Kokua: catching up to release 6.4.13

I hadn’t actually realised until this past weekend, but I’ve let my coverage of the Kokua slip by a fair few releases – my apologies to Chorazin and the Kokua team for allowing this to happen.

However, given this is the case, and given Kokua 6.4.13 has recently been released, I thought I’d run through a quick round-up of the changes since 6.4.2 and 6.4.14, with a focus on the most recent release.

Menus

Since Kokua 6.4.9, any clean install of Kokua will result in the viewer displaying an updated menu structure that comes closer in layout to the official viewer. It see the removal of the Edit and View menus. This sees the more popular options from these menus moved to the Me and Command menus.

The old (top) and new (bottom) Kokua menus. Note the new menu will be used following a clean install of Kokua.

Note that the menu can be reverted via the last option on the Advanced menu  – a restart will be required, however for the change to take effect.

Rapid Update Round-Up

  • 6.4.4:
    • New licensing of KDU for better rendering and LL Havok third party extensions.
    • Parity with the official viewer release 6.4.3 (FMOD studio update).
    • Implemented the Firestorm feature show the parcel boundary highlighting up to 4,000m (Build floater → Advanced Build Options → check Show parcel Selection Outlines and “…up to maximum build height”.
Enabling parcel boundary highlights to maximum build altitude

In addition, these updates incorporated all RLV updates from release 2.9.28.1 to 2.9.20.0, together with multiple improvements from the Kokua team for RLV functionality, and also assorted general bug fixes and improvements.

Kokua 6.4.13

Jelly Doll Improvements

Jelly Dolls old (l) and new (r). Note the colour and rendering of attachments on the left – the latter of which adds to the cost of rendering the Jelly Doll. This is no longer the case with the new Jelly Dolls

The 6.4.13 brings Kokua to parity with the official 6.4.13 Jelly Dolls viewer, revising how “Jelly Dolled” avatars are rendered.

  • Originally introduced in 2015 (and with various updates since) Jelly Dolls is a means for users to reduce the avatar rendering load on their systems, by having any avatars around them that exceed a certain complexity value (set via a slider) render as a solid colour and minimal detail.
  • There have always been a number of visual and technical issues with the manner in which these avatars have been rendered.
  • The new Jelly Doll updates now included in this release of Kokua improves how avatars are “jelly dolled”, by a) rendering them as a simple grey shape (rather than a solid colour) and avoids attempting to render attachments.
  • In addition it also improves to how avatar imposters are rendered and updated.

These changes should result in demonstrable improvements in view performance in environments where there are a large number of avatars, and the capability is sensibly used.

Group Updates

Kokua 6.4.13 adopts Kitty Barnett’s (Catznip) improves to accessing  / display Group related information.

Previously Group information was presented as one tab within the People floater. Accessing any elements of Group information – such as notices – was presented in the same floater. This meant information on only one Group could be opened at a time,and made actions such as viewing or creating a group notice somewhat complex.

With these changes, Kokua now:

  • Presents the Profile of a selected Group in a separate panel – this allowing multiple Groups to be viewed.
  • Similarly breaks out the Group notices creation option as a separate panel – which can also be accessed from the Conversations floater.
The new break-out Group floater and options available in the People floater (and via the Conversation floater)  for creating / viewing Group notices (which may be subject to permissions)

The new behaviour is enabled by default but can be switched back to the former behaviour by unchecking Preferences → Kokua → General → Group settings open in a new floater rather than within the People floater.

Block List, Object Derendering and Avatar Rendering Exceptions

Also ported from Catznip is a new floater that combines Block / Mute operations and Derender / Avatar Rendering options into a single place, allowing them to be viewed / reviewed / unblocked. The floater include options to add avatars / objects to the block list and also unblock avatars / items on the list.

Note that:

  • When a derendered object is removed from the list, it may not immediately be re-drawn, but may require a TP  away / back or a re-log to make it visible in your view.
  • A facility to block/mute objects has been added to Sound Explorer however there are some caveats to be aware of due to differences between sound and object handling:
    • Blocking/muting will generally not work if an object is in a different region or is beyond draw distance.
    • A sound may continue to play even after blocking/muting the object responsible. This typically happens when several objects are all playing the same sound – each object playing the sound must be blocked/muted before the sound will stop. The Sound Explorer has a facility to pause the listing which can be handy when trying to select several items.

