However, given this is the case, and given Kokua 6.4.13 has recently been released, I thought I’d run through a quick round-up of the changes since 6.4.2 and 6.4.14, with a focus on the most recent release.
Since Kokua 6.4.9, any clean install of Kokua will result in the viewer displaying an updated menu structure that comes closer in layout to the official viewer. It see the removal of the Edit and View menus. This sees the more popular options from these menus moved to the Me and Command menus.
Note that the menu can be reverted via the last option on the Advanced menu – a restart will be required, however for the change to take effect.
Rapid Update Round-Up
- New licensing of KDU for better rendering and LL Havok third party extensions.
- Parity with the official viewer release 6.4.3 (FMOD studio update).
- Implemented the Firestorm feature show the parcel boundary highlighting up to 4,000m (Build floater → Advanced Build Options → check Show parcel Selection Outlines and “…up to maximum build height”.
- 6.4.6:moves the viewer build to using Visual Studio 2017 (Windows) and a more recent version of XCode (Mac).
- 6.4.7: parity with 6the official viewer release 6.4.7 (Arrack Maintenance RC).
- 6.4.9: parity with both the official viewer 6.4.8 (Bormotukha RC) and 6.4.9 (Love Me Render 4).
- 6.4.10: parity with the official viewer 6.4.10 (Mesh Uploader), incorporating the Firestorm contributions to improve information supplied by the mesh uploader and additional improvements from the Lab.
- 6.4.11: parity with the official viewer 6.4.11 (Cachaça Maintenance RC).
- 6.4.12: parity with the official viewer 6.4.12 Dawa Maintenance RC).
In addition, these updates incorporated all RLV updates from release 188.8.131.52 to 184.108.40.206, together with multiple improvements from the Kokua team for RLV functionality, and also assorted general bug fixes and improvements.
Jelly Doll Improvements
The 6.4.13 brings Kokua to parity with the official 6.4.13 Jelly Dolls viewer, revising how “Jelly Dolled” avatars are rendered.
- Originally introduced in 2015 (and with various updates since) Jelly Dolls is a means for users to reduce the avatar rendering load on their systems, by having any avatars around them that exceed a certain complexity value (set via a slider) render as a solid colour and minimal detail.
- There have always been a number of visual and technical issues with the manner in which these avatars have been rendered.
- The new Jelly Doll updates now included in this release of Kokua improves how avatars are “jelly dolled”, by a) rendering them as a simple grey shape (rather than a solid colour) and avoids attempting to render attachments.
- In addition it also improves to how avatar imposters are rendered and updated.
These changes should result in demonstrable improvements in view performance in environments where there are a large number of avatars, and the capability is sensibly used.
Kokua 6.4.13 adopts Kitty Barnett’s (Catznip) improves to accessing / display Group related information.
Previously Group information was presented as one tab within the People floater. Accessing any elements of Group information – such as notices – was presented in the same floater. This meant information on only one Group could be opened at a time,and made actions such as viewing or creating a group notice somewhat complex.
With these changes, Kokua now:
- Presents the Profile of a selected Group in a separate panel – this allowing multiple Groups to be viewed.
- Similarly breaks out the Group notices creation option as a separate panel – which can also be accessed from the Conversations floater.
The new behaviour is enabled by default but can be switched back to the former behaviour by unchecking Preferences → Kokua → General → Group settings open in a new floater rather than within the People floater.
Block List, Object Derendering and Avatar Rendering Exceptions
Also ported from Catznip is a new floater that combines Block / Mute operations and Derender / Avatar Rendering options into a single place, allowing them to be viewed / reviewed / unblocked. The floater include options to add avatars / objects to the block list and also unblock avatars / items on the list.
- When a derendered object is removed from the list, it may not immediately be re-drawn, but may require a TP away / back or a re-log to make it visible in your view.
- A facility to block/mute objects has been added to Sound Explorer however there are some caveats to be aware of due to differences between sound and object handling:
- Blocking/muting will generally not work if an object is in a different region or is beyond draw distance.
- A sound may continue to play even after blocking/muting the object responsible. This typically happens when several objects are all playing the same sound – each object playing the sound must be blocked/muted before the sound will stop. The Sound Explorer has a facility to pause the listing which can be handy when trying to select several items.
Two further ports from Firestorm;
- Configuration options for chat message toasts: a new options panel has been added in Kokua / Preferences / Chat to allow many parameters relating to chat toasts to be tweaked, including their width.
- Active Gestures: a new option on the Gestures floater to only show those currently active, originally.
The release also includes a number of fixes from the Kokua team – please refer to the release notes.
There are three third-party viewers I’ve tended to use in Second Life: Firestorm, Catznip and Kokua. All three offer a different emphasis for users,and Firestorm has tended to be my first choice.
However, both Catznip and Kokua have their own attractions, and with the recent progress with Kokua in particular, coupled with its higher cadence of updates, it is fast becoming a viable alternative to Firestorm, particularly as tends to offer a slightly higher frame rate. Certainly, for those who are looking for an alternative that offers a similar menu layout and largely comparable capabilities in terms of commonly-used options, Kokua is very much the viewer to consider.