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Archive for August, 2013

Server Side Appearance a success!

SSA is now live

Earlier in the week we notified you all that server side appearance (SSA) was rolling out to the entire grid between Tuesday the 20th and Wednesday the 21st. This rollout was the completion of just one phase of this improvement, and I am happy to say, aside from a few glitches it has been mostly a success. Congratulations Linden Lab, job very well done! It isn’t perfect though, as there are still some users who are having appearance troubles but so far these seem to have common and fixable causes. For more info on these and other SSA problems please visit the blog links at the bottom of this post.

Now this was just the first iteration of this work, and as of Friday afternoon Nyx Linden stated that they have plenty more viewer code yet to be tested and released which contains more fixes, improvements and cleanup for SSA. When this code becomes available we intend to merge it into ours and have it available with our next Firestorm release. For those interested you can listen to Nyx speak about the SSA rollout at Friday’s Third Party Viewer Meeting starting at 4 minutes and 50 seconds on the following video recording.

Faster avatar rendering!

By now most of you have probably noticed improvements in the speed at which you and other avatars render your worn clothing: that’s one of the things SSA is designed to do. But please note SSA doesn’t address rendering of objects, sculpts or mesh, worn or otherwise. SSA deals specifically with your avatar skin and clothing layer textures only.

To the complainers…

I have seen plenty of folks complaining about LL “once again fixing things that aren’t broken instead of dealing with important things… ” Let me just tell you straight up, right now! Avatar appearance has been in the Top Five list of broken things that have needed to be fixed for many, many years, maybe even the top issue. Not just that, but this fix has taken over a year to do and truly was a monumental task for LL as it required nearly a full rewrite of incredibly complicated code. The fact that LL was able to roll this out without the grid exploding on first attempt is impressive enough, but they also proved me wrong! I predicted it would take three attempts before it would stick; they did it on the first. While it isn’t perfect, and there may still be issues for some people rendering, it is important to remember a few things…

1st. This is just the beginning. LL will be working for some time now to polish up this new rendering system and improve its reliability. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so be patient.
2nd. Let’s give LL some credit for going after a very expensive and challenging set of bugs in order to fix bake fail across the grid while also speeding up render times to improve our user experience. This is one of those times LL has fixed something very important to us.

Temporary textures no longer work

Many of you have noticed that temporary texture uploads no longer work… this is because temp textures worked by piggybacking on the avatar appearance data. Because this data has now drastically changed, temp textures no longer work and cannot be fixed. The alternative is to use the local texture picker. Info can be found here: .




Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc

Server Side Appearance goes grid wide!

Server Side Appearance (SSA) Rolls grid wide starting Tuesday!

Linden Lab will begin updating main channel regions with SSA starting Tuesday morning, and this will progress throughout the day. Then on Wednesday the remaining regions will also update with SSA. By Wednesday night Server Side Appearance will be grid wide.
See the LL blog post here

Don’t know what SSA is?

In layman’s terms, LL is improving the way avatars render and, if you are not on a viewer that supports it (SSA), you will be gray to others and they will be gray to you. Our latest Firestorm release 4.4.2 supports SSA, get on it!

Seeing gray people?

Rough estimates suggest there are about 70,000 users still on various viewers that do not support this new code! If you are one of those people, starting Tuesday you will see more and more gray people, and make no mistake… you will be gray to them as well.

No support for gray people!

Please… do not come asking for support because you are gray. With all the efforts we have made, LL has made and the Blogosphere has made to inform users of this upcoming change going back months, there should be no excuse for you to not have known this was coming. Anyone not on a SSA viewer is there by choice and you are on your own. On the bright side, you’ll save money on clothing since no one will see them on you anyway.

Supported Firestorm Versions are…

Currently Firestorm 4.4.0 partially supports SSA and Firestorm 4.4.2 fully supports SSA. Those are the only two versions we provide support for now. Get yourself on Firestorm 4.4.2 first, and if you are still having problems THEN come for help.


Please update to a Server Side Appearance capable viewer now!

Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc

Q&A – Don’t be surprised.. Be Informed!!!

On Saturday we held a big Q&A session for our users. The purpose of these Q&As is to help you stay informed with what is happening in the virtual world around you, what is happening with this project and the viewer/viewers you run. The Q&A went on for nearly three hours and was well attended with a full region; it was recorded for those who couldn’t attend.


Some key points that should catch your attention. (If you don’t know what these things mean or want to learn more about  them, read the transcript linked at the bottom or watch the video.)

  • CHUI is coming to Firestorm.
  • Materials is coming to Firestorm.
  • Server side appearance progress.
  • OTR… The myths and the facts, and yes it’s coming to Firestorm.
  • What is coming in the next Firestorm release and what to expect, what not to expect.
  • We will begin forcing users to update by blocking old versions of Firestorm. Only the three latest versions will be allowed on the grid at any given time.
  • Regularly scheduled Q&As will begin in September.
  • Etc., etc.
  • Want to know more? Read below…

If you are one of those people who like to be informed or understand the importance of being informed but couldn’t make it, Inara Pey has been kind enough to once again transcribe and summarize the entire session on her blog here. . She even included videos relating to some of the  topics that were discussed. Highly recommended.

For those who would prefer the video only, you can watch it here or from Inara’s post.

Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc.