Hugsies Blog!

November 18, 2014

Asus STRIX GTX 980 \o/

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 8:33 am

It’s finally here!

As a long long time user of Second Life, if you’re still using a video card with only 1GB (or less) you seriously need to upgrade to something with more. When I pre-ordered my GTX 980, I installed bench-marking software and monitoring tools that helped me better understand the hardware I have before my GTX 980 arrived.

Using GPU-Z and running one instance of Firestorm on SL, the viewer and the OS overhead was using about 800mb of my  old video card’s VRAM, out it’s 1GB of VDDR5 memory. So if you were using an older 512mb video card, your performance was already suffering just using one instance of an SL viewer.  I then realized that this is why when I run a second instance of Firestorm, that I had to minimize one of them (or cam out into the void so nothing renders) in order for the viewer that has focus not to bog down it’s frame rates.

When my new video card arrived, it has 4GB of VDDR5 RAM, and I quickly fired up FOUR instance of Firestorm, logged in four ALTs and none of the viewers had any framerate issues (except for when it doesn’t have focus FPS drops, which is meant to do that) but there was no drop in framerate with the viewer that currently was in focus. I could alt-tab to another viewer and no loss in quality. AND i had everything set to ULTRA settings.

So while getting a GTX 980 is overkill for Second Life, getting a video card with 2GB VRAM or more IS advisable if you’re using multiple alts on SL at the same time. So something like a GTX 750 ti which has 2GB of VRAM ($160) would be useful over any old videocard that only has 1GB.

October 31, 2013

Another Firestorm release, another set of frantic users having problems

Filed under: Second Life Shit!, Viewer Gripes — Tags: , , , , , — Hugsie @ 12:23 pm

CLEAN INSTALL FIRESTORM 4.5.1

Like clock work, the moment there’s a new version of firestorm posted, people come into Firestorm Support English (FSE) group and complain about weird happenings and other odd behaviors in the viewer. 90% of all of this craziness is due to NOT doing a proper clean install  of the viewer. There have been HUGE HUGE changes from 4.4.2, to the public beta release of 4.5.1.  User settings, texture cache, and inventory cache will not be compatible, with the newer viewer so you must clear this out. This is why we always recommend a “CLEAN install” when updating to a new viewer that has changed this much.

What is a clean install exactly? It is NOT just running the uninstaller app first, and then running the new installer. You need to dig into your system files and delete where the user data, and cache files are located to be a proper “Clean” install. You may need to un-hide system folders to do so (notably the \appdata folder in windows). This link http://wiki.phoenixviewer.com/fs_clean_reinstall explains how to do a proper clean install of Firestorm viewer.

Please note the new ALPHA x64 viewer doesn’t need a clean install since it installs on a separate path, as well as unique system folders for settings and cache. So assuming you’ve never ran it before, it will already be a clean install. Which probably explains why most ppl using the alpha x64 build are seeing a vast performace increase vs the last version.

BEFORE YOU DO A CLEAN INSTALL.. BACKUP!

Make a backup of settings from Preferences – Backup if you’re still running 4.4.2. Create a backup of your settings, and user login/passwords (they are encrypted alts included) and save it. Make a new folder on your desktop so you can find it easier when it’s time to restore after you’ve done your clean install.

May 19, 2013

Interest List is Sooo complicated.. how?

Have you noticed in the past few months how attachments vanish after you teleport, or objects and structures don’t rez in the area you’ve just teleported too? You have to right click on your attachments or where other objects are missing for them to appear. Many people think this is a bug with the new Firestorm 4.4.0 viewer, but it’s not. This is a SERVER SIDE issue that effects all viewers, including LL’s own viewer. This has been going on for some years now (about 4 years).

The problem lies with in the “Interest List” which is a set of code that is supposed to speed up and prioritize what appears first you you after a teleport. The reason why your attachments seem to vanish is because they actually DO detach the moment you teleport (not sure why, lag reasons?) and then reattach after you arrive, but the “interest list” for whatever reason doesn’t prioritize their appearance to you, and gets lost in the shuffle as to what “should” be rezzed, but they ARE attached.

