Disclaimer

This is MY Viewer, i decide which feature i want to add and which to remove, i share this Viewer to show the world that user base size is not important, i do rate quality by effort, thought and love put into the project, not some rough estimated numbers. I consider feature requests only if i you can name proper valid reasons i can agree on. It is my unpaid time i'm putting into this project, i'm not here to cater to every Joe's desires.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Black Dragon Viewer - Update 2.4.3.1 "Bugfix Update"



Changelog:


2.4.3.1


Fixed: Mic Volume Slider not working.
Fixed: Potential crash when starting the Viewer up.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Black Dragon Viewer - Update 2.4.3 "Layered layers"

Layering layered layers.


Yes, yes, the "What is good" post is also coming sometime soon, it's not all bad.


I'll keep it short.
This.
Update.
Wasted.
Lots.
Of.
Time.
Unnecessarily.

Now it's here. Windows 10 support, the new tools chain update, project layer which allows wearing up to combined 60 clothing pieces in any slot. Great! More laziness for people. Expect a whole lots of new exciting bugs, bugs in bugs, bugs while bugging bugged bugs and no fixes. Hurraaay! As always, tell me if you find some other than the obviously still broken RLVa.


Snapshots:









Changelog:


Changed: Rear View Camera Preset slightly, better handling.
Changed: Side View Camera Preset slightly, less looking down all the time.
Changed: Slight Screen Space Reflection tweaks, less big grainy.
Changed: FmodEx package link and updated it.
Fixed: Compile.
Fixed: Avatar appearing as cloud endlessly.
Fixed: Set Key button in Input Devices doesn't work.
Fixed: Reset to Middle Mouse button in Input Devices doesn't work.
Merged: Project Layers.
Merged: Linden Release.
Merged: Tools Chain.
STORM-2113 - uri parsing cleanup and fixes
MAINT-3585 FIXED (Crashes when attempting to upload image.)
MAINT-3591 FIXED Remove "Start Second LIfe now?" dialogue in the installer
MAINT-4718 FIXED Context menu Open button is always disabled for no-copy textures in task inventory
MAINT-4790 WIP Previously selected login location is correctly shown now. Font on the Log In button was changed back. Text offset was set for Locations combobox.
MAINT-4853 FIXED Pressing the ENTER key when entering a location into the Type a location field, doesn't log you in
MAINT-4995 fix stored favorites for login bar (close input files before opening them for writing)
MAINT-5019 FIXED Undesired http:// added to domains sent in chat
MAINT-5023 URIparser crash in LLUrlEntryBase::urlToLabelWithGreyQuery
MAINT-5083 WIP - batch up wear/add/take off/detach requests in inventory panel the same way we do now in appearance tab
MAINT-5090 Remove disabling HTTP Inventory from Viewer
MAINT-5097 FIXED crash in LLFloaterPay::onGive
BUG-2707 Disable SEHOP for installed binary via 'Image File Exection Options' during installation.
BUG-8786 - Turn off fast math opts enforcing IEEE 754 floating point compliance
OPEN-282 Use pthreads for TLS on mac
OPEN-287 convert glh-linear to a common package
SL-103 WIP - viewer enforces wearable limits based on total articles of clothing rather than per-type limit.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Unia - Why i hate it already.

You remember the "quality content" and "compatibility" section of my previous posts? Yes? Good. Ever heard of UNIA inworld? I didn't. I heard about Last Remnants of Earth lately and i was inclined to test it out. It appears that UNIA seems to be something very similar to it and it seems to be very popular lately. As good as UNIA may be, it is a good example of how you shouldn't advertise your stuff. I looked into the How to Play section of the website to see if Furrys are allowed (yes i really have to check that on every damn game), seems like yes, "Good" i thought, until i scrolled further down. I became instantly enraged when i saw the About Game Play section. Let's check it:

Before beginning, please note:
  • While any sized avatar can play the game, because this game uses motion capture animations for immersion, the animations are designed for average sized human avatars.
  • Some AOs may override in-game animations. If you are not seeing animations when you interact with game elements in UNIA, please turn off your AO.
  • For fullest immersion, make sure you allow the region windlight to set the correct atmosphere for you. All game scenarios have been made with a special windlight in mind.
  • Also for the purposes of immersion, be sure to enable sounds. This game is rich with voiceovers and environmental sounds.
  • It is advised that you set your viewers to a draw distance of 256 meters. *Please note, that for some players, this may also increase lag. If you feel increasing draw distance to this level is a drawback rather than a benefit, feel free to reduce it to the level you feel most comfortable with.
  • For best graphical experience, please also be sure to set your Level of Detail (LOD) value to 4.0. This should not noticeably affect lag, but if it does, feel free to adjust accordingly:
  • For Firestorm: 
  1. Click on the Firestorm "Quick Preferences" icon, located toward the bottom right of your viewer window.
Mh. Mh. Mh. Mh. 256 Draw Distance?....okay... and then. Cockslap. 4.0 LoD? Are you telling me you build the entire SIM based on 4.0 LoD? I remember someone telling me that Firestorm magically enforces a 4.0 LoD as minimum to people, don't get me wrong here, setting LoD to anything higher than 3.0 (default ultra) is ok but why are you putting this into a sort of "requirements before you play" list, are you telling me that your entire stuff is based on a non default broken LoD value? So if i go in there with a normal 3.0 LoD (LL Viewer) without changing it in Debugs stuff might look broken and not like it was build? What is this? This is absolute bullocks! If you create content it should work properly with default settings. Number 1. Number 2 coming right after. Firestorm. Seriously? Almost the entire explained tutorial section is made with and for Firestorm and there are only half-assed links to the Linden Viewer. This is absolutely unacceptable. It's the same as my previous post about mentors forcing to use a certain Viewer to get help. THIS is literally rubbing it through their face, manipulation. It also shows that proper compatibility with the default Linden Viewer is not met here unless you modify Debug Settings. "Hey look, i'll try to explain to you now how you can play the game, but i'll explain it in my entirely different and totally not default Viewer", that's what i think they are doing right there. Stop it. You don't write a tutorial on how to play your game in a certain Viewer unless it is the default everyone should be familiar with. Firestorm is NOT the default, Linden Viewer is. Write your tutorials for the Linden Viewer and design your game for it otherwise you are subtle forcing people to switch to a certain Viewer to make full use of your game and its features. I don't sell a collar that only looks good in my own Viewer, i sell a collar that looks good in the Linden Viewer because it was made for it and looks even better in my own, THAT is how you do it, maximum compatibility with the defaults. Compatibility went wrong here. Quality went wrong at the part where you started basing your open (non specifically for this purpose created) experience on a graphical preset that is not available without doing some debug editing. FIX IT.

