Firestorm 4.6.1 is available for download! I have been using the 64bit version for over a week with no problems.
There is a warning about the download: “New untested download server! Results may vary! We are using a new server for our downloads and we do not know how well it will perform. Please be patient if your download is slow and know that we are monitoring things.” I strongly recommend checking the sumcheck to be sure it did not get corrupted in the download process. Also be patient and perhaps download in a few days and/or in the wee hours of the morning.
As always, do a clean install!
“I love it when a plan comes together!” Hannibal; The A-Team
A while back I suggested a topic for Strawberry Singh’s weekly meme at her blog. With many of us using third party viewers and with all of the different adjustment possible, especially with Firestorm, it should be interesting to share how we see the world, how we arrange our viewers. Strawberry posted the suggestion at her blog.
I captured this with the Windows snipping tool.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C. Clark
The past week or so has seen an accumulation of milestones.
WordPress informs me I have now been blogging for 3 years. It hardly seems possible! I spent some time rereading my old posts (and adding tags). There are none I regret writing although I wish I had not titled one “Free Sex Bed”, it still gets a lot of hits, probably not by people interested in Second Life. “There is need for a “Lite” Second Life Viewer” gets the most hits. It is probably misinformed in it’s technical details, yet the number of people looking at it validates it’s basic intent.
Firestorm Viewer has also reached it’s 3rd anniversary! The journey from Emerald to Phoenix to Firestorm was not always smooth sailing, but the viewer has always been very popular and usually has been the most used viewer in SL. What we have today is an outstanding example of the high end of what is possible. The support offered by the team via their wiki, in group chat, and in in-world classes is an example of what the Lindens “should” be doing.
On a very sad note, Nalates posts that Nomine is closing. Many of you may not remember, but in the 2005-2006 time frame there was a lot of positive publicity in both the print and digital press featuring Munchflower Zaius (Nomine) as an example of someone making a RL living in SL (see here and here). This early publicity was instrumental in attracting my attention to Second Life. If you get a chance, visit Nomine while you still can, Munch’s work is still among the best around. We wish her the very best possible in her life’s journey.
In addition to all of that, both Sandy and I celebrate RL birthdays this week. No, I am not telling 🙂
“We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing our own skin.” Andre Berthiaume
SSB (Server-side Baking (or Appearance)rolls to the entire grid
today (Tuesday). If you are not using a properly equipped viewer avatars will not be seen properly. Jessica Lyon has a good post at the Firestorm Blog which applies to all viewers. There has been a long run-up to this new feature. No one can say they were not warned! LL and many private blogs have been talking about this for many months! This is a major improvement to the avatar rez process, a major improvement!
I am sure there will be wackadoodles who will be crying “the sky is falling” and the end of Second Life. Ignore them.
Those accessing SL with very old equipment will have the most problems, some will find they can not access the grid at all. My best advice to them is to try various Third Party Viewers in the hopes of finding one that works. Text viewers will of course get you on line but with limited or no graphics. You knew that sooner or later all computers become obsolete.
Bugs will appear in one part of a working program when another ‘unrelated’ part is modified. Murphyism
There was a Questions & Answers meeting with the Firestorm team last week. Inara Pey has a transcript (edited for clarity) on her blog, along with the entire 2 hour 45 minute video.
Some highlights and news:
CHUI– It was last year when the Lab decided to revamp the Communication interface (why they chose to name it after a rather uncommunicative Star Wars character is speculation for another day). While I respect their choice to “do it the right way”, this resulted in complex and deeply embedded changes to the underlying viewer code Firestorm is built from. As of now those changes are not yet finalized. The challenge this set before the Firestorm developers has been huge! They anticipate it will be another 2 or 3 months before they have a new version that has this integration incorporated sufficiently to release a good-enough viewer update. It will not be perfect or even up to their usual quality standards, that will likely take a few months into next year.
Materials– This is the much anticipated feature that will give textures a 3D look. This is almost ready in the Official viewer pipeline but the Firestorm team can only integrate one thing at a time and retain their sanity. It should also be included in the next viewer update.
Version Control– This will probably upset some people, an explanation is in order. The Lindens report that of the 1,800 viewer versions logging in to Second Life, 1,600 are Phoenix/Firestorm! The grid-wide deployment of server-side appearance/baking will break a large number of them. Firestorm will take the opportunity to limit the number of allowed versions to 3 (the current version and the 2 most recent old ones). There will perhaps be a few days of a warning period when there will be 4. This is a huge problem for people limping along with old, outdated equipment! There is a harsh message for those people; Firestorm is a high-end, feature and option rich viewer! It was never intended for use on minimal system hardware! Perhaps the Official viewer, or Singularity will work.
