Kokua: catching up to release 6.4.13

I hadn’t actually realised until this past weekend, but I’ve let my coverage of the Kokua slip by a fair few releases – my apologies to Chorazin and the Kokua team for allowing this to happen.

However, given this is the case, and given Kokua 6.4.13 has recently been released, I thought I’d run through a quick round-up of the changes since 6.4.2 and 6.4.14, with a focus on the most recent release.

Menus

Since Kokua 6.4.9, any clean install of Kokua will result in the viewer displaying an updated menu structure that comes closer in layout to the official viewer. It see the removal of the Edit and View menus. This sees the more popular options from these menus moved to the Me and Command menus.

The old (top) and new (bottom) Kokua menus. Note the new menu will be used following a clean install of Kokua.

Note that the menu can be reverted via the last option on the Advanced menu  – a restart will be required, however for the change to take effect.

Rapid Update Round-Up

  • 6.4.4:
    • New licensing of KDU for better rendering and LL Havok third party extensions.
    • Parity with the official viewer release 6.4.3 (FMOD studio update).
    • Implemented the Firestorm feature show the parcel boundary highlighting up to 4,000m (Build floater → Advanced Build Options → check Show parcel Selection Outlines and “…up to maximum build height”.
Enabling parcel boundary highlights to maximum build altitude

In addition, these updates incorporated all RLV updates from release 2.9.28.1 to 2.9.20.0, together with multiple improvements from the Kokua team for RLV functionality, and also assorted general bug fixes and improvements.

Kokua 6.4.13

Jelly Doll Improvements

Jelly Dolls old (l) and new (r). Note the colour and rendering of attachments on the left – the latter of which adds to the cost of rendering the Jelly Doll. This is no longer the case with the new Jelly Dolls

The 6.4.13 brings Kokua to parity with the official 6.4.13 Jelly Dolls viewer, revising how “Jelly Dolled” avatars are rendered.

  • Originally introduced in 2015 (and with various updates since) Jelly Dolls is a means for users to reduce the avatar rendering load on their systems, by having any avatars around them that exceed a certain complexity value (set via a slider) render as a solid colour and minimal detail.
  • There have always been a number of visual and technical issues with the manner in which these avatars have been rendered.
  • The new Jelly Doll updates now included in this release of Kokua improves how avatars are “jelly dolled”, by a) rendering them as a simple grey shape (rather than a solid colour) and avoids attempting to render attachments.
  • In addition it also improves to how avatar imposters are rendered and updated.

These changes should result in demonstrable improvements in view performance in environments where there are a large number of avatars, and the capability is sensibly used.

Group Updates

Kokua 6.4.13 adopts Kitty Barnett’s (Catznip) improves to accessing  / display Group related information.

Previously Group information was presented as one tab within the People floater. Accessing any elements of Group information – such as notices – was presented in the same floater. This meant information on only one Group could be opened at a time,and made actions such as viewing or creating a group notice somewhat complex.

With these changes, Kokua now:

  • Presents the Profile of a selected Group in a separate panel – this allowing multiple Groups to be viewed.
  • Similarly breaks out the Group notices creation option as a separate panel – which can also be accessed from the Conversations floater.
The new break-out Group floater and options available in the People floater (and via the Conversation floater)  for creating / viewing Group notices (which may be subject to permissions)

The new behaviour is enabled by default but can be switched back to the former behaviour by unchecking Preferences → Kokua → General → Group settings open in a new floater rather than within the People floater.

Block List, Object Derendering and Avatar Rendering Exceptions

Also ported from Catznip is a new floater that combines Block / Mute operations and Derender / Avatar Rendering options into a single place, allowing them to be viewed / reviewed / unblocked. The floater include options to add avatars / objects to the block list and also unblock avatars / items on the list.

