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.
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 22.214.171.124052 will be blocked for access to the Second Life grid.
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
The Firestorm team released a new version of the popular Firestorm viewer (126.96.36.199831) 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 188.8.131.52588 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.
Here are some of the highlights of this new version of the Firestorm Viewer.. .
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
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 v184.108.40.206831.
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.
On Thursday 28th May 2020 the Firestorm team released a brand new release update numbered 220.127.116.11205. This new release comes with plenty of improvements, fixes and a lot for OpenSim users. This version of the Firestorm viewer brings it in line with the Linden Lab 6.3.8 code base. It’s been over 7 months since the last release so there is loads to be excited about this time.
* Added a “Stop Locally” button to the Sound Explorer. * Added a search button to Nearby Chat and IM session floaters. * New options added to the Area Search context menu: “Select All,” “Clear Selection,” and “Filter My Objects.” * Added “Inspect” option for own attachments. * Enabled multi-selection for all name lists in group profiles. * Updated the Mac installer image backgrounds for readability and consistency. * Fixed being unable to post snapshots to Flickr. * Fixed hi-resolution snapshots appearing broken up in segments * Lots of behind-the-scenes work to migrate the Firestorm code repositories from Mercurial to Git and to switch crash reporting from Windows systems over to Bugsplat. Expect future releases to be even more stable. * Improved memory handling on the Linux viewer * So many crash fixes… * Improved region crossing behavior. * New feature to lock and protect an inventory folder to prevent inadvertent drag-and-drop or deletion. * Translation updates for German, Polish, Japanese & Russian * Just sooo much more!
This new release adds viewer-side support for Premium Plus. There will be some kind of new announcement soon on this on the Second Life Blog. It’s important to note that Linden Lab have not released the Premium Plus feature yet.
For those interested in the EEP capable version of the Firestorm viewer the answer is soon. I’m thinking later this year depending on progress being made. There is pressure for EEP to be fully incorporated however there are still a number of challengers ahead for the Firestorm team.
For those that use OpenSim grids this new release brings it back in line with the Second Life Firestorm release which is very good news to hear. Nine new OpenSim grids have now been added to the grid manager including Virtualife World, DiscoveryGrid, Alife Virtual, Mobius Grid, Zone Nations, Party Destination Grid, TanGLe Grid, The Kaz Grid and OpenSim Community Conference.
This new release improves map search and there are lots of maintenance fixes. All group notices should now send correctly on OpenSim.
On 1st October the Firestorm team announced the Bakes on Mesh viewer (18.104.22.168052) release which is a major update and it’s important all users upgrade to it. Firestorm 22.214.171.124052 is now fully merged up to the 6.3.1 Linden code-base.
This new release includes rendering-related changes from Linden Lab, bug fixes, improvements and tweaks.
This build is not offered to OpenSim users for the moment.
In my previous blog post I said we would provide an “as-is” download of this release for Opensim. However, I have been informed that this update will actually cause Opensim regions to crash upon login. Unfortunately, by the time we made the decision to reverse the split we were too far into our QA process to test or make changes & fixes. This is why the “as-is” was mentioned. Because of the severity of the issue (crashing regions is about as bad as it gets) and having no time to fix it, I am forced to go back on my word on this one.
We will continue to host Firestorm 126.96.36.199680 on our downloads page in the Opensim section until we are able to remedy the major issues. The SL version of this update will install separately, so you can use the 6.3.2 update for SL and continue to run 6.0.2 for Opensim.
There are a few new FS-specific features in this release as well like ability to sit on objects from Area search, New Discord Rich Presence, Ghosted attachments now automatically fix themselves after tp, but as usual there are too many to list here.
Bakes On Mesh
BOM – Bakes On Mesh
Bakes on Mesh is a new feature to allow system avatar baked textures to be shown on mesh attachments.
Any face of a mesh object can be textured using one of the server baked textures.
The corresponding region of the system avatar is hidden if an attached mesh is using a baked texture.
5 new bake channels – leftarm, leftleg, aux1, aux2, aux3. You can use the new bake channels on the face of a mesh.
A universal wearable type.
