Today a new release of the Firestorm Viewer Preview is out. This viewer is alpha, or even pre-alpha, software. So, only attempt using it if you want to experiment and help the Firestorm Development Team. The download link is available through the Firestorm-Phoenix Preview Group. The announcements have warnings one should read, so I’ll not providing a link to the download. If you want the viewer, join the group. If you want to know some things about the viewer and then decide, read on.
Download & Install Firestorm Viewer
The download size is about 26mb. You are warned to uninstall the previous Firestorm Viewer be installing. The Firestorm Viewer uninstall program with the previous version does a good job of removing the install. The cache and cache folder are removed, the program files and folder are removed with the option to preserve any files you may have added, and the skins are removed. You have an option to save (default) your chat logs or remove those too.
I did not have to manually remove any files. The uninstall and new install gave me a working viewer.
Once removed, I installed the new Preview 2 Viewer. I tried running it but got 1.4 FPS on the initial startup. Ugh. Reboot time. After the reboot I get 40 to 67 FPS in my cottage with the default settings from the install. So, do a reboot after you install.
The install changes the default handler for SLURL’s changing it to Firestorm Preview. So, clicking an SLURL in your browser, if you haven’t customized your browser, will call Firestorm. If you want to change your registry to change your default viewer see: Emerald Viewer vs SLURL. Otherwise, just reinstall your favorite viewer. The last viewer installed generally becomes the default handler for SLURL’s
Group Chat messed up… I saw this the other day with Dolphin. Names are not appearing in chat. The problem is more a matter of SL lagging than it is a viewer issue. Moving to another region corrected the problem. It is a real pain. But, all chat is in a change over to XMPP Chat. So, we are dealing with bridging issues and new software. Chat is going to be a pain for the next few weeks regardless of the viewer you use.
One can use ‘:’ in place of ‘/me’ in chat. That is nice feature. There is a control for that in Preferences->Firestorm->Chat.
Pictures – (update)This feature does not work well. Taking a picture using the Snapshot feature can take 15 to 60 seconds. The screen often goes black and the view non-responsive.
Radar – Incomplete, this is a preview and many things are not yet built in or only partially built. It is unusual to see viewer software in such incomplete states. But, the Firestorm team has decided to make these releases and take user feedback. But, don’t waste their time telling them what they already know… if it is missing or incomplete, they know that. If it is broken or doing weird things then say something.
The state of radar is explained in the announcement note card.
– Radar Range limited to 400 meters (for now)
o Age, Time since seen, Range
o Double click> Name to cam
o Radar reports to chat when avs enter/leave chat range Prefs>Firestorm>Chat
• (Known issue: People panel needs to be open)
o Radar reports to chat when Avs enter/leave draw distance
• (Known issue: People panel needs to be open)
o Right click> Name>
Teleport to (known issue when either are above 1024)
Profiles – the older SLV2 style profiles in the sidebar are in use in this viewer. Whether they will be able to preserve this is unknown. Changes in the SL system may force us all to web profiles.
Inventory – Preview 2 changes some of the inventory interactions. Right-Click options improve. One can wear an entire folder, in which case, attachments will replace existing attachments on the same attachment point. Multiple attachments in the folder attached to the same attachment point will ALL be worn.
Windlight Settings – this is a new feature to SL that has been around for some time in OpenSim as Lightshare. The feature allows parcel owners to set Windlight settings for their parcel. The resident can control whether to allow the viewer to use the settings or not. Preferences->Firestorm->Windlight.
In Firestorm and SL this is all experimental. I understand the Lab is going to implement the feature in some way, but they have yet to get to it. Firestorm and Phoenix have an experimental version of it in use now.
There are loads of additions to this version. Most are not new to viewers. So, the list is more of a ‘Now Activated in Firestorm #2’ list.
– Legacy style Blue dialogs
– V1 style Legacy profiles on other avatars
– Right click menu in text editors>cut/copy/paste/select all/delete
– Media filter for added security
o Prefs> Sound & Media> “Enable Media Filter”
– Let scripts control my play button for added security
o Prefs> Sound & Media> “Allow scripts to play media”
– Inventory Right click > wear options
o You can now wear an entire folder at once, if the folder contains attachments it will replace any currently worn on the attachment slots
o The folder may contain multiple attachments on the same point, they will all be worn.
– Friend Online/Offline notifications in chat
o Prefs>Firestorm>Chat> “Friend on/off-line notices to nearby chat”
– Lots of translation UI fixes
– “:” as a synonym for “/me”
– Auto close ((OOC)) parenthesis
– Dynamic positioning to stats bar parcel info
– Nearby chat button flashes on new messages now
– Rez under land group
o Prefs> Firestorm> General> “Always res objects under land group”
– Firestorm preferences Panels (still in progress)
– Completed Shared parcel Windlight
o Prefs> Firestorm>Windlight>
– Chat bar as Command line
– Allow clicking self profile picture to pull up texture picker
– Ctrl-Shift-I now properly toggles people floater
– Improved compatibility with starlight skins for Firestorm Features
– Group notices are now drag-able
– Avatar name on window title (Windows only for now)
– Accordions replaced with tabbed layouts in most all panels for improved usability.
– A lot of cleaning up, sorting, bug fixes to all panels inc
– Group UUIDS and Copy group SLURL in Group profiles
– Resizable camera floater with fixed highlights
– Basic derender functionality
o Right click> Remove> Derender
– Stream song and artist information in chat
– Fixed issues with friend list and friend permissions in conversations floater not being the same as in the people panel
– Updates to GPU Table for supporting more video cards new and old
– Changed Top Panel favorites, location and search bar to stretch across the screen due to issues with huds
– Hide your lookat and point-at crosshair options in prefs
o Prefs>Privacy> “Don’t send my …”
– Visual improvements to mini-map
– Large Address Aware builds for systems with more memory
– Right click > Edit on inventory items
– True disable camera constraints
o Prefs>Move & View> “Allow greater camera freedom”
– Ability to open cache, chat logs, crash logs and settings folder locations buttons.
o Prefs> Network & Cache>
(Known issue: Only works on windows currently)
Shadows – the Sun/Moon style are crashing some users. They do run better in Preview #2 than #1. They still put a load on the GPU and drop frame rates way down. Turning on Light 7 Shadows plus Ambient Occlusion slows me down in my cottage to 33 FPS. Turning on Sun/Moon shadows slows me down to 22 FPS, which is really good and the shadows are decent. In more complex areas it slows more. My worst case it was down to 5 to 7 FPS.
If you are a Mac user, shadows are likely a problem. Actually I think it is an ATI problem on the Mac side. A Mac user with an nVidia card might be able to get shadows. If you’re a Mac/nVidia user and have or haven’t gotten shadows working, leave me a comment. Some iMacs work, some don’t. Some Mac users say they have shadows, some don’t.
If all these new-to-Firestorm-Preview-2 features interest you try out the viewer. I used it for a couple of hours. I tried several stress situations to see if it would crash, it didn’t. Whether it is all that stable I can’t tell from a couple of hours. But it seems nice. I suspect some will use this as their main viewer.