Viewer updates: Kokua 5.0.6 for Second Life and RLV 2.9.21.3

In week #21, both the Kokua viewer for Second Life and the Restrained Love viewer updated to achieve parity with the current SL viewer release (version 5.0.5.326444 at the time of writing).

Kokua for Second Life updated to version 5.0.6.41208 (release notes) on Friday, May 26th, 2017, while the Restrained Love updating to version 2.9.21.3 (release notes) on Thursday, May 25th.

As the core changes to both viewers are more-or-less the same in terms of their parity with the official viewer, this review provides a combined recap of these updates for both viewers, from the oldest to most recent. Kokua users please note that the documented changes do not necessarily apply to the Kokua OpenSim version.

Custom Folders for Uploads

Kokua 5.0.6.41208 for Second Life and Restrained Love 2.9.21.3 users can now select the inventory folders into which uploads – images / textures, sounds, animations and mesh models –  are saved by default (rather than having all textures + images go to Textures for example).

To set a custom folder for an upload type:

  • Go to Inventory and right-click on the desired folder.
  • Select Use As Default For. This opens a sub-menu of upload types (shown on the right).
  • Click on the type of upload you wish to always save to that folder.

Note that this only applies to uploads: images / textures, mesh models, etc., received via transfer or will still go to the their “default” system folders (so a texture received via transfer will still go to Textures, for example).

The folders set for uploads can be reviewed via the new Preferences > Uploads tab.

The new options shown for selecting a default destination folder for uploads (left), and the new Upload panel in Preferences, which lists the locations (right) – via Kokua, click for full size, if required

Block List Tally and Grid Status Button

Kokua 5.0.6.41208 and Restrained Love 2.9.21.3 now have display a tally of those blocked in the viewer (People Floater > Blocked), and include the Grid Status button which can be added to any toolbar position in the viewer window, providing direct access to Second Life grid status updates, which are displayed in the viewer’s built-in browser.

Avatar Complexity Rendering Updates

These releases of Kokua and Restrained Love include a number of improvements to avatar complexity rendering. Full details of these changes can be found in Second Life Maintenance RC: Avatar Rendering updates and more, and are summarised here.

  • The Options for how another avatar is rendered are now Default (i.e. in accordance with your avatar complexity threshold setting); Always (i.e. always render the selected avatar) or Never (i.e. permanently render them as a grey imposter). These options have also been moved to a sub-menu on the right-click Avatar context menu.
  • Following Firestorm’s lead, adjusted settings for avatar rendering will now persist across log-ins for the viewer, until either reset or your settings are cleared by a clean install or similar.
  • There are two new options for Avatar Complexity, located on the Preferences > Graphics tab.
    • The first is a check box, Always Render Friends, which is pretty much self-explanatory: when checked, friends will always fully render, regardless of the viewer’s Avatar Complexity threshold.
    • The second is an Exceptions button, which adds a further level of control for how other avatars – including friends – are rendered by the viewer.
Left: the new render options sub-menu in the Avatar context menu (seen when right-clicking on another avatar). Right: the new Preferences > Graphics tab options for avatar rendering (see below for the exceptions button). Images via Kokua – click for full size, if required

Note that Kokua’s pie menu does not display the “Default” option correctly when used on other avatars. Instead, the option is labelled as “>”. As per Nicky’s comment below, this is now fixed.

Rendering Exceptions

The Exceptions button described above enables named avatars to be either fully or never rendered by the viewer, regardless of any other avatar rendering settings. It comprises two new floaters: the exceptions list (Avatar Render Settings, below left) and the search floater (Choose Resident, below right), accessed by clicking the “+” button on the exceptions list and then selecting whether you want to always or never render the avatar you’re about to choose.

Rendering Exceptions allows you to select individual avatars (e.g. from those close to you or your friends list or via search) you always / never want to render, regardless of your other avatar complexity settings. Via Restrained Love Viewer.

It is possible to update how an avatar in the exceptions list is displayed by right-clicking on the avatar’s name and selecting the required option (Default, Always, Never) from the displayed drop-down list.  Note that “Default” will remove the avatar’s name for your exceptions list and display them in-world in accordance with your overall Avatar Rendering Complexity setting.

Changing how an avatar in the exceptions list is rendered. Via Restrained Love Viewer

Continue reading “Viewer updates: Kokua 5.0.6 for Second Life and RLV 2.9.21.3”

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Kokua and Restrained Love go Bento in Second Life

Project Bento - now a part of the Kokua Second Life viewer and the Restrained love Viewer
Project Bento – now a part of the Kokua Second Life viewer and the Restrained Love Viewer

Kokua and Restrained Life have become the latest viewers to update to v5.x status, with release of versions support the Project Bento code.

