Firestorm 5-0: Bento, VOB, VLC and more!

Following the unprecedented demand for Firestorm 5.0.1 (see here for details), formal mirror sites are now available. When downloading Firestorm 5.0.1, please ensure you use with either the Firestorm download page or one of the mirror site links. Please do not source your copy of Firestorm from elsewhere.
The mirror site download links are available here.

firestorm-logoOn Tuesday, December 13th, the Firestorm team released Firestorm 5.0.1.52150 – the new version number both reflecting the inclusion of the Lab’s Project Bento code and also bringing Firestorm more into line with the Lab’s own viewer version numbering, which the latter has been gently requesting for some time now.

As well as Bento, the release includes almost all the latest code updates and improvements from Linden Lab, and a lot of new nips and tucks from the Firestorm team and via contributions from other parties.

In keeping with my usual approach to Firestorm releases, what follows is  not an in-depth review of version 5.0.1.52150, but rather an overview, highlighting some of the more significant / interesting changes, updates and  fixes, which I feel will be of most interest to users.

For full details of all changes, and all due credits to contributors, etc., please refer to the official release notes. Note that this release means that Firestorm version 4.7.5 will be blocked in around three weeks time.

The Before We Begin

  • There is no need to perform a clean install with this release if you do not wish to.
  • You should, however, remove your existing version of Firestorm before installing 5.0.1.
  • Before removing your current version, make sure you back-up all your settings safely so you can restore them after installing 5.0.1.

Lab Derived Updates

Firestorm 5.0.1 brings the viewer up to parity with the Lab’s 5.0 code base, which means this release supports the new Bento skeleton enhancements plus VLC media capabilities, the Visual Outfits Browser (VOB), a range of fixes and improvements and some upstream additions from the most recent Maintenance RC.

Bento Avatar Skeleton Enhancements

As most people are aware, Project Bento is a collaborative project between the Lab and content creators to improve and enhance the Second Life avatar skeleton in order to better support mesh avatars (Bento does not work with the Second Life system avatar). It adds numerous new bones to the avatar skeleton, allowing easier creation and animation of things like additional wings and limbs, and offers the opportunity for greater facial animations with mesh heads and faces, and even finger manipulation on mesh hands.

In addition, Bento provides a set of new attachment points to work with the new joints – however, the overall limit of the number of attachments you can wear at any one time remains 38 (including HUDs).

Most of all of this work is entirely under-the-hood. However, there are two additions to the avatar right-click context menu for both your own and other avatars: Reset Skeleton and Reset Skeleton And Animations, which should be noted.

These options have been added because sometimes, when changing between one mesh avatar and another, the basic SL avatar can become deformed, resulting in it looking squished, stretched, caught between two looks, or something else. This problem is generally the result of race conditions when the avatar’s appearance is being updated, and both of these buttons are intended to correct the problem  – the option to reset animations being intended to fix deformations which may be due to animations also kicking-in incorrectly / at the wrong time as well, which may cause an avatar to deform.

The reset skeleton options should “fix" your own or other avatars which appear distorted in your view after changing looks / shape – note both options only affect your view of the avatar in question, it does not affect how others may see the same avatar. Those using the Pie Menu should find the options under Appearance > Reset
The reset skeleton options should “fix” your own or other avatars which appear distorted in your view after changing looks / shape – note both options only affect your view of the avatar in question, it does not affect how others may see the same avatar. Those using the Pie Menu should find the options under Appearance > Reset

Note than anyone not using a Bento-capable viewer will see Bento avatars “deformed” or “melted” and will also see any attachments using the new Bento attach points rendered in the avatar’s chest.

Further information on Bento can be found via the following links:

HUD Complexity Warning

If you attach a HUD which makes heavy / excessive use of large textures and which, as a result, can impact your system’s performance, the viewer will display a warning to indicate the problem and which names the HUD. It will naturally fade after a set time has passed.

The new HUD complexity warning
The new HUD complexity warning

Visual Outfits Browser

The Visual Outfits Browser (VOB) allows you to use the Appearance floater to capture / upload / select images of your outfits and save them against the outfits in a new Outfit Gallery tab within the floater. It can be accessed by either right-clicking your avatar and selecting Change Outfit or Edit Outfit > Click the left arrow at the top of the floater or via Avatar > Appearance / CTRL-O, then

The tab displays all of your created outfits as a series of folder icons, each one with the name of the outfit beneath it. You can replace these icons with an image of the outfit quickly and easily in one of three ways:

  • You can wear the outfit, then right-click on its associated folder icon and select Take a Snapshot. This will open the snapshot floater with save to inventory selected by default, allowing you to photograph yourself wearing the outfit and upload the image to SL, where it automatically replaces the folder icon for the outfit
  • You can use Upload Photo to upload an image of the outfit your previously saved to your hard drive, and have it replace the folder icon
  • You can use Select Photo to select any image previously saved to your inventory (including any image supplied with the outfit in question, if appropriate), and use that to replace the folder icon for the outfit.
The Visual Outfits Browser (VOB) allows you to browse your outfits in the Outfits folder be associating a snapshot with them which can be uploaded directly, or pulled from inventory (256x256). You can also wear or remove outfits through the VOB
The Visual Outfits Browser (VOB) allows you to browse your outfits in the Outfits folder be associating a snapshot with them which can be uploaded directly, or pulled from inventory (256×256). You can also wear or remove outfits through the VOB (images purely for show – I don’t actually use the Outfits folder!)

