This version released after my Second Life News was written. I had been expecting a release for weeks and decided they were waiting on Animesh to promote from Project to Release Candidate. But, with a couple of problems being found in Animesh on the server side, that release is delayed. So… surprise we have Firestorm.
The previous update was in late January 2018.
The new release announcement is here. Detailed coverage by Inara is here. She works with the FS Team and uses their testing versions. So, she sees the viewer for a considerable time before I do. So, the detailed review I’ll leave up to her.
I’ll get into what interests me. I am coming from version 5.0.11, the previous release. This morning I retested the viewer performance of 5.0.11. Doing my usual tests;
Porch w/Sun-Shadow-Projector @ 256m DD – 52 FPS
Skybox Green Room 1500m Elv – 120± FPS
Neisonia Safe Hub w/33 Avatars – 22± FPS
The Firestorm website recommends a basic install for this version. If you have problems then do a clean install. This version, 64-bit SL, is 111MB download, the largest FS viewer I’ve seen. An OpenSim version and 32-bit versions are also available.
I did a basic install, download and hit run it. Windows comes to my recue and protects me… there are 2 or 3 more Windows ‘are you sure’ prompts then 3 or 4 FS prompts. Am I irritable this morning or is this really annoying?
The install took about 3 minutes. i5-6600k @ 4.1GHz.
Nothing special happens on the initial start. Things just worked and all my settings are there. First order of business, check the speed.
Porch w/Sun-Shadow-Projector @ 256m DD – 42± FPS
Skybox Green Room 1500m Elv – 100± FPS
Neisonia Safe Hub w/25 Avatars – 19-30± FPS
Well… this is a bit disappointing. About 20% slower. However, the effect from avatars is less. Seems whether there are 10 or 50 avatars around I get about the same FPS. With 54 avatars it dropped to 15 FPS but as textures completed downloading it bounced between 15 and 30. The 5.0.11 stayed pretty close to 22 with little bouncing and slowed with more avatars.
Inara and the release notes point out that this version has the Render Updates the Lindens added a release or two back. As I recall that sped up the Linden viewer.
The rendering update improves the efficiency of how Jelly Dolls are handled. So, your Max ACI setting will have more effect on performance. The rest is bug fix stuff for things rendered or didn’t.
I jumped over to ADITI to see if it rendered animesh. It doesn’t. If the code is in the viewer there is setting somewhere that disables it.
If you are following Inara or me you know there is some work being done on improving region crossings for vehicles. One of the SL residents, Animats, has been writing viewer side code and scripts to improve vehicle crossings. Apparently, some of that code is in this release of Firestorm. Since I have new helicopters I wanted to check it out.
There are new settings for this in Preferences->Move & View->Movement at region crossing (buttons).
I went over to White Star Field and took off in my play Airwolf, meaning it is more my toy than helicopter. I flew for over an hour will minimal trouble using Predict. Crossing seemed better, but that could be empty regions and other factors.
Anyone that flies or sails experiences the transition from region to region. There is usually a few seconds of recovery as the new region catches up. That time seems shorter using Predict, but that is subjective on my part. Wishful thinking…
I did some double region crossings. These are where one clips just the corner of a region on their way into a third region. It makes for two quick region boundary crossings. Those worked well. I think the double crossings are better.
I didn’t get dropped out of the copter or have it poof until I hit a ban wall and stuck like a bug on a windshield then a 10-second security orb jumped on me and poof. I think I’ll use that orbed-land to practice my strafing runs… 30 and 60 second ejections are much more friendly. A 10-second warning is too little. That makes one panic run for an exit.
For more of the details see Inara’s article.
I tried again with my SA EC-135, the real helicopter. It is certainly different using STOP rather than Predict. I haven’t decided if it is better. However, if it I carry passengers I suspect STOP will be much better.
A couple of weeks ago I saw the help page appear in the FS Wiki and mentioned it in an article. It is officially in this version and the documentation is up, here.
This is a panel that is opened via a button, like inventory and outfits. You’ll need to drag the button from the Toolbar Buttons panel. Right-click any button on the left, bottom, or right of your screen and pick Toolbar Buttons…
To setup your favorites you open the panel and drag things to it. I immediately tried dragging things from my Outfits panel. I’ve been sort of using my base-outfits as a favorites shortcut. That does NOT work. You have to drag from the Inventory panel.
The result is I use the Outfits’ Show Original then drag the result to my new Favorite Wearables.
I think this will be handy. Also, the Beacons button is new. I actually use beacons, so this is a neat addition.
Beacons are the highlights in the viewer image that show you where things are, like scripted things, sound emitters, etc.
There are new Windlight settings added to the viewer. I already have something like 900+… So, I’ll have to dig into the release notes to figure out which are the new ones.
There are voice fixes and the addition of better quality voice.
This panel gets some changes. In the Wearing tab the ACI of each item is displayed. I think this is neat.
There are some changes… no biggie. Right-click a thing->Object->Inspect.
You can now set a time limit on a person you ban from a parcel. Previously is was a forever thing. Inara provides the details in her article.
Top menu->World->Parcel Details->Access (tab)->Add. You have to have owner control for the parcel you are standing in for this to work.
A nice and long-awaited update. I’ve gotten to use the viewer for 4± hours or so playing with stuff. I think it is well worth the time spent updating.
With any luck we will see Animesh go to RC status and grid wide in August. Usual caveats. So, if the FS team stays with their earlier quarterly update plan, we could see another release in October that would have animesh.
For the fashion world Bakes-On-Mesh (BoM) is more important. But, I don’t have a good handle on when that may make it to RC or the AGNI grid. We have the server-side grid wide, if I remember correctly. But, we still have the viewer side in development.
Enhanced Environment Project is in User Interface development, viewer side stuff. I am not clear on where all the backend changes are. I think region servers are good. I think Asset and Inventory servers are in development.
So, we have new stuff coming. It is stuff that requires viewer side changes so that means new version of the viewers.
The rest of the year should be fun.