New Firestorm Release 6.4.21


On Thursday 29th July the Firestorm team released a new shiny viewer release 6.4.21.64531 which is now available to download. This new release includes loads of big improvements like mesh upload improvements, bug fixes, cool new features and much more. The full detailed list of release notes can be found on the Firestorm Change Log page. Here you can see the JIRA bug fixes, translations and known issues.

There is no need to perform a clean install with this release. Please note “Version 6.3.9.58205 will be blocked in 3 weeks, on August 18th. This will mark the end of an era for Firestorm’s legacy Windlight in Second Life, as 6.3.9 is the only version still running it”.

Under the hood the Firestorm team have added tons of new options in preferences from the new water transparency performance options, showing/hidng voice visualisers, new option to report the SLURL of the region you completed a teleport from, new fonts and there is more. This new Firestorm release brings it up to parity with the lab’s core code.

The new Linden Lab Guidebook for new users has been added in this release. Some new users once signed up go through the new welcome island which brings up this new guidebook. There is a online version of it here.

For OpenSim users the main things to mention is that the firestorm team have added “gridmanager” SLURL app command to add new grids to the grid manage via SLURL. The mesh upload analyse function is no longer blocked in OpenSim. They have improved VarRegion support for landmarks, SLURLs and Teleports etc.

Here are the highlighted new features and improvements

  • Enabled multithreaded image decoding.
    When an image is loaded from the network (CDN or region) or from cache it is in an encoded heavily compressed form know as jpeg2000.
    It takes a while to decompress these images before they can be used in rendering.
    Traditionally these were handled on a single thread, in parallel(ish) to the main thread, but still essentially one at a time.
    Firestorm 6.4.21 now adds support for doing this in parallel.
    It will (by default) check to see how many threads your CPU can support, that’s to say how many jobs it can run concurrently.
    From this it will create a pool of worker threads ready to decode images when they arrive.
    The more “concurrency” your machine supports the more images it will be able to unpack in parallel.
    There are a lot of subjective aspects to rendering, things should “feel” snappier but as we are dependent on so many things (disk IO, memory, GPU bandwidth, network fetch) it is not as straightforward as saying things are going to rez twice as quickly.
    But we hope you will experience a general uplift in quality.
    The setting is by default AUTO, this detects the concurrency supported and uses that as a guide. This is expected to work for the vast majority of systems.