New tattoos for universal wearable type –
HEAD_TATTOO, → baked to head
UPPER_TATTOO → baked to upper
LOWER_TATTOO, → baked to lower
SKIRT_TATTOO, → baked to skirt
HAIR_TATTOO, → baked to hair
EYES_TATTOO, → baked to eyes
LEFT_ARM_TATTOO, → baked to left arm
LEFT_LEG_TATTOO, → baked to left leg
AUX1_TATTOO, → baked to aux1
AUX2_TATTOO, → baked to aux2
AUX3_TATTOO, → baked to aux3
Avoid the need for texture appliers → easier customization workflow.
Avoid the need for onion avatars → fewer meshes, fewer textures at display time.
Avoid the need to sell full-perm meshes. You can customize any mesh you have modify permissions for simply by setting the flags and equipping the appropriate wearables.
Avatar wearables are baked into eleven different textures (BAKE_HEAD, BAKE_UPPER, BAKE_LOWER, BAKE_EYES, BAKE_SKIRT, BAKE_HAIR, BAKE_LEFTARM, BAKE_LEFTLEG, BAKE_AUX1, BAKE_AUX2, BAKE_AUX3) by the baking service.
You can now apply these textures to your avatar’s object attachments’ diffuse texture slot.
Right-click on the attachment, click edit and from the edit face menu select textures.
Click the diffuse texture icon to open up the texture picker.
The texture picker has an extra radio button mode called ‘bake’ for selecting server bakes.
The ‘bake’ radio button mode has a dropdown for selecting BAKE_HEAD, BAKE_UPPER, BAKE_LOWER, BAKE_EYES, BAKE_SKIRT, BAKE_HAIR, BAKE_LEFTARM, BAKE_LEFTLEG, BAKE_AUX1, BAKE_AUX2, BAKE_AUX3 server bake textures.
When an attachment is using a baked texture, the corresponding base mesh region of the system avatar is hidden.
If a mesh face is set to show a baked texture but is not attached to an avatar, you will see a default baked texture.
If you are using an older viewer without bakes on mesh support, then faces set to show baked textures will also display as the default baked texture, and base mesh regions will not be hidden.
NEWAdded Discord rich presence support
This feature allows you to connect your SL account with your Discord account.
Once connected, Discord will show your SL online status & session length, and optionally, your username and location in SL.
For further details, see the Firestom Discord wiki page.
Comm → Discord Liny Odell, Ansariel Hiller, Nicky Dasmijn
NEWAdded the ability to edit notecards in an external editor
For Firestorm, to set the external notecard editor, go to Preferences → Firestorm → Build 1 → External Editor → Browse to the program or application and select then press OK.
When a notecard is open, you will see a new “Edit” button bottom left.
Clicking the Edit button opens the Notecard in the external editor.
Making changes in the external editor & then saving the file in the external editor will upload the changes into the notecard in Second Life.
If no external editor is selected in Preferences, the viewer will try to use the external editor that you have set to open txt files. NOTE: There is a known bug with this feature that causes the order of embedded content to break – see BUG-227626 for details Maxim ProductEngine
NEWAdded the ability to duplicate a group role
The feature allows you to duplicate a group role so that the copied role has the same permissions and you can just give the copied role a different title.
This feature was requested in BUG-226986
Open the group profile → Members & Roles → Roles → Left click on a role to select it → Click the “Copy Role” button. AndreyK ProductEngine
NEWIncreased the allowed sound clip length from 10s to 30s
This adds support to the viewer to upload & play sound clips up to 30 seconds in length.
Currently, sound uploads over 10 seconds are not possible, but will be soon when the server-side support is added by Linden Lab.
Firestorm 6.3.2 is ready to support this feature as soon as the required server-side changes are made AndreyL ProductEngine
NEWAttachments now auto-refresh if they are ghosted on teleport
Added timer for refreshing attachments if attachments were attempted to get killed after the actual teleport finished
This feature should mostly solve the problem where attachments are invisible to observers after a teleport or region change
It provides the same function as “Refresh Attachments” under Avatar → Avatar Health, but the refresh is triggered automatically when needed
This feature is enabled by default
Optionally, if the debug setting FSExperimentalLostAttachmentsFixReport is set to TRUE, Firestorm reports attachments that were attempted to get detached during a teleport or region crossing to nearby chat, followed by reporting “Refreshing attachments…” to nearby chat when the auto-refresh starts
This should hopefully workaround FIRE-12004 and BUG-7761 until there is a server-side fix from Linden Lab. Ansariel Hiller
Today the Firestorm team announced a brand new version (188.8.131.52588) of the well known Firestorm Viewer. This latest version is fully merged up to the 6.2.3 Linden code-base. See the full release notes here.
