CtrlAltStudio offers preliminary Oculus DK2 support

CAS-logoDave Rowe, who develops the CtrlAltStudio viewer has announced he has some preliminary support for the Oculus Rift DK2 available in an alpha version of his viewer.

The viewer version – Alpha, dated August 19th, should also support existing DK1 headsets, but it doesn’t yet support head tracking for DK2 hardware.

Announcing the availability of the viewer in a blog post, Dave said:

I know some people are very anxious to try their DK2s in Second Life / OpenSim so I’ve released this alpha with some very preliminary DK2 support.

It works with the DK2 configured in extended mode: use the Windows key + right-arrow to move your viewer window onto the Rift’s display, then Ctrl+Alt+3 makes the window full screen and switches into Rift view.

Have I mentioned that this release is very preliminary? It does not work with direct mode yet as the current Rift SDK 0.4.1 Beta does not work in direct mode with OpenGL. Also, in this alpha, head orientation is tracked but not yet head position. Plus there’s no display of any UI. And Advanced Lighting Model must be turned on. For more details on usage, see the Release Notes.

I haven’t tested this alpha with a DK1 yet but it should in theory work. Note though that the mirrored windows mode used in previous viewer releases for the DK1 is and will not be supported by the new Oculus software.

Austin Tate has provided an overview of his experience with the viewer and the DK2, for those who would like more first-hand information.

Related Links


CtrlAltStudio 1.2.1: Xbox 360 Controller support

CAS-logo Update, May 25th: Dave has released an update to the Windows version of CtrlAltStudio 1.2.1 to correct some issues with the controller not being recognised by the viewer. The updated version is, available from the same CtrlAltStudio blog post as linked to in this article.

On Monday May 12th, Dave Rowe (Strachan Ofarrel in SL) released CtrlAltStudio version (Win) and (Mac). This brings with it a number of fixes and updates, and sees CtrlAltStudio maintain parity with the Firestorm 4.6.5, which appeared on Sunday May 11th. Most intriguingly, it includes support for the Xbox 360 controller, which appears to be aimed at reducing reliance on the keyboard for a range of tasks when wearing an Oculus Rift headset (although it is by no means constrained to just that use).

The release is for both Windows and Mac, and it is strongly recommended that a clean install is performed.

Xbox 360 Controller Support

CtrlAltStudio 1.2.1401169/67 allows you to use the Xbox 360 Controller to walk, fly, use flycam, orbit about points in 3rd person view, click on objects and use context menus with objects. It works in 3rd person view and Mouselook and can be used with normal, stereoscopic 3D, and Oculus Rift display output. However, please note that so far, this has only been tested on a Windows system.

By default, the controls are configured as follows:

Xbox 360 Controller buttons
Back: Toggle flycam on/off
Start: Toggle Left / Right Sticks between avatar & cursor movement
Avatar Movement Cursor Movement
Left Stick: Move forward / back / left / right Cursor up / down / left / right
Right  Stick: Change camera pitch and roll Zoom view
Left + Right Stick Fly down / up No Action
Back + Start: Toggle Rift or 3D stereoscopic 3D on/off
Left Stick click: Jump up / stop flying
Right Stick click: Toggle 1st person view
Left / Right Bumpers: Left or right mouse click (configurable by user)
Y button: Escape
X button: Control
B button: Shift
A button: Alt
D-pad: Not used

Once connected to your computer, the Xbox 360 Controller should be calibrated (e.g. by using the device’s properties provided via Windows’ Devices and Printers folder). It can then be enabled for use with SL by launching CtrlAltStudio 1.2.1 and enabling the controller via Preferences > Move & View > Movement > Enable Joystick and then using the Joystick Configuration button to configure it for SL.

Enable the Xbox 360 Controller and configure it as you would any joystick controller, via the Joystick Configuration options
Enable the Xbox 360 Controller and configure it as you would any joystick controller, via the Joystick Configuration options

Note that the settings displayed in the Joystick Configuration panel are not those supplied by LL; they have been adjusted to provide defaults specific to the Xbox 360 Controller.

