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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.9.8 "Visualizing Dragon"

Fixes: *exist*


Bugs: *shaking in fear*

So many updates and so many fixes in such a short time, whats happening? I don't know but i'm in a damn good mood!

Fixes for starting on crashup when a controller is plugged in, fixes for crashing when editing linden grass/trees, fixes for snapshot tiling issues (both to disk and inventory, both color and depth shots), fixes for Deferred Rendering failing when SSR is on but everything else off, fixes for some fullbright objects being immune to haze, fixes for the Fixed Environment window becoming unusable when changing the windlight preset outside of the window while its open and fixes for the Viewer trying to start a conversation with that "None" group no one's talking to.

This update also sees some love to the Build window, people finally annoyed me enough to go about adding next/previous link/face/prim buttons, the grid options have all been moved into the Grid Options window which has now been renamed to Build Options and got a couple more build related options that are lesser used and buried in the menus. The main build/edit window has had the Only My Objects and Only Physical Objects options moved to Build Options too and instead has gotten Show Selection Outlines and and Snap to Grid option as checkbox now as replacement. Show Selection Outlines has also been added to Preferences - Viewer ... because apparently it was missing!

Also shhh: Quit Viewer shortcut has been removed for those that may or may not have accidentally quit the Viewer by hitting CTRL + Q (instead of Shift + Q for rolling the camera) with the "Do you want to quit" dialog disabled. No more accidentally yeeting the Viewer!

Also a big shoutout to Boston Blaisdale for making this incredibly good tutorial video about Black Dragon:

And another big shoutout to this video made by Phat Cat in Black Dragon with the help of the Poser/Animator:

I like this one, despite all the flaws and limitations SL has, this has quite something to show!

By Loverdag

By Loverdag

By Emelie Laks

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.9.7 "Visualizing Dragon"

 Fixed all the things, now its time to break them again!

Bringing the Viewer up on par with the very latest LL code.

These include a couple crashfixes, improvements in code and behavior around building, hover glow objects being functional again (you can find it in Dragon - Develop - Rendering), edit from inventory/worn/outfit (which i totally missed out on telling you about) and a couple extra changes from my side.

Note that from this update on, all textures on your objects will be counted, this means specular and normal maps will be included into complexity, they previously weren't (should tell you how broken LL's was), thanks for Flame Swenholt for finding that one!


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.9.6 "Visualizing Dragon"

Yay for another update!

The focus once again being fixing all bugs that were reported after the big official code merge (and there were quite a few) as well as some old ones finally getting fixed. YEA!

Fixes include that you should no longer get banned from regions that ban people based on reported complexity, the Viewer now reports the official numbers, so no more getting banned when you deserve it, instead prepare to get banned when you wear optimized avatars, great! Don't worry though, the Viewer still uses the altered complexity formula for determining avatar complexity and will continue to do so... but i've used the chance to lower the complexity across the board by another 50%, this should further crunch down on huge numbers and will put some more emphasis on object features and textures.

Then, there has been an issue with water sparkle seemingly glowing through items at times, this is due to an issue in all Viewer where the shiny/glossiness reflection glows through fullbright objects. The reason water did this was because i allowed lights to be reflected on water again, which meant making water actually glossy (yes it actually wasn't), this in turn however meant the glossiness issue would appear on water as well. Sadly this isn't easy to fix (if at all) but i've added an option to switch between the original light reflections and the specularity reflections for those that want more accurate light reflections (they can be occluded by shadows) and lights reflecting on water or the original reflection which does not have this fullbright issue. Your choice!

While we are on the topic of environment, several EEP fixes from Drake that are coming officially have been ported over early, including better clouds, proper star positions, rainbows working without shadows, better sun gamma and several others. I'm sure with these EEP will look better than ever (or at least closer to windlight again)

And while we are at rendering, some users noticed that Deferred Rendering breaks when you turn off shadows and SSAO, this should no longer be the case and Deferred Rendering can once again be used without these (for whatever reason).