Kokua 5.0.0

Kokua 5.0.0..40327 for Second Life (release notes) appeared on Saturday, December 17th, bringing with it Bento rendering support, plus additional fixes and improvements:

  • FMOD Ex audio streaming libraries updated to version 4.44.64.
  • Avatar texture display now works.
  • Pie menu updates.
  • Pie menu “Sit here” response no longer ignores llSetSitText(string), and should now display the defined scripted target prompt (e.g. “Ride” or “Fly”, etc., rather than “Sit Here”).

Just in case there is anyone who missed it, Project Bento adds numerous new bones to the avatar skeleton to improve and enhance support mesh avatars (Bento does not work with the Second Life system avatar). This makes it easier to create and animate things like additional wings and limbs, and offers the opportunity for greater facial animations with mesh heads and faces, and even finger manipulation on mesh hands.

As with all Bento viewers, the visible viewer update is to the avatar menus (both right-click context and pie menu in the case of Kokua), where the Reset Skeleton and Reset Skeleton with animation options can be found.

Reset Skeleton options on Kokua 5.0.0 on the right-click context menus for other avatars (l) and your own avatar (r). With the pie menus they can be found under More > More > Reset (other avatars) and Appearance > Reset on your own avatar
Reset Skeleton options on Kokua 5.0.0 on the right-click context menus for other avatars (l) and your own avatar (r). With the pie menus they can be found under More > More > Reset (other avatars) and Appearance > Reset on your own avatar

These options 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. This 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 being intended to fix deformations which may be due to animations also kicking-in incorrectly / at the wrong time as well, which may cause an avatar to deform.

Restrained Love Viewer

Restrained Love Viewer 2.9.21 (release notes), released on Friday December 16th,  brings Bento support to that viewer as well. As with Kokua and other Bento capable viewers, this also sees the Reset Skeleton and Reset Skeleton with Animations options added to the right-click avatar context menus as the most visible sign of Bento support (outside of Bento meshes rendering correctly!).

In addition the update includes a minor change to RLV, with the “?” symbol no longer being used to identify a cheat inside emotes, as some emotes may end with genuine questions.

Additional Links

Restrained Love 2.9.12: rendering rigged mesh and shadows

Avatar shadows as see using the debug, top left; rigged mesh avatar body seen in default avatar shadow rendering (debug setting 3); Top right: as seen with the debug set to 2 (Chalice Yao's adjustments; bottom left: as seen with the debug set to 1, showing the system avatar shadow, rather than the rigged mesh body shadow; bottom right: the setting reduced to 0, only unrigged attachment shadows are rendered (images via Marine Kelley)
Avatar shadows as see using the debug, top left; rigged mesh avatar body seen in default avatar shadow rendering (debug setting 3); Top right: as seen with the debug set to 2 (Chalice Yao’s adjustments; bottom left: as seen with the debug set to 1, showing the system avatar shadow, rather than the rigged mesh body shadow; bottom right: the setting reduced to 0, only unrigged attachment shadows are rendered – see below for details (images via Marine Kelley)

The latest version of RLV appeared on Friday, June 26th. Version 2.9.12 brings with it an attempt by Marine Kelley to lighten the load placed on your GPU when rendering complex rigged meshes (such as avatar bodies) when running with shadows enabled in the viewer.

In her notes accompanying the release, Marine states:

I have become a mesh body user not long ago, and like every mesh body user, I quickly found out that having dynamic shadows activated while wearing a complex mesh body (Maitreya which is my choice, but also Eve, Belleza, Slink, Abar, TMP…) totally kills the FPS (Frames Per Second, the measure of rendering speed). Like, it divides them by half. It was so bad that I had to turn the shadows off, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I knew it was due to the avatar shadows, simply by looking at the Fast Timers in-world (press Ctrl-Shift-9 to show them). A little digging in it and you see “Avatar Shadows” in plain letters as the FPS hog. In fact, this was due specifically to complex rigged mesh rendering, the FPS slowdown wasn’t due to unrigged attachments or anything like that. And since mesh bodies are among the most complex rigged mesh around, they kind of made that issue more obvious. And over time, more and more people switch to mesh bodies, so something had to be done.

