Saturday, 22 December 2012

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year!

Well it looks like we all survived the Mayan Apocalypse. Which unfortunately means we all have to go back to work after the holidays... and we still have to pay our bills :-( . Oh c'mon, admit it! You know you thought about how nice it would be to not have to pay bills anymore! :-D

On behalf of the entire team here at the Phoenix Firestorm Project, we would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or whatever celebrations you partake in this time of year. Happy holidays and we wish you all a fantastic New Year! 

We survived 2012! See ya next year! \o/

Jessica Lyon and the Team.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Ending support for the Phoenix Viewer

On Saturday, Dec 15th, we held an important office hour at which the subject was the removal of official support for our V1-based Phoenix Viewer at the end of this year. We are also no longer developing this viewer. (Not to be confused with the Phoenix-Firestorm Viewer, which will continue to be fully developed and supported.)

To be clear
- We are ending support for the Phoenix Viewer on Dec 31st, 2012. 
- If you are a Phoenix user we recommend you migrate to a peer-to-peer help group created for Phoenix users: “Phoenix Viewer Self Help.

- We are NOT forcing you to use Firestorm! If you don't want to use Firestorm, there are a few V1 alternatives out there. Check out the LL Third Party Viewer Directory. 
- We are NOT telling you not to use Phoenix Viewer.
- We are NOT blocking Phoenix Viewer from logging in.
- We are NOT breaking Phoenix!
- You MAY continue to use Phoenix as long as you want, but be aware.. it will become more and more deprecated over time.
- LL is not intentionally killing Phoenix but be aware, there are changes coming in the new year that will break some key aspects of its usability. 

We will remove the download links on our main website to Phoenix in the new year, but it will remain available from our "Other Downloads" section of our wiki. We will not remove any documentation or JIRA issues reported against Phoenix.

Please watch the video recording of that office hour here and that should answer all your questions as to why we have made this decision.
You can also read the speech here, which I had prepared and read during the Office Hour that explains our reasons for making this decision.

I realize this decision will not be popular among our Phoenix users, and I apologize for that, but I ask you to please watch the video or read the speech BEFORE complaining or asking why in the blog post comments. Our reasons are sensible, responsible and logical. If, after you've watched the video, you still do not agree with our decision, THEN please feel free to complain and vent.

Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc

Friday, 14 December 2012

Phoenix Firestorm Office Hour - Dec 15.

It's been a while since we held an Office Hour with our users and it's become apparent that one is certainly needed and overdue. For those of you unfamiliar with our office hours they take part both inworld and via a live video stream/chat where I address your questions and concerns on a live broadcast. The broadcast is also recorded for future viewing.

Dec 15th, 2012 at 1:30pm until 2:30pm Second Life Time.  You will absolutely want to be there, or on the stream at least half an hour early to ensure you make it.

Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend but I especially want to see Phoenix Viewer users in attendance as the primary topic will be about Phoenix and its future. I also would like to see all you angry people who have been flaming and hating on us in our blog comments. I'd like to address your complaints so please at least be on the stream if you can.

Because the lack of Phoenix Viewer development and in fact the future of the Phoenix Viewer itself needs to be discussed and your questions/concerns need to be addressed.

Inworld at our Support Island. Here is the SLurl.
The region will fill up very fast so the alternative is the live stream here

This is an especially important meeting for you to attend if you are a diehard Phoenix Viewer user.

Hope to see you there.

Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc

Monday, 3 December 2012

Reports of Pink with 31155

We've had some reports of pink screen in the release of from people on ATI cards. This is a driver issue with ATI and there are ways to fix it. Please see the following link if you have pink screen issues.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Firestorm Major Release

The time has come once again to deliver to our users another "major" update of the Firestorm Viewer. We may not have the shortest release cycles compared to other TPVs, but our updates do carry a LOT of value. This release is certainly no different, with a HUGE list of new features, bug fixes and improvements.

Major Release Feature Highlights...

* Fully integrated Phototools & Cameratools for photographers and machinima makers by Paperwork (our newest member):
    - Phototools is a phenomenally powerful interface for creating visually stunning and breathtaking environments best suited for Photographers and Videographers.
    - Cameratools gives you far more control over your camera, including the ability to save camera position presets.
    - Click to see examples of what can be done.
    - Click for documentation on Phototools.
    - Click for documentation on Cameratools.
    - Or best of all... click for the amazing video tutorials!

* V1 Search functionality revival by our newest developer, Cinder Roxley:
    - Cinder wasted no time making her mark on the project by bringing to Firestorm one of the single most requested options since V2 came out.
    - V1 Search is available under the Content menu as "Legacy Search" and as a Toolbar button.
    - Ability to search People, Groups, Places and Classifieds. 
    - This optional search method is a work in progress, more to come!

Script recovery by Kitty Barnett of Catznip Viewer:
    - Open scripts are auto-saved locally every 60 seconds. 
    - In the event of a viewer crash, backed up copies of the scripts are presented to the user and returned to the Lost & Found folder if the user chooses. (More info)

New Area Search, completely rewritten and vastly improved by Techwolf Lupindo:
    - Lightning fast results
    - Improved interface.
    - Loads of filters and options.

Fully customizable Viewer Sounds by another new developer of ours, Panterapolnocy:
    - Find them in Preferences > Sound & Media > "UI Sounds 1" and "UI Sounds 2."
    - Allows you to change the default viewer sounds to anything you have in your inventory via Copy > UUID. 
    - Gives you options to play or not play particular sounds as well. 
    - Report collision messages to scripts;
    - Texture refresh on sculpties;

* Flickr snapshot upload improvements and fixes by Katharine Berry of Exodus (ty!);
* New Toolbar buttons;
* and on and on and on... 

IMPORTANT: Because of the many skin and settings changes/improvements/adjustments we've made it is especially important that you perform a clean install of this build.

OpenSim has a build, too, with lots of improvements and fixes as well! 