As you can hopefully see and understand, things you may see as totally "normal" are sometimes absolutely bogus to the point where i qualify them as "bad content" or in this case the proper would be "badly optimized" and "badly executed information sharing". I hope the creators will see it and learn from it.

I hope we all learn something from this.
Don't base your products and/or experiences you want to share on Viewer specific features or non defaults. 
Exception: The product and/or experience is specifically created for that Viewer and is advertised as such.
Example: Don't create an atmospheric game that is meant to be played by the entirety of Second Life and using a Viewer specific feature like Parcel Windlight to achieve your atmosphere, you are effectively locking everyone out of your game's atmospheric aspect, everyone who doesn't have this feature... and as we know there are Viewers that have no desire to include such features unless officially implemented.

According to this, some of you should hope that there won't be someone like me ever to control your content, otherwise you might be seeing yourself confronted with a lot of additional work and/or a straight up declination. You sell something as "high quality"? Why are you using multiple 1024x1024 textures on a necklace and why does your necklace have 30k polygons... where are the material maps?! You could have used the massive additional free texture memory of those obselete 1024x1024 textures to add a specular map (and possibly normal map for details on certain parts of your necklace). Goddamnit. Please Linden Labs. Content Creation lessons, teachers, weekly approval tests and manual (voluntary) content quality checks by qualified people. Here! Here! Take me, i would do it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

About quitting development #2


I thank you for the feedback so far but i feel the need to continue on and talk quite a bit more about it.

I can see a "pattern" here with all these messages i'm getting, it seems that the title "quitting" development might bring up the guess that i am also going to leave Second Life, maybe it's just because i said i'm losing interest in Second Life. I am not leaving. You make it sound like i do, i'm not going to, don't worry. I will still be there, doing my usual stuff, i'll still be in my group, listening, you will still be able to IM me, send me mails, comment on my blog etc. I will NOT leave Second Life, so before you jump off any bridge or something, please read and think about it again. All i'm saying is that i'm going to have a lot less time for the Viewer, i'll still be working on it from time to time, merging stuff, doing small 10 second changes (like the update that will wait at the end of this post, as well as the previous bugfix one). It will just be a lot less ... uhm... "advertising" updates. 

I can't say less advertising the Viewer since i do not actively advertise it in any direct way, if anything i try to avoid giving people the name of my Viewer, i hate manipulation. Users shouldn't be told which Viewer is the best, especially not if they are new. I'm not joking when i say i saw people (actual mentors) on Help Islands and more specifically on "German Newbie Center" over at virtual germany (search for Goethe to find my homepoint and then walk north to get to virtual germany) tell people that they cannot help them if they don't use Firestorm. Forcing them into a pre-determined shoe just to offer help, ultimately ending up manipulating them by telling them "everyone uses Firestorm" and "Firestorm is the best Viewer". That made me so angry that i went asshole-mode in open on those guys and told them that this is absolutely unacceptable behavior, just to be told off with "you have no right to tell me how to do my work". I ended up in a very long discussion of why this is wrong and why they think i'm not allowed to tell them that they are doing a piss poor job at helping people. Telling someone to switch Viewers to fix a problem should be one of the very last things if the asking one is new, more experienced Second Life users will most likely know that sometimes it is easier to switch Viewers to pinpoint issues to a certain Viewer or update of that Viewer. Nalates wrote an article about that kind of "troubleshooting" here. I do switch Viewers too, i install past updates to pinpoint an issue to a certain version if i know it is Black Dragon specific, otherwise i use the Linden Viewer to see if it is something that came from Linden Labs. Switching Viewers to troubleshoot is something entirely different than manipulatively directing someone to a certain Viewer and i will hate you for doing it. Stop doing it.

So what puts me into position of telling someone how he has to do his mentoring work? Common sense, my own experience in troubleshooting issues and supporting my users wherever and whenever i can. Hell, if i can't tell you what the problem is i will ask you for a teleport to have a look at your problem myself, that usually gives me enough insight to almost accurately pinpoint your issue almost immediately. I'm no way just doing support for my own Viewer, i help regardless of what Viewer you use, unless you are clearly in need of help for something Viewer specific. That is support, real support, not dodging work by saying that you can't help someone who's not using your Viewer.

