Lumiya 3.4 goes Bento

lumiya-logoOn Friday, January 20th Lumiya, the Android client developed by Alina Lyvette gained the latest in what has been a flurry of updates for the client, with the release of version 3.4. This sees Lumiya gain support for the Project Bento skeleton extensions and rendering of associated avatar meshes and accessories.

All of the Bento updates are under-the-hood; there are no UI changes, and no Reset Skeleton options as seen in Bento-supporting viewers. As Alina explained to me in discussing the release, Lumiya’s approach to rendering should generally result in Bento avatars and accessories rendering correctly in the 3D world view.

Medhue Simoni's Bento MEGAwolf, as worn by my alt and rendered in Lumiya's 3D view
Medhue Simoni’s Bento MEGAWolf, as worn by my alt and rendered in Lumiya’s 3D view

For the vast majority of times, this is indeed the case. You can select and wear a Bento avatar or Bento accessory such as a head and wear / unwear it without any problems.

However, as was noted during Bento’s development, when swapping between quadruped avatars, which can involve severe deformation of the avatar skeleton,  and bipedal avatars, there can be times when your avatar doesn’t always resume its proper shape in the 3D world view, resulting in the avatar appearing deformed in your view (see below, right.

deformed
Very occasionally, when swapping between avatars – say quadruped to biped, you might encounter your avatar appearing deformed in Lumiya. Simply exit and restart the 3D view

These occurrences tend to be very intermittent / rare. As with their occurrence in a viewer, they might be the result of race conditions and / or missed appearance messages.

As Lumiya does not have any Reset Skeleton options, the problem can be fixed in one of two ways:

  • Tapping the actions menu icon (top right of the screen) and selecting Stop Avatar Animations. This will generate an appearance update, and should correct the problem
  • Exiting the 3D world view, and then enabling it again. This will again force an appearance update, and correct any deformation.

Note that in testing, these kinds of deformation issues didn’t extend to other avatars changing their form within viewing range of Lumiya 3.4, and they always rendered correctly following a change. However, should other avatars appear deformed in your 3D world view, try exiting and re-started the 3D view and see if they then render correctly.

Outside of this, Bento HUDs, where supplied can be added and used in the usual manner with Lumiya – attach the HUD, then select it via the on-screen HUD button.

You should be able to use Bento mesh HUDs as you would any other HUD in Lumiya
You should be able to use Bento mesh HUDs as you would any other HUD in Lumiya, via the HUD button & selection (lower left corner of the screen

As well as the Bento update, Lumiya 3.4 includes a couple of bug fixes:

  • Avatars should no longer get stuck in the non-animated pose (“T” pose).
  • Avatars should no longer flash when loading rigged mesh attachments.

Feedback

Given the nature of things, the code may yet require further nips and tucks, but on the whole, and outside of the rare deformation issue mentioned above, I didn’t encounter significant issues  – although my selection of Bento items is admittedly narrow, and my testing could not in any way be comprehensive.  All told, another great update to SL’s most cost-effective and feature-rich mobile client / option.

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Lumiya 3.3.1: audio controls and Bluetooth headsets

lumiya-logoOn Friday, January 13th, Alina Lyvette released version 3.3.1 of the Lumiya Android client for Second Life and OpenSim.

The release builds on the 3.3 update, which added Voice capabilities to Lumiya, by providing additional audio controls for Voice together with Bluetooth headset support, which are combined in a single easy-to-use UI addition. As well as this, the release includes a number of bugfixes.

The audio controls can be displayed any time that Voice is enabled and about to be used – see my Lumiya 3.3 review for details on how to enable Voice in Lumiya.

With voice enabled, tap on the telephone handset icon as you would to launch a Voice conversation. When the microphone bar is display on your screen either in local chat or as a result of someone accepting your Voice IM request, tap anywhere on the bar except the microphone icon or the X, and the audio controls will be displayed.

