Firestorm TTT: building

firestorm-logoIn the Firestorm Tool Tip Tuesday video for Tuesday March 31st, 2015, Jessica takes a look at the assorted tools and options Firestorm provides in order to assist people with in-world building. As with some of the other TTT video, various options described within the video are not exclusive to Firestorm, which makes the video a worthwhile watch by anyone wishing to get more to grips with building, manipulating prims, and so on; although admittedly, if you’re not using Firestorm, you’ll have to poke at your preferred viewer’s Preferences, etc., to see where the options might reside.

Starting with changing the default colour of the basic rezzed prim shapes, the default size, prim status (physical, phantom, etc), and the next owner permissions (a function now common to all viewers, including LL’s own), Jessica takes a rapid-fire run through many of the the more frequently used build options and tool additions.

The build sub-tabs on Firestorm, located under Preferences > Firestorm, present access to the majority of additional options and capabilities associated with building using the viewer
The build sub-tabs on Firestorm, located under Preferences > Firestorm, present access to the majority of additional options and capabilities associated with building using the viewer

This includes a look as assorted features within the build floater itself, many of which are, again, presented through other viewers as well, including the ever-popular prim alignment option (which, sadly, remains as something the Lab have refused to adopt, as they feel it does not fulfil enough potential use cases, despite the fact it actually achieves precisely what it sets out to do).

The video concludes with a look at the Z-drop and Z-take options, which respectively allow you to drop the contents of a folder into an in-world prim without needing to select and physically drag-and-drop them, and to take a number of in-world objects and place them within a root folder in your inventory – both of which are powerful and useful options, before finally providing an overview of one of the most useful building resources within Second Life: Builder’s Brewery. You can also find out more about BB through their website.

Getting to grips with building isn’t easy, and while this video isn’t intended as a beginning guide, for those who have paddled in the shallows of building, it offers some very useful pointers. Even those with a little more experience might also find it contains some interesting little tips!

 

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Firestorm TTT: clean install revisited

firestorm-logoIn the Firestorm Tool Tip Tuesday video for Tuesday March 3rd, 2015, Jessica gave a rapid-fire overview of performing a clean install. In trying to keep the video to around 5 minutes in length, the result, while informative, came across as rushed.

Given people did feel the first video did feel hurried, and that clean installs can be a necessary part of viewer life, the latest Tool Tip Tuesday video from Jessica might be referred to as “Clean installs: the Director’s Cut”.

With a running time a little under 13 minutes, the new video provides greater information and clearer instructions on:

  • Saving your chat and IM logs to a custom location on your PC
  • Using Firestorm’s backup capability to save and restore your viewer’s global and per-account settings
  • Performing a clean install.

The video both complements the original clean install video, and stands as an instructional guide in its own right, providing a lot more explanation and background. So, if you were confused by the speed of delivery in the original video, this revisit may well be for you!

Firestorm TTT: the clean install

firestorm-logoUpdate, March 10th: In response to feedback following the release of this video, Jessica released a more in-depth video examining clean isntalls, settings back-ups, etc. The new video can be found here.

The Firestorm Tool Tip Tuesday video for March 3rd, 2015, covers what can be a thorny and intimidating issue: that of performing a clean install of the viewer.

In an ideal world, clean installs wouldn’t be needed. However, there are times when installing a newer version of a viewer over an existing version, that things which shouldn’t happen do happen, and things that should have happened don’t happen correctly. And while the frequency with which people are asked to perform clean installs have decreased in recent times for most viewers, they can still be the first step in avoiding later issues.

Where Firestorm is concerned, and given it has so many additionally exposed features with supporting UI elements and so on, the chances of something hiccuping during an install and causing problems later cannot be overlooked. Hence why, when releasing a particularly complex update to the viewer, or when dealing with support requests from users after a complex update being released, Firestorm support will often advise / ask if a clean install has been used with the new release.

Firestorm's settings backup feature can help remove some of the pain involved in a clean install, by allowing you to save many of your preferred global and account setting locally, and then quickly restore them after a clean install of a new version of the viewer
Firestorm’s settings backup feature can help remove some of the pain involved in a clean install, by allowing you to save many of your preferred global and account setting locally, and then quickly restore them after a clean install of a new version of the viewer

To make things easier, the Firestorm team has provided additional capabilities within the viewer which allow you to not only save things like your chat logs, etc., to a dedicated folder to avoid them being lost as a result of a clean install (as is the case with all viewers), but they’ve provided a means to back-up and restore all of your viewer settings. However, even with these capabilities, performing a completely clean install can be a daunting task for many.