The rest of the fixes is mainly reported UI issues, like sliders/textboxes getting reverted/stuck when the UI refreshes them, high res depth snapshots not looking right, the posing status button not working, the teleport button in profiles not enabling, the Places window being completely hosed and Place Profiles not showing the correct information, the Media-on-a-prim UI being super broken and the Third Person Steering Mode and/or Right-Click drag not handling the rotate_left and rotate_right actions properly and replacing them with slide_left and slide_right (strafing instead of turning) like Left-Click dragging your avatar does.

There's also some great stuff to come in the near future too!

By Colorful

By Emely Laks

By Drago Silves

By Loverdag

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.9.5 "Visualizing Dragon"

 What's this? An update right you just released one? UwU

Fixes all reported bugs and does more.


Fuck you i can, in fact i did. Sssssssss. Statuses should properly work, show and hide now, the stupid move floater should show the stand/stop flying buttons again and you can now turn off the status buttons if you don't like them. Also no more right-click menus while in Appearance or holding down Alt. *boomerangs into the distance*

By Emeline Laks

Friday, January 8, 2021

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.9.4 "Visualizing Dragon"

 Lets start the new year with a new update (and new bugs)

Let's leave the old bugs in the dust with this bugfix update and introduce lots and lots of new ones with the merge to the latest LL code, surely nothing is gonna break.

So what is fixed you may ask, none less than basically the entire known buglist in discord (minus the intel shader thingy and an animation bug that i still cannot reproduce but is a known issue in the official viewer too apparently)

Lots of warnings and errors, specifically log spamming warnings have been fixed which should hopefully clean up the log files a bit in case you encountered these. They can also reduce your framerate, writing something a million times per second into a log file takes its toll you know.

CTRL/Shift modifier keys when scrolling through values in spinners should be consistent now, rather than up doing ten times as much and down only a tenth of a fraction, both will now properly scroll either one of them depending on if you hold Shift (10x) or CTRL (0.1x).

A curious bug that required some very specific steps to be taken that resulted in the snapshot refresh button disabling your UI has been fixed, no more frantically asking for that toggle UI shortcut!

Sliders, especially those in the environment window were a little... afraid of the lowest and highest value, especially if your framerate dropped they would become increasingly more scared of these and tried to avoid being slid all the way there, this should no longer be the case.

On the SL forum i found an interesting thing that always kinda annoyed me too, whenever you zoom in/out your camera (CTRL + 8/0) the camera wouldn't update the sensitivity for camera movements, resulting in you being able to do only huge jumps of camera movement rather than very fine movements. Not only should this no longer be the case and zooming in should progressively raise sensitivity, i've also gone all the way and fixed a problem with mouse smoothing causing small scale (1 pixel onscreen movements) to be completely ignored by the Viewer when attempting to move the camera. Now every pixel counts.

I've also implemented a requested feature to display "statuses", such as when the camera focus is locked. Previously the Viewer already had this very... limited stand up button... i've extended this system to display all kinds of things, when you lock your focus, when free mouse focus is on, when the world is frozen, when you're sitting, flying, when always run is enabled, when you're posing... and in the future i can easily add more to this. Your statuses will be displayed at the bottom and they can be clicked to disable the status, say to stand up, stop flying, unfreeze world and so on.

As some hawk-eyed have noticed there is also a button hiding in the above system that implies a totally new feature.... crouch toggling! Yes you can now bind a crouch toggle button in the Keybindings tab and it will toggle crouch (until you hit it again, jump, fly, sit down etc). Now you can do pictures while crouched or just save your hand from holding down crouch the entire time.

Two last things, one being altitude based windlights not working, they should once again work (they basically always did but they weren't applied to you because the apply was never triggered).

The other one being something mostly interesting for human bodies. Thanks to Drake, shininess has been fixed back to pre-EEP levels. This should also fix light reflections randomly dimming/lighting up when camming around.

By Varosh

By Emeline Laks

By Loverdag

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.9.3 "Visualizing Dragon"

 So here we are. The update that was supposed to release a few days ago is finally here.