Note that:

  • When a derendered object is removed from the list, it may not immediately be re-drawn, but may require a TP  away / back or a re-log to make it visible in your view.
  • A facility to block/mute objects has been added to Sound Explorer however there are some caveats to be aware of due to differences between sound and object handling:
    • Blocking/muting will generally not work if an object is in a different region or is beyond draw distance.
    • A sound may continue to play even after blocking/muting the object responsible. This typically happens when several objects are all playing the same sound – each object playing the sound must be blocked/muted before the sound will stop. The Sound Explorer has a facility to pause the listing which can be handy when trying to select several items.

Additional Updates

Two further ports from Firestorm;

  • Configuration options for chat message toasts: a new options panel has been added in Kokua / Preferences / Chat to allow many parameters relating to chat toasts to be tweaked, including their width.
  • Active Gestures: a new option on the Gestures floater to only show those currently active, originally.

The release also includes a number of fixes from the Kokua team – please refer to the release notes.

Feedback

There are three third-party viewers I’ve tended to use in Second Life: Firestorm, Catznip and Kokua. All three offer a different emphasis for users,and Firestorm has tended to be my first choice.

However, both Catznip and Kokua have their own attractions, and with the recent progress with Kokua in particular, coupled with its higher cadence of updates, it is fast becoming a viable alternative to Firestorm, particularly as tends to offer a slightly higher frame rate. Certainly, for those who are looking for an alternative that offers a similar menu layout and largely comparable capabilities in terms of commonly-used options, Kokua is very much the viewer to consider.

Links

Kokua: 6.4.2 release overview

On Wednesday, May 27th, the Kokua team released Kokua 6.4.2, bringing the viewer up to parity with the Linden Lab official viewer, 6.4.2 code base (Camera Presets), promoted on May 19th, 2020.

This means that with this release, Kokua now includes:

  • the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP) release.
  • The most recent viewer Maintenance updates.
  • The aforementioned Camera Presets.

In addition, the Restrained Love Viewer (RLV) variants of this Kokua release include both include the latest updates to Marine Kelley’s RLV API updates – version 2.9.27.0 -, which include support specific to EEP, and which the Kokua team have also used with regards the new Camera Presets, as part of their own updates to the viewer.

Lab-Derived Updates

Environment Enhancement Project

In including support for EEP, Chorazin Allen makes an important point that all SL users should keep in mind when moving to EEP-capable viewers:

Before getting into the additional features and fixes we need to point out that EEP represents a major overhaul of the viewer’s weather, lighting, shine and reflection areas – it’s more than just a new weather system with configuration files as inventory assets instead of separate xml files. As a result you WILL find that scenes, structures and avatars can all look different. If you find a particularly noticeable instance you are encouraged to log details of it in LL’s Jira issue tracking system so that these differences can be fixed at their origin.

– Chorazin Allen [my emphasis]

The Kokua 6.4.2 release appears to be a direct implementation of EEP and its various floaters without any alterations to their layout. As such, I do not propose to cover them here; rather I’ll leave you with a series of links to resources:

Camera Presets

Kokua adds four new defaults for Camera Presets

The Camera Presets controls, developed and contributed by Jonathan Yap, is a capability that allow users to create one more more custom camera presets within the viewer to suit particular needs and then save them. This means, for example, that a user can now have a camera position for general exploring, another suitable for combat games, another for building, etc., all of which can easily be accessed and used at any time.

Again, the Kokua implementation of the UI elements is the same as the official viewer. However, the Kokua implementation of Camera Presets adds addition default presets as follows:

  • Left, Right and top: provide viewers of your avatr from the left and right side, and from directly above.
  • FPS (First Person Shooter) – positions the camera directly in front of your avatar and looking forward.
  • Nearer – a view looking from close behind your avatar designed to be more suitable for corridors and other narrow spaces.

Again, rather than go into specifics on creating and using Camera Presets, I refer readers to my Camera Presets tutorial.

Kokua Updates

Edit Floater – Bulk Rename

Kokua 6.4.2 includes a new button in the Content tab of the Edit floater that allows the contents of an object to be easily renamed. A typical case for this might be when updating the version number of the individual contents on an object for a new release: after the specific elements that have been updated / replaced in the object, the rest can easily be renamed with the new version number.

Kokua object contents bulk rename

As this is liable to be a special usage option, I’ll refer interested parties to the Kokua documentation on how it works.

