Tools update viewer reaches release status

secondlifeOn April 23rd, 2015, the Lab updated the de facto official viewer to version 3.7.28.300918, formerly the Tools update Release Candidate viewer.

As regular readers of this blog know from my regular SL project updates, this release is primarily focuses on a change to the tools used to build the viewer (to Visual Studio 2013, Xcode 6.1, and some other tools improvements).

Two important aspects of this update are that:

  • The Windows version of this viewer will not install on Windows XP systems, regardless of the Service Packs also installed (previous versions of the release viewer would install on Windows XP system which had Service Pack 3 installed)
  • The Mac version of the viewer will not install on any version of OS X below 10.7.

Note that this is not a deliberate attempt to block XP users or those on older versions of OS X from Second Life; it is purely the result of the Lab using up-to-date tools for building the viewer (and which will yield positive benefits elsewhere. for example, during its time as an RC viewer, the new build version has had a crash rate some 2% lower than than of the official viewer built using the “old” tool chain. There have, however, been some reported issues of Linux users experiencing problems using this version of the viewer.

A further benefit of the tools project is that it offers the Lab and TPVs the opportunity to work with a more common set of viewer building tools due to the removal of some licensing issues. It is therefore more than likely that at least some TPVs will move over to using the new tool chain as well.

This viewer also introduces the updated log-in options at the top of the viewer’s splash screen. The three button approach seen by most users  has been replaced with a log-in area with a single button (note that users logging-in to SL for the first time or after a clean install will still see the “first time user” log-in splash screen).

LL viewer log-in updates: as they first appeared after an initial log-in following the 2014 revisions to the log-in / splash screen (top); and as the log-in options are displayed in the new RC viewer (bottom) - click for full size, if required

LL viewer log-in updates: as they first appeared after an initial log-in following the 2014 revisions to the log-in / splash screen (top); and as the log-in options are displayed in the updated release viewer (bottom) – click for full size, if required.

Related Links

 

Fantasy Faire: don’t forget the calendar competition!

Fantasy Faire 2015: YoZakura; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Fantasy Faire 2015: YoZakura (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Now the Fairelands are open, there is so much to see and do; fund-raising, shopping, dancing, exploring, telling tales, sharing in adventures, joining the hunt … the list is quite fantastic!

One thing many of us will doubtless be doing is taking photographs, both as keepsakes and to share. So, given the Fairelands are still young, and the days still stretch before us, I thought that rather than write about my own travels across the Fairelands just yet, I’d take a little time to remind you of the Fantasy Faire Calendar Competition.

2015 marks the second year in which the calendar competition has been run, and once again, it gives entrants the opportunity to be immortalised in print and help raise even more for Relay for Life!

Fantasy Faire 2015: YoZakura; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Fantasy Faire 2015: YoZakura (Flickr) – click any image for full size

The Faire organisers are looking for photographs that best capture the spirit of each of the thirteen sims – and the winners will be included in the Fantasy Faire 2016 calendar (with credits for the photographers) that will be created in Second Life, and in real life using Lulu.com, and sold to raise money for Relay for Life. So this year, people really will be able to take the Faire home with them – and share it with their friends and family too!

The rules for the competition are straight-forward:

  • Photographs are to be taken at your choice of the thirteen individually themed regions for this year’s Fantasy Faire
  • Entries for the competition must be uploaded to the Fantasy Faire [Photography Contest] Flickr group
  • Photographs may be edited with any photo editing software, and must be a minimum size of 1800 pixels high and 2300 pixels wide
  • Please do not take selfies or add text to your images – the aim is to capture the beauty of the Fairelands and their surroundings. Figures may appear in your photos, but should not be the focus of your submissions
  • All pictures should be PG rated. Any pictures failing to comply with this rule will be disqualified (and that includes nudity)
  • Fantasy Faire & Relay for Life of Second Life reserve the right to use photograph submissions for event advertising and publication.

The deadline for all submissions to the competition is 23:59 SLT Wednesday, May 6th.

