Kokua: release 6.4.16

Kokua release version 6.4.16 of their viewer on Tuesday, March 16th. The release takes advantage of a pause in releases of the official viewer to allow the Kokua team to incorporate a number of TPV derived updates and capabilities.

Kokua 6.4.16 also sees a jump in version number as a result of the pause in official viewer promotions, which came as a result of the knotty problem of the Simple Cache viewer being promoted and then rolled back. The release notes for Kokua 6.4.16 provide a slightly complicated explanation about the version number jump, but this can really be summarised as to allow Kokua remain in lock-step with official viewer numbering when the next official viewer promotion (6.4.17) is made, and Kokua merge the changes.

The following is a summary of the core changes seen within Kokua 6.4.16. Again, please refer to the formal release notes as well.

From Firestorm

People Floater – Contact Sets

Possibly the largest update seen with this release ins the inclusion of Contact Sets, ported from Firestorm.

For those unfamiliar with the capability, Contact Set provides the means to organise the people on their Friends list into virtual groups for ease of reference.

You can, for example, assign all those you have friended because you’re all involved in the same role-play group into one Contact Set, your closest friends friends to another, customers you have friended into a third, and so on.

Once created, Contact Sets can be individually displayed and actions taken against selected names (IM, offer teleport, pay, etc), just as you can when viewing them in  your full Friends list, and a single name can appear in more than one Contact Set, depending on your needs.

With Kokua, Contact Sets ha been integrated into the People floater rather than (as with Firestorm) utilising a separate UI element, and thus can be accessed in four main ways:

  • Via Communicate Contact Sets.
  • By pressing ALT-CTRL-SHIFT-X.
  • By opening the People floater via its toolbar button and selecting the Contact Sets tab.
  • By enabling the new Contact Sets toolbar button and using that.

For a complete guide to Kokua’s Contact Sets, including differences between it and Firestorm’s implementation (for those familiar with the latter), please refer to the Kokua Contact Sets guide.

People Floater: Contact Sets tab and context menu updates

People Floater Nearby – Context Menu Updates

The right-click context menu on  the Nearby people list has been updated to include adding a person to a Contact Set; giving an avatar a coloured marker on the map; and options to Freeze / Eject avatars on your own land.

In addition, and while related to the Mini Map, the ability to see a place or avatar profile from the Mini Map has also been from Firestorm.

Crouch Mode

This allows your avatar to move in a “crouched” pose, which can be useful in things like combat games.

  • Enable the mode via Preferences → Move & View → Keyboard → check Enable Crouch Toggle Mode.
  • To use, with your avatar on the ground, press PAGE DOWN and your avatar will adopt a “crouching” pose and will remain in it and move around in it until PAGE DOWN is pressed again.

Note that as a part of this, Kokua has split Preferences Move & View into three sub-tabs:

  • Camera: the camera control options (View Angle, Distance, etc.).
  • Keyboard: the keyboard check options (using the arrow keys to move; using the AZERY keyboard layout, crouch mode, etc.).
  • Mouse: the mouse options (Show me in Mouselook, Enable Context Menus in Mouselook,  etc).

From Catznip

Kokua now includes the ability to mark any folder as a System Folder (so promoting it to the first group of folders and protecting it from deletion), as provided in Catznip.

Kokua Team Updates

Status Bar Graphs

The new script bar graphs

Kokua 6.4.16 introduces three new bar graphs, located in the top right corner of the viewer, alongside the familiar bandwidth graphs. These are:

  • Script run percentage: how much of what scripts want to do per frame is actually achieved. A score of 100% means everything that should have happened did happen, and the bar graph will actually be clear. The more coloured bar is, the lower the script run percentage.
  • Script time per frame: how much of each frame (around 22ms) is used for scripts.
  • Frame spare time: is how much of the frame time was not used. Again, the less you can see of this bar the better things are. A full bar means there is no spare time.

Hovering the mouse over any of the bars will display a pop-up with the current value. Please refer to the Kokua web page on these bar graphs for a complete explanation of each of them.

Personal Lighting Floater Tool Bar Button

Following a Feature Request from Yours Truly, Kokua now includes a tool bar button to directly access the Personal Lighting floater. When enabled, this will hopefully make it easier for photographers to access the floater and make lighting adjustments.

The Personal Lighting tool bar button

Find the button on Toolbar Buttons floater, along with the new Contacts Sets button.

RLV Updates

The RLV and FTRLV versions of Kokua 6.4.16 incorporate RLV 2.9.30.0 and the RLVa @setsphere functionality. Note that white the following are a part of the RLV 2.9.30.0 release, they are not described in the release notes:

  • In the status floater it would try to resolve the UUID for camtextures to a name and fail, showing ‘waiting’. Instead it will simply show the UUID.
  • A new debug option RestrainedLoveSelectionOutlines allows switching between the earlier behaviour of no selection outlines/no change to vision spheres when an object is selected and the later behaviour of showing a selection outline whilst forcing the nearest vision sphere to opaque. The earlier behaviour is the default.
  • The RLV Status floater’s last tab has been updated to show @setsphere information whilst it is in effect

Feedback

An interesting selection of updates for Kokua – and I’m obviously pleased to see the Personal Lighting floater tool bar button.

I’ve admittedly never really used Contact Sets – the capability has always struck me as a exercise in playing people administrator rather than being of practical use, but then I don’t have any particular need for it: the Search option in the People list gives me all that I need. Others might find the addition a lot more useful – and if looking for a move from Firestorm, it could well be an added attraction to give Kokua a try.

Certainly, this release sees Kokua make good use of the pause in official viewer updates whilst allowing them to remain set to quickly adopt LL’s next promotion.

Links

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.