Kokua: 6.4.2 release overview

On Wednesday, May 27th, the Kokua team released Kokua 6.4.2, bringing the viewer up to parity with the Linden Lab official viewer, 6.4.2 code base (Camera Presets), promoted on May 19th, 2020.

This means that with this release, Kokua now includes:

  • the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP) release.
  • The most recent viewer Maintenance updates.
  • The aforementioned Camera Presets.

In addition, the Restrained Love Viewer (RLV) variants of this Kokua release include both include the latest updates to Marine Kelley’s RLV API updates – version 2.9.27.0 -, which include support specific to EEP, and which the Kokua team have also used with regards the new Camera Presets, as part of their own updates to the viewer.

Lab-Derived Updates

Environment Enhancement Project

In including support for EEP, Chorazin Allen makes an important point that all SL users should keep in mind when moving to EEP-capable viewers:

Before getting into the additional features and fixes we need to point out that EEP represents a major overhaul of the viewer’s weather, lighting, shine and reflection areas – it’s more than just a new weather system with configuration files as inventory assets instead of separate xml files. As a result you WILL find that scenes, structures and avatars can all look different. If you find a particularly noticeable instance you are encouraged to log details of it in LL’s Jira issue tracking system so that these differences can be fixed at their origin.

– Chorazin Allen [my emphasis]

The Kokua 6.4.2 release appears to be a direct implementation of EEP and its various floaters without any alterations to their layout. As such, I do not propose to cover them here; rather I’ll leave you with a series of links to resources:

Camera Presets

Kokua adds four new defaults for Camera Presets

The Camera Presets controls, developed and contributed by Jonathan Yap, is a capability that allow users to create one more more custom camera presets within the viewer to suit particular needs and then save them. This means, for example, that a user can now have a camera position for general exploring, another suitable for combat games, another for building, etc., all of which can easily be accessed and used at any time.

Again, the Kokua implementation of the UI elements is the same as the official viewer. However, the Kokua implementation of Camera Presets adds addition default presets as follows:

  • Left, Right and top: provide viewers of your avatr from the left and right side, and from directly above.
  • FPS (First Person Shooter) – positions the camera directly in front of your avatar and looking forward.
  • Nearer – a view looking from close behind your avatar designed to be more suitable for corridors and other narrow spaces.

Again, rather than go into specifics on creating and using Camera Presets, I refer readers to my Camera Presets tutorial.

Kokua Updates

Edit Floater – Bulk Rename

Kokua 6.4.2 includes a new button in the Content tab of the Edit floater that allows the contents of an object to be easily renamed. A typical case for this might be when updating the version number of the individual contents on an object for a new release: after the specific elements that have been updated / replaced in the object, the rest can easily be renamed with the new version number.

Kokua object contents bulk rename

As this is liable to be a special usage option, I’ll refer interested parties to the Kokua documentation on how it works.

Animation Override

Client AO updates

Kokua 6.4.2 offers two new options to the client-side Animation Override system:

  • Chat check box: when enabled, each new animation to run will be reported in local chat in the user’s viewer.
    • The intent is to allow a user to keep track of the currently running animation when using a new set of poses/animations to decide decide which should be kept or discarded.
    • It is not recommended this option is kept on at all times, as the animation reports can be intrusive.
  • Any button: located between the next / previous animation paging buttons a the bottom of the floater, it will randomly select a pose from the current listed set (Walking, Standing, etc), and play it.
    • Clicking the Next or Previous buttons will resume stepping forward / back through the list of animations from the randomly selected animation.

Hover Height

This release of Kokua includes the hover height slider from Marine’s RLV viewer, with the release notes stating:

Rather than include the small button to reset it to 0.0 we have made the numerical value next to the slider writable allowing any value to be directly entered.

Additional Links

2020 viewer release summaries week #22

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, May 31st

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 viewer version 6.4.2.541639, dated May 11th, promoted May 19th, formerly the Camera Presets RC viewer – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • FMOD Studio RC viewer updated to version 6.4.3.542964 on May 29th.
    • CEF RC viewer, version 6.4.3.542757, issued May 27th.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V6-style

V1-style

  • Cool VL viewer stable branch updated to 1.26.24.20 and Experimental branch to 1.27.0, both  on May 30th – release notes.

