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

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/.

Additional Links

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.

Additional Links