A New Firestorm Released into the Wild (Part 2)

This evening’s relaxing and writing venue is The Retreat. Where, in addition to scribbling down these notes, I’m contemplating an apple pie and possible competition over it from the occupant of the birds nest that’s settled neatly on the table.

Continuing from part 1, there are a few more features that will, I think, be of interest to most users.

Farewell Windlight, EEP is the way

When you want to edit the environment, you will notice that many of the old ways of doing things via Windlight are nowhere to be found. It’s all EEP settings now.

If you have already been creating your own EEP settings and have learned to dread the sun and moon trackball style controls, there’s good news. Sliders for azimuth and elevation have been added for both. These can offer some more precise control.

Additional ways to filter inventory

All the way to the right, at the top of the inventory panel, there’s an eye icon. This will allow you to include/exclude inventory, library, and links in the search.

Also, this may have been around a while and incredibly observant me just noticed, when you have a filter active, the search area is highlighted so that you know it. It would be kind of handy if there was a strong visual indicator when you’ve trimmed inventory view by item type. That would save lots of dents in my keyboard (or forehead) when I’m looking for a notecard but have selected objects in the filter.

Search for groups panel

Since premium users now have up to 70 groups, we can’t find them anymore. Enter the search bar for the groups panel in the contacts floater. Yep, it works like any other search tool. An nope, my search there didn’t turn up any results.

And talking of search, people searches can now be made by UUID. This is probably a good thing in a world where we can buy new account names.

Minor changes to alerts settings

Select multiple alerts and change their values at once. Also, alerts are included in preferences searches.

[Caveat! I crashed while selecting alerts for the image there. Could be coincidence of course.]

Cache changes

If you are in the habit of tweaking your cache size, you will notice that there are now separate controls for texture and asset caches. I will have to do more research to see what situations would have make changing which value advantageous.

Another change in cache controls is that clearing the inventory cache will also clear the library cache. Which makes sense. Most probably do not have any idea that they are separate.

Enhanced animation info

When you open an animation, you will see a summary of its properties below the two play buttons you’re familiar with. No more guessing what the priority is. You can see the duration, ease in and out settings, whether it loops and how many joints.

Beyond all the above, there are at least ten other minor UI changes that many users will encounter. Most of them look like improvements to me.

For Builders

There are a few small and one large, well I think it’s a big deal, change for builders in the new Firestorm.

Additional information in inspect

Inspecting an object now reveals the number of rendered (visible) faces.

Mesh upload improvements

I usually sweat bullets squeezing every last vertex and triangle out of my physics and low LoD models. But this isn’t always key. When uploading a mesh model you can now chose from several quick physics shapes that will be automatically sized to your mesh: cube, hexagonal prism, or a user defined shape.

I’ve already used this feature and it was nice to just click a choice and wrap a hexagon around the model. It’s a wearable. The physics model just isn’t that important and that shape was easily close enough.

There has also been a change to the preview panel. Better ambient lighting should give you an improved look at what you are about to upload. (This will not make a lot of difference to me. By this point I’ve been staring at the stupid thing in Blender for weeks now and know quite well what it looks like, but thanks anyway.

Finally, no more “Material Of Model Is Not A Subset” when it’s not really a problem. If you aren’t familiar with that message, then you can safely skip this feature. If you have seen it, then you’ll love this. Essentially it means that you won’t have to go back and stuff degenerate faces into your low LoD models just to satisfy an arbitrary rule about mapping materials. The whole idea of low LoD models is to have them contain minimal vertices and triangles, so adding unnecessary ones to get past this pitfall was irksome.

There’re a few more things in Firestorm 6.4.21 that I haven’t got to yet, but this pie is calling me and have got to make my escape before something regrettable happens. More later.

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