Firestorm 6.4.5—EEP Public Beta!

It’s Here Folks Finally! But In Public Beta Release..

EEP—Linden Lab’s Environmental Enhancement Project—is here.  The EEP Firestorm viewer is now available as a public beta viewer. Linden Lab is hoping to get feedback from our user community and the Firestorm team highly encourages you to file bug reports on LL’s Jira here.

Before you ask, this is NOT a required update. It is a beta viewer and will not count against Firestorm’s 3-available-versions rule. You do NOT have to uninstall your current Firestorm, and in fact we suggest that you keep it. The beta viewer will install alongside your existing Firestorm on a separate channel (on Windows).

Download the viewer here: Firestorm EEP! Beta Downloads.

About EEP

As many of you know, Linden Lab’s Environmental Enhancement Project has been in the works for a long time and reached the grid in 2019. While the official SL viewer has had EEP for a few months, Firestorm has been working to eliminate bugs in our own implementation and streamline/improve the interface. While we don’t feel that EEP is ready for full release—in fact, it has not passed our QA yet—Linden Lab wants all SL users to have access to it, and many of you have been clamoring to use it.

EEP is a new environmental lighting system, a change from the previous Windlight system. Sky, Water, and Day Cycle settings are now saved as inventory items (assets), and can be created, copied, transferred, or sold the same as other inventory assets.  EEP settings can be applied to the land by parcel or region owners, or to yourself as personal settings visible only to you. 

With EEP,  

  • You can use your own sun, moon, and cloud textures.
  • You can customize the length of the day (yes—you can now have 24-hour day cycles!).
  • You can set different skies at various levels on your land. 
  • Visitors to your parcel will be able to see all your customized settings.
  • You can import your old Windlights as EEP settings (many have already been imported).

Note: Windlight still works in viewers 6.3.9 and older, with a few bugs due to server changes.

For additional information:

Additional Viewer Features

 This viewer also includes

  • LL’s new cam controls with the ability to create camera presets.
  • Updated viewer translations in many languages

See https://wiki.firestormviewer.org/fs_645_prerelease for the full list of new features.

Bug Fixes

Even though it hasn’t been long since we released Firestorm 6.3.9, this one comes with a lot of bug fixes. Below is a list of just a few key things we feel folks will appreciate. For a more thorough list, please see our 6.4.5 PRE-RELEASE NOTES.

  • A fix for the AO crash in Firestorm 6.3.9.
  • A fix for Macs affected by MacOS – Blur When HiDPI Support Option Not Used https://jira.firestormviewer.org/browse/FIRE-24311.
  • A fix for skin failing to load for Bakes on Mesh while editing shape.
  • A fix for attachments to dismissed notices going to trash.

Known Issues

As an entirely new environmental system, EEP still has bugs to be worked out. You may see strange lighting glitches. Some have experienced reduced FPS. We hope that everyone trying this beta viewer will review the list of known issues and file bug reports to help us improve the viewer for you.

Downloads

Download the viewer here: Firestorm EEP! Beta Downloads.

OpenSim

For OpenSim users, there are 3 key points:

  • The viewer incorporates Windlight <—> EEP interoperability, allowing EEP viewer users to visit legacy Windlight regions.
  • The viewer supports the new OpenSim 0.9.2 with EEP—code-named “Ugly Sky.”
  • There is now a fast-entry grid feature on the login screen—simply enter a URI to add a new grid.

In addition, our last OpenSim Release had a bug that caused crashes when rezzing items. This bug was responsible for 70% of all reported FS OpenSim crashes on the 6.3.9 version, and it has been fixed.

Have a good one from all of us at Zoha Islands And Fruit Islands

The First Feature-Length Cyberpunk Thriller Shot Entirely in Second Life!

Watch Here: STÖMOL, The First Feature-Length Cyberpunk Thriller Shot Entirely in Second Life!

Update: Bumped up for weekend viewing!

As promised, New World Notes is very proud to debut the feature-length machinima by Huckleberry Hax. Put your headphones on, dim the lights, and press play. And join me below for director’s comments (with potential spoilers) and running comments from the audience in the aisle!

STOMOL SL Machinima cyberpunk

“Filming started in February 2019. Since then I’ve shot in 12 different sims as well as a couple of stand-alone sets, one of which I built… a mixture of animations and static poses were used, from over 40 different content creators.”

