Firestorm Project Turns 11


Firestorm Viewer Log On Screen – September 2021

The Firestorm Project reached it’s 11th anniversary on 3rd September 2021 which is another big milestone. The Firestorm viewer is one of the most popular and most used third party viewers out there today. I personally use the Firestorm viewer for all things Second Life and sometimes I log into OpenSim grids. I think the Firestorm team have done a great job on maintaining and improving the Firestorm viewer with new updates through the years.

The Firestorm team have announced that there will be a big party happening at 11am on Sunday 26th September 2021. There will be epic gifts (some limited collectors items) from content creators from across the grid. More details will be announced soon on the Firestorm Viewer website.

Here are some happy memories from the past…

Firestorm Beta 2 – July 2011
Firestorm support region – 2012
Firestorm third anniversary – September 2013
Firestorm 5th anniversary – September 2015
Christmas Forest – December 2018

Please spread the word.

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/

Firestorm 6.4.13 (63251) Released


Firestorm Login Screen

The Firestorm team released a new version 6.4.13 (63251) of the Firestorm Viewer on Tuesday 16th March 2021. This new release includes new capabilities, fixes and some updates. There is now a new free-aim mouse and focus lock for Depth of Field, new options for 12/24 hour clock with seconds for the viewer clock, new Avatar Rotation Turn Speed option and much more.

Firestorm 6.4.13 (63251) viewer update brings it parity with the Dawa viewer (LL 6.4.12). For a more detailed list of the latest changes see here. The Firestorm team will now try hard to keep quarterly releases on schedule from this point on with roughly 4 updates a year. The Firestorm management team came to an agreement that quarterly release cycles would be the ideal balance.

In three weeks time on 5th April 2021 the old Firestorm version 6.3.2.58052 will be blocked for access to the Second Life grid.

Release Highlights

UPDATE HIGHLIGHTS!
For Photographers: New free-aim mouse and focus lock for Depth of Field. This feature allows Depth of Field focus to follow your mouse pointer & also adds the ability to lock Depth of Field focus in place when your camera view is moved. This makes setting your focal point and framing your photographs much easier.

New object contents quantity counter. When editing an object, the Contents tab will now display how many items (elements) are inside the object.

New options for 12/24 hour clock and seconds display for the viewer clock.

New option to use the legacy, smaller camera floater without camera preset controls, for those of you who didn’t like the new larger camera floater in the last release.

New Avatar Rotation Turn Speed option, which alters the rate at which your avatar responds to turning.

Added an option to filter inventory by permissions: Copy, Modify and Transfer

Added bulk Windlight import

You can now bulk import all your old Windlight XML files to convert them over to EEP settings

Massive RLVa update from Kitty Barnett including Vision Spheres! https://wiki.catznip.com/index.php?title=RLVa_RFC_setsphere Thank you Kitty! ❤

MUCH MUCH MORE!

What do you think of this new version of the Firestorm viewer ?

New Firestorm Release (6.4.12) Now Available


The Firestorm team released a new version of the popular Firestorm viewer (6.4.12.62831) on Wednesday 9th December. This latest version comes with the full release of EEP – Environment Enhancement Project, camera presets, some redesigned UI panels and functionality within the viewer. Firestorm 6.4.12 brings the viewer with the lab’s 6.4.11 viewer code base.

  • “As per our 3-version rule, we will be blocking version 6.2.4.57588 and our recent EEP Public Beta from accessing the SL grid in 3 weeks’ time”.

It’s been some time since the last release because the Firestorm team have been working hard on adding the changes, fixes and features. Hopefully there will be more regular Firestorm releases during 2021. For me the Firestorm Viewer is still my favourite and the one I use the most.

* Check out the release notes here 

Here are some of the highlights of this new version of the Firestorm Viewer.. .

HIGHLIGHT REEL!

The Firestorm 6.4.12 EEP release brings us to parity with the Linden Lab Viewer 6.4.11 codebase.
The main Linden Lab features included in this release are:

  • EEP! Environmental Enhancement Project, including many EEP bug fixes since the Firestorm 6.4.5 EEP Beta release.
    EEP is a set of environmental enhancements (designed to replace Windlight XML settings) to control the water and sky environments seen in Second Life and provide a wide range of additional/new capabilities for region owners, parcel owners and general users. It represents a fundamental shift in how environment settings are used and applied.
  • Camera Presets—Allow users to create custom camera presets within the viewer to suit particular needs, and then save them. This means, for example, you can now have a camera position for general exploring, another suitable for combat games, another for building, and so on—all of which can easily be accessed and used at any time.
  • Mesh uploader improvements contributed to Linden Lab by Firestorm.
    Cosmetic changes include:
    • Upgrade to preview resolution to 1024×1024
    • Scalable preview
    • Fixed display of colors in preview
    • Adjustment of colors to better correlate to in world (yellow frame of mesh, blue tint physics)
    • Rearranged UI elements to give more space for the preview even when not scaled up.