The Phoenix Firestorm Team

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Phoenix-Firestorm Public Beta


Yesterday, November 13th, Linden Lab rolled out a server update to the Second Life grid that contained some improved group handling code for large groups. Unfortunately, however, at the time of this writing, and to the best of our knowledge, only the current LL Beta Viewer has the necessary code released for compatibility with this update. As a result, moderators of large groups with more than 10,000 users are unable to load the group member list. This leaves users unable to manage group memberships on anything other than the Linden Beta. LL has also released some new notifications to the server that some old versions of Firestorm and all versions of Phoenix will not recognize. This leads to error messages that say, "Your version of viewer name does not know how to display the alert message it just received."

In order to accommodate the users who need to manage their large groups, we have decided to rush what we have done so far, along with the group loading code, into a public Beta for you. This also gives those of you who like cutting edge code a chance to toy with our latest and report problems to us on our JIRA

- This is NOT an official release, but we will provide support for it.
- This has NOT been thoroughly tested by our Quality Assurance team.
- We can NOT make any promises regarding how stable or bug-free it is.
- This DOES have some really cool new stuff in it!

- You need to manage large groups inworld.
- You're tired of seeing unknown alert messages in Phoenix.
- You're feeling brave, you live on the cutting edge and you want to get an early look at what's coming in December's Official Release.

You can download the beta from

If you can wait, we have a scheduled Official Release around the beginning of December that we expect will be fantastic.

Phoenix users:

Our developers and support staff have been extremely busy trying to balance their real working and personal lives while continuing their volunteer efforts to develop SL's most popular viewer for you. Unfortunately, most of us cannot easily compile Phoenix anymore because of missing/expired libraries like Fmod, compiler changes we've had to make for Firestorm, OS upgrades (Win8), etc. To update Phoenix to current LL code now would be a very, very big task and, because we are already at our limit of what we can do, there are no plans to update Phoenix Viewer to support this new group code or handle the new notification system at this time. We are, after all, only human.

We highly recommend Phoenix users give Firestorm a chance -- or a second one, as the case may be. Either that or consider looking for an alternative V1-based viewer. Firestorm has a very good Phoenix-like interface mode now, and most Phoenix users who have given Firestorm a dedicated 3-5 day chance now proudly prefer it over Phoenix. Firestorm also has a significant lead over Phoenix in both minutes and unique users. It is clear that Firestorm is the viewer that will stand the test of time, where Phoenix will not.

In the meantime, Phoenix is still usable in SL, provided you don't need to manage large groups and don't mind putting up with error messages.

I hope you understand our current dilemma regarding Phoenix, and though we have not made a solid decision yet as to whether or not we will update it again in the future, it is not looking likely at the moment. Please understand that sooner or later... one way or another, Phoenix will expire.


Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Status update

Why our long release cycles?
While Firestorm is plugging along towards another huge release, I often get asked why our releases are so far apart compared to other viewer projects'. There are a couple of reasons for this, but the main one is that updating is a royal pain in the butt, and I understand most users hate updating unless there is something really worthwhile in the update to make the effort. Because of this, I want each and every one of our Firestorm updates to have enough value that you will want to update to it and not be insulted by frequent minor updates that do little to improve your experience. When I say "value," I mean a significant combination of great new features, along with bug, stability and performance fixes that make the update process worth your time and energy. Now, not everyone on our team agrees 100% with this strategy, and I'm sure there will be some of you who don't, either, but I believe it to be a matter of respecting you (our users) and your time. In the future, however, we plan to make that updating process easier for you by setting up seamless behind-the-scenes updates you will hardly even notice, allowing us to provide more frequent updates and even hotfixes to improve your experience faster!

Upcoming Firestorm "value"
I'm VERY excited to say we have some great new improvements coming, like integrated Phototools contributed to us by Paperwork Resident! Paperwork has spent a lot of time with our developer Ansariel Hiller, getting his phototools integrated into Firestorm with their own floaters and panels. But we'll also have features like the ability to save/restore custom camera positions, improved Spellchecker and Autoreplace (courtesy of LL), an RLV update, crouch to toggle, a new "Dyslexia" font, "Autoresponse Sent" message in IMs, the ability to highlight people in a region through the object list in the About Land floater, customizable audio alerts for friends going on/offline, voice visualizers in the radar, the ability to exclude group-owned objects during selection, configurable interface sounds in Prefs, an option to report collision messages to scripts, etc., etc., etc. Not to mention a gazillion more stability and performance improvements. It's all coming soon!

OpenSim and our compatibility efforts
While Second Life still remains the primary focus of our development efforts, we have begun working towards bringing Firestorm Viewer into better compatibility with the OpenSim Platform. It is important to point out where the extent of that effort ends, though. We are making Firestorm work better on the "base" OpenSim Platform, but we cannot fix problems that arise on specific OpenSim grids because of changes those particular grids have made to their OpenSim code. For those issues to be fixed, we will rely on those grids to provide us code contributions to address those issues.

Military Open Simulator Enterprise Strategy
Several weeks ago, we were contacted by Mr. Douglas Maxwell, who is a Science and Technology Manager for Virtual World Strategic Applications of the Simulation & Training Technology Center. This is a branch of the United States Army Research Laboratory, and he runs the Military Open Simulator Enterprise Strategy (MOSES)  project. While MOSES does have a presence in Second Life, their primary focus and virtual headquarters exist on the Open Simulator platform. They expressed an interest in working together with us on Firestorm Viewer. More specifically, they intend to make the Open Simulator platform more secure for their grid, but more importantly to also give that work back to the OpenSim community by contributing it to our open source Firestorm Viewer. We think this is a fantastic goal and have already begun working with them. We are certainly looking forward to the results of these efforts in the future. If you have any questions for Mr. Maxwell, you can reach him through his email here.