Any outfit within the gallery can be worn (Add to or Replace current outfit) and removed via the right-click context menu, which also includes options to create / delete new outfits, and to create new system clothing items / body parts.

When using the capability there are a number of points to keep in mind:

  • Both the Take a Snapshot and the Upload Photo options will incur the L$10 upload fee, with the images themselves saved in your Textures folder
  • In all three cases, link to the original images are placed in the outfit folder
  • VOB only works for outfits you’ve created using the Appearance floater / the Outfits tab. It doesn’t work for any other folders where you might have outfits – such is the Clothing folder.

You can find out more on the VOB via the Visual Outfits Browser Knowledge Base article.

VLC Media Support

QuickTime has been replaced with LibVLC support for the Windows and Linux versions of the viewer. This is due to Apple discontinuing QuickTime for Windows while leaving vulnerabilities unpatched. see QuickTime for Windows: “uninstall today”.

Other Lab Updates of Note

  • The viewer is now DPI aware on Windows 8.1+. This fixes the problems with tiny font size & user interface size on high-resolution monitors on Windows 8.1 and above. The UI Scaling is now be automatically set to the correct value for the system at viewer launch. The maximum UI scaling setting has also been raised as follows:
    • Windows 7: 2.0.
    • Windows 8.1: 2.5.
    • Windows 10: 4.5.
  • Improvements to the region “Object Bonus” setting – see BUG-11913.
  • A time stamp has been added to Help > About floater.
  • A fix to prevent editing marketplace listings before inventory has fully fetched causing listings to be unlisted – see BUG-11804.
  • A fix for resetting scripts via the build menu no longer works on many scripted objects – see BUG-20086.
  • A new alert has been added, warning if too much inventory is in coalesced objects.
  • A fix for incorrect radius calculation in the viewer – see Beq Janus’ blog post – Bug hunting – Fixing an ancient LOD issue and also FIRE-20192 / STORM-2138
  • PERMISSION_DEBIT notification now defaults to Deny, to to help prevent accidental granting of debit permissions (see below).
The old debit notification (left) gave equal emphasis to accepting / denying the request to access account balances. The update to the Maintenance RC viewer new focus attention on denying a request for account access as the default option.
The old debit notification (left) gave equal emphasis to accepting / denying the request to access account balances. The update now focuses Deny as the default option.

Firestorm Updates

Preferences

Notable Preferences updates are:

  • Move and View: new option to re-render temporary derendered objects after teleport or after end of session/manual re-rendering via the asset blacklist floater: Re-Render Temporary Derendered Objects After Teleport (see also Asset Blacklist Updates, below).
  • Privacy > General: New option to log auto-accepted inventory to nearby chat (requires Automatically Accept New Inventory Items to be enabled).
 New option to log auto-accepted inventory to nearby chat when Automatically Accept New Inventory Items is enabled
New option to log auto-accepted inventory to nearby chat when Automatically Accept New Inventory Items is enabled
  • User Interface > Font: new font option: Noto.

Avatar Render Settings

Unlike the official viewer, the avatar render settings you apply to individual avatars will persist across log-ins, so if you set an avatar to Do Not Render, that avatar will only render as a grey imposter until such time as you right-click on them again and select either Render Normally (e.g. fully or as a Jelly Doll, depending on your Complexity Setting), or Render Fully, so they will always render in your view, no matter what your Maximum Complexity setting.

With Firestorm 5.0.1 you can track those avatars you’ve set to either always render fully or to never render (other than as a grey imposter) using World > Avatar Render Settings. This displays a floater listing all the avatars you’ve applied a render setting to as either Fully or Never. Right-clicking on an avatar’s name (or using SHIFT-click / CTRL-click for multiple selections) will display a pop-up menu, allowing you to change the current setting for the selected avatar(s). You can also right-click on an avatar’s name and then click the information icon just to the left of their render setting to display their profile.

World > Avatar Rendering Setting allows you to review all avatars whom you have set to either always Fully or Never (other than as a grey imposter) render
World > Avatar Rendering Setting allows you to review all avatars whom you have set to either always render Fully or Never (other than as a grey imposter)

Asset Blacklist Updates

The Asset Blacklist (World > Asset Blacklist) has a number of improvements:

  • Temporarily blocked objects are now shown in the blacklist floater so they can be removed.
  • A fix has been added to prevent crashing when leaving an area where many objects were blacklisted.
  • A Preferences option has been added to re-render temporary derendered objects after teleport or after end of session/manual re-rendering via the asset blacklist floater: Preferences > Move & View > View > Re-Render Temporary Derendered Objects after Teleport.
  • A Clear Temporary button has been added to the blacklist floater to clear all temporary derendered objects.

Graphics Presets Now Global

Graphics presets (a Linden Lab capability introduced into Firestorm with the 4.7.9 release) are now treated as a Global setting, rather than a Per-Account setting. This means that presets can be set from the log-in  splash screen without actually logging-in to the viewer, and helps ensures consistent presentation of the current preset setting. However, it also means that any existing presets either have to be re-created, or need to be manually copied from the per-account settings folder to the global user_settings folder. See FIRE-19810.