LL and even the firestorm team claim this is a “complicated” system. But really? How is it that complicated to the point that the way it was BEFORE the “interest list” was implemented was BETTER than having it now?  The basic concept of the “interest list” makes logical sense by drawing objects near you and going outward. But only a committee of coders could fuck up a simple idea like this. HOW is prioritizing objects closest to your avatar to rez that complicated?  Yet every time I teleport I see objects way out in the distance appearing, yet the floor I’m standing on is invisible and my boobs are gone.

All you need to do is:

1) Highest priority to your avatars attachments to rez.

2) Rez objects with in 20m

3) rez object 40m away.. then

4) keep rezzing objects in 20m increments (or 10) until you reach the viewer draw distance.

For fucks sake this “stepping” procedure was used in SCRIPTS by increasing the draw distance over time. This was an old script trick used in EMERALD back in the day. Later it became a built-in function in Phoenix, and it’s STILL present in Firestorm but it’s off by default. You can find it under, Preferences – Firestorm – General – (near the bottom of the list) checkmark “Enable progressive draw distance stepping..” but this won’t fix the bugs with the interest list.

The only thing I can see that makes this complicated is the simulator just sends you object information randomly in a list (probably not a complete list) when you teleport and only rezzes what it sees in this randomized list. Even then it’s distance from you (your avatar) to the object is known, otherwise it won’t know where to draw it in the first place. So what is so damn complicated about prioritizing what should be rezzed first? If it’s too far away, don’t rez it, wait for something else to be downloaded from the simulator that is nearer and rez it if it is. And if all else give avatar attachments PRIORITY!

December 15, 2012

Rest in peace Phoenix Viewer

Filed under: Second Life Shit! — Tags: , , , , — Hugsie @ 4:18 pm

In a recent “Phoenix Office Hour” session with Jessica Lyon, with Lette hosting. Jessica announced the death of Phoenix viewer (play taps) which will be official on December 31st; just before the new year. The viewer will be removed from the main blog site, but you can still download it from the wiki.

In addition Linden Labs will be pulling server-side Independence on viewers (mostly v1 based viewers) that still rely on them. This also includes existing firestorm version released this month. This does not mean that Phoenix Team nor LL will be banning these viewers. They just won’t work properly.

LL plans to roll out a new server-side avatar “baking” system to reduce or eliminate bake fail, so if you’re still using an old viewer that doesn’t support the new bake code, you’ll never see other avatars properly.

On a side note, I found this survey being conducted by the Charles Darwin University. They are doing a study on gamers who play MMOs and their behaviors, feelings, with their avatars. Especially (ahem) if you play the opposite gender than who you are in RL. So have it ago!

 

December 3, 2012

Joystick settings for Firestorm with Xbox 360 controller

With the new Phototools and Camreatools added to Firestorm v4.3.1.31155, I tried once again to get my old wired Xbox 360 controller to actually be USEFUL in second life. When you plug in your Xbox controller, Firestorm (or any SL viewer) basically has no idea what to do with it. After all Second Life is technically a 3D editor put into a MMO game world. Controllers aren’t exactly meant for 3D editing, but they are useful for 3D gaming, so this is how I was able to get it to work like a standard controller as if playing a First, or Third person shooter.

If you have tried to use it in the past you’ll notice your camera or your avatar will move around very unpredictably.  This is because the axis dimensions in game, are mapped to seemingly random axises on your controller. The viewer will only see 5 of your analog axises.  Both analog sticks for a total of four axises, and both analog triggers are seen as a single axis.  Left stick are axises 0 and 1.  Right stick are axises 3 and 4, and the triggers are seen as axis 2. You cannot configure any of the buttons, shoulder bumpers, nor the Dpad.  However the (A) button is set to toggle flycam on and off, so you can switch from avatar movement, to flycam on the.. um.. fly!

Here is how I have my joystick configuration:

gamepadsettings

Pitch scale value set as a positive number (as shown above) will give you the reversed pitch (looking up and down) like a airplane flight stick. So with the right analog stick, moving down on the stick looks up, and up on the stick looks down. To revert this, use a NEGATIVE number, this will flip the direction. I found that my controller had a LOT of drift on axis 4,  so i set al my dead zone settings a bit higher than the default.  Also note that axis 5 doesn’t exist on Xbox controller, but I use it on axis I’m not going to use (roll and zoom).  But you may want to change the analog triggers (axis 2) for “roll” so you can get that airplane barrel roll effect as you cam around. For now the analog triggers are used for up/down motion.  When in avatar mode, you’ll fly up and down instead, holding the left trigger while standing will make you crouch. If you crouch and move the left stick you’ll do a sneak walk animation (depends on your AO). While in avatar movement mode, the left analog stick will make you run if you move the stick all the way, if you move it partially your avatar will walk.