Regular readers here know that something is being done at the Lab’s end of things, with the forthcoming introduction of Avatar Complexity. This has the advantage that it takes into account other elements within avatars that can push up rendering complexity and thus reduce performance, such as over-use of very high resolution textures, etc. This disadvantage is that people will have to get used to having Jelly Baby avatars around themselves, which may not be to everyone’s liking.

As noted, Marine’s aim is to allow those people who have previously been able to run the viewer with shadows enabled, but who are finding it impossible to do so when in locations with a number of complex avatars present due to the performance hit they’re taking, to be able to do so again by reducing the hit taken by their system.

As she acknowledges in her release notes, the original idea actually came from Chalice Yao, who has been poking at things with her NaCl viewer. With RLV 2.9.12, Marine adds what she believes to be further refinements to Chalice’s work, which in turn may feed back in to NaCl.

The RestrainedLoveAvatarShadows debug setting in RLV 2.9.12
The RestrainedLoveAvatarShadows debug setting in RLV 2.9.12

Essentially, Marine has added a debug setting to RLV, RestrainedLoveAvatarShadows, accessed via the Debug settings floater (under the Advanced menu).

The debug offers four settings (3 down to 0) which offer different levels of rendering avatar shadows, thus:

  • 3- the default (what Marine calls “legacy”) rendering of avatar shadows commonly seen in viewers: an exact rendering of avatar shadows with rigged and unrigged attachments, and which recognises alpha masks
  • 2- Chalice Yao’s initial adjustments to avatar shadow rendering. Said to simplify the shadow rendering to offer noticeable performance improvements when running in locations with a number of complex avatars
  • 1 – render simplified avatar shadows. The first of Marine’s additions to Chalice’s code, this ignores any alpha masking of the system avatar shape, causing its shadow to be rendered, along with the shadows of unrigged attachments. All shadows associated with rigged attachments (e.g. mesh bodies, etc.), are ignored
  • 0 – don’t render avatar shadows. This will leave avatars with no shadow at all, with the exception of unrigged attachments, therefore offering the biggest potential boost in performance.

Marine offers a series of images demonstrating the resultant shadows, as shown at the top of this article, together with the FPS boosts she sees. The latter may be too small to read in the image collection produced here, so I recommend reading Marine’s blog post for full details.

As I don’t have anything other than a demo fitted mesh avatar body, and also have a fairly high-spec system which includes a GTx 970 with 4GB of memory which handles most situations pretty well, I’ve not been able to practically test how all of this plays out.

However, given this solution is aimed at reducing performance hits when shadows are enabled in the viewer, it’s perhaps not going to suit everyone. If your system already struggles with handling shadow rendering regardless of the complexity of any avatars around you, for example, you may not gain much from using the debug settings. But if you are an TLV user who finds Marine’s situation as quoted towards the top of this article to be familiar, this update a go could well help you. Either way, the one way to find out is to download RLV 2.9.12 and give it a go.

Additional Links

UKanDo Kokua and RLV updates

UKanDo, Kokua and the Restrained Love Viewer (RLV) have all seen recent updates in April 2015, bringing them up-to-par with the Lab’s 3.7.27 code base, which features the most recent maintenance updates from the Lab. In the case of UKanDo and Kokua, this means that Avatar Hover Height (AHH) is now available in the viewers, while RLV sees a couple of tweaks to AHH.

Core updates to the three viewers are summarised below.

UKanDo Viewer

UKanDo updated to version 3.7.27.28099 on April 16th. As well as incorporating AHH and the maintenance updates from the Lab, this release also brought with it:

  • Develop > HTTP Inventory now permanently enabled in UKanDo viewer, in line with recent LL server-side updates
    Develop > HTTP Inventory now permanently enabled in UKanDo viewer, in line with recent LL server-side updates

    An update to RLV release 2.9.8

  • Complete disabling of the Develop menu option allowing people to turn off HTTP Inventory loading. This is to ensure people do not encounter issues with avatar and / or inventory loading as a result of the Lab removing UDP inventory messaging support for the simulator code – see my notes on this for further information
  • The addition of a new debug setting, EnvironmentPersistAcrossLogin. When set to True, will to counter MAINT-2477 Feature Request – Sun position override should not persist across logins
  • The ability to toggle the Paste As Link option in the Inventory right-click context menu on or off, according to your personal preference (Preferences > General > Inventory Show ‘Paste As Link’ Option
  • A change to allow copy of worm items – So links for worn items can be created
  • Don’t show inventory item links or folder links in Recent Tab.