    Preferences → Graphics → Hardware Settings → Image Decode Concurrency
    0 = Auto
    1 = single thread (old behaviour)
    N = user specified concurrency (don’t do this unless you really know what you are doing).
    Any users that have problems should that have problems should flip the setting to 1 for the old single threaded behaviour.
  • Mesh upload improvements
    • The misreporting of “Material Of Model Is Not A Subset” has been removed.
      This means that you no longer have to keep a stray triangle for the purpose of padding out the materials in the lower LODs, most important in SL where those triangles are a significant driver of Land Impact.
      But more importantly this means that creators have a far less bothersome workflow when making meshes.
      Creators still have to ensure that all LOD models share the same set of top level materials but a true subset is now allowed.
    • Added 3 “quick physics” options. i) a physics cube ii) a hexagonal cylinder iii) an option to specific a user defined shape (perhaps an octahedron or similar, your choice)
    • Fixed the preview window ambient lighting so you can have a half way decent rendering of the target upload.
    • Faster mesh decoding cycle
      This won’t necessarily manifest as higher FPS, but it can result in dramatic improvements in meshes appearing fully formed and a general feeling of well-being (your mileage may vary)
      Please see Beq’s blog for more details: Summarising the next improvements to Firestorm Mesh Upload and Taming the mesh uploader – Improved workflow for builders coming to Firestorm soon
  • Added support for clickable links to Preferences tabs and search terms
    This feature was mainly added to help Firestorm support when aiding users.
    Note these links will only function for users on Firestorm 6.4.21.
    • Getting a link to a search term (can be done on the fly)
      For a link to a preferences search term, simply perform the preferences search, then click the new “copy” link to the right of Preferences search, and paste it into chat.
      You will have a clickable link such as this: secondlife:///app/openfloater/preferences?search=local%20lights
      When a user on Firestorm 6.4.21 clicks this link, it will open the preferences floater already populated with the chosen search term.
    • Getting a link to a tab or subtab (has to be constructed)
      Links to tabs and subtabs themselves are tricker at this point. They need to be constructed and can then be saved and reused.
      Example link for linking to the voice subtab of Sounds & Media: secondlife:///app/openfloater/preferences?tab=audio&subtab=Media%20Voice%20tab
      To get the terminology to construct a link:
      Enable Developer > XUI > Show XUI Names
      To get the terms for the main tabs: Roll cursor over any of the left-hand tabs. At the end of the tooltip that appears, you will see something like “/vtab_controls/”. The term after the “vtab_” is the XUI name of the tab, in this case, “controls”.
      To get the terms for the subtabs: Roll cursor over any of the subtabs. At the end of the tooltip that appears, you will see something like “htab_UI Sounds Tab 1/”. The term after the “htab_” is the subtab name, in this case “UI Sounds Tab 1”.
      Insert those terms into the following syntax:
      secondlife:///app/openfloater/preferences?tab=[MainTabName]&subtab=[SubtabName]
      Test that the link works by pasting into chat & clicking it.
      If you wish to add these links to your Autoreplace, all ampersands must be replaced with &.
  • Added the custom keymappings feature from the Linden Lab viewer
    You can now set your own custom key mappings under Preferences → Controls
  • Added additional settings for “Show voice visualizers”
    Added an option to “Show voice visualizer over my own avatar” and an option to hide the voice dot over avatars and show only voice waves.
    Preferences → Sound & Media → Voice → Show voice visualizer over my own avatar
    Preferences → Sound & Media → Voice → Show the dot as part of the voice visualizer.
  • Added an option to report the SLURL of the region you completed a teleport from in local chat
    Preferences → Move & View → Teleports → Report the SLURL of the region you completed a teleport from.
  • Added new fonts
    Added Cascadia Code font both as an option for the UI and for the script editor.
    Added Deja Vu Sans as a fallback font for Linux to fix some characters displaying as boxes.
    Preferences → User Interface → Font → Font Scheme → Cascadia Code
    Preferences → Firestorm → Build 1 → Script Editor Font → Cascadia Code.
  • Added the new Linden Lab Guidbook for new users
    Toolbar Buttons → Guidebook
    Note the Guidebook does not have a close button on the floater.
    You need to open & close the Guidebook using the toolbar button.
    The Guidebook can also be accessed in a web page at http://guidebooks.secondlife.io/welcome/index.html
  • Added back the “Hover Tips on All Objects” option
    Preferences → User Interface → 3D World → Hover Tips → on All objects
  • Made alert messages searchable and easier to use
    Preferences → Notifications → Alerts
    You can now set multiple alerts to show or hide, just select them with shift+click or ctrl+click and set them to the same value all at the same time
  • Added search by UUID for legacy people search
    Search → People
  • Added the ability to search for groups in contacts floater and search in the group titles window
    Comm → Contacts → Groups / Group titles
    CTRL+F will focus the search bar.
  • Added options to auto-unmute Sounds or Ambient after teleport
    Preferences → Sound & Media → Sound → Automatically unmute after teleport: Ambient | Sound Effects
  • Clearing inventory cache now also clears library cache
    Preferences → Network & Files → Directories → Clear Inventory Cache
  • Added visible (rendered) face count to inspect
    Right click object → Inspect
  • Added more information to the animation preview floater
    The animation preview floater now includes the following information:
    Priority, duration, Loop (yes/no), Ease in, Ease out, number of joints.
    Right click an animation in inventory or object inventory → Open
  • Added new water transparency performance options
    Preferences → Graphics → General → Water Reflections → None (opaque), None (transparent)
  • Joystick configuration improvements
    Added new Joystick monitor with 16 “LEDs” for the buttons.
    Preferences → Move & View → Movement → Joystick Configuration button.
  • Added separate texture and asset cache sizes
    Preferences → Network & Files → Directories → Texture Cache Size, Asset Cache Size
  • Added a new option to fix the Bento idle animation
    If enabled, Firestorm will run a default, priority 0 Bento animation that poses hands, wings, mouth and tail in a natural position when no other Bento animation is running.
    Preferences → Firestorm → Extras → Fix Bento Idle Animation.
  • Added additional inventory search filters
    At the top of the inventory floater to the right of “Filter” you will see a small eye button drop down.
    Here you can choose to filter inventory searches to include or exclude trash, library and links.
  • Improved group moderator options
    Changed the toggle mute chat to explicit mute and unmute so accidents can no longer happen if more then one mod attempts to remove chat rights at the same time.
    Right click any participant in a group chat → Moderator Options → You will now see two separate settings for “Allow text chat” and “Forbid text chat”
  • Added sun & moon position sliders to the EEP user interface
    For those of you that hated the EEP sun & moon positioning track balls, we have added Azimuth and Elevation sliders to control the sun & moon position when editing environments or using Personal Lighting.
  • Mac viewer crashes are now handled by Bugsplat

RLVa Changes

Firestorm 6.4.21 has been updated to the RestrainedLove API: RLV v3.4.3 / RLVa v2.4.1.64531
Catznip RLVa 2.4.1 Release Notes