Feathering I find problematic. Basically all this does is make your controls feel  mushy, or slow.  When you start or stop moving the flycam/avatar there’s a kind of delay that can either give a nice dramatic slow camera movement (when slider is to the left), or a wobbly flicker of camera (slider towards the right).  This can get really problematic when in busy regions (large population of avatars, heavy script use, etc) when your FPS drops, your camera can get out of control.  If you’re in avatar mode you may find your self bumping into people and end up in weird locations.  So just be careful in busy regions.

July 29, 2012

OS X Mountain Lion 10.8

Filed under: Mac Stuff, Second Life Shit!, Viewer Gripes — Tags: , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 8:39 am

It was a bit of a chore to get this to install on my Two year old mac. As a long time PC tech/nerd i wanted to do a clean install rather than just update over it. When I went to Lion it didn’t work very well, compared to a clean install of Lion I did later. The InstallESD.dmg file you extract from the package for some reason won’t fit on a standard single layer DVD even though it’s size is only 4,3gb. Every time it tried to burn it off to a DVD in Disk Utility told me my media was too small. I can burn the file it SELF onto a DVD with out issue but only as a data DVD, not a bootable DVD. Every windows app that claims to support .dmg images claims this image is damaged and won’t do anything with it.

So then I opted for a USB 16gb stick install which also resulted in some crazy settings to partition and format the usb stick since it originally set with a MBR and FAT16. Even when properly formatted in Disk Utility, it still said the USB stick didn’t have enough memory or space when it finished writing out the image. I read online that this is a false error and it’s common. I was still able to boot to the USB drive and install Mountain Lion on my mac with no issues after that. 🙂

So with a clean install of Mountain Lion running on my Mac, I started testing Firestorm. OS X 10.8 comes with a dictation function that’s basically a stripped down version of iPhone’s Siri. It simply does speech to text into any text edit field on screen.  So I tried it with firestorm and it just froze firestorm with the pinwheel cursor, but the rest of OS was fine, so I had to force quit FS. On phoenix it works fine with no issues.

July 11, 2012

Clean install your dirty version of Firestorm

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Hugsie @ 11:22 pm

With the release of Firestorm 4.1.1, many users are having issues that have to do with NOT performing a CLEAN INSTALL of the viewer.  A clean install IS NOT just running the uninstaller of the previous version of Firestorm and then running the installer of the new one. The uninstaller only removes the application it self. It doesn’t remove setting files, logs, and caches files. Countless times the support team just tells you to do a clean install to clear out any remnants of this old data that can incur incompatibilities you might have with the new version of Firestorm and cause problems you may be experiencing.

There is no interference with other viewers if you have any installed, including Phoenix viewer. If you want to do a clean install of Phonenix you can do that here. But there’s no need to “clean” those viewers out to perform a clean install of Firestorm. However the Linden viewer can interfere with phoenix, as well as any other viewer (usually v1 based viewers) that uses the \secondlife path under the %user%\AppData\Local folder.  Since Firestorm is the only app that uses the \firestorm path, no other viewer should interfere.

For Windows users (Vista, 7, and 8) after you have uninstalled the old version of Firestorm, next you need to delete two folders that are inside of a system folder that is hidden by defualt in windows explorer (\appdata). If you use Windows XP. or a diffrent OS please read the clean install instructions on the FS Wiki.

But since most everyone is running Vista or newer, the paths are:
C:\users\(user)\appdata\Local\Firestorm
–This is your texture cache folder

C:\users\(user)\appdata\Roaming\Firestorm
–This folder contains your settings, saved login, and chat logs

(user) is the login name on your computer. The following is a simple batch file that will delete these two folders and remove any remnants of of your previous install of Firestorm.  This works with Windows vista, 7, and 8.

Run this only after you have uninstalled firestorm, and have backed up your chat log files, if you care too.

cd %appdata%
cd..
rd Local\Firestorm /s
rd Roaming\Firestorm /s

Cut and paste the above text into a textfile, and save it as a .BAT file and then execute it. Or type out each line in cmd.exe. This will clean out the two folders needed for a clean install of Firestorm.  Be sure to run the uninstaller for Firestorm FIRST, then run this batchfile to delete said folders.  If you have multiple login accounts on your computer, you’ll need to run this batchfile for all your login accounts that use Firestorm.

