Black Dragon 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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.3.9 "Exploding Dragon"

Happy New Year everyone.

I hope you got a better start into 2019 than i did.

2018 was a trainwreck and the last week just now was equivalent of a nuclear chainreaction. Everything went haywire, one catastrophic event followed the next. To some degree this feels like 2011-2012 all over again, an emotional rollercoaster full of shit and even bigger shit.

I don't feel like writing much about this update, its just some bugfixes, some tidying up the UI and slight improvements here and there. If you find anything, report it as usual.

by Beev Fallen

I'm signing off for a while.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.3.8 "Traveling Dragon"

Another week, another update.

This time with much less rage inducing changes.

Again as promised, UI QoL changes, fixes and reworks, mainly the World Map has been overhauled and should now look much cleaner and fit the new style much better.

Here's the old one:

And the new one:

Also the Advanced Complexity window has gotten some additional bugfixing and finetuning, no more scrolling vertical then horizontal and resizing the window should now properly work and not break the layout. The media column is now visible too and broken values should be fixed and display properly now wohooo!

I was aware of the SLPlugin.exe issue, here's hope this doesn't happen again, sorry about that.

Merry Christmas everyone!

By Spiritus

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.3.7 "Notifying Dragon"

This was a super annoying and painful update to do.

I knew i was going to have to touch the Appearance window at some point and i knew why i didn't want to the past years. It's a horrible mess, it's a clusterfuck of shit and its archaic code makes no sense to me whatsoever. I wasted a good 95% of the time trying to get a single thing to work and that just because i'm taking consistency really serious.

Those who are on my Discord chat probably have noticed my semi-mental-breakdown on the topic of reworking the Appearance window and its disgustingly shit design, what's worse... i had to abort doing what i was trying to do and settle for the lesser evil one that i'm not willing to keep permanently. Again those who followed the Discord chat know what i'm talking about and what i've done.

To TL:DR what was said appearance is a clusterfuck and its horrible giving it a consistent look with the rest of the UI is basically nearly impossible and the biggest offender of them all is this unacceptable double-button-row at the bottom.

Ignore the fact it is not going all the way to the right and concentrate on the pure SHIT-ness that is the usage of a bottom button row TWICE right above each other. I've redesigned all other panels to NOT do this. The bottom of a section is supposed to be filled with a bottom button row, this goes for the main panel as well but there should never ever be two of them right above each other. My problem is that i cannot fix this everything i do either makes the UI un-intuitive or simply is a strange workflow, one idea was putting the "Editing/Add More" section at the top but that's just weird, why would you put a "add more" section at the top of a "Editing" panel where you come in to edit the currently worn outfit by changing or editing the already existing clothes/bodyparts... adding more is editing too but its more an "additional" feature than the main one so it's obviously not an option at all. The other idea was putting the controls in the very bottom which again wouldn't work, not only because the second row of options only appears when the add more section is opened but also because these controls are not "main controls" for the entire panel which would play into inconsistency.
Another one is keeping as it is (for now) and just fill the entire bottom row. That's what i settled for... for now. It's a mess and i hate working in Appearance because of this, it forces unconventional solutions that don't need to be used anywhere else, increasing inconsistency and spitting on my carefully constructed everything. I hope you burn in hell Appearance window.

This is not even starting on the topic of the actual contents, the clothing/bodypart entries, i wanted to make the appearing buttons consistent and nice but no, the code doesn't let me, everything in its code is old, doesn't make any sense is just utterly and stupidly wasting space, besides nothing working as i want it to. 3 days later and i've gotten 0 progress so i trashed it and kept it as it is and did as much as i could without touching the code. It's better now but i'm still extremely unhappy with it. Needless to say that one day i'll have to look at it again and go with the sledgehammer approach.

And if you think that's just a whole lot of noise for nothing, you haven't seen (or heard) my autistic screeching when i saw this:

This made my heart drop down right out of my ass. ONE PIXEL INCONSISTENCIES. The bane of my existence.

But Niran it's just a single pixel, no one even notices. I DO. It drives me nuts. I put so much fucking effort into doing this PERFECT. Two pixel from top, right and bottom with scrollbars (yes i know about the scrollbars in accordions, they don't... i can't fix it), one pixel space between buttons, one pixel space between bottom and buttons, one pixel space between checkboxes and so on... you get the idea. This is stuff i look for a lot and this is what takes up most of the time when i design the UI, besides thinking of a good layout and making everything work.

