Lab provides “Unloop” viewer for 32-bit Windows users

On May 31st, 2018 Linden Lab updated the Love Me Render Release Candidate, viewer version 5.1.5.515811 to de facto release status.

Unfortunately, during the release process, there was an error defining the location of the Windows 32-bit version of the Second Life viewer download, which meant Windows users downloading the viewer when first released received the 64-bit version, regardless of which version of the operating system they are running.

While the issue has been addressed, it did leave some 32-bit Windows users found their systems stuck in a loop of trying to install the 64 bit version of the viewer. As I noted at the time, instructions were issued on how to break out of the loop. However, it appears some 32-bit users may still be encountering problems.

To this end, the Lab has released the “Unloop” Release candidate viewer, version 5.1.6.515965, which as the release notes state:

…is a special release just for Windows 32 bit systems who were caught in an endless loop of 64 bit viewer updates between 5/31/2018 and 6/1/2018. Except for its incremented build number, it is in every other way, identical to the last release.

So, if you are a 32-bit Windows user and are still having issues as a result of the promotion of the Love Me Render release, you might want to try a fresh installation of the Unloop viewer.

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Second Life 32-bit Windows viewer oopsie

Update, June 6th: for those 32-bit Windows users still experiencing problems with this issue, the Lab has issued the Unloop RC viewer.

On May 31st, 2018 Linden Lab updated the Love Me Render Release Candidate, viewer version 5.1.5.515811 to de facto release status.

Unfortunately, during the release process, there was an error defining the location of the Windows 32-bit version of the Second Life viewer download. Because of this error, all Windows users downloading the viewer received the 64-bit version, regardless of which version of the operating system they are running.

While the issue has now been fixed so that 32-bit Windows users will receive the 32-bit version of the viewer, anyone running 32-bit Windows who downloaded the viewer during the 24 hours when the incorrect location was available (12:00 noon SLT on Thursday, May 31st, 2018 through 12:00 noon SLT on Friday, June 1st, 2018) may now find their system is stuck in a loop of trying to install the 64 bit version of Second Life.

Because of this, Kyle Linden issued a forum post on how to correct the problem for those caught in the loop, and I’m reproducing those instructions below for those who may have missed the forum post:

There is a way out of this loop.

  1. Uninstall the 64 bit version of Second Life.

  2. Install the 32 bit version from: http://download.cloud.secondlife.com/Viewer_5/Second_Life_5_1_5_515811_i686_Setup.exe

For the technically inclined there is a more surgical method to quickly recover.

  1. Open your file explorer in Windows.

  2. In the address bar type in %appdata% and press Enter.

  3. Locate the SecondLife folder and open it.

  4. Locate the downloads folder and delete it.

  5. Launch Second Life as normal and the correct update will be applied.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, we stumbled and we’ll make corrections to our processes to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

For those needing further information, please refer to Kyle’s forum post.

Ouzo: a viewer aperitif for Second Life

Linden Lab has promoted the latest Maintenance RC to de facto release status. The viewer follows the Lab’s convention of naming their maintenance updates for the viewer after popular alcoholic beverages and aperitifs.

This release includes a range of updates and improvements to the viewer which are worth highlighting, and which will be finding their way into third-party viewers as time goes forward (if they are not already present). Including the following.

Installation and Log-in Improvements

  • The “Your account will not be available until” login failure message has now been removed, as it is no longer meaningful.
  • The GPU Benchmark test no longer causing issues when installing the viewer or when setting viewer defaults.
  • Non-English versions of the viewer can now be installed into non-default paths without causing incorrect fonts to be loaded, corrupting the text of the Terms of Service display in the viewer.
  • Mac OS updates:
    • Incorrect VFS (cache) creation time no longer shown in “help>about SL”.
    • Full version of the build in the applications is now displayed after install on Mac.

Avatar Appearance Updates

  • A new option added to the Appearance Editor right-click menu: Wear Only This Outfit.
  • The Edit Outfit panel in the Appearance Editor no longer displays “Loading…” when there is nothing to load.
  • An avatar’s hairbase is now correctly rendered in Appearance mode when ALM is enabled, and the alpha mask will correctly hide the default hair in the Outfit Editor.
  • A seated avatar’s rotation is now correctly updated when the object the avatar is sitting on is changed via the build floater X, Y, Z spinners.
  • Object position (and sometimes size) no longer greyed out when editing avatar parts or attachments.
  • Temporary attachments can now be detached via gear menu in Appearance >Wearing.

UI Improvements

  • Abuse Report floater clean-up.
  • Error messages no longer doubled (the first being generic, the second being accurate).
  • It is no longer possible to delete an inventory folder while trying to rename it by holding down the Delete key a little too long.
  • Chat scroll bar now properly displayed after a panel resize.
  • “Walk/run/fly” toolbar button no longer turns off “fly mode” once per session.
  • Received Items improvements:
    • The “New” icon in the Received Items folder now correctly disappears when navigating with keys.
    • The “New” tag now appears in front of folders when searching.
    • “Properties” menu item disabled for multiple selection in Object content, because it was causing Received Items to disappear.
  • The Donation check box no longer covered by the Purchase button when buying land from a group you’re already donating to.
  • Bottom part of “Filter” button at Snapshot window can now be properly clicked.
  • World Map no longer shows first friend location after searches.
  • Unicode correctly appears in the Windows viewer display name.
  • Arrows ‘Navigate back’ and ‘Navigate forward’ had wrong state.
  • Profiles now have a Back button.
  • Debug setting AvatarHoverOffsetZ will work regardless of whether Set Hover Height modal has been opened.

Efficiency & Performance Improvements

  • This viewer uses the new off-line messages capability to correctly fetch off-line IMs following log-in, hopefully resolving the issue of lost off-line messages.
  • Viewer no longer attempting to load file/mesh/LOD indefinitely in case of most failures.
  • Advanced Lighting Mode (ALM) improvements
    • Normal and specular maps no longer downloaded when ALM is disabled.
    • Local Textures for Advanced Lighting Projectors now keep the selected texture.
  • Particles attached to the muted avatars no longer render.
  • Texture animation flicker at certain frame rates has been removed.
  • Sculpties should no longer appear as spheres before their shape data has been received by the viewer.
  • Scripts memory usage should no longer return incorrect values in the Estate Tools.
  • Unneeded exception handling from LLAppViewer::frame() removed.
  • ExportCharts for performance analysis re-enabled.
  • Mods to allow nVidia nSight to capture frames of Viewer rendering have been added.
  • Deprecated and unused private memory pooling removed.
  • Various translation updates.

Media Updates

  • (MAC only): viewer Media Browser no longer doubles entered Cyrillic capital letters.
  • Magnify glass button no longer returns camera to avatar after select other nearby media in “Start/Stop ALL Media” tab.
  • Scrollbar should decrease when the number of displayed media decreases.
  • The viewer no longer sends multiple GET requests against prim media when PRIM_MEDIA_AUTO_PLAY is enabled.
  • Social floaters launch a somewhat different version of the internal browser.

Crash Fixes

The viewer includes a range of crash fixes, as detailed in the release notes.

Downloads

The viewer can be downloaded from the viewer’s release notes page, if preferred.

Second Life 360-degree snapshots hands-on III

Credit: Linden Lab

Update: The 360 snapshot viewer was updated to version 5.1.6.515934 on June 6th.

On Thursday, February 22nd, Linden Lab issued a further update to the 360-degree snapshot project viewer. While version 5.1.2.512774 brings with it some updates and changes, it still fair to say this is more an interim update than the set of improvements and capabilities some of us had been hoping for.

As with the previous update, released in June 2017 – see my Hands-on II review here – this viewer:

  • Uses the Alex Ivy viewer code base (only the release code, this time, obviously), and so is available for Windows (32-/64-bit) and Mac OSX; there is no Linux version at present.
  • Handles the “stitching” of a captured set of images into a single equirectangular 360-degree image ready for upload to suitable suites supporting 360-degree images.

However, what’s new with this viewer is that it:

  • Moves the 360-degree photo option from the snapshot floater to its own floater.
  • Sets the 360-mage resolution to 4096×2048 (no more “small”, “medium” or “large”).
  • Includes the required meta data for images to auto-display in Flickr’s 360-degree viewing mode, so you no longer have to manually set the equirectangular tag

So, how does it stack-up?

On the positive side, the new capture UI  does a credible job of easing the capture process and in offering preview of the 360-degree image. Hopefully there will be some further options added to it in the future – such as image size.

On the negative side the current  4096×2048 resolution could still do with improvement – Alexa Linden informed me that this work is in-hand – as it can exhibit a very definite fuzziness.

Taking the Shot

  • Position your camera at the centre point of your 360 shot.
  • While it is not specified, I would suggest camera in a circle to encourage the scene to load before capture.
  • Use Menu > World > Environment Editor > Sky Presets > Edit Presets to set your desired Windlight and use the Clouds tab to freeze cloud movement. Avoid the use of Depth of Field.
  • Press CTRL-SHIFT-C to display the 360-image capture floater.
The new 360 snapshot floater – default mode
  • Click Capture 360 to commence the capture process.
  • The floater will display some basic messages as the images are being captured and process, and the Lab have indicated these may be improved, depending upon feedback.
  • Once image processing is complete, the floater will expanding to show an auto-rotating previewing of the captured image. As with any 360-degree image, you can press and hold the left mouse button while over the image and scroll around it.
The 360-degree image preview
  • Note that there is currently an issue with the preview on Mac systems which can leave it black. If this happens, click Save Local and then Cancel. This should force the preview to displayed correctly.
  • If you’re unhappy with the preview, you can re-start the process by clicking Capture 360 again, or you can save the image using the Save Local button. This will save the image in equirectangular format to a location of your choice on your computer, from where yo can upload it to photo sites supporting 360-degree equirectangular images.

As noted above, images captured in this version of the viewer should automatically display in 360-degree viewing mode in Flickr without the need to meta tag them manually. They also should display in the WordPress  “VR” shortcode, placed within square braces (“[“, “]”) and in the format:

vr url=path-to-photo.jpg view=360

This should yield a result like this:

Feedback

A welcome update to a project viewer that was a little long-in-the-tooth: obviously, as well as the 360 snapshot changes, this version also brings the viewer up to par with all of the most recent viewer releases.

I was a little disappointed that there’s no support for uploads to Second Life Place Pages with this iteration of the viewer – something that had been indicated as being on the horizon in some recent user group meetings; apparently, and like the overall image resolution, it requires further work. As the 360 image captures now has its own floater, I’d also personally like to see it gain a dedicated toolbar button as well. CTRL-SHIFT-C isn’t a taxing short cut to remember, but buttons can make for convenience.

That said, the thing to remember here is that this is still only a project viewer – it still has a good way to go before being ready for prime-time use, which is something the Lab fully acknowledges. So, while it is worth taking it for a drive and having a play, expect to see further improvements and added functionality appearing in – hopefully not-too-distant – future updates.

Download and Release Notes

 

SL “Moonshine” viewer release

On Friday, October 13th, the Lab promoted their “Moonshine” release viewer, version 5.0.8.329115  to de facto release status. This viewer brings some new options to the official viewer, as well as including a range of improvements and bug fixes.

The code name for the viewer is described thus: “Moonshine was originally a slang term used to describe high-proof distilled spirits usually produced illicitly, without government authorisation. In recent years, however, moonshine has been legalized in various countries and has become a term of art. Legal in the United States since 2010, moonshine is defined as ‘clear, unaged whiskey’. This deploy is filled with a jigger of crash fixes, a splash of translation fixes and a kick that will make you say ‘I can’t feel my face any more!'”

In terms of the updates, probably the most visible is the new Worn tab within the Inventory floater. Those who have used third-party viewers like Firestorm will be familiar with this: it presents a list of items your avatar is currently wearing, defined by the folders in which the items are located.

The new Worn tab on the updated SL viewer

In addition, the scroll zone associated with the inventory floater (and the Marketplace floater) has been improved, and the inventory filter options (My Inventory > Gear menu > Show filters) have two new options:

  • Created by me, Created by others
  • Search by Name, Description, Creator, UUID.

The viewer includes the ability to increase the cache size to up to 9.75 GB in size, and cache performance has been improved. This work is all part of on-going viewer infrastructure work, which with this viewer includes changes to reduce the rate at which log-in retries are attempted.

As I’ve reported in my weekly SL project updates, the rate at which these login retries were being carried out could cause a detrimental impact on services when the grid was experiencing issues; it is an update TPVs have been asked to adopt as soon as they can.

Users of the official viewer can now set the size of their local cache (up to 9.75GB)

Also included in this release as a part of the infrastructure updates is a general clean-up of the log-in code.

In addition to the above, the viewer includes a range of UI behaviour improvements and bug fixes, all of which are listed in the release notes.

Feedback

I’ve not had the opportunity to use this viewer extensively, but performance-wise and in terms of the length of time I have been using it, the performance easily matches previous releases when running on my main system. In terms of the updates, the increased cache size could prove beneficial to those able to take advantage of it, and who use either an SSD or who can make use of a RAM drive on their system.

Overall, another useful viewer update from the Lab, with a good range of resolved issues and fixed bugs.

