inconsistencies between how the simulators would like the sky to be rendered and how viewers without the EPP code can render them. Once the EEP code is in a state where Firestorm can adopt it, these problems should, hopefully, go away for most people using Firestorm (those who make their ow windlight files may have additional work to do in order to convert them, if they are not already using the EEP RC viewer to do so).

      Like

  2. Unfortunately, at this point in time it appears, “the two versions will install entirely independently to one another and will not share settings or cache, so they will not conflict with each other” is not the case. They do share the cache and settings, and I could not force them to be separate. I spent a couple of hours trying without success. I assume when there is a new OS-only version, this will be true, but at present it is not.

    Like

    1. Yes, at this point is time because – as noted – the OpenSim version hasn’t yet been updated to meet the new requirements.

      Like

  3. I can’t seem to get the double click to attach inventory items to me to turn off. I couldn’t find the option at all in preferences. Found it in the Inventory window, but checked or unchecked, it still attaches things to my avatar from inventory. Annoying… anyone know?

    Like

    1. Technical questions are best asked via the Firestorm in-world support groups – I can’t offer viewer support through these pages (as I cover several), and the Firestorm (and other viewer support people) do not necessarily read this blog and the comments therein.

      Like

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