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, October 31, 2017

Patreon is now live but...

I'd like to take this last chance to clear some more things up.

First and foremost. Payment. Since i choose monthly payment you might want to know when these actually happen, i don't want to get you into financial trouble so listen carefully: Every month starting on the 1st of that month and ending on the 5th of that month Patreon will start collecting the payments of the previous month meaning tomorrow from 1st to 5th Patreon will collect payments from any Patron for October. That means you should make sure that in this specific timeframe you actually possess the the money you want to pay out. Not sure how much of a hassle it is for you but i imagine the first 5 days of a month not exactly being the best time for everyone.

I said i wouldn't be using goals but i added a simple one with the lowest payment possible so anyone paying anything will get it. It's really simple, you'll get your name added into the Viewer "Special Thanks" tab in the About Viewer window, note though i'll be using the Patreon name since that is the only name i can see (i think)... but you can always tell if your name differs.

Some of you might also be interested in knowing what will happen with any additional money that wont go straight into paying the bills. They'll be put aside and saved of course so i got 2-3 months at the very least saved up just in case.

I'd also like to thank everyone again for the great support. Have a nice picture!

Oh damn that's 2 pictures. Well have a little teaser of the UI changes coming as little sorry.

You can find the Patreon page on the right side, i'd recommend holding off until the 5th unless you are really eager to support right away and get charged in the next 5-6 days.

Monday, October 23, 2017

I'll be going to Patreon.

TL:DR Nothing will change for you, don't worry. Read on.

Hello, i'm Niran.

You know me as the creator and developer of Black Dragon, the Viewer you might be using as of right now. I've been developing this Viewer for 6 years now, alone, keeping this project up on my own behalf. I don't get any money for doing this nor did i ever want to as i believe that this is what makes a hobby a.. well hobby, it's something you dump your money into to have fun, to do whatever you enjoy (not that there is much money to dump into the Viewer ). This has worked for 6 years, sort of. I had to start using my savings 4 years ago to keep going and as of recently i started fearing that i might run out of money finally, the reason i fear that day is because it is the day i'll have to drop the development of this Viewer in favor of getting a real job, but Niran wait, you can still develop the Viewer right? ... Sadly no. Developing anything that is worth showing at the moment takes quite some time (sometimes days, weeks of straight writing, compiling, testing, rinse and repeat), time i won't have anymore if i get a job, given that i'll be working 9-10 hours every day minimum and i'm a very sleepy person, i need at least 10 hours sleep a day, leaving me with roughly 4-5 hours a day do anything, including eating, drinking and everything that is needed to sustain one's life... and then there is the thing with games, i'm a gamer, i play a lot of games, with friends and family too, doing so takes priority over developing the Viewer, leaving me with next to no time to work on the Viewer, not even on weekends.

*sighs* I knew this day would come...

I was always a strong believer that free content should be free which has played a big role both in the development of the Viewer itself and everything around it. One of these things is the fact that i never had a "Donate" button anywhere because it would feel to me like i owe the donor something, sounds stupid i know, but that's how i think. Rarely people have been donating me L$ in world in varying amounts which of course is the worst approach to this, both for you and me, converting to/from L$ you lose some money and L$ don't help me sustain the development of the Viewer at all. So... to get this situation under control i have 2 options. I choose to continue developing the Viewer with the help of Patreon until i run out of money, eventually after which option B would take effect and i'll have to get a job and drop the development of the Viewer.

I wouldn't be considering this if it wasn't absolutely necessary, it wasn't for 6 years. Now it is and i hate it but it's the only way to continue on that i can think of that offers the fairness i want. You see, fairness is a big part why i chose Patreon instead of Kickstarter for example.

So what is Patreon and what is the difference between Kickstarter and Patreon? Patreon is a platform for content creators that tries to offer a solution for said content creators's problem of not being paid for their work to continue working on it. Do you draw really awesome paintings of people or do you make really well thought out videos, reviews or even a game? Patreon is for you. Kickstarter, as the name implies is a platform to collect some starting capital to "kickstart" your project, such as when you want to start developing a game but you need some money to get everything going to a point that you can release it into Early Access to get more money to fund the rest of the development. Obviously this is not going to work for developing a Viewer for Second Life, at least not very well, it is the reason i believe why Kirsten failed long ago. He tried collecting 25.000$ in a short amount of time to fully offset a well paid job for one year. This is obviously not my intention, again i don't want to get paid for developing the Viewer, my personal goal is getting as much as i need to continue working on the Viewer... which... you'll laugh is a measly ~40€ every month to pay my internet because that is obviously the main thing i need to continue developing the Viewer. I hear laughter in the distance. "Niran you're doing this for measly 40€ a month?" you'll ask. Yes. Again i want to continue developing the Viewer, not make a million and 40€ are enough do to so currently, barring food and water.