So in this video, Jessica takes you through her preferred method of running a clean install on a PC – starting from ensuring all or logs files and setting are safely saved  / backed-up through to launching the viewer after a clean install and restoring all of your settings.

 

Firestorm TTT: command line shortcuts

firestorm-logoThe Firestorm Tool Tip Tuesday video for Tuesday, February 24th offers insight into using local chat as a quick means of using a number of viewer-related and other command options.

This is achieved by using what Firestorm calls the “command line options”, which can also be found in some third-party viewers (Singularity being another which uses the capability). There are essentially pre-configured shortcuts which allow you to do a number of things; for example, you can quickly step your draw distance down / up, or teleport to a specific region or height within a region, rez a platform, and so on.

Firestorm is one of several TPVs offering "command line" shortcuts which can be typed into local chat to achieve a number of things - the the full list of options via Preferences
Firestorm is one of several TPVs offering “command line” shortcuts which can be typed into local chat to achieve a number of things – the the full list of options via Preferences

In the video, Jessica takes viewers through several of the more popular command line options as well as looking at some of the commands people might not be so familiar with, such as the calculator, turning your Firestorm AO off / on, clearing-down your local chat history display, and so on. She also touches upon customising the command names to make them easier to remember and use, if you need to.

So, if you’ve never looked into using chat command via the command line option, this is the video for you!

Get to grips with Firestorm’s Contact Sets with Jessica and TTT

firestorm-logoOn Tuesday, February 17th, the Firestorm team launched the latest in their Tool Tip Tuesday series, with Jessica taking a look at Contact Sets.

Contact Sets provide a way to organise your friends – and other people – into sets or categories, using your own criteria. Thus you can create sets of friends, colleagues, business contacts, and so on. They aren’t necessarily for everyone, but for those who are a member of different role-play groups or combat groups, etc., or who need to manage lists of customers or tenants, etc., and perhaps need a quick way of identifying people, they can be very useful.

By assigning a colour to a Contact Set you can, for example, make it easier to identify members of that group in your Friends list or on the mini-map, or through their name tag in-world – or even in group, IM and nearby chat. So identifying a customer or tenant in a crowd becomes very easy, helping to smooth any communications which take place, while spotting people on the mini-map is also made easier.

And if you have problems reading fancy text people sometimes use in their display names, Contact Sets lets you assign an alias to contacts who do, making it it easier for you to identify them without struggling to read their display name.

Contacts Sets allow you to organise your contacts in a wide variety of ways, making them a powerful tool when needed
Contacts Sets allow you to organise your contacts in a wide variety of ways, making them a powerful tool when needed

Contact lists can also be be shared across accounts. This means that if you use alts for a specific tasks (such as customer care) you can copy one or more Contact Sets from one account to another, making the management of your customers that much easier when using your various accounts.

However, the very power found in Contact Sets can make getting to grips with them a little bewildering – so if you’ve ever wondered what they are all about, but have fought shy of diving into them, Jessica’s introductory video should be just the ticket for you. In it she provides an uncomplicated overview of the major features in Contact Sets and demonstrates how to get started within using them.

Should you want to know more about Contact Sets after watching the video, then be sure to check the Firestorm class schedule for lessons on them, and further guidance can be found in the Firestorm wiki.

Firestorm Tool Tip: getting the most from Auto-Replace

firestorm-logoJessica Lyon was back on Tuesday, February 3rd with another Firestorm Tool Tip Tuesday video, and this one focuses on the use of the Auto-Replace function, and how it might well be more useful than people might appreciate.

As explained in the video, Auto-Replace can be found under Preferences > Chat > Text Input in Firestorm, and generally under chat in other viewer supporting the same Auto-Replace functionality. It is shipped with two lists: Spelling Corrections, which offers corrections for common spelling errors, and Abbreviations (which is the list I actually use and have customised myself).

The Auto-Replace function in Firestorm
The Auto-Replace function in Firestorm and the supplied lists

The Abbreviations list converts commonly used abbreviations such as bbl, afk, gtg, etc., into their long-hand equivalents (be back later, away from keyboard, got to go, etc.), just by typing-in the abbreviation followed by a space.

So far so good, nothing especially exciting there. But did you know, using Auto-Replace you can:

  • Create a custom greeting you can use when working as a greeter or host, or simply on meeting people?
  • Combine abbreviation entries to create statements?
  • Use abbreviations to display SLurls and URLs in chat without having to type them long-hand?
  • Export  / import your lists so you can share them with friends or easily copy them between the computers you use with SL?

If you didn’t – then this video is certainly for you, as Jessica reveals all!

Note that you can use Auto-Replace like this in any viewer that supports the same Auto-Replace functionality as found in Firestorm, including the official SL viewer.