The Firestorm Viewer version 6.4.21 had been out for a bit now. People are reacting to it. The thread Newest Firestorm version – lag monster popped up 8/4. Which made me curious because that is NOT my impression. So, I went and ran my tests, which I rate at one half-a-posterior.
This version is covered in detail over on Inara’s blog here: Firestorm 6.4.21. I’m not going to repeat what she has already written. I just want to consider what people are experiencing based on what I can see and measure.
My experience is: this version is better.
The big thing is Firestorm’s viewer now uses multiple threads for decompressing textures. Decompressing is a task that has bottle-necked performance forever. But since it has had little effect on Frames per Second numbers it doesn’t seem to have been a high priority to change. The major effect of texture decompression is in scene render time. I think scene render is much faster. But actually, measuring it well is quite complicated. I suspect most of us hit a region and consider how long it takes for the place to render. A few of us may now and then even time it. Which is practical and simple. Neither is precise and measurements are highly influenced by our location in the region, which way we are looking, our cache – when did we last visit, the region’s construction, and avatar occupancy.
One thing that can affect our perception is this install clears our viewer’s cache of downloaded content. We have to reload EVERYTHING. I think this should only affect your first-time post-install-visits to places you frequent.
A while ago the Firestorm Viewer was upgraded to use the simplified cache developed by the Lab. I think this is the first release of Firestorm that has this upgrade. Beta testers for Firestorm will have had the upgrade for some time.
From the changes the FS Team has made, I would expect this viewer to be faster at rendering a scene. I wouldn’t expect a higher FPS (Frames per Second) rate. I guessed that I might even see FPS dip while textures were decompressed as more CPU cycles would be getting used by the texture processes. That is what I experience… sometimes… There are some oddities happening when one teleports. So, detecting a slowing or a speed-up due to the new multiple threads is tricky.
There are 20 to 30+ Firestorm threads running at anyone time. My four cores are all carrying about the same load but the overall use is about 50%, which is similar to past versions.
Microsoft announced the coming release of Windows 11 June 24, 2021. So…. Will Second Life run on Win11? Yes. There are very few changes in Win11 that would effect how applications like Second Life work. So, we expect the change over to be a non-event for SL users.
So… then what changes?
There are lots of articles out written by the beta and early adopter users. A change is the opening menu. One of the changes in the menu is Live Tiles. If you use them, this change will SUCK. They are gone. But, in return, we get Windows Vista-like widgets… Oh Great!
We get a new Microsoft Apps Store… I never thought of the store as part of the Windows Operating System. But, that is in the update news. The main talking point is they are making it easier for you to find apps. I’ll take that to mean, we have changed our advertising strategy.
If you do photography in Second Life™ or consider it screen captures then you likely want better images. Possibly you may even want to create impressive images and sell them as NFTs.
Focus Magazine is putting on the FOCUS Photography Fair. They are promoting it as; Poses, Props, backdrops, lighting, and more.
Having been there I can say they have done an impressive show. I’ve found a number of things I did not know were available in SL. Some of these items make it so If you are not an SL builder you can still manipulate the world to make the images you dream up.
I have found posing hands in Black Dragon especially tedious. There is a Bento Hand poser at the fair. It does a great job of allowing me to easily manipulate hands. Yay! But, I have to do that before I start BD’s Poser. Boo! Still it helps.
If you watch detective shows on TV, every so often they will do something with LiDAR. These are generally really expensive systems that scan a crime scene and eventually produce a 3D model. Expensive in this case is like US$10k and up. There are cheaper ones in the $100 and less range for personal or hobby use. But you may already own a LiDAR system and not know it.
If you have a newer smart device that uses facial recognition then you may have a LiDAR system. The iPhone-12 has an actual LiDAR camera/laser on the front… back?… camera away from the screen… normally used for distance measuring. It is rather low resolution but also is stronger and reaches farther.
The screen side camera facing you is used for facial recognition. It is higher resolution but not as strong… meaning far-reaching.