Viewers. Second Life's unique approach to give people freedom and also Second Life's biggest problem. If i remember right, at some point Linden Labs had to go open source (not sure anymore why, i think it was because they included certain libraries with licencing that forced them to go open source), spawning quite a bunch of Viewers over time. I'm not against different Viewers, actually i like having a healthy amount of different Viewers doing different things, we do have multiple programs for different jobs too. It may sound stupid to you but i believe that having one mega program for everything wouldn't just be a total clusterfuck, it would be all kinds of crashy, slow and would probably be bad. There would be no other program for doing stuff because there is already one program that does everything. "Why is that bad?", why would it be bad if NVidia was the only GPU brand? Eh? Imagine you had to buy NVidia, they are a bit more pricey than AMD but i think it is well worth it, now imagine what would happen if there was no competition, NVidia would in an absolute monpoly, they could do (or more importantly not do) whatever they want. Pricey you say? How about the same GPU just more expensive, how about the next GPU being just a very slightly (if at all) improved version of the previous one for a massive chunk of money? Hah, no competitors means no reason to push development into any specific way. Back to Viewers, the same applies here too, our situation is just a bit more... quirky, there are all these Viewers out there, most of them have their own purpose (or had) to some degree, but there is no real competition... other than... you guessed right, Firestorm! "Ohboy, this is going to be a hate rant of Niran again", i can see it in your eyes, no, just no. I have my personal reasons to hate Firestorm and i have more than tried to explain these in the past, i can't, they are too many, they sit way too deep, are super deeply inter-connecting with each other and sometimes don't even make sense, but that is not the topic here. Firestorm is the ultimate multi-purpose Viewer for everyone. That's exactly the issue right there, it is everything, it is nothing, it is the start and the end. Second Life starts at Firestorm and ends with it again. This is no good at all because Firestorm does in some really weird way not act as competition to the Linden Viewer, it simply outweighs the Linden Viewer without any questions, the same happens with other Viewers, they are not having a healthy competition against Firestorm (and most of them probably don't even want to, just like i do), they are fighting a hopeless fight against themselves trying to survive, not letting effort outweigh reward. There are exceptions to this, i would imagine Singularity competing against Firestorm in some way as both Viewers somewhat fill the same role of a multi-purpose Viewer. Everyone else doesn't at all. You can tell me what you want but a healthy competition in between more or all Viewers would be a gain for everyone, especially the user. If i had to compete against someone else focused on graphics this competition would quickly end up in a 1 FPS slideshow, just imagine what cool new features that could spawn. Back when Exodus was active, i had all hands full with keeping up with them and if you look back at that time you will notice that i was massively more active back then, pushing one update after another, trying to come up with new stuff. Exodus now long inactive and (can i say it?) dead sleeping until the oh-so announced big repo is done, poses no more threat to my Viewer, therefor i lost all competition, i'm literally alone here, i could do whatever i want to, force it upon you if you desire to use a graphics focused Viewer, i could totally go rampant. Yet i am not, i have no reason to, there is no one telling me "hey look i did this better than you" which somewhat poisons the Viewer development. Ahem back to Firestorm, i think Firestorm is a good example of what a friend of mine referred to "vicious over modding" when i told him that i like to slap as many mods into my games (specifically Skyrim) before they explode (which they usually do when they reach something like 20gb), i'm all for modding more and more stuff into something but this is not a single player game where you are on your own, not affecting anything or anyone else, there's no other Skyrim you could kill with that, there are no other mods you are killing since you can just add almost all of them together unless they replace each other or fullfill the same function, in that case they would compete against each other again, encouraging each other to push forward. There is no such direct competition here, no encouraging each other to push anything, there's only killing each other if anything at all. Let me be honest, there is no way to fix this issue, that's why i'm writing it up here as one of the things that made me consider stopping "ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT AND NOT LEAVING SECOND LIFE". People saw these features already, they saw way too many being done already, if they happen to poof right now, they would either leave or someone would just fork Firestorm and make a new one, probably calling it "Chaosstorm Viewer" (oohhh the reference to Dark Souls right there....) and the entire Emerald to Phoenix thing would happen again, everyone would just switch to the "new" Firestorm or plain leaving Second Life. Agh... this is where the open source development went so wrong.

Don't think its only Firestorm's fault. It is not, it is YOURS, the user's fault as well. You are the ones who made these Viewers so popular and you are the ones having a seemingly unsatisfiable thirst for more, not you, the single user, you might even say that you are totally happy with a Viewer that had no additional features like the Linden Viewer (then again i would ask you why you are even using another one then) but the userbase as a whole, you constantly demand more, you get more. If i go over to the Firestorm Jira and search of my name, i'll find quite some requests to add some of my Viewer's unique stuff, "but i want everything in one place", yea yea now think again. If Firestorm happened to implement all the unique features of my Viewer, why would you ever want to use my Viewer again, "that's the point, i don't want to use your Viewer just for these features" ah ah ah, stop right there, do you realize that you are acting like a selfish asshole right now, only focused on your personal gains? You are killing off my Viewer with that kind of behavior, there is only so much i can do within my given limitations of not adding pretty much any feature of any Viewer unless absolutely necessary to achieve my goal. "wheres the problem, just add the features people want!", do you want another Firestorm? Is it that you desire? The same Viewer again? "but you could add your own changes to it" ... and become what i just tried explaining to you, what i think is bad? Wow, do you even listen to me? Fine, lets do it. I'll do a second Firestorm, add my stuff to it and become the ultimate douche who became exactly what he hated the most (Star Wars anyone?). Best case happens, everyone comes over from Firestorm, i mean why should they use the normal Firestorm if they can use the Firestorm with additional features and more graphical focus? Now what? Firestorm dies but look... there is another Firestorm, guess what? Nothing changed.

If you ask me, Firestorm (and Singularity in this case too) should split up into other either already available Viewers (not mine, i don't want any Firestorm in here, all i want is an Exodus Viewer back) or if necessary create new ones with a healthy focus on a theme another Viewer already got to get the competition running. You would probably have to use multiple Viewers for multiple areas to work on but in the end those multiple Viewers would end up better in what they do. That is where there are so many different programs for the same thing to do, they all offer their own set of features and focus in a certain topic. 

What i can't understand the most is this need for a Viewer 1 interface, i just don't get it, what is so special about it? It's skin looked like a half assed jpeg-y mess with over fancy fake 3D buttons and reflections everywhere and it's design ranged from horrible to suboptimal ok. I get that you want a certain layout you are used to for years but at some point you have to accept that your unwilling to change your habits is one of many factors that i could mostly categorize into the "compatibility" part of my previous post. Yes i would like to have my separated IM back too and i still only got this hairy wookie making noises whenever i type on it, but at some point i had to accept that Second Life is not going to change it for me, they wont change their Viewer for you either. You are the one who should adapt to Second Life and not Second Life to you, don't get me wrong here, i'm not saying companies should be able to do whatever they want, but there are some rare times where you should put down your old habits and move on. We all have to move on at some point, otherwise we are digging our own graves. "I heard you are a gamer, it's easy for you to say", you might be right with that but you are also wrong. I am used to having a different UI in every game i play, yes, doesn't basically every program do the same to some extend? I'm just open minded to different approaches of an UI and i don't do stupid when it comes to figuring out how to operate it. What i mean with that is i don't ask the creator over IM how to open chat, or where the preferences are... or even where the main menu is and excusing it with "but everything is so different!". No it is not, it is not at all. No matter which Viewer i chose it is almost immediately obvious where the menu is, it is almost immediately obvious where i can find the preferences (if not via shortcut) and sorry but it should be absolute minimum to know that you can start chatting by pressing the Enter key (i wonder how many of you just realized that they could have saved clicking a chat button over and over for years). This is basic Second Life knowledge, this is almost "common sense". It is common sense to look at the same or similar places to find something you are looking for in different UI's. Not even trying and simply asking the creator is plain... no. Please use your brain, you are on the internet, you somehow managed to get a PC and operate it, you managed to install Second Life, you are not a stupid monkey, so make something out of it.