Fantasy Faire 2015: YoZakura; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Fantasy Faire 2015: YoZakura (Flickr) – click any image for full size

The Winners

  • The top twelve winning images*, as selected by the judging panel, will be included in the Fantasy Faire 2016 calendar, with credits for the photographers. This will be available for sale both in Second Life and the physical world through lulu.com later in the year, to raise money for Relay for Life
  • The first prize winner photo will be on the cover of the calendar
  • Please note that contest winners are required to provide their winning photography with the following dimensions – minimum 1800 pixels high by 2300 pixels wide at 200dpi or their photograph will be be disqualified.

Further Information and Related Links

UKanDo Kokua and RLV updates

UKanDo, Kokua and the Restrained Love Viewer (RLV) have all seen recent updates in April 2015, bringing them up-to-par with the Lab’s 3.7.27 code base, which features the most recent maintenance updates from the Lab. In the case of UKanDo and Kokua, this means that Avatar Hover Height (AHH) is now available in the viewers, while RLV sees a couple of tweaks to AHH.

Core updates to the three viewers are summarised below.

UKanDo Viewer

UKanDo updated to version 3.7.27.28099 on April 16th. As well as incorporating AHH and the maintenance updates from the Lab, this release also brought with it:

  • Develop > HTTP Inventory now permanently enabled in UKanDo viewer, in line with recent LL server-side updates

    Develop > HTTP Inventory now permanently enabled in UKanDo viewer, in line with recent LL server-side updates

    An update to RLV release 2.9.8

  • Complete disabling of the Develop menu option allowing people to turn off HTTP Inventory loading. This is to ensure people do not encounter issues with avatar and / or inventory loading as a result of the Lab removing UDP inventory messaging support for the simulator code – see my notes on this for further information
  • The addition of a new debug setting, EnvironmentPersistAcrossLogin. When set to True, will to counter MAINT-2477 Feature Request – Sun position override should not persist across logins
  • The ability to toggle the Paste As Link option in the Inventory right-click context menu on or off, according to your personal preference (Preferences > General > Inventory Show ‘Paste As Link’ Option
  • A change to allow copy of worm items – So links for worn items can be created
  • Don’t show inventory item links or folder links in Recent Tab.

Kokua Viewer

Kokua updated to version 3.7.27.35441 on April 23rd. As well as incorporating AHH and the maintenance updates from the Lab, this release also brought with it:

  • AHH in Kokua's pie menu can be found under the Appearance ... option in the main pie menu

    AHH in Kokua’s pie menu can be found under the Appearance … option in the main pie menu

    The most recent RLV 2.9.9 updates

  • Fixes for:
  • In-world Flash playback issues on Linux – Ticket #333
  • Fix to top bar Draw Distance slider showing distance – Ticket #338
  • Upload fee not reflected on menus for OpenSim – Ticket #340
  • “compile as mono” option does not work – Ticket #342
  • File -> Upload -> Set Default Upload Permissions does nothing – Ticket #344
  • Changing the grid-selection option in preferences crashes viewer – Ticket #346
  • Determine correct webkit libraries that need delivered with the Linux version of the viewer – Ticket #347
  • Kokua 3.7.26.36845.x86_64 Linux Fails to start – Ticket #348
  • Chat history compact mode does not convert the Avatar Name in OpenSim – Ticket #351

Issues and feature requests can also be found in the release notes.

RLV Updates

RLV updated to version 2.9.8 on April 8th and then to version 2.9.9 on April 21st. The 2.9.8 release saw the existing avatar height slider in the RLV top bar tied to the Lab’s new Avatar Hover Height functionality, so that using either the top slider or Avatar Hover Height from the Avatar right-context menu will use the same code and result in the same adjustments.

The RLV avatar height slider (top bar) is now tied to the Avatar Hover Height functionality. Notice the top bar operates to 2 decimal places and AHH to 3, so small rounding differences are to be expected when comparing the two

The RLV avatar height slider (top bar) is now tied to the Avatar Hover Height functionality. Notice the top bar operates to 2 decimal places and AHH to 3, so small rounding differences are to be expected when comparing the two

In addition, the 2.9.8 update saw a tweak the the viewer to enable HTTP Inventory is enabled by default in the viewer, again in line with the Lab’s recent move to deprecate the UDP messaging for inventory loading server-side. As RLV previously had HTTP Inventory disabled by default, this meant RLV users were no longer seeing their own avatars render in-world, and could lead them to experiencing inventory load issues as well (see my nots, linked-to in the UKanDo section above for further information). The release also saw some nips and tucks to RLV functionality.

