Firestorm Viewer 4.6.1-40478 64-Bit Review

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Firestorm Logo

I got to use the new Firestorm Viewer release 4.6.1-40478 64-bit. My first impressions are:

The download file size is 67.6mb. The 64-bit viewer installs in a separate folder from the 32-bit version. On 64-bit systems you’ll find the 32-bit version installing in: C:\Program Files (x86)\Firestorm-Beta. The 64-bit version installs in: C:\Program Files\Firestorm.

You can run both the 32 and 64 bit versions. I think you should be able to share the cache between 32 and 64 bit versions. But, by default the viewer uses a separate cache for the 64-bit viewer: C:\Users\[Win_Login_ID]\AppData\Local\FirestormOS_x64\ .

It also places the chat logs in their own folder, separate from the 32-bit versions: C:\Users\[Win_Login_ID]\\AppData\Roaming\Firestorm_x64.

The install created a new Firestorm icon for me. I was using the Firestorm Beta, which has a uniquely named icon. So, if you have not been using the beta, it may overwrite the 32-bit icon. So, pay attention to which version you actually start by checking the Firestorm Help→About. Or… the version info is on the splash screen too. 

The install is typically easy. Since this is my first 64-bit version, I have a clean  install. I’ll manually go through setting up my settings. That lets me see the defaults the team has setup.

The number of options available to a Firestorm user is amazing. There are far too many to list or talk about. That information would fill a book. But, there are some notable features I suspect few are aware of.

One interesting and handy option is the Show simulator channel in Status Bar. See the image. This is the easiest way I’ve seen to know which server channel you are in. If you are testing scripts or vehicles, this is important information for figuring out work-arounds.

The default camera settings are still the same as the SL Viewer. That means one needs to open the Debug Settings and change CameraOffsetRearView and FocusOffsetRearView. With all the talk about Oculus Rift and the need to build to scale and have more realistic sizes it seems the FS Team would be at the forefront of that movement. But, I guess they build viewers more than they build things in-world.

It would be nice if they added something to the camera controls to easily set the camera’s default position. That would alert users to the possibility.

There is a feature named Quick Prefernces that allows a person to place Debug Settings they often use on the panel. The panel has changed from the one shown on the Wiki. Look in the bottom right corner for a wrench icon. Click that and you can add settings to the Quick Preferences panel.

However, there is no way, I can see, to add CameraOffsetRearView or FocusOffsetRearView to the panel. There is no option to add a 3 value setting (X,Y,Z) control.

Experience

The viewer is nice. It does seem to have a memory leak. Memory use steadily climbs. But, that might be because of something in my system. Whatever, after about an hour of use I start to see my frames rate (FPS) drop off. It then starts bouncing between 1 o2 FPS to 30. When I first start I see FPS ranging between 20 and 50.

But, every so often something changes and I see the viewer’s memory use go down and things speed up a bit. So, I can’t say it is solely the viewer.

Between the Camera Tools and PhotoTools this is an awesome viewer for photographers and machinamists. It has 742 sky settings, 57 water settings, 15 day cycles, and four cloud types. The files are all saved in the folder: C:\Program Files\Firestorm\app_settings\windlight (64-bit Win7).

The SL Viewer keeps its Windlight settings in: C:\Users\[Win_Login_ID]\AppData\Roaming\SecondLife\user_settings\windlight\skies

I copy these out and place them in my collection of settings so that I can move them between viewers and have a backup. Also, clean installs will blow out any custom settings you have added or created. My collection of sky settings has reached 1,011. I probably need to thin out my collection.

I needed to log into the ADITI grid today. All my settings went out the Window. When restoring the settings, the viewer requires me to restart the viewer. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to which grid I was reclogging into. The viewer generally remembers the last login and relogs one to the same grid. After a settings restore, that was reset to the main. Which to my surprise popped me into the main grid. Logging into ADITI, I found may settings had not been updated.

Then I started crashing. About 1 or 2 minutes into the secession the viewer would crash. After the third try, I gave up and switched to the SL Viewer. I’ll return the FS viewer to the default settings and try the main grid again. Then the ADITI grid where my avatar is wearing fitted mesh.

More later…

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