If you truly think i put way too little time into my UI, if you think my UI is overly complex, bad or un-intuitive you truly have no idea how much time i invest in making this UI the way it is, how many different options i go through, how many layouts i consider how many cases i have to work with to get the UI where it is, i don't just go in, toss all the buttons on the wall and call it a day because they stick. There's a huge difference between a good, intuitive, thought-out UI and a simple, barely functional "it-just-works" UI.

People often compare my UI to Firestorm and immediately say that Firestorm's UI is so much better and intuitive and not at all complex without realizing you are tossing the worst insult someone could possibly come up with around as if it was nothing.

I'm sure when i say that i can take ANY panel, any window of Firestorm that also exists in my Viewer and compare them both and i'll find you a million things you didn't even knew where there...and bad. Want an example of the oh-so-godly, flawless UI design of Firestorm?

1. What is with the "Nothing selected" tag, the one that shows some impact and selection info, why is it centered? It will clip into the tabs below unless it is centered vertically which then poses the question WHY?
2. Why is "Physics Shape Type" so awfully misplaced, why is it not on the same height as the "Flexible Path" checkbox?
3. Why is the "Physics Material" dropdown below it a different length for no reason?
4. Why is the Bounciness so awkwardly spaced from the rest?
5. Why are the light and light texture pickers different sizes? Why are they so small? Why do they waste so much space?
6. Why are the first three bottom spinners spaced differently than those above? Only one pixel rather than 2 like above?
7. Why are the second three bottom spinners on the right awkwardly offset from the left ones? And why are they longer than all the others?
8. Why is there so much space wasted at the bottom?
9. Why are the spaces between those buttons above the nothing selected info line different, the dropdown has more space in between than the rest? Why are the next/prev buttons so close to each other? They could be spaced out a bit more so the dropdown could be spaced less and extend all the way to fit perfectly to the end of the line below just like the next/prev buttons do on the left.
10. Why is the Edit Linked checkbox not on the right where the other checkboxes are?

This is just one tab out of a single window, one that many of you use every day. It's just one example of many thousands i could make.

Is this truly a better UI? Do you think that's more "thought" put into the UI? This is nothing! That's just the tools window, i haven't even started on the main UI... the preferences window, anything. You come here and tell me my UI is shit, looks like crap and is un-intuitive and complex and in the same breath you continue with "Firestorm did it better" when all they did was nothing but squeezing it in there somewhere. Their UI is an insult to my eyes (and i've told them several times that they could spend some quality time on improving it) but that's not what pisses me off, it's people who have the balls to tell me that i do a shit job at making UI's because they are used to a vastly inferior UI that has neither gotten the love and care it deserves nor has it had someone sitting there for hours on end trying to get it perfect, not just working or just right but perfect. Their UI makes me vomit and it pains me to see that they managed to downgrade an already only marginally decent UI that is basically the aftermath of a nuclear fallout seeing how much everything is wasting space with empty (probably blown up) space.

You think i'm crazy? Yes, i'm crazy wasting so much time and effort on trying to deliver a consistent looking, decent UI that doesn't horribly break apart if you look funny at it. It's funny how some people seemingly don't see how much time is spent on just thinking about the UI and trying different approaches, all of which get thrown out because they look shit, they feel shit, they are broken or they are un-intuitive. When something is un-intuitive report it and give some feedback for a better workflow. Some things simply can't be done without changing a whole lot. Sometimes things as small as changing the arrangement of a few buttons in an appearance window will involve rewriting everything from the ground up if you want it done right and not just working.

Sometimes things don't work, don't think i haven't tried. Single-click selection in the poser avatar list didn't work for some reason, now it does. Sometimes things don't work out as planned and i have to do what is called "damage control" aka salvaging what can be salvaged from the wrecks of a burning pile of scrap.

I hope this gave you an idea with what kind of shit i'm dealing with in the UI and gave you a glimpse of the inner workings when i work on the UI and what i have to do to do what i want to do. UI design isn't easy.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.3.6 "Notifying Dragon"

First week update.

Woohoo. It's not much, again mostly just QoL a few bugfixes and the like but i wanted to give it out a bit sooner due to the Poser bug.

So, this update contains a fix for a nasty bug that broke poses on load, they should once again work properly (and better than before too).