I was just readying everything up, hitting full recompile and then quite a shitshow started because its still 2020 lads, a sudden influx of reports that required attention. So after a couple more days, here we are, almost all of them fixed (except one that i cannot fix, not even investigate, due to reasons the reporter should know very well)

About the bugfixes: SLURL's when launched from outside SL got delivered to the client but didn't open the place profile anymore when already logged in... that one was particularly funny because it was an issue caused by my debug cleanup, turns out one of the debug lines were not only setting a debug string but also executing importing relay code that was necessary to let that SLURL pass through. Whoops.

Then we have something that has been quite an annoyance for me personally for a long time but was so easily fixable that it wasn't worth investigating. Whenever you turned on Volumetric Lighting and then DoF you'd end up with double the amount of glow due to the Viewer using the wrong shader which resulted in the glow being applied twice, it was easily fixable by refreshing the rendering but was finally an big enough annoyance to warrant getting investigated and fixed. Consider it a dead bug.

Another one of those annoyances was the voice call windows that showed their docking tongue above the voice button even when the voice button was at the top of your screen.... when i investigated this long ago, i didn't find anything wrong with it. Nowadays it was a matter of settings to find the issue... sometimes it is better to come back to something at a later time to get a fresh view on something with possibly more knowledge.

Occlusion Culling, ohboy, the bastard son that no one wants. If you had it on (for whatever reason) and moved an object below the water line, it would start flickering... worse, other objects would start flickering too and if that wasn't enough if you were underwater and looked up, everything was flickering too. Good thing that's no more, with its fix also came back the EEP water reflection code which has its rolling camera issue fixed some time ago but was still... horribly broken when anywhere near the water plane. I've finally managed to fix the awkward reflection/refraction clipping and also refixed attached lights going all super funky on the coastline, since that was a thing with that code as well.

The most curious and troublesome issue (not because its actually a problem but because it caused me some trouble in Discord for those who've followed it) is the famous "pink world" display on logout. Everyone who has logged out has already seen it and noticed that its no problem at all, it doesn't do anything besides looking stupid. This issue originally came from the inclusion of Firestorm's fading progress screen long ago, due to the fade into black-screen and the quick destruction/shutdown of the world the destroyed (pink world) was visible before we could hide it. Later i removed the black background for progress screen all togther and the logout screen counts as progress screen too which just amplified this issue as now the Viewer wouldn't even attempt to fade in something over it to hide it. The fix for this was somewhat simple though, i just show the black background that you see on first login and have it instantly show fully, rather than fade it, just like the Official Viewer does. You can't fix the pink world shutdown since its... well the shutdown of the world but you can hide it. So... no more pink world for you!

Now to some improvements, since this update isn't just fixes. When i watched one of several tour videos for Black Dragon, i noticed that the person was scrolling past the bottom of the windlight preset list and started accidentally scrolling the camera... and then i remembered, i hate this, this happened so often to me already... let's just say this should no longer happen, you are now free to keep scrolling as much as you want without the scroll falling through to the rest of the Viewer and you starting to zoom in/out accidentally.

The POSER! One of many many improvements that come up as i go with the idea of implementing some QoL for the UI based on the Unity Engine is ... actually not coming from Unity at all, its coming from Blender, have you ever posed in Blender? You can opt to mirror your changes to X / Y / Z axis, and i though a mirror function for bone rotations could be useful right? Here it is!

<iframe src='https://gfycat.com/ifr/SecretBraveBrocketdeer' frameborder='0' scrolling='no' allowfullscreen width='800' height='454'></iframe>

Another "improvement" you might notice is the addition of an option called "Easy Rotations". This option has always been the default how the Poser sliders worked and will continue to remain that way but now you can turn off the "help" of the Poser and let it freely modify your sliders to represent the actual rotations of your bone, this essentially doesn't change much for you in terms of usage but it might look confusing for you which why Easy Rotations is enabled by default. Having the other two sliders move when you move one slider allows the Poser to show you the actual real rotation rather than a faked one that will ultimately "break" the bone. What i mean with break is, rotate the X Y and then Z axis, then zero them in any order that is not the reverse of that... you'll end up with 0 0 0 not being the default resting position that you get when resetting the bone. With Easy Rotations off, you do because 0 0 0 actually means 0 0 0 but due to the way quaternion rotations work you'll have to work your way from Z to X, zero Z, then Y, then X and you should be able to zero out the bone just fine... or just hit reset. The option is there though, again mechanically nothing changes, you'll still just slide sliders and they still do exactly the same thing, just numbers will be different.

