Firestorm 6.5.3: performance and photos (and more!)

On Monday, March 21st, 2022, the Firestorm team released version 6.5.3 of their viewer.

This is a significant update to Firestorm, containing major new elements aimed at helping to improve viewer performance / the user experience.  As such, these elements for the major focus for the notes below.

As per usual, it also brings Firestorm closer to the current official SL release viewer by including a number of updates and capabilities previously released by LL. Again, from an end-user perspective, one of the most noticeable of this is likely to the incorporation of the 360º snapshot capability,  which is also looked at in detail below.

Also as per usual, Firestorm 6.5.3 includes additional fixes and updates directly from the Firestorm team to also improve the user experience. Not all of these are covered in the notes below, and readers are referred to the official release notes alongside of this article.

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 6.5.3.

Splash Screen Update

Whilst not strictly part of the 6.5.3 release, having been prototyped with and added to the 6.4.21 release, Firestorm now has a new splash / log-in screen. It incorporates elements familiar to Firestorm users and also to users of viewers that use splash screens more closely modelled on Lab’s own.

In all, the “new” Splash screen can be split into five elements:

  • A set of six panels at the top, four of which are Firestorm-specific (version details, wiki and  Jira links, and on the far right, Firestorm social media links), and two related to official SL information (grid status data and links to information on current grid issues, LL support and grid status updates).
  • A three-panel selection of blog links from the Firestorm blog, the official SL Featured News blog and the SL Blogger’s Network.
  • An expandable scrollable list of currently-popular destinations in Second Life (complete with a count of recent visitors).
    • These are drawn from the What’s Hot Now (default), Recently Added, Featured Events and Editors Picks sections of the Destination Guide (the corresponding links on the right of the panel to select these).
    • Clicking on any of the displayed thumbnails will provide further information on the destination in a pop-up floater, complete with the option to Visit This Destination after logging-in.
  • The Firestorm & associated software logos.
  • The log-in panel at the bottom (unchanged, and not shown below).

The updated Firestorm splash screen (click for full size)

Linden Lab Viewer Parity

This release brings Firestorm up to parity with the official viewer release 6.5.2, and so includes updates seen in the following official viewer releases:

  • Mac Voice hotfix viewer, version 6.5.2.567427, dated January 13th, 2022.
  • Cache + 360º Capture viewer, version 6.5.1.566335, dated December 7th, promoted December 15th – see below for more on the 360º capture.
  • Maintenance RC viewer version 6.5.0.565607, dated November 10th, promoted November 15th, 2021.
  • The Apple Notarisation Fix viewer, version 6.4.23.564172, issued September 24th and promoted October 15th, 2021.
  • CEF update viewer, version 6.4.22.561752, dated July 24th, promoted August 10th, 2021.
  • Fernet Maintenance RC, version 6.4.21.561414, dated July 14th, promoted July 19th,  2021.

More Robust Encryption of Login Credentials

In line with changes from Linden Lab, the way Firestorm encrypts your log-in credentials has been changed  to make it more robust and to reduce the number of times stored passwords will have to be re-entered. The update to the new method is automatic on logging-in to SL for the first time using Firestorm 6.5.3; however, it means that should you switch back to using an older version of Firestorm, you will have to re-enter your credentials.

Note: this update is not in any way related to multi-factor authentication in the viewer, which is currently in RC testing in the official viewer.

360º Snapshots

Linden Lab’s 360º snapshot capability allows you to capture of 360º degree panoramic images of environment around your avatar / camera position (if freecamming). The images are automatically processed by the viewer so that they can be uploaded to most platforms supporting 360º panoramic images (e.g. Flickr, Meta), and for embedding into blogs that support 360º images (such as WordPress).

