Firestorm 6.6.3 Update Continued

The first part of this article is here.

UPDATE! 9/27/2022

It came to my attention that Firestorm 6.3.3 either changed my graphics setting for Enable Vsync or the viewer handles it differently. So I went back to check my settings and found it indeed was limiting the upper limit of FPS. So, I need to revise my measurements to keep them consistent with previous measurements.

This recent Firestorm Viewer update is said to help with performance. So, I measured some numbers and dug up the previous versions’ numbers. The numbers I get say this version is definitely faster. But the Green Room numbers in my skybox are down. Curious. They went down while all others went up.

I use presets for the 512- and 128-meter draw distance tests. So, the viewer settings are essentially the same for each test across all versions. These are impromptu tests. Basically, simple and easy rather than rigorous and precise. So, it will be no surprise if your numbers are different.

I have upgraded my network and Internet service. Previously I got about 50 to 80Mbps download. Now with a new gigabit gateway and switches download speed is over 200Mbps. So, regions rez really quickly. YAY!

Build Panel: Copy/Paste Materials

However, textures still take some time to completely rez. Everything near me when I rez in will fully rez almost immediately. Stuff farther away looks good until I zoom on it. Those can take a while to completely rez. Firestorm’s right-click Texture Refresh seems quicker now and helps. But my network upgrade did not solve all my render delays.

This network change doesn’t make much difference to the FPS. Once everything downloads, render speed is constant. For the previous tests, I waited a long time for a region to rez. A region I have not been in for a time now takes 5 to 15 seconds to rez all the textures. Previously it could take minutes. Returning to a region the same day gives me an almost instant render. But not always. Not sure why it works sometimes.

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Firestorm Viewer v6.3.3 – 9-2022

Wow, we have a new release of the Firestorm Viewer. Just last July 26 I downloaded my then newly released update.

As the Firestorm Development Team explains, they have a new development cycle in place and expect to have new releases out every 6 to 8 weeks, so every other month. It has been 8 weeks since I grabbed the previous update. So, they are pretty much on schedule.

A New Firestorm Update

What is a bit unusual, is they released this update on a Friday. Typically, Friday releases are avoided. The reason the team gave long ago was that if there were a major glitch, there would be few Lindens at work to get them server-side information for diagnosing the problem.

As usual, Inara has done her review of the new release. You’ll find that here: Firestorm 6.6.3. I see no point in duplicating her work or you reading similar reviews. So, I’ll write about the things that interested me or I didn’t find in Inara’s coverage.

Warning

Another new update… there is a revised beta version of Firestorm that should be hitting the grid 9/19 or 9/20. A new griefing attack is being or was mounted and all viewers are suspectable to it. The Lab has released a fix and the fix is winding its way through implementation and QA testing.

You can turn off Media on a Prim and close that particular exploit. Turning it off causes problems with some body and head HUDs. Experiment to see if you are affected.

This is a scary LOOKING attack. There is little real danger. Don’t panic. If you see viewer panels opening and things happening, TP to another region.

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Blender Install 2022

Years ago (2012) I wrote a tutorial on installing Blender and setting up for making clothes in Second Life ™. It is titled: Second Life Mesh Clothes Blender 2.6 Setup 2012 Tutorial. It has all the gory details a person with OCD would need. A couple of years later I wrote: Fitted Mesh Base Avatar Files, about which mesh models to use for making clothes. The articles have good information but we have learned and advanced since then. So, we can simplify things.

This article will hopefully take some of the pain out of your entry into clothes making for Second Life.

Blender.org Download Page

Blender Install

There are two ways to install Blender™. You can install it as one does any Windows program using the provided install program. This is simple and quick. If you are just curious and in the process of exploring, this is your option.

However, if you are serious and committed to making clothes then there is a better option.

Blender is in what I consider rapid development and updates often. Some of the updates make changes in the core parts of Blender. These changes force third-party add-on makers to update their add-ons. If you are dependent on an add-on you’ll run into times when a Blender update will break your model and/or your add-ons and you are left waiting for a third-party update.

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State of Second Life Clothes Making 2022

The fashion industry in Second Life™ is massive and profitable. Ten years ago, I was writing tutorials for making SL clothes. Since then, I made the stuff I wanted and just coasted along. Then playing with friends inside SL I stopped making mesh anything.

There are a couple of things I now want to make. So, I started updating Blender, renewing, and updating AvaStar™. I find Blender has changed… a bunch, AvaStar has changed… some, I assume MayaStar has too – but I don’t use Maya.

