That’s right! It’s finally here, and while we’re calling it a beta it could easily pass as an official release! We certainly feel it’s ready for broad public usage. This public beta has demonstrated itself to be very stable in testing and comes with heaps more features than our Preview 2 did. We’ve also designed it specifically to not interfere with other viewer installations on your system so you can feel confident in giving it a try without any worries.
First, what is the Phoenix-Firestorm Viewer all about? Firestorm is the next generation viewer produced by us; it is based off of Linden Lab’s V2 code base but with a focus on making it V1 familiar. It’s focus is to provide you with a smaller learning curve and an easier transition from V1 to V2. However, while that has been our focus it is important to mention that it still does have a learning curve, it is not exactly the same as V1 or the Phoenix Viewer. Because of this we have gone to great lengths to provide you with tutorial videos and extensive documentation which we HIGHLY encourage you to have a look at. It will take some getting used to, but if you give it a chance you’ll find it will quickly feel very comfortable for full time use.
Firestorm Public Beta comes with a huge list of features far beyond what the standard V2 viewer provides. Some of the most prominent features you will notice is that we made you a new PIE’ menu! We’ve provided you with nearly fully functional Radar, a newly written, secure bridge which extends the abilities of the viewer into in world interactivity, like the ability to double click teleport in regions that have landing points, improved radar accuracy and much more to come. We have big plans for bridge in the future. There is a brand new written from scratch built in AO which just works every time and couldn’t be easier to use. Plus many more features you’re used to from the Phoenix viewer. There are however a few features we are hesitant to add because of their controversial nature like True online status in profiles, friendship dissolved messages, who’s removed you from seeing their online status etc. In the coming days we will be making another blog post here with a link to a poll. We want to know what you think we should do with these features. But for now, a complete list of features can be found here.
But perhaps most important of all is the UI changes and customization options we’ve provided you. Close to V1, almost everything can now be customized to your liking. Undocking/docking windows, closing them/reopening them, moving them, resizing them or just eliminating them from your view forever are all things you can do with this new viewer. We’ve provided you with various skins as well, from V1 looking skins to skins that look just like the original V2. Options! It’s all up to you.
Thousands of man hours have gone into this viewer so far, and there is yet still so much more on our planning board to do. So many more features and options we want to bring over from Phoenix and many of our own unique features we plan to create. As with any viewer, this is a continual work in progress viewer, it is in perpetual motion. With each release we promise to have more and more features, options and bug fixes in place. We only wish we could do everything at once, faster! Speaking of doing it faster!…
Firestorm is a community project, what that means is that we very much welcome people from outside our team to help us make it better. Our primary goal is to improve the user experience, there are no egos involved here. We’ve already accepted a lot of code from people who are not on our team and highly encourage anyone to become a contributor to this very promising viewer project. If you contribute enough we’ll be happy to make you a member of the team! In fact several of our best developers started out as contributors themselves. Contributing is easy if you can code!
You can grab our source code from http://hg.phoenixviewer.com/phoenix-firestorm-lgpl/
. Have a peek through our JIRA
to find things that interest you. Contribute by providing us patches but please remember all code must be LGPL. You will be properly credited for any and all contributions. Our support members are not developers and may not be able to help you with compile issues, if you need help with compiling or coding feel free to contact one of our developers. Their names can be found here
or Email us at dev at phoenixviewer dot com
It is important to note that while we are providing support for this release, our support people aren’t much more experienced with Firestorm than you are and may have trouble finding you solutions to difficult problems for the first little while. This is a transition for all of us. Also that half of our support team will still be running the Phoenix viewer so they can continue to support Phoenix and may not be able to help with Firestorm issues in this case. Please understand that our support team, just like all of us, work on a volunteer basis. While they are not required to help you, they try their best all of the time and do a fantastic job. Please don’t be abusive towards them. Before contacting support please have a look at our Firestorm wiki
first, chances are you will find your answers there faster. If you don’t find your answers you can reach support either by IM directly, or through one of our official support groups. Members and groups can be found from our Support page
on this website.
With this Phoenix-Firestorm Public Beta comes a new future and direction for The Phoenix Viewer Project which we are very excited about! At some point in the near future the Phoenix Viewer along with all other V1 viewers will begin to stop working as LL starts turning off server side support for them. While Firestorm is optional right now, we must all accept that we will need to transition over to a V2 based viewer at some point soon. Beyond Firestorm there are other options as well, many other Third Party Viewer Projects have started their own V2 based viewers, some have been established for some time already. We encourage you to give them a try as well.
Note: If you’ve previously installed any of the Firestorm Preview Builds that you perform a full clean installation for this public beta. Much has changed since preview 2 and you will likely get settings corruption if you don’t. Instructions can be found here
We are looking forward to providing you with progressively better versions with each release, and are really looking forward to seeing you on the new Phoenix-Firestorm Viewer! See you in world!
The Phoenix Viewer Project, Inc.