In February 2019, it was indicated in a Third-Party Viewer Developer (TPVD) meeting that an upgrade to the system powering user profiles seen in the viewer, on the web, together with the feeds, etc., was in the pipeline (see 2019 SL User Groups 7/3: TPV Developer Meeting).
At the time of the announcement, it was indicated that the overall impact of the update on the feeds has a whole had yet to be determined. However, it was also made clear that the current web-based profile floater seen in the Lab’s viewer would in the coming months be replaced by a “legacy” style profile floater (e.g. the type seen within the Firestorm and Cool VL viewers).
On Wednesday, June 5th, the Lab took the first public step towards this by issuing the Second Life Legacy Profiles project viewer, version 220.127.116.117749. This viewer offers a first pass at the re-introduction of the “old” style profile floater to the official viewer, utilising code originally contributed by Kadah Coba of the Firestorm team.
With this viewer, it is important to note a couple of things:
This is an initial release of the viewer with the profile floater. As such, it may be refined / altered / fine tuned as the viewer progresses towards release.
There are a number of known issues with this initial release – see the release notes for a list of these.
As TPV user – notably (but not exclusively) Firestorm – I’ve always tended to find the legacy style of profile floater to be preferable: it tends to be faster loading, and (to me) has a more user-friendly means of navigation. As seen within the project viewer, the “new” floater is perhaps a little large in its default size, but adjusting it is easy enough – although having it a little smaller by default perhaps wouldn’t go amiss.
Update, May 21st: The Alternate Viewers wiki page has been retired and replaced by a new Alternate Viewer page, which follows the same broad format as the Release Notes page (making the two slightly confusing, as they both reference recent RC viewers. However, this new page also draws a distinction between RC and project viewers, thus overcoming some of the concerns voiced in the second half of this article.
At the time of writing, the new pages are focused on the release candidate (RC) viewers that are in development and currently available as download cohorts in place of the de facto release viewer. It is not currently clear if project viewers will be included in the new format or not.
As Steven Linden from the viewer team notes in a Tools and Technology blog post on the subject, these new pages are part of a new website for viewer release information. This website comprises a dedicated home page with an introduction to viewer release notes. together with links on the left side to:
“Recent viewer releases”: a clickable list of the most recent RC viewer updates, provided as viewer version numbers. These are provided in release date order, with the most recent updates at the top.
Additional links to viewer-related support information:
Individual viewer release notes can be accessed by clicking one of the the listed version numbers, which will open a page specific to that viewer. These pages comprise:
Icon links to the available OS versions (Windows 32/64-bit, Mac OS).
The general release notes (description, etc.).
A list of resolved issues.
A significant change in these pages is that, where relevant, Jira links in the Resolved Issues section now, wherever possible, reference “public” bug reports (e.g. BUG-XXXXXX), rather than the Lab’s internally cloned versions of such bugs (e.g. MAIT-XXXXXX).
Currently, the new pages can also be accessed from the existing Alternate Viewers wiki page, (click the Release Notes link for an RC viewer on that page). However, whether this page will remain relevant if the release notes for project viewers are also converted to the new format, remains to be seen.
The new pages are a lot easier on the eye, although I have a number of reservations at this time.
While I understand understand why version numbers are used to reference individual viewers (they are URLs and so can be dropped into the pages without necessarily requiring human intervention), they are less user friendly to those wishing to quickly look-up the specifics on a viewer.
The “recent Viewer Releases” lists can include links to multiple versions of a given viewer (at the time of writing, two versions of the EEP and Teranino RC viewers are listed, for example). This might cause a degree of confusion for some users, who may mist he “most recent at the top” arrangement of the list.
If project viewers are to be added to these pages, I would hope there will be some form of clearer distinction between them and any listed RC viewers, other than just a top-down list of version numbers, again for ease of user reference.
The Estate Access Management (EAM) project viewer (dated August 7th) is a new project viewer to enhance – as the name implies – the estate access management tools available to region holders and their estate managers within the viewer.
New viewer UI for displaying Estate Managers, allowed groups and allowed / banned individuals within a region.
New capabilities for sorting / searching lists.
Additional information recorded and displayed for banned accounts.
Number of Estate Managers increased from 10 to 15.