Our new second home on OSgrid
Walter Balazic, owner of the Littlefield System, and Hiro Protagonist, who runs the servers the Littlefield regions run on, have very generously donated a couple of regions on OSgrid to us to use as we please. Not only that, but Walter and Camryn Darkstone landscaped and furnished one of them to be our OSgrid headquarters! See a snapshot here, or if you would like to check it out in person, you can create an account on OSgrid here and, once inworld, open the Map and look for an island called "Firestorm Island." Having a region there helps us to further test Firestorm's OpenSim capabilities and work towards ironing out all the bugs there. The region is absolutely beautiful, and we are so ever grateful for their generosity! Thanks Littlefield!

Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Firestorm earns #1 spot in popularity and crash rate!

Belated Happy 2nd Anniversary!
We've been so busy lately, we didn't even realize until Monday that Sunday, Sept 2nd, was our 2nd year anniversary as a team! Time sure flies!

And what have we achieved in two years?

- Lowest crash rate ever!
This morning we got our crash rate in for our latest release and it's at 8.54% according to Linden Lab's Statistics!!! This is an all time record low crash rate for any v2/v3 viewer in recorded history! It even beats the current crash rate for LL's aging but stable 1.23 viewer!

- Firestorm beats Phoenix as #1 viewer in SL!
Furthermore, we also received an email through the opensource-dev mailing list from Oz Linden this morning that stated the following:

"On behalf of Linden Lab, I'd like to extend congratulations to the
Firestorm Viewer team.

Last week, Firestorm took over the #1 spot on the list of Second Life
viewers in terms of total user time, surpassing its elder cousin,
Phoenix.  The Phoenix viewer still has a slight lead in number of
sessions, but Firestorm viewer sessions are on average significantly
longer - which may in turn be due in part to its substantially better

The Firestorm team has worked long and hard to support users who want
both the latest Second Life features being developed by Linden Lab and
the additional capabilities you provide, and this achievement is one you
can all be proud of.  Thank you.

What does it all mean?
I use our viewer statistics as a measurement of how well we are accomplishing our goal of improving the user experience. The fact that Firestorm is now the most popular viewer in Second Life AND is the most stable viewer tells me we're doing it right!

I couldn't be more proud of our Development Team, our Support Team and our QA and Beta Testers than I am today. Achieving what we have can only be done through team effort and a lot of it! But more than that, I want to thank all of you, our users. Through the last two years you've supported us, trusted us, guided us to what we've been doing right and what we're doing wrong. You've helped set the temperature to when we're moving closer or further away from improving your experience, and we've listened. We couldn't have reached this level of success without you as well!

Thank you Developers, Support, Beta Testers and Users!


Jessica Lyon
Proud Project Manager!
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc

Monday, 27 August 2012

Firestorm Update

It's release time again!...Again! 
Part II. 

For those interested in the back story behind why we had to pull the 4.2.1 release, have a read on Tonya's latest blog post.  If you installed the 4.2.1 release we recommend you update to this one and we apologize for the inconvenience!

With this release we bring you Pathfinding documentation, tools and scripting functions in Firestorm, as well as an RLVa 1.4.7 update, more crash fixes, stability and performance improvements and a bunch of new features too!

New in
- Skin improvements to Starlight, Vintage, Metaharper, FS High Contrast and Ansastorm.
- New windlight sky settings, including Ambient Dark, Grey and White and a new Tron Legacy series.
- Added pathfinding LSL functions from Linden Lab.
- Ability to disable group chat on a per-group basis!
- Snapshot uploads to Flickr (thanks to Katharine Berry and Exodus Viewer for that work).
- Temp uploads from snapshot floater.
- Cool new SLurl command line feature!
- New toolbar buttons for ground sit, sound explorer, asset blacklist.
- Our own less intrusive "Rebake terrain" button next to no build/no script/no push icons in menu/nav bar.
- Improved AO handling with other animating inworld objects.
- Ability to join our support group from Help menu.
lots more!

OpenSim specific
- LSL Bridge disabled on OpenSim.
- Grid manager help link and docu on login page.
- Group creation cost corrected.
- Mapto command now working in OSgrid.
- Upload cost amounts corrected.

For complete release notes, including new features, fixes, improvements, changes and known issues please see our change log here:

Please note: As usual we highly recommend performing a clean install.

We may be a little while before our next release since it's going to require considerable work, like merging to LL's latest code, Havok, setting up our separate builds for SL/OpenSim, and most importantly... stabilizing all that new stuff.

Enjoy the update!

The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc.

4.2.1 withdrawn as release

We discovered an ugly bug with our release and are removing it from downloads.

The bug comes from a fix we inadvertently pulled in from LL, to a fix a bug we don't yet have, which has created a pretty nasty visual bug with doors, wheels and other things that rotate.

Because of this we are temporarily removing our downloads of 4.2.1 and will have an update of 4.2.2 by the end of the day.

If you are already on, don't panic, no need to downgrade, your viewer is still safe. The bug makes doors and things 'look' broken, but it does not actually break anything, it's purely visual. However we ask that you update to 4.2.2 once it's available.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Jessica Lyon
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Firestorm Update

It's release time again!

With this release we bring you Pathfinding documentation, tools and scripting functions in Firestorm, as well as an RLVa 1.4.7 update, more crash fixes, stability and performance improvements and a bunch of new features too!

New in
- Skin improvements to Starlight, Vintage, Metaharper, FS High Contrast and Ansastorm.
- New windlight sky settings, including Ambient Dark, Grey and White and a new Tron Legacy series.
- Added pathfinding LSL functions from Linden Lab.
- Ability to disable group chat on a per-group basis!
- Snapshot uploads to Flickr (thanks to Katharine Berry and Exodus Viewer for that work).
- Temp uploads from snapshot floater.
- Cool new SLurl command line feature!
- New toolbar buttons for ground sit, sound explorer, asset blacklist.
- Our own less intrusive "Rebake terrain" button next to no build/no script/no push icons in menu/nav bar.
- Improved AO handling with other animating inworld objects.
- Ability to join our support group from Help menu.
- lots more!

