Kokua: 6.4.2 release overview

On Wednesday, May 27th, the Kokua team released Kokua 6.4.2, bringing the viewer up to parity with the Linden Lab official viewer, 6.4.2 code base (Camera Presets), promoted on May 19th, 2020.

This means that with this release, Kokua now includes:

  • the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP) release.
  • The most recent viewer Maintenance updates.
  • The aforementioned Camera Presets.

In addition, the Restrained Love Viewer (RLV) variants of this Kokua release include both include the latest updates to Marine Kelley’s RLV API updates – version 2.9.27.0 -, which include support specific to EEP, and which the Kokua team have also used with regards the new Camera Presets, as part of their own updates to the viewer.

Lab-Derived Updates

Environment Enhancement Project

In including support for EEP, Chorazin Allen makes an important point that all SL users should keep in mind when moving to EEP-capable viewers:

Before getting into the additional features and fixes we need to point out that EEP represents a major overhaul of the viewer’s weather, lighting, shine and reflection areas – it’s more than just a new weather system with configuration files as inventory assets instead of separate xml files. As a result you WILL find that scenes, structures and avatars can all look different. If you find a particularly noticeable instance you are encouraged to log details of it in LL’s Jira issue tracking system so that these differences can be fixed at their origin.

– Chorazin Allen [my emphasis]

The Kokua 6.4.2 release appears to be a direct implementation of EEP and its various floaters without any alterations to their layout. As such, I do not propose to cover them here; rather I’ll leave you with a series of links to resources:

Camera Presets

Kokua adds four new defaults for Camera Presets

The Camera Presets controls, developed and contributed by Jonathan Yap, is a capability that allow users to create one more more custom camera presets within the viewer to suit particular needs and then save them. This means, for example, that a user can now have a camera position for general exploring, another suitable for combat games, another for building, etc., all of which can easily be accessed and used at any time.

Again, the Kokua implementation of the UI elements is the same as the official viewer. However, the Kokua implementation of Camera Presets adds addition default presets as follows:

  • Left, Right and top: provide viewers of your avatr from the left and right side, and from directly above.
  • FPS (First Person Shooter) – positions the camera directly in front of your avatar and looking forward.
  • Nearer – a view looking from close behind your avatar designed to be more suitable for corridors and other narrow spaces.

Again, rather than go into specifics on creating and using Camera Presets, I refer readers to my Camera Presets tutorial.

Kokua Updates

Edit Floater – Bulk Rename

Kokua 6.4.2 includes a new button in the Content tab of the Edit floater that allows the contents of an object to be easily renamed. A typical case for this might be when updating the version number of the individual contents on an object for a new release: after the specific elements that have been updated / replaced in the object, the rest can easily be renamed with the new version number.

Kokua object contents bulk rename

As this is liable to be a special usage option, I’ll refer interested parties to the Kokua documentation on how it works.

Animation Override

Client AO updates

Kokua 6.4.2 offers two new options to the client-side Animation Override system:

  • Chat check box: when enabled, each new animation to run will be reported in local chat in the user’s viewer.
    • The intent is to allow a user to keep track of the currently running animation when using a new set of poses/animations to decide decide which should be kept or discarded.
    • It is not recommended this option is kept on at all times, as the animation reports can be intrusive.
  • Any button: located between the next / previous animation paging buttons a the bottom of the floater, it will randomly select a pose from the current listed set (Walking, Standing, etc), and play it.
    • Clicking the Next or Previous buttons will resume stepping forward / back through the list of animations from the randomly selected animation.

Hover Height

This release of Kokua includes the hover height slider from Marine’s RLV viewer, with the release notes stating:

Rather than include the small button to reset it to 0.0 we have made the numerical value next to the slider writable allowing any value to be directly entered.

Additional Links

Firestorm 6.3.9: housekeeping matters

On Wednesday, May 27th, 2020, Firestorm released version 6.3.9.58205 of their viewer.

This release brings Firestorm up-to-date with all official viewer releases prior to the EEP update, and includes assorted updates and fixes from upstream of that release from the Lab, plus fixes and improvements from the Firestorm team, including a lot of OpenSim updates.