 FSExperimentalLostAttachmentsFix

There is currently (at the time of writing) an issue in messaging between the simulator and the viewer during region crossings (physical or teleports), which can result in attachments being detached or, harder to detect, attachments being removed server-side, but remaining visible (but effectively ghosted) in your view, and which cannot be individually removed, as the simulator doesn’t recognise them as being there.

A common cause for this problem is multiple items using the same attachment point – which can be a major issue with things like rigged meshes, which then to be set to attach to something like the right hand. Thus, a way to solve this is to move multiple attachments using the same point elsewhere – in the case of rigged mesh, this should be relatively simple, as it will retain its orientation and position relative to your body no matter where it is attached.

The Lab is still investigating this problem. However, in an attempt to help mitigate it, Firestorm have implemented two new debug settings in Firestorm 5.0.1:

  • FSExperimentalLostAttachmentsFix: enabled by default, this triggers an attempt by the viewer to correctly resync what it believes to be your attachments with the simulator’s understanding of what you have attached, and either prevent items being unexpected removed, or items being removed, but remaining ghosted in your view, etc.
  • FSExperimentalLostAttachmentsFixReport: this option is disabled be default to prevent message spamming on your screen. When enabled, it reports any attachments which the simulator attempted to incorrectly detach during a teleport or region crossing to nearby chat.

RLVa (Restrained Love) Updates

For the full list of RLVa updates, please refer to the release notes. However, the following are worth highlighting:

  • RLVa restrictions can be sorted in ascending / descending order via RLVa > Restrictions and clicking on the Restrictions header
  • RLVa can be toggled on / off from the viewer log-in splash screen without the need to re-start the viewer on doing so.
If you are not logged-in to the viewer, RLVa can be toggled on / off from the Firestorm 5.0 login / splash screen without having the result the viewer.
If you are not logged-in to the viewer, RLVa can be toggled on / off from the Firestorm 5.0 login / splash screen without having the restart the viewer.

Building and Scripting

Mesh uploads should no longer fail from a folder with Unicode characters in the name (FIRE-19806 and BUG-37632), and clicking on a link in a script dialogue should no longer open it as a SLurl rather than launching a web browser (FIRE-20054).

In addition, the LSL preprocessor has the following improvements:

  • The “Preprocessed” text window of the preprocessor is no longer editable.
  • Line and column are now shown on the “Preprocessed” tab.
  • Context menu items and button which are unavailable are properly disabled.
  • Actions for context menu items and for buttons are performed on the active tab (if action is available) instead of always on the possibly hidden editor tab.
  • The Search / Replace and Goto Line floaters now work on the active tab instead of always on the possibly hidden editor tab.

Other Updates of Note

  • An FPS meter has been added to the viewer status bar, with a seconds count also added to the status bar clock (top right corner of the viewer
FPS meter (circles) and seconds on the clock
FPS meter (circles) and seconds on the clock
  • 64-bit CEF for Windows x64 in now built as native 64-bit plug-in; no more QuickTime
  • The custom payment message is now also sent in-world with the payment instead of only being visible in transaction history
  • Sort order and column widths of the region tracker now persist between sessions (FIRE-20025)
  • Your own avatar’s attachments should now appear in the correct locations when in Mouselook (FIRE-10574 and BUG-1408)
  • CTRL-F will now focus the local search editor of a window if available – can be disabled through the Debug setting FSSelectLocalSearchEditorOnShortcut to FALSE
  • Comma separators added to the avatar complexity notification (so 1,456,897 appears as such, rather than 1456897)
  • A refresh button has been added to the texture preview window when viewing people’s profile pictures, group insignia, textures in inventory, etc, to overcome issues of the image failing to render in the preview (FIRE-20150)
A refresh button has been added to texture preview windows to help deal with situations where the image may not properly load or render
A refresh button has been added to texture preview windows to help deal with situations where the image may not properly load or render
  • Group updates:
    • A Copy SLurl to Clipboard option has been added to the right-click context menu when clicking on a group name – this copies the group’s URI to the clipboard (FIRE-20146)
    • Clicking a group URI should now put focus on an already open and maximised group profile.
  • Flickr upload fixes:
    • Direct snapshot uploads to Flickr should no longer upload multiple copies (FIRE-20026)
    • Flickr upload time-out increased to 5 minutes
    • Uploader now checks std:string.max_size() before appending image data to avoid buffer overrun (FIRE-20094)

OpenSimulator Updates

  • Setting Home location should no longer fail on OpenSim grids (FIRE-19894)
  • Legacy search results list items should now be selectable under all circumstances in Inworldz (FIRE-19912).

General Observations

Firestorm 5.0.1.52150 brings Firestorm bang-slap up-to-date with the Lab’s own viewer, something the Firestorm team have been striving to achieve for the past couple of years, so kudos to all concerned.

With the inclusion of Bento, this release now means all those making use of the most recent releases of all currently maintained viewers can now correctly render Bento products – so it will be interesting to see how the Bento market for mesh avatars (human or otherwise) now develops.

A side benefit with Bento is that during testing, a good number of preview and beta testers reported an overall improvement in viewer performance – potentially more than can be put down to a purely placebo effect. I run a reasonably high-end system, but have witnessed a step up in average frame rates on our home island / region when compared to 4.7.9 (which also brought something of an improvement for me), and have found some regions I’ve traditionally had problems with (FPS down in the teens with the bells and whistles on) also behaving better.