[Super Story Ranting Time Redux off]

So without further discussion topics for now, here's the promised update. Fixing CTRL + X not working.

DOWNLOAD
(Sorry that the download didn't pop up... meh upload must have broken and no one said anything, i had to go to a chinese website to read guess that the download is not online)

Monday, June 1, 2015

About quitting development

[Super Big Story Ranting Time]

I feel the need to explain some stuff here about the topic of quitting the "active development" of my Viewer, reasons behind that and some other stuff that seems off-topic but is also a factor in to why this is happening.

Note that this is not meant to be as a massive roundhouse bash but rather an article to make you open up your mind and think about it.

First and foremost, when i say i quit active development, i don't mean i'll suddenly stop from one moment to another, since this is my Viewer and it is the only Viewer i actively use for obvious reasons, there's no way i can completely stop as it would render my Viewer useless sooner or later, i will want to come online and do stuff from time to time, fancy stuff. I will obviously need a Viewer for that that doesn't look like a boring, fuzzy mess of greyness when i turn on Depth of Field. I want some colors, i want some contrast, i want some life in my pictures and it speaks for itself that all the "good" photographers out there grab photoshop and do some slight post processing otherwise not available. I do not. I am strictly against any post processing (other than cropping) of pictures, it hurts my heart seeing pictures being massively altered in post processing to make them appealing, it grinds my gears even more seeing flickr (or other) groups dedicated to un-edited pictures decline my absolutely un-edited pictures where as i can spot obviously photoshop'd pictures right at top as the most rated pictures. This is a no go.

Furthermore it is saddening seeing top rated non-edited pictures looking nothing more than a random default snapshot from any given place at any given time by any given photographer. I question the community and it's ability to scan and rate pictures based on their actual quality. You don't believe me? You think i'm just pushing my ego? You're right, i'm pushing it down. All the time. I am saddening myself with this, now look around you and tell me how many photographers you see around who do snapshots actually representative of today's Second Life? I see almost none, i see either ugly or photoshop'd snapshots almost exclusively, there are some good snapshots in between sometimes from someone no one even knows and you know what? Almost no likes, no comments. Sad.

It is not just about picture quality, it's about content in Second Life too, there is no quality control in Second Life in any way, everyone can create a box and sell it on the marketplace as the fanciest, most awesome box ever happened to be created and some people would probably buy it, proving that they are right with putting quantity over quality. It's an extreme example but i can go around the marketplace and spam you with lists of objects that fall into quantity over quality and/or general low quality content categories. It's alarming but not surprising, this marketing style has worked in the past, you can see it everywhere, for those of you who play games might have heard about EA games, Activision, Ubisoft etc. I'm sure i don't have to explain what they do. I'll give you another example. Are you a furry? Then you must have noticed that often eyes coming with Avatars are fullbright, sometimes use glow, unnecessarily use alphas for textures that could be made without any alpha (pupils as example, the eyeballs themselves) and have this fullbright shine and sometimes even a full fledged reflection texture that looks like it is reflecting the entire interior of a well lit house. I know what you think, "it looks fine to me", it might look fine to you, it doesn't for me, it is unacceptable in my opinion. Your eyes will be eternally damned to reflect a non existent, static house window letting in sunlight that might not even be there because it is pitch black, no matter from which angle you look or what light conditions are actually met around you. Have an example of this:

properly enabled materials eyes
original untouched avatar eyes

I see this with literally every avatar i cross, modded or unmodded. Modded avatars are often worse. I'm not saying that the Avatar is bad, by god no, it is a really good avatar, but it is still lacking quality in some places. Trust me, this is a difference like day and night (although the night in Second Life could be a day just with black sky... aha... see?). If Avatar creators actually fixed these things... Avatars could look so much better and they could be much better optimized at the same time!

Do you know what i think these missing quality standards are coming from? ~ No, it's not yet time to hate Firestorm again... although there is something to it. As far as i can see these missing quality standards come from several reasons - inexperienced users, compatibility, missing interest in these things and of course several other minor things.

(Oz told me that  Geenz was actually supporting mirrors and Linden Labs themselves decided against it, it will stay there as example)
Many of you are very inexperienced in regards of graphics and quality, lets be honest, paint me green if it comes to graphics in theory, i have never been good in theory with anything, i am a practical guy, i don't like wasting my brain on possible (not to mention sometimes totally unnecessary) issues that could arise. Example anyone? Reflections. More specifically mirrors, "aha" you will say, there was a guy (or girl) called Zi Ree who added these mysterious things never thought to be "possible" in Second Life, quite a lot emphasis followed just to end up driving the project against a wall... why? I think i know the answer. When powerful people say something, people will listen to those, right? Exodus's developer Geenz Spad (also known for adding Materials implementation and Color Correction as well as Tone Mapping in Exodus and several other minor enhancements) joined the discussion about mirrors and basically told this feature off as hard if not impossible to properly implement. He saw the problems with griefing with mirrors already pop up in his head, those mirrors were not exactly damn fast (so isn't the water reflection) and while he is right that it could be used for griefing people by killing their framerate, Zi Ree already offered a solution within his implementation by adding in a max amount of rendered mirrors option. It's the same thing with particles, you could use them to grief people too and kill their framerate, you can just turn down or completely off if you desire so. I think Geenz didn't see that his presumably experienced statement was basically the final stab that killed this already very unstable project off entirely. I don't think Geenz did that on purpose, he just tried to give some experienced feedback on the project, but ultimately ended up stabbing the project in the back. If LL was ever going to consider adding it, then this must have changed their mind and someone experienced with rendering telling you as not so rendering experienced guy that this is going to be really hard to implement isn't exactly the best thing to hear, it's discouraging. What could have happened if Geenz did say "hey, this is the best idea ever, i see some problems here and there but they seem mostly fixed already in your presentation", maybe nothing, we will never know. It shows us that experience could potentially prevent things from happening and if we all were a bit more experienced in how content works in Second Life and at least have a general idea of what "good" content is and which things are "no-go's" then we would see a lot less bad content. People wouldn't buy bad stuff if they can tell apart good and bad stuff and want good stuff only, it would either force content creators to adapt or give up leaving space for better creators.