WARNING: This will delete your logfiles and home and lastlocaton screenshots.  If you want to keep your log files you’ll have to manually go into Roaming\Firestorm and enter the folder of your avatar’s name (first_last) and move all the *.txt files into a diffrent folder.  you can ALTERNATELY rename the Firestorm folder inside Roaming, but DO NOT rename the folder back to what it was after reinstalling Firestorm viewer or it won’t be a clean install.

A simple batchfile to backing up your logs and images. Of course you need to do this before deleting these folders for your clean install of Firestorm.

md c:\first_last
cd %appdata%
cd..
move Roaming\Firestorm\first_last\*.txt C:\first_last
move Roaming\Firestorm\first_last\*.bmp C:\first_last

Be sure to change “first_last” with the user name you login with onto Second Life.

As a side note, Firestorm and also Phoenix do not touch the Windows registry. The only thing it MAY do to the regisrty is register slurl:\\ links to firestorm or phoenix. Otherwise there is nothing you need to do with your registry to perform a clean install of the viewer.

April 11, 2012

Why is Firestorm better than Phoenix?

Filed under: Second Life Shit!, Viewer Gripes — Tags: , , , , — Hugsie @ 10:07 am
  1. Full mesh support w/o a performance it, and system instability.
  2. Multiple clothing layers for the same clothing type
  3. Customizable Flexible User Interface (FUI)
  4. Doesn’t rely on legacy and LAGGY services to function (profiles, search, etc)
  5. A much better Radar and mini-map
  6. Interpolates overlapping transparent textures PROPERLY (doesn’t clip/hide)
  7. HAS A FUTURE!
Viewers based on v1.x have limited life left.  LL doesn’t plan on “banning” older viewers as rumor suggests. However the services they rely on to operate fully will be shut down in the near future. Support for Phoenix is already dwindling because of this. With Firestorm version 4, the user interface no longer resembles the awkward cumbersome cluster-fuck that LL’s Viewer 2 was. Mesh support works better on this, than the “hacked” in support put into Phoenix, which even then only works if your machine isn’t so old that the viewer sets it to “low” graphics settings, since mesh will be turned off if it is. Assuming it runs at all if your CPU doesn’t have SSE2.
I know people are slow to change but it’s time we upgrade. SL may be a 10 year old technology but that doesn’t mean we have to keep using 10 year old computers.  Besides have you TRIED to use a 10 yearold PC on SL lately? …it sucks!  A single core, non-SSE2, 32bit computer with 2GB ram, 128m video card, and windows XP really sucks playing SL now!  And I was using a system like that 10 years ago.  Get with the times folks… or start using a “text viewer.”

March 1, 2012

The legacy of Emerald

Filed under: Gaming!, Second Life Shit!, Viewer Gripes — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 12:06 pm

It’s supprising to see the amount of ignorance that spreads in a virtual world, even years after the fact. Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) is what keeps rumors alive, and feeds the fear-mongers that continue to spread these lies. There’s still many many clueless users in Second Life that belive Phoienix is still like Emerald, created by “hax0rz” to steal passwords, L$, and private information, and all sorts of hysterical bullshit.

Friend of mine recently got “hacked” by a spambot in SL, where all it did was just spam “get 2500L 4 free at,,,,” with a URL from .tk domain. It links to a malicious site that apparently infects your machine with a keylogger; which is how her password was stolen in the first place. Fortunately she didn’t lose anything but she’s convinced that Phoenix is to blame because of it’s legacy, and the FUD that continues to spread from ignorant people since the banning of Emerald about two years ago.

I asked her if she even knew WHY Emerald was banned so many years ago, and her reply was “it’s a hacker program, 300 pepole got thier accounts hacked. bla bla bla” which is basied on pure ignorance, and bullshit from others who blew smoke up her ass about what happend with Emerald.

When Emerald was accussed of DoS attacks, most people got upset (I did) and the rumor machine went total apeshit with more claims about keylogging, hacking accounts, and everything under the sun when it comes to malware.  This is what FUD does; smear the facts and exaggerates everything feeding on your Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt so you’ll buy into the bullshit. The only reason why Emerald was banned was because of a lame attempt at a DoS attack.

