Firestorm Viewer News 2014-7

Plus there is the challenge of learning to use this new interface. If you have never had to learn a new user interface for a familiar task, the LEAP will give the chance. I find learning new UI’s frustrating at best. Even if it is better, it takes some time for me to become better with the new UI. During that time of decreased productivity and ability, I hate it.

The FS Team has no ETA on delivering LEAP support. The LEAP people have not said when they expect to have their ‘awesome’ update out. The team will need some time after that to experiment and evaluate the change. So, a rational ETA is impossible to make right now.

Jessica voices her concern about the challenges ahead for adopting LEAP. She, and I too, believe it will have to be easier to do things with LEAP than they are now with mouse and arrow keys. I think it has to be enough easier to justify the learning time. I’ll have to wait to see if someone can come up with a good UI.

Jessica points out; if it can’t be easier then it has to have advantages. One of the things, an advantage, David is working on is being able to have the avatar walk slower. This will however require server side support. One of the other FS dev’s is working on the building interface, meaning picking up, moving, and sizing prims. These things have to be figured out, reach a go-ahead point, and then be provided to the Lab for them to consider and implement.

If you think there are some time burners and IF’s in that process, you are thinking as I am.

Jessica seems to believe that LEAP can be more fun, easier and more precise than mouse and keyboard. The Space Navigator is currently the best and most precise 3D navigation interface device around for VW. The Space Navigators range from US$99 to $400, depending on the model you get. eBay has the $99 versions for sale for $87… not much of a savings. Plus there are not many for sale, which I think means people that buy them like them and keep them.

Jessica thinks it will be hard to be as good as or to beat the Space Navigator. For people to accept it and spend time learning to use LEAP, it is going to have to be good or really fun.

I think the Space Navigator is more like the UI’s we know now. So, I suspect it is easier to learn and more intuitive for experienced gamers. Several people in SL have voiced how nice it is to have a Space Navigator. I’m not at all sure the LEAP is going to be all that intuitive. But, may be…

Odds and Ends

Support Bell – This is a thing like the ‘service’ bell found in some shops in RL. You can find it in the Firestorm Support region: Phoenix Firestorm Support (120,136,26). See the image.

Firestorm Support Bell - Ring for Service

Firestorm Support Bell – Ring for Service

The idea behind it is that people are not always able to connect to the Firestorm Support group and ask questions. Or in some cases the chat lag is so bad you cannot effectively communicate in group-chat. In such cases you now have the option to teleport to the support island and ring the bell. It will alert those on support duty someone is in the region needing help. It rings a bell in a HUD the on duty support people attach.

The item text on the bell will tell you if support people are available to respond. So, you won’t be waiting pointlessly when no one is on duty.

Great idea. The Firestorm Support Team is pretty awesome.

Chat Settings Explained

Lette Ponnier explains chat settings in her post: All You Do Is Talk Talk: Disentangling the Firestorm Chat Settings. This post, I think, was created to help people explain to FS Support people what their chat problem is. Terminology is a problem for people. Are they having a problem with local chat, group chat, the chat panel, the chat console, chat toasts, and even more names… my Chiclets are burnt. Can you help me?

So, telling someone you have problems with chat is a long way from any place where they can expect to get help. It is a good post and worth your time to read. Knowing what is what is going to make it easier to ask for help. You’ll probably be able to avoid those frustrating question like: ‘WTF are you talking about?’ after thinking you have just clearly explained the problem.

Firestorm Downloading

Firestorm has been using Google Cloud for their download server. This means lots of people can simultaneously be downloading a newly released viewer without things slowing down. Google has canceled that FREE service. They now charge for it.

Jessica says when FS makes a new release they average 5,000+/- downloads per hour for the 24 hours after the release announcement. On the Mac side the FS binary files are about 90mb and the Windows files about 35mb. With some weighting we could say each down load averages 57mb. So, 5,000 per hours is 287,500mb/hour (287gb/hour). In 24 hours that is 120,000 downloads and 34,500,000,000mb – 34,500,000gb – 34,500tb – 34.5 petabytes.

Jessica has been looking for an alternative host for downloading. But, all she has found have issues. For instance Dropbox has a throttle and limits. All of them have throttles. Some have misleading advertising. I suspect you have seen the download buttons that download ad-ware rather than the program you thought you were getting. Then you have to spend time getting the crap-ware out of your computer. ANNOYING!!

Often the pricing of a server is too much for the team to fund.

The result is the FS team has decided to spend some money and set up a download server. At this point, even after load testing, they do not know how well this server is going to handle the load of a new release. It could be a disaster. 

6 thoughts on “Firestorm Viewer News 2014-7

  1. Maybe Ebbe Altberg can let Apple know how the Apple code structure is a fail . CEO to CEO. How many laptops will Apple sell if they don’t run 3d games?

    I know a lot of creators use macs so people no longer being able to function in world is more than just more people logging off. The creative end and commerce will be damaged.

    I am major disgusted with this whole thing — to spend programming time so a few people can hop up and down with some visor on their heads flapping their arms but ignore working on a platform for customers with more expensive machines who probably have more money to spend in SL and who probably do more creative work is long term death.

    And from what I read fitted mesh will be an eyesore for apple users — why stay in world to see that?

    Seems like the sky did fall for mac users and no fix in sight–

  2. Just clearing things out about the HTTP (llcorehttp) changes: they are publicly available in the viewer-http branch (and, for some older changes dealing with LLHttpClient and Curl, in viewer-sunshine), so they are not just in a “private release” and anyone can test them and backport them; the latest changes have been backported to the Cool VL Viewer (all branches) as soon as they were published, in early January this year.

    I do concur with your statement about Monty’s code quality: he did things the right way, he did spot and fix the weaknesses in the old code, and his code is mostly bug-free.

    • Thanks for clearing up ‘private release.’ I got a different take listening to the videos. I expected things to be as you describe. It just didn’t sound that way, at least to me. Thanks.

  3. Thanks, Nalates, now I understand why recent releases of the SL and Firestorm viewers, both incorporating the latest CHUI code, have so many issues with my (old) Macs — namely, the chat lag bug where keystrokes take seconds, nay, sometimes even minutes, to appear on screen.

    I found it so strange that it has affected Mac users for so many months without even the slightest hint on what could be done to fix the issue. I guess it’s “unfixable” — because the framework was changed and it’s unlikely that anyone (either at LL, or the TPVs) will ever go back to the old code?

    It’s such a pity, really. The latest incarnation of viewers give me almost twice the performance (in FPS) than the “old” ones, which is simply too dramatic to be ignored. But… at the cost of forfeiting text chat, which is unacceptable. This is a tragic dilemma!

    • At least they are working on Chat…

      Apple required adoption of Cocoa. This has proved to be a problem for most Apple developers and certainly for SL devs.

  4. Pingback: Second Life and the Mac WebKit Problem | Nalates' Things & Stuff

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