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RLVa on Firestorm

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One of the biggest complaints we’ve had with the 4.7.7 release is that we still have not updated RLVa, so I thought I would take some time to explain.

But first, some history. The RLV code was written by Marine Kelley for her own viewer to accommodate the sale of her own products. But because Marine was both protective of her code and reluctant to accept bug fixes from the community, a derivative of this original code was made in order for other viewers to have this functionality. So… many, many years ago Kitty Barnett started writing that derivative, called it RLVa and contributed it openly to other third party viewers so that the larger user base could have it beyond Marine’s viewer. It is only because of Kitty that we have the RLVa functionality in our viewers.

These days Kitty runs her own viewer project, called Catznip Viewer, which of course also has her RLVa code plus many amazing features unique to her viewer. She also tries to keep all the other RLVa-equipped third party viewers such as Firestorm updated and has to find time for her real life job. These days she is a very busy kitty, but to further complicate her situation, a little more than a year ago Kitty ran into some health problems. These problems have had her in and out of the hospital quite a bit, and currently she suffers ongoing chronic back pain that limits the time she’s able to sit in one spot.

A while back Marine Kelley issued an update to her RLV code, and this seems to be the update RLVa users are all asking to see in Firestorm Viewer. Unfortunately, due to Kitty’s health and lack of available free time Firestorm has not received an update derived from Marine’s RLV update. It should be understood that RLVa is only a derivative of the original RLV code, and just because RLV has an update does not automatically mean RLVa will get the same.

Finally, we anticipate that folks will ask, “Why not let someone else do the RLVa work if Kitty can’t?” The answer is that first, the RLVa code is very complex and really is a specialty area that few to none are willing to venture into. What Kitty has done with it is impressive, and it’s unlikely that another developer would be able to do the same thing in the time span of a viewer release cycle, and it’s not something that can easily be learned even through training. Second, the volunteer nature of the Firestorm team gives developers the freedom to work on what interests them and what their real lives will accommodate, when it accommodates it. This means that we cannot require one of our other developers—all of whom have existing responsibilities to the team as it is—to take on a mammoth new role.

I’m really hoping we’ll have it for the next release—Kitty already has plans to take off time from work to start working on the update—but no promises can be made at this time.


Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc

  • Anyone can volunteer to develop the RLVa code, or indeed any other portion of the viewer. All one needs is the skills, time and willingness to contribute those to the community freely, without compensation beyond due credit and kudos

    Mister Acacia

    March 22, 2016

  • You got it, but it’s really not that simple as it sounds. I’m in doubt anyone who is still active in SL, except Kitty or Marine, could do it.

    Shy Robbiani

    March 24, 2016

  • All the best to Kitty, that’s the main point!

    Sylvie Jeanjacquot

    March 22, 2016

  • Totally agree with Silviejean! The most important issue is kitty and her well being. I pray that she recovers completely for her own sake.

    Newme Allardyce

    April 3, 2016

  • Best wishes to Kitty Barnett for her health situation. Sorry to hear that she’s battling chronic issues. As someone suffering from chronic illness I sympathize.

    Also a big thank you to all the developers that are working to improve our SL experiences. Thank you for your efforts.

    Tamara Silversten

    March 22, 2016

  • I bet the chances of convincing LL to make their own code will fall flat too. As much as I love RLV and depended on it for a while for teleporters and security devices to function by simply walking in / through them, I feel like it’s days are numbered.

    Wolfee Yaffle

    March 22, 2016

  • Also llTeleportAgent and llTeleportAgentGlobalCoords completely failed to accomplish what RLV does.

    Wolfee Yaffle

    March 22, 2016

  • You can use llTeleportAgent and llTeleportAgentGlobalCoords with experience tools. The parcel where the teleporter is needs to have the experience running but the destination doesn’t.
    It’s not ideal, but it’s an option.

    Innula Zenovka

    March 25, 2016

  • Thanks for taking time to explain all this. Now people know the reasons behind such long delay at least.
    Of course it’s never ideal when such big work is completely done by one person, because life happens and it may and will cause such issues as with RLVa here, but at the same time it’s understandable that other people don’t have time or will to dig into someone’s else code, trying to fix it, especially when it’s such complicated one.

    At least now there’s also some hope that in next one or two releases Firestorm will have update RLVa features at last.
    If not, guess we’ll have to wait more. As much as I and my friends want new RLV features, we simply can’t switch to other viewers after using Firestorm for so long, it’s THAT much better (especially customization wise) compared to ones that run updated RLV for a while already.

    And best wishes to Kitty, of course. Health is the one of the most important things in life, so hopefully she’ll completely recover from all issues she has.