Next are several tiny QoL changes, such as reducing the double-click to a single-click in both camera window (to select a preset) as well as in advanced complexity floater to show the ARC values of a selected avatar. Yay for saving a single click per action!

The [Invert] buttons in the joystick window will now properly refresh the values and as such will now actually work without having to hit enter in the text editor after clicking the invert button. Horray for keyboard hits saved.

Pie menu looked a bit "eaten" now its a full pie again. Yummy!

And finally as mentioned last month this update's main reason, the ongoing UI improvement marathon. Today: "Picks". Everything "Picks" related has been looked into and revamped if necessary. This includes "Picks", "Edit Pick", "Edit Classified" and everything around them.

In comparison, the original edit classified on the left and the already finished edit picks on the right.

And here we see the finished version of both. Looks much more organized and clean now doesn't it?

Phew, yea. A few tiny fixes and changes in the Poser that should hopefully prevent future incidents with 0.0 interpolation times and that's pretty much it for this update.

More will be coming!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.3.5 "Notifying Dragon"

Phew this took a bit longer, stuff kept breaking.

preeeeetty much.

Anyway, to make it up this update comes with some big changes, at least in code they are.

First and foremost, to improve the user experience and help the user get an idea what's going on and which options they should touch with care i've built on top of the already present warning system and added notifications to some options. Notifications that will trigger when you enable certain options or set some others too high.

An example of changing the UI Size:

An example of setting shadow resolution too high:

An example of enabling your beloved Pie Menu:

As you can see they have a clear layout and immediately draw your attention (literally because they are taking focus). They will nicely inform you of your possible wrongdoings and give you some information as to why, some of them are mutable some of them are not, checkbox options and UI size are not because it is imperative to remind the user that these are EVIL options... and because you're most likely only ever gonna see them once or twice anyway.

I'm sure they'll be helpful in the future. This feature alone probably took half the time... because it kept breaking randomly.

Next up, something i've had on my ToDo list: Custom Camera Presets!

Have you ever wanted to simply make a new one rather than editing the already present ones? Do you want to not only create one... or two... but 200? Well now you can! You can create and edit as many as the Viewer can possibly load into a list before crashing, so a lot!

This feature comes prepacked with all the old presets as well as a new front preset some asked for, it also revamps the camera window slightly and shrinks down the Camera preferences tab a lot and condenses all the many preset slider pairs into just one used to edit the currently selected one. You'll find buttons to create a new one, delete the selected one and reset the selected one as well as a dropdown menu to select which one you want, selecting one will also automatically switch to that preset so you can immediately start editing it and see the changes live! So much Quality-of-Life. (All of it pretty much sucked up 90% of the time spending on this, besides fixing).

Note that this is a highly experimental feature though, i've spent a great deal fixing everything i could find and making it as easy to use as possible while retaining as much of the old look as possible. If you find any bugs with it, report them ASAP. We're talking about the camera here, it's critical and needs immediate fixing, don't come to me 3 years after that something is not right about it!

Next up, complexity or ARC. I further "refined" it. Media surfaces will now weight ten times more than before to get them on the complexity value where they roughly should, 10k for such a huge impact was way too little. Projectors have gotten a 4 times increase too, from 4k to 16k. Lastly texture memory has been updated and raised a lot, texture memory sucking avatars behold, you'll now be spammed back with complexity points! As a rule of thumb 1MB texture memory equals to 1k complexity. A 512x texture is ~1k, 1024x texture is 4k, not counting alpha channels. I've raised the default complexity limit to 250k to compensate for this.

Apart from these 3 big changes i've spend some time improving the details and workflow of some parts of the UI, keybinding now allows you to set the action when binding rather than having to select one before trying to add a new bind, this should make it easier to understand what the Viewer wants.

Poser lists have been made unsortable so you don't accidentally break things, the poser has gotten a few fixes too and the windlight editor now allows adding infinite cloud noise textures, it will refresh and show the new ones whenever you reopen the sky editor, just copy them into the correct folder and reopen the window.

Machinima sidebar has gotten the missing Global Light Strength option, log spamming has been reduced by a lot and lots and lots of commenting and cleanup in my code.

Last but not least, several new Patreon Patrons have been added and once again many thanks to everyone who helped so far and continues to help!

By TheScoutExe
By TheScoutExe

Friday, November 16, 2018

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.3.4 "Animating Dragon"

Yea an update!