So how does Patreon actually work or more specifically how will it work for you? It's really easy. I'll to utilize the monthly payment variant rather than the per-content. Why? Monthly payment allows you as the users continue using the Viewer for free, just like you did previously, nothing will change for you but now you got the option to "donate" me on a monthly basis. You can set any amount you want to pay each month, you can start and stop whenever you want. Payments are done at the end of the month/start of the next month allowing you the flexibility of choosing whenever you want to pay as much as you want if you deem it worth. For instance, if i started slacking for a month you can simply just stop paying without any repercussions for you. Great.

Let's talk benefits. Patreon offers me to set "Goals" per user or per milestone. It hurts to say but i'll not be utilizing them, at all. Again fairness. I don't want anyone to be treated differently because they pay money. Everyone gets the same, everyone can get early builds if they ask, everyone gets support if they need it. Everyone gets everything at all times. You pay solely on your own decision whether it is worth it to YOU, nothing else. Again nothing will change, for anyone, whether they are willing to pay or not.

In theory it's very easy. My Viewer has roughly 2000 active users, up to 4000 if you count part time users. If only 50 of these people deem my work worth enough to pay at least 1$ every month (roughly 40€), i'd be totally set for a while. Sounds easy enough right? Funny sidenote: If all of those 4000 users paid 1 cent every month that would be 40$.

So when and where does it happen? Starting next month i'll make the Patreon page public, i hope to get everything set up until then. I'll post the link here and possibly put it into the sidebar too for anyone interested in supporting me. We'll see how it goes. I hope for the best so i can continue making awesome stuff for everyone to enjoy.

I'd also like to use this moment before i head off to thank everyone who donated in the past regardless of how much it was as well as everyone who thanked me for my Viewer whether it was on the blog, forum, IM or anywhere else. Thanks everyone.

Also a little teaser... the next update you'll be able to preview .anim files directly inworld on your Avatar without having to upload them. I'm currently working on the exporter to allow exporting the poses/animations you create as .anim file. I can't promise though if it ever gets done, it's a very complex thing and will need a lot of testing. Also...



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Black Dragon 64x - Release Candidate 2 "Bit Dragon"


Fixed a crash when opening the group tab in the people window.

Whoopsidoodles. I swear this always happens on cleanups.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Black Dragon 64x - Release Candidate "Bit Dragon"

Quick bugfix update

A long standing issue with the top toolbar not letting clicks through onto HUDs below them has been resolved, finally!

Also info on the ease in and ease out duration of animations has been added to the Pose/Animation Manipulator window.

The missing ban button in the group roles panel has been added and hopefully AMD cards fighting the auto-scaling memory limits should be resolved now too.

Updates weeeeeeeeeeeeeeh!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Black Dragon 64x - Beta 3 "Bit Dragon"

Usability update #3.
The last one for now.

The biggest pile of changes was writing all the tool tips for the remaining tabs, they have all been tipped with a tool if you know what i mean. This includes the panels 'Notifications', 'Controls', 'General', 'Privacy', 'Sound & Media', 'Keybindings', 'Viewer', 'Chat', 'Browser' and 'RLVa' with RLVa being the worst out of them all, i'm hardly a RLVa user and i don't know what most of these options do, i tried my best explaining what i could get from the already existing tooltips and debug descriptions but don't count on them being 100% accurate. Other tabs have gotten some improvements too, namely 'Display' tab's tooltips have been improved even further.

I overhauled the 'Animation' (Animator) tab in the Animation Controls window (which is now called 'Pose/Animation Manipulator') in an attempt to speed up animation creation and make it easier to make changes to it.

I fixed the Poser being overwritten by these pesky AnyPose posestands and moved the entire window from the 'World' menu to the 'My Useful Features' menu.

As said in the last post, i was unhappy with the 'Derender' option so i moved it out of the 'Render Avatar' menu and into the main menu to the rest of the avatar specific actions.

I disabled the pesky 'Launch the BD_Launcher instead' notification for now until we actually have a working launcher.

Controls on some vehicles that utilize Shift + Left/Right should now also work, i also added the Move Left/Right option to the sitting menu in case you want to rebind them.

This is pretty much it for now. 3 Updates focused solely on improving the interface and usability, it was a lot of work and there is still much more to do but this should at least improve on the worst parts. Also... no pictures... why the fuck are there no pictures in this post... i have to fix this.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Black Dragon 64x - Beta 2 "Bit Dragon"

Usability update #2

This one has quite some changes in it.

