Linden Lab’s Improvements to Second Life

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Linden Lab announced today in their latest blog post that they are on the cusp of launching improvements to Second Life, and detailed some of the new things you’ll soon be able to enjoy. These changes include improving the way your avatar interacts with surfaces inworld, giving you more tools for managing your preferences for notifications and graphics settings, as well as improvements to make life easier for mesh creators and merchants. They offer links to download Project Viewers that will let you get an early look at some of these improvements.

Hover Height
As we all have experienced, sometimes our avatar doesn’t interact quite right in a virtual environment. Sometimes your body parts stick through furniture, your feet hover over or sink into the ground. Fixing this can be computationally very expensive, so Linden Lab has been working hard to find a workable solution, and the result is the Project HoverHeight Viewer. (Anything in orange is a clickable link). Between the introduction of this viewer plus some server changes, this new viewer will improve things in two ways: the order in which adjustments are made to your vertical position has been made more stable, and even if it’s not perfect, it will at least be predictable. Linden Lab also introduces a new final adjustment that is directly under your control: a new avatar right-click selection allows you to tweak your vertical position. Linden Lab states “This final adjustment is shared with everyone around you so that they too will see you correctly, and is saved locally by your viewer so that it persists between sessions. This new feature was inspired by a proposal from the Firestorm viewer team, and they’ve been helping with testing it.”

One of the ongoing complaints and suggestions received through the JIRA by residents to Linden Lab was the need to have better ways to control and organize the many notices they receive: inventory offers, group notices, event invites, and money transactions all result in the same kind of pop-ups and notice chiclets and are all listed together. The blog states: “An upcoming Viewer release will add a new floater that provides separate displays for different notice types, and the ability to sort them. You can prioritize and organize what’s important to you.”

Mesh Import
Important to content creators, Linden Lab is upgrading the support for mesh import. An upcoming Viewer update will allow uploading models that have more than eight unique faces, and improved association of physics representations and LODs by name.

Viewer Managed Marketplace
Merchants will be delighted to hear that you’ll be able to manage the inventory in your Second Life Marketplace store directly from the viewer. Items no longer need to be loaded into the Merchant Outbox or a Magic Box; instead you’ll designate items to be sold directly from your personal inventory.

Graphics Settings
Linden Lab is introducing an open source contribution that allows you to save named sets of graphics settings, with a drop-down menu that allows you to quickly change between them. For instance, when you attend a performance in your favorite club, you can save settings optimized for rich display of your companions and environment, and you can save a set for exploring that trades off longer draw distances and better lighting effects for simpler rendering of details – whatever you think is important.

You can click on the following link for the blog post in its entirety: Check Out The Latest Improvements to Second Life.

Hopefully all of these changes and improvements will make for a better Second Life experience. It shows that Linden Lab is still invested in the technology for Second Life. And it is encouraging to know that the folks at Firestorm are continuing to work hand in hand with Linden Lab, which should result in the same improvements to the Firestorm Viewer, as well.

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZI Social Media