Additional Updates

Two further ports from Firestorm;

  • Configuration options for chat message toasts: a new options panel has been added in Kokua / Preferences / Chat to allow many parameters relating to chat toasts to be tweaked, including their width.
  • Active Gestures: a new option on the Gestures floater to only show those currently active, originally.

The release also includes a number of fixes from the Kokua team – please refer to the release notes.

Feedback

There are three third-party viewers I’ve tended to use in Second Life: Firestorm, Catznip and Kokua. All three offer a different emphasis for users,and Firestorm has tended to be my first choice.

However, both Catznip and Kokua have their own attractions, and with the recent progress with Kokua in particular, coupled with its higher cadence of updates, it is fast becoming a viable alternative to Firestorm, particularly as tends to offer a slightly higher frame rate. Certainly, for those who are looking for an alternative that offers a similar menu layout and largely comparable capabilities in terms of commonly-used options, Kokua is very much the viewer to consider.

Links

Firestorm 6.4.12 the EEP and more release

On Wednesday, December 9th, 2020, Firestorm issued a release version of their viewer – 6.4.12.62831. This is the formal release of Firestorm supporting the Lab’s Environment Enhancement Project (EEP); it also includes a number of other Lab-specific updates to the viewer, such as the Camera Presets capability.

Note: while there has been an EEP beta release – 6.4.5.60799 (July 2020) – this summary has been written for those who may still be running the 6.3.9.58205 release from May 2020.

Also, given limitations of my own time (coupled with an inability to run 6.3.9.58205 in direct comparison with 6.4.12.62831), this is a much briefer overview of changes for a Firestorm release in comparison to past overviews in these pages.

Table of Contents

Installation

  • 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 6.4.12.
  • Again, please refer to the Firestorm 6.4.12 generic release notes for additional details of all changes and updates in this release.

Register Firestorm as Default Hander

Starting with this release, towards the end of the installation process, Firestorm will display a prompt:

Do you want to register Firestorm as default handler for virtual world protocols?

A response of Yes to this prompt will set the viewer to open map SLurls for example.

Linden Lab Derived Updates Overview

Firestorm 6.4.12 brings the viewer to parity with the Lab’s 6.4.11 viewer code base. As such, it incorporates updates from Linden Lab previously included in the 6.4.5 Beta release and from the following Lab viewer releases:

  • The Chrome Embedded Framework (CEF) Update 2020, viewer 6.4.4.543157, providing better support for media playback options win the viewer, including the ability to live stream into Second Life.
  • The FMOD Studio update, viewer 6.4.3.542964, updating the viewer’s audio playback support to use FMOD Studio.
  • The Camera Presets viewer, 6.4.2.541639, – see Camera Presets, below, for more.
  • The Zirbenz Maintenance viewer, 6.4.1.540593.
  • The Environment Enhancement Project (EEP) viewer 6.4.0.540188 – see below for more.

New to the 6.4.12 Firestorm release are updates and improvements from the following Linden Lab viewers:

  • ToolsUpdate2 viewer, 6.4.6.545962, viewer build tools update to Visual Studio 2017, a more recent version of XCode and Boost.Fiber, dated August 10th, 2020.
  • Love Me Render #4 viewer, 6.4.9.549455 – rendering updates with a focus on EEP bug fixes, dated September 24th, 2020.
  • Mesh uploader viewer, 6.4.10.549686 – Linden Lab’s implementation of the uploader improvements previously found in Firestorm, with additional changes from the Lab. Dated October 14th, 2020.
  • The following Maintenance releases with assorted fixes and updates:
    • Maintenance Arrack, version 6.4.7.546539, dated August 19th, 2020.
    • Maintenance Bormotukha, 6.4.8.548890, dated September 18th, 2020.
    • Maintenance Cachaça, version 6.4.11.551711, November 6th, 2020.

Camera Presets

Camera Presets provides the ability for users to create one or more custom camera positions to define where and how the viewer camera is placed relative to your avatar, More than one set of presets can be created and saved, so that you can, for example 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 via the Camera Presets drop-down.

For a general introduction to Camera Presets, please refer to: Tutorial: Viewer Camera Presets. However, when doing so, please note that the Firestorm Camera Floater is laid out differently to the official viewer, being more compact, as shown in the image below.