    March 22, 2016

  • Jessica, thanks for setting out the situation so clearly. Much of this was known before, but maybe only to a minority of users. Like many others I very much like the Firestorm Viewer, and feel that for features and ease of use it is preferable to Marine’s viewer. I do use Marine’s quite often for the additional RLV features, and will welcome the day that these features are incorporated into Firestorm I realise that this is a big ask, in view of what you have said in your post. However I must comment on some of the things you have said:

    “The RLV code was written by Marine Kelley for her own viewer to accommodate the sale of her own products.” – Marine did not write the RLV specification (and has maintained it since) to accommodate the sale of her own products. Her products worked very well without RLV and in those days she had little serious competition. What Marine did was to create an environment in which everyone was free to create products making use of clearly specified RLV features. She did not need to do this: she did it freely as a gift to the SL community. Naturally her products were the first to make use of RLV commands – what else would you expect?

    “Marine was … protective of her code” – so protective in fact that she has always released the source code as a guarantee of her good faith.

    “… reluctant to accept bug fixes from the community” – Marine has indeed incorporated code from other people into her Viewer and given acknowledgement for it; but it is true that she did not accept every bit of code that was thrown at her. She has explained her reasons, which are not hard to understand. I am sure the Firestorm team do not accept all the code they are offered. Marine feels that her good name is associated with RLV, so she is careful not to let out anything under her name for which she cannot accept full responsibility.

    I know that Marine’s relationship with Firestorm has not been an entirely smooth one. I hope that both parties will retain their professionalism and resist the temptation to take digs each other.

    I am encouraged that Firestorm is again taking up the challenge of building-in the latest RLV features. I wish Kitty all the best and hope that her back problems can be cured, or if not, at least managed satisfactorily and with as little pain and impact on her life as possible. It is good to hear that Kitty herself is planning to set aside time for this, and hope that she will eventually be able to bring RLVa up to speed with RLV.

    Moss Hastings

    March 23, 2016

  • I looked at that large ‘cherry pick’ a few weeks back and thought “there is no way I could even come close to merging this”. After about 20 stiff whiskeys mourning my lack of real skill compared to all Gurus involved, I regained my composure enough to be happy to just compile up the latest commits.

    As one waits very patiently for the improved blindfold control, even if it takes a year, thank you Jessica for explaining, and my best wishes to the talented Kitty with a order not to push themselves and a side serving of cupcakes.

    We dedicated RLV-ers are a real distant second to the need for people to maintain their health as much as possible – and I think that message goes to all the developers of every part of every single TPV past, present and future.

    Please gals and guys, never push yourself so far that you are hurt or hurt more.

    Eye strain, back strain, RSI, and more — all very real things that sneak up on a dev and bitehard. That ache in your wrist could be 6 to 8 months without being able to type a single letter.

    One’s health and your well being (mental and physical) should always come first, never sacrifice those. Stop and rest.

    I’d offer to stretch out Kitty’s back on a rack, but umm, this forum might not the suitable place for it. /ducks


    March 24, 2016

  • All the best to Kitty and thank you Jessica for sharing the info.

    Shy Robbiani

    March 24, 2016

  • You wrote that Marine Kelly is protective of her code and RLVa is the only reason other viewers have RLV functionality… but how can that be right when other viewers (Ukando, Kokua, etc.) use the official RLV code? I see RLV’s source on Bitbucket, too, and it appears that it’s been there for at least five years. I get the impression here that what’s really going on is more political than technical.


    March 24, 2016

  • If you don’t know the history of RLV / RLVa, there’s more details here:

    Whirly Fizzle

    March 24, 2016

  • The Volunteer Developers that contribute time, talent and treasure as part of the Firestorm team are immensely appreciated. So are the creators of unique scripted objects and systems (RLV/x) in SL.

    As a Business Guy, I can’t fathom why LL would allow a less than insignificant part of it’s economic ecosystem, consisting of RLV-related content sales and use, to be jeopardized by such tenuous and fragile developer dependencies. This issue would certainly show up in the W (weakness) & T (threat) quadrants of any LL SWOT Analysis I would do.

    Virtual Worlds are poised to explode in popularity. This time, in a competitive market, not driven by a single platform (SL 2005/6), but by a critical mass of new #VR platform offerings like the Oculus Rift (Fb), HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, etc. and BILLIONS of dollars in Venture Capital.

    The time is FAST approaching when the ‘hobbyist,’ ‘creative kumbaya’ approach to Virtual World software development, will go head to head with software written to deliver maximum performance, functionality and maintainability. The future of the current or next generation of SL, depends on it being competitive with this type of commercial software.

    It would be a shame to see all of the functionality of RLV die, either because it was dependent on a single person or because of politics.


    March 25, 2016

  • I wish the best of health to each of you. I too have chronic issues and SL is my escape from the pain and boredom I would otherwise face.

    Thank you to everyone involved in giving us SL and Firestorm…..all the viewers, the folks that build and the folks that play. You are all wonderful.