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Sharing FionaFei’s dream in Second Life

Hannington Endowment for the Arts: FionaFei

FionaFei invited me to visit her new installation that opened on May 29th at the Hannington Endowment for the Arts (HEA). Entitled I Had a Dream, And You Were There, it is a reflection of thoughts and feelings that may come upon us unbidden, be it through dream or through finding an object or hearing a sound or seeing an image or event, that bring to mind someone now gone from our lives.

Set as a dream-like forest, the trees rendered in Fiona’s familiar ink wash black on white, that we’re invited to explore. Within it, the ground is white, as if mist is sliding through the trees, brushed ferns grouping around the base of trunks. Among these trees are park benches offering places to sit in contemplation.

On or near the benches are bright red objects: an alarm clock here, a scarf draped over a branch there, a hat hanging on the back of a bench, a flittering butterfly or two, and so on. All of them are precisely the kind of thing liable to trigger a sudden memory of someone once close to us. Touch them, and they will even offer a specific memory in local chat.

Hannington Endowment for the Arts: FionaFei

For those who have lost someone from their physical or virtual lives, I Had a Dream is liable to be an evocative visit. And by “lost”, I don’t necessarily mean the individual memory recalls has passed away; we lose people from our lives in a wide variety of ways: friendships form and end; closeness fades as physical distance grows; relationships naturally shift in desire, want and need, and so on. Even so, memories of their presence and former closeness can remain with us long after a parting of the ways have come and can – no matter how the parting came about – still come to the fore in the most unexpected ways.

It’s also important not to ascribe the installation to a specific loss on Fiona’s part. As she states in the introduction to the installation:

It is a creative manifestation of thinking about someone and wishing that they were here … The artwork is not about any specific person.

– FionaFei

Hannington Endowment for the Arts: FionaFei

Simply and artistically presented, I Had a Dream… is an installation that can unfold to reveal considerable emotional depth, echoing as it does, feelings that many, if not all of us, have felt in our adult lives.

SLurl Details

Space Sunday: how to fly your Dragon

The International Space Station imaged from 200 metres by the docking systems camera looking out of the forward hatch window of SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour. Credit: SpaceX / NASA

On Saturday, May 30th, 2020 the United States successfully launched astronauts into orbit from American soil for the first time since July 8th, 2011. It came after an initial attempt on May 27th, 2020 had to be scrubbed (called off) due to adverse weather conditions putting the launch vehicle at risk of a possible electrical strike.

As I noted in my previous Space Sunday piece, the primary goal of the mission is to confirm the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle is ready to commence operations ferrying crew to and from the International Space Station. Intended to fly up to four crew at a time on such missions, for this final test flight, Crew Dragon lifted-off with only two crew aboard: NASA veterans Robert L. Behnken (flight pilot) and Douglas G. Hurley (commander).

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (l) and Doug Hurley, photographed at the top elevator station at Launch Complex 39A, Kennedy Space Centre, at a dress rehearsal for the Crew Dragon Demo-2 flight, May 24th, 2020. Credit: SpaceX

Weather was also a concern in the run-up to the May 30th launch, with NASA putting a chance of lift-off at 50/50 through to less than an hour ahead of the launch time. However, after a burst of rain in the area of Kennedy Space Centre as the Falcon 9 launch vehicle was being prepared for lift-off, the weather situation both around the Florida Cape and downrange of the launch site and along the track of the vehicle’s line of ascent, cleared sufficiently for the launch to go ahead.

The entire launch, from the astronauts suit-up in the crew room at Kennedy Space Centre, through lift-off, ascent to orbit, on-orbit operations and the rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station some 19 hours after launch, was covered entirely live through NASA TV and SpaceX on You Tube and other channels. This coverage made it one of the mos-watched launches of a space vehicle despite the limitations of travel in place due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, with 1.5 million people watching the SpaceX relay of the NASA feed alone.

