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, February 25, 2020

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.7.1 - 3.7.3 "Improving Dragon"

Some keen eyes have noticed that i've released two more updates without saying anything and heres coming a third one. I didn't say anything because i didn't want to shove down the important announcement in 3.7.0. Patron is going quite well, roughly half a month time gone and we doubled the patronage, thats very impressive and i'm very grateful for all your support. I've come to the realization that despite my best attempts to continue without help i just can't do it. I've always been super hesitant on asking for help... hah yea i see the irony... me saying that if you need help you should just ask but then i'm not even doing it myself when its much more important... the simple truth however is that i can't continue just waiting for people to support me, i have to actively encourage them and ask them for help otherwise this isn't going to work. As scummy as it sounds to myself, asking for financial support for a project i've been dumping a massive chunk of my lifetime into (and two thirds of my SL time) is normal considering that i could get paid a good job instead. I've never regretted doing this (only that it kinda took the magic out of everything, just like with knowing magic tricks) because it is something i love doing, regardless of payment.

Anyway, thank you all for your continued support and thank you for spreading the message!

Onto the updates then...

The last 2 updates mainly fixed reported issues with logins for avatars with more than 16 characters length, crashes on startup when you switched the "Starting Location", some setting changes that seem kinda obsolete nowadays, reducing the volume of sound and media quite a lot to hopefully lessen the shock when you open the viewer for the first time and get an heart attack because of the login screen intro starting, the login button not enabling for first time users and some cleanup.

This update comes with another round of fixes, attached lights will no longer poof when sitting down on objects and refreshing your avatar be it adding/removing/editing/attaching/detaching anything while wearing a BOM avatar will no longer fold your avatar 16 times and then some.

Some UI improvements have been added as well, you can now see the link and face index when selecting them as long as only one face or link is selected, additionally the "X objects selected" string will no longer show 0 when "Edit Linked" is enabled and instead will count the selected links.

Apart from that there are mostly tiny UI bugfixes that triggered anyone with OCD... scrolllists clipping outside a few pixels at the top (very visible when editing shape), the radio buttons in Edit having a slightly different spacing than the checkboxes right next to them and they still used the radio button textures, the object manipulator not working when selecting multiple prims and the panel to edit universal layers was still completely untouched and looked like shit, no more that is.

One last thing though, as an attempt to encourage higher patronage for those who can or want, i've added a new benefit to Patron, all 10$ patrons can now specify their shop link (both inworld and marketplace) to be displayed on login. Don't get me wrong, i ABSOLUTELY HATE ADS which is why i wanted to do this extremely careful but some feedback would be welcome on it.

As you can see i've placed them at the top right for now, kinda like LL does it with events and that stuff on login page, it was suggested to make it at least three times as big but i'm highly against this change, what do you think? Should it be bigger or is it okay like that? What do the people think who pay for it? There's a delicate difference between visible and obnoxiously visible, i want it to be visible but i don't want it to look like forced ads, the user should be able to ignore it if he doesn't want to see it.

I'd also like to use the opportunity as shout-out to the team of Gateways of Realities, they are working on a game outside of SL but i've also just recently found their inworld avatars, while i'm not exactly a fan of the Dungeons and Dragons style Kobold (because they aren't cute and cuddly) its an absolutely amazingly well done avatar regardless. It's super low lag, uses only very little scripts, comes with a ton of customization, high quality bento animations, BOM support (and EXACTLY the way i imagined i'd use it) to swap out scale patterns and such, full mod support a nice and simple HUD, Materials support and more. It's exactly the type of content i want to see more, these guys know what they are doing and they are doing it proper. I was quite surprised seeing the creator use my Viewer for the in-HUD pictures. WIP Kobold below.

As always, some snapshot highlights from the Discord server.

By Aeeykay

By Kissmebaby Allen
By 털댕이

Monday, February 10, 2020

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.7.0 "Improving Dragon"

This one took way too long...

Lets get right into why...