Compatibility is the next big issue, both content and Viewer worsen this somewhat equally. This is my favorite topic. Did you ever buy an object that has a pre-baked shadow texture on it? Yes? Did you ever buy a couch or these soft beanbags that often use prim shadows? Yes? I. Can. Not. Tell you how much i hate these. I have these awesome, real-time shadows and whenever i see these prim shadows under such an object casting double shadows (one shadow on the shadow and another one on the ground) i feel like i'm being punished for using deferred rendering with active shadows. Why am i, the one who's willing to spend some money on hardware that can display quality content and better graphics and therefor make use of new features (like Materials) being punished? Shouldn't i be the one having the best and fanciest stuff? I'm paying for it after all. I know what some of you think, "just because you are the few % that can handle all the fancies, we low-end users shouldn't be ditched". You sound right and i do agree that ditching users for other users is dodgy stuff, but let's be honest for a moment, your potato holds back quite some potential of Second Life. This is not something i made up, it is a fact you can see everywhere. Those beanbags were just one of many examples. Viewers. Yes, Viewers. Viewers have always been the portal to Second Life, without them we cannot access Second Life effectively but they are also another root of evil. We as Viewer developers do not focus enough on pushing forward, using the potential that Second Life bears within, that includes me as well. If i really wanted to actively push forward i should start by dropping support for legacy rendering and anything below Deferred Rendering in general altogether, that includes removing all options that allow you to turn off Deferred Rendering and raising all minimum requirements to Deferred Rendering, forcing the Viewer to start up with Deferred Rendering at all times, no exceptions. Why haven't i done it so far? I don't feel like i would achieve anything with that since my Viewer is focused on anything above Deferred Rendering anyway, if you disable Deferred Rendering in my Viewer you disable all improvements i have ever done to this Viewer in terms of rendering. That's right guys, you are wrong, it doesn't "already" look better than Firestorm with disabled Deferred Rendering, in fact it looks worse than Firestorm, which leads me to inexperience again. You have no idea, no experience and you believe anything anyone who seems to have more experience tells you. I keep telling you the graphics are so much better, are they really? In all objectivity: Yes, they are better. However, graphics in Second Life is a really flexible feature, since anyone can just carry over my setting fine tuning to any other Viewer that supports them. Yep, you could get all my SSAO, Depth of Field, Glow, Light weighting, Shadow and Camera tweaks over to any Viewer. There are however some deeper changes that you as normal user cannot carry over, changes like my quadratic shadow maps, Tofu's faster depth of field, better SSAO, Screen Space Reflections, camera reset changes, camera water surface snapping removal and so on, unless they are ported over. Let's get back to the actual topic real quick here, compatibility. I understand that compatibility is somewhat key but i think that Second Life and some developers are overdoing the compatibility part, they cater to almost everyone and try to support them no matter how far down it pulls them into the past time. LL dropping the Linux support is one right move into the right direction, as sad as it sounds but dedicating time and manpower to something that is simply not worth it is... not worth it! Which is funnily a summary of this entire post and ultimately one of the major reasons i am stopping to continue developing my Viewer actively.

Many of you obviously have other interests than seeing the fanciest graphics possible in Second Life, that is human, we all do strive for our own goals but you do have to realize that by not showing interest in graphics to some degree you also decline interest in at least a big chunk of quality of most of our content in Second Life. Strictly said: You are destroying possibly good content that must necessarily be good in order to survive. In other words, you don't care if content is good, exceptionally well, ok or just plain bad, you just care for your own interests. You are in no way taking other people who want more than just "ok" content into account but yet you force these people to take you into account. That is downright wrong. If at all, you should be happy to be able to use content, even if it doesn't look as good for you as it does for people with better hardware. You can always upgrade later on and experience that content later on in all its glory, think about it this way: If you ever come to the point those people were at, you will be the one complaining that you paid money for better hardware to enable all the cool features just to find out that the stuff you bought looks like crap because of people like yourself, unless you are again not showing any interest and you don't care if it looks like crap because again it might not be "crap" for you since you are not that experienced and/or interested in graphics and their quality to see an important difference.

Above was basically a tip of the iceberg of one of the previously mentioned reasons i am losing interest in Second Life as a whole and why it is wasting its potential. Since that should be done and hopefully well explained we shall continue to major reason that made me decide to stop active development. RL.