Kokua Viewer

Kokua updated to version 3.7.27.35441 on April 23rd. As well as incorporating AHH and the maintenance updates from the Lab, this release also brought with it:

  • AHH in Kokua's pie menu can be found under the Appearance ... option in the main pie menu
    AHH in Kokua’s pie menu can be found under the Appearance … option in the main pie menu

    The most recent RLV 2.9.9 updates

  • Fixes for:
  • In-world Flash playback issues on Linux – Ticket #333
  • Fix to top bar Draw Distance slider showing distance – Ticket #338
  • Upload fee not reflected on menus for OpenSim – Ticket #340
  • “compile as mono” option does not work – Ticket #342
  • File -> Upload -> Set Default Upload Permissions does nothing – Ticket #344
  • Changing the grid-selection option in preferences crashes viewer – Ticket #346
  • Determine correct webkit libraries that need delivered with the Linux version of the viewer – Ticket #347
  • Kokua 3.7.26.36845.x86_64 Linux Fails to start – Ticket #348
  • Chat history compact mode does not convert the Avatar Name in OpenSim – Ticket #351

Issues and feature requests can also be found in the release notes.

RLV Updates

RLV updated to version 2.9.8 on April 8th and then to version 2.9.9 on April 21st. The 2.9.8 release saw the existing avatar height slider in the RLV top bar tied to the Lab’s new Avatar Hover Height functionality, so that using either the top slider or Avatar Hover Height from the Avatar right-context menu will use the same code and result in the same adjustments.

The RLV avatar height slider (top bar) is now tied to the Avatar Hover Height functionality. Notice the top bar operates to 2 decimal places and AHH to 3, so small rounding differences are to be expected when comparing the two
The RLV avatar height slider (top bar) is now tied to the Avatar Hover Height functionality. Notice the top bar operates to 2 decimal places and AHH to 3, so small rounding differences are to be expected when comparing the two

In addition, the 2.9.8 update saw a tweak the viewer so that HTTP Inventory is enabled by default in the viewer, again in line with the Lab’s recent move to deprecate the UDP messaging for inventory loading server-side. As RLV previously had HTTP Inventory disabled by default, this meant RLV users were no longer seeing their own avatars render in-world, and could lead them to experiencing inventory load issues as well (see my nots, linked-to in the UKanDo section above for further information). The release also saw some nips and tucks to RLV functionality.

Version 2.9.9 added a small fix to the linked AHH functionality and incorporates the Lab’s 3.7.27 maintenance release updates, as noted at the top of this article.

Related Links

Black Dragon 2.4.2 goes beta; UKanDo 3.7.26 and RLV 2.9.7 get AHH

There have been a number of rapid-fire TPV updates this week, so here’s a quick overview for Black Dragon, UKanDo and RLV.

Black Dragon 2.4.2 Beta

On Monday, March 23rd, Black Dragon updated to version 2.4.2 Beta, with Niran focusing on further updates to rendering, although there are some interesting WIP elements as well.

In particular, Niran notes that he’s done further work on the volumetric lighting capability, notably adding a Falloff slider to both Preferences -> Display and the Machinima Sidebar (F1), so that Godrays will fall off the closer they are to the camera which will be further smoothed in future releases), and working to get volumetric lighting working with FXAA and glow.

Black Dragon 2.4.2 Beta add options for both directional volumetric lighting and Godrays Falloff
Black Dragon 2.4.2 Beta add options for both directional volumetric lighting and Godrays Falloff

Also within Preferences -> Display, Niran has added a check box for enabling alphas in depth of field calculations. When unchecked, this excludes alpha from both depth of field and volumetric lighting calculations to prevent focus issues (depth of field) and odd lighting effects (volumetric lighting). when checked, both depth of field and volumetric lighting calculations will include alphas in the field of view.

The new option for enabling / disabling the inclusion of alphas is DoF and volumetric lighting calculations. The option is unchecked (alpha inclusion disabled) by default
The new option for enabling / disabling the inclusion of alphas is DoF and volumetric lighting calculations. The option is unchecked (alpha inclusion disabled) by default

Other additions with this release comprises:

  • A Custom System Memory option and a separate slider for the “linked” memory version
  • A chat colour for Friends
  • (as a work-in-progress) a new information system for Preferences to tell possible performance breakers and problems that could occour with certain options.

As always, for a full list of changes / updates, please refer to the viewer’s release notes.