Within Firestorm, the capability can be accessed in one of three ways (Firestorm have disabled the shortcut option of CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-S, as this combination is bound to opening the viewer’s Debug settings):

  • Via Avatar → 360 Snapshot.
  • By clicking on the links seen in the expanded Preview image view of the Snapshot floater.
  • Via a toolbar button (when enabled in a toolbar area).
The 360º snapshot viewer and two of the means of accessing in – via the the Avatar menu and the toolbar button (must be added to your toolbar)

Taking an image comprises a few simple steps:

  1. Position your camera.
  2. Select the image quality – for finished images you’ll need to set High or Maximum quality using the radio buttons.
  3. Click the Create 360º Image button to generate a preview in the floater’s preview panel.
  4. Click on the preview image and drag it around to ensure what you’re seeing is what you want / that things like textures have actually rendered correctly.
  5. Check the Hide All Avatars option, if required – if not, the process to include all avatars present, which could be blurred if they are moving at the time the image elements are  captured.
  6. When you are satisfied with the preview, click Save As… to save it to your hard drive, renaming it if / as required.

Note: if you change the image quality, you must also click Create 360 button to update the preview AND image capture process to the new image quality, before clicking Save As… once more.

Further information on the capability can be found in the following blog posts :

Improve Graphics Speed (Experimental)

Overview (please read!)

This is a new UI floater Developed by Beq Janus. It brings together a range of viewer graphics options and is intended to help keep you better informed of the viewer’s performance in terms of frame rates, rendering, etc.), and make your own adjustments to suit the environment you’re in. It is also intended to help users be better informed about viewer performance.

The floater comprises three core elements:

  • The Frame / Performance Summary.
  • An Auto Tune Capability.
  • Four additional floater panels that can be used together / individually and independently of Auto Tune. These bring together some of the most commonly-user graphics / rendering options, allowing you to make changes quickly and easily to manually adjust performance, including defining how avatars around you are individually rendered, and lowering to load your own avatar places on both your system and those of the people around you.

This section is intended to provide an overview to the new floater, and offer general notes on the various options and their use. When reading it, please remember:

  • The entire panel – and particularly the Auto Tune capability – is experimental. Options presented may well change over time (such as in reference to LL’s own performance improvement work).
  • While intended to try to optimise the viewer’s performance, please note: these options  will not magically make elderly (e.g. 6+ year old) computers with outdated CPUs / GPUs suddenly zoom along at rates seen with the latest high-end gaming rigs; everything is very much dependent on the capabilities of your hardware.
  • Also, and in respect of Auto Tune:
    • While it will try to maintain your frame rate at the expense of other settings (such as overall graphics quality). So, depending on your system, the frame rate selected, the complexity of the scene, you may find other aspects of your experience suffering.
    • Does not run on Mac M1 systems at present.
  • If you experience particularly awkward results or are unhappy with how the in-world scene looks, you can disable all performance optimisation, and the floater includes the means to quickly load / revert to any Graphics Presets you have previously set-up.

Accessing the Floater

The Improve Graphics Speed floater can be accessed in two ways:

  • Via World → Improve Graphics Speed.
  • Via a toolbar button (when enabled in a toolbar area).
Accessing the Improve Graphics Speed floater

The various options and panel displays are examined in the sections below.

Continue reading “Firestorm 6.5.3: performance and photos (and more!)”

Firestorm 6.4.21: catching up with the Lab

On Wednesday, July 28th, 2021, the Firestorm team released version 6.4.21 of their viewer.

The majority of the updates contained within this release are from recent releases of the official viewer, with a minimal number of Firestorm-derived updates, as Firestorm continues to move closer to a quarterly cadence of releases.

That said, as well as fixes and updates, this release includes a number of additional and new capabilities added by the Firestorm team, and these form the focus of this overview.

As is usual for me, this is not a review of every individual change to be found within this latest release of Firestorm. Rather, it is an overview of those changes that will be most noticeable to the majority of users. Given this, please refer to the official release notes for a complete list of fixes and changes.

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 6.4.21.
  • Again, please refer to the Firestorm 6.4.21 release notes for additional details of all changes and updates in this release.

Linden Lab Viewer Parity

Firestorm 6.4.21 incorporates updates from a number of recent Linden Lab viewer releases, as follows:

Jelly Updates, February 2021

Viewer release: 6.4.13.555567.