Thursday, May 21st, 2020: The Falcon 9 / Crew Dragon vehicle bearing the NASA worm and meatball logos, rolls out of the SpaceX vehicle processing building en route to pad 39A

Following their arrival at the launch pad some 2+ hours ahead of the the launch, the astronauts – known as “the Dads” to the SpaceX team – travelled to the top of the launch tower prior to ingressing into the Crew Dragon vehicle and performing a series of pre-flight checks both before and after the crew hatch was closed-out by the fight support crew.

At around an hour prior to launch and with the flight support crew clear of the tower, the access arm was rotated clear and fuelling of the Falcon 9’s first and second stage tanks commenced as the weather clearance was given. Unlike Apollo and the shuttle, the SpaceX vehicles go through fuelling as a last stage of ground operations to minimise the amount of fuel venting / topping-up that is required as the super-cold liquid propellants start to slowly warm despite insulation and cooling.

Ahead of the launch, the ISS passed over Kennedy Space Centre and this photograph was taken. Centre top is the massive Vehicle Assembly Building where the SLS will be assembled for launch and the former Orbiter Processing Buildings, one of which is now used by Boeing for the Starliner crew vehicle and another by the Orion MPCV; The crawler / transporter track runs from the VAB toward the coast, splitting so one leg runs to the right and Pad 39B, which will host the SLS, while the second runs down to Pad 39A where the white SpaceX vehicle assembly building can be seen, with the Falcon 9 on the pad. Credit: NASA

A crucial aspect of the Demo-2 launch was that orbital mechanics demanded the vehicle had to lift-off precisely on time – there could be no “holds” that delayed it beyond the appointed lift-off time. Were launch to be delayed, even by a few minutes, the Crew Dragon would reach orbit at the wrong point related to the ISS, and so and rendezvous would be much harder, if not impossible, given what needed to be achieved in the flight ahead of reaching the space station.

So, at 19:22:45 UTC, precisely on schedule, the nine motors of the Falcon 9’s first stage igniting, lifting the black-and-white rocket and capsule vehicle smoothly off the pad. This marked a further first for the mission: not only was it the first US crewed mission into space undertaken from US soil bult and operated by a private company, the entire launch process was run by SpaceX and not by NASA’s Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR – or “moe-kerr”) at the Johnson Space Centre (JSC), although the latter were obviously looking over SpaceX’s shoulder and monitoring things, with the ISS Fly Operations Centre fully “in the loop”.

A Dragon rises with its riders as the Falcon 9 clears the tower at LC-39A, May 30th, 2020. Credit: NASA live stream

Ascent to orbit lasted some 8 minutes – although to all those watching, it probably seemed a lot quicker. Powering the vehicle through the denser part of the atmosphere, the Falcon’s first stage reached MECO (main engine cut-off) just over 2 minutes after launch. Separating, this continued along a ballistic trajectory, flicking itself around to deploy vanes to help with its descent back though the atmosphere so it might make a landing on the autonomous drone ship Of Course I Still Love You.

Camera footage from the first stage, transmitted as the Falcon’s second stage continued to boost the Crew Dragon vehicle to orbit, showed it orienting itself using its attitude thrusters, prior to three of the Raptor engines firing to slow it down and cushion it as it dropped back into denser atmosphere. From here, it dropped smoothly back towards the drone ship, the deployed vanes holding it upright. Unfortunately, video footage was lost prior to touch-down, but moments later, the feed resumed, showing the stage sitting on the ship’s deck as high above, the Falcon’s second stage reached SECO – Second (Stage) Engine Cut-off, and shortly after, the Dragon separated from it.

Timing in the flight meant that the Falcon 9 first stage successfully landed on the autonomous drone ship Of Course I Still Love You (l) at almost the same time as SECO was reached by the rocket’s upper stage, followed a couple of minutes later by Crew Dragon successfully separating from the second stage (r). Credit: SpaceX

Continue reading “Space Sunday: how to fly your Dragon”