Kokua goes Animesh with version 6.0.0

On Sunday, November 18th, 2018, Kokua issued version 6.0.0, which includes full Animesh support. As always with Kokua, the viewer is offered in two options:

  • With RLV support: 6.0.0.44120.
  • Without RLV support: 6.0.0.44121.

Both of these options are, again as always, available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.

As well as Animesh support, the update includes a series of third-party updates and additional bug fixes.

Animesh

As per my release overview, Animesh has been in development for about a year, and like Bento, has been a collaborative effort between Linden Lab and Second Life content creators. Essentially, it allows the avatar skeleton to be applied to any suitable rigged mesh object, and then used to animate the object, much as we see today with mesh avatars. This opens up a whole range of opportunities for content creators and animators to provide things like independently moveable pets / creatures, and animated scenery features.

Rigged mesh can be set to be used as Animesh through the Build / Editor floater

To help people get started with Animesh, there is already a range of available resources, including:

In particular, the user guide and test content offer the best way of getting started with Animesh for those who haven’t tried it thus far.

And, Animesh isn’t just for content creators: it has been designed such that just about any rigged mesh can be converted to Animesh directly from the Build / Edit floater. Do be aware, however that simply converting an object will not cause it to start animating – you’ll obviously need suitable animations and a script to run them.

Like any other object utilising animation, this is done by adding the animations and scripts via the Edit > Contents tab for your converted object. If you’re not a scripter / animator, you can still use the Animesh test content and have a play around with things.

Additional Updates

The 6.0.0 release of Kokua re-introduces the NACL viewer sound explorer (found under World > Sound Explorer). In addition, a number of options have been ported from Firestorm:

  • The animation explorer (under World > Animation Explorer).
  • The Money Tracker/Tip Tracker (View > Money Tracker).
  • Phoenix-style extended hovertips (View > Highlighting & Visibility > Hover Tips > Show More Information).
  • Avatar Complexity score in name tags (Edit > Preferences > General) along with the Only If Too Complex and Show Own Complexity options.
Kokua adds Firestorm’s approach to display avatar complexity information

Other updates comprise:

  • A bug fix so that Turning on Full Res Textures works.
  • If RLV is active, the Message Of The Day will appear in chat at login as a substitute to it being suppressed on the login progress screen.
  • Further ports of:
    • Reporting the latest grid status bulletin in chat at login (Edit > Preferences > Notifications).
    • The ‘do not hide worldmap after teleport’ option ( Edit > Preferences > Kokua > General).

I’ve not had time to take the viewer for a thorough test of the viewer, and the Kokua team note they’ve not had the opportunity to test Animesh. Therefore, If you see any strange behaviour please check it against the LL viewer and then either raise a Jira ticket on the LL viewer or against Kokua at: https://sourceforge.net/p/team-purple/kokua/tickets/.

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Kokua: new faces, the future and release 5.1.3.43129/43130

In March I reported that Chorazin Allen, had joined the Kokua viewer development team. He volunteered after Nicky Perian’s decision to step back from day-to-day management of the project, announced in October 2017 to allow him to enjoy more of his retirement, failed to elicit hoped-for volunteers to take over the general management of the project.

Chorazin, although he modestly describes his C++ coding skills as “rusty” (causing him to initially hold back from volunteering sooner), has considerable experience in project management, software development and build experience coupled with many years of experience of in-world LSL scripting and working with RLV/RLVa.

Since joining Kokua, he has been getting familiar with the rest of the Kokua team, and together they have been working on updates to the Second Life viewer to bring it up to parity with the current Linden Lab code base, including full integration with the Alex Ivy 64-bit code. I’ve been tracking these updates – made through the projects Sourceforge pages, rather than being “official” releases, for the past few weeks via my Current Viewer Releases page and my weekly viewer release summaries.

