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”

Radegast set to continue for Second Life and OpenSim

 Radegast client is the leading lightweight client for many users with disabilities
Radegast client is the leading lightweight client for many users with disabilities

Thanks to an article by Beq Janus and news passed to me by Whirly Fizzle, this blog was recently able to cover the issues of Voice installation failures in the Radegast lightweight client, and the work put into rectifying the problems.

In short, it was discovered that Radegast would no longer install the SL Voice package due to the location the installer was pointing to being a) not provided by Linden Lab; b) no longer valid. Shortly after this was discovered, Beq found a temporary workaround to get things going using the Radegast version of the SL Voice package,  and Whirly found a means to manually get Radegast to work with the current SL Voice package from Linden Lab.

In response to a plea from Beq for developers to consider helping to provide a more robust solution, Cinder Roxley stepped in, and in short order had Radegast’s installer updated to work with the current SL Voice package.

Cinder has now confirmed she hopes to continue maintaining working on Radegast.

“It would just be a shame to see Radegast become obsolete considering how useful it is, especially in terms of accessibility.” she told me, after I heard confirmation she’d be continuing the work. “Right now, Voice is updated, and Bento is now in. I still need to do AIS v3 [inventory handling].”

Given that the current website for Radegast can no longer be accessed for updates, Cinder is working on a new site as well, although as she notes, bringing everything together will take time and energy.

“I already have a full plate with work and life and Alchemy,” she said, “So anyone else who wants to help out is more than welcome to.”

There’s no immediate time line for a further Radegast update, but knowing the work is continuing is likely to come as good news to a lot of people – and if other developers are interested in helping out, please contact Cinder in-world.

In the meantime, thanks to Cinder for taking up the challenge.

Radegast now up-to-date with SL Voice

 Radegast client is the leading lightweight client for many users with disabilities
Radegast client is the leading lightweight client for many users with disabilities

Earlier in November 2016, I invited Beq Janus to write about recent issues which have come to light for people trying to use SL Voice with the Radegast client. In short, it was recently noticed that Radegast would no longer install SL Voice on a new or clean (for those who had previously used it) installation. The problem lay with the Voice package being used no longer being available, compounded by the fact that since the sad passing of Radegast’s developer, Latif Khalifa, no-one is actively maintaining the client.

At the end of the article, Beq put out a plea for someone with the necessary coding expertise to consider stepping forward, and – if not take over maintenance of Radegast – at least update the installer to ensure it can use the correct Voice package going forward.

Well, that plea has been answered.

Cinder Roxley, a TPV developer and open-source contributor to Linden Lab, has stepped forward and updated Radegast to work with the current SL Voice, and provider a new installer package.  The links are as follows:

Many thanks to Cinders for responding to the plea and updating Radegast like this.

Radegast: recovering Voice capabilities

Gentle Heron, second from the right encountered a Radegast Voice installation during the recording of a Designing Worlds special. Credit: Beq Janus
Gentle Heron, second from the right encountered a Radegast Voice installation during the recording of a Designing Worlds special. Credit: Beq Janus

Update, November 30th: Cinder Roxley has updated the Radegast installer to work with the most recent SLVoice package. See her comments here and here (following this article). There is also a separate blog post on her work, for easier future linking.

It was recently discovered that the Radegast client was no longer installing the SLVoice extensions with a new / clean installation. On hearing of the problem, Beq Janus and Whirly Fizzle decided to investigate, and thanks to their work, we now two workaround solutions. As they had put the effort into sorting things out, I asked them if either would like to write about the issue and the solution, and Beq, with Whirly’s blessing, agreed to do so.

by Beq Janus

A few days ago when I was invited to reprise my role as a videographer for a special episode of Designing Worlds on the Future of Second Life, which will air in early December. The panel for the discussion included Gentle Heron of Virtual Ability Inc, the group who work to enable access to virtual worlds for those who, through disability or illness are unable to make ready use of regular viewers.

During the show, Gentle urged Linden Lab and us all to look for ways to make Virtual Worlds more accessible, remarking, somewhat fatefully, that many of her communities are limited to a single, troubled viewer, Radegast.

A subject of reviews in this blog, Radegast is a lightweight, extensible client which has been the ideal foundation for the disabled communities to build upon. It boasts an impressive set of speech to text and text to speech integrations and can be integrated with other devices such as braille screen readers. Sadly, Latif Kalifa, Radegast’s creator, passed away earlier this year and despite the code being open source, no-one has yet stepped forward to maintain it at a time when the Lab viewer is moving ahead in leaps and bounds, with the risk that non-maintained viewers and client might lose functionality.

 Radegast client is the leading lightweight client for many users with disabilities
Radegast client is the leading lightweight client for many virtual world users with disabilities

As if to underline this, Gentle fell silent towards the end of the show, as she was dealing with a number of users who were reporting they were unable to use Voice with Radegast as it was failing to install the all important SLVoice extensions. While I am unfamiliar with Radegast, I offered to try looking into it for Gentle.

SLVoice is a pre-built binary package supplied by Vivox and distributed by Linden Lab. During the summer, it had been upgraded to address some security concerns and so it seemed likely to me that Gentle’s problem might be that the older SLVoice package had been deprecated and removed from the download server. Sure enough, a quick check on the package URL resulted in  the dreaded 404 not found error. I sent an email to Oz and Patch Linden asking them to confirm whether older versions of SLVoice had been moved.

The next day Oz confirmed that all old SLVoice packages were still available and nothing had changed. Whirly Fizzle, the powerhouse behind Firestorm QA, leapt into action: she cracked open the installer and discovered the URL actually pointed to a separately hosted Voice package which was no longer available, causing the Voice installation to silently fail during a new or clean Radegast installation as a result. However, Whirly also found a working back-up archive we could perhaps use. Unfortunately, neither Whirly or I are C# coders and cannot update the installation package directly; so how could we get a Radegast installation to work with the back-up Voice package?

I hit on the idea of first installing the backup package that Whirly had discovered, and then running the standard Radegast installer. Success! So, for anyone who is performing a clean / new install of Radegast and needs Voice, I’ve produced a set of instructions – see the link below. There is, however, more.

I mentioned above that Linden Lab had updated the SLVoice packages over the summer to deal with security concerns. Because of this, older versions of SLVoice are to be blocked from connecting to the service, and Radegast would once again be without a Voice option. Knowing this, and never one to leave a job half done, Whirly successfully tested my approach using the most recent SLVoice package available from the Lab, and confirmed it will also work.

This means that providing that there is no internal dependency within Radegast on the legacy Voice package, we now have an upgrade path for Radegast users that will ensure continued voice support after the block on older SLVoice packages comes into force. To help ensure people know what they need to do, Whirly’s instructions can also be found in the link below.

Radegast Voice Installation Instructions.

A Plea to Developers

These instructions are only a workaround. We still need to find a way to have Radegast install the correct Voice extensions automatically, as a part of the client install process. So, if you are a C# (C-Sharp) developer and are willing to spare a few hours looking at this, please take a look at the Radegast codebase and see if there is a way to incorporate the correct binaries into an installer package. Thank you.

With grateful thanks to Whirly Fizzle.