The Firestorm Team deserves high praise for openly communicating with us,their users. They promise more meetings like this in the coming months.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clark
Today the Phoenix Firestorm Project released Firestorm 184.108.40.206164. For all intents and purposes this is a mandatory release since Linden Lab will be releasing SSB in about 2 weeks.
For those who do not know what Server-Side Baking is all about, Inara Pey has a good overview at her blog.
Some people with very low end computers and/or graphics cards will have hardware issues. Nalates Urriah has some good recommendations for upgrading inexpensively.
I for one look forward to the improvements both to our avatars and to simulator performance this will bring.
May you live in interesting times.
WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?
The Lindens explain – in advance – what they will be doing in the following year. They warn us that some of the changes they are working on will cause some upset, but it is worth it in the long run – and explain why!
They hold weekly meetings where they discuss the progress they are making, including the problems they have encountered. And (this is almost beyond belief) they Listen.
It has gotten so bad that residents are turning on each other! Incidents of griefing have reached a new height in frequency and sophistication. Even there, the Lindens are actively working on the technical steps they can take and explain why the simple steps that might seem obvious are either difficult to implement or would be unfair to other residents.
The Firestorm all volunteer development and support teams had to resort to a special blog post in response to the wackadoodles harassing the support groups.
WHERE IS THE DRAMA!
What is a blogger to do? Many have resorted to travelogs or fashion reviews. Some are blogging fiction or turning their attention to RL subject.
It is enough to make me nostalgic for the Good-Old-Days.
May you live in interesting times.
As Inara points out, and Jessica makes clear, there are rules. If you can’t abide by them please wait a few days for the official release!
Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World
The Firestorm team have announced the re-opening of their Second Life release preview group, for those who are interested in assisting the team with identifying potential issues / bugs with new releases of the Firestorm viewer.
The announcement, entitled “Feeling Brave?” from Jessica Lyon, reads in part:
“The perfect understanding of an event after it has happened, often when you realize too late what you could have done to avoid it.” We had one of those moments shortly after our last Firestorm release when we discovered that quite a few users were experiencing a bug that made their screens pink. This bug had slipped past our Quality Assurance team and went out in the official release. The hindsight is that we could have offered a pre-release to a larger number of users than what we have in our beta group. Chances are they would have discovered the bug, we would…
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I visited the new Phoenix Firestorm Support island yesterday. I am impressed! I am reminded of the old Welcome Island from 2006; there is a path from the landing point with signs and a few playful challenges. There’s no beach ball but there is a fence to jump over and a kind of a tunnel to fly through.
The central island has a live helper. Several existing help groups will be assisting Phoenix/Firestorm support personnel.
They are still finishing things up and are open to suggestions so of course I had a couple of minor nits to pick 🙂 – – Say “region” or “region (sim)” not just “sim”. Just because we get lazy and use the wrong word is no excuse for not teaching newbies the right way. – – We can no longer say “everything is built in world” mesh and most sculpties are made outside SL.
It looked to me like it would work for someone on the LL default viewer and if it serves as a gentle promotion for Firestorm so much the better.
This is a big step in the right direction. I will be sending newbies there. You should visit, add your 2 cents worth before they finish. Take a moment and talk to the Phoenix then stop at the center island with some encouraging words.
I hope they soon have a standard notecard and LM giver that we can put out pointing newbies there when we are off line.
May you live in interesting times.
Things have been going along smoothly in Second Life of late, or it seems so to me. There has been activity from Linden Lab, just not much unexpected or inexplicable. Let me illustrate:
- The new Destination Islands: obviously a work in progress. Even LL is not foolish enough to think dumping newbies in world randomly is good for retention. Time will tell.
- Premium Wilderness: – – – yawn – – – The Moles do good work but by it’s very nature the DPW implements what “the boss” says. A fine example of what happens without the personal, emotional investment of resident builds. We can hope that some Lindens got their hands dirty and learned some building skills in the process here.
- Pathfinding and the other tools LL developed for Linden Realms (created to demo and test those tools): These are working their way through the shakeout process toward full implementation, it will probably be next year before they really impact SL.
- Mesh: I am seeing more and more mesh builds for sale but this will not reach it’s full potential until the parametric deformer is fully adapted and we can have mesh clothing that fits properly.
- Direct Delivery: Rolled out to the grid in a stripped down basic form. Even so it is buggy! If anyone is surprised by that you need to check your meds.
- New Phoenix/Firestorm update: The highlight of my month; very efficient, TONs of features, lots of ways to customize your user interface. Be prepared to spend some time setting it up to your liking, this is not plug-and-play!
So you see, for me this has been an interlude of sitting back and watching the passing parade, trying not to be drawn into the drama and overreaction of the moment.
“– – – all’s well with the world.”