As always, i hope you enjoy the update, there will most likely be another one around Christmas bringing the latest code from LL that i didn't want to merge, risking breaking a lot of things again. I need a working Viewer before i can break it again, it makes debugging and fixing a lot easier.

By Emely Laks

Emeline Laks
By Emely Laks

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.9.2 "Visualizing Dragon"

 It's update o' clock.

So after joy that the update is out and lots of bugfixes came in for all the reported issues, disenchantment sets in. Didn't take long for the first issues to appear (again). I THOUGHT i could leave out the VCRedist packages this time but it took what felt like not even 5 minutes before the first "the Viewer doesn't start" reports pop up. So today i decided to pull the first lever on stopping this madness once and for all. Starting from today this is the last update that i will attempt to leave out the redist packages. I honestly don't care if it scares people off or confuses them, i'd rather have them repair vcredist every single time they update the Viewer than more people just waiting in the corner for me to announce a new update just to be smacked down with a baseball bat with MSCVR120.dll or MSCVP120.dll/MSCVP140.dll missing written on it. I'm sorry but i'm getting incredibly sick of hearing it every day over and over when this problem is literally the very first answered question in the FAQ section, it's there because of just that.

I used the chance to set up the Discord server to no longer give access to everyone willy nilly. Everyone, including those already on it will have to start at the welcome channel, read it carefully, which tells them exactly how to unlock the rest of the server, it also tells them to read the FAQ. If this doesn't stop it then idk. Also the picture channels are separate and need to be unlocked with a reaction as well, i did this not only because i've seen questions come up whether to post a certain thing in X channel but also to bring some organization and management into these channels, you will no longer see the channel that contains giant oversized floppy ding dongs if you don't want to. With Discord now set up like that and people now being funneled through the welcome and FAQ area i hope that the amount of "i cant start the viewer" reports drastically reduce to a point where they become a myth.

Now let's get to the update itself. As mentioned above, it's a bugfix update, fixing all the reported issues minus one that i did not classify as bug but rather intended behavior.

Bugfixes include Depth of Field working underwater again (as well as a new option to toggle DoF in edit mode), the FPS limiter which was actually a bug (yes, the FPS limiter was a BUG) has been "unfixed" eh i mean broken again, changing shadow resolution should no longer cause a massive increase in VRAM usage compared to the first time shadows are initialized (when ticking Deferred), the daycycle editor should no longer (hopefully) crash and present an empty slider when opening with an invalid daycycle, Places - Landmarks should no longer jump around crazily when clicking into the window, enabling IMs to offline mail should work again, sound and streams should work again, fast timers view should work again and the different location buttons for cache, logs and chatlogs should now properly disable/enable depending on whether you are on the login screen or actually inworld.

As announced last update, i did improve the new complexity performance report. I've vastly extended and organized the layout, it will now show all information a lot more clearly and also has a few hints now what's what and what you can do to improve each and every performance group. It also shows some interesting tidbits if available such as a mention that projector lights are technically unlimited but shadows aren't. A few values also have changed and the way the display works has too. Since the "maximum" values are not really maximum values, i've made the color reflect that and instead made them recommendations, which looks like this:

So rather than confusing the user with an artificial "maximum" it now clearly states that it is simply recommended to stay below a certain point. Reaching this point also no longer immediately results in the "super bad" red rating but rather gives you the "eh" yellow/orange rating, see it as warning. As before you get a summary of all ratings together, right now its still very simple but i might actually add a 3-point answer that takes the 3 worst offenders and gives you hints and possibly even guides (or links to those) how to solve these.

Also, for the laughs, i want to share with you what i encountered while working on this.

And the first string attempts weren't exactly... good either... *caugh*

I kinda liked how the Viewer screamed at me, wanting me to be its slave to calculate PI but i figured  that might have been a bit too much. Oh well.