Lumiya Voice audio controls
Lumiya Voice audio controls

These comprise three elements:

  • And overall volume slider
  • A toggle button to activate your device’s external speaker
  • A toggle button to direct audio through your Bluetooth headset.

Bluetooth Headsets

Note that for Bluetooth connectivity to work, you will also need to update to the latest Lumiya Voice plug-in app and, obviously,have a Bluetooth headset pair with the device being used to run Lumiya. Once paired and the headset is active, Lumiya will automatically route incoming audio to the headset when you establish a voice call. Should you wish to place the incoming audio on your device’s speaker (and back), use the buttons on the Lumiya audio controls, described above.

Bug Fixes and Minor Improvements

The bug fixes and smaller improvements with this release comprise:

  • A fix for some texture uploads to fail.
  • A fix to prevent camera position being reset when exiting 3D view.
  • Region restart messages and other alerts will now display correctly.
  • Objects will be automatically rezzed under land group when possible.

Feedback

Adding Bluetooth support is an obvious step now Lumiya supports Voice, and while I was unable to test it myself (the only Bluetooth earpiece I have is a good decade old and has lain in a drawer for most of that time, and so unsurprisingly didn’t work when allowed to see light of day), the process appears simple enough.

A number of people have asked me about Lumiya and Bento. As I noted in my last Lumiya review, Alina is working on it, and probably the fairest time frame to put on it is that it will be released when it is ready 🙂 .

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Lumiya 3.3: Voice and more

lumiya-logoOn Sunday, December 18th, Alina Lyvette released Lumiya 3.3, the Second Life /  OpenSim Android client for smartphones and tablets.

The new update brings with it Voice chat via the built-in microphone on your device (or suitable Bluetooth unit connected to your device), the ability to upload images via your device, and additional VR support, including Google Daydream. The realise notes are available here.

Voice Chat

Voice chat for Lumiya 3.3 requires the download and installation of the free Voice plug-in app. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the plugin, the first step is to enable Voice:

  • Log-in via Lumiya.
  • Tap the menu icon (top left of the screen) and then tap Settings > Chat and Messages
  • Tap Enable Voice Chat and make sure it is checked as enabled. To disable, tap the option again.
Enable Voice via Menu (top left of the Lumiya screen) > Settings > Chat and Messages > Enable Voice Chat. Tap again to uncheck and disable at any time.
Enable Voice via Menu (top left of the Lumiya screen) > Settings > Chat and Messages > Enable Voice Chat. Tap again to uncheck and disable at any time.

With Voice chat enabled you can use voice for open chat, IM calls and via the 3D World view.

Open Chat

To initiate Voice chat in open chat, tap on Local Chat in Lumiya. then tap the telephone handset icon in the top right of the screen. This will enable your device’s microphone and display the open / close microphone bar. Tap the microphone icon to activate your microphone; the icon will turn green, indicating the microphone  on your device is hot, and the bar will display the instruction to Speak Now.

The open / close device microphone bar as it appears in either state on the open chat, 3D world view or IM chat screens in Lumiya
The open / close device microphone bar as it appears in either state on the open chat, 3D world view or IM chat screens in Lumiya

Remember to tap the bar again when you’ve finished speaking to prevent any extraneous noises around you from being picked-up and transmitted in-world. To close the current Voice chat session at any time, tap the X on the right of the chat bar (arrowed to the right, above).

IM Voice Calls

For an IM voice call, tap the name of the person you wish to IM (e.g. via the list of people nearby or your Friends list). When the IM window has opened, tap the telephone handset icon (top right.The microphone bar is displayed, with the message “Connecting…”. The person you are calling, assuming they are on a full viewer, will receive the usual Voice call message (shown inset, below).