Camera Presets: options and floaters, as seen in Firestorm 6.4.12.
  1. Presets can quickly be selected from the Camera Presets button in the top right of the viewer, which will open a drop-down menu. By default, this drop-down will display the standard viewer camera positions of Front, Rear, and Side. Additional presets will be displayed as you create them.
  2. A button on the drop-down will open the Camera floater, if not already open. As well as controlling the camera position, this floater now contains the options for creating and saving camera presets.
  3. The most accurate way to establish new camera defaults is to use the Camera Position spinners and slider that can be accessed by clicking on the Position button in the Camera floater – again, see my Camera Presets tutorial for more on this approach.
  4. When you have created your desired preset, use the Save as Preset button to save it as a viewer setting. This opens the Save Camera Preset floater, which allows you to save the preset settings under a unique name or to overwrite an existing setting.
  5. Alternatively you can manually adjust the camera position relative to your avatar using the camera controls then click on the current settings button to open the Save Camera Preset floater and save the settings as described in (4.).
  6. You can also select any defined Camera Preset by clicking on the gear icon in the Camera floater to display a list of available presets – default and your own – and then clicking on the desired one.
  7. If you only wish to select a preset you have created, click the Use Preset button on the Camera floater to display a drop-down of available presets that excludes the viewer defaults of Front, Rear and Side. If you have not created any defaults yourself, the drop-down will be empty.

Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

It  is unlikely that many people have not heard of the environment Enhancement Project (EEP). But in short:

  • EEP Replaces the use of Windlight .XML files to control the water and sky environments seen in Second Life.
  • Environment settings are saved within environment assets that you can keep in your inventory and / or share with and sell to others.
  • These environment settings can be applied to a region or to a parcel (subject to region permissions) and / or to your avatar (thus allowing those travelling in vehicles to maintain a consistent environment across multiple region crossings).
  • EEP allows:
    • For up to four different, independently controlled sky layers.
    • The Sun, Moon and Cloud textures to be replaced with custom textures uploaded to the viewer.
  • EEP also provides:
    • An extended day cycle of up to 168 hours, thus allowing a 7-day, 24-hour day / night cycle to be defined, for example.
    • A Personal Lighting floater that allows you to make viewer-side adjustments to the local environment for the purposes of photography.
    • New LSL functions to allow scripts to interact with parcel environments and that can be used with experiences.

EEP Resources

EEP is a large and complex overhaul of environment settings for Second Life, and there are numerous resources available for it. If you have not used EEP before, and as the Firestorm implementation is more-or-less as per the official viewer, I recommend reading some of the following:

EEP and Phototools

One of the popular elements within Firestorm is the Phototools floater. This has been updated to work with EEP, with the most noticeable changes being to the WL tab, now renamed Env, with the changes within it outlined in the image and notes below.

EEP and Phototools
  1. Environment drop-downs for Fixed Sky, Linden Water and Day Cycles. These display the currently-used environment settings for their respective environment types as seen in your viewer.
    • Click the down arrow for a list of all available environment asset types available to you in your inventory and via the Library → Environments folder.
    • Click on the required asset name to apply to your viewer only.
  2. Accesses the EEP Personal Lighting floater, which you can use to modify the current environment settings as seen in your viewer only.
    • The X button to the right of Personal Lighting will cancel any changes you have made to the current environment, and revert your viewer to displaying the settings for the selected asset.
  3. Quick Quick Environment buttons for setting the time of day to the SL default Sunrise, Noon, Sunset and Midnight settings.
  4. Shared Environment: presumably intended to re-apply the shared environment as set by the region / parcel holder. However, in testing, this did not appear to work.

Notes:

  • The drop-downs in (1) can also be found in the Quick Prefs panel, as can a button to open the EEP Personal Lighting panel.
  • As these options are applied to your viewer, note that the selected Day Cycle will not necessarily reflect the expected time of day – as Day Length / Offset can only be set at the parcel / region level.