Most notably, this alters the behaviour of “jellydolled” avatars for better performance. Those avatars explicitly set not to render or have an Avatar Rendering Complexity (ARC) that exceeds the threshold set within the viewer (e.g. via Quick Prefs → Max Complexity slider):

  • Are now rendered a single grey, rather than appearing in a range of solid colours and as a basic humanoid shape.
  • No longer have any attachments or other customisations rendered and do not play animations.

Simplified Cache Viewer, March 2021

Viewer release: 6.4.14.556088.

This viewer introduced a less complex file caching system to save local copies of frequently used assets such as meshes, sounds and animations, but without the issues that impacted the original deployment of that viewer.

Custom Key Mappings Viewer, April 2021

Viewer release:  6.4.17.557391.

This release allows users to define their own key mappings for a number of viewer functions, via Preferences → Control .

The Custom Key Mappings panel in Preferences

Maintenance Eau de Vie, April 2021

Viewer release: 6.4.18.558266.

A further round of viewer bug fixes from Linden Lab. Perhaps most notable among them changes to the detection of Intel HD 2500 and 4000 and 400 GPUs (if running the latest drivers), that result in users of those graphics cards now being offered the 64bit version of the viewer.

Love Me Render 5, June 2021

Viewer release: 6.4.19.560171.

A maintenance viewer focused on rendering and graphics fixes, including a number of EEP improvements.

UI and Voice Updates Viewer, June 2021

New Guidebook

Viewer release: 6.4.20.560520.

This viewer introduced the first in a series of viewer UI updates, these specifically aimed at new users, notably a new Guidebook to getting started in Second Life following sign-up, and which is intended to be used within the new Welcome Islands.

The new user Guidebook, as developed by Linden Lab as a part of a new user experience
The Guidebook is access via a dedicated Toolbar Button, which if not automatically displayed in your viewer (clean installation) can be accessed by opening the Toolbar Buttons panel (right-click any button area and select Toolbar Buttons …) and then dragging the Guidebook button to your preferred button area.

Not that both the Guidebook and the new Welcome islands are subject to on-going testing and so may see further revisions.

Menu Updates

In addition, this release of the view included a number of menu changes to the official viewer. These have been implemented somewhat differently in Firestorm, and so are dealt with below.

EEP: Azimuth and Elevation Sliders

A further UI change with this viewer is the addition of new EEP sliders for those who have issues using the Trackballs in the Sun / Moon tabs of the Fixed Sky and Day Cycle floaters, and in the Personal Lighting floater. These sliders are:

  • Azimuth – which might be thought of as the east / west position of the Sun or Moon (technically, azimuth is more than this, but it’ll do for these notes).
  • Elevation – the position of the Sun or Moon over or under) the horizon, relative to azimuth.

They are tied to the Sun / Moon movement, so when used, the trackball locations for the Sun and Moon will also move.

The EEP Azimuth and Elevation sliders (Personal Lighting floater shown)
Voice Updates

Finally, this viewer brings a series of improvements to the viewer’s Voice settings a range of improvements to Voice handling, including changing to default Voice settings in the viewer intended to help prevent issues of drop-out when talking, and which have reportedly all but eliminated drop-outs for those using the new settings. Additionally, the VIVOX VAD options have been exposed via Debug Settings, and detailed notes on these can be found in the official viewer release notes, linked to above.

Continue reading “Firestorm 6.4.21: catching up with the Lab”

Firestorm 6.4.13 release

On Monday March 15th, 2021, the Firestorm team released version 6.4.13 of their viewer.

Regarded somewhat as a maintenance update more than a major release, the primary am of 6.4.13 is to hopefully move Firestorm into its quarterly cadence of releases.

That said, as well as fixes and updates, this release includes a number of additional and new capabilities added by the Firestorm team, and these form the focus of this overview.