I don't have any sad stories to tell about becoming ill in some way or another, in fact i am in a good condition. Almost perfectly healthy according to my doctor. Physically that is. Mentally i'm probably a ticking bomb. "Hah, i knew it, Niran is a psychopath!" you will shout somewhere out of that dark corner with red glowing eyes. Yes, it is no secret that i'm a "slightly" mentally ill guy with an own opinion about everything, as solid and immovable as a mountain. I never made a secret out of it. I'm very depressive and very aggressive if i have to protect my standpoint. Some people call me a dick, for what i say or do, they call me stupid and even worse, a liar, there is a big difference between saying something wrong and lying intentionally. I also sometimes tend to be very paradox, the most common example for that is me saying that i do not care about users, while at the same time bashing in the door of that guy who dared to grief my users for not having a certain feature. I clearly differentiate between not caring about gaining or losing users or having a user base at all and giving "support" for something i made. All these behaviors i'm showing look weird to other people, making them believe i'm trying to be a dick to them whereas i just have my reason to be in declination with what they are and/or represent. I'm a very emotionally driven person, fear and sadness are my biggest enemies, fear to lose control over something and sadness that comes from everything else including being called the wrong boo boo word at the wrong time in the wrong place (yes that matters a lot). Sometimes it seems to me that some people are intentionally trying to provoke me to prove that i'm an asshole because they did not understand the background in my previous sayings, usually leading to me becoming a rage filled douche telling you in the purest honesty what i think about you and everyone else who happens to be around me. Yes i don't have an all that good opinion about oh so many things, i hate a lot of stuff, a lot of people but that seems to be the price for being open and honest about everything and everyone. I'm a very hate filled person to say the least, hate is my every day fuel. Sounds weird. It is indeed. Sadly hate only brings you that far and truly hating certain people did not show progression in any way, in fact it only made me hate them more and they started disliking me, understandably. I have to repeat that i don't lie or at least try my very best not to if i know otherwise, i'll be honest to people and that sometimes includes telling certain people that i think they are stupid fucking assholes. Anyway, enough of endless human stupidity and anal sex. Sadness is driving me into a corner, making me emotionally and mentally unstable, so much that i seek ways to avoid sadness. Second Life was one of these ways, it turned into another saddening area of my life. Love is one of these things that made my life and Second Life such a saddening place for me to be, i don't like talking about it other than saying that love plays a huge role in my life, no love, no life. Wrapping this up as "Niran is an emotionally ill guy who's slowly being driven off of Second Life"

Money. This is the initiator for thinking about stopping active Viewer development. Soon i will need some money and i am not getting any. I don't have a job (i was not taken over after i finished as trainee in a warehouse), that was roughly over 2-3 years ago. I have been sitting at home doing nothing more than playing games, sleeping and working on the Viewer, you guess where this is going... right i'll need a job and with a job comes a huge investment in time of my day. I suspect 10 hours a day. I usually sleep 8-12 hours a day, that's already 18-22 hours a day used for working and sleeping, not to mention i have to eat, drink, visit people, go shopping and do other stuff. All that while still trying to squeeze in playing games with friends. You see there's not much time left to work on a Viewer unless it becomes absolutely necessary or i have some unexpected free time at hand. Sometimes i wish a day had more hours but then again companies would just use that as excuse to make us work even longer.

I feel sad (there it is again) for leaving my users out in the cold like that but time moves on, so do we, something some people don't want to.

"BUT STOP" You might shout, "WE CAN HELP YOU", no you can't. Donating me is not going to solve anything unless you somehow managed to "donate" enough money every month to keep up with at least so much that i won't need a job and the only other option would be ... starting a Kickstarter, please don't. I have seen this fail on Kirstens Viewer long ago and he had quite a bunch more users supporting him (and me sabotaging him for going down that path.. and backstabbing me for trying to make his Viewer better) , not to mention that it would be downright wrong and i would feel bad for it. I don't see myself skilled enough to be privileged to gain any money off of this unless you were fine with my poor coding skills and the path i have chosen for the Viewer, even then i would feel bad, i would feel like i was ripping you off. Ironically you are ripping me off, you are not paying a cent for my time and effort but hey, my broken mentality tells me otherwise.

Whew. It's a long time since i've written so many words into a single post and that is just scratching the surface.

There is one last thing i wan't to talk about. I was talking about my improvements in one of the above wall o'texts. Soon i'll talk to Oz and start a major enhancements project that will focus on bringing all my experiences and improvements i have made to my Viewer over to the official Linden Viewer, as far as they are willing to accept them. I will want to share my stuff with the entire community, i don't want to let all this go to a waste. This will include many Depth of Field, SSAO, (possibly glow) and Camera tweaks as well as some additional features and changes.

So what does "stopping active development" actually mean now. It means that i will obviously still work on it whenever i find some time or necessity to work on it, i will work solely for myself, i don't know about any specifics yet, i will most likely stop announcing updates and instead only do monthly or in worst case longer round-ups of changes, no download links, no nothing, you know where the download link is and you know how and where to download it, that means that i might upload updates in secret without actually announcing them or explaining its changes other than what the changelog tells you, so you will either have to IM me in world if you need help (as usual) or ask on the blog, forum, in world group or SLU (yes i am still looking at SLU from time to time). I will not drop support in any way, i'll still be here and try to help people actively whenever i am online.

[End Super Story Ranting Time]

Before you go, check out the latest update right below this post!

Black Dragon Viewer - Update 2.4.2.7 "Transparentin' Bugs"

Feedback update.




Changelogs:



2.4.2.7


Fixed: Glow and Alpha slider not working outside of debugging. Look for a general UI widget, not a spinner.
Fixed: Glow increments.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Black Dragon Viewer - Update 2.4.2.6 "Building Build-tools"

A wise Niran once said: "This Viewer is not focused on building." - "Why are you redoing the build floater then?" you may ask. I tell you something, this Viewer is all about the fancier fancy fanciness, a good UI is fancy and functional and since the UI is already functional, there is only fancy left.

Ok, lets get this started with a poem i wrote for this.

Yo listen up, let me tell you a tale,
about a guy, with a fluffy long tail,
all he wanted to do, was fix the build floater
to make it less of a big bloater,
he changed the layout and design,
he moved away the checkbox for "align",
pushed down a bit that separation line,
reduced the size of tabs until they were fine.
When he started working on the general tab,
he noticed that the alignment was completely crap,
he moved widgets a bit and made their purpose obvious,
until everything in there looked flawlessly gorgeous,
he moved on to inspect "object",
and got those checkbox offsets checked,
those spinners were also quickly fixed,
over time they got a little bit betwixt.
When he saw the "features" tab layout,
he got real nervous and looked for a way out.
It was not better by any means,
tho he never gave up any of his dreams,
that maybe some day,
all the panels will look okay.
He continued to the "texture" tab and said,
"i will skip this for now and do the "contents" tab instead".
Quickly fixed until it posed no more thread,
he hacked away those offsets til they all were dead.
He said "This is it, the texture tab it is, now or never,
i can't just delay it until forever",
he already changed the layout quite a bit,
long ago when materials was introduced to the grid,
he had to redo it entirely regardless of what he already did,
the layout was still lacking he had to admit,
he tinkered and hammered away,
and came up with a completely new way,
he used all the tricks the V2 UI offered,
to fix all the problems that bothered.
At the end he was a happy guy,
so happy that he had to cry,
the pure perfection that his work was,
had absolutely no flaws.
Awwww. Ok, moving on ~


Unified Build Floater




What has changed? Quite a lot. Basically nothing at the same time.