Making a Voice IM call on Lumiya. The recipient - assuming they are on a full viewer will receive the usual notification (inset)
Making a Voice IM call on Lumiya. The recipient – assuming they are on a full viewer will receive the usual notification (inset – click for full size)
  • If they accept the call, the microphone icon on the left of the bar will turn green, indicating they’ve accepted the call, and your microphone is now hot. Remember to tap the bar when you’ve finished speaking to prevent any extraneous noises around you from being picked-up and transmitted in-world.
  • If they reject the call, or opt to converse in IM via text, the microphone bar will vanish.
  • If they do not answer the call before the Voice connection times out, the microphone bar will vanish.
  • To end the call, tap the X on the right of the microphone bar.
    • Note that you can restart the conversation from the IM window by tapping the Action menu icon (three vertical dots, top right of the screen) and selecting Voice Chat from the drop-down. This will initiate a fresh call.

Should you be in receipt of an IM Voice call when using Lumiya, a drop-down will appear at the top of the window you are using, and you can opt to accept or reject the call. If you reject the call, but wish to converse via IM text and are not in the IM chat window, you’ll have to manually switch to the IM window for the person who called you.

When in receipt of a Voice IM call, a drop-down will be displayed at the top of the currently active Lumiya screen (3D world view shown)
When in receipt of a Voice IM call, a drop-down will be displayed at the top of the currently active Lumiya screen (3D world view shown)

If you accept the call, the microphone bar will be displayed, and your microphone will be hot. Remember to tap the bar when you’ve finished speaking to prevent any extraneous noises around you from being picked-up and transmitted in-world.

Continue reading “Lumiya 3.3: Voice and more”

Lumiya 3.2: Google Cardboard support

lumiya-logoOn Thursday, November 24th, Alina Lynette release Lumiya 3.2, which brings with it support for Google Cardboard and compatible VR kits and headsets!

Even though the Lab has – at least for the foreseeable future – put work on a VR headset compatible version of the viewer off to one side, interest in seeing Second Life from the “inside”, as a fully immersive VR experience remains high, and Alina has sought to rise to the challenge with Lumiya.

There are obviously a couple of caveats to using the application in VR mode:

  • You really need a suitable headset
  • You need a device with Andorid 6.0+ Marshmallow installed

I have Android 6, but I don’t have any form of headset, Cardboard or otherwise, that I can use with my device – which happens to be a Nexus 7 2013 HD Tablet – a little clunky for any headset device, although there are some out there. Nevertheless, I gave the new capability a go as best I could.

To enter VR mode on a suitable device, simply log-in to Second Life on Lumiya, and then go to the 3D view (Menu icon, top left > 3D view).

Access the VR mode in Lumiya 3.2 is done via the Action menu, when in the 3D view
Access the VR mode in Lumiya 3.2 is done via the Action menu, when in the 3D view

Once the view has loaded, tap the Action menu icon (top right) and select Virtual Reality Mode. The first time you do this, you will be prompted whether you want Lumiya to handle speech-to-text conversion for you to allow you to “converse” in-world, via the “microphone” button. You can deny this if you wish, but it will leave you with no means to converse.

Whether you Allow or Deny the speech-to-text conversion, Lumiya will switch output to a stereoscopic format, suitable for use with Cardboard devices and the likes of the Samsung Gear VR. Three buttons are projected into the field-of-view:

  • Microphone – for enabling speech-to-text translation
  • Finger – for touching things
  • Chat bubble for text-mode chat.

Any of the three can be activated by staring at the required button – it should be highlighted when your stare is registered – then pressing the Cardboard device flap (or button / magnet actuator in the case of a Cardboard V1 device). If you’re trying Lumiya in VR mode without a headset, you can try staring at the button and touching the top of the screen between the left and right view – how successful you might be is debatable, and dependent upon on a number of factor (ambience background light, etc).

Movement is achieved by tapping and holding the same area of the device (or screen, if not using a device) while not looking at any of the buttons. You will then move in the direction yo are looking. Release the device / screen to stop.