Some of you who have been following the Discord channel might have noticed that i left hints at the future of the Viewer, which to put it gently, doesn't look very good. The reason being, money. Obviously, it's always the money. Everyone knows that you need money to live, so do i (as little as it is) and the past 2 years i've been doing quite well with the little help of the community which i'm very thankful for. Sadly however, with some patreons jumping off due to financial reasons and more and more real life "issues" arising, the money is simply not enough anymore. Not enough as in, i can pay the internet bills and still have a tiny little bit for me to get some food if the need arises. However, with my parents getting older and them reaching an age at which the risk of them... "suddenly poofing" is getting dangerously high, they have been "gently pushing me" towards thinking of how i'm supposed to pay the bills when they can't anymore. Needless to say the obvious answer is "get a job" and that is exactly where the problems start. If i get a job i can basically guarantee you that Black Dragon is dead. I'm already several hours too short of time... friends, family, personal needs and then shove a 8-10 hour work day inbetween and the chaos is complete. Obviously this is neither what i want nor what you'd want (i assume). The only solution to this problem i see is getting more Patreon support but that posed more of a problem than i thought. You see in the past i've been very subtle with how i advertise Patreon, simply because i don't want people to feel like they need to help to let me continue doing what i do, ontop of that when it comes to money (from others) im very picky, i live in my own little utopian world where i believe that anything can be free (and should be free for the most part, especially a hobby project like this), obviously thats very naive to think but i do try my best to make these beliefs a reality, which is why Black Dragon has always been free and will always continue to do so. This also means that making people pay for it obviously is not an option and neither is offering "extras", e.g technically locking bonus features behind a paywall. Anyone should have everything the Viewer has to offer at all times, including personal support. And this means im left with only two options, either i get a job and will no longer have time to work on Black Dragon or i turn to you and ask for "more help". Asking for help alone pains me to no end, i hate asking for help but i no longer see any alternative to doing so.

So... my plan was to openly ask for more Patreon support, i give little care how, whether it is more Patrons or the same Patrons giving more although personally i'd prefer more people paying less because... well i think its obvious that more people having to pay less is better for everyone involved right? I was thinking of giving it roughly a month time, go around, "advertise" that i need help and hope for the best. If it doesn't work, i'll look around for a job which will most likely mark the end of Black Dragon (from me). I've always thought getting a thousand people to pay 1$ for something they love isn't hard but that proved to be kinda hard at least with how subtle i've been going about this the past 2 years.


Let's get to the update before i get sentimental.

It has been quite some time since the last update and i've made sure to include all the more stuff to make up for it. This update is primarily focused on QoL, improvements, bugfixes and the little things.

IM tab sides can now be switched from right to left (to the original style), this has been a hot request since a long time, the conversation window will now also display the name of the session at the top rather than simply saying "Conversations". The layout and look of tabs and the conversations window has been overhauled slightly to improve its overall look and get rid of the last remaining tiny annoyances. No more fugly tab lines clipping and i think i also fixed the expand thing too...

The keybinding system has been improved with a highlighting system which from now on tells you whenever you've bound the same key to two actions, it will highlight the entries and show a warning to bring it to your attention that you made a mistake and where. Ontop of that i added hopefully all the missing default controls, all the different variations (those that made sense) and i've fixed the missing camera pan controls for when you are sitting and a "Reset Roll" binding has been added too, you can now rebind all of these! To get all the new controls you'll have to reset yours to default or keep it as is if they are fine for you.

The poser has been improved too, the "Start Posing" button should now be the only button not greyed until it is pressed to disallow changing any values and giving the impression that they dont work, in addition the "Start Posing" button will now flash to signal the user that it needs to be pressed before anything can be done. Loading poses can now be done via a right click menu too, this has been done to allow loading rotations, positions and scales seperately or all together in any combination needed, the load button now also opens the same menu, double click loading will now default to loading the rotations and positions, instead of everything. This is to prevent your loaded pose from overwriting your scales if you made the pose for another avatar that uses different scales. No more deform unless you actually want that!

Graphics wise i fixed the broken Depth of Field smudge that you were seeing with "High Quality Depth of Field", i did a big booboo there but its fixed now and if that isn't enough you can now turn the close blur on/off as promised in the last update.

The new graphic preset system has been improved a bit too, it should now be able to load presets with special characters and spaces, yay!

Automatic Memory Management has been slightly improved as well, instead of defaulting to 90% of your max VRAM it will now default to your max VRAM minus 256mb. GPU's with less memory will have less memory available but anything from 3gb VRAM and up actually have more memory available to be bloated by oversized textures. BTW, the warning system will no longer trigger when you use the Automatic Memory Management, because it was stupid that it told you that you might have set your texture memory too low or high when in reality these values didn't matter since they were automated.

The rest is a lot of really tiny improvements all over the UI, sliders having a consistent width across the UI, warnings no longer being visible for a second before they vanish, Rects and Vector4's not working in Debug Settings, the old login screen video is back, some inconsistent layouts were fixed, wrong textures were changed, the login screen now has link buttons to Youtube, Blogger, Discord and Patreon, the Texture Console has been improved in accuracy and might actually work with AMD cards now (don't know, no one actually reported back), duplicate menu entries were removed, usernames are now saved in a list on login and can be selected and/or forgotten in preferences and a lot more!

As always, thank you very much for your support, i really appreciate that and welcome to Black Dragon to all the many new users that found the Viewer in the past 1,5 months!

Almost 5700 downloads for the AVX version and another 2800 for the non-AVX version. Thats a lot!

By Beev Fallen
By Loverdag
By Aeeykay
By Alex
By 털덩이
By 털덩이