Related Links

UKanDo 3.7.26

The UKanDo v3 style viewer updated to release 3.7.26.28080 on Tuesday, March 24th. This update brings the viewer up to parity with the Lab’s 3.7.25 and 3.7.26 code, and almost up to spec with Marine Kelley’s RLV updates (2.9.7 of RLV having appeared just after the UKanDo update).

UKanDo 3.7.26 includes the Lab's new Avatar Hover Height capability
UKanDo 3.7.26 includes the Lab’s new Avatar Hover Height capability

In particular, this release sees UKanDo gain the maintenance fixes from the 3.7.25.299021 official view release and the new Avatar Hover Height functionality which has just become a part of the official release viewer.

In addition, this release of UKanDo includes:

  • Disabled the RLV start-up restriction feature by default. Re-enable via the “RLVStartUpRestriction” Debug setting or the RLV tab under General in Prefernces
  • FIRE-15489 by Ansariel Hiller – Add confirmation when unlinking objects, released under LGPL
  • RLV – Quick fix Courtesy of Nicky Perian, and tidy-up.
  • A fix for the “nolink>” parser bug, courtesy of Drake Arconis (Alchemy Viewer).

Related Links

RLV 2.9.7

This release of the Restrained Love Viewer sees assorted fixes for recent RLV release and the inclusion of the Lab’s Avatar Hover Height (AHH) capability, which came about as a result of a detailed formal proposal being put before Lab by members of the Firestorm team during a TPV developer meeting in June 2014.

Currently, and as noted by Marine, AHH is not yet linked to her existing “@adjustheight” capability and slider in the top bar of the viewer.

Related Links

 

Black Dragon 2.4.0.4 and Restrained Love 2.9.3 updates

Things are liable to be getting busy in terms of TPV viewer updates over the next month or two. As noted in this blog, the Lab has now released their HTTP pipelining code for the viewer, which TPVs are being encouraged to adopt as soon as they can, and there have been a spate of other updates and fixes for the viewer that already are, and will be finding their way into TPVs.

Two of the most recent v3-style viewer to update have been Black Dragon and the Restrained Love Viewer, and the following is a quick overview of the most recent releases for both of these viewers.

Black Dragon 2.4.0.3 and 2.4.0.4

Black Dragon received two release updates in the space of around 24 hours. The first came when NiranV Dean released version 2.4.0.3 on October 29th, and the second saw the release of version 2.4.0.4 on October 31st.

A blog post on Niran’s website outlines the principle changes which appeared in the 2.4.0.3 version of his viewer, summarising them as:

  • A fix for the viewer failing to correctly apply maturity settings
  • An experimental update to the Godrays feature by Tofu Buzzard so that they now cast a faked volumetric sunlight everywhere where light can fall
  • Godray default lowered to 32
  • A new option in Preferences > Display to switch between a new shadow softening kernel by Tofu Buzzard and the LL default
  • Keyboard shortcut for Depth of Field locking changed to CTRL-X in the hopes of correcting a clash with another (unknown) shortcut
  • Addition of Geenz Spad’s spotlight reflection changes.
The latest release(s) of Black Gragon see an experimental volumetic lighting capability added to the Godrays feature (images via the Black Dragon website)
The latest release(s) of Black Dragon see an experimental volumetic lighting capability added to the Godrays feature (images via the Black Dragon website)

The 2.4.0.4 release is, in terms of user functions, the same as the 2.4.0.3 release; the major difference is that he has the Lab’s HTTP Pipelining updates included (which Niran has, for some reason referred to as the “CDN code”).

Geenz Spad’s work on glossy projectors can be found in JIRA  STORM-2067. This corrects the tendency where, depending on a surface’s environment intensity, projected reflections they become more blurred as their intensity increases, they should become sharper for higher gloss values and more blurred for lower values.

Geenz's work on projectors: as projected in the current viewer code (top) and in a viewer using Geenz Spad's enhancements
Geenz’s work on projectors: as projected in the current viewer code (top) and in a viewer using Geenz Spad’s enhancements

As always, full details of all changes can be found in the change logs for the viewer.

This is another progressive step forward with Black Dragon, with Niran working to address issues as well as integrate updates from both LL and other developers which help further enhance the viewer and take it in a direction which matches the Lab’s important HTTP updates as well as enhancing the features Niran uses to help differentiate his viewer from other TPV offerings.  Black Dragon users should be pleased.

Continue reading “Black Dragon 2.4.0.4 and Restrained Love 2.9.3 updates”