Animation Override

Client AO updates

Kokua 6.4.2 offers two new options to the client-side Animation Override system:

  • Chat check box: when enabled, each new animation to run will be reported in local chat in the user’s viewer.
    • The intent is to allow a user to keep track of the currently running animation when using a new set of poses/animations to decide decide which should be kept or discarded.
    • It is not recommended this option is kept on at all times, as the animation reports can be intrusive.
  • Any button: located between the next / previous animation paging buttons a the bottom of the floater, it will randomly select a pose from the current listed set (Walking, Standing, etc), and play it.
    • Clicking the Next or Previous buttons will resume stepping forward / back through the list of animations from the randomly selected animation.

Hover Height

This release of Kokua includes the hover height slider from Marine’s RLV viewer, with the release notes stating:

Rather than include the small button to reset it to 0.0 we have made the numerical value next to the slider writable allowing any value to be directly entered.

Additional Links

Kokua: 6.3.6 release overview

The Kokua team released Kokua 6.3.6 on Wednesday, February 5th, 2019. The release brings Kokua up to parity with the Lab’s 6.3.6 code base (to the 6.3.6.535003 release – formerly the Xanté Maintenance RC, promoted on January 27th), and includes a number of Kokua-derived updates and ported TPV options.

The following notes highlight the key aspects of Kokua 6.3.6.46311. For a full list of updates and changes, please refer to the release notes.

This release sees Kokua incorporates the ability to remember username/password combinations for multiple avatars via a drop down menu added to the user name field at login.

The ability to manage saved / remembered user names is via a new Preferences option, found a a button called Remembered Usernames in the Advanced tab.

  • When clicked, it opens a new floater that lists all user names recorded by the the viewer, together with the grid where they have been used.
  • To delete an unwanted user name, click on it to highlight it, then click the Forget button at the bottom of the panel. If you want to completed remove all local data for the user name, click the check box below the button first.
The new Preferences button and floater to manage remembered users names

This release of Kokua also includes the ability to set media to Ask before playing. As Kokua already has changes which separate parcel audio and other media playing, for the new Ask feature to work you must have parcel audio set to play automatically as well (via Preferences→Sound).

Text Display Options

Previously Kokua used standard size text on script menu text and slightly smaller for menu buttons.

It is now possible to switch between standard/small text for both using new drop-down menus on Preferences→Kokua→Script. The text size control also governs the text size for the informative text on text entry boxes (llTextBox).

The two text size drop-downs and text size options. Note only one or the other can be displayed at any one time. The above is illustrative only

Other Notable Updates

  • World Map land sale information: previously, when viewing land for sale on the World Map, the parcel price would only be displayed when clicking the For Sale tag. This has now been revised so that the sale information is displayed when clicking anywhere in a parcel highlighted for sale.
  • This version of Kokua includes a port of Firestorm’s enhanced World Map region captions
  • It is now possible to enter a land selling price by entering the desired L$/square metre price as well as the total price.
  • The date display for Group Notices has been changed to ISO-style YYYY-MM-DD format which avoids a very old bug where group notice sorting would go wrong for the first few days of each new year (because the previous sort started with the month number so 12 of the previous year got sorted ahead of 01 for the current year).

RLV Specific Updates

  • The mouse pointer in RLV will now only change to a the required icon (hand / sit, etc.), when the action is going to be permitted (adopted from RLVa).
  • If a user is under RLV IM restrictions, a hint is displayed in in the IM window to inform those trying to contact them that IM communications are going to be suppressed. This allows the message to be abandoned without being sent (if it is still sent, the usual RLV message about IMs being blocked will be displayed). A similar hint is sent to Group chats, etc, ahead of the person under IM restriction trying to message others.
Kokua now offers a hint to warn people when someone is under RLV IM restrictions

Other RLV updates in this release include:

  • The name anonymising code for @shownames has been further improved to cope better with situations where one name is a sub-string of another.
  • When ALM is enabled and RLV effects based on changing RenderResolutionDivisor are in effect this used to cause the CPU and/or GPU to sometimes start running at full speed and sometimes could even result in a crash. This is now prevented by automatically temporarily disabling ALM when the RenderResolutionDivisor value gets to a point where ALM would not give any rendering benefits because the whole scene is too “blurred”. This protective code is also in the non-RLV version however RenderResolutionDivisor is less likely to be changed there.
  • The recent introduction of keyword alerts meant that on some occasions where @recvim should have squashed an incoming IM it would get through unaffected

Additional Links

Kokua: Admin changes and the 6.2.4 release

The Kokua team released Kokua 6.2.4 on Friday, August 16th, 2019, and with it come some changes to general administration of the viewer’s website and management tools.

In terms of the latter, and for ease on management going forward, a number of changes are in the works including:

  • The use of the Atlassian Confluence platform to provide:
    • A blog capability.
    • Release notes support.
    • A master download pages.
    • RSS feeds.
  • The use of Atlassian Jira (as used by Linden Lab and the likes of Firestorm) for bug reporting and tracking.

The switch-over is still a work-in-progress, so the existing blog, wiki and bug tracker remain in operation for the time being, however, relevant links for the new environment are given as:

While the switch-over is in progress, users are advised against linking to individual sub-pages within these sections, as pages may change as things are bedded-in. For this purposes of this blog, the new Kokua home page is referenced in the sidebar links (right, under Maintained Viewers) and within my Current Viewers Release Page and the weekly release summaries drawn from that.

Kokua 6.2.4

Kokua 6.2.4 brings the viewer to parity with the most recently Linden Lab viewer release (version 6.2.4.529638, formerly the Love Me Render RC viewer dated August 5th, promoted August 12th). In addition, it updates the RLV version to Marine Kelley’s RLV 2.9.26.2.

As has been customary with Kokua releases of late, the viewer is provided in three versions for each of the supported operating systems (Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, all 64-bit):

  • Non-RLV – version 6.2.4.45881.
  • “Standard” RLV (can be enabled and disabled via a viewer restart) – version 6.2.4.45882.
  • “Full Time” RLV (RLV is active all the time) – also version 6.2.4.45882.

In addition to these updates, Kokua 6.2.4 includes a number of third-party additions, most notably from Firestorm, as noted in the sections below, and with due credit to the originators of the code updates.

Settings Backup

Sometimes when installing a new version of a viewer, there can be a recommendation to perform a “clean install” – removing all cached and settings files. This can make any viewer installation labour-intensive, as settings all need to be restored after the installation is complete.

The Settings Backup (Preferences > Backup) eases some of the pain by allowing users to back-up many of their global and account settings to a local hard drive. Once done, the back-up can then be restored to an updated version of Kokua (e.g. if a clean install has been required, or if some settings have become corrupted). Settings can also be backed-up at any time as changes are made.

The Kokua Settings Back-up option, courtesy of Firestorm

Settings can be backed-up to any location on a local drive, and users can select those settings they wish to back-up by unchecking / checking the available options. It is also possible to save settings on a per account basis. So if you have several accounts, each with different settings, you can back-up each of them separately – just make sure each back-up has a unique location.

Restoring previously backed-up files requires the viewer is restarted after the restore – and again, this is conveniently taken care of by the viewer allowing you to quickly log-out following a successful restore – although you’ll have to manually re-start the viewer once you’ve been logged out.

Sounds Output Device Selection

Preferences >Sound and Media includes a new drop-down allowing users to select their preferred output device for playing in-world sounds.

Sound output device selection, courtesy of Firestorm

When using it, note that:

  • Selecting Default will always select the first output device in the list.
  • If Default is selected but the previous device is no longer available, the viewer will automatically switch to the next available “default” device as defined by your operating system.
  • Manually selecting an output device from the drop-down  prevents the viewer from automatically switching to another device if the selected device is no longer available. Instead, the field will show “Unavailable Device” until such time as the nominated device is again available, or the drop-down is changed to Default or an alternate is manually selected.

Updated Debug Floater

Finally from Firestorm, Kokua 6.2.4 includes an improved debug settings floater with search and sanity checking of key values.

