Updating Firestorm

So, finally we have a date for Server-Side Baking: July 9th. I was already using an SSB-compatible viewer (Firestorm 4.4.0) but there’s a Firestorm update with some extra code and some bugfixes that I’ve been waiting for (namely: missing prims and the high-res snapshot bugs) so I decided to update as soon as possible.

This is the first update I’ve made using the new Backup Settings option in Firestorm, and it’s going surprisingly smoothly. Backed up settings prior to performing a full clean install, then started the new viewer once, to create the directories. Restarted to get it into Phoenix mode (sorry, I’m old-skool and love my blue buttons!) and logged in. Restored all settings and relogged to my usual cache-loading location (the bottom of the ocean – *glub!*) and now I’m enduring the loooong, painful wait for my 90k inventory to load.

So, what’s new/changed in this Firestorm? Well, the first thing I noticed was that my nametag was white. I looked for the colours tab (which has been streamlined) and changed it to lime green. (I used to have it in classic Phoenix orange, but fancied a change!) My anti-aliasing option (16x) hadn’t been saved by the backup, and was set to 2x by default, so I had to change that back manually. Apart from that, I was pleased to see that everything else backed up beautifully and restored with a single click, even my customised chat log folder filepath.

I was less happy to see that, once again, Skell rezzed with a wierd groove down the centre of his chest. This, together with eyes that poke through his lower lids, sometimes happens when I’ve been logged on for some time, and a relog usually fixes the eyeball issue (if not the grooved chest). I don’t know what caused it this time, as my PC has only been switched on for a couple of hours (and it’s a custom-built water-cooled gaming rig, so it’s hardly because the thing is overheated). Here’s a screenshot of the issue:

I’ve yet to reinstall the improved avatar mesh files, which I won’t do until my inventory is fully-loaded (73k now, so it’s getting there), so that may help. (In fact, a teleport fixed it.) So now I have to check out the fix on high-res snapshots.

Prior to this update, while I’d been having issues with high-res pics, it wasn’t the same issue that others were having. They were getting black boxes across the right part of the image; I was getting squeezed/stretched images (with high-res and shadows enabled), like this:

I just cammed outside the store I’m currently standing in, enabled shadows, took a 5000px shot, and awesome – it’s fixed!

Now that makes for a happy Skell :-)

Updated to add a test shot, running on Ultra, 16x antialiasing, Phototools resolution set at ‘life-like’, with shadows enabled. Not a single glitch. This is pretty much a raw shot; all I smoothed out were the small nose triangles *Snoopy dance!*

UPDATE (July 2nd 2013) – I’ve just installed the mandatory upgrade to 4.4.2, the reasons for which are detailed here. Because I was already running 4.4.1 I simply installed over the top of that (as the FS blog advised). If you’re running 4.4.0 or lower, then a clean install is necessary. While, yes, it’s a bit of a pain to have to upgrade each time, there are two reasons why this doesn’t bother me at the moment:

1: The Phoenix-Firestorm team held their hands up in that blogpost, admitting that they’d simply missed the removal of that Linden-requested code from the 4.4.1 release. Honesty counts for a lot here, guys.

2: I knew that, with the upcoming changes for SSB, Materials, and CHUI, there would be a series of viewer upgrades required in short succession. All of these (with the possible exception of CHUI, which I’ve tried out in the LL viewer and which I am… less than enthusiastic about; personal opinion only there, and related mainly to the visual design aspect rather than its functionality) are improvements to user experience.

I will say this, though: having read this post by Nalates this morning about viewer updates (seriously, follow her blog if you’re interested in finding out all the SL tech-related news), and her link to Tonya Souther’s post, here,  I’m going to try and push myself past my need for a V1-style GUI and see if I can work with what the FS devs have done with the V3 GUI. I have such a visceral reaction to that black interface, but there are hints in Nalates’ post that the V1-ification of Firestorm may have its days numbered, so I guess it’s good to be prepared for the worst.

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