OpenSim specific
- LSL Bridge disabled on OpenSim.
- Grid manager help link and docu on login page.
- Group creation cost corrected.
- Mapto command now working in OSgrid.
- Upload cost amounts corrected.

For complete release notes, including new features, fixes, improvements, changes and known issues please see our change log here:

Please note: As usual we highly recommend performing a clean install.

We may be a little while before our next release since it's going to require considerable work, like merging to LL's latest code, Havok, setting up our separate builds for SL/OpenSim, and most importantly... stabilizing all that new stuff.

Enjoy the update!

The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Phoenix Firestorm Support Region

Our primary goal has always been to "Improve the user experience." We do this on several fronts, including providing and developing viewers with features and functionality based on user requests; running a major support effort designed to help users with all kinds of different problems; providing classes that teach viewer functions, features and general trouble shooting; working closely with Linden Lab to try and ensure your issues and concerns are heard, etc.

As of today we are adding one more major initiative towards that effort, which is to provide a support region for both our own users and to all residents of Second Life where they can go to find help with viewer issues and just about everything else. This is not to be used as a hangout -- it's purely for those who need help.

This is a cooperative effort between us and the best of the best among Second Life mentor and helper groups, which will populate it with courteous, generous and highly knowledgeable volunteers in order to provide support and information to new and old users alike. We are extremely excited to say that members of the White Tiger Mentors, Resident Help Network, Mental Mentors and others have joined us in this shared effort and will be available in the region for you should you need help.

We are also thankful to the many bloggers who have written about this effort, which helps us explain what it's all about and expand on information about it. It also helps spread the word about the region because the more people who know about it, the more people it helps. We encourage you to have a read through their blog posts linked below.

To find the region, simply open your Map and search "Phoenix Firestorm Support" or click the SLurl:

Bloggers' links, in no particular order:

Jessica Lyon speech at opening party

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Pathfinding Server Rollout

Pathfinding  is rolling out on all regions today and may have an impact on the performance of your regions as well as introduce some new bugs.   INFO: What is pathfinding? Click here

Pathfinding  & Region Performance
Once your region has been updated today, it will have Pathfinding running on it. Until your region has been optimized, this may have a performance impact. Linden Lab has assured me the impact will be at worst 4ms on main regions and 1ms on homesteads and at best won't be noticed. In layman's terms, this is around 18% max of region performance. In order to optimize your region, you will need a viewer with pathfinding tools; currently these tools are only available in a LL Beta Viewer.

Your options will be to A) optimize your region; B) turn Pathfinding off on your region; or C) do nothing. Instructions for the first two options below...

Note: Only Region Owners and Estate Managers can work with Pathfinding. 
Only Region Owners and Estate Managers can enable/disable Pathfinding on a region. Parcel owners can optimize their parcels on a Pathfinding enabled region. 
Instructions to optimize your regions:
Download the LL Beta Viewer (Win, Mac, Linux) and go through the process of optimizing your region / parcel.

Turn Pathfinding off
1. Get sim console open.
Phoenix: Go to the top menu bar, Advanced > Consoles > Region Debug Console. (Press Ctrl-Alt-D to enable the Advanced menu if you do not already have it enabled.)
Firestorm: Go to the top menu bar, Develop > Consoles > Region Debug Console. (Press Ctrl-Alt-Q if you do not have Develop menu enabled.)

2. In the console window that opens, type (without the quotes), "set dynamic_pathfinding false", and press enter.

3. Restart your region.

Note: More information about Pathfinding can be found here:

New bugs you should be aware of!
Along with Pathfinding come changes to the Havok Physics engine, which have introduced some new bugs we think you should be aware of, including issues with some vehicles, physics, phantom and sculpts. You can view the list of issues we are aware of at the following link. None of these issues can be fixed by our support team:

Note: Unfortunately there are quite a few Linden JIRAs on this list that have been set hidden from public view. There is nothing we can do about that beyond offering a description of the issue. 

Questions & Answers from Linden Lab 
Yesterday I sent a list of questions off to LL and received the answers back this morning. These questions and answers may be of interest to you, as well, so I've put them online here.


Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc.

P.S. Please pass this blog post along to all the region owners you know!


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Technical problems (Resolved)

The problems with the website download links and erroneous update notifications on Phoenix and Firestorm Viewer login screens have been resolved.

Again, our sincerest apologies for any confusion and/or inconvenience this may have caused.

The Phoenix Firestorm Team

Technical problems

We've been experiencing some technical problems today with our website resulting in false 'new release notifications' as well as broken download links on the website. We are currently working to resolve these issues and will update this blog once we are back to normal.

To be clear, there was not a Firestorm or Phoenix viewer Release today, the latest firestorm version is and the latest Phoenix version is The login screen notifications were in error.

You can still find download links on our wiki page in the meantime.

We apologize for the confusion and inconvenience.

The Phoenix Firestorm Project, inc.

Friday, 20 July 2012

What's Next? Pathfinding!

A great success!
Firestorm has turned out to be a great success -- one of our best, in fact! We went from near the bottom of the Third Party Viewer Directory (meaning we had a comparatively higher crash rate) to the top of the list with the lowest crash rate according to Linden Lab stats! This could change as more people adopt 28744 and as other TPVs improve their crash rates as well, but we are quite pleased nonetheless. And special thanks to all of you who are allowing your crash reports to be sent, as we've managed to fix a whole bunch of other crashes we weren't even aware of, meaning the next release will be even more stable!

What's next...Pathfinding!
We've decided to release LL's Pathfinding work in Firestorm in two stages.

Stage 1 (next release).
Pathfinding Tools. Not to be confused with the Havok library, which is used to display Navigation Mesh (NavMesh), the Pathfinding Tools are what you will need to optimize your regions once Pathfinding goes live.

Unless LL changes the current plan, when Pathfinding goes live, all regions will have pathfinding enabled by default, and all objects that contain scripts will be treated as "Movable Obstacles." Movable Obstacles will have an impact on region performance, so region owners will need to optimize their regions by setting scripted objects that don't move to "Static Obstacles." To do this, you will need Pathfinding Tools!

