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.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) - The Plan

So here's the plan how EEP is going to happen for Black Dragon.

I went to TPV meetings, posted feedback into the Feedback thread on the Second Life Forums and attempted to salvage what was salvageable, without luck. I suppose i came too late to the party because i trusted LL to do it right, i guess that's not going to happen again, next time i'll be all over them from the get go when there's a project ongoing that i'm interested in.

Since Oz is refusing to change EEP now in any way, shape or form, i suppose i'll have to do it. I've already threatened that if EEP threatens Photography and Machinima (which i suppose this Viewer is all about, right?) i'll not be merging it, luckily that's not necessary. I think i have a plan that we all can be happy with.

The first and foremost offender of EEP is the interface. It is clunky, it is big, it wastes tremendous amounts of your limited screen space and it was unnecessarily rebuild from scratch to confuse and make everything harder than it should both in code and for the user, so that's the first thing i'll change.

Introducing the NOT personal lighting.

These two windows are exactly what you think they are, they are the two old Edit Sky Preset and Edit Water Preset windows that we already had prior to EEP. Updated with all the new EEP settings and slightly reorganized to fit all the new options, you will see that editing water hasn't changed at all, editing a sky on the other hand had some slight reorganization in the Atmosphere tab and some major reorganization in the Sun & Moon tab because a lot of options were added there, but you'll still find everything there, don't worry everything should be pretty much immediately apparent just like before. To give you an idea what the original EEP windows look like:

Quite the difference but that's just one part of it, the functionality will also change. The above two windows are the edit preset windows you get when you edit a settings item from your inventory, my two windows are free windows that can be opened at any time from the main menu just like you could prior to EEP, they replace the "Personal Lighting" window introduced in EEP which was missing a lot of options and functionality. The edit sky/water preset windows will look exactly the same as the "Personal Lighting" replacements above, meaning no matter if you are editing your preset or your personal Windlight, all settings will be in the exact same spot everywhere.

Coming to the functionality, this is most interesting to Oz, he wanted a writeup on how i'm going to tackle this to decide whether it is okay or not.

A major downside of EEP is that it does not offer you the ability to use local presets anymore, instead you have to manually import them one-by-one and export/save them as inventory items to be able to use them, this is tedious and annoying, bloats your inventory with more potentially corruptible items and is generally very user unfriendly compared to the previous system. Why setting items weren't added as simple extra feature is beyond me but it's exactly what i started tackling first.

Right now as you can see in following picture, you can select a preset from your locally saved presets (either user created or coming with the viewer) and it will immediately load and apply it, just like before, you can also save the preset locally too, just like before, you can (unnecessarily) import said preset again (why would you do that if you can just select it from the preset dropdown, but the option is there...).

Any presets saved from now on will be saved in the new EEP compatible format, meaning all legacy settings will be translated to the EEP equivalent and will thus become unusable in previous versions (which you shouldn't be using at that point anymore anyway). To prevent copybotting shenanigans the save function will check whether you have the textures being used for the sun, moon, cloud noise and water map in your inventory and if you have the permission to copy, mod and transfer them. If you do not, the Viewer will not save the texture ID into the preset resulting in the entry missing from the preset and loading it will use an empty or default texture for all missing ones. This way you can edit a region windlight at any time but you cannot "steal" the textures being used. You can do the same when someone gives you the settings item, you can modify it but you can't save it into the same settings item (it will create a new one), though i am not sure whether it keeps the textures (probably does but safe is safe).

You can also delete any selected preset just like before with the "Delete Preset" option.

Settings items were not changed at all in my version of EEP, they work as expected and can be loaded , shared or edited just like in the original EEP implementation. They now act almost exclusively as "addon" rather than the only way of using your Windlights, like it should have been from the beginning.

I'm unsure what i'm going to do with the Day-Cycle editor aside from changing its layout to match the rest... i'll probably leave it mostly as is as it really isn't of interest. I will investigate later whether it is feasible to add local preset support to it or not.

Additional plans include bringing back the toolbar buttons to open the sky and water editor directly, as well as bringing back the Environment Settings window (the small one where you can select all your sky/water/daycycles and open all other editors).

As shown below i've kept the menus as close to the original as possible (while removing the unnecessary entries that are no longer needed of course). All relevant options can once again be found in Dragon - World - Environment Editor

I hope to have the release ready around the time EEP is officially released into the Second Life Release Viewer, possibly sometime next week.


  1. So EEP broke your viewer, and you don't want to fix it so you are pulling a I hate it and doing it differently.

    So even more you are going to differ from the shared experience of the normal viewers, thus even more going against the Third party viewer Policy.

    1. EEP broke my Viewer, i had to redo the Viewer from scratch based on the latest EEP Viewer because i was unable to fix it as is.

      I'm not doing it differently, i'm fixing the things that i complained about that should have never changed in the first place and adding the features that have been removed. EEP in Black Dragon works exactly like it does in the Official Viewer except it has additional features and a different UI, which it would have had anyway because i never leave the original UI.

      I'm not differing more from the shared experience than i do by offering additional graphics effects. I am offering additional options to handle your presets, in fact i'm offering the option to continue using your locally saved presets with the same easy-to-use system that we had prior to EEP and i'm bringing back all the old window layouts and functionality because they were unnecessarily removed and replaced with a system that should have been an extra feature on top of what we already had.

      In addition i'm also offering these changes to any and all other Viewers because i'm sure large parts of my userbase wouldn't be the only ones unhappy with the new way EEP works.

  2. I really wish wiah would make a mac version