    Just please take care of your real lives. Without your real life you will not have need of a second one.

    Fopper Iwish

    March 25, 2016

  • she’s taking time off her real life job? that’s … above and beyond, and entirely unnecessary. Real life always comes first. :/ Though I guess it is her real life, so she can do what she wants, but as an RLV user, .. as a Firestorm/SL user – so the code isn’t updated. big deal. we have code in place that works, and works well. people need to stop complaining.

    distraida resident

    March 26, 2016

  • Thanks so much for the explanation. I’m certainly eager for the RLV 2.9 features to become available in Firestorm, but understanding the reason why it hasn’t happened yet makes the wait much less frustrating. I’m not nearly eager enough to want anyone to jeopardize their health or livelihood to provide them!


    March 27, 2016

  • Sorry its BS. if Marine really guarded her code, other third party viewers like Kokua would not be rlv 2.9 enabled. Please stop the bureaucratic crap and just use her code. merge it in.


    March 29, 2016

  • Thank you for the update.

    Talia Davidov

    April 1, 2016

  • Suggest licensing the RLV properly from Marine Kelly. You’ve got this funding available.

    Scout Schwager

    April 3, 2016

  • why aren’t you guys just using catznip? I’ve been in sl since 2005 and I can say with extreme confidence firestorm is the worst third party viewer by far lol hell it’s worse than the linden viewer, it’s like seeing people using ccs instead of dcs I’m like why are you people doing this to yourselves lol there’s so many better options ugh people humans life earth why why you be like this

    sorry but

    April 6, 2016

  • to the previous poster – Not only have you failed to enlighten us all on why you think firestorm is so bad, but, do you realize that Catznip effectively has RLVa and not marine’s original RLV code? You’re not going to get a newer version of RLV using that viewer. To say that the firestorm viewer is worse than the LL viewer? You would have to be a Mac user……….


    April 11, 2016

  • Hi Jessica, I hope youre doing wonderful..
    The reason why im writting this to you, its because I have so many issues with the new version, and also my friends have been going thru the same issues… its too slow, I cant see my avatar, its too dark and my avatar looks horrible, its freezes a lot, and I dont know but its been giving me and my friends a hard time, I have download other viewers just to see which one works better, but theres no other viewer better than firestorm.
    please if you could let us download the old version of firestorm 4.6.9 we would be appreciated. That version works wonderful, I never had any problems with it. never crashed on me either… but this new one, its really giving me a hard time… please unblocked that version, and let us download it again… we would be appreciated. Thanks for your time.. God bless you… 🙂

    Lynnette Lopez

    April 22, 2016

  • Heya Lynnette,
    Can you file a JIRA issue (see & include some screenshots showing how you avatar “looks horrible” & we can look at what may be causing the problem.

    Whirly Fizzle

    April 23, 2016

  • I am more a user of the rlva and a supporter of it;s use. I know every effort is being made to keep up with it and it is appreciated/ However, I would not poo poo this away or treat it as something that is not that important to sl residents. RLVa and the BDSM community of sl makes up a huge part of sl and are major contributors to the merchant industry of this specific part of the community. While Linden Labs ignorantly chooses to ignore this I give credit to 3rd party viewers like Firestorm for carrying it and hope that it is not passed off in the future as something the sl community can do without as I am sure a minimum of 1/3 of the community if not more use it.

    Nikki Davi

    April 25, 2016

  • kool story bro 1 v 1 me quickscope


    May 3, 2016

  • 1) You need to define RLV– it isn’t in wikipedia or urban dict.

    2) Post a link to release notes for the current version. I’m sure they’re here somewhere, but they SHOULD be a link on the “update firestorm” page.

    3) The quality of SL avatars is circa 2002. Considering that righteous primo rendering is possible, fast computers are ubiquitous, and 3D -game avatars are near-photorealistic, there is no excuse for the crude, blocky SL avatars. This is the main reason I don’t use SL almost ever anymore.

    4) Everyone on this page, both developers and commenters, is supposedly a woman. So are most people in-world–at least in the BDSM areas that I hang out at.

    That is creepy as HELL, and it indicates that almost all women in SL are fake weirdo men. That alone makes me not want to use SL.

    Faye Kane

    May 19, 2016

  • Heya everyone,

    Please can you give us marketplace links or names of content and SLURL for some content that uses the new RLV features like the blacklist, @shownametags & camera etc for testing.
    Kitty has the RLVa update done & we need to get hold of a variety of content that uses the new functions to test it’s working correctly.

    If Kitty is satisfied that the test items are behaving correctly, there will be a Firestorm test build for you to try very soon

    Whirly Fizzle

    June 5, 2016

  • Try some of the recent stuff by RF.

    It not only have some of those features but also allows adjusting it.

    Matteste Elton

    June 19, 2016

  • Thanks!

    Whirly Fizzle

    June 19, 2016