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Wednesday July 11th saw the release of Firestorm 188.8.131.52744. Using the Linden Lab 3.3.3 viewer code base and bringing RLVa support up to 1.4.6, the release includes and extensive range of updates, improvements and changes. I don’t propose covering all of these in detail – that’s what release notes are for – but will attempt to give a broad flavour of what are likely to be the more popular changes and outline where you can find them.
Download and Installation
The download is 32.9Mb in size for Windows, and installation threw out no surprises. As per usual, I did a completely clean install – something that is actually strongly recommended for the release. If you’ve not performed a clean install of a viewer before, the Firestorm team have some notes to help you.
There are a number of updates to the menus, which can be seen in the table below:
The World menu gets two brand new options, the Sound Explorer and Asset Blacklist:
- The Sound Explorer displays all current sound sources within audible range. The list will continue to update as new sounds are played. Sounds can be located, played locally for you to hear and can be blacklisted. directly from the Sound Explorer. You can read more details in the Phoenix wiki
- The Asset Blacklist works with an updated object de-render. With release 4.1.1, objects can now be “permanently” de-rendered (on previous releases, any object de-rendered would re-appear in your view following a teleport or re-log). With this release, all objects so treated are listed in the Asset Blacklist, from where they can be re-rendered if required. You can read more details on this in the Phoenix wiki
Vaalith Jinn’s Local Bitmap Browser has been removed from the Build menu because this release of Firestorm sees the incorporation of Vaalith’s Local Textures functionality, as contributed to Linden Lab (which is also available for clothing and skins uploads). However, all those who use Temporary Textures need not panic – that option is still available as well.
There has been further rationalisation of the various Preferences tabs. I’ve summarised the updates in a PDF file for ease of reference, and will focus on the notable changes here.
The most significant additions to Preferences are the new Crash Reports and OpenSim tabs.
The Firestorm team recently repeated their commitment to support of the OpenSim environment, and this tab can been seen as evidence of that. However, given Linden Lab’s requirements around the Havok sub-licence arrangement, this tab is liable to be vanishing from future “SL flavours” of Firestorm once the new sub-licencing comes into effect.
One important element in Preferences that needs additional emphasis is the option to Enable Lossy Texture Compression, found under GRAPHICS->HARDWARE SETTINGS. This enables texture compression during rendering, which can give improved performance and a smaller graphics memory footprint – but at the cost of lower quality rendered textures which may end up pixellated. As such, it is not recommended that this be enabled unless you have little video memory on your system.
There are two new buttons making their début with this release:
- Fly – a dedicated button to enable you to easily fly
- Region/Estate button – provides access to the Region / Estate floater (WORLD->REGION DETAILS or ALT-R).
Additionally, buttons now display their keyboard shortcuts in their tool tips.
In addition to the options that can be set for various floaters in the updated Preferences (see the PDF file linked-to above), a number of the floaters themselves have new or revised options:
- AO floater: A new safeguard added to the DELETE THIS ANIMATION SET button so that everything that’s not an animation link is moved to “lost and found” to prevent accidental deletion
- Appearance floater–>Edit Outfit – now includes the Local Textures picker (from the gears button) for testing self-made skins and clothes
- Conversations floater
- Contacts tab uses new coloured icons for options (Friends can see when you’re online, etc).
- Build floater:
- Now includes the Local Textures picker
- Allows colours to be defined as hex values as well as RGB and will generate LSL vectors
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