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 126.96.36.199634 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 188.8.131.52588 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.
Note that at the time of writing, the OpenSim download page points to Firestorm 184.108.40.206680, 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 220.127.116.11588 brings the Firestorm viewer up to the current (at the time of writing) Linden Lab release viewer, version 18.104.22.1687758, 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 22.214.171.124588 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).
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 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 v126.96.36.199583 – see the Catznip RLVa 2.2 release notes.
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.