UKanDo and Black Dragon get Experience Tools

Both UKanDo and Black Dragon have recently incorporated the Lab’s Experience tools, following their were promotion to release status in the official viewer on June 30th, 2015.

UKanDo arrived with Experience Tools on Thursday, July 2nd, with the release of version 3.8.0.28122. As with the official viewer, this adds the Experiences floater access to the ME menu, and also has the Region / Estate and About Land panel also updated with their respective Experiences tabs.

The Experiences floater and an Experience Profile as they appear in UKanDo with the default skin. The viewer also includes the Region / Estate and the About Land Experience Tools updates as well
The Experiences floater and an Experience Profile as they appear in UKanDo with the default skin. The viewer also includes the Region / Estate and the About Land Experience Tools updates as well

In addition, as a part of this release, UKanDo updates to RLV 2.9.12, with the NaCl / Marine Kelley avatar shadow rendering updates for rigged mesh – see my article of RLV 2.9.12, available here.

UKanDo 3.8.0 also includes Marine Kelley's RLV 2.9.12 update, with the avatar shadow rendering debug setting to help with rendering performance when running with shadows enabled and surrounded by avatars using mesh bodies & other rigged mesh attachments
UKanDo 3.8.0 also includes Marine Kelley’s RLV 2.9.12 update, with the avatar shadow rendering debug setting to help with rendering performance when running with shadows enabled and surrounded by avatars using mesh bodies & other rigged mesh attachments

Black Dragon release 2.4.3.5 sees the Experiences floater added to Dragon > Edit menu. As with UKanDo, it also adds the Experiences tabs to the Region / Estate and About Land Floaters.

This release, which arrived on July 4th after a couple of hiccups with versions 2.4.3.3 and 2.4.3.4, also includes Niran’s July 3rd update, which focused on a complete RLVa update, as per the release notes for that version.

I’ve not had an opportunity to extensively drive either of these viewers; my time is a little squeezed at the moment, and I’m struggling to clear a backlog of work and bits. So, consider this more a heads-up than any attempt at a review.

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UKanDo goes VMM with a beta update

logoThe UKanDo viewer, maintained by Connor Monaron updated to version 3.7.28.34230 on May 11th.

As the version number suggests, this brings the viewer to parity with the Lab’s 3.7.28 code base, and specifically with the Viewer-Managed Marketplace (VMM) functionality.

For those who may not recognise VMM, and keeping things relatively brief, the aim of the project is to enable merchants to manage the creation and management of Marketplace product listing through the viewer, bypassing the need to use the Merchant Outbox (and have copies of items stored on the Marketplace inventory servers) or using Magic Boxes.

It does this by adding a new Marketplace Listing panel to to viewer, which will eventually replace the Merchant Outbox entirely, and by adding additional back-end and web functionality which allows merchants to carry out a number of tasks associated with their Marketplace listings from within the viewer, and by enabling products to be delivered to customers directly from the Lab’s asset servers, rather than having to store them as separate inventory on the Marketplace servers.

Rather than go into a detailed explanation of all the functionality here, if you haven’t come across VMM before, please read my notes from the initial testing in 2014.

The Merchant Listing Panel for VMM, as see in the UKanDo beta, with some of my migrated items
The Merchant Listing panel for VMM, as see in the UKanDo beta, with some of my migrated items

The key point here is that, at the time of writing, VMM is still very much undergoing beta testing, and the viewer-side code has yet to reach a release candidate status in the official viewer, so the 3.7.28 release of UKanDo is slightly ahead of the curve – the Lab prefer that TPVs don’t release code which the Lab themselves have not issues in release candidate form.

To this end, Connor has clearly indicated this 3.7.28 release is a beta version of UKanDo, and the earlier 3.7.27 update remains available as the full release.

It’s also worth pointing out that initially, the current VMM beta was by invitation, so if you want to try the functionality either using the UKanDo beta or the Lab’s own project viewer, you’ll have to apply to join the beta via the link towards the bottom of your Merchant Home Page on the Marketplace.

All that said, I’ve been driving the VMM version of UKanDo over the last couple of days, using it to gradually convert my own modest store on the Marketplace from Direct Delivery to VMM (as shown in the image above right, taken as I got started), and have found absolutely no issues with it – not that I was actually expecting any.  Everything works smoothly, and updates made via UKanDo are accurately reflected when checked in the official VMM project viewer.

For Merchants who prefer using UKanDo over the official viewer, and who would like to try-out VMM as the Lab moves it gradually towards full deployment (which could occur in June 2015), the 3.7.28 presents an opportunity to do so.

