On Sunday August 17th, the Firestorm team announced the release Firestorm 18.104.22.168398. As with the 4.6.5 release in May, this is far more of a stability and bug addressing update more than it is a release of major new features, although it does contain a lot of updates which most Firestorm users will find to their liking.
As always, the complete list of changes, together with attributions, can be found in the release notes / change log, and I refer readers to that document for specifics on all contributors, FIRE JIRA links, etc. The following is intended as an overview of some of the more major / interesting changes, updates and fixes to be found in the release.
The Before We Begin Notes
For best results when installing this release:
Note that as a result of the Firestorm team’s policy to keep only 3 versions running, version 4.5.1 beta will be blocked in the coming weeks. The advice from the team is that If you are on 4.5.1, to please update now. Version 4.4.2 will continue to remain for Mac users until all the major Cocoa Mac bugs have been resolved. However, if you are not a Mac user, then there really isn’t any reason for you not to have updated, and the team again ask that you update as well.
Mac 64-bit Version And Mac Fixes
This release of Firestorm sees the arrival of a Mac 64-bit version. As with the original windows and Linux 64-bit versions, this first release of the Mac 64-bit variant of the viewer is regarded as a beta release. However, the Firestorm team fully expect it to have far greater stability than the 32-bit version, and better performance, so Mac users in a position to do so are encouraged to download it and try it.
As a heads-up to Mac users, please note that this release of Firestorm also includes a couple of partial fixes for known issues:
- Alt-clicking while moving the mouse moves the camera significantly (see STORM-2041 and FIRE-12241) has been partially fixed by Linden Lab
- The Firestorm team have implemented a partial fix for the keystroke entry lag issue (see FIRE-12172).
These may not entirely solve the issues to which they relate, but hopefully they’ll give at least some Mac users a degree of improvement.
One thing those experiencing the typing lag, and who are in a position to do so, might like to try is to create a clean virtual desktop in Spaces, switch to it and then start Firestorm, pinned it to that desktop, and make it full screen (see the suggestion from Spikeheel Starr here).
This release sees Firestorm reach parity with LL’s 3.7.8 code-base, together with cherry-picked updates from later releases. Updates and fixes directly from the Lab include, but are not limited to) the following.
Project Interesting Scene loading Updates
Project Interesting has been a part of the Lab’s long-term Project Shining updates which were recently officially drawn to a close. The interest list work, primarily led by Andrew Linden prior to his departure from the Lab to join High Fidelity, is a set of improvements to how the viewer and simulator work together to know what information the viewer has or needs in order to render the world around your avatar.
The work has seen several server-side and viewer updates, and the updates included with this release of Firestorm enable the viewer to more intelligently store and reuse scene data, helping to make regions you’ve previously visited load faster (as long as you don’t clear cache!), and help improve viewer performance.
Further information on the project interesting work can be found in the following blog posts:
- Speedy Delivery: Introducing the Project Interesting Viewer – Linden Lab
- Enjoy Faster Scene-Loading with Project Interesting – Linden Lab
- “Project Interesting” arrives as a release candidate viewer – this blog
- “Project interesting” viewer reaches release status – this blog
Google Breakpad Updates
Google Breakpad is the tool used in gathering information used in reporting underpinning reasons for viewer crashes to help with tracing causes, etc. Linden Lab have been engaged in a programme of improving when and where Google Breakpad becomes active as the viewer starts, and ceases reporting as the viewer shuts down. This release of Firestorm sees the most recent updates and improvements made to Google Breakpad integrated into the viewer, allowing the support team to improve the triaging and debugging of issues.
Other Updates of Note
- Added a viewer check box to extend parcel entry limits to a higher ceiling (World > Region Details > Region > Block parcel fly over): when checked, extends access checks vertically to prevent parcel flyover
- Opening large chat histories from conversation log no longer eats huge amounts of memory resulting in a viewer crash (see: BUG-4517 and FIRE-12242)
- Searching inventory for “online” now correctly returns online friends calling cards in search results (see BUG-4409 and FIRE-12178)
- Merchant Outbox fixes: includes fixes for accurately detecting Merchant status and improves recovery for Merchant Outbox errors
- Improved discoverability of the Region Debug console has been moved to Develop > Consoles > Region Debug Console. Also added to World > Region Details > Debug > Region Debug console
- Having a space after your cursor and pressing return to add a new line no longer forces an extra space to be made in the next line in notecards and script editor
- Opening square textures now sets the 1:1 size constraint.
Building and Scripting Updates
LSL Functions for Materials
Firestorm 4.6.7 sees the addition of LSL support for materials capabilities. Materials can be added to object faces with llSetPrimitiveParams() and llSetLinkPrimitiveParams functions using the following parameters:
- [PRIM_SPECULAR, integer face, string texture, vector repeats, vector offsets, float rotation_in_radians, vector color, integer glossy, integer environment]
- [PRIM_NORMAL, integer face, string texture, vector repeats, vector offsets, float rotation_in_radians]
- [PRIM_ALPHA_MODE, integer face, integer alpha_mode, integer alpha_cutoff]
- Valid alpha_mode options are PRIM_ALPHA_MODE_NONE, PRIM_ALPHA_MODE_BLEND, PRIM_ALPHA_MODE_MASK, PRIM_ALPHA_MODE_EMISSIVE
- [PRIM_SPECULAR, integer face] returns [string texture, vector repeats, vector offsets, float rotation_in_radians, vector color, integer glossy, integer environment]
- [PRIM_NORMAL, integer face] returns [string texture, vector repeats, vector offsets, float rotation_in_radians]
- [PRIM_ALPHA_MODE, integer face] returns [integer alpha_mode, integer alpha_cutoff].
For further information, please refer to the relevant LSL documentation as linked-to above.
- CTRL + mouse grab of objects is now disabled by default in all of Firestorm’s log-in modes other than V3. This is because the option offers no “undo” option should it be used accidentally. A toggle option has been added to Preferences > Firestorm > Build 2 (Use CTRL+mouse to grab and manipulate objects) to enable / disable the ability.
- Clicking the area in between the Full Bright check box and the Materials drop down box no longer incorrectly opens the colour picker.