Firestorm EEP Preferences

Firestorm provides two EEP-specific Preferences options. Both can be found in Preferences → Firestorm, and comprise:

  • A slider that allows you to set the interval in seconds over which manual environment changes will blend, with 0.0 being instantaneous. In previous versions of Firestorm, this was known as crossfade.
  • A checkbox to allow any personally applied EEP setting to persist between log-in sessions.
Firestorm 6.4.12 EEP Preferences

Additional EEP Notes

  • There are around 200+ EEP environment settings to be found in the Library → Environments folder. These have been provided to Linden Lab by Whirly Fizzle of the Firestorm team, and are available to all EEP-capable viewers.
  • As noted in the image above, these can be accessed via the WL tab in Phototools and via the drop-downs in Quick Prefs.
  • If you want to edit these any of the environment settings in the Environments folder, you must first copy them to a folder in your inventory (e.g. your Settings folder, or a sub-folder within it).
  • As per my tutorial, you can import the Windlight settings you have on your local drive and convert them to EEP settings – see Importing Windlight Settings as EEP Assets.

Continue reading “Firestorm 6.4.12 the EEP and more release”

Firestorm celebrates 10 years with a splash

via the Phoenix-Firestorm Project
My name is Jessica Lyon. My goal during my time with the Emerald Project, was always to give the users what they want. That goal has never and will never change. I’m very happy to announce, it continues…
A few days ago, I assembled a team of developers to work on a new viewer. Some who were originally Emerald developers, some who were not. All are respected reputable residents in the Second Life Community. The goal was simple, to provide users with what they want and do it transparently.
I’m am very proud to announce the launch of the Phoenix Viewer.

Jessica Lyon, September 3rd, 2010

With those words, printed in her personal blog, Jessica Lyon announced the arrival of the Phoenix viewer, and the birth of what would become Second Life’s most popular third party viewer.

It marked a new beginning for a number of people – Jessica among them – who came together out of the ashes of the Emerald viewer to try to continue the work started by that viewer before one or two wombats (the term my father endearingly uses to denote “complete idiots”) who opted to trash the innovative work started in that viewer for the sake of petty stupidity. Emerald hadn’t been the first third-party viewer on the block, but it had become one of the most innovative, both exposing viewer capabilities hidden the the vagaries of the viewer’s debug settings, and in developing various viewer-side only capabilities, such as multi-attachments (more than one attachment on the same attach point).

With Phoenix, Jessica and the team around her sought to carry on the good work started with Emerald whilst leaving the stupidity well behind them, embracing the closer working ties between the Lab and TPVs that would come to grow out of the Emerald debacle with the rise of the Third-party viewer policy and an unfolding of greater co-operation between TPVs and the Lab.

Why history might suggest otherwise, Phoenix itself had a relatively short active lifespan – by the time it arrived, the Lab had launched the viewer 2.0 UI, and by the time Phoenix reached its first anniversary on September 3rd, 2011, the Phoenix team had already launched their own version of the viewer using the new UI code base – Firestorm – which was destined to become the focal point of the team’s work, although they tried to keep Phoenix, with its Viewer 1.2x UI, going for as long as they could.

Nevertheless, in just its first year, Phoenix attracted a large following, partially due to things like the multi-attachment option (even if it did make those using it appear as if the were walking around with a tail of attachments trailing out of their rear ends to those on other viewers), and this trend continued as Firestorm ramped-up and continued with the innovative approach taken to capabilities, both in exposing those in the viewer, and through the adoption of others (such as William Weaver’s Phototools).

As noted, as the time passed, Firestorm developed an ever-closer working relationship with the Lab, routinely making code contributions to help benefit the latter, and offering proposals for specific improvements, such as an official implementation of a hover height slider capability. Now, to be fair, Firestorm have never been alone in making code contributions to the Lab, but they have been one of the most consistent in doing so, as the visualisation below shows.

This video from Firestorm’s Pantera Północy shows the flow of code and contributions from LL to Firestorm and Firestorm to LL over a 10-year period

They’ve also dared to push the boundaries of viewer capabilities from time-to-time, trying to respond to user requests. One of the most notable examples of this came in 2014, when – under the guise of an April Fools joke – the Firestorm team presented their proof-of-concept Dynamic User Interface that allowed UI elements to be pulled out of the main viewer window and displayed on secondary monitors (see: Firestorm Dynamic User Interface (DUI): it’s a real prototype), the hope being it  might result in a collaborative effort among viewer coders to make the idea a reality. Sadly, that particular idea died a silent death, but setbacks like it have never stopped the Firestorm team from working with the Lab to offer viewer improvements – the most recent being the updates in the mesh uploader, which were promoted as this Lab’s de facto release viewer, and which incorporate contributions from Firestorm.