The improved Debug floater, courtesy of Firestorm

Other Updates of Note

Finally there are a number of fixes/improvements on the Kokua code base itself, notably fixing the pie menus so that the Hover Height command appears (i.e. was there but a mistake in the file concerned prevented it being shown). For details, please refer to the Kokua 6.2.4 release notes.

Feedback

Kokua 6.2.4 continues to maintain parity with the official viewer whilst also importing some additional updates from Firestorm that Kokua users will doubtless find useful and which are likely to help enhance Kokua as the go-to viewer for those who have used Firestorm , but who are looking for an alternative that offers reasonable familiarity.

Additional Links

Kokua 6.0.1.44611/619

On Saturday, January 26th, 2019, the Kokua viewer updated with the release of version 6.0.1.44611 (no RLV) and version 6.0.1.44619 (originally .44610).

The RLV version of the viewer initially brought the RLV version of Kokua to parity with RLV 2.9.25, released on January 25th. However, that release had a bug in it, forcing Marine Kelley to issue a hot fix release, version RLV 2.9.25.1 on January 26th, which was quickly adopted by the Kokua team into Kokua 6.0.1.44619. Outside of this fix, .44619 is functionally identical to .44610.

RLV Updates

The RLV updates can be summarised as:

  • Force a rebake whenever attachments and wearables are changed.
  • Prevent the avatar from going into T-Pose while editing an attachment that has been worn only for a few seconds.
  • When in Mouselook, don’t show rigged attachments that are worn on any head attach points.
  • Optimise the rendering of the vision restriction spheres.
  • Remove the artificial far touch restriction when vision is restricted, to allow objects to beyond an avatar’s visual range to be touched.

Kokua Updates

Both the .44611 and .44619 releases include the following updates from the Kokua team:

  • New Avatar right-click context menu option Reload My Outfit: this can be used to resolve clouded logins by manually forcing another attempt to wear the default outfit, effectively adding the current outfit onto itself.
  • Addition of Firestorm’s Wear Items option added to the inventory folder right-click menu. This causes the wearable items in the folder to be worn, replacing any items on the corresponding attachment points.
  • Reinstatement of the Help > Kokua Support Group option to obtain in-world help from other users (issues / bugs should still be filed via the Kokua Sourceforge support option).
The new right-click avatar content menu option Reload my Outfit (l); the right-click Inventory context menu option Wear Items (via Firestorm); and the reinstated Help menu > Kokua Support Group option (r)
  • Removal of the following menu options:
    • Disable Build Constraints (no longer supported by Second Life servers)
    • Texture Memory Stats (there was no code behind this menu entry, so it would always do nothing)
    • Toggle PG (again, there was no code behind this option)
  • Addition of various Firestorm improvements to login, inventory handling and outfit wearing.
  • Internal changes to make the performance statistics code more efficient.
  • A switch to using Linux GCC V7 from V5 for compilation.
  • Fixes for a number of errors in the XML configuration files for menus and floaters. These reduce the number of entries written to the log files and provides a small performance benefit.

I’ve not had time to drive this viewer following the release, so cannot comment on general performance, etc. However, as chance would have it I did get the chance to try the Reload My Outfit option, which seemed to work pretty well.

Kokua 6.0.1 updates

The last version of Kokua I looked at in these pages was version 6.0.0, which primarily added Animesh functionality to Kokua.

Since that time, there have been a number of further updates, up to and including 6.0.1.44454 (RLV), and this article is intended to catch up to the current releases. In short, the intervening updates have been:

  • 6.0.0.44291 (RLV), November 29th, 2018: focused on parity with Marine Kelley’s RLV 2.9.24.
  • 6.0.0.44301 (RLV for Windows), December 8th, containing RLV bug fixes and four new RLV information panels.
  • 6.0.1.44374 (RLV) and 6.0.1.44375 (No RLV) for Windows, Mac and Linux, released on December 13th.
  • 6.0.1.44454 (RLV), December 17th, 2018 for Windows, Mac and Linux – essentially a bug fix release for a issue with the 6.0.1.44374 (RLV) release.