Installation

  • There is no need to perform a clean install with this release if you do not wish to.
Table of Contents

 

  • Do, however, make sure you back-up all your settings safely so you can restore them after installing 6.4.13.
  • Again, please refer to the Firestorm 6.4.13 release notes for additional details of all changes and updates in this release.

Linden Lab Derived Updates

This release brings Firestorm up to parity with the Lab’s 6.4.12.555248 Dawa Maintenance RC, which focused on bug fixes. This viewer became the Lab’s default viewer on February 1st, 2021.

Menu Updates

Avatar Menu: Recreate  LSL Bridge

If you encounter issues with the Firestorm Bridge, you can now recreate it via Avatar → Avatar Health → Recreate LSL Bridge.

Note: you must be on a script-enabled region / parcel for this to work.

World Menu: Bulk Windlight Import to EEP

With Firestorm 6.4.13, it is now possible to bulk import Windlight .XML files directly to inventory as EEP settings / assets.

  • Go to World → Environment → Bulk Import
  • Select the EEP type you’d like to use for the import process (days, skies, water).
  • A file selection window will open. Use this to navigate to the folder on your computer containing the corresponding Windlight .XML files.
  • Use SHIFT-left-click / CTRL-left-click to  highlight the .XML files you wish to import and click Open at the bottom of the window.
  • The window will close and the import process will import the .XML files and convert them to corresponding EEP settings and assets using the original Windlight file name, placing them in the Settings folder in your inventory.
Bulk import of Windlight .XML file to EEP settings / assets

Side notes:

  • You must ensure you select the correct import type / .XML fly type for this to work. For example: if you click on Skies, you must import .XML static sky files. Selecting the wrong import option or the wrong file type will result in a file validation error.
  • Remember that the viewer already includes around 200 of the more popular Windlight .XML files already converted to EEP settings .
    • These can be found in the Library Environments folder, and can be copied to your Settings folder (or a folder of your choice) in inventory and used from there.
    • It  may be easier to check this folder for the more popular Windlights, as you may find those you have on your computer.

World Menu: Asset Blacklist Sound Button

The Asset Blacklist floater now includes a Play Sound button. When a sound item you’re added to the list is highlighted, the button will be enabled and can be used to hear the sound in question.

Build Menu: Mesh Uploader

The Mesh Uploader now includes a new tab: Preview Settings.

Mesh Uploader Preview Settings

Preferences Updates

Move & View: Avatar Rotation Speed

  • Movement → Avatar Rotation Turn Speed slider: alters the rate at which your avatar responds to turning. 0-100 as estimated percentage of the maximum turn rate. Note that high values will be snappy/jerky.

User Interface: Use Small Camera Window

With the introduction of Camera Presets, the standard camera floater was revised to include buttons for setting and using the Presets capability. However, some have found this revised floater intrusive.

When checked, Preferences → User Interface → Interface Windows → Use Small Camera Window will replace the revised camera floater with the “old” pre-Camera Preset camera floater. Unchecking the option will display the revised window floater once more.

Using the “old” camera floater

Notes:

  • The revised camera floater can be resized to something approaching that of the “old” floater, for those who would like to retain the new floater but wish to reduce the amount of screen space it takes up.
  • If, for any reason, you revert to an earlier version of Firestorm (while available) with this option enabled, the next time you use Firestorm 6.4.13, you will have both versions of the camera floater displayed. Toggle the setting to correct.

User Interface: Time Format

  • Preferences → User Interface → Top Bars → Time Format: a drop-down allowing you to set the preferred time format (12 hour or 24 hour notation, etc.), as displayed in the top right corner for the viewer.
Time format options

Continue reading “Firestorm 6.4.13 release”

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”

Firestorm 6.3.2: welcome to Bakes on Mesh

On Monday, September 30th, 2019, Firestorm released version 6.3.2.58052 of their viewer.

This release features the awaited support for Linden Lab’s Bakes on Mesh capability, together with a number of Lab-derived updates and updates from the Firestorm Team.

Please note that this update is for Second Life only – see below for more.