However, it should be noted that this release does not include EEP (Environmental Enhancement Project). As such, this is perhaps best seen as a maintenance release to prepare the way for a later EEP release.

As always, the focus is on those updates that may be of particular general interest, rather than trying to cover absolutely everything. Readers are referred to the release notes for a full list of updates / fixes and all associated credits.

Table of Contents

The Usual Before We Begin

As per my usual preamble:

  • 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 6.3.9.
  • Again, please refer to the Firestorm 6.3.9 release notes for details of specific Lab-derived fixes for this release.

Viewer Blocks

Note that with this release:

  • Firestorm versions 6.0.2 for Second Life and 6.0.2 for OpenSim will both be blocked from logging into the Second Life grid in three weeks time.
  • 6.0.2 for OpenSim will not be blocked from accessing OpenSim Grids.

Lab Derived Updates

The version of Firestorm brings the viewer to parity with the Linden Lab 6.3.8 code base. This means  Firestorm now includes all viewer releases up to and including the Ordered Shutdown updates, which should reduce the frequency of the viewer crashing on shut-down,  and the Premium enhancements viewer (version 6.3.8.538264), which includes updates specifically for Premium Plus relating to fees, etc, and which may appear in places in the viewer. However, with regards to the latter, it is important to note that:

Firestorm Updates

Client AO Updates

Firestorm 6.3.9.580205 includes a number of updates / fixes for the client-side AO system, including:

  • AO floater should no longer appear empty if open on logging-in to the viewer (see FIRE-29192).
  • The AO should now be more robust when in or leaving Linden Water:
    • A swim animation should no longer play when leaving Linden Water; avatar should transition to flying animation (see: FIRE-6605 / FIRE-8099).
    • The flying hover animation (for included in an AO) should no longer play when pausing swimming when underwater (see FIRE-15350).
  • Transitions between animations should now be far smoother, as double start / stops should no longer occur.
  • Animations should not longer stick on cycling (particularly sits / ground sits) See: FIRE-14925.
  • Additional fixes for sitting, smart sit and region crossings:
    • After sitting, disabling the client AO should not longer place your avatar in a default standing pose whilst still seated (see FIRE-15059).
    • Turning on the AO sits should no longer fail to turn off the sit animation when standing once more (see FIRE-16230 / FIRE-22471).
  • Tabbing out of the AO name field should set the AO name if newly edited  – no need to press ENTER to apply the new name (see FIRE-29078).
  • The Default check box should no longer become active when the currently-open AO set is already the default for an avatar (see FIRE-29101).

Menu and Preferences Updates

Avatar menu → Avatar Health → Scripts:

  • Clicking on the help icon (“?”) in the top-right of the scripts floater now correctly opens the Firestorm wiki page about the floater, rather than the Script Information help page dealing with in-world object script information.

Build → Upload:

  • Misleading “lossless” check box removed from image upload floater (see: BUG-228331).

Preferences → Colours:

  • Pick Radius has been updated to read Pick Radius Colour, to make the option’s function clearer.
  • Both the Pick Radius Colour swatch and distance / opacity slider now have tool tips to explain their functions.
Mini-map updates: Renamed Pick Radius option (1) and new tool tips for colour picker and the distance / opacity slider (2 – with the colour swatch tool tip shown)

Preferences → User Interface → 2D Overlay:

  • The Group Notices and Chiclets in Top Right check box has been replaced by radio buttons offering a choice of top or bottom right to display group notices and chiclets (changing location still requires a viewer restart to take effect).
New radio buttons to define the location for displaying group notices and chiclets

Appearance Updates

  • Jellydolls: if an avatar is Jellydolled even though the avatar is below your Maximum Complexity setting, it is because the avatar’s texture area is above the maximum texture area limit (set via the RenderAutoMuteSurfaceAreaLimit Debug setting). Firestorm will therefore display their “Texture Area” number in red in their name tag (see FIRE-23495).
  • Inspect Own Attachments: a new option to inspect your own attachments has been added to the avatar right-click context menu / pie menu. Presents the same information as inspect attachments on other avatars. (see FIRE-23987).
You can now inspect attachments on your own avatar as well as on other avatars / inspect in-world objects
  • It should now be possible to detach temporary attachments from Appearance → Wearing tab.
  • It should now be no longer possible to wear more than one physics layer.

Inventory Updates

  • Protected Folders: a new option to prevent accidental drag / drop or deletion of inventory folders.
    • Right-click on an inventory folder and select Protect from the context menu.
    • Folder is now protected, and will display “(protected) alongside it.
    • Select the folder, right-click and select Unprotect to remove protection.
    • All protected folders in inventory can be summarised in the Protected Folders floater (Avatar Protected Folders).
    • Double clicking on a folder name in the Protected Folders floater will automatically highlight it in Inventory, allowing you to quickly locate any protected folder.
    • Note: sub-folders and objects in a Protected folder can still be deleted or drag / dropped.
The Protect (/Unprotect) folder option in the inventory context menu (l), and the Protect Folders floater (r)
  • Uploading an image or saving a snapshot should no longer cause Inventory to jump from the recent tab jumps to the main tab (see: FIRE-22943 and BUG-225229).
  • It should now be possible to copy / paste into outfits folders in inventory.
  • Possible fix for attachments randomly ending up in inventory Lost & Found folder. This hopefully fixes FIRE-23364 and BUG-228813.
  • The outmoded Merchant Outbox system folder should now be deletable with this release.

Continue reading “Firestorm 6.3.9: housekeeping matters”

Kirsten’s Viewer gains the client-side AO

On May 2nd, I wrote about the return of Kirsten’s Viewer and its return to active duty. In that review I noted that while what goes into a viewer is down to those who maintain it, it would be nice to see Kirsten’s adopt the client-side AO mechanism, as first seen in the Firestorm viewer.

Following that review, KirstenLee’s partner, Dawny Daviau let me know the AO system was being considered and then, just a couple of days later, she Tweeted that the viewer had been updated with the AO code.

Even as an inside joke, I was flattered that KirstenLee had responded so rapidly to both Dawny’s prompting and my comment.

Dawny’s Tweet

I understand from KirstenLee’s own comments that getting the AO code into the viewer wasn’t easy, what with the UI changes created by EEP – so kudos and thanks got to KirstenLee and Dawny for going ahead and integrating it. Given it did take a little crowbarring, it’s not surprising that the AO floater has a couple of minor of rough edges to it – but these do not prevent it from being used or cannot be easily fixed.

For those unfamiliar with the idea of a client-side AO, it allows the animations from an animation overrider system to run directly from the viewer without the need to wear a resource-gabbing scripted HUD. It takes a little setting-up, but once done, it’s easy to use – and has the further benefit of allowing you to use multiple AOs together without having to worry about swapping HUDS or including different outfit links to different HUDs.

Quick guide to the essentials of the client-side AO as included in Kirstens Viewer

The best place to get information on setting-up and using the client-side AO is via the Firestorm wiki. A couple of points should be noted here:

  • When first loaded, the AO floater may not display all of the AOs in its floater (e.g. all your stands might be listed, but none of your walks). If this happens, click the Reload button at the bottom of the AO floater to get them to list and run.
  • The UI scaling in the floater is a little off in this S23-1387 KV iteration, so it my need to be broadened to correctly display.

Neither of the above points impact the AO’s usability, and in my own tests, I had no issues with setting it up and using it.

Also note that the AO will create a folder called #Kirstens in your invention, which will contain a copy of the AO(s) you have selected for client-side use – do not delete this folder when using the capability!

As a long-time user of client-side AO capabilities (including loading it with more than one AO set), I’m clearly a fan of the capability. I like the freedom it gives, and the fact there’s no need to have screen real estate (however small) taken up by a HUD and, more particularly, the fact that texture RAM and script resources needn’t be taken up by the use of a HUD. So while this might be a “small” update, I think it to be worthwhile and – if you’re trying out Kirsten’s Viewer and haven’t used a viewer-side AO system, this is a good opportunity to try it out.

For those who do use the client-side AO, and might be looking to an alternative to (say) Firestorm for photography, the addition of the AO button and floater offers another reason for giving Kirsten’s Viewer a try out.

My thanks again to KirstenLee for responding to the request from Dawny and I!

