|On Wednesday, July 28th, 2021, the Firestorm team released version 6.4.21 of their viewer.
The majority of the updates contained within this release are from recent releases of the official viewer, with a minimal number of Firestorm-derived updates, as Firestorm continues to move closer to a quarterly cadence of releases.
As is usual for me, this is not a review of every individual change to be found within this latest release of Firestorm. Rather, it is an overview of those changes that will be most noticeable to the majority of users. Given this, please refer to the official release notes for a complete list of fixes and changes.
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- 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 6.4.21.
- Again, please refer to the Firestorm 6.4.21 release notes for additional details of all changes and updates in this release.
Linden Lab Viewer Parity
Firestorm 6.4.21 incorporates updates from a number of recent Linden Lab viewer releases, as follows:
Jelly Updates, February 2021
Viewer release: 184.108.40.2065567.
Most notably, this alters the behaviour of “jellydolled” avatars for better performance. Those avatars explicitly set not to render or have an Avatar Rendering Complexity (ARC) that exceeds the threshold set within the viewer (e.g. via Quick Prefs → Max Complexity slider):
- Are now rendered a single grey, rather than appearing in a range of solid colours and as a basic humanoid shape.
- No longer have any attachments or other customisations rendered and do not play animations.
Simplified Cache Viewer, March 2021
Viewer release: 220.127.116.116088.
This viewer introduced a less complex file caching system to save local copies of frequently used assets such as meshes, sounds and animations, but without the issues that impacted the original deployment of that viewer.
Custom Key Mappings Viewer, April 2021
Viewer release: 18.104.22.1687391.
Maintenance Eau de Vie, April 2021
Viewer release: 22.214.171.1248266.
A further round of viewer bug fixes from Linden Lab. Perhaps most notable among them changes to the detection of Intel HD 2500 and 4000 and 400 GPUs (if running the latest drivers), that result in users of those graphics cards now being offered the 64bit version of the viewer.
Love Me Render 5, June 2021
Viewer release: 126.96.36.1990171.
A maintenance viewer focused on rendering and graphics fixes, including a number of EEP improvements.
UI and Voice Updates Viewer, June 2021
Viewer release: 188.8.131.520520.
This viewer introduced the first in a series of viewer UI updates, these specifically aimed at new users, notably a new Guidebook to getting started in Second Life following sign-up, and which is intended to be used within the new Welcome Islands.
The Guidebook is access via a dedicated Toolbar Button, which if not automatically displayed in your viewer (clean installation) can be accessed by opening the Toolbar Buttons panel (right-click any button area and select Toolbar Buttons …) and then dragging the Guidebook button to your preferred button area.
- For more on the Guidebook, please refer to: The Project UI viewer: a look at the new user Guidebook.
- For more on the new Welcome Islands, please refer to Poking at the new Welcome Islands.
Not that both the Guidebook and the new Welcome islands are subject to on-going testing and so may see further revisions.
In addition, this release of the view included a number of menu changes to the official viewer. These have been implemented somewhat differently in Firestorm, and so are dealt with below.
EEP: Azimuth and Elevation Sliders
A further UI change with this viewer is the addition of new EEP sliders for those who have issues using the Trackballs in the Sun / Moon tabs of the Fixed Sky and Day Cycle floaters, and in the Personal Lighting floater. These sliders are:
- Azimuth – which might be thought of as the east / west position of the Sun or Moon (technically, azimuth is more than this, but it’ll do for these notes).
- Elevation – the position of the Sun or Moon over or under) the horizon, relative to azimuth.
Finally, this viewer brings a series of improvements to the viewer’s Voice settings a range of improvements to Voice handling, including changing to default Voice settings in the viewer intended to help prevent issues of drop-out when talking, and which have reportedly all but eliminated drop-outs for those using the new settings. Additionally, the VIVOX VAD options have been exposed via Debug Settings, and detailed notes on these can be found in the official viewer release notes, linked to above.