 

Table of Contents

As per usual, this article provides an overview of the more visible updates in the release. Please refer to the release notes for a full list of updates and all associated credits. Also, note that this update means that version 5.1.7.55786 will be blocked from logging in to the Second Life grid in the near future – check the Firestorm blog for updates.

Why No OpenSim Version?

Jessica Lyon, project lead for Firestorm, recently blogged on the situation regarding OpenSim, and some of the steps the team are having to reverse as well as to take in order to offer some level of support for OpenSim unless they can obtain an OpenSim developer to assist with the viewer. For details see OpenSim the Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

At that time, Jessica had been hoping to provide OpenSim support “as is” with future releases of Firestorm – and had planned this to be the case with this release. However, a major issue was found with this release that could result in OpenSim regions crashing.

This will take time to resolve – hence no OpenSim version with this release. Instead, Firestorm will continue to offer version 6.0.2.56680 for OpenSim users. As the 6.3.2.58052 release installs separately to 6.0.2.56680, both versions can be run side-by-side on the same computer for those wishing to access both Second Life and OpenSim.

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 6.3.2.
  • Please refer to the official release notes for a full breakdown and changes, updates and credits associated with this release.

Again, please refer to the Firestorm 6.3.2 release notes for details of specific Lab-derived fixes for this release.

Lab Derived Updates

The version of Firestorm brings the viewer to parity with the Linden Lab 6.3.1 code base, with some cherry-picked updates from upstream release candidate versions.

Bakes on Mesh

Simply put, Bakes on Mesh (BoM) allows system clothing layers as used with the “classic” Second Life system avatar – skins, tattoos, underwear, shirt and jacket layers – to be applied to mesh bodies and heads, and without (necessarily) 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).

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

Bakes on Mesh adds new options for applying suitable textures to the baking channels for application on a mesh body by the Bake Service

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:

In addition, Firestorm has created their own Bakes on Mesh wiki.

External Note Card Editor

Note cards can now be edited using an external editor.  Firestorm has adopted this as follows:

  • Select your preferred editor:
    • Go to Preferences → Firestorm → Build 1 → External Editor
    • Click Browse alongside the External Editor text entry field.
    • Use the picker to navigate to your preferred text editor and select its .EXE / launcher.
    • Click OK
    • The path to the editor should now be displayed in the text field.
    • This generally only has to be done once, unless you opt to change your preferred editor.
You can now set an external editor when writing / editing note cards
  • To use the external editor:
    • Create / open a note card for editing.
    • Click on the Edit button in the bottom left of the floater.
    • Your external editor will open and load the text.
    • Edit the text as required, and save using the external editor.
    • The edited text will be uploaded to the note card and saved in it.

Notes:

  • There is no charge applied for the upload and saving to the note card.
  • Rich text editing (bold, italic, indentation, etc) used within the external editor will be ignored and the text converted to plain text for saving to the note card.

Other Lab Updates of Note

  • Ability to duplicate a group role – allows you to duplicate a group role so that the copied role has the same permissions and you can just give the copied role a different title (see: BUG-226986).
    • Open the group profile → Members & Roles → Roles → Left click on a role to select it → Click the Copy Role button
  • Animesh objects not being highlighted when viewing objects owned by users in About Land fixed (see: BUG-227240).
  • Animesh objects should now be easier to select (see: BUG-226860).
  • Depth mode snapshots no longer broken when snapshot size is set to anything above current window size (see: BUG-227191).
  • Scoreboards and visitor trackers broken by the last CEF update should not longer be broken (see: BUG-226704).
  • Viewer-side support for playback of sound files up to 30s in length
    • Note this feature is awaiting simulator support to work.
  • The ability to share photos & post to Facebook has been removed from the viewer (see: BUG-225205).
    • This has been broken at the Facebook end for some time, with no sign of being fixed.
  • Build → Texture → Align Planar Faces should now work on normal or specular maps (see: BUG-6489).
  • Under Help → Report Abuse, Gaming Policy Violation has been revised to Skill Gaming Policy Violation for clarity.