Related Links

Kirsten’s viewer: a return to active duty

Around a decade ago, a popular third party viewer (TPV) among Second Life photographers was Kirsten’s viewer, produced by KirstenLee Cinquetti (aka skilled coder Lee Quick).

At the time, it pushed hard to make the graphical appearance of SL rich and deep. It was also the first TPV to experiment with analgyph 3D, far back in 2011, long before “VR headset” was in common use.

Sadly, development of the viewer drew to a close in late 2011 as a result of personal circumstance (some of which is charted in these pages), although KirstenLee kept dabbling with it on-and off (such as returning to the S19 UI version and updating it in in 2013, and keeping pace with significant viewer updates from the Lab, such as Bento for the S22.x (current UI) version in 2017).  Now – and as pointed out to me by Austin Tate – the viewer is more formally back, KirstenLee having completed the self-certification required to have the viewer once more added to the Lab’s Third Party Viewer Directory.

Available for Windows, the updated Kirsten’s Viewer is bang-slap up-to-date, in that it is built on the most recent release of the official LL code base (release 6.4.0.540188 at the time of writing), and so includes the viewer 3.x+ UI, and all significant updates from the Lab up to and including EEP, the Environment Enhancement Project, although as Kirsten noted with it’s release, some tweaks might still be required.

Kirsten’s Viewer is EEP capable

KirstenLee refers to the viewer as something of a “hybrid”, and when approaching it, it is as well to keep this in mind. “Hybrid” is this case is a reference to the fact that while it is based on the core LL code base, the viewer also pulls in elements from what might be LL project viewers (and so not necessarily ready for “prime time” use), and from other TPVs. In doing so, the focus is very much on code that improves stability / performance.

I tend as a rule to keep any feature or alteration within the existing code base and not add extras which cannot be integrated into the standard source. I also use LL code style and naming conventions.

– KirstenLee, discussing Kirsten’s Viewer

In this regard, the viewer is also described as being “aimed specifically at experienced users, with emphasis on the visuals.” This is not so much to put people off, but to underline the fact that use of the viewer comes best if you have an understanding of the more esoteric aspects of viewer use – such as clearing caches and settings from any prior versions when installing a new version (aka, performing a “clean install”). Such capabilities are not hard to grasp, and can be found documented in various locations.

Given the S23.x release is based on the latest LL code base, you can comfortably expect all of the major Lab updates to be present, as noted, and may from time-to-time include elements from upstream of the release viewer (as with the Legacy Profiles, again as mentioned above). It also pulls some updates from TPVs like Firestorm; however, those familiar with the latter should not expect Kirsten’s Viewer to expose debugs or offer viewer-specific capabilities to anywhere near the same degree – that’s not the point of this viewer (although that said, it would be nice to see Kirsten’s adopt the client-side AO mechanisms, simply because it is available in several TPVs and used by many people as a result).

Kirsten’s Viewer includes the upcoming re-integration of viewer-based profile panels – which includes the profile feed from the web, and currently found in the Lab’s current Legacy Profiles project viewer

Given this, the viewer’s Preferences and Tool Bar options are pretty must as found in the official viewer, with just a trio of differences in the the former. The Move & View tab, for example, includes additional sliders for camera movement  – lag, smoothness zoom time – again in keeping with the ideals of photography / visuals. Further, the Set-up tab does not include the auto update options, for reasons KirstenLee also explains:

I do not use the Linden auto build system. I host all the build libraries because I occasionally work on those in concert with the viewer code. It allows for much finer control over the entire process. I have a tendency to do custom compilations with different tool-sets which is something an official client would never do, for reasons of the broadest compatibility with the consumer.

– Kirstenlee, discussing Kirsten’s Viewer

Thirdly, Kirsten’s Viewer includes a custom Features tab (called S23 Features in the current release, although this will doubtless increment to match future versions). This is again camera / visuals related, and includes the option for running the viewer in analgyph mode can be found.  This includes sliders for adjusting the analgyph 3D view to account for eye separation and focal distance.

The Features tab in Kirsten’s Viewer is where you can find the analgyph options, for those with analgyph glasses

Should you have analgyph 3D glasses and use the option, the following points should be noted:

  • Activating it will disable the viewer’s Advance Lighting Model (ALM) shaders – so shadows, ambient occlusion and depth of field will all be disabled.
  • Toggling analgyph mode off will not automatically re-enabled ALM, you must do this yourself from the Graphics→Advanced Settings floater.
  • If you log-out with the analgyph option enabled, it will be disabled automatically on logging back in, but again, ALM + options will remain disabled until turned back on.
  • If you use a 3D mouse such as SpaceNavigator, you may find activating the analgyph capability will severely alter default 3D mouse movement. As the overall defaults for the SpaceNavigator (Move & View→Other Devices) were not altered and given I don’t actually have analgyph glasses to make it worthwhile, I confess I did not fiddle with settings to see if the issue could be corrected.

It may seem odd in “bringing back” a viewer after so long, but there are reasons for it, again as KirstenLee notes:

Its a matter of public record as to how development ended, a perfect storm of circumstances made continued work on it impossible. But as with all things time is a great healer. Besides after nearly 16 years of SL I find myself enjoying my in world life. And have the luxury of  a good work balance and a happy and healthy home. So while the sun shines make hay 🙂

For my part, and while I’ve not not driven the S23 release hard or far, I can only say its good to see Kirsten’s Viewer back on the active list once more. While it was never my main viewer, it was a go-to viewer for me for photography. And while it may only be subjective, it does seems to add more depth to EEP skies than I’ve noted with the official EEP viewer – the stars seem to “twinkle” more noticeably.

It’s always tempting to offer a list of what a viewer “could” or “should” have, particularly if coming from something like Firestorm – but the point of TPVs are that they are not meant to all provide the same things. With its emphasis on visuals, performance and stability, Kirsten’s Viewer addresses a specific set of goals and as such, has – and likely will have – only the tools it needs to achieve that, my own earlier comment on the client-side AO above notwithstanding.  As such, I’m looking forward to seeing the viewer’s progress, and reporting on it.

Related Links

Kokua: 6.3.6 release overview

The Kokua team released Kokua 6.3.6 on Wednesday, February 5th, 2019. The release brings Kokua up to parity with the Lab’s 6.3.6 code base (to the 6.3.6.535003 release – formerly the Xanté Maintenance RC, promoted on January 27th), and includes a number of Kokua-derived updates and ported TPV options.

The following notes highlight the key aspects of Kokua 6.3.6.46311. For a full list of updates and changes, please refer to the release notes.

This release sees Kokua incorporates the ability to remember username/password combinations for multiple avatars via a drop down menu added to the user name field at login.

The ability to manage saved / remembered user names is via a new Preferences option, found a a button called Remembered Usernames in the Advanced tab.

  • When clicked, it opens a new floater that lists all user names recorded by the the viewer, together with the grid where they have been used.
  • To delete an unwanted user name, click on it to highlight it, then click the Forget button at the bottom of the panel. If you want to completed remove all local data for the user name, click the check box below the button first.
The new Preferences button and floater to manage remembered users names

This release of Kokua also includes the ability to set media to Ask before playing. As Kokua already has changes which separate parcel audio and other media playing, for the new Ask feature to work you must have parcel audio set to play automatically as well (via Preferences→Sound).

Text Display Options

Previously Kokua used standard size text on script menu text and slightly smaller for menu buttons.

It is now possible to switch between standard/small text for both using new drop-down menus on Preferences→Kokua→Script. The text size control also governs the text size for the informative text on text entry boxes (llTextBox).

The two text size drop-downs and text size options. Note only one or the other can be displayed at any one time. The above is illustrative only

Other Notable Updates

  • World Map land sale information: previously, when viewing land for sale on the World Map, the parcel price would only be displayed when clicking the For Sale tag. This has now been revised so that the sale information is displayed when clicking anywhere in a parcel highlighted for sale.
  • This version of Kokua includes a port of Firestorm’s enhanced World Map region captions
  • It is now possible to enter a land selling price by entering the desired L$/square metre price as well as the total price.
  • The date display for Group Notices has been changed to ISO-style YYYY-MM-DD format which avoids a very old bug where group notice sorting would go wrong for the first few days of each new year (because the previous sort started with the month number so 12 of the previous year got sorted ahead of 01 for the current year).