“One of the most challenging aspects of creating the movie was the short lifespan of many sims – often as brief as a month,” as Hax explains. “For example, I was filming at ‘Kun-Tei-Ner’ (by Lotus Mastroianni and Fred Hamilton) right up until the hour before they started dismantling it. It’s a huge barrier to the creation of longer, story-telling machinima in SL. Of course I understand why sim creators do this — they have money for one sim and they want to move on and do something different.

“Another barrier is the dearth of quality animations that are not dance animations or adult animations. This surprised me – I imagined that, over the lifespan of SL, there would be pretty much any animation I could think of somewhere on the Marketplace, but actually sourcing animations became one of the most time consuming aspects of the movie.”

“The main character – Epi Stömol – is looking for two coders,” he tells me. “One is a deepfake scripter, the other is able to retrieve old media files. The woman in the scene – Istinito – used to be room mate to one of the missing coders. In the future the movie is set in, old media has been rendered unreadable through corporate software infrastructure, making it hard to work out actual history. It’s an Orwellian sort of situation, where there is only official history. The movie as a whole is about truth and the triumph of ‘fake news.'”

Enjoy From all of us at Zoha Islands and Fruit Islands

Want to Understand What Linden Lab’s Acquisition Means for Second Life?

Linden Lab Acquired by Investors

Linden Lab Acquired by Investors After Months of Rumors, Layoffs & Sansar’s Sale; Second Life to Still Expand, Official Announcement Promises

 

I’ve heard rumors by various insiders that Linden Lab was looking to be acquired for the last few months, and now that prim-based shoe has finally dropped:

 Linden Research, Inc. announced today it signed an agreement to be acquired by an investment group led by Randy Waterfield and Brad Oberwager. Closing of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval by financial regulators in the U.S. related to Tilia Inc.’s status as a licensed money transmitter as well as other customary closing conditions. Upon closing, Mr. Waterfield and Mr. Oberwager will join the Board of Directors of Linden Research, Inc.

This announcement follows fast upon the recent acquisition (in March) of Linden Lab property Sansar by a little known turnkey operation called Wookey. In fact, that’s when I heard rumors of Linden’s coming acquisition — just as I did when Linden Lab made a round of layoffs last February. In retrospect, both moves appear to be in preparation for this purchase.

However, the overall gist of this announcement is very much: Don’t worry, Second Life will continue and grow. Which may or may not be true, but that’s definitely the intended theme:

 
“We’re excited for this new chapter to begin. We see this as an opportunity to continue growth and expansion for Second Life and our money services business Tilia,” says Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg. “We’re grateful for the ongoing support from our community, business partners and investors. Now more than ever, there is increased recognition of the value and utility of virtual worlds to bring people together for safe, shared, and social online experiences.”


“Both the company and its virtual world community have a unique culture and creative energy that remain important to the long-term success of Second Life,” says Brad Oberwager. “There’s a bright future for both Second Life and Tilia and we’re excited to help fuel these growth opportunities.”

“Since its inception 17 years ago, Second Life has been a pioneer in the concepts of virtual societies, land and economies,” says Second Life founder Philip Rosedale, who is now CEO of High Fidelity. “I’ve known Brad for 14 years personally and professionally, and I’m confident he will bring his passion and proven strategies to help Linden Lab achieve new heights in distribution, scale, and quality while remaining true to the original vision, creativity, and community that makes Second Life unique and special.”

Read the rest here. As with the corporate executives of Wookey, neither Oberwager or Waterfield have any apparent experience in game development, so it’s unclear as yet how they plan to implement the “bright future” the announcement speaks of.

I have of course reached out to Linden Lab about this, and hope to update this post soon.

Update, 3:50pm:  As a possible hint of Linden Lab’s future, Randy Waterfield is the Chairman and CEO of the Waterfield Group, which has this its business mission:

The Waterfield Private Equity Fund(s) I, II, & III; as well as The Waterfield Family Office, invest in conservatively run companies with strong free cash flow, proven management, and a platform we believe can add value to the global economic community. We prefer basic businesses with a few years of proven, conservative growth. We avoid companies that are growing too fast. We believe slow and steady makes the race… We strive to be a good partner to existing management, are passive with regards to general managerial issues, and work hard to help our CEOs and their families’ realize their vision. We have no defined exit plan, and tend to own companies for generations. 