Last but not least addition to the Viewer is the inclusion of roughness into SSR (again). It's toggeable too. You can find it with the rest of the SSR options but note that it has a big GPU impact. It's what i removed to make SSR run decent, if you enable it you better have a good GPU or you'll see your frames drop like dead flies. It looks nice though... i guess.



Good right?

Anyway i think that was everything. As always thanks to everyone who keeps supporting the Viewer and welcome to all the new Patrons!

by deathshead

by dencur

by KT Syakumi

by Loverdag

Friday, October 23, 2020

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.9.1 "Visualizing Dragon"

 So here it is! 3.9.1. The update that fixes the last few reported issues and then immediately breaks everything again by merging LL code. YAS!

Counting to these reported (and fixed) issues are the inability to move notifications from "Do not show" to "Show", the Profile window not being able to be closed with CTRL + W, the Derender list clearing when double-click teleporting inside the same region, animations not being able to be played backwards anymore and a nasty rare crash when image caching fails.

That's basically it already for this update.... BUT WAIT there's more! The advanced complexity information window gets a new tab, called the "Performance Report" which is a first step towards a general breakdown with a direct list of what specifically is unoptimized on your avatar.

Right now its very basic still but i think you'll get the idea what this is going to be. You get a list of the main stats of your avatar, such as complexity, polycount, object count, face count, texture memory usage and so on. All of these have a "limit", this isn't a hard limit but rather a soft limit which when reached will scream at you with a big red glowing dot telling you that this is bad. All of the reports are being combined at the bottom to an overall summary of your avatar. Right now it's pretty simple as you can see but i hope to extend it to include some more specific information and possibly even have comments on each section which might or might not give you hints at how to improve certain aspects of your avatar.

The hardest part about this is choosing the "limits". Complexity, polycount and memory usage as well as projectors, animesh and media were pretty simple and obvious. The complicated part where i am not sure yet are things like object, face and texture and light count. Generally you want all of them as low as possible, though in themselves they are not necessarily bad. You can have 1000's of objects and 1000's of faces and still have a somewhat decently running avatar but that does not change the fact that incurring thousands over thousands of nested draw calls is bad. Speaking of the best possible thing, you obviously want your avatar to be a single object with a maximum of 8 faces. This would already limit the texture count to a maximum of 8 diffuse, 8 specular and 8 normal maps and thus the maximum usable texture memory to 96MB (24x4MB). Obviously this is an unrealistic expectation in Second Life since we want interchangeable clothing at the very least, which means i had to choose non-gaming standards that still keep the counts low and make sense. Arguably 320 faces isn't exactly... "low", in  fact that's so high anyone's heart who had to optimize something for a proper game would probably skip at least 10 beats or outright fail. Again though this is taking SL into consideration, having lots of faces is technically bad but doesn't immediately end the world. Seeing my avatar have 222 faces was quite shocking and i'm unsure whether this is a calculation error or an issue with faces on meshes. I know you can set faces for meshes but i do not know whether SL still internally counts them as having 8 faces even if you give them less, which is why i chose 320 faces (8 faces for each of those 40 objects) for now. As time goes on i will obviously spend more time on this and adjust numbers as i see fit.

With that out of the way, let's talk about the two elephants in the room. One already demolished half the interior, the other one is going for my porcelain room.

I've had increasing amounts of reports that people couldn't download the Viewer or have gotten reports of potentially malicious content (most often due to Windows Defender). This release i've gone the extra step to scan the release packages several times to make sure Defender doesn't do anything awkward for me, then also submitted the releases to Microsoft to have them test them (and hopefully update the Defender database to include these as clean files) and i've downloaded the files twice from GDrive to make sure Chrome isn't blocking it and Defender isn't throwing any hissifits either. Neither of them made a noise. So if you still get a warning or even a blocked download, you might want to add it to the whitelist (don't ask me how, i have never done it since i've never gotten to the point this was required).