In addition, the 6.0.1.44374/44375 updates saw Kokua merged to parity with the (at the time of writing) current SL viewer release, version 6.0.1.522263, formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer, promoted by the Lab of December 13th, 2018 (release notes here).

It is the the 6.0.1.44375 and 6.0.1.44454 (RLV) updates that I am focusing on in this update, together with an overview of the new RLV panels introduced with 6.0.0.44301.

Menu Restructuring

The major visible change to both 6.0.1.44375 and 44454 is a revised menu structure. Up until now, Kokua has used the legacy (going back as far as v1 viewers) initial menu structure of  File, Edit and View, as opposed to the Me, Communicate and World options found in the official viewer and followed by (for the most part) most other v5/v6 viewers.

To help Kokua users gain familiarity with the new menu structure, the Kokua team have produced a document outlining how and where options have been moved between menus in converting them from the old format of File, Edit and View to the more standard Me, Communicate and World.

Advanced menu > Classic Kokua Menus allows users to toggle between the “legacy” (File, Edit, View) and “current” (Me, Communicate, World) menu titles. A restart is required for each change to take effect

By default, the new menu structure is OFF, to avoid the risk of confusion for users not expecting the change. For those wishing to to use the new menu system, it can be enabled via Advanced menu > unchecking Classic Kokua Menus. The viewer must be restarted to apply the change. This option can also be used to switch back to using File, Edit, View, if desired (again with a viewer restart required).

RLV Updates

Kokua 6.0.1.44301 implemented a new set of RLV diagnostic panels designed to assist RLV users, as these were initially only available in the Windows version of the viewer, I’m covering them here, as they are now available on all OS flavours of Kokua.

The new panels are a combination of code from the Script Error window found in the standard viewer, and some code from the RLVa implementation within Firestorm. They’ve been designed by Chorazin Allen of the Kokua team, who gives full credit for the base code used, although as he notes, the operation of the panels based on Firestorm’s RLVa implementation have been substantially modified to work with RLV and his own design preferences.

The new panels are all accessed via the RLV menu, which includes a new section for the panels, shown on the top right in the image below.  Chorazin also provides a comprehensive guide to their use, and I refer RLV users to that document for further information.

The new RLV windows – click for full size, and also refer to New RLV Information Windows on the Kokua viewer blog. Console, Status and Attached / Worn panel images via the Kokua website

From 6.0.1.44374 (RLV) to 6.0.1.44454 (RLV)

Version 6.0.1.44374 (RLV) and 6.0.1.44454 (RLV) are functionally identical to one another with the exception of the Out Of Character (OOC) functionality – that is, the use of “((” and “))” in text during role-play to indicate comments / messages that should not be considered part of the on-going role-play exchanges.

In short, a change was implemented in RLV 2.9.24.1 that affected how OOC chat is handled when a user is under certain RLV restrictions. However, the change broke the OOC chat processing logic. While not a problem for the dedicated  RLV third-party viewer, it has caused problems for Kokua users (see OOC chat with (( )) not working with Kokua RLV 6.0.1.44374).

6.0.1.44454 fixes the issue through the provision of two new options in Preferences > Kokua > General:

  • Allow OOC chat using (()) (requires restart): enabled by default, this must be checked in order for OOC chat to work at all. If it is disabled, all OOC will appear as “…” in local chat. So, only disable this option if you do not want to see OOC in local chat at all (as the option notes, you will have to restart Kokua when enabling / disabling this option).
  • Send OOC chat to redirected chat rather than local chat – enabled by default. This has two functions:
    • When enabled and applicable RLV restrictions are in operation, all OOC chat goes to redirected chat handlers and it will not appear in local chat.
    • When disabled, the expected OOC behaviour applies, and OOC chat will appear in local chat in the usual (( and )) parentheses.
    • This option can be set independently to the first, and does not require a viewer restart.

You can find out more about this update in Kokua 6.0.1.44454 – RLV OOC chat handling fixed.

Additional Links