Note that as a VMM beta release, the 3.7.28 update does not contain any other functional or other updates compared to the UKanDo 3.7.27 release.

VMM allows merchants to carry out some Marketplace listing related tasks from within the viewer (subject to how they have web browsing set-up) - here I'm editing a listing associated with an item in my Merchant Listing Panel
VMM allows merchants to carry out some Marketplace listing related tasks from within the viewer (subject to how they have web browsing set-up) – here I’m editing a listing associated with an item in my Merchant Listing panel – click for full size, if required

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Black Dragon 2.4.2 goes beta; UKanDo 3.7.26 and RLV 2.9.7 get AHH

There have been a number of rapid-fire TPV updates this week, so here’s a quick overview for Black Dragon, UKanDo and RLV.

Black Dragon 2.4.2 Beta

On Monday, March 23rd, Black Dragon updated to version 2.4.2 Beta, with Niran focusing on further updates to rendering, although there are some interesting WIP elements as well.

In particular, Niran notes that he’s done further work on the volumetric lighting capability, notably adding a Falloff slider to both Preferences -> Display and the Machinima Sidebar (F1), so that Godrays will fall off the closer they are to the camera which will be further smoothed in future releases), and working to get volumetric lighting working with FXAA and glow.

Black Dragon 2.4.2 Beta add options for both directional volumetric lighting and Godrays Falloff
Black Dragon 2.4.2 Beta add options for both directional volumetric lighting and Godrays Falloff

Also within Preferences -> Display, Niran has added a check box for enabling alphas in depth of field calculations. When unchecked, this excludes alpha from both depth of field and volumetric lighting calculations to prevent focus issues (depth of field) and odd lighting effects (volumetric lighting). when checked, both depth of field and volumetric lighting calculations will include alphas in the field of view.

The new option for enabling / disabling the inclusion of alphas is DoF and volumetric lighting calculations. The option is unchecked (alpha inclusion disabled) by default
The new option for enabling / disabling the inclusion of alphas is DoF and volumetric lighting calculations. The option is unchecked (alpha inclusion disabled) by default

Other additions with this release comprises:

  • A Custom System Memory option and a separate slider for the “linked” memory version
  • A chat colour for Friends
  • (as a work-in-progress) a new information system for Preferences to tell possible performance breakers and problems that could occour with certain options.

As always, for a full list of changes / updates, please refer to the viewer’s release notes.

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UKanDo 3.7.26

The UKanDo v3 style viewer updated to release 3.7.26.28080 on Tuesday, March 24th. This update brings the viewer up to parity with the Lab’s 3.7.25 and 3.7.26 code, and almost up to spec with Marine Kelley’s RLV updates (2.9.7 of RLV having appeared just after the UKanDo update).

UKanDo 3.7.26 includes the Lab's new Avatar Hover Height capability
UKanDo 3.7.26 includes the Lab’s new Avatar Hover Height capability

In particular, this release sees UKanDo gain the maintenance fixes from the 3.7.25.299021 official view release and the new Avatar Hover Height functionality which has just become a part of the official release viewer.

In addition, this release of UKanDo includes:

  • Disabled the RLV start-up restriction feature by default. Re-enable via the “RLVStartUpRestriction” Debug setting or the RLV tab under General in Prefernces
  • FIRE-15489 by Ansariel Hiller – Add confirmation when unlinking objects, released under LGPL
  • RLV – Quick fix Courtesy of Nicky Perian, and tidy-up.
  • A fix for the “nolink>” parser bug, courtesy of Drake Arconis (Alchemy Viewer).

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RLV 2.9.7

This release of the Restrained Love Viewer sees assorted fixes for recent RLV release and the inclusion of the Lab’s Avatar Hover Height (AHH) capability, which came about as a result of a detailed formal proposal being put before Lab by members of the Firestorm team during a TPV developer meeting in June 2014.

Currently, and as noted by Marine, AHH is not yet linked to her existing “@adjustheight” capability and slider in the top bar of the viewer.

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UKanDo catches-up; Black Dragon tweaks

Both the UKanDo viewer and Black Dragon saw updates in week #6. Each of the release contain under-the-hood (so to speak) changes, with UKanDo in particular being something of a catch-up release more than anything else, as noted below.

UKanDo 3.7.24

The last UKanDo update was in October 2014, so it’s been something of an extended period between releases for the viewer. However, there is a good reason for this: Connor Monaron, the man behind the viewer has a good reason for this: he’s been off in the United States tying the knot with his SL (and now real life) partner. So the first thing to do here is offer congratulations to Blackrose and Connor.