5.0.1 has, for me, so far been the most stable of all the recent Firestorm releases – not that I tend to have major issues (just oddball ones!). So, as Christmas presents go, this release certainly fills the stocking nicely!

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Firestorm 4.7.9.50527: “I see jelly people!”

firestorm-logoMonday, August 8th saw Firestorm release version 4.7.9.50527 of their viewer. Coming a little over four months since the last release, 4.7.9 brings with it a lot of important changes from the Lab – perhaps most visible Avatar Complexity and graphics pre-sets – as well as a large number of nips, tucks, fixes and improvements from the Firestorm team and open source / TPV contributors.

As per my usual MO, what follows is  not an in-depth review of the release, but rather an overview, highlighting some of the more significant / interesting changes, updates and  fixes, which I feel will be of most interest to users.

For full details of all changes, and all due credits to contributors, etc., please refer to the official release notes.

When installing this release, uninstall the existing version and then install the new 4.7.9 release – no need for a clean install.

Available Downloads

Prior to getting stuck into the details, please note that with this release:

  • There is no 32-bit Havok version for OS X, due to incompatibilities with the RLVa update
  • Firestorm have discontinued producing a 32-bit Havok version of the viewer for Linux, due to the relatively low demand for it.

Firestorm is and will continue to be available as a 64-bit non-Havok (“OpenSim”) version for OS X and in both 32-bit and 64-bit non-Havok (“OpenSim”) versions for Linux. These versions can obviously be used with Second Life, and are available for the 4.7.9.50527 release.

This means it is unlikely there will be any Firestorm Havok support for either Max OS X or linux until Linden Lab release the 64-bit versions of the Havok library alongside their own upcoming 64-bit viewers. In the meantime, the Firestorm team offer their apologies for any inconvenience caused, and ask that those on either OS X or Linux who require Havok functionality (e.g. for mesh uploads reliant on Havok physics or for pathfinding purposes) to briefly switch to the LL viewer.

Log-in Credentials Display Update

The first noticeable aspect in this release is the log-in credentials area at the bottom of the splash / log-in screen have been revised, offering a slightly more Viewer 4 style look and bringing all the options together alongside of a single, obvious log-in button.

The revised log-in credentials area of the splash / log-in screen
The revised log-in credentials area of the splash / log-in screen

Note that if you prefer the old login screen layout, you can set the debug setting FSUseLegacyLoginPanel to TRUE.

Another change with this update is that opening Preferences from the log-in screen should no longer cause splash screen layout problems, thus fixing FIRE-17518.

Lab Derived Updates

Firestorm 4.7.9 brings the viewer up to parity with the Lab’s 4.0.6 code base, and so includes the Avatar Complexity (aka “Jelly Dolls”) and graphics presets, as noted above, and includes many maintenance fixes, things like Voice updates and the most recent HTTP updates.

Avatar Complexity – or “Why is everyone I’m looking at an odd colour?”

Avatars can often be the biggest single rendering load on our computers. Hence why the bottom falls out of your viewer performance in a crowded place. Avatar Complexity is a means to offset this impact by allowing you to set a “complexity limit” for avatar rendering. Any avatar (including their attachments) exceeding this limit will be rendered as a solid colour – a “Jelly Doll” – putting a lot less load on your computer. You can adjust the limit according to your needs, and you can also override the setting for individual avatars around you. Do note as well that the setting only applies to other avatars in your view; your own avatar will always be rendered fully.

When first installed, a viewer with Avatar Complexity will set a default limit for you based on your current viewer graphics settings. Hence why you might see a lot of solid colour avatars around you when logging-on for the first time with Firestorm 4.7.9. These default limits are:

  • Low: 35,000
  • Low-Mid: 100,000
  • Mid: 200,000
  • Mid-High: 250,000
  • High: 300,000
  • High-Ultra / Ultra: 350,000

You can adjust you Maximum Complexity setting at any time in Firestorm in one of two ways either via Preferences > Graphics or via your Quick Preferences.

In both cases, moving the Max(imum) Complexity slider to the right increases your threshold, allowing more avatars around you to be fully rendered, while moving it to the left decreases your threshold, increasing the number of avatars liable to be rendered as solid colours.

"Avatar

Note that you can set the Max(imum) Complexity slider to No Limit (all the way to the right). However, this isn’t recommended simply because it leaves your viewer vulnerable to any graphics crashers some inconsiderates still occasionally try to use. It’s far better to simply set your viewer to a high limit (e.g. 350,000) if you don’t want to be bothered by seeing Jelly Dolls

Displaying Avatar Complexity Information

You can display Avatar Complexity information for all avatars (including your own) in Firestorm in one of two ways, depending on your preference (or both can be active at the same time, if you so wish):

  • By going to the Advanced menu (CTRL-ALT-D if not visible) > Performance Tools > Avatar Complexity Information (previously Show Render Weight for Avatars). This displays three items of information over the heads of all avatars Including yours):
    • The render complexity for each avatar
    • A ranking of the avatar’s distance from your camera (1=closest)
    • The attachment surface area for an avatar, expressed in square metres
  • Or by going to Preferences > General and checking Show Avatar Complexity (if not already enabled). This will display the render complexity for each avatar in their name tag, and includes two sub-options, which are pretty self-explanatory:
    • Only [show avatar complexity, when enabled] If Too Complex
    • Show Own Complexity.
The Firestorm options for displaying Avatar Complexity information in the viewer
The Firestorm options for displaying Avatar Complexity information in the viewer

Continue reading “Firestorm 4.7.9.50527: “I see jelly people!””