The update focuses on bugfixing and improving the UI mostly.

The snapshot floater, windlight editor, group profiles, places profile and the conversations window had some fixes, layout changes and improvements. Most noticeably will be the group profile window though, it's a slow, work-in-progress project of mine to go through all main windows and apply the preferences window design to it, overall bringing some more consistency into everything, grouping things nicer and generally cleaning up old stuff. Two examples how this looks like (old vs new)

The poser has had a nasty crash fixed when working with animesh not on the same SIM as you (why would you do that?) and shadows on certain rigged, alpha masked objects were fixed (once again)

It's overall a somewhat small update, it's really just some fixing and finetuning the rough UI edges, not to mention i'm slowly getting burned out again so i'm trying to get some downtime for next month when i plan to do a christmas update marathon, an update every week where i try to smack as many ugly UI windows as possible and rework them... this is going to be fun and a lot of annoying work... especially "Appearance". Maybe we'll finally see some "About Land" window updates... "maybe" because LL is planning to add a lot more stuff to it so i'd want to stay away from it until that is done.... same goes for windlight with EEP in the coming.

Also, something i totally forgot last time was the pie menu, i changed a bit of stuff in the code and cleaned it up a bit in an attempt to fix the random right-click crash that has been plaguing my pie menus for 6 years now. Since i don't experience this crash (but apparently everyone else) all i can do is ask whether it is better now (or even fixed) or still crashing on right click. Please do tell.

Another thing is the blog and download procedure you're going through, i'll be cleaning it up over the coming weeks/months, i've done a first pass at removing all old blog posts from the download page and only linking to new and really important ones that are often asked about, i will want to write more guides in the future but they take time and might be outdated the moment i write them essentially wasting my time over and over again.

Lastly there was the AVX2 experiment which... sadly didn't work out, testers reported that it broke hilariously, rotating objects randomly around their axis... it was a funny mess but sadly unusable but hey the performance was definitely better haha!...

By Spiritus

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.3.3 "Animating Dragon"

Ugh what a downtime.

Originally this was meant to be a small quickfix update but... you know... things happen and boom there's new stuff.

So with this update i bring the ability to pose-animate multiple avatars at the same time, again only yourself and animesh. YOU CANNOT POSE OR ANIMATE OTHERS, THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN (Thanks to LL).

Of course you want to see this in action, here goes!

Awesome isn't it?

Well... that's actually pretty much it. Latest animesh code was merged (look out for any performance decreases, i'll do some performance tests soon to see whether the new code satisfies my strict performance rules). The rest is just small scale cleanup and fixes, nothing fancy.

That's pretty much it with Viewer stuff.

I'm also most likely going to add an AVX2 version for the very first time, when i find some time compiling it along with a non-AVX version and AVX version. I'll also write some additional stuff down on the download page about the recent Windows 10 problems with starting the Viewer and which version to take when.

Once again many thanks for the continued support via Patreon!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.3.2 "Animating Dragon"

Another update, another crash.

Crashes are the name of the game here, you wanted crashy? you get crashy, crashes for you, crashes for him, crashes for her too! Crash this, crash that, crash everything!

Obviously i fixed a lot of things that should have been crashing, starting with the login button, don't ask me why it didn't crash but now it will certainly do, 11/10 tries will end up in a crash, thank me later.



What do you mean it isn't the 1st of april yet?

...oh... Oh...

Whoopsie. I was under the impression that it's aprils fools, i guess i was wrong... well then back to the boring normal updates.

Lets see... some UI improvements, including but not limited to the ability to sort "Nearby" by recent arrival, the pesky "Too Many Groups" notification annoying the heck out of you when clicking the menus in "People" is gone, the ability to permanently ignore (and restore) the "Do you really want to delete this?" notification and several smaller skin improvements and fixes.

Most importantly however is the new ability to pose animesh. As previously promised, here it is, you can now pose animesh! All you have to do is open the Poser, select who you want to pose (this includes you) and start posing like usual. Saving and loading poses to and from them works as well, heck you can even animate them! Now you can multi-pose, pose yourself to fit your new poseable animesh friends!

HAH! How do you like that animesh!

Not so funny now when I'M IN CONTROL.

