Now open at the Hoot Suite Gallery, the boutique gallery in Bellisseria curated by Owl Dragonash, is an exhibition that reminds us that while getting out and about to enjoy the beauty of summer may not be easy because of a certain pandemic, better times will return for all of us to have the freedom to visit our favourite corner of a beach or wander through grassy meadows.
Painting the Summer is a charming exhibition of gently post-processed images by Mareea Farrasco that carries us away to that summer beach and those summer grasslands, and to coastal walks and more. views out over rolling surf to sail boats lying off the coast and geese waddling over course grass. Often framing her avatar in relaxed poses.
These are elegant images in their presentation and in the lightness of touch with post-processing tools, while Owl’s Hoot Suite offers the perfect cosy venue for their presentation. The exhibition will run through until August 23rd, 2020.
On Tuesday, July 28th, 2020, Firestorm released a beta version of their viewer – 18.104.22.168799 – that provides support for the Lab’s Environment Enhancement Project (EEP), and which includes a number of other Lab-specific updates to the viewer, such as the Camera Presets capability.
There are a number of points of note to make about this viewer, which may influence people’s choice on whether or not to try / adopt it:
While it contains the EEP updates, the following should be kept in mind:
There are a number of known issues with EEP, several of which currently have fixes contained within the Lab’s Love Me Render RC viewer (version 22.214.171.1244028, dated June 30th, at the time of writing), and which is being prepared to be promoted to de facto release, possibly in the next 2-3 weeks.
There is a known performance hit related to EEP, for which an interim (and unsatisfactory) fix can be to disable Linden Water rendering (CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-7), even if Linden Water is occluding in your view. The underpinning causes of this issue are still being investigated.
Given its beta nature, this version of the viewer has not passed Firestorm’s QA cycle, nor are there formal release notes, although general notes on this version can be found here.
Because of the above, the following is not a full overview of the release; I will provide one once this version of the viewer reaches a formal release status. Instead, this article is designed to provide a general overview of the core visible changes in Firestorm 6.4.5: those of the EEP integration and particularly how it has been integrated with Firestorm’s Phototools floater, and those of the Camera Presets, which differ slightly to their implementation in the official viewer.
As this is a beta release:
There is no need to do a clean install.
By default, it will be installed into a different folder to the release version of Firestorm you have installed.
If you encounter issues with Firestorm 6.4.5, it is important you preserve your log files before starting any session using the release version of the viewer, and make sure you zip and attach them to any Jira you file.
Linden Lab Derived Updates Overview
Firestorm 6.4.5 incorporates updates from the following Linden Lab viewer releases:
Second Life Release Viewer version 126.96.36.1993157, the Chrome Embedded Framework (CEF) Update 2020 – provides better support for media playback options win the viewer, including the ability to live stream into Second Life.
Second Life Release Viewer version 188.8.131.522964, the FMOD Studio viewer, dated May 29th, 2020 – updates the viewer audio playback support to use FMOD Studio.
Second Life Release Viewer version 184.108.40.2061639, the Camera Presets viewer, dated May 11th, 2020 – see Camera Presets, below, for more.
Second Life Release Viewer version 220.127.116.110593, the Zirbenz Maintanence viewer, dated April 27th, 2020.
Second Life Release Viewer version 18.104.22.1680188, the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP) viewer, dated April 17th, 2020 – see below for more.
Camera Presets provides the ability for users to create one more more custom camera presets to define where and how the viewer camera is placed relative to your avatar, More than one set of presets can be created and saved, so that you can, for example 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 via the Camera Presets drop-down.
The Firestorm Camera Floater is laid out differently to the official viewer, being more compact, as show in the image below.
If you wish to manually set a camera position using the camera controls (orbit / tilt and slide left/right / up/down), you must open the Camera Position floater via the Position… button, and then save adjustments from that floater, as adjustments cannot be saved directly from the Camera floater, as is the case with the official viewer.
Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)
There’s unlikely to be many people who have not heard of the environment Enhancement Project (EEP). But in short:
Replaces the use of Windlight .XML files to control the water and sky environments seen in Second Life.
Environment settings are saved within environment assets that you can keep in your inventory and / or share with others.
Environments can be applied to a region or to a parcel (subject to region permissions) and / or to your avatar (thus allowing those travelling in vehicles to maintain a consistent environment across multiple region crossings).
Allows up to four different, independently controlled sky layers.
Allows the Sun, Moon and Cloud textures to be replaced with custom textures uploaded to the viewer.
Provides an extended day cycle of up to 168 hours, thus allowing a 7-day, 24-hour day / night cycle to be defined, for example.
Provides a Personal Lighting floater that allows you to make viewer-side adjustments to the local environment for the purposes of photography.
Provides new LSL functions to allow scripts to interact with parcel environments and that can be used with experiences.
EEP is a large and complex overhaul of environment settings for Second Life, and there are numerous resources available for it. As the Firestorm implementation is more-or-less as per the official viewer, I offer the following links to resources:
The viewer incorporates Windlight ↔ EEP interoperability, allowing EEP viewer users to visit legacy Windlight regions.
The viewer supports the new OpenSim 0.9.2 with EEP, code-named “Ugly Sky.”
There is now a fast-entry grid feature on the login screen; simply enter a URI to add a new grid.
In addition, the last Firestorm OpenSim Release had a bug that caused crashes when rezzing items. This bug was responsible for 70% of all reported FS OpenSim crashes on the 6.3.9 version, and it has been fixed.
Given Firestorm 22.214.171.124799 is a beta release and not a fully polished formal release, it may not be suitable for all users at this point in time – and this should be kept in mind when considering it. Should you decide to do so, again please remember:
Firestorm 6.4.5 can be installed alongside any current release of Firestorm, so you can swap between them.
Firestorm 6.4.5 has not been fully QA’d, so if you do encounter reproducible issues, please ensure you raise a bug report on the Firestorm JIRA.
With respect to EEP in particular:
Please take time to read the known issues in the beta release notes and, for EEP, those on the EEP viewer release notes from Linden Lab).
There are a number of EEP fixes forthcoming in the Love Me Render viewer (e.g: fixes for EEP specularity issue – BUG-228781 and BUG-228581, and for BUG-225784 “BUG-225446 regression – HUDs are again affected by environment setting”). It may also include additional fixes.
Linden Lab is still working on issues such as BUG-229079 “[EEP] Density multiplier does not allow full range of settings to be saved/loaded” and BUG-229031 “[EEP] Water has a large performance hit on EEP”.
There are known performance (FPS) issues with EEP / this version of Firestorm.
This version of Firestorm will likely go through a number of iterations prior to reaching formal release status.