Tag Archives: SL Viewer Reviews

Second Life Maintenance RC: Avatar Rendering updates and more

On Thursday, March 23rd, 2017, Linden Lab issued a new Maintenance release candidate viewer – 5.0.4.324882 – featuring a number of bug fixes and improvements.The viewer was actually a replacement for an earlier Maintenance RC, version 5.0.4.324646, which was withdrawn after it was noted it lacked some of the expected improved functionality.

In particular, this RC viewer brings some additional options for managing Avatar Complexity (aka Jelly Dolls), gives us a new option for checking the Grid Status page and offers a number of other nice nips-and-tucks to the viewer, as well as resolving a series of bugs.

As is my usual approach the following is not intended as an in-depth review of the RC, but is intended to highlight the core changes.

Avatar Complexity Rendering Updates

The re-named avatar complexity rendering options in their new sub-menu

There are several improvements to avatar complexity, which are outlined below.

The Options for how you render an avatar have been updated to 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 (shown on the right).

Also, and following Firestorm’s lead, whatever setting you select for an avatar will now persist across all log-ins for the viewer, until either reset or your settings are cleared by a clean install or similar.

Finally, the viewer gets 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 your friends will always fully render, regardless of your Avatar Complexity threshold.

Graphics > Preferences: the new Avatar Complexity options

The second is an Exceptions button, which adds a further level of complexity control for how other avatars – including your Friends – are rendered in your view.

Using Avatar Rendering Exceptions

Clicking the Exceptions button opens a new floater, Avatar Render Settings, shown below left. This comprises a people filter for the list of names recorded on the floater (which is obviously blank when first opened), together with a + (add) button.

The Avatar Complexity Exceptions floaters

Clicking + will display a pop-up with two options:

  • Always Render A Resident
  • Never Render a Resident

Clicking on either of these will open the Choose Resident floater, shown above right. You can then use the Search, or Friends or Near Me tabs to select an avatar or avatars, adding them to the list on the floater. Clicking OK will add them to the Avatar Render Settings panel. The avatars will also be rendered in accordance with whichever option you used to launch the selection process (Always render or Never render).

Changing the Avatar Complexity setting for an avatar listed in your Exceptions floater – not Default will remove them from the list, as they will be rendered as per your Avatar Complexity setting

You can also update how any avatar in the Avatar Render Settings list is displayed.

To do this, open the floater via Preferences > Graphics > Exceptions, and then located the name of the avatar in question right-click on the avatar’s name (use the filter field if necessary).

Right-click on the required name to displays a sub-menu of the three Avatar Rendering options – Default, Always Render, Never Render – with the current option for that avatar ticked. Clicking either of the other two options will update how the avatar is rendered by your viewer. When doing this, do note that:

  • If you select Default, the avatar will be rendered as per your Avatar Complexity setting, and removed from the Avatar Render Settings list
  • If you select Default or Never for a friend, they will always render as defined by this setting, even if you have Always Render Friends checked in Preferences > Graphics – so keep this in mind to avoid confusion!

Grid Status Display Toolbar Button

Maintenance RC 5.0.4.324882 adds a new Grid Status toolbar button to the viewer. This can be accessed via Me -> Toolbar or by right-clicking your toolbar to select Toolbar Buttons. Either of these routes will open your Toolbox floater. You can then drag the Grid Status button to the toolbar location of your choice (left, right or bottom of your screen) where it will be displayed.

The new Grid Status button

Clicking on the button will open the Grid Status page in the viewer’s built-in browser, regardless of your Preferences setting for how web content is to be displayed.

Other Improvements

In addition to the above, this RC viewer also includes the following improvements:

  • Inventory Offer messages now display the name of the object being offered to another avatar
  • Library items can now be worn via a right-click context menu, and not just drag & drop
  • The Snapshot floater will now remember what you did last, and open with that mode next time (until you next relog)
  • You can now see and change the type of block (Voice / Text / Particles) from within the block list in People floater
  • LLTextBox message lines will extend along with the length of the message now.

Bug Fixes

The release notes provides the following list of bug fixes with this release:

  • Some builds wouldn’t link to release notes. Now they do.
  • Other minor UI tweaks and adjustments
  • Removed several instances of legacy People API usage, thanks to Ansariel Hiller.
  • Inventory floater was missing UI for spawning new Inventory floaters. So now you can do it even if you don’t know the Ctrl+*Shift*+*I* shortcut.
  • Build floater used to hide behind other floaters due to wrong Z-priority. Not no more!
  • Appearance editor didn’t “Save as” as well as it should have, but now does.
  • Avatar animations wouldn’t play after several operations with editing and wearing objects, but do now.
  • Closing inventory window used to leave an orphaned context menu.
  • Active listings folder stayed active after everything was cut from it. We don’t need that confusion.
  • Teleport offers and Eject messages will show complete name when that’s what you’ve chose to see.
  • You can now remove friends even when you’re in a Groups floater looking at Members list.