There were also a few... issues regarding the "Auto Accept Inventory" and "Show Offered Inventory" options, they... didn't quite do what you'd expect them to so i dug into their code and found out what they actually do, updating their description to properly reflect their actual function as well as adding a new option that is responsible for opening your Inventory and highlighting new inventory items in your Inventory when you receive them, all three options have been added/moved to the "Interface" tab where they belong.

I also fixed a particulary evil crash when loading poses with scaling or attachment bone/collision volume information . Whew, good thing that's over!

The rest is really just internal improvements, cleanup and small scale fixes. Have fun! I'll also be pushing to get a new updated non-AVX version up ASAP!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.3.1 "Animating Dragon"

Ahhh, after some good productive development there's finally another update.

Not only does this update rework the poser a lot, finally adding bone scaling to all bones, it also adds support for collision volumes and attachment bones! Wow. As always, if you find bugs report them to me.

I've also spent some time to add a feature to copy your shape to animesh objects as well as move your selected attachments to the targeted animesh object via the Animation Controls. This will allow you to do things like this:

But be warned though, moving attachments will prime the Viewer for a crash. Make sure you wear everything you want to send over first before attempting this, altering your outfit in any way will cause a crash, a logout might also cause a crash as well... just like a teleport... this is HIGHLY EXPERIMENTAL, use with care.

Besides all this posing nonsense i've also tracked down the cause for the huge performance decrease with avatars around, i think i don't need to mention that i fixed it and framerates should once again be as they were before. Boy this stuff dropped me from 30 to 1-4 FPS...

Reset skeleton has also been fixed, hooray and the Viewer has been once again updated to the very latest code from LL. Have fun.

By Spiritus

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.3.0 "Animating Dragon"

The age of animesh has come.

I was bored and didn't know what to do a friend asked me about helping him to merge animesh into Firestorm and get it up and running so when he was done with that i thought i could start doing it too, i mean why not. It's a RC now and should hit live this or next week.

So here we are. Animesh fully supported now in Black Dragon as you can see below.

Expect me to make some music videos with this at some point.

I didn't just implement animesh however, i did the usual bugfixing and improvements too, namely the Animation Control window and the Advanced Complexity Information window both support animated meshes. Yes you can stop, freeze, slow-down, speed-up and copy and paste animations from and onto them. Since they are just objects i see no reason LL would not allow me to allow you to do whatever the heck you want with them. The poser however does not support animated mesh YET. This is the next thing i'm going to work on in addition to some nice extra features for animated mesh, such as copying your shape and attachments to them. Animated mesh as it is right now does not support neither, they won't have attachments and their shape cannot be changed, i plan on changing that. (Really LL? you didn't think of adding a "copy your shape item in the animesh object and have it applied" feature? This is a total no-brainer) If attachments work anything like i imagine them to work and if what i plan to do works you'll be able to copy both your shape and attachments onto them, this is only locally (as you'd expect) and is mainly to allow me to make my music videos as planned... with myself. HAHA.

Complexity was changed a bit with the introduction of animesh but don't worry, as always i don't give a flying fuck about it and changed it to match the complexity calculations as before with the exception that animesh is now included and does reduce the complexity value by 5% since an animesh avatar is not a full avatar and thus shouldn't be treated as such with a minor complexity discount, not that it matters really, all animesh objects cannot be shitty meshes anyway, they must be somewhat low poly and if you're going to wear it you'll have lots of high complexity pieces which will do the rest anyway regardless of what the animesh object does.

Also in order to do something for better FPS i went ahead and refactored large parts of the joystick idle/working calculations and eliminated all settings lookups, this is a massive improvement and essentially means no more FPS drops while having any kind of joystick plugged in and "enabled". This should make using them a bit smoother and generally squeeze out a few more FPS (depending on how much you already got) for those sweet 60 FPS you want while recording your videos.

I'm sure you'll appreciate the changes. From what i could test it netted me roughly 20 FPS when 100 where the base framerate and while using it (as shown above) i didn't notice any unusual or permanent framerate hits. As always if you find anything not working do tell me so i can get it fixed ASAP.

Besides above mentioned things there were a few tiny changes, left clicking on objects while the About Land window is open should no longer deselect land but rather now select parcels properly (yay) and the rest is mostly just merge-caused issues that were resolved.

Also thanks again for all your continued support, Patrons and non-Patrons alike. Without you i hardly wouldn't feel the need to push further.

As always a picture from me and a few from others from Discord.

By Liaranne

By 털덩이

By macronomicus