Firestorm 4.7.7: get ready to update!

firestorm-logoThursday, March 17th saw Firestorm release version 4.7.7.408706 of their viewer. Coming four months after the last release, this update is slightly later than planned, but includes a number of important updates from the Lab as well as a good mix of updates, improvements and fixes directly from the Firestorm team and contributors.

As per my usual MO, what follows is an overview of the release, highlighting some of the more significant / interesting changes, updates and  fixes to be found in the release, and which I feel will be of most interest to users.

For full details of all changes, and all due credits to contributors, etc., please refer to the official release notes.

The Usual Before We Begin Notes

For best results when installing this release:

This update means that Firestorm 4.6.9 will be blocked in approximately 3 weeks time.

Lab Derived Updates

Firestorm 4.7.7 brings the viewer up to parity with the Lab’s 4.0.1 code base, and so includes the TLS 1.2 and CEF changes. These and other Lab derived changes are outlined below.

TLS 1.2 and Viewers

The reason this release might be regarded as becoming a mandatory update for Second Life users is the integration of TLS1.2 into the viewer – and by “viewer”, I mean all current or upcoming viewer releases, LL or TPV.

TLS, the successor to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), is a cryptographic protocol for communications security intended to provide privacy and data integrity between two communicating computer application (such as the viewer and the Lab’s servers).

TLS 1.2 is currently being implemented by Linden Lab under the umbrella of their work of fiscal compliance, This involved changes to both the viewer and LL’s servers, the upshot of which means that, once TLS 1.2 has been fully implemented, any viewer that does not support TLS 1.2, will not be able to do any interactions with cashier or anything that involves L$. While there is no precise time frame for this work to be completed, indications from the Lab are that it will be sooner rather than later.

Again, this is not an arbitrary decision on the part of either the Firestorm team or Linden Lab; the work is being carried out as a compliance requirement.

Chromium Embedded Framework

Firestorm 4.7.7 includes the Lab’s implementation of Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) for media management (and more). CEF completely replaces the old llQTwebkit for media management within the viewer, replacing it with current web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3 support and WebGL, which can allow direct manipulation of objects on a browser page displayed in-world with ease.

CEF should also enable things like viewing PDF files in-world, editing PDF documents via Google Docs, etc. See the CEF forum thread for more.

CEF integration into the viewer means that Flash and QuickTime content require third-party support (see this Knowledge Base article on enabling Flash support for CEF viewers, for example). However, because they do rely on plug-in support, there is no guarantee given by Firestorm or Linden Lab that either will work, and are regarded as unsupported.

Other Updates from the Lab

Materials (texture / diffuse, bumpiness / normal and shininess / specular) in the Build floater Texture tab can now be selected via radio buttons, rather than picking from a drop-down list, to make locating and selection them easier (see BUG-10149).

Firestorm replaces the materials drop-down selection menu (seen in version4.7.5, left) with the radio buttons for materials types (right), as also seen in the official viewer
Firestorm replaces the materials drop-down selection menu (seen in version4.7.5, left) with the radio buttons for materials types (right), as also seen in the official viewer
  • A fix for ALM enabled + full bright + shiny objects failing to display texture on Mac (see FIRE-12681)
  • A fix for activating Show Avatar Complexity disabling all llSetText (hovertext) viewer is restarted (see BUG-10488)
  • A fix for show land owner colour overlay is only visible where there is water in deferred rendering (see FIRE-11654)
  • A fix for a black screen if ALM is enabled while in wireframe mode and then wireframe is disabled (see BUG-4543)
  • A fix for rotating an object that is used as grid reference going crazy (see FIRE-2593 and BUG-9419)
  • A fix for “Ban Member” in the group chatters list context menu being greyed out (see FIRE-16160 and BUG-10500)
  • A fix for animated agents at high altitudes randomly showing up at 0,0,0 (see bug FIRE-14439 and BUG-6648)
  • A fix for having to open ‘About Land’ twice to get parcel ban timings to load in the parcel ban list when banned names are not cached (see bug FIRE-17408 and BUG-10831)
  • A fix for a stuck freeze frame state if snapshot floater is closed with freeze frame left enabled and the viewer window is subsequently resized (see FIRE-16739 and BUG-9952)
  • A fix for opening a note card with the same name as one already open failing to work (see  VWR-2981)
  • A fix for replacing current outfit with contents of a non-outfit folder creates a folder link in the Current Outfit Folder (see BUG-11274)
  • A fix for opening an experience compiled script in an object in an adjacent region failing to show the script is compiled with an experience in the script editor (see BUG-8980).

Continue reading “Firestorm 4.7.7: get ready to update!”

Firestorm 4.7.5: something for everyone

firestorm-logoTuesday, November 17th saw the release of Firestorm 4.7.5.47975.  While not as major in terms of LL features and updates as the August 4.7.3 release, the new version of Firestorm nevertheless brings with it plenty of general fixes and improvements, both via the Lab and the Firestorm team and contributors.

As per my usual MO, what follows is an overview of the release, highlighting some of the more significant / interesting changes, updates and  fixes to be found in the release.  For full details of all changes, and all due credits to contributors, etc., please refer to the official release notes.