Kokua: The Future

On April 15th, this work reached a point where the team were ready to resume making formal Kokua releases, and to publish a blog post outlining the viewer’s future development. I strongly urge all Kokua users to read this post in full, and am only bullet-pointing the key elements here:

  • Until such time as an OpenSim developer can join the project, Kokua will only be actively maintained for use with Second Life.
  • Kokua for Second Life will be developed as a 64-bit bit viewer only, offering both RLV and non-RLV variants.
    • The Windows and Mac versions will be actively maintained, based on Linden Lab’s  Alex Ivy 64-bit code base.
    • Effort will also be put towards a 64-bit Linux flavour of the viewer based on the Lab’s Alex Ivy code. However, this will doubtless be dependent on the Lab’s broader attempts to work with the Linux community to develop a 64-bit Linux viewer.
  • In keeping with a request from Linden Lab, the major version numbers for Kokua releases will reflect the Lab code base release they are based on. So, for example Kokua 5.1.3.xxxxx indicates it is based on the Lab’s 5.1.3 code base.
  • Legacy 32-bit versions of Kokua will remain available via the download page, but will not be actively maintained.
  • The Kokua group within Second Life is the preferred medium for user-to-user support and will also be used for group notices about new versions or other significant developments. All other channels of outward  communication (IRC, Twitter, etc), have been discontinued.
  • The Kokua wiki will continue to be used for viewer release notes (as seen in the viewer when a new version is launched) and for the summary of current versions and download sites.
  • The preferred method of inward  communication to the team is via a ticket raised in Sourceforge against the Kokua Project.

Kokua 5.1.3.43129/43130

The formal release the release of Kokua’s Alex Ivy based 64-bit viewer for Windows and Mac, offers the viewer in both RLV (5.1.3.129) and non-RLV (5.1.3.43130) variants on both platforms. It brings with it a full parity with the Second Life viewer up to and including (at the time of writing) the current official release viewer, 5.1.3.51364, formerly the Media Update RC viewer. The RLV version of the viewer also gains parity with RLV 2.9.23.0.

Performance Feedback Capabilities

The core element of the updates made by the Kokua team comprise new performance and information feedback capabilities, including the ability to report on changes in the number of scripts in a region, changes in the server channel with changes of region.

All of the new settings can be found in two new Preferences tabs: Preferences > Kokua > Performance 1 and Preferences > Kokua  > Performance 2:

  • Performance 1 deals with notifications on entering a new region and agent (avatar) and script notifications, which must be enabled on a group basis – agent and / or script notifications, and then individual options within group set as required.
  • Performance 2 provides notifications on Frame Timing and Basic Performance.

In addition, it should be noted that:

  • Performance 2 also includes a check box to display the information from these features either as a notification in the top right of the viewer window and in chat history, or have them only displayed in chat history.
  • All of the options have default values which are intended to be representative of fairly average performance. If you aren’t familiar with what they do, it is probably preferable that you don’t randomly enabling them, as you could end up  swamped in notifications and feedback.
  • It is important to not that any changes made relate what is reported by the viewer and when – changing these values does not change actual simulator performance.
The new Preferences > Kukua Performance 1 tab, allowing users to set notifications for region, agent (avatar) and script notifications.

Some of these options mirror similar capabilities found in other TPVs – such as reporting a change in the server channel when moving between regions; others may be of more benefit to region holders and their estate managers than they are for general consumption. The idea with them is not to simply turn everything on, but to select those options which might be of specific interest.

For example, while knowing how many avatars (agents) are in a region might be of use to some users when hopping about Second Life, information on how the physics  simulation is performing or on overall timing information within a region, together with the active object count and script count is only likely to be of interest to those managing a region. Similarly, enabling the Physics time section of the frame monitoring options in the Performance 2 tab could help creators monitor vehicle performance during testing (e.g. on region crossings.

The new Preferences > Kokua > Performance 2 tab, providing Frame Timing and Basic Performance notifications

For a more rounded examination on how these options might be used, please refer to the Kokua release notes, which provide a range of examples of now the tabs might be used. It should also be notes that general “real-time” monitoring of the options provided can also be done via the Statistics (CTRL-SHIFT-1) and Scene Load Statistics (CTRl-SHIFT-2) floaters. Finally, those particularly interested in learning more about the viewer’s statistics reporting abilities and on tuning viewer performance should refer to the Viewer Statistics wiki page, and the Viewer Performance Knowledge Base article respectively.

Feedback

While the lack of OpenSim maintenance for Kokua – at least until such time as an OpenSim developer volunteers to work with the team, as noted – will probably be lamented in some quarters, the “return” of mainstream release announcements of Kokua, together with information how the viewer’s development will proceed into the foreseeable future is to be welcomed.