What is a DoS attack? Basically getting thousands or millions of different PCs on different IP address to access/request connection to another site all at once.  The result is supposed to overload the host server and “deny” access to anyone else who’s trying to legitimately access that server.

Basically what one of the Dev did was changed the login screen that appears when you launch Emerald viewer, which is just a webpage no code changed on the end user client software it self. The page loaded hidden frames that connected to someone’s blog on the web. Apparently this blog was of another TPV developer, and it was an attempt to jack up the hit count as a prank, and to show how popular Emerald was.  So every time any Emerald user launched Emerald, you were connecting to this blog page with out you knowing it and that blog page useage went up a tick. With Emerald’s huge userbase of Emerald is so HUGE (in the estimated hundreds of thousands) this was SEEN as a DoS attack.  Not that it was intended as a DoS attack, or that it actually took the site offline; since it wasn’t and it didn’t.

Reguardless this is a direct violation of LL’s policies and so LL demanded that two members of the Emerald Dev team would leave Emerald. They refused and so Emerald viewer was banned.  The group reformed WITH OUT those two devs, and formed Phoenix team as we know it today. The actual “DoS” attack amounted to almost nothing other than increased traffic numbers to that site; no denial of service was ever accomplished, even though that was never the goal of this prank.  But pranks often never go as planned.  …shit happens.

These facts doesn’t stop the fear and rumor mongering DRAMA that always comes about anytime something like this occurs (anything LL does always causes over exaggerated drama). Because of this people’s imaginations went wild and made assumptions that Emerald was an app made by hackers, and since all hackers are apparently evil; you’re at risk. <sigh!>

Even YEARS after Emerald has been all but forgotten, and Phoenix has become the dominant viewer next to Viewer 2/3 people STILL belive in the fear-mongering bullshit that was the legacy of Emerald.  Yes sure some of the Devs of Emerald/Pheoenix were known to create copybots clients, known grifers, and all that other crap. But that lead to a LOT of special features in viewers that we all enjoy in OTHER viewers.  Keep in mind folks.  Second Life client software (viewers) are open source.  Everything Phoenix has made is also open source and a lot of other 3rd party viewer dev teams adopt many of their code and vice versa.  If their was EVER anything malicious about their code, it would have been spotted a long time ago. Because it’s open source it’s EXTREMELY important that if you should ALWAYS download Phoenix or firestorm directly from www.phoenixviewer.com since anybody else can re-compile their own viewer with malware, and call it Phoenix.

This hyperbole from the fall of Emerald needs to end. It’s been over two years for Christ’s sake.  I thought it WAS over back then but people still keep clutching to bullshit like this due to fear, ignorance, and hate.  Even if this claim that 300 users were “hacked” for using Emerald (or phoenix) out of the 200,000+ phoenix and firestorm users (guesstimate since LL doesn’t share usage numbers publicly) who use it EVERY DAY seem VERY minor and meaningless if only 300 users were effected.  Unless all those 300 users were specifically targeting content creators, land barrons, and residents who had al ot of L$, then that cause alarm. Likely these 300 people are ignorant noobs clicking ads from spambots promising free L$.

February 25, 2012

New 3rd Party Viewer policies

LL annouced just before the weekend, about some additional requirements for 3rd party viewers. My inital reaction was “oh shit what did they fuck up this time?” but after reading it, it dosen’t seem like that big of a deal. On the other hand these new policies could slow down advancements in viewers if ALL viewer devs as well as LL has to collaborate on changes and advancements. and we know how fast LL is to change and advancement.

The first thing they laid out will basically break viewer ID tags. No big deal for me since I turn this off since it clutters nametags far to much. This also means that the phoenix team won’t have to bother implementing viewer tags into the Radar list which phoenix already has.

My theory on this change makes sense to me. LL made a shitty viewer, and anyone seen using Viewer 2 is often ridiculed and made fun of. They are targets for bullies, and it’s a sign of “noob” when you see users run around using viewer 2.

The other change is about online status. This largely moot since the lag is so bad at times that you can’t really tell if someone is really online or not. How many times have you seen a friend online for hours on end, and you IM them for it to pop up saying they are offline? I mean, so what? online status is flakey as it is so this policy change isn’t a big deal.

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