There are many new features including the EAM (Estate Access Management) tools, LMR (Love Me Render) containing rendering bug fixes, improvements to communications, inventory, appearance and much more. This new update means that version 184.108.40.206634 will be blocked from logging in to the Second Life grid in 3 weeks time.
New Change For SL & OpenSim Users
Second Life and OpenSim versions of the Firestorm viewer are no longer going to be joined together going forward starting in Firestorm 220.127.116.11588 which is now for Second Life only.
The Firestorm team will now issue updates for Second Life and OpenSim independently, There will be no need to worry about backwards compatibility in future versions.
We have reached a milestone in how we handle Open Simulator and Second Life binaries. In the past we have provided SL-only builds AND OpenSim-and-SL builds. This has always caused much confusion to our users, and for that reason—among many others—we have forked our code into two repositories. This means we can now issue updates for Second Life and updates for OpenSim independently of each other. It also makes it a lot easier for us to develop for Second Life without worrying about backwards compatibility with OpenSim, and to develop for OpenSim without concern about SL compatibility. Everyone wins!
No longer will the two be tied by release date or version numbers. Firestorm developer Beq Janus has been communicating with OpenSim developers and grid owners and has been working hard on OpenSim-specific issues for a future OpenSim Firestorm viewer update.
After the future OpenSim update:
There will be TWO install directories if you wish to install both binaries and log into both SL and OpenSim.
These will install independently from one another, will not share settings or cache, and therefore will not conflict with each other.
The Second Life dedicated viewer’s grid manager will only offer Agni and Aditi (SL main and beta grids).
The OpenSim dedicated viewer’s grid manager will NOT offer Second Life grids.
This is great news for both Second Life users and OpenSim users, and we are excited about the way we are moving forward.
Some of the things I like…
Advanced Region Info on World Map
IMPROVEMENTAdvanced region info on the world map has been moved to a new row below the region name To enable/disable showing of the advanced map information: Preferences → Move & View → Map & Minimap → Show additional region information on World Map. When enabled, this option displays avatar count and maturity level for the region. Ansarirl Hiller
EAM – Estate Access Management Project
EAM improves the state of Estate Access Management! New features include:
New “Access” tab in the Region/Estate floater with sub-tabs for “Estate Managers”, “Allowed”, “Allowed Groups”, and “Banned”.
Search & Sort within each of the sub-tabs.
Recording banned date, banned by, and last login for each banned account. This feature is only available going forward.
Copy Banlist & Allowed-list.
Added a confirmation for adding or removing from a list.
More Estate Managers! We’ve upped the number from 10 to 15. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.
This update from Linden Lab adds retina display support on Mac, and has a variety of graphics-related fixes.
Note: For Mac displays with HiDPI support, retina display mode is disabled by default on Firestorm. Enabling HiDPI support will generally give you a sharper display but a lower frame rate.
If you want to enable HiDPI display, go to the preference settings page: Avatar → Preferences → Graphics → Hardware Settings, and tick the box Enable support for HiDPI displays (Mac OSX only, requires restart), then restart the viewer.
Graham Linden, Ruslan ProductEngine Tonya Souther – Firestorm implementation of HiDPI support for Mac
New Texture Refresh Function
NEWAdded a Texture Refresh function to the inventory context menu for worn attachments. Added the ability to texture refresh via right click menu in inventory. This option is only available if the object is currently being worn and refreshes the texture of the worn object. Zi Ree
New Avatar Stop Animations button to Toolbar
NEWAdded Avatar Stop Animations button to Toolbar This feature was requested in FIRE-16256 Avatar → Toolbar Buttons → Stop Animations Patch contributed by Angeldark Raymaker