That Kokua is only being maintained on Windows 64-bit might cause frustration for some. However, given that systems capable of running 64-bit Windows (e.g. supplied with more that 4Gb of RAM) are far more prevalent on the marketplace; ergo, the decision to focus the team’s limited resources on providing support for the one flavour of Windows  makes sense.

It’s hard to judge how well the two new Performance tabs will be utilised. Aso noted, for the likes of those engaged in region management, or scripting, they could potentially be very useful. For others, the tabs might rarely see the light of day. But that’s what TPVs are about – providing choice for users.

I’ve not had an opportunity to run Kokus 5.1.3 hard, having only spent part of a morning bouncing around SL with it. However, in that time I found it to be (as usual) robust and providing frame rates and general experience with the official viewer and – on a frame rate basis – somewhat above that managed by Firestorm on the basis of very rough-and-ready “like for like” testing across some of my preferred regions where things like agent numbers., etc tend to remain constant.

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Viewer updates: Kokua 5.0.6 for Second Life and RLV 2.9.21.3

In week #21, both the Kokua viewer for Second Life and the Restrained Love viewer updated to achieve parity with the current SL viewer release (version 5.0.5.326444 at the time of writing).

Kokua for Second Life updated to version 5.0.6.41208 (release notes) on Friday, May 26th, 2017, while the Restrained Love updating to version 2.9.21.3 (release notes) on Thursday, May 25th.

As the core changes to both viewers are more-or-less the same in terms of their parity with the official viewer, this review provides a combined recap of these updates for both viewers, from the oldest to most recent. Kokua users please note that the documented changes do not necessarily apply to the Kokua OpenSim version.

Custom Folders for Uploads

Kokua 5.0.6.41208 for Second Life and Restrained Love 2.9.21.3 users can now select the inventory folders into which uploads – images / textures, sounds, animations and mesh models –  are saved by default (rather than having all textures + images go to Textures for example).

To set a custom folder for an upload type:

  • Go to Inventory and right-click on the desired folder.
  • Select Use As Default For. This opens a sub-menu of upload types (shown on the right).
  • Click on the type of upload you wish to always save to that folder.

Note that this only applies to uploads: images / textures, mesh models, etc., received via transfer or will still go to the their “default” system folders (so a texture received via transfer will still go to Textures, for example).

The folders set for uploads can be reviewed via the new Preferences > Uploads tab.

The new options shown for selecting a default destination folder for uploads (left), and the new Upload panel in Preferences, which lists the locations (right) – via Kokua, click for full size, if required

Block List Tally and Grid Status Button

Kokua 5.0.6.41208 and Restrained Love 2.9.21.3 now have display a tally of those blocked in the viewer (People Floater > Blocked), and include the Grid Status button which can be added to any toolbar position in the viewer window, providing direct access to Second Life grid status updates, which are displayed in the viewer’s built-in browser.

Avatar Complexity Rendering Updates

These releases of Kokua and Restrained Love include a number of improvements to avatar complexity rendering. Full details of these changes can be found in Second Life Maintenance RC: Avatar Rendering updates and more, and are summarised here.

  • The Options for how another avatar is rendered are now Default (i.e. in accordance with your avatar complexity threshold setting); Always (i.e. always render the selected avatar) or Never (i.e. permanently render them as a grey imposter). These options have also been moved to a sub-menu on the right-click Avatar context menu.
  • Following Firestorm’s lead, adjusted settings for avatar rendering will now persist across log-ins for the viewer, until either reset or your settings are cleared by a clean install or similar.
  • There are two new options for Avatar Complexity, located on the Preferences > Graphics tab.
    • The first is a check box, Always Render Friends, which is pretty much self-explanatory: when checked, friends will always fully render, regardless of the viewer’s Avatar Complexity threshold.
    • The second is an Exceptions button, which adds a further level of control for how other avatars – including friends – are rendered by the viewer.
Left: the new render options sub-menu in the Avatar context menu (seen when right-clicking on another avatar). Right: the new Preferences > Graphics tab options for avatar rendering (see below for the exceptions button). Images via Kokua – click for full size, if required

Note that Kokua’s pie menu does not display the “Default” option correctly when used on other avatars. Instead, the option is labelled as “>”. As per Nicky’s comment below, this is now fixed.