So our plan with our next release is to get Pathfinding tools out as soon as we can. This will be based on our 28744 release + post 28744 crash fixes + LL Pathfinding code. There have not been many new additions beyond that since the release, and this is for the best: we expect this code will destabilize the viewer to a degree, since it will be a large merge, and we’d rather base this version on a solid release than on a wild card.

Stage 2 (follow up release).
Release with the Havok Library for NavMesh. Havok will be used to enable viewing of NavMesh, display of object types and AI Preview of object paths. So the second Firestorm release from now will have Havok + stability fixes to the previous release + more of our own goodies.

How soon?
Great question, and a very tough one to answer since there are many factors involved that we have little control over. Like...
- LL's timeline to release Pathfinding;
- How much Linden code we have to merge into Firestorm;
- How many regressions and new bugs we pick up from that merge;
- How long it'll take us to fix them, etc.
But we want to get these out as soon as we possibly can once it's live on the grid.

Confusing Pathfinding is confusing!
If all this Pathfinding stuff sounds complicated and confusing to you, you're not alone. Unfortunately, though, region owners in particular are going to have to understand this stuff at least on a basic level. Fortunately! LL has some documentation on it, which I've linked throughout parts of this post (indicated by colored text). But I will also post links at the end of this post to LL's documentation and an early video. For more information I would encourage you to google "Second Life Pathfinding."

What about Phoenix?
Currently there is no time for us to squish pathfinding tools into Phoenix, as Firestorm is keeping us very busy already. Region owners using Phoenix will still be able to disable/enable pathfinding on their regions using the console, but for all else they will need to switch to Firestorm, to LL’s viewer or to another viewer supporting Pathfinding tools.

Pathfinding Links and Documentation
NOTE: Some of this documentation may change or be out of date as Pathfinding is still under development.
What is Pathfinding (early LL video):
Pathfinding quickstart guide:
Pathfinding tools:
Pathfinding NavMesh:
A Visual Guide to NavMesh:

Jessica Lyon
Project Manager

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Major Firestorm Viewer Update!

Get it from the  Downloads Page and please do a  clean install  to avoid performance and stability problems.
Instructions here.

In our last blog post we said we would have two separate builds for this release -- one for OpenSim and the other for Second Life -- to comply with requirements for using Havok. This is still the plan for the future, but it's postponed because Pathfinding isn't ready and Havok isn't available yet. And so for this release only, you get OpenSim goodness included!

FULL of Awesome Update!
This Firestorm update is HUGE with regard to features, fixes and improvements, and it brings us to 99% feature completeness compared to Phoenix. Almost four months in the making it is easily one of our biggest updates to date. Not only that, but it's thoroughly quality tested by our revitalized Quality Assurance team using new structured test procedures by more than 100 dedicated beta testers! They've been REALLY busy!

This update puts a lot of focus on the needs of builders, scripters, estate managers, average to advanced users and of course V1/Phoenix diehards by providing...
- New Features and Tools for builders, scripters and estate managers.
- More options for legacy V1 features/behavior
- Greater flexibility, functionality, performance and Stability for everyone!

But rather than bore you with chit chat, let me just point out a very small sample of what you get with this update! You can see the full  Release notes here.

- Up to date with Linden 3.3.3 code base.
- RLV 1.4.6
- New Permanent Derender / Asset Blacklist   
Sound Explorer
Right click > Script Options!  Epic!
- OpenSim Prefs Panel  and expanded grid manager.
Loads of new tools and improvements for Builders!  Click to check that out!
- LSL PreProcessor  It's back!
Enhancements to client AO so it can be enabled/disabled via scripts.  Long requested! We aim to please!
- Increased text buffer size to allow for larger copy/pastes and longer messages in IMs and Local chat.
- Temp uploads for snapshots returned
- Ctrl or Shift + Mouse scroll wheel to change default camera position! So awesome!
- Profile, script info button and estate kick functions added to Top Scripts and Top Colliders floaters
- Support for 1024×1024 terrain textures
- Keyboard shortcut hovertips over Toolbar buttons
- Texture size display for all objects and attachments!  (Develop Menu>Render Metadata>Texture Size)
Crash Logging!  And yes we WILL be fixing crashes with these so please send them!
- Option to use different search terms between inventory / Recent / Worn. (Prefs>Firestorm>General>Allow separate search terms..) HUGE!
- Option to display Received Items folder as regular folder in inventory or standard V3 display (Prefs> Firestorm>General>"Show received items folder...")
- Option to use V1-style inventory Accept/Decline messages (Prefs>Privacy>"Use legacy inventory offer...").
Growl for Mac, Windows and Linux!
- New windlight settings
- Fixes for Linux-specific problems
- LOADS of crash, stabilization and performance fixes/improvements

Please be patient with our support staff as they will be very busy, as they always are during a release and can only do so much.

4.1.1 Classes!
We've got newly updated classes as well now to teach you how to use all these new features, preferences, options and goodies. We highly encourage you to come check them out -- lots of new stuff to learn! Check them out here

Don't forget to clean install!!

Wow what a release! Have at it, folks! Enjoy and we'll see you in world!

The Phoenix Firestorm Team!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Progress Report

Let me start by saying it's been a crazy amount of work for everyone getting Firestorm to where it is. After the release of 27000 myself and many of the developers were suffering from what is clinically known as  'Burn out'. We needed some time off... I needed some time off. For me it was about 6 weeks away before I started feeling ready to return to  cat herding, while some others took less, and some are simply enjoying the fresh air of this most wonderful time of year.
But fear not because we are back in gear now and shifting into overdrive!