Firestorm Updates

Link to Discord

 6.3.2.58052 includes the ability to link your Second Life account with your Discord account. Once connected, Discord will show your Second Life on-line status & session length, and optionally, your user name and location in SL.

Discord floater

Notes:

  • This capability only works with the Discord client – it does not work with the Discord web pages.
  • To work, you must have the Discord client running when attempting to link to it from Firestorm.
  • Both Discord and Firestorm must be running with the same access level (note: it is not recommended you run discord in Admin mode).

To link you SL and Discord accounts:

  • Go to Comm → Discord …
  • The Discord floater opens.
  • In the floater you can opt to:
    • Automatically display you are using Second Life / Firestorm whenever you log-in to the viewer.
    • Display your Second Life user name.
    • Select whether or not you wish to display your location in Second Life, or, if opting to show your location, opt to only display it according to the maturity rating of the region you are in.
    • Create a list of region names you do not wish to have displayed by Discord when you are visiting them, regardless of any maturity rating set in the panel.
  • When you have set your preferences, click the Connect … button.
  • Once connected, you can disconnect from Discord at any time by displaying the panel and clicking Disconnect …

Avatar, Appearance and Inventory

Attachment auto-refresh: Firestorm 6.3.2.58052 adds a timer for automatically refreshing attachments when an attempt is made to kill them after a teleport / region change. It is designed to help resolve issues where your attachments are invisible to observers after a teleport or region change, and provides the same functionality as the manual Avatar → Avatar Health → Refresh Attachments (Alt-Shift-R).

Optionally, if the debug setting FSExperimentalLostAttachmentsFixReport is set to TRUE, Firestorm reports attachments that were attempted to get detached during a teleport or region crossing to nearby chat, followed by reporting “Refreshing attachments…” to nearby chat when the auto-refresh starts.

See FIRE-12004 and BUG-7761.

Profile Links to Force Appearance Change: it has been possible for users to put obfuscated links (e.g. “Photo of me in RL”) in their profile floater that, when clicked by another user, would replace outfit with one of the default outfits from the inventory library.

With this update, such links will no longer work, and the obfuscated link will display as “Wear Inventory Folder”. This matches a similar fix included in the Linden Lab Legacy Profiles folder. See also: FIRE-24262.

Fixes:

  • Removal of the restriction on adding system layers with identical asset UUIDs at the same time (see: FIRE-24334).
  • LookAt target clamping no longer causes your avatar eyes to cross (see: FIRE-24175).
  • The Firestorm Animation Overrider should now work correctly with child prim sits.

General Updates of Note

  • Movement at region crossing: this release fixes the issue of region crossing Predict option (Preferences → Move & View → Movement at Region Crossing) behaving like Stop (see: FIRE-24184).
  • The option Use HTTP For Receiving Textures has been removed from the SL-only version of the viewer’s Preferences.
    • This option forced the viewer to switch from UDP texture fetching to HTTP.
    • As Second Life no longer uses UDP for asset fetching (including textures), the option is no longer required for the SL version of the viewer, thus prompting its removal (see: FIRE-24256).
  • Payment confirmation is now skipped if paying yourself (e.g. paying your own tip jar) – see FIRE-24208.
    • Also fixed a case where the payment confirmation notification would not be shown if the amount would be exactly the remaining L$ balance.
  • FMOD Studio updated to version 2.00.03.
  • RLV updated to RestrainedLove API: RLV v3.2.1 / RLVa v2.2.0.58052.

Feedback

I actually don’t have a lot to report; I’ve been using the Bakes on Mesh betas for some time, and found the BoM functionality works fine after some early hiccups. One or two of the early beta gave some crashes for me, but the 6.3.2.58051/58052 versions (the latter including a minor update from 58051) have between them been stable – although I’ve only had the 58052 version installed for the time it has taken me to write this review.

Related Links

Firestorm 6.2.4: EAM and paving the way

On Monday, July 15th, 2019, Firestorm released version 6.2.4.57588 of their viewer.

However please note that this release is for Second Life only.