Firestorm has always sought to support the community as well – its in-world groups routinely share information with users, Firestorm is a part of the Lab’s Community Gateway Programme seeking to bring new users into Second Life, and so on.

Firestorm has two special gifts for those attending the 10th anniversary party on October 18th

All of which means that over the last decade, the Phoenix Firestorm Project has been a truly unique an beneficial collaboration within Second Life – and is likely set to remain so in the future.

The viewer’s tenth anniversary officially came on September 3rd, 2020. however, on October 18th, from 1:00 noon SLT through until 15:00 SLT, the Firestorm team are holding a birthday party,  with special gifts for those attending and some special live performers. So, grab a taxi below, and head on over.

Happy 10th anniversary, Firestorm!

Party SLurls

(Only valid on October 18th, 2020)

Firestorm 6.4.5 Beta: EEP and Camera Presets

On Tuesday, July 28th, 2020, Firestorm released a beta version of their viewer – 6.4.5.60799 – that provides support for the Lab’s Environment Enhancement Project (EEP), and which includes a number of other Lab-specific updates to the viewer, such as the Camera Presets capability.

There are a number of points of note to make about this viewer, which may influence people’s choice on whether or not to try / adopt it:

Table of Contents

  • While it contains the EEP updates, the following should be kept in mind:
    • There are a number of known issues with EEP, several of which currently have fixes contained within the Lab’s Love Me Render RC viewer (version 6.4.5.544028, dated June 30th, at the time of writing), and which is being prepared to be promoted to de facto release, possibly in the next 2-3 weeks.
    • There is a known performance hit related to EEP, for which an interim (and unsatisfactory) fix can be to disable Linden Water rendering (CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-7), even if Linden Water is occluding in your view. The underpinning causes of this issue are still being investigated.
  • Given its beta nature, this version of the viewer has not passed Firestorm’s QA cycle, nor are there formal release notes, although general notes on this version can be found here.

Because of the above, the following is not a full overview of the release; I will provide one once this version of the viewer reaches a formal release status. Instead, this article is designed to provide a general overview of the core visible changes in Firestorm 6.4.5: those of the EEP integration and particularly how it has been integrated with Firestorm’s Phototools floater, and those of the Camera Presets, which differ slightly to their implementation in the official viewer.

Installation

As this is a beta release:

  • There is no need to do a clean install.
  • By default, it will be installed into a different folder to the release version of Firestorm you have installed.
  • If you encounter issues with Firestorm 6.4.5, it is important you preserve your log files before starting any session using the release version of the viewer, and make sure you zip and attach them to any Jira you file.

Linden Lab Derived Updates Overview

Firestorm 6.4.5 incorporates updates from the following Linden Lab viewer releases:

  • Second Life Release Viewer version 6.4.4.543157, the Chrome Embedded Framework (CEF) Update 2020 – provides better support for media playback options win the viewer, including the ability to live stream into Second Life.
  • Second Life Release Viewer version 6.4.3.542964, the FMOD Studio viewer, dated May 29th, 2020 – updates the viewer audio playback support to use FMOD Studio.
  • Second Life Release Viewer version 6.4.2.541639, the Camera Presets viewer, dated May 11th, 2020 – see Camera Presets, below, for more.
  • Second Life Release Viewer version 6.4.1.540593, the Zirbenz Maintanence viewer, dated April 27th, 2020.
  • Second Life Release Viewer version 6.4.0.540188, the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP) viewer, dated April 17th, 2020 – see below for more.

Camera Presets

Camera Presets provides the ability for users to create one more more custom camera presets to define where and how the viewer camera is placed relative to your avatar, More than one set of presets can be created and saved, so that you can, for example 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 via the Camera Presets drop-down.

Firestorm’s Camera Presets Options – note that depending on the viewer skin you are using, the Camera floater (middle left, above) many have a slightly different layout to that shown

For a general introduction to Camera Presets, please refer to: Tutorial: Viewer Camera Presets. However, when doing so, please note that:

  • The Firestorm Camera Floater is laid out differently to the official viewer, being more compact, as show in the image below.
  • If you wish to manually set a camera position using the camera controls (orbit / tilt and slide left/right / up/down), you must open the Camera Position floater via the Position… button,  and then save adjustments from that floater, as adjustments cannot be saved directly from the Camera floater, as is the case with the official viewer.

Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

There’s unlikely to be many people who have not heard of the environment Enhancement Project (EEP). But in short:

  • Replaces the use of Windlight .XML files to control the water and sky environments seen in Second Life.
  • Environment settings are saved within environment assets that you can keep in your inventory and / or share with others.
  • Environments can be applied to a region or to a parcel (subject to region permissions) and / or to your avatar (thus allowing those travelling in vehicles to maintain a consistent environment across multiple region crossings).
  • Allows up to four different, independently controlled sky layers.
  • Allows the Sun, Moon and Cloud textures to be replaced with custom textures uploaded to the viewer.
  • Provides an extended day cycle of up to 168 hours, thus allowing a 7-day, 24-hour day / night cycle to be defined, for example.
  • Provides a Personal Lighting floater that allows you to make viewer-side adjustments to the local environment for the purposes of photography.
  • Provides new LSL functions to allow scripts to interact with parcel environments and that can be used with experiences.

EEP Resources

EEP is a large and complex overhaul of environment settings for Second Life, and there are numerous resources available for it. As the Firestorm implementation is more-or-less as per the official viewer, I offer the following links to resources:

EEP and Phototools

One of the popular elements within Firestorm is the Phototools floater. The Windlight (WL) tab, opened by default when accessing Phototools, has been revised for EEP, as shown in the image below.

The pre-EEP Phototools WL tab (l) and the EEP version (r). (1) The Drop-downs now select Day, Sky and Water settings from the Library → Environments folder; (2) Personal Settings button – opens the Personal Settings floater, allowing you to adjust the environment as seen in your viewer. This button essential replaces the Edit Sky Preset and Edit Water Preset buttons in the “old” Phototools WL tab; (3) cancels any changes made through the Personal Settings floater; (4) Pause Clouds – does what it says on the label; (5) Shared Environment – causes the viewer to use the local parcel / region environment.

Additional EEP Notes

  • There are around 200+ EEP environment settings to be found in the Library → Environments folder. These have been provided to Linden Lab by Whirly Fizzle of the Firestorm team.
  • As noted in the image above, these can be accessed via the WL tab in Phototools and via the drop-downs in Quick Prefs.
  • If you want to edit these any of the environment settings in the Environments folder, you must first copy them to a folder in your inventory (e.g. your Settings folder, or a sub-folder within it).
  • As per my tutorial, you can import the windlight settings you have on your local drive and convert them to EEP settings – see Importing Windlight Settings as EEP Assets.

For OpenSim

For OpenSim users, there are 3 key points:

  • The viewer incorporates Windlight ↔ EEP interoperability, allowing EEP viewer users to visit legacy Windlight regions.
  • The viewer supports the new OpenSim 0.9.2 with EEP, code-named “Ugly Sky.”
  • There is now a fast-entry grid feature on the login screen; simply enter a URI to add a new grid.

In addition, the last Firestorm OpenSim Release had a bug that caused crashes when rezzing items. This bug was responsible for 70% of all reported FS OpenSim crashes on the 6.3.9 version, and it has been fixed.

General Observations

Given Firestorm 6.4.5.60799 is a beta release and not a fully polished formal release, it may not be suitable for all users at this point in time – and this should be kept in mind when considering it. Should you decide to do so, again please remember:

  • Firestorm 6.4.5 can be installed alongside any current release of Firestorm, so you can swap between them.
  • Firestorm 6.4.5 has not been fully QA’d, so if you do encounter reproducible issues, please ensure you raise a bug report on the Firestorm JIRA.
  • With respect to EEP in particular:
    • Please take time to read the known issues in the beta release notes and, for EEP, those on the EEP viewer release notes from Linden Lab).
    • There are a number of EEP fixes forthcoming in the Love Me Render viewer (e.g:  fixes for EEP specularity issue – BUG-228781 and BUG-228581, and for BUG-225784 “BUG-225446 regression – HUDs are again affected by environment setting”). It may also include additional fixes.
    • Linden Lab is still working on issues such as BUG-229079 “[EEP] Density multiplier does not allow full range of settings to be saved/loaded” and BUG-229031 “[EEP] Water has a large performance hit on EEP”.
  • There are known performance (FPS) issues with EEP / this version of Firestorm.
  • This version of Firestorm will likely go through a number of iterations prior to reaching formal release status.

Related Links

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”