I.E., translating the business speak: We buy companies that make a decent profit and help keep them running for years and years, and that’s basically it.

So I’d speculate — and this is only my speculation — that Linden Lab’s original investors pushed for this acquisition to finally have Linden’s long-awaited liquidity event. I.E., “We invested in you over 15 years ago, you’ve been profitable for about 13 years, so now where’s the return on our fricking investment already?”

Have a good week from all of us at Zoha Islands and Fruit Islands

Afraid To Edit Your Registry? Don’t Be..

In many tech troubleshooting articles you’ll find a way to fix a problem that involves “editing the Windows registry.” There’s always a dire warning attached, along the lines of, “Do not attempt to edit the registry unless you know what you’re doing! One wrong registry edit can render your machine unusable!” That’s true, but with a bit of caution, you can safely edit the registry. (Just beware of the hives.) Here’s what you need to know…

 
 
 

What is the Windows Registry?

It’s always good to start with a definition. I like to call the Windows registry “a hideously complex ball of string, rubber bands, duct tape and bailing wire that’s supposed to keep track of Windows system settings, your hardware configuration, user preferences, file associations, system policies, and installed software.” It was intended to be an improvement on the simple text-based INI files that stored Windows configuration settings, but apparently too many pocket protectors were involved in the design.

One advantage of the registry is that it enables each user of a machine to maintain his/her own settings; each user can have a unique theme, speaker volume setting, set of apps, and so on. But the registry can also apply settings to all users, or a group of users specified by the system administrator (e. g., “adults” and “kids”). The registry is one of the most important files on your hard drive.

It may be necessary to edit the registry to correct an error or corruption; to add a setting that is not part of the original design; or to prevent some system activity that is undesired. The registry is a very powerful tool, and if it’s used incorrectly, YES, it can wreak havoc on your system. But with a basic understanding of how it works, and some simple precautions, you need not fear.

The first rule of editing the registry is, “backup your registry!” You can make a backup of your registry by creating a System Restore point. To do so, click Start, type create a restore point, press Enter, and follow the prompts. Another method is to use the Export function in the Regedit utility. (See below)

Even if your Windows installation becomes unbootable, you can recover your old, working registry using the tools on the System Recovery USB drive that you created. If you have not created one yet, here is a link for how to do it on Windows 7, 8, or 10.

Regedit.exe is an app included with Windows to help you edit the registry. Type regedit in Windows start/search box, then press Enter. You may see a popup that says “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?” Click YES, no changes will be made at this point. The open Regedit window will look something like the screen shot below:

Windows Registry Editor

A few paragraphs earlier, I mentioned that you can make a backup of the registry by using the registry editor. Let’s do that now. Click File, then Export. In the lower left corner of the new window that opens, select “All” under Export Range. Enter a filename, and click the Save button. It will take a minute or so to create the backup. Don’t be surprised if the lights flicker, or if you hear a deep, guttural moan, followed by a hissing sound emanating from your computer.

Returning to the registry editor window, at the top left corner we see link containing the word “Computer” — think of that word as the trunk of a tree. Beneath it, in the left-hand window pane, we see the names of five branches: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, etc. Click on any of these brahch names (called “keys”) to see what further branches lie below it. Keys can be nested up to 512 levels deep. We won’t be going that far!

The prefix “HKEY” indicates a registry “hive,” the top level of this hierarchical database. “CLASSES_ROOT,” “CURRENT_USER,” etc., are names for hives, each of which contains more levels of data that are all logically connected to the hive’s subject. “HKEY_CURRENT_USER” is a hive that contains settings which apply to whoever is currently logged in to the computer. If you click on that hive name to expand the tree below it, you will see familiar names like “Control Panel,” “Printers,” etc., along with mysterious labels of system resources that most users don’t need to know about.

You may recall that I mentioned hives in the opening paragraph of this article. A weird thing happened as I was typing this up. I opened the registry editor, and a wasp flew into my office and stung me on my finger! I’m not saying it came from a registry hive, but it’s 2020, and stranger things have happened.