New developers!
I'll start off the good news with the announcement and welcome to two new developers to our team.
Holy Gavenkrantz  has been a regular code contributor to Phoenix then Firestorm since very early on and I felt it only made sense to draw him in as an official developer. You see... after so many patches from a contributor it begins to only make sense that we ask if that contributor would like to join us. (hint hint)
Then there's  Armin Weatherwax (Arminweatherhax Resident in SL), formerly from Imprudence/Kokua. Armin was the main developer on the Kokua viewer for a long time and when I heard he was a free agent I approached him immediately. Armin really knows his stuff and we're very excited to have him on board with us!
Welcome to the team guys!

We've recently discovered that Firestorm has become the favorite viewer for other grids. I personally have had a LOT of grid owners approach me asking for improvements to Firestorm in OpenSim. Well, it just so happens that 'other grids' are where Armin excels, in fact I've put Armin in charge of that area from this point forward. In other words, Firestorm is going to extend its focus and improve support for other grids, however I must point out.. we cannot 'offer support' for other grids since there is just no way to stretch our support team out that thin into other grids. But what about the  Havok sub-license terms  stating the viewer cannot connect to other grids while having Havok?  Well we've thought about that and decided we're going to offer TWO versions of Firestorm. One for Second Life with Pathfinding Havok goodness, and one for other grids without Havok. We'll have more news about that soon.

New Release coming
More skins and skin customization improvements, new Windlight effects, Growl, Build floater improvements and options, ctrl/shift mouse wheel for setting custom default cam positions, brought back "remove scripts from selection", LSL PreProcessor!, improved functionality to estate tools, improved mouselook functionality, sound explorer, permanent derender, asset blacklist... loads of bug fixes, improvements and new features! The list goes on and on and on with too many to list! It's all coming folks!
But when.. you ask?  Well, we're getting close to the end of our 4.1.1 release targets which means we're getting very close! However, we're also kind of waiting for LL's pathfinding goodness so we can release with that stuff as well. As usual I cannot give you a release date, but I'll risk saying.. shortly after LL releases their pathfinding stuff, we'll release the next epic Firestorm update!

Things are moving along, it's all happening! Stay tuned!

Jessica Lyon and the team.

P.S. We hope to see you at our  SL9B  Exhibit!


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Advertising on our MOTD

As I'm sure most of you have noticed we've been promoting the SL9B community birthday event on our message of the day (MOTD) which displays during the login process. The SL9B is a not for profit community event hosted by residents for residents to celebrate Second Life's 9th birthday. This year there are 20 regions generously donated by residents and businesses in SL for the benefit of the community. Linden Lab has chosen to not participate in the event this year... This event still has a few openings for exhibitors, volunteers and performers. Better be quick!

On May 25th we also advertised for a not for profit, live charity concert event where 100% of the proceeds went to help rebuild Joplin, Missouri, a town devastated by an F5 tornado last year. The concert was a live real world concert by TheFollow streamed into Second Life.

Prior to that we advertised the Burn2 event (originally named Burning Man). It was renamed to signify the withdrawal of LL's sponsorship and participation of this long running and very popular community event. It is also a not for profit event hosted by the SL community for the SL community.

You may be starting to see a pattern in what events we advertise for.
- Not for profit, community events organized, hosted and/or sponsored by the community.
- Or charity events that benefit good causes.

The idea behind what we agree to advertise for and what we don't are simple. If it's going to benefit you financially either directly or indirectly (publicity stunt).. we're not going to advertise it. However if it's purely for residents, hosted by residents with no profits or financial benefits either directly or indirectly to you or those involved, we will consider it. We have always been, and will always be.. about the community.

We cannot however advertise religious events or anything that may offend or exclude other races, creeds, cultures or persons. For example, yesterday we were asked to promote Memorial Day and while I support troops all around the world 100%, it is an American event which other countries do not participate in. That makes it exclusionary and not something that qualifies for us to promote.

If you have a community event that you would like promoted on our MOTD you can send a request to for consideration. We do not charge for advertising nor will we accept any benefits, financial or otherwise. Though you can expect we may attend your event ;). Please provide your in world name, and details to the event. All events we advertise for are required to have a website we can link too.

Note: we do not promote anything on the login page itself. Just the Message of the day.

Jessica Lyon

Monday, 2 April 2012

Ok, Jokes over.. now something serious..

Phishing scams in Second Life

There has been an increase in Phishing attempts in the last couple weeks and a lot of people have fallen for them and lost their Second Life Accounts.

Phishing in SL is mainly the act of tricking a user into giving their login and password information through fake yet convincing Second Life login webpages.

Here is how it works. 
- Someone posts a link and sometimes text to entice you to click it, sometimes this can be a friend or someone you know (because they've already had their accounts hacked).
- You click the link and it takes you to what looks like a Second Life Login screen.
- You log in using your SL Username and PW.
- You've just been Phished and given someone your SL Login information. They can now log into your SL account, take your money, destroy your SL Property, delete your inventory.. etc etc etc.

How to avoid being Phished

If you have clicked a link, and it takes you to a login page of some kind, no matter how much it looks real... DO NOT LOG INTO IT YET!

FIRST, look at the URL very carefully. The Linden Lab Login URL is .
If it does NOT start with, then it is not a real Second Life login web page. Do not log into it, and DO file an abuse report on the person who sent the link. From the Help menu,  Report Abuse.

If you are unsure, go to and click on the "LOGIN" at the top right. That will take you to the legit login page which starts with Log into that page, then follow the link.. if the link still takes you to a log in widget.. it's totally a scam.

If you've already been Phished


- Go to
- Click the LOGIN link at the top right and enter your login information.
- On the right is a link called "Account" click it!
- Then click "Change Password" and change your password right away.

Please, protect your accounts. Think 3 times before entering your login information. Always check the URL.


Jessica Lyon and the Phoenix/Firestorm Team

Sunday, 1 April 2012

April 1st, 2012

Firestorm Rocks You Band! 

We here at the Phoenix project have all gotten the music bug! So much so that we've decided to quit viewer development and start a back up band for the famous in world song artist; Mankind Tracer!