Essentially a  maintenance update, Firestorm 6.2.4.57588 brings the viewer up to parity with the official viewer, adding a range of fixes, improvements and updates from both Linden Lab and via the Firestorm team. The major new feature for this update is the Estate Access Management options.

As such, this release paves the way for Firestorm to be able to adopt the Lab’s Bakes On Mesh and Environment Enhancement Project, once these have in turn been released by Linden Lab.

Table of Contents

As per usual, this article provides an overview of the more visible updates in the release. Please refer to the release notes for a full list of updates and all associated credits. Also, note that this update means that version 5.0.11.53634 will be blocked from logging in to the Second Life grid in about three weeks.

A small personal note: my apologies to Firestorm users who may have been directed to this post by the Firestorm team’s release announcement or the Firestorm 6.2.457588 release notes and were unable to find it. My ISP suffered a major (8+ hour) outage some 90 minutes before the release was made, preventing me from uploading and posting this overview. 

Why A Second Life Only Release?

As noted above, Firestorm 6.2.4.57588 is for Second Life only. This is because Firestorm are changing how they support Second Life and OpenSim grids. You can read the full details in the official Firestorm blog post Second Life and OpenSim are No Longer Joined  at the  Hip, but in short, and in the future:

  • The Firestorm code is forked into two repositories: Second Life and OpenSim.
  • The Second Life dedicated viewer’s grid manager will only offer Agni and Aditi (SL main and beta grids).
  • The OpenSim dedicated viewer’s grid manager will NOT offer Second Life grids.
  • If you wish to access both OpenSim and Second Life, you will have to install both versions of Firestorm
  • the two versions will install entirely independently to one another and will not share settings or cache, so they will not conflict with each other.

To assist is identifying the two differernt grid versions, the Firestorm downalod pages has been changes to clearly differentiate between Second Life and OpenSim.

The revised Firestorm grid download selections

Note that at the time of writing, the OpenSim download page points to Firestorm 6.0.2.56680, which still works on both SL and OpenSim, and will use the same settings folders as 6.2.4. This will change with the next Firestorm update.

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 6.2.4.
  • Please refer to the official release notes for a full breakdown and changes, updates and credits associated with this release.

Lab Derived Updates

Firestorm 6.2.4.57588 brings the Firestorm viewer up to the current (at the time of writing) Linden Lab release viewer, version 6.2.3.527758, formerly the Rainbow RC viewer promoted on June 18th, 2019.In addition, this release includes some upstream fixes from current LL RC viewers, such as the HiDPI retina display support on Mac systems (Love Me Render RC).

Please refer to the Firestorm 6.2.4 release notes for details of specific Lab-derived fixes for this release.

Estate Access Management (EAM)

It has long been the case that the lists for managing access to a region / estate have been crammed into the General tab of the Region / Estate floater (World > Region / Estate or ALT-R). This has made the management of these lists – particularly the Banned list – difficult when reaching large numbers.

The Estate Access Management (EAM) project was introduced by Linden Lab to address the various shortfalls with the presentation of these list, through both back-end changes and a refactoring of the Region / Estate floater. Firestorm release 6.2.4.57588 includes the updated viewer UI, allowing estate owners and officers to make use of the improved tools.

In particular, the EAM moves the access control elements of the Region  / Estate viewer away from the General tab and into their own dedicated tab (show below).

Estate Access Management: as they have previously appeared (left) and as they are under EAM (right) – note: user names have been redacted from this lists shown

In terms of adding or removing names and groups, the new Access sub-tabs work in much the same way as the list boxes in previous releases. 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 estate officer / region holder who implemented the ban.
  • 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 Banned list provides more functionality: search, re-ordering, date banned, who did the banning (only applicable for banned implemented after the EAM back-end was deployed by Linden Lab earlier in 2019, pre-existing bans will have “n/a” in the new columns, as indicated by the Banned By column in this image. Note that names have been redacted from this list
  • 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.

Continue reading “Firestorm 6.2.4: EAM and paving the way”