The Usual Before We Begin Notes

For best results when installing this release:

Details of any versions of Firestorm to be blocked as a result of this release will be announced in due course.

Lab Derived Updates

Firestorm 4.7.5 brings the viewer to parity with the Lab’s 3.8.6 code base, and so includes the new Notifications updates and changes to the mesh uploader. These and other key updates from the Lab are listed below.

Notifications Update

The notifications update presents a new floater for managing all your incoming notifications and notices, the result of a feature request to the Lab from Aki Shichiroji. Within this floater, incoming notifications are split between four tabs: System, Transactions, Invitations and Group, with each tab displaying the total number of notices stored within it.

Notices are initially displayed in summary format presenting the title, date of receipt and other immediately relevant data, and can be opened in one of two ways:

  • Clicking on a notice directly will open in a new floater (shown below left) – this is a Firestorm-specific feature for the floater
  • Clicking on the small downwards arrow to the right of the notice will expand it within the existing floater (show below right).
The new Notifications floater from the Lab is included in Firestorm 4.7.5.
The new Notifications floater from the Lab is included in Firestorm 4.7.5.

The floater also includes two buttons: Collapse All and Delete All. Both do as they suggest: collapse all notices open within a tab in the floater and delete all notices with a tab. Two further Firestorm-specific aspects of the notifications floater are:

  • An improved display of condensed group notices and show group name instead of sender name
  • The floater remembers the last selected tab after a relog.

Mesh Uploader Updates

Firestorm 4.7.5 includes the updated mesh uploader from Linden Lab, as seen in the SL viewer 3.8.4.305119 release.

This feature modifies the mesh importer to (optionally) improve debug output, perform name-based LOD association, and handle models with many materials, and allows models with more than 8 unique faces to be imported. When using it, note that:

  • The same limitations on LODs and materials remain in place (e.g. your low LOD mesh materials must be a subset of the full LOD materials).
  • LODs and Physics reps can now be explicitly associated with a given mesh in the full LOD model using name-based matching.
  • By properly naming the meshes in your lower LOD meshes and physics reps, you can avoid issues with ordering of the meshes within your DCC tool and other material mismatching errors.
  • An ImporterDebug option has been added to the settings.xml file which, if enabled, causes more information to be output during import than you can shake a stick at.
    The extra output can be very helpful for diagnosing authoring errors (e.g. violating the material subset constraints mentioned above) and pinpoint what needs to be fixed in the source model for successful import.

Further information can be found in the Lab’s Knowledge Base article.

Other Updates from the Lab

Other notable updates from the Lab include, but are not limited to:

  • A fix for unable to wear a copy of a wearable until relog or swapping to a wearable with a different UUID (see: BUG-8388 and FIRE-16097)
  • A fix for viewer crashing at logout if wearing clothing textured with a local texture (BUG-8872 and FIRE-15787)
  • A fix for viewer crashing if you open Help > About while a group member list is loading (see BUG-9396)
  • A fix for deleting objects too quickly from contents of another object results in viewer crash (see BUG-9492 and FIRE-16352)
  • A fix for alpha masking not working when ALM is enabled if the object has a legacy bump set (see BUG-7263)
  • Fixes for mesh models sometimes failing to load completely (see: BUG-6803, BUG-7239, BUG-8806, and FIRE-15690)
  • A fix for the inventory count sometimes not displaying (see BUG-7263)
  • A fix for group members of large groups in a role which has “Invite people to this group” ability not being able to send group invites (see BUG-9404)
  • A for fox errors when texturing a linkset “Unable to add texture. Please wait a few seconds and try again.” (see BUG-9957 and FIRE-16755)
  • A fix for the massive slowdown when opening “Place Profile” or “About Land” dialogue when the Covenant text is long
  • A fix for broken texture animation on rigged mesh
  • A fix for building block type changing to Torus after cancelling changing of texture for sculpted object
  • The time remaining is now displayed before the avatar name in the parcel ban list for timed bans
  • A huge number of maintenance fixes from various LL Maintenance viewer updates – for the full list, please refer to the Firestorm notes.

Continue reading “Firestorm 4.7.5: something for everyone”

Firestorm 4.7.3: are you ready to rock?!

firestorm-logoUpdate:this release has seen further issues for those using Webroot anti-virus (problems include low FPS, high ping rates to the simulator, very slow rendering, etc.). If you have Webroot installed on your system and are experiencing issues, please try manually whitelisting the viewer’s cache folder.

Tuesday, August 18th saw the release of Firestorm 4.7.3.47323. This release comes a little later than had been planned, thanks largely to a series of last-minute blockers caused be assorted external influences (such as win 10 driver issues for Intel).

This is once again a major release, packing a huge amount into it, and which brings Firestorm pretty much to parity with the Lab’s code base. It also sees the return of the Linux 64-bit build to the fold.

Given the sheer number of updates in the release, I do not intend to cover everything here, but rather offer an overview of some of the more major / interesting changes, updates and  fixes to be found in the release.   for full details of all changes, and all due credits to contributors, etc., please refer to the official release notes.

The Usual Before We Begin Notes

For best results when installing this release:

Version Blocking

As this is a full release, expect an announcement on the blocking of version 4.6.1 and 4.6.5 to be made once the dust from this release has settled.