Other Notable Updates

As well as the Xbox 360 support and parity with Firestorm 4.6.5 (reviewed here), this release of CtrlAltStudio also includes the following (again, please refer to the release notes for a full list of updates & any specific credits for them):

  • Fixed crashing with stereoscopic 3D display over HDMI when Set Output to 120Hz is checked
  • Fixed start-up in full screen overriding current display resolution so that can reliably use 720p stereoscopic 3D on a 1080p display
  • Fixed problems dragging physical objects
  • “Set output to 120Hz” display option only enabled on Windows, as it’s not used on other operating systems
  • Changed the minimum draw distance from 32m to 8m
  • Exiting flycam while in Riftlook  no longer causes the camera to start moving to the right
  • Improved the tool tips in the Rift display preferences
  • Avatar jumping at less than maximum walk speeds fixed.

I don’t actually have an Xbox system (360 or otherwise), so I cannot say how the controller works. However, Dave notes that BillyBob Snowpaw did a considerable amount of testing, so those with a controller shouldn’t experience anything untoward happening.

With Linden Lab continuing to work on the Oculus Rift integration. Given the problems inherent with using that HMD with a keyboard, it’s good to see that other options are being looked at by TPVs. while the Xbox Controller won’t help with typing, it would certainly appear to make avatar / camera / cursor movement a lot easier when used in combination with an HMD, and even with stereoscopic glasses.

Related Links

CtrlAltStudio 1.2.0 released

CAS-logoOn Wednesday March 26th, Dave Rowe released CtrlAltStudio version

While the release does not contain significant updates to either Oculus Rift support or to the stereoscopic 3D capability, the version number change 1.2, as Dave notes, serves to reflect the convergence of the 1.0 and 1.1 Alpha versions, and also brings CtrlAltStudio to parity with Firestorm 4.6.1.

With regards to the latter, this means CtrlAltStudio now includes all updates found in the  Firestorm 4.5.1 and 4.6.1 releases, including a number of significant LL-driven viewer updates, such as:

  • Fitted mesh support – for those unfamiliar with Fitted Mesh, I have an overview here
  • HTTP updates for improved rendering
  • Request Teleport feature
  • Region Restart updates
  • SL Share (link to Facebook)
  • CHUI updates
  • Particle capabilities, including particle muting
  • Materials support
  • Temporary attachments no longer get removed improperly
  • and more

(Further information on the recent Firestorm releases, please refer to my 4.5.1 review and my  4.6.1 review.)

In addition to the above, the release includes a number of fixes:

  • Fixed turning off Basic Shaders while in Riftlook messing up display.
  • Fixed Kinect fly up and fly down gestures sometimes being swapped when shouldn’t be.
  • Removed –riftlook command line option which wasn’t working properly.

An important point to note, again as Dave points-out, is that this release does not include any of the Lab’s own Oculus Rift support – for the simple reason that the code hasn’t been made available for integration into TPVs.


CtrlAltStudio Oculus Rift alpha: nips and tucks

CAS-logoFollowing-on from his work to add the ability to let users wearing the Oculus Rift headset to turn their avatar with a turn of their head when seated (see my update here), Dave Rowe (Strachan Ofarrell in SL) has added some more tweaks to the Alpha version of his viewer with the release of version

One of these updates is directly related to the Oculus Rift and another is for using stereoscopic glasses with the viewer. Both of these can be found under Preferences > Graphics > Display Output.

The two new additions to Preferences > Graphics > Display Output
The two new additions to Preferences > Graphics > Display Output

The first option, Set Output to 120Hz is the stereoscopic update. As the name implies, it sets  the display output to 120Hz, which is useful if you have shutter glasses and want to only display at 120Hz when you use the viewer.

The second option, Turn Speed, is a slider to control speed at which turning your head in Riftlook turns your avatar. Note that it will only work if Head Turns Avatar After is checked.