I continued adding and improving all tooltips in preferences like i did with the display tab, so far 'Interface', 'Camera' and 'IM & Groupchat' have had their tooltips created and/or updated, additionally i updated the tooltips in the onscreen movement controls window, it shows you the default buttons in green now too.

The second big thing that i spend the last 3 days working on is the avatar right click menus. Menus, plural. I changed the people menu, inworld avatar menu, inworld attachment menu, IM tab menu, speaker list menu, group memberlist menu, SLURL menu and chat title menu. Every menu that has remotely something to do with someone else or their avatar has been changed, reorganized and filled with additional options.

I think you'll quickly see that they all now have a consistent layout across all of them. The only thing i'm not yet fully happy with is the derender option being in the Avatar Render menu but then again you're most likely rarely if ever going to derender full avatars en mass, but i'm open for feedback on that one.

Most of these menus have been filled with missing options such as remove friend, block text and mute voice (you can do it inworld now finally!), report option where possible, reset skeleton options (yes you can select multiple people on the People-Nearby tab and mass reset skeleton now), view chat history option all over the place and much more. I'm sure some of you will cry in agony seeing that i touched the right click menus but don't worry, you'll get used to it very quickly and its SO GODDAMN MUCH BETTER.

Then theres preferences again, i added a few missing default buttons, changed the default buttons to clearly indicate which options they change and fixed some alignments too. Should be much easier to understand now.

While we're still in preferences again, the Sound & Media tab was changed too so it fits the general layout of all other panels... for consistency you know. Also you can now enter values directly and of course see them too, should again improve readability and make it easier to understand what is going on.

The rest is just minor cleanup, fixes, layout tweaks and translation stuff, nothing you won't notice unless your OCD triggers when something has a single pixel more offset than the previous option.

There will be a third usability update which will add tooltips to the remaining preferences tabs that have yet to receive them, there might also be a few more right click menu tweaks and some more tooltip tweaks to display tab tooltips. We'll see, only time will tell what evil-ish things i can come up with.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Black Dragon 64x - Beta "Bit Dragon"

The usability update #1.

I always complained about how time consuming it is to write tooltips and keep good information presented to the user if they chose to. Well today i'm gonna release the first update whose goal it is to improve on usability and documentation.

This updates includes a unholy amount of tooltips for every single option in the preferences display tab. Every single tooltip has been rewritten or altered massively to have a new somewhat consistent design across all options. Tooltips will now display you a rough estimate of how they impact graphics and performance and what they actually mean, for instance, what does Object Quality 'Normal' mean? Well now it will show you that it is a value of 2.0. If that wasn't enough, quite a few options will give additional hints on their usage and other misc stuff they might happen to change or be changed with but most importantly all options now have decent explanations as to what the option really does. No more guessing (unless you're counting the tone mapping options, they are still vague since i'd have to explain the weights and how each slider interacts in the calculations, which i don't know without looking into them nor would help you in any way). I've spend roughly 6 hours on a rough pass through all of them and another 4 hours doing some iterations. I'm not done yet but this is huge progress and i'd like to get it into the public as quick as possible to get some feedback on it before i continue building on it, since this is one of the very few things that i'm actually doing for YOU rather than me. You're welcome.

Other than tooltips there have been some other changes such as the "Report" option missing from certain often used menus such as conversation tabs or the people window, it should now be there and usable, should make it a lot easier to report people if the need ever arises.

Also zoom limits have been removed. You can now Alt-Zoom out up to 9999m. Click to Walk will no longer break the normal camera behavior, click to walk is just an extension now and allows....you to click somewhere to walk there... rather than breaking the entirety of the camera and how it behaves.

Also i figured out why the agent recorder breaks sometimes, it writes the pilot files into the Viewer folder which almost no one of you probably has write-access to. I moved the pilot files to the user_settings folder in AppData, this also means that the camera recording now reliably works for me too. Great. I'll redo it in the future into a full featured recorder studio where you can list and edit every position, add and remove them and possibly do more. Looking forward to this.

The most important fix in this update is probably the "Current Outfit" tab finally working again. I figured it out... only took me a few months. As always it was something really stupid and small...

While i found some great deal of additional information on why changing the UI size is bisbehaving i sadly haven't found a fix yet other than you resizing the window or toggling Fullscreen Window Mode twice, both of which fix the click offset. Sadly i cannot employ a proper fix and no... just forcing the Viewer to reshape doesn't work, i tried it. The reshape must come from the window through user interaction, the internal reshape code itself doesn't fix it.

Still 2 of 3 long standing issues fixed. Someday i will find out whats breaking UI size changes. Someday. It has only been broken for 6 years now.