Log-in Screen Updates: Text Mode and Remember User Name

Login Screen > Select Mode >Text

When enabled, this disables the viewer’s 3D rendering, allowing Firestorm to be used as a “text viewer” for low-end systems and launches the viewer with the in-world view blanked out, but all of the menu options and tool bar buttons accessible HUDs (which are not displayed) and other attachments can be manipulated via the Touch option in the Inventory context menu.

The Text Mode option, accessed from the Select mode drop-down on the right of the log-in / splash screen enables you to run Firestorm without 3D graphics on a low-end system - menus and buttons will still be accessible, as will floaters. The Remember user name check box (highlighted above left) is also a new feature, restoring the functionality last seen in Pheonix
The Text Mode option, accessed from the Select mode drop-down on the right of the log-in / splash screen enables you to run Firestorm without 3D graphics on a low-end system – menus and buttons will still be accessible, as will floaters. The Remember user name check box (highlighted above left) is also a new feature, restoring the functionality last seen in Phoenix

The Remember Username check box has been added to Firestorm in response to a series of requests to bring back this functionality from the Phoenix viewer – see FIRE-5735.

Additional Log-in Screen Fixes

  • The issue of Remember Password box checking itself after a failed log-in attempt and refusing to uncheck itself (see FIRE-16535) has been fixed
  • Several focus issues within the login panel have been fixed (see FIRE-6930)

Lab Updates

The 4.7.3.47323 release brings Firestorm up to parity with the Linden 3.8.2 code base (with some additional updates from the current 3.8.3 code base). Chief among the LL updates are the following.

Viewer Build Tools Update

This release means that Firestorm is now built using the updated viewer build tools, notably Visual Studio 2013 for windows and Xcode 6.1 for Mac, with some additional tool improvements, all designed to provide improved performance and stability, as well as easing the viewer build process. Details on the new build tools can be found in my blog post on the subject, however the key points with this change are:

  • The Windows version of this viewer will not install on Windows XP systems, regardless of the Service Packs also installed  (previous versions of the release viewer would install on Windows XP system which had Service Pack 3 installed)
  • The Mac version of the viewer will not install on any version of OS X below 10.7.

Attachment Fixes

Firestorm 4.7.3 includes the Lab’s Project Big Bird fixes for a wide range of viewer attachment loss issues, which tend to noticeably occur after regions crossings (physical or teleport), such as: attachments appearing to be detached in your view, but not to others, and vice-versa; attachments appearing to have detached from you, but showing as attached in Inventory, and so on. These also fix issues such as adding multiple attachments at the same time failing to attach everything selected, and attempting to wear an outfit with too many attachments failing.

Project Layer Limits

This changes how system clothing layers (shirts, pants, under shirts, jackets, etc.), are handled. Prior to this update, an avatar could wear a maximum of 5 items of any single layer – say the jacket – at one time. With this change, an avatar can wear any combination of layers up to a global maximum of 60 – so you can wear 1 pair of pants and 59 jackets if you so wish, or just 60 jackets, etc.

Note that this change does not apply to body layers – skins, shapes, eyes, etc., for which the limit is still one of each, nor is it applicable to attachments, which retain a limit of 38 per avatar.

Experience Keys / Tools

Firestorm 4.7.3 adds the full set of Experience Keys / Tools controls and floaters in the viewer. For those not familiar with Experience Keys / Tools, I offer my own overview from July 2015.

This update means that on entering an area where an Experience is running, Firestorm users will see the full permissions request dialogue, rather than an abbreviated version.

With release 4.7.3, Firestorm users can access the Experience floater and review information on those Experiences they have allowed, blocked, owned, etc., and display individual Experience profiles
With release 4.7.3, Firestorm users can access the Experience floater and review information on those Experiences they have allowed, blocked, owned, etc., and display individual Experience profiles. Land owners can also display information on Experiences running  / blocked on their land through World > Region Details and / or the About Land tab

In addition, Firestorm gains the additional Experiences-related panels and floater options. So users can now access the Experiences floater via Avatar > Experiences, and the Region and About Land floaters have also been updated to include Experiences tabs and information.

Viewer-Managed Marketplace

Firestorm 4.7.3 incorporates the Marketplace Listings folder
Firestorm 4.7.3 incorporates the Marketplace Listings panel (Avatar > Marketplace Listings)

Viewer-Managed Marketplace (VMM) is designed to enable merchants to manage the creation and management of Marketplace product listings through the viewer, bypassing the need to use the Merchant Outbox (and have copies of items stored on the Marketplace inventory servers) or using Magic Boxes (as VMM fully supports the sale on No Copy objects). It was fully deployed in July 2015, and all merchants have had their Marketplace listings migrated to VMM, and should by now have also migrated their Magic Box listings and items to VMM.

Firestorm 3.7.3 now fully supports VMM functionality, providing the Marketplace Listings panel and hiding the Marketplace Listings folder by default.

Those still requiring information on VMM are referred to my blog posts on the subject, which also include links to the Lab’s official information resources.

Dragging Folders into My Outfits

A recent change to viewer functionality meant that it was no longer possible to drag and drop sub-folders of items into the My Outfits  / Outfits folder – see BUG 9209 (FIRE-15603). This changed caused some consternation among those who use My Outfits to order their outfits. As a result of the use-cases supplied to the Lab within the JIRA, this has been reversed in an upcoming release, and has been cherry-picked for inclusion in Firestorm 4.7.3.