Obviously, being away and being focused on such a major event in one’s life means that all things viewer naturally take a back seat. As such, the new release of UKanDo, version 3.7.24.28064, released on Wednesday, February 4th, is more about catching-up with all of the recent output from the Lab. This being the case, the release see the viewer gain parity through and up to the following LL releases:

  • 3.7.18.295539 – the POODLE vulnerability threat fix from October 2014
  • 3.7.19.295700 – Monty Linden’s last round of HTTP updates, also for October 2014, which improve texture and mesh data fetching and which offers significantly faster inventory loading
  • 3.7.20.296094 – the GPU removal update and the subsequent 3.7.22.297128 update which fixed an inherent crash issue within the 3.7.20.296094 release
  • 3.7.21.296724 – the winter open-source contributions release from November 2014, providing improved Japanese language input, improved projectors rendering, fixes for object editing when rotating and for an OS X Yosemite full screen crash issue
  • 3.7.23.297296 – the winter maintenance release from December 2014, which included a range of fixes to voice, texture animation, object rendering, privacy, inventory management, etc., and which included fixes to previously released changes in the way joint offsets in rigged meshes are handled
  • 3.7.24.297643 – the Experience Tool viewer (at the time this article was written, the de facto release viewer from LL).

As well as these LL-derived updates, this release also sees UKanDo reach parity through recent RLV updates from Marine Kelley from 2.9.3 through to the latest 2.9.6.6,

So while this release many not offer anything “new” in terms of TPV updates, it does bring the viewer right up to the cutting edge in terms of formal releases from both LL and RLV, which should be more than enough to keep UKanDo users happy.

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Black Dragon 2.4.1.8

The latest version of Black Dragon, version 2.4.1.8, was release on Friday, February 6th, and is the latest in a series of nips and tucks to the viewer as Niran continues to integrate code updates from the Lab and also work on refining the UI.

The core update from the Lab with this release is the inclusion of the winter maintenance release code from the Lab’s 3.7.23.297296 release, including the fixes for previously released changes in the way joint offsets in rigged meshes are handled. This means that deformations to an avatar’s shape are more intelligently tracked, and the viewer should be able to correct them without necessarily having to have the attachment causing them removed, or requiring a re-log in order to fix.

The other major update for this release see the Friends List undergo a revision. The accordion tabs separating on-line from off-line friends have been removed, and the Friends list rationalised so that on-line friends appear at the top – their names now in blue – and an duplication of names has been removed.

with the accordion tab removed, and the list sorted so that on-line friends always appear at the top, their names coloured blue, the Friends List in black Dragon 2.4.1.8 (left) is a lot more streamlined than previous versions (right), which also saw on-line friends duplicated between the "online" and "All" accordion tabs
with the accordion tab removed, and the list sorted so that on-line friends always appear at the top, their names coloured blue, the Friends List in black Dragon 2.4.1.8 (left) is a lot more streamlined than previous versions (right), which also saw on-line friends duplicated between the “Online” and “All” accordion tabs

The release notes also list the following updates / changes:

  • A possible fix for RLVa detach and re-attach issues via RLVa commands
  • A possible fix for a crash caused by the connection issues panel when the region becomes invalid
  • A viewer compile fix
  • Max VRAM has been changed 1024 Mb in Preferences > Display Settings
  • Incremental steps for Shadow Blur changed to 0.1 in Preferences > Display Settings
  • The connection issues panel will no longer briefly appear when logging-in with the viewer
  • Appearance floater outfit status colour has been changed
  • Worn items are now listed in italics in the Appearance floater, rather than in bold
  • Beacon colour has been changed to stream “blue-ish”.

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UKanDo 3.7.17: new login screen

logoOn Thursday October 8th, the UKanDo viewer updated to version 3.7.17.28056 for both Windows and Linux.

The new version leap-frogs over a 3.7.16 release (the September release being 3.7.15), and instead combines the Lab’s 3.7.16 and 3.7.17 code base updates into a single release.

UKanDo version 3.7.17.28056 incorporates the Lab’s updated log-in splash screen, which sees one of two different screen displayed, depending upon whether the user is logging-in to SL for the first time (or has performed a completely clean install), or is returning to SL having previously logged-in (the screen shown below).

With the 3.7.17 release, UKanDo adopts the new-look Lab log-in splash screen layouts
With the 3.7.17 release, UKanDo adopts the new-look Lab log-in splash screen layouts

As well as the log-in screen update, the release also includes the last set of maintenance updates from the Lab to become the release viewer, and which comprised fixes and updates for: inventory & outfit management; appearance editing; group & group ban management; multi-grid support for favourites; camera controls; notifications management and stability improvements, as well as various UI bug and viewer crash fixes.

