17 August 2014

Firestorm Release and Mac 64bit Viewer

This evening, the Firestorm team officially released version of their popular viewer (click here for release notes and download links). This release incorporates the Lab's Project Interesting, which significantly improves scene loading, so this update is really a must for any Firestorm user. A clean install is recommended.

For people like me who use Macs, what's really huge about this release is the much anticipated 64bit version of the Mac viewer. I've had the pleasure of testing the 64bit beta versions for quite a while, and can assure you that the experience is like night and day: gone are the "textures discarded" memory crashes (the bane of many a photographer's existence), and the overall improvement in performance is staggering: even in a very crowded sim with dozens of avatars, I'm able to rapidly cam around, and everything renders swiftly. (And this is on a several-year-old iMac.) Even though the Mac 64bit version is being released as a beta, I think it's the most stable version of the viewer I've ever used, so I'd strongly recommend it. (Also: if your Mac is running anything below OS X 10.9, Mavericks, and can be updated, do it — you'll see significant improvements with Firestorm or any other viewer.) Thanks to Cinder Roxley, Tonya Souther and Sovereign Engineer (of Alchemy Viewer) for all of their work on the new Mac 64bit viewer. (And, of course, thanks to the entire Firestorm team for their exceptional work and dedication!)

Almost gone is the notorious option-cam bug, introduced with the Lab's Mac Cocoa build, that could shoot your camera willy-nilly into space — now that happens only once every twenty clicks or so (fix via the Lab from Aura Linden). Significant improvements have also been made on the Mac keystroke entry lag issue (courtesy of Nicky Dasmijn).

For a complete list of changes and updates, browse the Firestorm change log here.


  1. I like the new viewer so far. Scenes rez faster and perhaps are a bit more "sharp", but I found that I had to break the new viewer in (Windows 64 bit version) for about an hour or so -- looking at maximum graphic levels on a few different sims -- for it to work smoothly. This really makes no sense, it should work well immediately - perhaps my graphics card needed to adjust a bit to the new load requirements or something like this.

    1. I'm not enjoying it as it seems really bad for me. The project interesting seems to de-rez things not in view as in things behind me and if I turn around it has to rez again. On the mini map I can see things coming and going and it seems to be harder for my computer to keep having to rez things are I turn around. Maybe I've not given it long enough as Eddi advised but at the moment its a real pain to use.

    2. Kaya I noticed that at first - but it seems to not happen as much now. There is a new destination, Silver Lake at Rainbow Hills -- where this happened (losing rezzing when you turn) at first. It is not happening now. I am not sure why, perhaps it has something to do with a texture cache or a bridge being created.