I have completely redone ALL panels, every single tab, every tool, realigned all labels, all spinners, all buttons, all checkboxes, all dropdowns, all sliders (YES SLIDERS) and cleaned up the look massively.

I added the ability to lock every texture channel (diffuse, normal map and specular map) invidually and i had some extra space i used for adding the options "only select my owned objects" and "only select physical objects". Yay! The best of all, no squishing and squeezing stuff in between somewhere like you used to see everywhere in every Viewer, until now. Everything is designed to look "the same", one unified design, made in one run, no several designs out of nowhere, every situation, every combination has its very own unique design, if theres a checkbox below another checkbox then this checkbox will have exactly 1 pixel free space inbetween. There are buttons next to each other? each of them has only one pixel space inbetween and they are on the same height, usually at the bottom to form some sort of "bottombar". You'll see. I tried gathering as much feedback on the new layout as a certain people person who continued to bash me for showing no initiate to fix stuff whatsoever allowed me to ~ i'm talking about you Ansariel, i was willing to help you, more on that later.

So without further ado here's a set of images that will show you the new build tools floater.



























Unified Snapshot Floater Improvements:




The improvement-set i started with the previous update is now complete as well. The new improved snapshot floater now has a high resolution preview, just like the separate preview, which won't show up in your snapshots anymore from now on. Inara also reported a bug that you weren't able to switch the snapshot format in "save to disk" which should be fixed now.



Future Plans:




I'm going to stop developing this Viewer actively soon. Boom. I just dropped the bomb. it was obvious it would happen at some point. Why?

RL.
I'm burned out.
My enthusiastic view of SL is broken, shattered like a mirror.
SL has made almost no technological advancements over the past years. Materials was the best.
Most content creators build shit.
Our content creation base is massively hosed and LL doesn't want to fix it in fear it could break old content.
Most (that means more than 50%) of the community members are shit. They have wrong priorities, broken needs and no quality requirements.
Many good content creators are driven out of SL (or left already).
I'm not paid to do any of this. At all. Including taking the bashing.
Firestorm.
Time.
SLU.
Many more...

As i said in one of the previous posts somewhere some time ago. 2.4.5, that's the magic number. 2.4.5 will be the last update. 2.4.3 will be the tools chain update and a merge with all the new stuff from LL's latest releases. Not sure beyond that.

So now that the bad news are done, some good news.

I'll commit my tools floater redo to LL after i merged the tools chain update. Same for the new snapshot floater improvements.

I'll discuss and demand disabling automatic deferred alpha masks in the official Viewer as it is one of many causes for issues, we have today. Let me say it this way. 95% of all private, non-well-known content creators who create skins for Avatars create a broken, messy alpha sorting monster. They tend to forget to remove the alpha channel from their uploaded textures, resulting in the server flagging it as alpha texture. Visually, it makes almost no difference in most cases, unless you disable the automatic alpha masking feature which will show how these objects truly look, without any hacky fixes, it will look broken, it will be lit differently, it will show no SSAO and possibly other advanced features and the worst of all, it bloats the texture with an alpha channel that doesn't need to be there, that's unnecessary information that has to be downloaded and stored affecting you the user.




Other stuff?

/rant
Oh yea... Ansariel. Screw you. I know at least one on the Firestorm Team will read this sooner or later. I'll tell you how this goes. I add/change/remove something and test it. If it works: I'm done. If it doesn't: Fix it. Release it and work down the feedback, given there is any. If i don't find any bugs while using it and if users don't find any either, there's nothing for me fix. I'm not doing any stupid speculative work on potential fixes for issues that could potentially come up in the future with a very specific setup at a very specific time on a very specific day in a parallel universe. It either works or doesn't and if it doesn't i'll fix it, given it is reported at all and i am able to fix it. This has nothing to do with "no initiative to fix stuff". No known bugs = no working on fixes. I don't have time to sit there and click a checkbox 5000 times in a row to check if it doesn't break or crash after 100 uses (my poor mouse is being clicked way too often already). I'm also trying to get RL, SL, development and gaming under one roof here. I tell you how proper development works. You make something, you release it, people break it so you can fix it. You announce it, you tell people hey, here's a new toy, its new, use it, you might break it, if you do so tell me how, i'll try fixing it and don't forget to write it into a changelog. Transparency is key and a fully transparent development includes involving the community right from the start. You should search of "Path of Exile" and see how they do it. They let people break shit all the time and it works perfectly, but then again their community is not as shit as SL's where people complain that they die if they don't have a certain feature as if it were oxygen they need to breathe.

... ugh yea, ranting every day, it will never end, some day i will spontaneously burst into flames and die a slow painful death because i'm boiling so much and so often.
/endrant





Changelogs:



2.4.2.6


Changed: Always use the high res preview, filters look less broken that way and the preview looks sharper.
Changed: Redone the entire Build floater layout. "Unified Build Floater"
- Changed: Realigned all widgets.
- Changed: Fixed all inconsistencies.
- Changed: Some widgets to another type, spinners to sliders, checkboxes to buttons etc.
- Changed: German translation for some labelsto better fit the new layout.
- Added: Select only my own objects checkbox.
- Added: Select only physical objects checkbox.
- Added: Ability to lock all texture channels invidually.
- Added: Lock checkbox image.
- Added: A bunch of labels and descriptions where necessary.
- Added: Separation lines to logically group options together.
- Added: A bunch of German label translations.
- Fixed: Some inconsistencies in German translation.
- Removed: Tool description header line.
- Removed: A chunk of code in build floater and cleaned up some things. Could use a mass-cleanup.
Changed: Increased Tone Mapping custom slider max values.
Fixed: Big Preview shows up in snapshots with UI.
Fixed: (POTENTIAL) Don't crash if we have an invalid attachment index, just assume it's empty and continue.
Fixed: Unable to change snapshot format in "Save to Disk".