Feedback

I’ve not driven this viewer for more than an hour thus far, so cannot give any feedback on performance / stability. In terms of the improved features, making Avatar Complexity settings persist between log-ins is a welcome addition to the viewer. Both the Always Render Friends check box and the Exceptions options are also nice additions. .

The Grid Status button is also a handy addition, and should provide help for those of us wanting to know what is going on with the grid (when suspecting something might be wrong), but who get a little annoyed at having to manually visit the grid status page in order to do so.

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Second Life Maintenance RC viewer 5.0.2.323359

secondlifeOn Friday, February 3rd, Linden Lab released the latest Maintenance RC viewer – version 5.0.2.323359 – which brings with it another round of updates and fixes, together with a couple of new features requested by users, one of which could prove popular for creators and builders: the ability to select default folders for saving uploads.

Also for builders, the RC includes some long-awaited fixes to the build floater / objects when building. Several other niggles people have had with the viewer are also fixed with this update, making it a handy set of improvements to have.

The following is not intended as an in-depth review of the RC, but is intended to highlight the core changes.

Custom Folders for Uploads

With Maintenance RC 5.0.2.323359 users can now select their own preferred 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).

You can select your own preferred folders for image, animation, sound and mesh uploads, rather than using the normal default folders

You can select your own preferred folders for image, animation, sound and mesh uploads, rather than using the normal default folders

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., will still go to the their “default” folders.

So, for example, an animation passed to you in-world by someone else will still go to your Animations folder, regardless of any custom destination you have set for animation uploads.

You can also review which custom folders you have set at any time via Preferences > Uploads, a new tab in the preferences floater. This list updates dynamically as you select / change custom locations for your uploads.

The new Uploads tab in Preferences

The new Uploads tab in Preferences, with a custom location set for mesh uploads

Other Requested Fixes / Updates

There are several other oft-requested updates are also included in the RC:

New Block list tally

New Block list tally

  • A long-term and understandable annoyance among role-players / combat players is that a change made by the Lab some time ago meant that the Damage icon would not show in parcels that were damage-enabled. This has now been reverted.
  • The issue of the Sun sometimes appearing to jump around rather than moving incrementally has been fixed.
  • The Block list has been updated so that the last name on the list once again displays correctly, and a tally has been added to show number of avatars / objects blocked, and total limit (see right).
  • Avatars should now correctly display after a fresh inventory fetch.
  • Changes in wearables should now properly save.

Build  / Edit Improvements

The following build / edit fixes and improvements have also been made to the viewer:

  • Repeats per meter value is now correctly saved.
  • An object created when a linkset is open is now shown in the linkset list.
  • Select Face will now show selection for all faces until such time as an individual face is selected.
  • The contents of any object worn from the ground should now correctly update.
  • The Script Debug Floater should now be useful once more.

Other Updates and Improvements

The release notes for the viewer also draw attention to the following updates:

  • Hanging texture downloads have been cleaned-up for better performance (via contribution from Ansariel Hiller).
  • Viewer Login will no longer save password when it is not supposed to.
  • Beacons will once more show when in Mouselook.
  • Teleport location selected from World Map no longer omits Z value.
  • Grid selection short cut at login is fixed.
  • Crash Fixes in LLPanelEditWearable::isDirty(), LLFloaterIMContainer::visibleContextMenuItem(), opening many scripts.
  • /displayname and /completename no longer change when toggling “View Display Names”.
  • Link added to Events in World menu.

Full details on the viewer updates, included a list of resolved MAINT JIRAs can be found in the viewer release notes and download page. Note that as they are MAINT (LL internal), not all of the JIRAs may be open to public view.

Hands-on: Second Life 360-degree snapshot viewer

Credit: Linden Lab

Credit: Linden Lab

On Wednesday October 26th Linden Lab announced the release of the 360o snapshot viewer, which I’ve had the good fortune to be able to play with for the last week.

The viewer is still very much under development, and has been released as project viewer with a number of caveats against it as development continues. Essentially, it allows you to take a set of images (6 in total) of the location around your camera, and then produce these as a scrollable 360o view – you can see the results in action on this sample page. Just click drag on an image to manually scroll around it.