The new Status bar option to show / hide your L$ balance
The new Status bar option to show / hide your L$ balance

There are also a number of updates requested by UKanDo users included in the release:

  • An option in the Status Bar menu to show / hide your L$ account balance (shown by default) – useful for those taking snapshots or screen captures which include the UI, as they can hide their account balance if they wish. when unchecked, the account balance display slides out of sight
  • An option to show the UI in Mouselook has been added to Preferences (Preferences > General > Camera). This is disabled by default, requiring the use of the ALT key to move the cursor
  • The “Save to Disk” button in the Snapshot floater has been re-labelled “Save to Computer”.

Further updates in this release comprise:

  • FModEx updated to 4.44.41
  • lqtwebkit updated to 4.8.1 (contributed by Drakeo), which should fix Flash video not working for GNU/Linux users
  •  FS pose stand updated with additional validation checks (via Ansariel Hiller).

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UKanDo 3.7.15

logoOn Thursday September 18th, the windows version of the UKanDo viewer released version 3.7.15.28043 (at the time of writing, the Linux version is to follow), the first update to the viewer since April 2014.

Given the passage of time since the last release, this new version brings with it both a significant jump in version number and a lot of merges with the Lab’s official code. As well as these, the viewer also has a number of tweaks, fixes, additions and removals, which come from both the UKanDo team and other sources.

The following is a quick overview of some of the significant changes to the viewer; as always, please refer to the release notes for the full list of changes and updates.

Lab Code Updates

UKanDo 3.7.15 comprises merges with the following LL code releases:

  • Release 3.7.7 – viewer-side Project Interesting improvements to how the viewer and server work together to know what scene objects to draw, and how the viewer utilises the information it has cached
  • Release 3.7.8 – Maintenance release with crash fixes and performance improvements
  • Release 3.7.9 – the “Memshine” release, incorporating the Sunshine / AIS v3 updates and a variety of fixes to address memory leaks in the viewer and improve crash rate
  • Release 3.7.10 – the SLShare two release, with uploads to Twitter and Flickr and updated upload to Facebook (to incorporate the filter support also included in the Twitter / Flickr image uploads)
  • Release 3.7.11 – Snowstorm contributions release which includes the requirements that Windows XP users have Service Pack 3 (Win XP 32-bit) or SP 2 (Win XP 64-bit) in order for this (and future viewer releases) to install
  • Release 3.7.12 – Maintenance release
  • Release 3.7.13Group ban functionality release
  • Release 3.7.14 – viewer build libraries update, providing security, stability and consistency improvements to this and future viewers
  • Release 3.7.15 – Snowstorm contributions viewer, including the unified snapshot floater, and support for ‘older than’ when inventory filtering.
UKanDo includes a large number of Lab-driven updates, right up to the more recent (at the time of writing) 3.7.15 release with the unified snapshot floater
UKanDo includes a large number of Lab-driven updates, right up to the more recent (at the time of writing) 3.7.15 release with the unified snapshot floater

In addition to the above, the viewer is also brought up-to-date with Marine Kelley’s latest updates to RLV.

Preferences Updates

Version 3.7.15 of UKanDo includes the following Preferences updates:

  • A button to clear inventory cache has been added to Preferences > General > Miscellaneous
  • Option added to toggle between web or legacy profile floaters added to Preferences > General > Miscellaneous panel, with web profiles the default
  • Preferences > General > Basics tab has been cleaned-up
  • An option to display your avatar’s name in the viewer’s title bar has been added to Preferences > General > Miscellaneous (via Kokua (?))
  • An option to set teleport action when clicking on the Mini-map has been added to Preferences > Move & View
New option to select teleport action when clicking on the Mini-map
New option to select teleport action when clicking on the Mini-map

Other Updates and Changes

This release of UKanDo also features the following updates and changes from various sources and the UKanDo team:

  • The viewer now uses the Catznip multi-user log-in in drop-down code
  • Options for raising Abuse Reports have been added to the various chat context menus
  • The text entry widget’s background colour will change according to chat type (via Kokua (?))
  • The Avatar height offset slider (from the Restrained Love Viewer) has been removed, together with all associated code
  • The viewer logo and version number has been added to progress screens (e.g. teleport progress)
  • The region restart countdown displays in minutes and seconds rather than just seconds
  • Inventory folder icons have been updated
  • Various tweaks to buttons  / icons on the Nostalgia skin.

 Summary

A comprehensive set of code merges from the Lab’s repositories brings UKanDo back up to parity with the SL viewer, while the nips and tucks offered by the development team and from other TPV sources serve to further enhance the viewer.

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