      Informational changes include:
    • Two new boxes: cost breakdown and physics breakdown. These provide access to information that has always been available to the viewer from the upload costs update message but were not shown to the user.

Firestorm-specific features included in this update

  • The French language translation has been added back.
  • RestrainedLove API updated to RLV v3.3.3 / RLVa v2.3.0.62831.
  • Updated the pose-stand animations to work with bento bones.
  • Attachment points of attachments are now shown in the Appearance window, wearing tab.
  • A new option to allow double-click walk/teleport action to scripted objects: Prefs -> Move & View -> Movement -> Allow double-click action on scripted objects.
  • A new setting, Dynamic Texture Memory, which allows the viewer to use more than 2GB of texture memory.
    Dynamic Texture Memory only works on 64-bit viewers with at least 512MB VRAM and GPUs supporting either atimeminfo or nxmeminfo vendor-specific OpenGL extensions. It will allow using all currently available VRAM, or at least the value specified in minimum viewer texture memory capped at physical VRAM, minus VRAM reserve for allocating textures. That value minus cache reserve is the texture memory available for textures actually rendered. Preferences -> Graphics -> Hardware Settings.

Here are the OpenSim highlights in this release.. 

  • Easy grid entry. You can now paste a grid URI directly into the login box and the grid will be locally added to the user’s grid list.
  • A welcome change to the grid list behavior. For many years it has been enabled by default for the OpenSim build, but if a user were to install both viewers side by side there was a chance that the grid list could become disabled. The viewer now forces the grid list to be available on every startup of the OpenSim build. There is an option to disable this for grids that really need/want to restrict external grid access (though frankly, firewalls are a far better choice).
  • Another change that—while it affects both SL and OpenSim—seems to generate more noise and heat in OpenSim, is object contents caching. This is now “fixed” so that when editing an object with large numbers of items inside, the viewer will not refresh every time you close and reopen the edit. Please note though, this does not change the fact that the object contents fetch protocol is extremely poor; this means that whenever the contents update, you will still have to endure the long wait. There may be some news on that in the future but it requires server changes as well as viewer.
  • Fixed “My Suitcase” sometimes missing from inventory.

What do you think of this latest release ? 

 

Firestorm 6.4.5 EEP Public Beta Now Available


On Tuesday 28th July 2020 the Firestorm team released a EEP public beta version of the Firestorm Viewer (6.4.5.60799) which comes with support for the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP). The viewer includes new camera controls with the ability to create camera presents. The viewer translations have been updated in this beta version.

EEP is the new environmental lighting system where the sky, water and day cycle settings are now saved as inventory items. EEP settings can be applied now to the land by region owners or by parcel or for personal use. Learn more about EEP here.

What you can do with EEP…

You can use your own sun, moon, and cloud textures.

You can customize the length of the day (yes—you can now have 24-hour day cycles!).

You can set different skies at various levels on your land. 

Visitors to your parcel will be able to see all your customized settings.

You can import your old Windlights as EEP settings (many have already been imported).

This version is not a required update and you do not have to uninstall your current Firestorm viewer. This new beta Firestorm viewer will install alongside your existing Firestorm viewer.

For OpenSim users the viewer incorporates Windlight allowing EEP viewer users to visit windlight regions. The viewer supports the new OpenSim 0.9.2 with the EEP code “Ugly Sky”. There is now the ability to enter a URL to add a new grid on the login screen.

Linden Lab is hoping to get feedback from the community and the Firstorm team highly encourages you to file bug reports on the Linden Lab Jira. EEP has been in the works for some time now and it went live back in 2019 on the main grid.

The Second Life viewer has actually had EEP for a few months or so now. The firestorm team have said recently that they don’t feel that EEP is ready for full release. It has not even passed the QA yet. Maybe later this year EEP may be ready for full release.

Useful Links

What do you think of this new beta version ? Let me know in the comments section below.