The viewer is available via the Alternative Viewers wiki page as project viewer, with documentation on the wiki. As noted there are some caveats concerning it, which need to be kept in mind:

  • The 360o capture operates all around your field of view simultaneously. This can lead to conflicts with the viewer’s Interest List, so that objects which may be “behind” your camera position may not be properly rendered, etc. To avoid this, always pan your camera around  (or turn your avatar around if you are taking a picture from your avatar’s position) to completely view the scene and allow things to initially load, before taking a shot.
  • The current viewer saves the resulting image to your local disk as a zip file. You’ll need to set-up your own local web host in order to view them (or if you have your own website, you could set one up there). Again, this will be changing as the project develops
  • However, even in this format, once you are viewing an image, you can download it in a 2:1 aspect ratio suitable for upload to Flickr for sharing with friends and viewing in 360o.

As I’ve covered three of the 360o camera HUDs available in Second Life, I’m offering the rest of this article as a walk-through in using the new viewer and viewing your photos.

Note – these instructions apply to Windows, I don’t have access to a Mac to provide guidelines for that platform.

Setting Your Viewing Environment

Before taking your photos, you’ll need – for the time being at least – to set-up a simply local web server. Callum Linden has made this relatively easy.

  • Download Python from the Python website. You can select to install either Python 3.5.x (latest) or Python 2.7.x (the Lab uses Python 2.7 as a point of reference).
  • When installing Python, make sure you add the installation to your Windows path.
    • If you are installing Python 3.5.x, simply check the box in the installer
    • If you are installing Python 2.7, click the Advanced button in the installer, scroll down the list of customisable options and set Add Python .EXE to Path to Will be installed on local hard drive.
Adding the Python 2.7 EXE to the Windows path

Adding the Python 2.7 EXE to the Windows path

  • Download the Lab’s 360 snapshot web viewer ZIP file from the Lab’s 360 snapshot wiki page.
    • If you are familiar with Mercurial, you can clone the existing web framework via the link given in the wiki page. I found going the ZIP file route easier.
  • Unzip the web viewer files to a location on your hard drive.
Web you have unzipped the web viewer package, you should have a folder looking like this - note the SHOTS folder, this is where you'll be wanting to save your snapshot sets

When you have unzipped the web viewer package, you should have a folder looking like this – note the SHOTS folder, this is where you’ll be wanting to save your snapshot sets (Windows environment)

Using the Viewer

When you have downloaded and installed the 360o snapshot viewer, proceed as follows:

  • Position your avatar  / camera at the centre of the area you wish to photograph. If you are using your avatar, not that you should “hide” it via removing all attachments and alpha-masking, or by using something like a “vanish” gesture.
    • Note that you can positioning your camera for a 360o snapshot simply by positioning your camera (e.g. using ALT-zoom or by flycamming).
  • Make sure you freeze the clouds in order to assist the image “stitching” process, and to avoid visual discontinuities in the finished image. Use Menu > World > Environment Editor >Sky Presets > Edit Presets. You should also avoid using Depth of Field.
  • Set your preferred windlight / time of day setting.
  • Turn your camera / avatar slowly around in a circle to view everything in the field of view around it, and allow everything to render.
  • Open the Snapshot floater and click on the 360 option – not that although this displays the filter options for snapshot, the filter effects are not currently captured when taking  360o shots.
  • When you are ready, Click Save to save the image set – you will be prompted to save a ZIP file to your hard drive.
    • Navigate to the location where you unzipped the web viewer files (above) and then save the ZIP file (with a suitable file name) in the SHOTS folder.

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2016 SL project updates 34 (1): server, viewer, wiki

Binemust; Inara Pey, August 2016, on Flickr Binemustblog post

Things are still a little quiet, so not a lot to report at the start of the week.

Server Deployments

There are no scheduled deployment for week #34.

SL Viewer

No changes since my last SL project update, leaving the current official viewer list as:

  • Current Release version 4.0.7.318301, dated August 8th promoted August 11th – formerly the Maintenance RC viewer
  • Release Candidate viewers (refer to my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Visual Outfit Browser RC viewer, version 4.0.8.318686, dated August 17th – ability to preview images of outfits in the Appearance floater
    • VLC Media Plugin RC viewer, version 4.1.1.318504, dated August 15th – replaces the QuickTime media plugin for the Windows version of the viewer with one based on LibVLC
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Bento (avatar skeleton extensions), version 5.0.0.317597, dated July 14th – incorporation of final skeleton and slider updates from the test viewer
  • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847, dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

SL Wiki

As noted under a separate article, the SL wiki is currently locked from public editing due to spamming issues. There is currently no ETA on when it will be made generally available for access. Those with a definite need to have edit rights should raise a support ticket requesting access.