Version 2.9.9 added a small fix to the linked AHH functionality and incorporates the Lab’s 3.7.27 maintenance release updates, as noted at the top of this article.

Related Links

Skill Gaming: CapEx moving to the Internet, with important changes

Capital Exchange has seen activity in its stock market simulation game frozen since the November 1st enforcement of the Lab's Skill Gaming Policy

Capital Exchange has seen activity in its stock market simulation game frozen since the November 1st enforcement of the Lab’s Skill Gaming Policy

As regular readers know, I’ve been reporting on the Skill Gaming Policy changes, including the situation involving the stock market simulation game Capital Exchange (CapEx), operated by Skip Oceanlane.

Since my last report in December 2014 there have been a number of updates from Skip on the matter to keep CapEx members informed of progress, of which the April 18th, 2015 is the most important.

If you are engaged with CapEx, and you’ve not already done so, please ensure you read the April 18th update in full. What follows is a very high-level summary:

  • With as yet no confirmation or rejection of the CapeX Skill Gaming application by the Lab, the decision has been made to move the game to the Internet and away from Second Life
  • This does not mean, at this point in time, that CapEx is ceasing trying to gain approval as a Second Life Skill Game Operator (SLSGO)
  • A new website is being developed to support operations, and once available, all existing CapEx URLs (www.onlinecapex.com. slcapex.com and capex.biz) will redirect to it. It is planned to have this up and running in June, 2015; until it is officially announced, users are requested to keep using slcapex.com until otherwise directed
  • As a game of skill under United States law, the new Capital Exchange website will not be accessible to people reisding in the following state: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee
  • Game players will be able to register via the website, with the option to connect to a virtual world avatar if they choose to do so – but it won’t be mandatory
  • A valid e-mail address will be required for registration with the new website – players who have not entered an e-mail address against their current CapEx details are asked to add one now, to ease transition. Instructions on doing so can be found in Skip’s update
  • The Linden Dollar will be replaced with the new CapEx Dollar (CD$). The value of the CapEx Dollar will initially be pegged at 250 to the US Dollar, in order to ensure stability with existing stock values
  • The new website will operate using HTTPS, and will be connected to a merchant account linked to VISA authorize.net to allow payments using major credit cards
  • The initial means of cashing-out will be via PayPal. The cash-out fee is liable to be “significantly” less than the current 3.5% fee with the Linden Dollar
  • Future options may include the ability to support additional currencies – GBP, the Euro, etc., and other virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc.
  • At a future date yet to be determined, the CapEx Dollar will be freely traded on a currency exchange, and CapEx may may allow multiple currency exchanges to free float CD$
  • Should Linden Lab grant CapEx authority to operate in Second Life as a Skill Game, the Linden Dollar may be accepted, and thoughts to how this might be done have been given. However, it is currently Skip’s intention to operate CapEx without support for the Linden Dollar
  • There are significant changes coming to CapEx ATMs and funds held through them (see below)
Skip Oceanlane - moving CapEx to the web and away from SL. Projected launch date: July 2015

Skip Oceanlane – moving CapEx to the web and away from SL. Projected launch date: July 2015

The new service currently has a projected start date of July, 2015.

An important aspect of this news is that all existing CapEx ATMs are to be withdrawn from Second Life on Sunday, May 10th (unless CapEx gains authorisation to operate as a Skill Game in SL before then). Users can opt to withdraw their L$ amounts held by CapEx ATMs ahead of that date, or can opt to leave them on deposit. L$ values will then be used to purchase stock in a yet to be named fund, and stock in this fund will eventually be able to be sold once trading restarts. In stating this, Skip goes on to note:

Now for you “old-timers” I already know what you are thinking – this is what was done when SL banks failed in 2008 at the old “SLCapEx” as well as a defunct fund at a defunct exchange called the “World Stock Exchange”. Deposits were converted to worthless stock, and no one ended up getting their Lindens back. Well this time, it will be greatly different. I will be maintaining a Buy Order at roughly 5% above the value of what was created/purchased. So anyone that wishes to “cash out” will actually make a profit, if they do not withdraw before May 10. It’s also an incentive for people to stay with Capital Exchange, and to continue playing the game. Note that I plan on adding assets to this fund, so it will be generating a monthly dividend.

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