You may remember that Phoenix 1185 has a feature to export your avatar shape as an OBJ file, Wavefront. When mesh was added the feature broke. I’m not clear why. But, this feature allowed SL users to export shapes they owned for use in Blender. It was/is the only free way to get shapes into Blender. This feature is on the list to be added to FS. Jessica says we may see it in one of the next couple of releases… I suspect with all they are doing it will take longer. But, since the Mesh Deformer is held up, there is no rush.
The feature used in FS and Phoenix to upload texture for temporary use will break with the activation of SSB. There is the new feature that allows the use of textures on your hard drive. But, those are not ideal for cooperative building. Only you can see them, where with the PH and FS temp textures everyone could see them.
But so goes life.
You no doubt have noticed Group Notices go stale. Meaning you get a notice of something with a landmark or notice and then find the landmark won’t work or you cannot open the attachment. There is a work-around. Open attachments and notices through the contacts/groups panels. That works in most cases.
The problem has something to do with region servers only holding the attachment for an hour.
Miss Scaled Avatars
There is a problem where people see avatars either too small or too big. That is a known bug and has its very own JIRA… but we don’t know the number and if we did, you couldn’t read it anyway… Whatever, it is a server thing and the Lab is working on it.
New FS Skin
A new color scheme and new skin are going to be available for one of the next releases. This is going to be complicated for the next couple of releases as so many parts of the User Interface (UI) are changing.
I suspect all the UI changes are hard on viewer skin makers.
New Blue Sky
FS is going to have some new Windlight settings that are said to be awesome. A Vincent Nacon has contributed his cloud normal maps and a mass of his Windlight settings specially made for them. This changes the sky appearance significantly. No one had images. So, we have to wait to see it.
Default Viewer Settings
In this area the FS Team and the Linden Team disagree on how to handle the viewer’s default graphics settings. Jessica is concerned that the less techie are in for some surprises. She feels those surprises will be a deterrent to adoption of new viewer version.
Here is how this goes. Deferred Rendering or Lighting & Shadows, as it is now labeled in the SL viewer, requires a better graphics card. Even with a modern card the feature can slow down the viewer. So, some new consideration of which video card you are using has to be taken into account. If you have a newer card, like nVidia 400 series cards, Deferred Render is not that big a deal. So, the Lab feels it can be turned on by default.
Another factor enters in. The graphics slider that has ranged from Low to Ultra, in five steps, now has seven steps. That has necessitated having the viewer take a new look at the graphics settings. So, if you have your viewer running on High without Lighting & Shadows (Deferred) and update the viewer, it may switch to High-Ultra, the between High and Ultra setting, with L&S enabled. You could see a big decrease in your Frames per Second (FPS) rate. Many users will not know why.
The FS Teams thinking is the new default settings should not enable L&S. The Lab’s thinking is the default settings should enable L&S, if the card will handle it. So, we will see different default settings in FS and the SL Viewer.
If you don’t know, Invisa-Prims are broken by L&S (Deferred). But, it is going to be needed for the Materials System to work.
So, to see Materials in the FS viewer the settings will need to be changed.
In the SL Viewer you may see a decrease in your FPS rate and not know why… well you will now.
The label on the setting Lighting & Shadows is changing to Advanced Lighting. It is still going to be the Deferred Rendering process. Having the word Shadows in the label seems to have caused some confusion.
Firestorm Viewer Classes
Ed Merryman plugs the FS viewer classes toward the end of the meeting. Some don’t realize that there is a Q&A session after every class. People can ask whatever they want, about Firestorm, SL, or whatever. I suspect their answer to what is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is still 42.
Whatever, the classes are well done. You will learn things about the viewer and SL that you never knew. If you haven’t taken one for a few months, spend some time in a class. Become a power user.
Jessica says the stats are showing 9 of 10 Phoenix users have switched to FS. Twice as many are on FS now than are using Phoenix. Those that change over and try it for a few days tend to stay with FS.
Things did move around from the Phoenix UI to the Firestorm UI. One is going to have deal with some relearning. But, it is worth it. Phoenix is going to die the Day SSAB is activated.
The Phoenix and LL viewers are neck and neck. But, each month fewer people are using Phoenix. Soon there will be fewer people using Phoenix than use the LL viewer.
Those leaving Phoenix and not moving to Firestorm appear to be mostly moving to Singularity.
The Phoenix-Firestorm Team has made the Phoenix code available to anyone that wants to take it over. However, while a few have thought they would, no one has taken over development of the Phoenix
Jessica believes anyone smart enough to accomplish the work needed to develop Phoenix, is smart enough to know it is not worth the effort.
This is the geeks holy grail. While FS will not have an official 64-bit viewer, according to Jessica, there are and will be 64-bit versions around. Contact Techwolf Lupindo for information on building your own Linux 64-bit version. You best be a serious techie if you plan to contact Techie.
The reason there will be no official version is the support factor. The Team does not want to place that burden on the support people. Nor do they want to be pushed to deal with the three main Linux versions.
So, you can have a 64-bit Linux version if you want it bad enough.
Rez to Last Position
Restore or rez to Last Position is broken. This was a Linden Lab feature. But, people were permanently losing content via use of the feature and filing JIRA’s and support tickets. The Lab killed the feature because the fix was too complex. Word is it is even more broken in the SSB versions of the server. Plus griefers found ways to exploit the feature. With rez rights at 0,0,0 and the FS viewer you can use rez at last. But, it is feature that will eventually go away and it is not coming back.
I left the meeting at about the 90 minute mark. The above is a summary of what I heard in the meeting. If you find something irritating in this, wait for the video that the Team plans to have up in a day or two. Listen to that and then react.
I think this shows the concerns the FS Team has for the coming months. For a time now the Lab has been putting new features into SL in the early part of the year and then working on performance and bug fixes in the last half of the year. This year is shaping up that way.
We are going to see lots of problems as these new features roll out. Some of them are extensive changes to a highly complex system. No one is going to get everything right in that complex a system. If you expect perfection and no problems with Second Life, you are likely going to be a disappointed and frustrated person.
It looks like the next few months will require some patience.