The other thing being that this is another release with lots of all-touching LL code merges. I've already found right-click editing crashing the Viewer and fixed it but i suspect there's a lot more broken than just that but i can't just sit here and wait for things to break otherwise these updates will never happen at all. I believe that if there is something broken you'll find it. Also, this update contains some necessary fixes so waiting any longer is only detrimental for the Viewer. I'm not Firestorm after all, i don't want to let you wait 6 months for fixes when they have been fixed the very same day they were reported. 1 month is already annoyingly much but i always feel like i'm missing something... or... something could come up right after i made a new release available. (Which it ALWAYS does)

Oh look! It's a third... oh... he's stomping over my flowers. Well fuck. I feel the need that a few things, especially regarding help and support needs to be changed around. I'll spend some time investigating how to tackle this, most likely moving the support channel in Discord around, adding a new one and also investigating a bot setup so i can force people to suck on that welcome and FAQ channel first before posting anything. I'll probably also rewrite the guides that i've already wrote and possibly add new ones in hopes to prevent more questions before they even get asked so i can filter down the amount of help needed to something that allows bringing some organization in for better viewing and possibly also for better insight for the user.

And with that, thanks to all the new Patrons and the old ones who keep supporting my work! The Viewer would be dead without you.

This time there have been so many good pictures around, i don't even know where to put them all. I suppose i'll split them for this and the next release so i got reserves in case until next time there aren't many good ones.

By Arietu

By Seicher Rae

By Spiritus (Spectris Audax)

By Kissmebaby Allen

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.9.0 "Visualizing Dragon"

 This one was quite plagued with fails.

Originally this update was planned yesterday, exactly one month after the last one but the merge with the latest code did bring quite some problems... and i don't mean like a broken button or something... no. All baseline animations were broken, didn't play and basically most actions like jumping and sitting got you infinitely and permanently stuck. Also there was a nasty crash whenever someone (including you) played the standup animation after falling from great heights. This made the Viewer basically impossible to use properly. Cracking down on this one cost me a few hours but trashing and redoing something hasn't been all too rare lately.

In fact the entire month was basically riddled with issues like this. As some of you may have noticed i've dabbled a lot in VRChat lately and started working with the Unity Engine. As much as i hate the Unity Engine its usage is quite "user friendly" although extremely complex. I'm saying that from a developer point of view though. The way the editor works though and what's possible with it and how easy it is was very surprising although a welcome one. In fact many of the things i like so much i want to bring them to SL. If anything this has got me quite some inspiration what else i could do with the UI. Particularly "Drag & Drop" is a big thing in Unity and i'd like to make more use of that in SL as well. In Unity you can basically drag any asset and drop it on any fitting UI Element. An animation preview with a dummy but want to see your avatar? Just drag your Avatar into the preview window and viola, it will be previewed with your avatar. Great. Want an animation to play in this state? Just drag it into the motion box. You can basically drag anything anywhere as long as it belongs there. We do kind of have this in SL already but i feel like this could be extended in some places. For instance we can Drag & Drop textures into texture pickers. How about dragging animations onto your avatar to play/preview them? We can already drag objects onto our avatars to attach them. How about dragging EEP presets into the world to apply them? Just some ideas to start. Unity also has a simple animation editor build in which is quite powerful though and can even translate basically any animation from any skeleton to another as long as they have a similar structure. Looking at their animator has given me some ideas how to tackle my own Animator and how to possible solve the UI look issue.

Further on Friday's meeting i also suggested a new effect to play with that Unity allows, it's called "Scrolling Emissive" there and it basically does what it says, it uses the Emissive Mask but instead of making everything emissive as per the texture's definition, it has a small configurable area that "scrolls" through from one side to another, fully configurable speed and direction of course. We already have emissive and adding this would be a very simple addition to the emissive shader as well as adding a couple options for the direction (which would be the speed at the same time, think of it as the texture offset options), possibly an additional brightness slider, scroll area and so on. It's a very simple thing and wouldn't hurt anyone, wouldn't even cost performance really.

Here's the effect in action. It's simple but looks really great. This could be used for many great things.

Currently this is only possible by scripting the diffuse texture to animate which also moves ... well the entire object's texture making it basically unusable for this unless you make it a separate layer, which introduced a whole host of more issues and a big performance cost.

It seemed like the Lindens seemed genuinely interested. Similarly they seemed interested in a volumetric cloud feature i suggested in the previous meeting. Maybe there's still hope we'll get these some day.