Under the current viewer, the lists for managing Estate Managers, allowed groups and allowed or banned avatars in a region / estate have been crammed into the first tab of the Region / Estate floater (World > Region / Estate).
This has made management of the lists difficult, given only around 5 names can be displayed by each – which can be problematic when the Banned list allows up to 500 names. In addition, lists cannot be searched and, again in the case of the Banned list, no other information is provided against a banned name, making it hard to determine whether or not a ban might actually be rescinded, thus helping with general list management.
As such, there have been long-standing requests for the estate access controls to be improved.
The Estate Access Management project attempts to address these issues by introducing both back-end changes in support of managing ban lists and by revising how the various lists themselves are displayed within the viewer and how they can be used.
In particular, the EAM project viewer introduces a new Access tab in the Region / Estate floater (World > Region / Estate). This tab in turn has individual tabs for managing the lists for Estate Managers, Allowed avatars, Allowed Groups and Banned avatars.
In terms of adding or removing names and groups, the new sub-tabs work exactly as the lists in the current viewer work.
However, with the new design, additional functionality is added to some of the lists:
The Banned list additionally records:
The last date on which a banned individual logged-in to Second Life (to assist with housekeeping the list – if an account hasn’t been used in X months or years, why keep it on the list?).
The date on which an individual was banned.
The name of the EM / region holder banning them.
Note this information will be displayed by the EAM viewer for all accounts going forward – even those banned using other viewers, reflecting a change to the back-end database for managing bans. Banned accounts existing at the time the EAM updates were introduced will simply have “n/a” recorded for each of these fields.
The Banned tab can be sorted into ascending / descending order by banned name, date last logged in, date banned, or by person banning them. Click on the column title to sort.
The Estate Managers, Allowed and Allowed Groups tabs can be sorted into ascending / descending order by name. Click on the column title to sort.
The Allowed Groups, Allowed and Banned tabs all include a search option.
The number of allowed Estate Managers is increased from 10 EMs to 15 EMs – again in response to many requests from region holders.
The Lab is keen to have feedback on these new tabs and the improvements made to handling estate access control. If you are a region holder with EM rights, or an Estate Manager, please consider downloading this project viewer and giving it a try. Any issues should be reported via the Second Life JIRA, using the [EAM] project reference in the title.
On May 31st, 2018 Linden Lab updated the Love Me Render Release Candidate, viewer version 18.104.22.1685811 to de facto release status.
Unfortunately, during the release process, there was an error defining the location of the Windows 32-bit version of the Second Life viewer download, which meant Windows users downloading the viewer when first released received the 64-bit version, regardless of which version of the operating system they are running.
While the issue has been addressed, it did leave some 32-bit Windows users found their systems stuck in a loop of trying to install the 64 bit version of the viewer. As I noted at the time, instructions were issued on how to break out of the loop. However, it appears some 32-bit users may still be encountering problems.
To this end, the Lab has released the “Unloop” Release candidate viewer, version 22.214.171.1245965, which as the release notes state:
…is a special release just for Windows 32 bit systems who were caught in an endless loop of 64 bit viewer updates between 5/31/2018 and 6/1/2018. Except for its incremented build number, it is in every other way, identical to the last release.
So, if you are a 32-bit Windows user and are still having issues as a result of the promotion of the Love Me Render release, you might want to try a fresh installation of the Unloop viewer.
Update, June 6th: for those 32-bit Windows users still experiencing problems with this issue, the Lab has issued the Unloop RC viewer.
On May 31st, 2018 Linden Lab updated the Love Me Render Release Candidate, viewer version 126.96.36.1995811 to de facto release status.
Unfortunately, during the release process, there was an error defining the location of the Windows 32-bit version of the Second Life viewer download. Because of this error, all Windows users downloading the viewer received the 64-bit version, regardless of which version of the operating system they are running.
While the issue has now been fixed so that 32-bit Windows users will receive the 32-bit version of the viewer, anyone running 32-bit Windows who downloaded the viewer during the 24 hours when the incorrect location was available (12:00 noon SLT on Thursday, May 31st, 2018 through 12:00 noon SLT on Friday, June 1st, 2018) may now find their system is stuck in a loop of trying to install the 64 bit version of Second Life.