We recognize that music bands in Second Life are rare, yet extremely important so we feel we can better improve the user experience by playing silly musical instruments than we can with viewer development! Below is a photo link of our first performance with the legendary Mankind Tracer!

We are looking forward to performing wonderful music for you going forward. Now, if we could just find some decent guitars that have good music scripted into them....

P.S. Happy April Fools Day!

The Phoenix/Firestorm Team.


Monday, 19 March 2012

Phoenix AND Firestorm releases!

For the first time ever we are releasing two viewers at the same time. We'll talk about Firestorm FUI first.

Firestorm FUI Beta
Firestorm FUI Beta has a completely new interface which is a hundred times more flexible than previous versions. We've even included an incredible V1/Phoenix skin which hasn't been seen on any V2 viewer until now. We also feel it has better performance and stability than our previous Firestorm builds and hope you enjoy it!

Check out the video first!
We made a video to give you an idea of what you can do with this new interface and especially encourage Phoenix users to have a watch of the video before you update your Phoenix viewers. We think you just might want to switch to this Firestorm FUI after watching it.

Change log can be found HERE

Important Phoenix Viewer Update
This is a VERY important update!
Most important in this release and a reason you really all need to update is because in version 1600 we missed a very important inventory folder icon for Direct Delivery. LL will be enabling this feature on March 21st and without this update you're inventory window will become "Visibly" broken. 

As well as falling into compliance with LL's new Policy changes, this update goes out with some very important changes, fixes and improvements including the V2 inventory fetch system which makes inventory fetching much faster and more reliable.

Change log can be found HERE

Support note: Please be aware that because we are releasing TWO viewers at the same time our Support team is going to be extremely busy. If you have problems please search our wiki for answers before contacting support. Most of the answers you get from support can be found on our wiki.


The Phoenix/Firestorm Team.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Interview with LL - The Recording

On Wednesday we had an interview with Oz Linden, Director of Open Development at LL. The meeting was primarily to get answers about the new Third Party Viewer Policy additions. The live stream didn't go so well but we have the recording now! We encourage you to watch it to be informed of what the policy additions mean, how they effect you, the third party viewers you use and it's developers.

Monday, 5 March 2012

LL & TPV's - The Interview

This Wednesday, March 7th at 3pm SLT. I, Jessica Lyon will be interviewing Oz Linden from Linden Lab about the third party viewer policy additions and related concerns. I will be representing the Third Party Viewer Community and the resident community during this interview, not specifically this project. This is not a Phoenix Office Hour and is very likely a one time thing.

During the first half hour of the show I will be asking Oz questions based on input I've received from third party viewer projects and the SL community. During the second half of the show I will ask Oz your questions providing they haven't already been answered.

The interview will take place in a private region that will not be open to the public, however you will all be able to participate and watch on the live stream here.  Ask your questions on the live stream and they will be forwarded to me, then I will ask them for you to Oz during the second half of the show.

This is a very rare and in many ways historic event that will hopefully answer all your questions and concerns in regards to the new policy changes. The policy affects you! so be informed! Mark your calendars, invite your friends and spread the word.

Who: Jessica Lyon and Oz Linden
What: Interview with Oz linden for clarifications on the new policy additions and how they effect you and the Third Party Viewers you use.
When: Wednesday, March 7th, 3pm SLT
Why: Because it's important!

Hope to see you on the stream!

Jessica Lyon
Project Manager

Friday, 2 March 2012

The Phoenix Hour - Policy Q&A Recording

The Recording
On Tuesday we had a very large Q&A discussion about the new additions to the Third Party Viewer Policy. All four of Rockcliffe U's regions were filled with 75 people each and despite numerous region crashes, griefer attacks, and stream disruptions we managed to get through it. You can watch the video here

Interview with Oz Linden
I've also secured an interview with Oz Linden himself! The interview will take place this Wednesday, March 7th at 3PM SLT. I hope to get some solid answers from Oz and LL with some real clarifications and facts about the policy changes. The interview will be done in a private region but you will be able to participate and ask questions through the live stream. More information on that to come. Stay tuned to this blog.

Jessica Lyon

Monday, 27 February 2012

Policy changes Q&A Phoenix Office Hour

Policy changes
As mentioned in the blog post below this one, and as many of you are now aware of, Linden Lab has made some new policy  additions  which govern third party viewers. There are a lot of questions, concerns and uncertainty floating around with very few solid answers. So...

Please join us on Tuesday, Feb 28th at 2pm SLT for a special Phoenix/Firestorm Office Hour where I will discuss and answer questions about these policy changes, how they affect you, third party viewer features, third party viewer and open source development in general.

We will be hosting the Office Hour at the Rockcliffe Universities connected 4 region area. Due to the volume of people we expect to show up, we'll ask you to use the following landmarks based on the first letter of your name.

First name starts with A - I: Rockcliffe I
First name starts with J - R: Rockcliffe Library
First name starts with S - Z: Agile 3D

It would be well advised to show up early. 

For those who cannot make it in world, a limited number of residents will be able to watch and participate from a live stream however I do not have the URL to that stream yet. .


Don't panic! and I hope to see you on Tuesday.


Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Viewer Project, Inc.

Friday, 24 February 2012

New additions to the Third Party Viewer Policy

Today LL announced some additions to the Third Party Viewer Policy which will have some impact on our users. I'll just explain them briefly here but will discuss them in more detail as well as our reaction to them during our Office Hour on tuesday at 2pm SLT.

2.a.iii : You must not provide any feature that circumvents any privacy protection option made available through a Linden Lab viewer or any Second Life service.

This means viewers will not be allowed to have true online status. We will remove this feature in the next Phoenix update. LL has also indicated they intend to break scripts ability to look up a users online status except for the owner and creator of the script. No time frame has been indicated for when this will happen. 

2.i : You must not display any information regarding the computer system, software, or network connection of any other Second Life user.
2.j : You must not include any information regarding the computer system, software, or network connection of the user in any messages sent to other viewers, except when explicitly elected by the user of your viewer.