In addition to these updates, version addsvariable avatar walk / fly speed for SpaceNavigator proportional to pressure applied to knob (i.e., similar to SpaceNavigator flycam control), up to maximum of configured walk speed. Adjusted SpaceNavigator default values to suit. There’s also an update to the GPU table as well.

Details of the release can be found on the CtrlAltStudio blog.

Related Links

CtrlAltStudio: turn your avatar with a turn of your head

CAS-logoDave Rowe (Strachan Ofarrel in SL) has released an update to his experimental version of the CtrlAltStudio viewer with support for Oculus Rift (Windows only).

CtrlAltStudio version, released on Wednesday December 18th, allows the user to turn their avatar with a simple turn of the head when seated and using Riftlook.

The capability has been developed in conjunction with Tom Willans at the Serious Games Institute of Coventry University, here in the UK, and the release notes for the new version, together with the blog post announcing the release, describe the function thus:

There are two ways to use this option:

  1. Setting the slider to 0° makes the turning happen all the time. This enables you to look at something then if you continue looking at it, your view will gradually rotate so that the object lies straight ahead and you can thus walk towards it.
  2. Setting the slider to a value such as 45° makes turning start after you look left or right 45° or more. Turning then continues until you look straight ahead again. Depending on the value you set and how flexible your neck is, the effect can be like a gesture that initiates turning.

The new capability can be found in the Oculus Rift section of Preferences > Graphics > Display Output.

The new option to turn your avatar when seated and using the Oculus Rift headset
The new option to turn your avatar when seated and using the Oculus Rift headset

Strachan has invited those who have a headset to try the capability and to let him have their feedback. So if you do, please drop him a line on his blog.

This release also brings with it:

  • A change of the Rift prediction delta default value from 20ms to 35ms to improve typical perceived latency.
  • A fix mouselook not being able to turn more than +/-180°.

If you have been using previous versions of the 1.1 Alpha release of CtrlAltStudio, you should be able to install directly over it. However, if you have been using the 1.0 release (stereoscopic) version, a clean install is recommended.

Related Links

Kokua 3.6.12 released; CtrlAltStudio and UKanDo added to TPV Directory

Kokua Update

Thursday December 12th saw the Kokua team release version of the viewer. This appears to be a fairly contained update, focused on updating the viewer with the recent SL viewer 3.6.11 GPU Table updates and the 3.6.12 NameUpdater changes. Neither of these involved functional changes to the viewer from LL’s side, but do bring Kokua to parity with the current SL 3.6.12 code base.

In addition, the short-form release notes highlight the following updates from the Kokua team:

  • UI enhancements by Jessica Wabbit.
  • UK-english dictionary added to the spelling checker
  • Removal of packaged PCRE libraries from Linux 64-bit builds as they caused web kit to fail to load on newer Debian based distributions.

The release notes also point out that when the viewer is started for the first time following installation, there will be a notice and link to check graphics drive availability. The Kokua team urge caution if the option is taken to update drivers, as system breakages have resulted in the past. They also point out that the notice is a recommendation to check for updated drivers, not a requirement to update.

Related Links

CtrlAltStudio and UKanDo

The CtrlAltStudio and UKanDo TPVs have both undergone self-certification and have been added to the Third-party Viewer Directory (TPVD).

The associated wiki page for CtrlAltStudio describes the viewer as :

The CtrlAltStudio Viewer has been set up in order to try out and share a number of ideas, the first being stereoscopic 3D display and some initial Oculus Rift support . It is based on the Firestorm Viewer which it tracks closely while adding particular features.

The associated wiki page for UKanDo describes the viewer as:

UKanDo gives a whole new perspective in Second life by using a camera placement adopted by the vast majority of third person video games.

Also includes RLV along with plenty of other useful tools. It won’t have all the gadgets/gizmos a lot of the bigger viewers have, the aim is to keep it as lite as possible with only the fixes, gadgets and gizmos we need to keep the Viewer stable and up-to-date! The Avatar happy! And to aid with building!

(Please note that descriptions are supplied by the viewer developers, not Linden Lab.)

Congratulations to both viewers, both of which I’ve been following in these pages. You can catch-up with them as follows: