On Sunday, January 8th, the Alchemy team released a beta version of Alchemy 5.0.0, the first update to the viewer to include support for Project Bento and Avatar Complexity (although no Graphics Presets).
As well as Bento support, version 220.127.116.11120 includes several updates specifically aimed at those with estate management responsibilities, plus a range of bug fixes and improvements from both Linden Lab and the Alchemy Team. In addition, this release includes work that is ongoing to reorganise the UI.
The following is intended to be a general overview of the more visible updates to Alchemy 5.0.0, and a summary of some of the bug fixes.
As almost everyone in SL must be by now aware, Project Bento introduces an enhanced avatar skeleton offering greatly improved support for mesh avatars and rigged mesh attachments. It also includes a set of new attachment points to work with the new joints, although the overall limit of the number of attachments you can wear at any one time remains 38 (including HUDs).
Most of all of this work is entirely under-the-hood. However, there are two additions to the avatar right-click context menu for both your own and other avatars: Reset Skeleton and Reset Skeleton And Animations which should be noted. In Alchemy 5.0.0, they can be found in the Appearance sub-menu of the right-click avatar context menu.
They have been added because sometimes, when changing between one mesh avatar and another, the basic SL avatar can become deformed, resulting in it looking squished, stretched, caught between two looks, or something else.
The problem is generally the result of race conditions when the avatar’s appearance is being updated, and both of these buttons are intended to correct the problem – the option to reset animations as well is intended to fix deformations which may be due to animations also kicking-in incorrectly / at the wrong time.
Further information on Bento (if needed) can be found via the following links:
- Lab post introducing Bento
- Second Life Knowledge Base on the Enhanced Skeleton
- Avatar body size wiki page
- Bento updates in this blog
To be honest, I thought this had been part of Alchemy already, but looking through my past reviews and Alchemy’s release notes, I can’t find evidence of it being mentioned, and the 18.104.22.168571 release doesn’t include the Avatar Complexity options. Anyway, assuming I’m not going bonkers and thus repeating myself, here’s a rapid breakdown – please refer to my Avatar Complexity release article for in-depth info, if required.
, Avatar Complexity (aka Jelly Dolls), is in short a means to reduce the rendering load placed on your computer in having to render all the avatars around you in detail. Instead, you can set a rendering limit (aka Maximum Complexity) in the viewer. Any avatar exceeding this limit won’t be rendered in full – unless you opt otherwise – but will instead be rendered as a solid colour (aka Jelly Doll).
With Alchemy, this means that The Preferences > Graphics tab adopts the official viewer’s approach, displaying frequently used options within it, and moving the more advanced options to a separate Advanced Graphics Preferences floater.
Avatar Complexity includes some additional capabilities / options
- Every time you change your appearance, and thus your avatar complexity, your current complexity value will be briefly displayed in the top right corner of the viewer window
- You can display information on your own and other avatar’s complexity by going to the Advanced menu (
CTRL-ALT-D to display it, if required) and selecting Performance Tools > Show Avatar Complexity Information
- Your own avatar will always be fully rendered in your own view
- Maximum Complexity has a No Limit setting. It is not recommended you use this. If you wish to avoid seeing the vast majority of avatars around you as Jelly Dolls, set the slider to a high value. Setting it to No Limit can leave you vulnerable to graphics crashers.
You can also alter how you see other avatars around you without altering your Maximum complexity setting. To this, right-click on an avatar to display the context menu. Go to Visibility to display the sub-menu. This has three options:
- Render Normally – will render the avatar in accordance with your Maximum Complexity setting
- Render Fully – will render them fully, no matter what your complexity setting
- Do Not Render – will render them as a grey 3D imposter, no matter what your complexity setting.
Not that Render Fully and Do not Render only apply to your current session. If you re-log the avatar in question will once again be rendered in accordance with your Maximum Complexity settings.