There are also now more tools for making clothing for 3D models. So, I need to get my skills and knowledge updated and may as well add an update to the blog.

Here is what I am finding; (starting with a video)

The Amazing Tools for Blender

Pretty neat stuff. Not all of it is specifically for clothes or Second Life, but some of those tools have possible uses for those of us playing in and modeling for SL.

The Cadillac of clothing design tools is Marvelous Designer (MD). Design is done in MD and then transferred to Blender where the design is tweaked and rigged to the various brands of bodies. For me, the big drawback is the cost of MD. Slink people in Discord talk about some clean-up work needed for things made with MD.

The ubiquitous tool for 3D modeling by Second Life people is Blender (free – donation appreciated – All previous Blender versions are here). To adapt Blender specifically to SL modeling the standard addon is AvaStar. While not required, AvaStar simplifies the process and handles gotchas that are a pain to learn about and remember to deal with. Well worth the money. (See AvaLab.org.)

AvaStar solves the initial problem of where to find the Classic avatar body made by SL. Way back when I went through ‘how to find the SL avatar model’ and which was the best source. It is tedious figuring it out. But, that work has been done and the result is in AvaStar, which includes the SL Classic avatar model. Or you can go through my old posts in the category: Clothes Skins Etc. (234 articles as of 5/2022)

Blender and AvaStar are the basic tools for SL developers, at least for me. My other considerations for this update are;

Marvelous Designer – Individual License: US$39/mo.

Recommended for Blender 3 and up. Slink Dev Kits recommend Blender 2.93. From what I can tell whether you can use various things with the latest Blender or have to use the specified version depends on what you are doing. Meaning the only way to know which version of Blender or addon to use is determined by experiment.

I am passing on this as the only use I have for MD is for making SL clothes. The cost will eat up all my profits as I don’t make or sell that much in SL.

Gumroad’s Garment Tool Addon – Individual License: US$40

Recommended for Blender up to 2.93. Everything is updating so with any luck this one will update soon. Most 2.9x Blender stuff works in the 3.x versions.

Simply Cloth – Individual License: US$33 to $80

There is a free demo and the manual is online. Recommended for Blender 2.93 & 3.1.

Installing the addon in Blender 3.1.2 resulted in a series of errors with the demo. Using 2.93.1 the install was not reporting errors but I couldn’t get it working and the warning ‘written for 3.00’ popped up. So, I downloaded Blender 3.00. But I still got errors when installing. I emailed the author and asked about the demo.

About 36 hours later I got an answer. Basically, use 2.93.0. So, I installed 2.93.0. That was a bit tricky. The portable version does not unzip/install the same as other versions. The unzipped folder is misnamed, IMO. Not a difficult fix but it does not sort into the list of Blender folders the way I expected. With the misnaming, I also ran into problems with AvaStar, which may or may not have been folder name-related. Whatever…

Modeling Cloth – Individual License: FREE – DONATION

Free software. Recommended for Blender 2.80. Last updated September 2019. So I am concerned the developer is not going to provide future updates.

This is named Cloth not Clothes. A video is here.

Simply Micromesh – Individual License: US$27

Recommended for Blender 2.9 to 3.1

This too is for cloth more than for clothes. But it has an interesting use in detailing parts of mesh clothes. A video is here.

Cloth fx – Individual License: US$40

Recommended for Blender 2.79 to 2.93

Again, for cloth and specifically for tearing cloth. A video is here.

Molecular Script – FREE

For Blender 2.93

This is a special simulation tool for animation within Blender. It can be used to make static models of collapsed things for SL. A video.

Cloth Weaver – Individual License: US$39 & $49

Recommended for Blender 2.8 to 2.93

This is a clothes modeling tool. A set of videos is here.

Summary

I’ve got my AvaStar and Blender updates installed. Now I am relearning Blender… stuff is moved around and several things work differently. In general, things are more intuitive. But it is still a challenge to find and figure out how to do things that were muscle memory ingrained. (sigh)

I plan to write more later to get into my experience with Slink’s new Cinnamon & Chai Dev Kit.

Flickr Changes 2022

Today I saw a new thread on the Second Life Forum: flickr updates TOS… [sic] by JeromFranzic. So… what did they do?

I read a lot of the thread, its about 8 pages as I write this. But, the actual changes weren’t posted in the thread. So I went looking for them. The blog Glamour Sause posted New Rules at Flickr – What can you do? by Kess Crystal. She has a good take on what is happening.

The Email Notice… ?