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Black Dragon Viewer - Update 2.4.2.5 "Snapshotception"

Yo dawgs, i heard you like snapshots.


So i made a snapshot of your snapshot,
so you can snapshot snapshot'd snapshots.


So actually i wanted to release this update yesterday on the 22. ...but... stuff happened. I was thinking of adding the long promised lock offset feature to materials... turns out i had to rewrite quite a bit.

As said above this update brings the lock feature, it can be found right above the "Planar" checkbox, when ticked it will copy all changes to all texture channels, if you change the texture offset X or Y, it will do so for diffuse, specular and normal map at the same time! Woohoo. Note that this might cause the spinners and/or faces to revert sometimes, this is NORMAL behavior, it's due to lag which was already present long before this change (sadly). Usually happens if you use the spinners via mouse repeatedly, to prevent it most of the time you should type in your desired values directly and press enter ONCE then wait a bit.

Other than this feature there has been an overhaul of my unified snapshot floater, changes include: an option to save the snapshot upload type, freeze the world, fixes for auto-refresh, file format changes when switching to profile/inventory upload and back and the ability to show the snapshot in a separated, resizable, movable texture preview among several others changes and additions, you can read the full changelog below.


Note that the external preview is currently rendered in UI snapshots. I will fix that in the next update, i really want to get this out so you can start testing all the new cool things.



This update also sees the inclusion of my experimental cinematic camera, which is currently ONLY available via debug setting - UseCinematicCamera. Use with caution, you might get motion sick!





Snapshots:


I know you like pictures showing the visual superiority of this Viewer you'll for some reason never manage to set up yourself but always refer to if someone asks you. Note that the above freeze world feature video shows how i set up the last one.









Changelog:


2.4.2.5


Snapshot Floater enhancements:
Added: Remember last snapshot mode in snapshot floater.
Added: Ability to use the separated, resizable big snapshot preview to the main snapshot floater.
Fixed: Flickr, Twitter and Facebook floater not showing in Mouselook without disabled hide UI in Mouselook.
Fixed: Motion Blur not resetting properly.
Fixed: Rotate Thresholds getting set to 0 on first floater opening.
Fixed: Auto Refresh not working, it is still buggy though.
Fixed: Autosnapshot not working. It still is a bit buggy, does 3-4 snapshots in a row.
Fixed: Snapshot file format changes to JPG when switching back from 'Save to Inventory'.
Fixed: Snapshot floater handles freeze world again when we press the shortcut while it's already open.
Changed: Slight layout changes to Snapshot floater.
Changed: Freeze Frame into Freeze World, it will now freeze the entire world and allows proper camming around.
Changed: Do not intercept any mouseclicks at all when the snapshot floater is open.
Changed: Unified saving snapshots to disk and as texture.
Changed: Made Freeze World non persistant over sessions.
Changed: Don't change our settings when we enter Freeze World mode, instead just set those values directly for as long as we are in this mode.
Removed: Fullscreen preview from Freeze Frame, it was broken and laggy.
Removed: Fix for Freeze Frame in Report Abuse floater.
Removed: Freeze Frame and Fullscreen preview condition from auto-refresh.
Misc: Slight cleanup and removal.

Added: Experimental Cinematic Headtracking Camera. Wobbly fun stuff.
Added: Checkbox to lock all offset, scaling and rotation spinners for all texture channels together.
Fixed: Quick media button not working anymore.
Fixed: Particles sometimes flashing white. Found by Singularity.
Fixed: Screen frame in frame when Volumetric Lighting is enabled and DoF resolution is smaller than 1.0.
Changed: Allow holding ALT key to restore old pie menu behavior and allow menu's in Mouselook for future changes. Menu's currently don't work as they are blocked elsewhere still.
Changed: Slight optimization to directional volumetric lighting shader code.
Changed: Cleaned up my old Rotation Speed feature a bit.
Removed: Defunct "ShowMiniLocationPanel" Debug Setting.
Removed: Defunct "SecondLifeEnterprise" Debug Setting.
Removed: Defunct "RenderHighlightColor" Debug Setting and code.
Removed: Defunct "RenderHighlightThickness" Debug Setting and code.
Removed: Defunct "RenderHighlightBrightness" Debug Setting and code.
Removed: Defunct "RenderHighlightFadeTime" Debug Setting and code.
Removed: Defunct "RenderHoverGlowEnable" Debug Setting and code.
Removed: Defunct "RenderShadowSlopeThreshold" Debug Setting.
Removed: Defunct "RenderShadowNearDist" Debug Setting.
Removed: 0.2m minimum distance over and below water surface, we can smoothly transition through water now.
Removed: Limitation that prevented the camera from being smoothed when moved really fast (example: when zoomed out really far).
Removed: Some leftover code that is now obselete.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Black Dragon Viewer - Update 2.4.2.4 "Fixing fixated fixed Fixes are fixed."


Changelogs


2.4.2.4


Fixed: Hide chat on return reverts to default after relog.
Fixed: Automatically hide chat on focus loss reverts to default after relog.
Fixed: Allow walking backwards reverts to default after relog.
Fixed: Windlight transitions revert to default after relog.
Fixed: Media button not working anymore.

Black Dragon Viewer - Update 2.4.2.3 "Fixing Fixated Fixed Fixes"

As... uh.. promised???? the update.

Since there were no additional bug reports this update doesn't include any additional bugfixes.


Changelog:


2.4.2.3


Changed: Raised SSAO Factor's max value in Machinima Sidebar to 100.
Fixed: Sound and Media buttons in statusbar only work after a few clicks.
Fixed: Chromatic Aberration sometimes setting itself to a random value when 0.0 is set as strength. Some cards don't assume 0 as default if a value hasn't a defined value.