A new release and the importance of a clean install

There’s a brand new release of Firestorm and there are a couple things you should know.

First is this, you really want/need to update to this release as soon as possible. Server side appearance (SSA formerly know as SSB or server side baking) is just around the corner and this release has all the available code in it. Without a SSA capable viewer you will soon not be able to see avatars properly.

Secondly, you want to do a clean install. The vast majority of issues people have on a new release are because they did not do a proper  clean install. If you’re on the 4.4.0 release remember to backup your settings. There are full instructions on doing a proper clean install on our wiki . The thing to remember here is that Firestorm has two folders, besides the program folder itself, that need to be empty or deleted in order for it to be a proper clean install. Save yourself some frustration and do it properly the first time.


Update your viewer!!

The Phoenix Firestorm Viewer team has been telling people for some time now that Phoenix will at some point become next to unusable. A significant number of people have listened and moved to a modern viewer, some have not yet. If you are one of the latter, I suggest you reconsider and update very soon as Linden Lab has announced a tentative date for starting to switch on SSA (server side appearance).

The following is a quote from Nyx Linden
“We currently are not aware of any major release-blocking bugs and are starting to look at scheduling the roll-out process. We have a number of QA passes and tests to run through before we can get the final greenlight to do so, so we are currently targeting July 9th as the earliest date at which we will enable SSA for a significant portion of the grid (a server RC channel). Please note that if we find additional bugs in the meantime, or run into other scheduling difficulties this date could be pushed back. We will not be going to RC before this date however.”

So the clock is now ticking much louder than it was, time is getting short. I strongly suggest you  update to a SSA capable viewer. Those on Firestorm 4.4.0 will be fine although there will be a release very soon with a few additional fixes to the SSA code in it. When it comes out please update as soon as possible. Those on Phoenix and other older viewers all I can say is update to a modern viewer now. If you choose to move to Firestorm we do have classes to help you get used to it as well as our Wiki and inworld support groups.

Materials and Firestorm

Linden Lab released the new Materials  capable viewer yesterday and people are asking if it is available in Firestorm yet. The short answer is no it is not.  The next question is when will it be available in Firestorm. The short answer is when its ready.

Why is it not available yet? Well to start with until LL releases something like this it is against the TPV rules, no TPV is allowed to release a new LL feature until it is released by them. Secondly while Materials is a very cool feature the fact is that it still has some significant bugs that LL is working on fixes for.Such as the following
Glowing water:
* https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/MATBUG-137
Most notably seen on hairs that comprise of solid and alpha parts. On non materials viewers, this hair would appear all black as it should be https://jira.secondlife.com/secure/attachment/71955/Snapshot_015.png
On materials viewers, the alpha parts render much lighter
* Some objects render with black textures – various different bugs for this, most notable any object that has transparency and glow render as black
https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/MATBUG-186 – black HUDs
* Legacy shiny is “too shiny”
* Projected light is broken when shining on objects that have transparency
* Mac users on 10.6.8 cannot enable ALM or they have severe rendering issues
Black rings in the sky: https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/MATBUG-196
Shiny objects and reflections render as white glow: https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/MATBUG-171

Thirdly, the Firestorm developers are still working on the merge to the previously released CHUI code. That needs to be done before they can merge the Materials code.

We do plan on having Materials in Firestorm, but it will not happen overnight. In fact it may take sometime before it is available in Firestorm as there are several things that need to be done before that code can be added, then tested and released.

Firestorm Classes

You may have heard that the Firestorm support team holds free classes that explain the preferences, menus and some of the features in the viewer. Features like the built in AO, and Contact sets which is one of the least known but extremely useful features in the viewer. We also have a couple classes that can apply to any viewer. There is a class on lag that can help you understand and even reduce the effects of lag in some cases.  There is also a basic troubleshooting class that can give you some ideas on finding out where your problems originate.

So why should you consider attending the classes? Aside from the obvious fact that you may learn what some of the preferences do and learn to set up and use some of the cool features, we’ve found that those who do come out wind up having a lot fewer issues with the viewer and SL in general. There is also an open question and answer session after the classes where you can ask about anything at all, including help on issues you may be experiencing.

You can find the class schedule on our wiki at http://wiki.phoenixviewer.com/firestorm_classes The schedule gets updated progressively. Class notes for all of the classes are always available at our main classrooms at   http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Phoenix%20Firestorm%20Support/250/6/4001