Lumiya in VR stereoscopic mode. When using a Cardboard or similar device, staring at the on-screen buttons and pressing the flap / button on the device should activate the required function. Or if you're not using a device, you can try staring at a button and touching the screen where indicated (approximately) by the red circle. Pressing this point (or the flap / button on a device) will allow you to walk in the direction to are looking
Lumiya in VR stereoscopic mode. When using a Cardboard or similar device, staring at the on-screen buttons and pressing the flap / button on the device should activate the required function. Or if you’re not using a device, you can try staring at a button and touching the screen where indicated (approximately) by the red circle. Pressing this point (or the flap / button on a device) will allow you to walk in the direction to are looking

To exit VR mode, manually tap the X icon top left of the screen. The gear icon, top right can be manually used to access the Google Cardboard application for calibrating your headset device, if required (and if installed on your device).

The 3.2 release also includes a bug fix to prevent a black screen in the 3D world view when anti-aliasing is enabled.

As I am without a suitable headset kit / device, I was unsuccessful trying to test the button functionality, but the walking certainly worked for me without a hitch. Adding VR to Lumiya might seem to some a bit of a niche thing, but that doesn’t stop it from being a fun addition. It certainly further demonstrates what can be achieved with the application, and kudos (again) to Alina for her work.

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Lumiya: Google drive support for chat and IM logs

lumiya-logoLumiya, the go-to Second Life / Open Sim client for Android by Alina Lyvette, updated on Wednesday, October 19th, although it’s taken me a few days to get around to blogging about it.

Version 3.1.2 contains a single up-front change, but it’s one users are liable to appreciate: the ability to save chat and IM logs to their Google drive.

To do so, two things are required:

  • An active Google account with access to Google drive (no surprises there).
  • The Lumiya Cloud Plugin available via Google Play for free.

Setting  things up is a simple set of steps:

  • Download and install the Lumiya Cloud Plugin on the devices(s) you use with Lumiya.
  • Log-in to Lumiya and go to Settings via the menu (top left icon) and select Chat and Messages.
  • Tap Save chat history to Google Drive to enable it.
Setting Lumiya to save chat and IM logs to your Google Drive
Setting Lumiya to save chat and IM logs to your Google Drive
  • A pop-up is displayed for your Google account (not your Second Life account). If you have more than one Google account, you may be asked to enter the details of the account you wish to associate with Lumiya.
Selecting your Google account
Selecting your Google account
  • Providing you have selected the Google account you wish to use, tap Add Account.
  • A further pop-up is displayed asking you to allow the Lumiya Cloud Plugin service to access your Google drive in order to save and retrieve chat and IM log files.
  • Providing you’re happy, tap Allow.
Granting the cloud app permission to save and retrieve your chat and IM logs
Granting the cloud app permission to save and retrieve your chat and IM logs

And that’s it. You only need to do this once per device, you don’t have to do it for each of your SL accounts if you have more than one. When you log in to Second Life, your chat and IM histories will be available, and saved automatically.

If you ever want to revert to saving your histories directly onto your device, simply go to Menu (top left) > Settings > Chat and Messages and uncheck  Save chat history to Google Drive.

Feedback

This is a handy update for Lumiya, offering a single location for chat and IM logs which could be especially useful for those who may use Lumiya on more than one device (e.g. a Tablet and a smartphone), as it removes discontinuities in saving logs locally – although obviously, you’ll have to use the Lumiya Cloud Plugin to associate each device with your Google account / drive.

And if Google Drive isn’t your thing? Then you can continue to save your logs directly to the storage on your device. Simples!

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Lumiya 3.1: go faster stripes and taking snapshots

lumiya-logoLumiya, the go-to Second Life / Open Sim client for Android by Alina Lyvette has received a further set of updates and bug fixes with the rapid-fire release of version 3.1 and version 3.1.1.

Both updates appeared on Tuesday, September 27th, version 3.1.1 offering several bug-fixes following the initial 3.1 release, while the latter offers fixes, tweaks, improvements and new features.

