Extend Your #SL Gesture Keys

Way back in the Emerald Viewer days, like 2010, when I was only half as old as I am now… o.o  Yeah, my wild and reckless youth…  Emerald allowed gestures to be attached to any key. For my combat games that was a huge advantage. Well, it seems one can easily change which keys gestures can use in any viewer. This article is about how to do that.

Modified Gesture Keys

Read the entire article and pay attention to the warning near the end.

At a recent Scripting UG the idea of having more control keys (like WASD) came up. In the SL Viewer the movement keys get special priority and handling to create smoother movement. So, it is not going to be simple or easy to add more special movement keys. This could be why so many of the feature requests for keys are unassigned. (Reference)

For a work-around gesture keys can be created. They are not as flexible or as fast as the WASD-EC movement keys. But, they are what we have. So, Niranv Dean, of Niran’s Viewer, pointed out how to change which keys can be used by the gesture creation panel.

XML

Several settings and lists in the viewer are based on XML files. They can be found in the viewer’s files in the install folder in Program Files. (Obviously I am a Windows person. No diss to Apple users intended.) I have no idea where the files are in the Apple OS. In Nirans and other viewers the file is in:

C:\Program Files\Nirans Viewer\skins\default\xui\en\

Or

C:\Program Files\SecondLife\skins\default\xui\en\

The file is named: floater_preview_gesture.xml. You can copy the file from the Niran viewer if you have it installed or download the modified file from Bitbucket.

You can get the ‘source’ file used by Niran here: Download Source Floater Preview Gesture

Modified XML Source

Rename the existing floater_preview_gesture.xml  to something like: floater_preview_gesture.xml.org. Then place the file from Bitbucket in the folder.

The next time you open the viewer you will have more keys available to assign gestures to.

Checking

When I went to make this change I wanted to see the differences in the two files. I use a commercial program named: Compare and Merge. There is a similar free program named: WinMerge. When I ran the compare against the Development Integration Viewer 3.3.2 (251752) there were differences. But, none that really make any difference when using the file with an LL viewer.

That is not the case with all viewers. So, read the warnings below before swapping files.

A simple way to get the keys working is to use Nirans Viewer.

Limits

The original file prior to Friday’s adds a limited set of keys; E, Q, F, R, I, Y, Z, T, G, C, V, M, P, O, and SPACE.

However, all the keys on your keyboard can be added. Once you see how the XML file is written you can add in your own keys. Or wait for a new XML file to appear from Niranv. More keys are being added. Whether the extended file will be released or not, I don’t know.

The Oddity

I haven’t checked recently, but the gestures I used to make with Emerald and the extended gesture keys worked in any viewer, whether it had the revised floater_preview_gesture.xml file or not. However, once one attempted to edit a gesture in a viewer without a modified floater_preview_gesture.xml file, the gesture would break. So, I used to make my gestures and give them away with a warning not to edit them.

Warnings

These changes are not supported by Linden Lab. If you make this change and call LL for support, you’ll find you are out in the cold on your own.

However, you can again rename the files so the viewer uses the original file at any time.

Remember. When you install this modified file, it will be over written on you next viewer update. Keep a copy somewhere handy and safe.

Firestorm, Catznip, Dolphin 3, and others do not currently have this change.

Messing with the WASD-EC keys can make for problems. Not crash problems, but ‘confuse the user’ problems.

WARNING

When you consider changing the file in other viewers, other than the LL Viewers you need to be cautious. Viewers like Catznip 2.4f, Cool VL, and others have unique versions of floater_preview_gesture.xml. Simply replacing the file will break the appearance of your Gesture Preview Panel. It may still be usable or it may not. I haven’t tested all the viewers.

You need to use a file comparison tool to integrate the viewer’s original floater_preview_gesture.xml file and Nirans file. The part you want to add starts about line 142 – <combo_box.item and runs to 202 – </combo_box>.

Summary

This is a user interface on the viewer side change. So, my thinking is it does not break TPV Policy.

It can certainly give you an edge when creating gestures for combat games. Because some uses create what GM’s consider an unfair advantage, one needs to check with a game admin BEFORE using homemade gestures in the game.

I have gestures that set up weapons. The gesture draws the gun and sets it up for close range. Another draws the weapon and sets it for long distance. Those types of gestures are usually not a problem. Gestures that fire a series of spells are often a problem. Logs can show how fast one is firing spells. Superhuman speeds and consistent repetition in firing times are a clue to the use of gesture controlled spells. So, ask before using.

2 thoughts on “Extend Your #SL Gesture Keys

  1. heres the changeset of the new floater_preview_gesture.xml with ALL buttons added that actually work , except E which must be coded i guess or simply doesnt work because of V2/3´s handling of keys idk atm

    https://bitbucket.org/NiranV/nirans-viewer/changeset/90c6153091da

  2. Firestorm does not need this change because it allows mapping of almost any key available on the keyboard to be used for gestures – for several releases already.

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