RLV Specific Updates

  • The mouse pointer in RLV will now only change to a the required icon (hand / sit, etc.), when the action is going to be permitted (adopted from RLVa).
  • If a user is under RLV IM restrictions, a hint is displayed in in the IM window to inform those trying to contact them that IM communications are going to be suppressed. This allows the message to be abandoned without being sent (if it is still sent, the usual RLV message about IMs being blocked will be displayed). A similar hint is sent to Group chats, etc, ahead of the person under IM restriction trying to message others.
Kokua now offers a hint to warn people when someone is under RLV IM restrictions

Other RLV updates in this release include:

  • The name anonymising code for @shownames has been further improved to cope better with situations where one name is a sub-string of another.
  • When ALM is enabled and RLV effects based on changing RenderResolutionDivisor are in effect this used to cause the CPU and/or GPU to sometimes start running at full speed and sometimes could even result in a crash. This is now prevented by automatically temporarily disabling ALM when the RenderResolutionDivisor value gets to a point where ALM would not give any rendering benefits because the whole scene is too “blurred”. This protective code is also in the non-RLV version however RenderResolutionDivisor is less likely to be changed there.
  • The recent introduction of keyword alerts meant that on some occasions where @recvim should have squashed an incoming IM it would get through unaffected

Additional Links

Catznip R12.3 goes BoM!

Catznip version R12.3 surfaced on Tuesday, October 15th, and made it the default download / update version on Wednesday, October 16th.

This is a maintenance release, following on from version 12.2, which saw a “de-coupling” of updates that are more focused on bug fixes and improvements from larger releases that include significant updates and new capabilities. However, it does include one major new feature: support for Linden Lab’s Bakes on Mesh capability.

As always, details of updates are available through the official release notes, although given the size of the update, just about everything included is noted below.

Linden Lab Derived Updates

Viewer Parity

This release brings Catznip to parity with Linden Lab viewer release 6.3.1.530559, formerly the Umeshu release candidate viewer (Dated September 5th, promoted to de facto release status by Linden Lab on September 10th).

Bakes on Mesh

R12.3 provides support for Bakes on Mesh (BoM). This is a capability to allow system wearable layers as used with the “classic” Second Life system avatar – skins, tattoos, underwear, shirt and jacket layers – to be used with mesh bodies and heads, and without the need for additional applier systems.

The system requires mesh bodies and heads to be “BoM enabled” – and many creators have already updated their products, or are in the process of updating their products to support Bakes on Mesh. In addition, some applier makers are producing applier systems that leverage Bakes on Mesh to apply wearables to mesh bodies and heads – although these may be limited in some respects due to differences between how skin textures and mesh bodies are made).

Through Bakes on Mesh, Linden Lab hopes:

  • Users can avoid the need to use appliers, but can add wearables to their mesh avatar directly from inventory.
  • Creators will be able to simplify avatar mesh bodies and heads by removing the need for some of the “onion” layers. This should – if done – reduce the rendering complexity for bodies and heads, thus hopefully improving people’s SL experience (as avatars won’t be quite so resource intensive or require quite so much “assembly time” when encountering them on logging-on or after teleporting somewhere).

Bakes on Mesh support is required to both use the BoM capability and to correctly view mesh avatars using BoM.

For more detailed information on Bakes on Mesh, please refer to the following links:

Linden Lab:

Creator-related BoM documentation:

Informative Bakes on Mesh blog post:

Catznip Fixes

Release 12.3 also includes the following updates from the Catznip team:

  • Minor installer issues.
  • Revert SL-1579 and allow taking rezzed items if their originating folder was Received Items.
  • Crash in busy/crowded places while camming around (thank you Nicky from Firestorm).
  • CATZ-532: Avatar (sometimes) ends up deformed when detaching something while an Animesh attachment is worn.
  • CATZ-535: Remove Google+ links.
  • CATZ-539: Creator Name on the build floater is always disabled.
  • CATZ-542: Render Everyone As setting affects your own Animesh attachments.
  • RLVa – FIRE-24230: Login crash when RLV @showloc restricted with no teleport history file.
  • RLVa – BoM universal layer is missing from @getoufit.

Related Links