This means that Viewer identification tags are now a policy violation. LL has indicated that they will be breaking the viewer tagging system for ALL third party viewers between Tuesday and Wednesday with the region updates. This also breaks color tags in our viewers. 

2.k : You must not provide any feature that alters the shared experience of the virtual world in any way not provided by or accessible to users of the latest released Linden Lab viewer.

This means that third party viewers will no longer be allowed to innovate features which relate to the shared experience unless LL has the features in their viewers first. However LL has indicated an interest and preference in working with third party viewers to develop such features together.

Again, I will be discussing all of these changes, how they will effect our users and our viewer project on Tuesday during our Office hour at 2pm SLT. I'll provide more information on the location and live stream coordinates within the next few days.

Stay tuned...

Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Viewer Project, Inc.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Firestorm pink screen hot fix 24882

Our release of had a bug which caused the viewers screen to be pink for a small number of our users. The issue was present mostly for users with ATI 3000-5000 series video cards on windows operating systems.

We have implemented a hotfix for the pink screen issue and updated our windows download on the site to version 24882. If you were experiencing the pink screen problem we invite you to download and install this new version from the download links. This will resolve the pinkness issue.

If you do not suffer from having an entirely pink screen, then you do not need to do anything.

Finally, as anyone who knows me will know that I have a very distinct affinity to pink things. Pink ears, pink tipped hair, pink tipped tail... etc. I can honestly say in this specific case...

I didn't do it!... Honest! 


Jessica Lyon
Project Manager

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Another Firestorm Release!

Phoenix-Firestorm Release!
This one started out as a maintenance release but due to the huge list of new features we're going to call it a Full On Release! Firestorm not only comes with a very impressive list of features which make it nearly feature complete in comparison to Phoenix, it also comes loaded with very important bug fixes.
But lets talk about some of the feature highlights first!
- Inventory search by creator, UUID,  description and all, plus new filters for links
- The original Particle Editor, create particle effects from within the viewer.
- Tip tracker for DJ's and live performers
- Autorespond options for non friends, busy, muted avatar modes, and it's persistent.
- Profile pictures open large now with a click
- New skins, Vintage and High Contrast
- Chat history button in nearby/groups and IM chats
- Loads of minimap options like track, mark and profile
- Radar enhancements like av tracking, and av counter
- Friends counter on friend list
- Estate tools, new ALT-R to pull up estate tools window, TP to top objects ability..etc
- Announce incoming IM's
and SO much more! Check out the (Change Log with links to wiki pages on how to use them) for a complete list!

Bug Fixes
Based on your feedback, we've focused a lot of time on a number of performance and stability issues from the 3.2.2 release. Most of these problems were remnants of bugs in the mesh and graphics code. We've spent a lot of time working on these bugs, as has Linden Lab in their own viewer. We've incorporated ours and LL's fixes into this release and expect this to be a very stable and fast version of the Firestorm Viewer.
Credit where credit is due.. We'd like to thank Linden Lab for working on these stability issues in their own code, and making these fixes available to third party viewers. This release wouldn't be as good as it is without their efforts. As with any release we highly recommend you do a (Clean Install) with this build to avoid any potential conflicts with previous installations.

Firestorm Future! Flexible Interface!
Wow! this is exciting news! We told you in the past that the V2 interface was just not flexible enough for us to accurately mimic the V1 interface.. this still holds true today. However! we've recently merged in Linden Lab's V3 FUI (Flexible User Interface) work and while that merge has caused a lot of interface breakage we've also discovered that it is as named, VERY flexible! Zi Ree (creator of the Firestorm AO, Our All-Original Particle Editor, and Pie menu for V2) has been at it again! She has so far managed to create a Phoenix like interface option in Firestorm that is far closer to the classic UI as any modern viewer has ever accomplished! This optional skin feature is likely to be hailed the best feature ever developed on a V2 viewer for V1 users! Of course we're also working at improving all our other skins as well to give you as many options as possible. We are SO excited about this work! While this is all very much still work in progress and there's lots left to do we wanted to give you a preview of what's to come!

Enjoy the release folks! and we are very much looking forward to providing you a truly V1 skin for the Firestorm Viewer in the near future!


Jessica Lyon and the Phoenix/Firestorm Team!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

We've been quiet again!? o.0

Why so quiet?

We've been very busy preparing a new Firestorm Maintenance release which is actually turning into more of a general release because of the accumulation of more new features! But the main goal of this next release is to address many of the performance and stability issues our last one had. We've fixed a lot of bugs ourselves and have ported many of LL's fixes in too. We are in QA with it right now and it's looking like it'll be a big improvement! We've also recently merged Linden Lab's new FUI (Flexible User Interface) work into Firestorm, but unfortunately it has broken a lot of things...but fear not! We've already started work on fixing what's broken, improving what isn't and integrating FUI into our existing interface to give you the best of both worlds. You can expect our maintenance release to show up in the next few weeks, and our integration of FUI after that. The future looks bright!

Remember we promised we would keep Phoenix going as long as it's feasible and we will stand by that promise. And it's sounding lately like LL is starting to take a less aggressive stance towards V1 than what we were initially told nearly a year ago. By the sounds of it, LL has no immediate plans now to break v1 by turning off server side functionality. This of course is nothing more than the impression we are getting, there has been no official statement either way. Which means we want to get another Phoenix release out some time soon as well. When? good question.. no time frame yet but hopefully within the next few months. We're hoping we can address some of the performance, stability and mesh related issues our Phoenix users are experiencing on the 1600 release.

Office Hours...
We're trying to get the Phoenix Hour kick started back up again and hope we'll have some news about that very shortly. We've missed having the shows and we've missed having you there. It's very important that we can keep an open line of communication between the project and our users. I'll update you as soon as I have some news.

So there's lots going on in the background, stay tuned! It's all coming your way soon!


Jessica Lyon and the team.