Because of this, Kyle Linden issued a forum post on how to correct the problem for those caught in the loop, and I’m reproducing those instructions below for those who may have missed the forum post:
Linden Lab has promoted the latest Maintenance RC to de facto release status. The viewer follows the Lab’s convention of naming their maintenance updates for the viewer after popular alcoholic beverages and aperitifs.
This release includes a range of updates and improvements to the viewer which are worth highlighting, and which will be finding their way into third-party viewers as time goes forward (if they are not already present). Including the following.
Installation and Log-in Improvements
The “Your account will not be available until” login failure message has now been removed, as it is no longer meaningful.
The GPU Benchmark test no longer causing issues when installing the viewer or when setting viewer defaults.
Non-English versions of the viewer can now be installed into non-default paths without causing incorrect fonts to be loaded, corrupting the text of the Terms of Service display in the viewer.
Mac OS updates:
Incorrect VFS (cache) creation time no longer shown in “help>about SL”.
Full version of the build in the applications is now displayed after install on Mac.
Avatar Appearance Updates
A new option added to the Appearance Editor right-click menu: Wear Only This Outfit.
The Edit Outfit panel in the Appearance Editor no longer displays “Loading…” when there is nothing to load.
An avatar’s hairbase is now correctly rendered in Appearance mode when ALM is enabled, and the alpha mask will correctly hide the default hair in the Outfit Editor.
A seated avatar’s rotation is now correctly updated when the object the avatar is sitting on is changed via the build floater X, Y, Z spinners.
Object position (and sometimes size) no longer greyed out when editing avatar parts or attachments.
Temporary attachments can now be detached via gear menu in Appearance >Wearing.
Abuse Report floater clean-up.
Error messages no longer doubled (the first being generic, the second being accurate).
It is no longer possible to delete an inventory folder while trying to rename it by holding down the Delete key a little too long.
Chat scroll bar now properly displayed after a panel resize.
“Walk/run/fly” toolbar button no longer turns off “fly mode” once per session.
Received Items improvements:
The “New” icon in the Received Items folder now correctly disappears when navigating with keys.
The “New” tag now appears in front of folders when searching.
“Properties” menu item disabled for multiple selection in Object content, because it was causing Received Items to disappear.
The Donation check box no longer covered by the Purchase button when buying land from a group you’re already donating to.
Bottom part of “Filter” button at Snapshot window can now be properly clicked.
World Map no longer shows first friend location after searches.
Unicode correctly appears in the Windows viewer display name.
Arrows ‘Navigate back’ and ‘Navigate forward’ had wrong state.
Profiles now have a Back button.
Debug setting AvatarHoverOffsetZ will work regardless of whether Set Hover Height modal has been opened.
Efficiency & Performance Improvements
This viewer uses the new off-line messages capability to correctly fetch off-line IMs following log-in, hopefully resolving the issue of lost off-line messages.
Viewer no longer attempting to load file/mesh/LOD indefinitely in case of most failures.
Advanced Lighting Mode (ALM) improvements
Normal and specular maps no longer downloaded when ALM is disabled.
Local Textures for Advanced Lighting Projectors now keep the selected texture.
Particles attached to the muted avatars no longer render.
Texture animation flicker at certain frame rates has been removed.
Sculpties should no longer appear as spheres before their shape data has been received by the viewer.
Scripts memory usage should no longer return incorrect values in the Estate Tools.
Unneeded exception handling from LLAppViewer::frame() removed.
ExportCharts for performance analysis re-enabled.
Mods to allow nVidia nSight to capture frames of Viewer rendering have been added.
Deprecated and unused private memory pooling removed.
Various translation updates.
(MAC only): viewer Media Browser no longer doubles entered Cyrillic capital letters.
Magnify glass button no longer returns camera to avatar after select other nearby media in “Start/Stop ALL Media” tab.
Scrollbar should decrease when the number of displayed media decreases.
The viewer no longer sends multiple GET requests against prim media when PRIM_MEDIA_AUTO_PLAY is enabled.
Social floaters launch a somewhat different version of the internal browser.
The viewer includes a range of crash fixes, as detailed in the release notes.
The viewer can be downloaded from the viewer’s release notes page, if preferred.