Rendering Exceptions

The Exceptions button described above enables named avatars to be either fully or never rendered by the viewer, regardless of any other avatar rendering settings. It comprises two new floaters: the exceptions list (Avatar Render Settings, below left) and the search floater (Choose Resident, below right), accessed by clicking the “+” button on the exceptions list and then selecting whether you want to always or never render the avatar you’re about to choose.

Rendering Exceptions allows you to select individual avatars (e.g. from those close to you or your friends list or via search) you always / never want to render, regardless of your other avatar complexity settings. Via Restrained Love Viewer.

It is possible to update how an avatar in the exceptions list is displayed by right-clicking on the avatar’s name and selecting the required option (Default, Always, Never) from the displayed drop-down list.  Note that “Default” will remove the avatar’s name for your exceptions list and display them in-world in accordance with your overall Avatar Rendering Complexity setting.

Changing how an avatar in the exceptions list is rendered. Via Restrained Love Viewer

Continue reading “Viewer updates: Kokua 5.0.6 for Second Life and RLV 2.9.21.3”

Kokua and Restrained Love go Bento in Second Life

Project Bento - now a part of the Kokua Second Life viewer and the Restrained love Viewer
Project Bento – now a part of the Kokua Second Life viewer and the Restrained Love Viewer

Kokua and Restrained Life have become the latest viewers to update to v5.x status, with release of versions support the Project Bento code.

Kokua 5.0.0

Kokua 5.0.0..40327 for Second Life (release notes) appeared on Saturday, December 17th, bringing with it Bento rendering support, plus additional fixes and improvements:

  • FMOD Ex audio streaming libraries updated to version 4.44.64.
  • Avatar texture display now works.
  • Pie menu updates.
  • Pie menu “Sit here” response no longer ignores llSetSitText(string), and should now display the defined scripted target prompt (e.g. “Ride” or “Fly”, etc., rather than “Sit Here”).

Just in case there is anyone who missed it, Project Bento adds numerous new bones to the avatar skeleton to improve and enhance support mesh avatars (Bento does not work with the Second Life system avatar). This makes it easier to create and animate 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.

As with all Bento viewers, the visible viewer update is to the avatar menus (both right-click context and pie menu in the case of Kokua), where the Reset Skeleton and Reset Skeleton with animation options can be found.

Reset Skeleton options on Kokua 5.0.0 on the right-click context menus for other avatars (l) and your own avatar (r). With the pie menus they can be found under More > More > Reset (other avatars) and Appearance > Reset on your own avatar
Reset Skeleton options on Kokua 5.0.0 on the right-click context menus for other avatars (l) and your own avatar (r). With the pie menus they can be found under More > More > Reset (other avatars) and Appearance > Reset on your own avatar

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.

Restrained Love Viewer

Restrained Love Viewer 2.9.21 (release notes), released on Friday December 16th,  brings Bento support to that viewer as well. As with Kokua and other Bento capable viewers, this also sees the Reset Skeleton and Reset Skeleton with Animations options added to the right-click avatar context menus as the most visible sign of Bento support (outside of Bento meshes rendering correctly!).

In addition the update includes a minor change to RLV, with the “?” symbol no longer being used to identify a cheat inside emotes, as some emotes may end with genuine questions.

Additional Links

Kokua 4.0.1.37934

kokua-logoNicky Perian announced the release of Kokua 4.0.1.37934 on Tuesday, March 1st 2016.

The update sees Kokua gain parity with the latest release version of the viewer from Linden Lab (version 4.0.1.310054 (Maintenance release) at the time of writing), and also with the February 26th release of RLV version 2.9.16 from Marine Kelley.

Not that if you are currently still using a test version of the viewer, the automatic update feature will not function. A separate download and install is required.