  • Cleanup of Windlight lock-in (= force enabling + prevent disabling)
  • Fixed @setsphere mode 2 causing black circle around avatar
  • Refactored @sit=force to support @sitground=force as a synonym
  • Added sat/unsat notifications
  • Don’t expose owner names in sound explorer when under @shownames=n restriction
  • Don’t expose owner names in area search when under @shownames=n restriction
  • Fixed RLVa spheres issues when antialiasing is disabled
  • Fixed @setoverlay can cause an infinite loop
  • Switched to an expandable input editor for the RLVa console
  • Fixed Unpredictable results occuring when both @setsphere and @setoverlay are set by the same object
  • Added support for multiple overlays in the same linkset and support permanence in @setoverlay restrictions that aren’t currently active
  • Fixed @sitground=force from an object holding the only @sit=n,unsit=n reports the avatar standing and sitting illegally
  • Added @share restriction to block giving inventory
  • Added @editattach to block editing attachments and @editworld to block editing rezzed objects
  • Added @touchattachother exception to block touching a specific avatar’s attachments
  • Fixed crash when @setsphere is issued with ALM enabled without shadows, ambient occlusion, depth of field, or antialiasing
  • Fixed @setoverlay_touch stopped working with the introduction of @setsphere

OpenSim

  • Added “gridmanager” SLURL app command to add new grids to the grid manager via SLURL
    We plan to deprecate the distributed list of virtual worlds in the grid selector. The list of grids is unmanageable, and frankly, a very poor way to discover grids.
    However, you need a way to get your grid added and to get your users to add you easily.
    A few releases back Firestorm added the ability to paste the grid URI into the login screen and this worked, adding itself to the grid selector for the local user.
    We have now added the ability to trigger this from a URI directly, this means that you can embed the login URI on your webpage and have the users click that to start Firestorm and retrieve the grid info.

    Summary of the function:
    You can add the grid using the secondlife:// URI scheme as follows: secondlife:///app/gridmanager/addgrid/<your grid URI>
    It is a URI and as such it will need to be encoded.
    Thus OpenSim grid owners will have to encode the login URI.
    So if you want to add http://grid.thesocialmouse.net:8002/ via the SLURL, it will look like secondlife:///app/gridmanager/addgrid/http%3A%2F%2Fgrid.thesocialmouse.net%3A8002
    You can add grids to the gridmanager via SLURL from the viewer login screen too.
  • The mesh upload analyze function is no longer blocked in OpenSim
    The removal of the analyze function was an erroneous action taken a few years ago and was apparently at the request/instruction of an OpenSim person.
    Analyze has been re-enabled as the damage that comes from not having hull analysis available outstrips the risk of having it where it could be problematic to certain physics engines that are not implementing hull support properly.
  • Improved VarRegion support for things like SLURLs, landmarks and TPs etc
  • Removed Inworldz specific code because Inworldz is dead

Merged in the following updates from the Linden Lab viewers

6.4.13.555567 – Jelly

Release Notes: https://releasenotes.secondlife.com/viewer/6.4.13.555567.html


Updates to Jellydoll behavior for better performance.

If an avatar is explicitly set to no render, or its complexity exceeds the chosen complexity threshold, it will be displayed as a Jellydoll.
Jellydolls are simplified human avatars, displayed in a uniform color without attachments, animations or other customizations.

6.4.14.556088 – Simplified Cache

Release Notes: https://releasenotes.secondlife.com/viewer/6.4.14.556088.html

This version of the Viewer uses a less complex file caching system to save local copies of frequently used assets such as meshes, sounds and animations. There should be no user-facing differences and your Second Life experience should be identical to other versions.

6.4.17.557391 – Key Mappings

Release Notes: https://releasenotes.secondlife.com/viewer/6.4.17.557391.html

A collection of custom key mapping features.

6.4.18.558266 – Maintenance Eau de vie

Release Notes: https://releasenotes.secondlife.com/viewer/6.4.18.558266.html

Assorted maintenance fixes.

6.4.19.560171 – Love Me Render #5

Release Notes: https://releasenotes.secondlife.com/viewer/6.4.19.560171.html

A collection of graphics and rendering fixes, a little like a weather report.

6.4.20.560520 – Viewer UI (including Voice update)

Release Notes: https://releasenotes.secondlife.com/viewer/6.4.20.560520.html

In the first of several installments, we would like to introduce a small batch of hand crafted, artisanal, UI changes to bring harmony to your Second Life.

For more information about the UI changes, please read https://community.secondlife.com/forums/topic/471443-viewer-ui-enhancements/
For more information about the voice update, please read https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/8059-new-voice-improvements/