Flickr has sent out an email. It doesn’t really notify you of the change. There is what I thought was a promo splash, Flickr Forever. But, no it is an article about a TOS change and more limits on Free Accounts.

The changes affect only those of us using a free account. The big changes are;

  • No Moderate or Restricted level images
  • Only 50 private images.
  • Only Safe accounts – if your account is rated Moderate or Restricted by Flickr you have a problem. Click for how to fix it.
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Firestorm Viewer 6.5.3 Released

Wow! We have a new Firestorm Viewer Release. (3/21/2022) This one has a bunch of new stuff. The Firestorm Blog explains what is new and the changelog explains what has been fixed. As usual, Inara explains in more detail on the Modem World blog than Jessica does on the Firestorm Blog. However, for the quick read go with Jessica’s.

My Graphics Settings

The viewer is a quick download. It is now 140MB, up from the previous 120MB. The installation is simple. Launch the downloaded file. No clean install is needed.

The Splash Screen is of course the first thing you’ll see. It was first seen in the previous version. A bunch of people didn’t like it. That is normal for SL residents. No matter what one does about half of SL peps won’t like it and will complain.

The screen hasn’t changed much. There are ‘operational’ improvements. It works better. It is still a lot of information in one place. But it is easy to ignore.

The FS Team has taken a different approach to destinations than the Lab did. When the Lab first added ‘What’s Hot Now’ to their destinations list several people pointed out that busy places we often full. Clicking to TP to a full region resulted in a failed TP and people wondered how new people would see/react to the error. I don’t know how much testing the Lab did or didn’t do but I do know the Lab decided to limit entries in their list to regions that were not full. Thus, no TP fails. Noobs were protected.

Inside the FS Viewer, the destination guide uses the Lab’s destinations. So, only the splash page on viewer startup shows the really BUSY regions, like Exhale with 91 people in region. Versus the Lab’s panel showing Freebie Galaxy as the most populous with 28 people. Whether this is a good thing or not… you decide.

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Firestorm Mini-Freezes 2022 – Second Life

In week #5 – Jan 31, my Windows 10 computer updated. Immediately my Firestorm Viewer started freezing. Very annoying.

The viewer would freeze for 2 to 15 seconds, the screen would go black for a second then come back with everything working for a few seconds or minutes. Then things would go sideways again and the sequence would repeat. Basically, not usable.

Chilling at home…

Any teleport to a new region would trigger the sequence. So sailing and flying were impossible. Walking was hard enough.

I started my diagnostic process. Both Black Dragon and SL Default viewers had the same problem. Grid Status looked good. Only a few people were complaining of similar problems.

My computer seemed to be running well through the freeze as was network communications.

It appeared to be a viewer-only thing.

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SL’s Male Strip Clubs 2022

I hang in the SL forums these days… well… more like look through them once a day and post now and then.

I notice some women were talking in one of the threads were about going for a girls’ night out. They couldn’t find a male strip club. Wait… what? I and a couple of my friends used to go club-hopping to watch the guys. We didn’t have a shortage of clubs to choose from… So whasup?

Male Dancer Club

It was suggested they search on CFNM… aka Clothed Female Nude Male. Really!?! That seemed pretty esoteric. But… there are 35 listings for such places in SL.

The CFNM List

  1. Miss Dy’s CFNM – No events listed
  2. CFNM Mansions – In search but gone from grid
  3. FEMDOM & submissive RETREAT CFNM CMNF – Tiny place
  4. CFNM Mansion – Clothed Female Nude Male – Active place 9 AM SLT – Upstairs has beds and toys
  5. Wolf Lodge CFNM (Var’s Corner) Female Tag Jazz Bar – Quarter sim – Beautiful lodge
  6. CFNM MANOR “WELCOME HOME“/ Angel Center/Darling Creations – Constant warnings from a security orb. Never got TP’d home.
  7. Fuck and Sex Club – CMNF CFNM Gym Voyeur Cageroom RLV – 5 or 6 areas; lesbian, BDSM, etc.
  8. Cobalt Noir CFNM femdom castle caves and horse trails – Femdom – Lots to explore – Photo ops
  9. Tavern in Briar Rose Realm! – Welcome! – The tavern is a small part of a 6-region kingdom, medieval.
  10. WTF Travel ((OFFICE, SECRETARY, ADULT RP)) – Nice little office scene with appropriate toys.

Only 8 of the 35 search results for CFNM are actually CFNM places. Strip clubs for women’s enjoyment do seem to be rare.

More pages… links below.