Second Life 360-degree snapshots hands-on II

Credit: Linden Lab

Updated July 7th: to include information on easy embedding in WordPress.

Linden Lab has recently made two updates to the 360-degree snapshot project viewer, which I’ve been meaning to review for the last couple of weeks.

On June 19th, version 5.1.0.506488 of the viewer was issued, which included image processing updates, and which included offering the viewer in both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows flavours. Then, on June 29th, the viewer was further updated to version 5.1.0.506743 (at the time of writing the current  version), which largely saw the viewer brought up to parity with the current release viewer.

The core functional changes to the viewer in both of these updates is the removal of the need for manual post-processing via zip file download and a web back-end provided by the Lab (see my original hands-on of the initial release of the viewer for more). Instead, the viewer is intended to process the image and provide the necessary meta-date to allow automatic playback on most 360-degree image sharing sites.

I’ve so far tested the viewer on Flickr and a number of 360-degree photo sharing sites such as VRchive.  The latter appear to work as expected, Flickr  requires 360-images uploaded from the viewer to be manually tagged from within Flickr in order to work. This is a minor inconvenience – but would be smarter if the metadata allowed for auto-tagging of the images as equirectangular, as can be done with other 360-imaging tools. A JIRA has been raised on this.

In the meantime, here’s a look at taking photos with the viewer, and getting them working on Flickr.

The 360-degree photo option is fully integrated into the snapshot floater, and when selected will disable all other options and will only allow you to save images to your local hard drive. Note that if you set any other options (e.g. check the Interface option or setting a filter) prior to checking the 360-degree snapshot option, this will result either in the viewer reverting to taking a “normal” snapshot, or ignoring the filter when processing as a 360-degree image.

The 360-degree option enabled in the snapshot floater

Before taking a shot, you should do a little preparation first:

  • Position your avatar  / camera at the centre point of the image you wish to capture (you can “hide” your avatar using a full body alpha or something like a “vanish” animation if you don’t want it appearing in the shot). Use ALT-cam or flycamming to position the camera if you want your avatar to appear in the image, but not at its centre.
  • Use Menu > World > Environment Editor >Sky Presets > Edit Presets to set your desired Windlight and use the Clouds tab to freeze the clouds. Avoid the use of Depth of Field.
  • Turn your camera / avatar slowly around in a circle to see everything in the snapshot field of view, allowing everything to render as you do so.

When you’re ready to take your shot, click on Save to Disk on the snapshot floater and set your preferred image size:

  • Small – 1024×512
  • Medium – 2048×1024
  • Large – 4096×2048

Save your snapshot to the location of your choice on your hard drive. You can now upload it to your preferred 360-degree image sharing website.

Displaying In Flickr

If you are uploading to Flickr, remember to manually set the equirectangular tag in the image page, and then refresh the page. The image should reload and display in 360-degree format.

To get snapshots to display as 360-degree images in Flickr, click the Add Tag option and enter “equirectangular” (without the quotes) and press ENTER. Refresh the page and the image should start to auto-scroll once the page has reloaded

Displaying in WordPress

WordPress has a beta 360 photo and video processor allowing users to embed 360-degree images into their posts. However, in the case of images, this requires the .JPG file extension to be used. Currently the snapshot viewer uses .JPEG. However, once the extension has been changed, images should work fine.

To embed a 360 image, upload it to your WordPress media library (or similar on-line storage – but not a photo sharing website), making sure it has the .JPG extension. Then within your blog post, add the following shortcode between square braces (i.e. [ and ]) in either the Visual or Text editor:

vr url=path-to-photo.jpg view=360

This should result in the image being displayed so that it can be clicked on an manually scrolled, as per the image below:

As noted, 360-degree snapshots should auto-play on any photo sharing sites such as VRchive which parse uploads to ensure they are in the required equirectangular ratio (information on using VRchive can be found in this blog here).

Whether or not the viewer can be set so that the metadata allows Flickr to auto-recognise the 360-degree images as such, and simply play them without manual tagging remains to be seen. But as noted, it’s not a major inconvenience of not (after all, who of us here doesn’t fiddle with images post upload to Flickr?). As it is, this is a definite step up for the viewer in managing 360-degree images, and  I’d certainly be interested in hearing from anyone as to how it works with Facebook.

One other point to note as well is that at the moment, the 360-degree snapshot project viewer is not compatible with format used for 360-degree images on SL Places Pages. However, the latter will be revised to support displaying images captured by the viewer at some point in the future.

Download