CEF Updates

This release incorporates the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) updates for media from the Lab, as well as the assorted crash and bug fixes from the Maintenance release. Also included for CEF are a series of contributed updates for Linux, coming by way of Drakeo and including work by Nicky Dasmijn of Firestorm and Henri Beauchamp of CoolVL. Commenting on this, Nicky points out:

Drakeo’s development focus is media and providing Slackware viewer packages. Upstream CEF frequently issues security updates and Drakeo puts those into his own Slackware packaged viewers and contributes updates to Kokua. These security updates from CEF come more often than the Kokua release cycle, however, our Test viewers can be used to maintain a level of currency. Please remember that Linux viewers are Alpha and that is even more the case now that we no longer have the benefit of Linden Lab’s Quality Assurance run through of new features added to Linux viewers. We do our best to provide stable Linux viewers, but with the vast number of Linux distributions problems will occur that may not have timely solutions.

Inventory Updates

Transferable Items Filter

Kokua 4.0.1 includes a new Transferable Items Only inventory search filter. When active, this will limit the main inventory display to transfer enabled items only.

To prevent possible confusion / worry about inventory loss, the option does not persist between log-in sessions when enabled.

The new Transferable Items Only filter for inventory searches
The new Transferable Items Only filter will display only those items which are transfer enabled in your inventory

OpenSim Exportable Parameter

Kokua 4.0.1 adds an Exportable parameter to the Item Profile floater for OpenSim grids, allowing content creators to easily mark items they build as being exportable to other grids. The option is not displayed by the floater when logged-in to Second Life.

The OpenSim only Exportable parameter
The OpenSim only Exportable parameter

Do Not Let Me Fly

A new option added to Preferences  > Kokua and to the Commands menu is Do Not Let Me Fly. As the name suggests, when checked, it prevents your avatar from flying even where flying is enabled.  The option is specifically intended for use in combat zones where flying within the region may still be enabled, to prevent any risk of accidentally flying (such as when jumping an obstacle) and interrupting the combat flow.

The Do Not Fly option will prevent you avatar for accidentally flying whilst still allowing Page Up to be used for jumping
The Do Not Let Me Fly option will prevent you avatar for accidentally flying whilst still allowing Page Up to be used for jumping

Under the Hood

In addition to the above, the release includes numerous under the hood improvements and updates, all of which are listed in the downloadable change log for those interested.

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Kokua 3.8.6: notify me

kokua-logoOn Tuesday, November 17th, Nicky Perian announced the release of Kokua 3.8.6.37336,  which brings the popular SL and OpenSim viewer to parity with both recent Linden Lab code releases and with Marine Kelley’s RLV,  while including some additional tweaks from the Kokua team.

The release was preceded by a test release version focused on integrating the most recent updates for RLV in order to ensure there were no unpredictable outcomes from multiple merges, etc. A request was put to Kokua users to assist in testing that pre-release, which saw around 600 people respond and download the viewer. Their feedback formed the basis for additional refinements to the code leading up to this release, with Nicky passing on his personal thanks to all of those who participated.

The Lab code releases in the Kokua 3.8.6 comprise:

  • Release 3.8.5.305531, dated October 13th – an Maintenance release comprising 90+ fixes, updates and feature requests from the Lab (release notes)
  • Release 3.8.6.305981, dated October 26th – the notifications viewer, incorporating the new notifications floater (release notes).

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.  This sees incoming notifications split between four tabs: System, Transactions, Invitations and Group, with each tab displaying the total number of notices stored within it.

Kokua 3.8.6 incorporates the Lab's new notifications floater, itself the result of a feature request from Aki
Kokua 3.8.6 incorporates the Lab’s new notifications floater, itself the result of a feature request from Aki Shichiroji

Clicking on an individual notice, or the down arrow to the right of a notification will open the details within the preview panel. Individual notices can also be closed by clicking the X to the right of them. The two buttons at the foot of the floater will either collapse all “open” notifications within the current tab, or deleted them all from the tab.

The RLV updates bring Kokua fully up to par with RLV 2.9.15, including the hotfix release of 2.9.15.1 on November 9th intended to correct BUG-10601.

The Kokua team contributions for this release comprise:

  • Uploading a Blender generated dae, and NOT retaining material group order (see Bug 10326)
  • OpenSim update –  Set Lag Meter Server section to operate at 11 fps.

There are a number of known issues with this release – please refer to the Kokua 3.8.6 release notes for details.

I confess to (once again) not having have that much time to drive this release due to having a busy schedule at the moment. However, when I was able to run it however (sans RLV active), I encountered no significant issues. My apologies (also again) to Nicky for not having spent more time using the release ahead of this summary review.

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