What you do need to know is that it is critically important to make edits in the correct hive and the correct sub-branch of that hive. A change to HKEY_USERS instead of HKEY_CURRENT_USER may have unintended consequences for all users of a machine, not just you. Navigating the tree structure of the registry must be done with the utmost care.

Fortunately, there are lots of helpful geeks who provide exactly the right paths to take you where you need to be in the registry. In my articles, you may find instructions such as “navigate to \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows…” Just highlight the path name, copy it, and paste it into the address bar at the top of the regedit window.

Once you are in the right place, most registry tweaks involve enabling or disabling something. The “something” may have a key at the end of a registry path like the one above, or you may need to create one for it. The instructions provided by your friendly geek should tell you what to do, step by step. For example, to change the border width of your windows, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics. Set the values of Border Width and Padded Border Width to 0 to eliminate the borders. Or increase the numbers to make the borders fatter. Valid values for Border Width are 0 to -750, but any number larger than 100 will be produce unusable results. Valid values for Padded Border Width are 0 to -1600. Padded Border Width should be larger than Border Width. For some reason, both of these numbers must be negative. The more negative, the fatter the borders. A reboot is required for the changes to take effect.

It’s also possible to make changes to the registry with a REG file that someone else has coded for a specific task. For example, you can add a new option “Open with Notepad” to the context menu that appears when you right-click on a filename. This is handy when you want to quickly edit a file that doesn’t end with the .TXT extension.

Download this ZIP file file, click to open it, and then double-click on the Open-With-Notepad.reg file. Click your way through a few “Do you really want to do this?” prompts, and it will add a key to your registry. Now you can open any file (regardless of the extension) with the Notepad editor, using the context (right-click) menu.

So now you (sort of) know what you are doing in the registry. Just make sure you always start by backing up your existing registry, even if you don’t plan to change anything but are “just looking around.” And watch out for wasps.

Have A Great Week From ALL of us at Zoha Islands and Fruit Islands.

Railroads Made in Second Life

Railroads Made in Second Life – A Five-Part Mini-Series & LiveRailroads Made in SL.png

This year’s theme for our SL17B celebrations is “vacations and road trips” – and, in this spirit, we are pleased to debut today a five-part mini-series dedicated to the unique history, culture and communities surrounding one of the most popular modes of travel in our virtual world – railroads in Second Life.

Our virtual journalist Draxtor Despres recently took a ride on the rails of SL to travel across miles of virtual railroad tracks spanning across the grid. Along the way, he makes multiple stops to meet a wide variety of colorful characters and creative communities.

In episode one, Hrdtop75 Deluxe of the Virtual Railroad Consortium joins Drax for a look back at the origins and history of the Second Life Railroad (SLRR) system which originated in 2003 within the northwest part of the Sansara continent before eventually expanding to more than 80 regions including the Heterocera (or Atoll continent). 

Episode two focuses on the Bay City Short Line and trolley developed under the guidance of SLRR co-founder Athos Murphy (formerly known as Michael Linden).

In episode three, both Drax and Hrdtop75 explore the ONSR (Okemo Nakiska & Southern Railway), located in the snowland regions of the Sansara continent. The ONSR spans across 13 regions and serves 10 stations for a roundtrip averaging about 22 minutes.

Episode four highlights the communities surrounding the ZZR (Zany Zen Railway), which was built by Zen Swords-Galway. As you travel the ZZR, you’ll discover a variety of quirky communities and unique attractions including the small Welsh seaside town Little Coverston.

The series concludes in episode five featuring an interview with VP of Product Operations Patch Linden, who discusses the important role of railways within the expansive infrastructure of the massive Bellisseria continents (where thousands of Residents reside within Linden Homes).

Drax will be joined by many of the interview subjects featured in the series during a special SL17B Q&A and screening event held inworld June 23 at noon SLT. You can also watch the event live or archived on YouTube.

CREDITS:
Video Production: Draxtor Despres
Narration & Research: Hardtop75 Deluxe
Sets & logo: Marianne McCann
Special thanks to Patch Linden, Squeaky Mole and Joshu Philgarlic
Trains used made by Hardtop75 Deluxe, Zen Swords-Galway, Atomic Infinity and Brit Balogh

Have a great week from all of us at Zoha Islands And Fruit Islands.