It’s finally here – (drumroll please) – the release version of Firestorm Mesh has arrived after quite some considerable delay. You can’t blame the Firestorm team for hanging on until they were able to release a fully working viewer – particularly since there’s a whole load of Phoenix-loving, Firestorm-hating users out there who want to hang on to their V1 viewers until hell freezes over and will look for any excuse to consign Firestorm into the same trashcan as V2/3 (or whatever the Lindens are calling it now).
My assessment of the release version? Hmmm… a bit mixed actually. For once i followed all the instructions and performed a clean install – hard to believe, i know – and did as i was told. It felt a bit like performing brain surgery on your favourite pet… At each stage, i got a little panic attack (what? Uninstall the Beta completely?; Delete my settings folder?; Delete my cache?… is all that absolutely necessary?). Anyway, with gritted teeth and sweat dripping from my brow, i did as instructed, and just hoped that nothing would go horribly wrong.
Bizarrely there are two versions of Firestorm – 3.2.1 and 3.2.2 have all the same features, but 3.2.2 also includes all the Linden Lab fixes for the Open GL mesh issues they’ve been having. Since i’ve suffered graphic glitches in the past, i opted for 3.2.2 – i think it was the wrong choice, (read on), and i’d suggest trying 3.2.1 first since, ironically, if 3.2.2 doesn’t work for you, you’re going to have graphics problems, right from the start!
Moment of truth… i logged in and followed those instructions to the letter – find a quite place to log, DO NOT fiddle with inv., speak to anyone, TP or, for that matter, breathe… just wait until that inv. loads completely. Guess who crashed in the middle of it?
And then crashed on the second, third and fourth attempts?
By this point, my nails had been bitten to the quick, i had hardly any hair left and was rocking gently in my chair, singing ‘Blue Skies‘ quietly to myself, over and over.
Remarkably, i survived unscathed – which is more than i can usually manage during an average session in sl! Then i had to deal with the downside of a clean install; resetting all my preferences – never a particularly fun thing to do, but a necessary evil. The Phoenix blog says that preferences have been completely re-designed – i can’t say i noticed, which perhaps says a lot for the logical and helpful way they’ve been set out – which is just as well, considering i had to do most of it twice! Foolishly, i thought i’d have no problem using the same settings as i used for the Beta release – no such luck… i tried enabling shadows and, POW! Crashed and burned. So, it was back to square one, and all those dreary settings again, (only this time, hitting ‘apply’ with OCD-like fervour after every change). So much for Linden Lab’s graphics fixes!
There were more woes to follow – on three separate occasions, over the next ten minutes, my screen froze completely and i had to manually close Firestorm; not an inspiring start – again, possibly graphics issues. Weirdly, everything after that was fine and Firestorm performed perfectly without any problems at all – well, at least no terminal problems… Windlight proved to be an issue for me – failing to activate on changes of parcel.
Altogether, i’m pleased with Firestorm – it now has most of the bells and whistles that Phoenix boasts with the addition of V2 enhancements, like mesh and media on a prim, with mesh uploading now enabled too and a promise of regular and frequent updates, i have a feeling that this will become the viewer of choice for many of us. Yes, there are still bugs to be fixed – my particular favourite is the way that floaters and dialogues revert to their default position after a crash – particularly irritating, but at least it’s on the jira as a known issue. My biggest moan right now is the graphics issues – do i put up with the less than acceptable problems i have, or do i go through the whole rigmarole of another clean install just to see if 3.2.1 resolves them? My brain is a bit fried, so i think i’ll let you choose for me!
Into this house we’re born
Into this world we’re thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out alone
Riders on the storm
The Doors – Riders on the storm