Continue reading “Firestorm 4.7.3: are you ready to rock?!”

Firestorm 4.7.1 Beta: It’s here!

firestorm-logoSunday, May 3rd saw the release of Firestorm 4.7.1.45325 Beta. This is another big update which brings Firestorm pretty close to being up-to-date with the Lab’s viewer.

However, it has been given a beta status as there are further important updates coming out of the Lab, such as fixes for AIS v3 attachment issues, the new Viewer-Managed Marketplace functionality, etc. As such, the Firestorm team will be working on a further release, which will be made available once the Lab has made these updates and new functionality generally available through their viewer release channel, and this will count as a “full” release of Firestorm.

Given the sheer number of updates in the release, I do not intend to cover everything here, but rather an overview of some of the more major / interesting changes, updates and  fixes to be found in the release.   for full details of all changes, and all due credits to contributors, etc., please refer to the official release notes.

The Before We Begin Notes

For best results when installing this release:

Version Blocking

As this is a beta release, there will be no blocking of any older releases of Firestorm until after the next “full” release is made.

Lab Updates

The 4.7.1.45325 release brings Firestorm up to parity with the Linden 3.7.26 code base (with some updates from the 3.7.27 and 3.7.28 releases). Given the last release (4.6.9) brought Firestorm to parity with the Lab’s 3.7.8 code base, this means this release includes a significant number of updates direct from the lab, which include, but are not limited to, the following.

Avatar Hover Height

The Lab’s Avatar Hover Height option is included in this release, allowing users to make on-the-fly adjustments to their Avatar’s relative position above the ground / the  floor / an object it is sat upon, via a slider or spinner, with a range of +/- 2 metres. The option is accessible via the avatar right-click context menu  / the pie menu, which displays the slider / spinner.

Avatar Hover Height allows for on-the-fly adjustments to your avatar's relative position above the ground, etc.
Avatar Hover Height allows for on-the-fly adjustments to your avatar’s relative position above the ground, etc.

Avatar Hover Height can be used whether you are standing, sitting, using a poseball, etc. However, note that it is a change to the graphical representation of your avatar – the option does not make any associated change the avatar’s height in terms of platform physics.

Default Permissions

Firestorm 4.7.1 includes the new default permissions panel for setting the initial permissions on created items – objects, uploads, scripts, notecards, gestures and wearables.  contributed to the official viewer by Jonathan Yap under STORM-68, the new panel can be opened via Preferences > Firestorm > Build 1 > Default Creation Permissions.

The STORM-1968 default creation permissions are now integrated into Firestorm
The STORM-68 default creation permissions are now integrated into Firestorm

Other Lab Updates of Note

  • GPU Benchmarking Feature: in common with the Lab’s viewer, Firestorm no longer uses the GPU table to define your GPU and initially set the viewer’s graphics. Instead, a test is carried out when the viewer is first installed to determine the GPU type and graphics settings are initially set as a result of this test. You can, of course set alter your graphics settings to suit your needs  / load your settings for any saved presets you have
  • Server-side Appearance (SSA) polish / Advanced Inventory System (AIS v3): stability and performance improvements for SSA, including retry logic, removing redundant requests, detecting various appearance stuck conditions; the removal of code related to the old client-side baking framework; appearance bug fixes 
  • HTTP Pipelining and faster inventory fetching: significantly improves the download of data (currently avatar baking information, texture data, and mesh data) to the viewer and improves inventory fetching and loading on logging-in
    • As HTTP fetching using HTTP is now used exclusively by SL (support for UDP fetching has been removed from the simulators), the option to disable HTTP Inventory has been removed from the Developer menu
  • Joint offsets in rigged mesh attachment fixes: removes the unpredictability from attaching multiple meshes with joint offsets which meant you could see yourself with different joint positions at different times, and the way you saw yourself might not match up to what others saw. Instead, wearing the same set of meshes should always produce the same joint positions, and the way you see yourself should consistently match the way others will see you. The process for removing attached meshes is also more robust, so you should be able to reliably get your old joint positions back after meshes are removed.
  • Obtain LSL syntax table from the simulator so that it is always up to date: see STORM-1831
  • Added glossy reflections for projectors: This feature makes use of the glossiness parameter to calculate the “gloss” of projector reflections – see STORM-2067
  • New unified snapshot floater and updated SL Share 2 capabilities: see Snapshots and Photography Updates, below.

Preferences Overhaul

Perhaps the most noticeable update in this release is the complete overhaul of the Preferences panel, tabs and sub-tab. Every major tab in Preference has been revised and rationalised, and most of the sub-tabs have been revised / added-to, along with a number of new sub-tabs being added to various tabs.

Firestorm 4.7.1 sees the Preferences panel extensively overhauled, with revised tabs and updated / new sub-tabs, such as the new Mouselook, Teleports and Map & Minimap tabs under Movement
Firestorm 4.7.1 sees the Preferences panel extensively overhauled, with revised tabs and updated / new sub-tabs, such as the new Mouselook, Teleports and Map & Mini-map tabs under Move & View

The result, while possibly confusing when first discovering a particular option has been moved, is actually a better, more logical set of Preferences tabs and sub-tabs.

Documenting all of them is beyond the scope of a review such as this, and the recommended means for finding options and to gain familiarity with the new layout is to use the Preferences search bar.

Continue reading “Firestorm 4.7.1 Beta: It’s here!”