Penny Patton has a new written EEP tutorial out about how to use the Enhanced Environment Project, the Windlight update, on your land. She uses the Black Dragon viewer in her tutorial for the source of the illustrations. Most viewers have the exact same panels for setting up the environment. So, the only problem for Firestorm and other viewer users is getting the initial About Land panel open. About Land allows you to edit the parcel’s environment settings. Otherwise, you are editing your personal view of the environment.
At ground level in Firestorm, you can right-click the ground and select About Land. You can then edit the environment at the parcel or region level. Easy.
In Firestorm, the World->Region Details or Alt+R and then the Environment tab opens the same environment panel but, for Estate Managers until you right-click the ground you are editing your personal settings. And if you click on anything else you snap out of the parcel environment edit mode.
Also, if you teleport up to a high altitude you will likely lose the link to the parcel and can’t edit the environment.
This week Firestorm release an update to their viewer, 6.4.13. For details of what got updated see Inara’s article Firestorm 6.4.13 Release. I am only going to talk about the stuff that interests me.
It seems they made the viewer easier to fix when it comes to the Firestorm Bridge.
The bridge is an attachment the viewer puts on your avatar. It provides an interface between in-world scripts and the viewer. Basically, it gives the Firestorm viewer more capabilities. The techy details are here: Firestorm Bridge.
As one bounces between viewers, like I do, one can run into problems. Also, the general flakiness of a connection to a virtual world can cause problems with the bridge. The viewer is smart enough to resolve most problems on its own when something goes wrong with the bridge. But, not all of them. Then it can be a pain to fix the bridge… and often a headache figuring out just what the problem is.
Now there is a BUTTON! Yay! Well… more a menu command than button, but you get the idea. Click Avatar->Avatar Health->Recreate LSL Bridge. Poof the problem bridge is turned into free electrons to evaporate into the valley of lost bits. A new one is generated and attached. Problem should be solved.
This makes it so easy to fix you could add it to your first steps of troubleshooting.
The Hideaway is a recent addition to SL. It is a place to meet up anonymously and hook up. Think about being anonymous in SL… really!?! How does one do that? Caroline and crew found a way.
If you haven’t found Caroline Takeda’s Second Life Adventures and the Second Life Escorts sites (both NSFW URLs) and are into sex… then you are missing out. Caroline is always working on ways to make a buck starting sex businesses. Sex sells… don’t you know? And the articles there while sometimes educational are almost always titillating.
One of the more recent efforts is her Secret Hideaway. She has written about it (here and here) in her blogs. Alas I only occasionally check in on her blogs. So, I hadn’t noticed the club opening until Caroline sent me an invitation to get a free mask. They normally cost a thousand Linden. O.O So, yeah, I thought I better get my little tush down there and get one. I did.
If it is about new features, or something, in SL I haven’t seen in SL then I’m interested. But a thousand Linden, that would have put me off. I won’t spend L$200 without a demo first. But free… I’m all in.
This anonymous thing had me curious how will they do that? Plus, the place is secret and you supposedly can’t find it without the mask.
In SL your RL ID is confidential. But your avatar’s ID is way public, like living under the UK cameras. But they did find a near-perfect way to hide your identity while in the club. Surprising. It works.
I used to scout enemy bases in NOR (combat/sex RP). I am pretty good at getting into places I’m not supposed to be in. So, claiming it couldn’t be found was a challenge. But so far, it has been difficult enough I gave up.
Back in December of 2019… that long ago? …I wrote a review of available women’s genitals. See Second Life Vaginas: The V. That is the vagina for the Maitreya body. Now there is a version for Slink Original and Hourglass and Inithium Kupra (with a 50% off Kupra version until Feb 14, 2021 – see details at the in-world store. – MAP URL). The marketplace URL is here (URL – NSFW).
I got the Slink Hourglass demo. It comes with Slink Classic and Redux versions. Both in the same package. If you don’t know Slink, the Redux version is the version highly optimized for BOM. Slink Classic is their older more complex applier style body. Whichever you prefer, they have something for you.
The Original and Hourglass versions of The V are different and NOT interchangeable. So, for Slink users that frequently swap between Slink bodies like I do, they will need to make a decision. Hourglass or Original or buy both? They don’t have a package deal for buying the two.