I’ve been swamped with work this week, which is good. So, I haven’t had time to enjoy Seccond Life™ or keep up on the goings on. Today I’ve taken some time to catch up on the new Firestorm Viewer release 4.7.5. The announcement is here: Firestorm Update 4.7.5-47975.
Inara has her review here: Firestorm 4.7.5: something for everyone.
Download & Install
The download site is fast. Unless you jumped in the first day, the download is fast. Even on the first day it was probably a quick download.
The 64-bit viewer size has swollen to 81.5mb download. Most other viewers are in the 30 to 40 mb range. The installed size is 223mb, 21,902 files, and 408 folders. The SL Viewer is 115mb, 5,939 files, and 101 folders. That is quite a bit bigger. But, Firestorm does quite a bit more too.
The FS Team recommends a clean install. I didn’t take time to try installing over the existing install. I just did a clean install. If anyone has installed over their existing version 4.7.4, please let me know how it worked… or didn’t.
I didn’t scrub all the caches or other support folders. So, I may still run into problems… But, the viewer runs.
I find that I really need to log into a deserted region, one without people. Otherwise it seems to take a long time for my avatar to render. A couple of times my skirt (Iffyta Rains Pretty in Pink Maebella) would not render in busy regions. Not even if I left and went to an empty region. Until I detached and reattached the skirt it just never rendered.
I haven’t been able to decide if the render fail is a factor of my install, the regions, or just SL misbehaving. It will take some time to see how things go.
If you haven’t noticed Google Chrome takes a toll on viewer performance. With Chrome open to its home-tabs page (no sites open) the viewer drops 5 to 10 FPS. It isn’t consistent. Sometimes there is almost no change. Other times it is significant. And don’t confuse the viewer loosing focus with another programs dragging it down. If you close Google from the task bar and don’t click the viewer to restore focus to FS, it will look like Chrome slowed the viewer more than opening it did.
The new notifications feature is nice. The FS version is a bit nicer at the cost of some minor complexity than the Linden version. Notifications are sorted into System, Transactions, Invitations, and Groups. Each has its own tab in the panel.
Clicking the drop down arrow shows the notice’s content within the panel. Left clicking the notice opens the previous style of notice pop up.
If you upload mesh items you’ll find FS now has the new ‘Uploader’. There is some controversy about it. I’ve been writing about that. (Second Life News Week 44) The JIRA BUG-10543 – Mesh validation should permit rigging to attach points, is about the changes in the uploader.
The last version of FS removed one of the work-around methods used to allow upload of items with weighting to attachment points. Now they have re-enabled the option to upload mesh weighted to ALL attachment points. This version has it restored. But, I understand it is hidden as a Debug Setting and has to be enabled for it to work. I haven’t dug it out. There is more information in the release notes.
The chat panel can be minimized now. That is a big plus for me.
There are loads of fixes. Most are things I didn’t know where broken. You can learn more from the release notes (link above).
After a couple of hours I started having mini-freezes and black screens. Memory use never got over 2gb. So, I don’t know what’s up with that.
Using the viewer over Friday afternoon I found it a mix of better and annoying. I kept getting into jerky motion and mini freezes. That could be from my computer and drivers. But, I have less trouble with Alchemy and the Linden viewer.
Still this is a version that is better than the last and it is well worth the upgrade.