Anyway. Back to the update itself. I consider the update quite important, not only does it finally bring in the latest release code from Linden Labs with a good chunk of behind-the-scenes improvements, it also brings a couple bugfixes. Most noticeably (for compilers though) it brings the move to Visual Studio 2017. I did merge this last month already but i was facing massive performance degradation which forced me to drop it. This time however it seems like performance is equally good if not even slightly better. The move to VS 2017 also means for you as user that the Viewer will no longer require Visual C++ Redistributable 2013 64bit, instead it will now require Visual C++ Redistributable 2019 64bit, also often called the 2015 - 2019 package. I updated the pre-download page to link to that one instead. Make sure you install it if you don't already have it.

Further the update includes a fix for a nasty crash when switching water presets as reported, this was due to the water preset being loaded as sky preset which put the Environment into an invalid state and trying to transition from this into the next water preset caused it to crash. Funny times.

I've also added all the latest Patrons as usual and fixed a some longstanding compiling issues (that are probably not interesting to you unless you compile the Viewer yourself, which i hardly doubt anyone does). Lastly i added all missing tooltips to the Machinima Sidebar and brought all Display tab tooltips to the Machinima Sidebar so it uses the new fancy tooltips to display information about all the available features and options.

Most of the rest of time was either spend outside of SL or trying to do some improvements that sadly didn't work out. I had hoped at least some of them would make it such as the option to only show bones in the Poser that are actually rigged, reducing the clutter a lot and only showing bones that are of interest for your avatar. Sadly LL's underlying code regarding determining "rigged bones" is... random at best.

But i'm planning more UI improvements. I've spend some time in Blender (the 2.8.0+ versions) and i'm genuinely interested in their ways of presenting action information. They have small icons and a short action tip at the bottom of the screen always giving you a quick overlook over your actions or additional features. For instance if you hold down middle mouse to turn the camera, it shows the Alt key at the bottom, telling you that you can hold it to change to "move camera" mode. I very much like this subtle help and would like to investigate some ways to add this to the Viewer. Also the way the tools are presented sparked interest. Toolbar buttons (much like we already have) instead of in the tools floater as buttons, this would free up a good chunk of the build window in general and would make these tools available regardless of its visibility or current mode. I know you don't use this Viewer for building because it isn't made for building (just because it doesn't have copy & paste object properties) but i use it for building and i'm quite happy with it. It could use some extra love too. We'll see how that goes. I will also investigate a way to convey more UI features to the users with the Blender style icons, such as CTRL + Right Click to reset an option. Most people don't know about these things and there's hardly a good place to tell them...

Anyway, as usual if you find any issues, please report them (preferably in the Discord channel) where they can be easily tracked and responded to.

For Patrons i'm planning to extend the "store-in-login" deal to basically "anything-that-makes-sense-on-login". I'll update the Patron page when i have some specifics what can be put on the login screen. Remember that i don't want to make the login screen another news feed like the original is. So i gotta be careful how i add more stuff to it. Generally though you'll be seeing some more possibilities soon though, people have been asking for nice regions (without a shop) or possibly blogs too. I'm personally not a fan of blogs but i suppose i'm a bit different there, i don't read fashion blogs, i have my own fashion. Nekkid snek fashion. But i figured you like to read fashion blogs, especially humans do.

Lastly, for the past years the right-click pie menu has run rampant and over all these years i didn't manage to reproduce a single crash while there are people out there who can easily reproduce a right-click crash with a 100% chance, over and over. If you are truly willing to help me catch this issue i can give you an instruction how to help me get to the bottom of this. Generally this will require you to install Visual Studio to be able to "debug" the crash when it happens. Visual Studio adds the ability to jump in "just in time" as the crash happens and point to the exact line the crash is happening at. The callstack would be a great help to get some directions from where this is coming from and what might be happening. I can optionally provide you with the library and compile files that might be required for the debugging to spit out a useful callstack, i can give them to you if required. So if anyone is truly up for investigating this and has some time at hand and some patience, message me and we'll have a look into this. Note that you need to be someone who sees somewhat semi-frequent crashes when right clicking with pie menus. The easier and more reliably you crash, the better. Anyone can do this but checking whether the crash is fixed can take some time depending on how reliably you crash.