The major improvement is actually under-the-hood, with the adoption OpenGL ES 3.0 support within Lumiya. For those running the app on a modern smartphone or tablet, this should see much improved rendering of meshes in the 3D world view, including mesh bodies and avatar attachments, and improvements in frame rates. It should also provide much better rendering of translucent mesh clothing, getting much closer to how it should actually look.

Alongside of this comes a number of UI / functional changes and additions, including:

  • The ability to edit parts of your Profile & add notes to other profiles
  • The ability to take and share snapshots
  • Setting your home location
  • Mesh body HUDs should now work as expected
  • Kemono avatars should now render correctly
  • Play sound stream moved to the Action menu (top right of screen) when in the Contacts / chat windows
  • Screen corruption in 3D view on certain Adreno 305 and 320 GPUs (e.g. Sony Xperia T3)
  • A fix for a crash when saving notecard data.

Some of these updates are looked at in more detail below.

Lumiya 3.1 should allow mesh body users to use their HUD systems - use pinch-zoom to enlarge the HUD if required
Lumiya 3.1 should allow mesh body users to use their HUD systems – use pinch-zoom to enlarge the HUD if required

Profile Editing

The Profile editing options comprise: changing your Profile picture, editing your About details and creating / editing personal / private notes on either your own profile or the profile of another avatar (personal / profile notes only).

You can change your Profile picture, edit your About description and / or add personal notes in Lumiya
You can change your Profile picture, edit your About description and / or add personal notes in Lumiya

To do this with your own Profile, go to the menu (top left icon) then My Avatar > My Profile. This will open your profile. Tap Change Picture to open your inventory to select a new picture. To update your About description or personal notes, scroll down to the relevant part of your Profile and tap the Edit option. This will take you to an Edit screen, and open your device’s on-screen keyboard for editing.

Tapping the Edit options with About and personal notes will open an edit window and display your device's on-screen keyboard
Tapping the Edit options with About and personal notes will open an edit window and display your device’s on-screen keyboard

Add Notes to another Profile

To add personal notes to the Profile of another avatar, locate the avatar in your Contacts or through the Nearby option. Tap the avatar name, then tap their Profile icon (top right of the window). Their profile will open, and you can scroll down to Personal Notes and tap Edit.

Take and Share Snapshots

Lumiya 3.1 presents users with the ability to create and share snapshots from the 3D view. To take a snapshot, go to the 3D view and position your camera as required. Tap the Action menu (top right of the window) and then tap Share Screenshot…

This will take a picture of your in-world view, and then display your available options for sharing the image. Note that this might include options to save the snapshot to your device which are not supported at this time. You can, however, upload to Google+, Google Photos, etc., or send via e-mail, etc.

You can now take and share snapshots using Lumiya
You can now take and share snapshots using Lumiya

Setting Your Home Location

When you wish to set home to the location you are in, open the Action Menu and tap Location Details. A Set Home option should be displayed on the right side of the location title bar.

Setting your Home Location from the Locations Details window
Setting your Home Location from the Locations Details window

Feedback

I’ve not had the opportunity to play in-depth with the updates with this release, so this is very much a rapid-fire overview based on the time I’ve had available with Lumiya 3.1. During my 90 minutes (ish) for fiddling, I encountered no problems and happily edited my profile, updated some notes on another profile, and e-mailed a number of snapshots via Gmail. Testing my Maitreya HUD went well, with pinch-zoom I could enlarge it sufficiently to tap the tabs on it, mask / show parts of my body, etc. Understandably, rendering of the HUD was a little fuzzy and made reading labels a little difficult, but anyone with a reasonable degree of familiarity with their HUD shouldn’t find this a major issue.

Alina indicates that further updates are on the way, and what we have here sees Lumiya take a further step to becoming the indispensable option for Android users needing on-the-go access to Second Life and OpenSim (data charges allowing if not on wifi!).

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