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 (6.4.12) 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 6.3.2.58052 Released


On 1st October the Firestorm team announced the Bakes on Mesh viewer (6.3.2.58052) release which is a major update and it’s important all users upgrade to it. Firestorm 6.3.2.58052 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 6.0.2.56680 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.

Major updates from LL in this update include:

– Bakes on Mesh! See the primer from Inara, the announcement from Linden Lab, and the LL Knowledge Base.
– Love Me Render! See the post from Linden Lab on these rendering updates.
– Umeshu, a group of bug fixes, tweaks and improvements.
– Edit notecards from an external editor.
– Ability to duplicate group roles.

There are Firestorm goodies…

There are a few new FS-specific features in this release as well like ability to sit on objects from Area searchNew Discord Rich PresenceGhosted 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.

Basic features

  • 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

Benefits

  • 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.

For more detailed documentation, please see:

The things I like from this release…

  • NEW Added 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
  • NEW Added 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
  • NEW Added 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
  • NEW Increased 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
  • NEW Attachments 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

The full release notes can be read here.

2019 Mobile Apps For Second Life


Linden Lab is working on a new app for Second Life during 2020 on iOS and Android. Beta release expected very soon. 

The last post I made on mobile apps for Second Life was back in January 2010 for the IPhone. Since then Touch LifeSparkle IM and AjaxLife have all gone offline.

Apparently Linden Lab is working on an iOS app solution for accessing Second Life and hopefully there will be a Android version of it. Hopefully there will be a prototype app released sometime this year if all goes to plan. Sansar may at some point go on mobile in the near future.

Below are iOS and Android apps which can be used to access Second Life and OpenSim as of 30th January 2019.

iOS Apps

MetaChat 

  • Text only viewer
  • View avatar profiles, search for avatar by name, chat locally or via IM, teleport to landmarks, view group information, see your friends list and more
  • Size: 27MB
  • Version: 1.2.9100
  • Price: $2.99
  • Available since August 2017
  • Listed on TPV Directory
  • Download

Android Apps

Lumiya

  • Second Life viewer for android phones and tablets
  • Supports OpenSim, supports new Android Oreo notifications. supports Bento, supports voice, inventory management, 3D view, mesh support, works with Google Cardboard, full VR experience and more
  • Size: 10MB
  • Version: 3.4.2
  • Price: £2.69
  • Available since 2012
  • No longer listed on TPV Directory
  • Installs: 100, 000+
  • Download

Lumiya Voice Plugin

  • Adds voice chat support to Lumiya Viewer. Supports group voice calls and nearby voice. Requires Lumiya Viewer to be installed. Support for Bluetooth headsets and speakerphone mode
  • Size: 4.9MB
  • Version: 1.4
  • Available since January 2017
  • Download

Lumiya Cloud Plugin

  • Enables Lumiya Viewer to save chat and IM data to Google Drive. Requires Lumiya Viewer to be installed.
  • Size: 2.7MB
  • Version 1.0
  • Available since 19th October 2016
  • Download

Mobile Grid Client

  • Second Life and OpenSim messaging client for all Android devices
  • Local chat and instant messages, teleport to other regions, region map, profiles, full inventory manipulation and more
  • Size: 1.1MB
  • Version: 1.25.1255
  • Price: First 14 days are free then there is a monthly fee L$250 for the standard version. The Pro version is L$450 per month / L$4500 per year.
  • Available since 2010
  • Listed on TPV Directory
  • Installs: 100, 000+
  • Download

LittleSight

  • Second Life viewer for Android
  • Chat, IM, online friends list, nearby people, mini-map, teleport to current map (paid service).
  • Size: 5,3MB
  • Version: 2.0.0
  • Price: single payment
  • Available since 2012
  • Listed on TPV Directory
  • Installs: 10, 000+
  • Download

Linden Lab Blocks Android Viewer “IM to Secondlife”


IM to Secondlife blocked

Oz Linden has announced on the Second Life official blog that the third-party Android viewer “IM to Secondlife” has been blocked from accessing Second Life. Apparently the block was due to serious violations of the policy on the Third Party viewers page.

The third-party Android viewer “IM to Secondlife” was released back in September 2015 and since then has been downloaded more than 10, 000 times on the Google Play Store. The reviews have been mostly mixed and negative recently. It’s rated 3 and half stars out of 5 stars.  

Here is the full blog post by Oz Linden… 

Linden Lab has blocked the third party Android client “IM to Secondlife”; it may no longer be used to access Second Life. We did so due to serious violations of the Policy on Third Party Viewersrelating to user account security and user privacy.

If you have ever used that viewer, Linden Lab strongly suggests that you secure your Second Life account, beginning with updating your password on the Second Life account page:

https://accounts.secondlife.com/change_password/

We may need to temporarily hold some accounts in connection with this incident. Please ensure that your contact information is up to date and verify your email address:https://accounts.secondlife.com/change_email/

As a reminder, although you may connect to Second Life using software released by a third-party developer,  as explained in our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions, you do so at your own risk. Linden Lab provides a Policy on Third-Party Viewers to promote a positive and predictable experience for all Second Life Residents. Extra caution must be taken with third-party viewers that are not in the Viewer Directory: they have either declined to self-certify their compliance with Linden Lab policies or have been refused for noncompliance with the policies.

-Oz Linden

It’s good to see Linden Lab taking some serious action to protect the security of the Second Life community.