Thank you very much for your continued support!

By Spectris Audax

By Loverdag

By CassandraMiddles

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Black Dragon 64x - Update 3.8.10 "Enhancing Dragon"

 The TLC (Tender, Love & Care) DLC (only 9.99$)

What, it's already a month again? Jesus, i did lose track of time there. Well this update is jampacked with fixes and improvements! I did try to get some experimental things in but... well they turned out too big for what's supposed to be a bugfix/improvement update. This update also doesn't come with the initially planned LL code update. The one i merged forced me to go to Visual Studio 2017 and rather than the expected performance improvements that usually comes with updated tools ... it was a disastrous massive performance drop, one i simply cannot accept after EEP already eating a good chunk of FPS.

The update comes with lots of other improvements anyway! So let's see what this update contains.

Let's start with the UI changes. I've gone through all preferences tooltips and improved them, i made tooltips support linebreaking so i could organize them better, the new tooltips look much better, cleaner and generally offer some extra information in comparison to the old ones!

This should make reading them and getting information needed from them much easier. In the same vein of improving readability i also changed the color picker alpha texture, now its a diagonal slice which work regardless of the color display shape. This is now used in the Edit window to show transparency.

While readability is all nice n dandy i've also improved the usability of several things a good chunk. Starting with sliders which have been quite an annoyance for a long time due to their... erratic and unprecise handling, especially since the Viewer uses them a lot. Sliders will no longer immediately change their values when click-dragging the thumb, they will now only change their value if you actually move your mouse. On top of that you can now type in ANY value into the text entry, regardless of what the slider allows in increments, min/max are obviously still capped but you can now type in 555 when the slider only goes in 1000 steps. Note that the slider itself will continue to go in 1000 steps, this ONLY works for typing into the text field.

While going through preferences i've also removed a couple broken options, and added several new things. You can now find seveal "open" buttons in Preferences - Viewer. These will open the cache, logs and viewer log file directories respectively, this should make it a lot easier to get to your settings, cache and viewer logs, especially for me since i don't have to explain you how to get there.

I've also added delete buttons as you can see, to clean your viewer logs, you should probably do that from time to time. Every week or so.

While doing a few rounds through the code i've also cleaned up some messes here and there, simplified some code parts and fixed a couple other issues. Mostly reported issues such as not being able to load and delete presets with a name exactly like a default preset. Doing so also magically fixed (it seems) the issue with name encoding. From what i've tested, it seems to be (once more) like it doesn't matter anymore what the name of your windlight presets is, encoded or not, or both. You should now be able to load them all again, if you still find one that's causing issues, please report it to me. With that the import function slowly loses usefulness but i've not forgotten about it, instead i've actually fixed it and it should again work, even better it now can import both new EEP and old Windlight presets (for whatever reason you'd want to import already imported EEP presets). I'm also thinking of doing a multi-import.... but maybe later.

Now the interesting bits about this update. Rendering. Quite a few of you probably noticed by now that something is... off with water reflections. They do not match up when rotating your camera and they do not reflect alpha masked objects. Well, needless to say they will now do exactly that! Screw dem bugs!

There's also a hidden little new feature, you can find it when previewing any animation. You'll find a slider there now that allows you to go through your animation and jump to any point in it, even in between keyframes! This is the very first step to an animator tool.

There are lots and lots more small improvements everywhere but they are far too insignificant and too many to list here. So i wont, but you can check out the changelog to see all of them.

Lastly, i'm aware that Bitbucket discontinued support for Mercurial Repositories, i didn't expect them to lock down the entire repository though, just delete the source or something. This means i have to move a lot of stuff, including some formal stuff for the TPVD inclusion to here unless that's not okay, in which case i'll have to seek out other places to put it. I'm sorry for the inconvenience this has caused regarding downloads, this is why i had to push the update today and get as many things done as possible in a short amount of time, so expect possibly broken things.

As always, thank you very much for your support although the patronage has been declining lately. If i missed anyone, please please please do tell me!

By CassandraMiddles

By KT Syakumi

By Kissmebaby Allen