Tuesday 30 August 2011

Aurora Sim, The Astra Viewer and Mesh

News recently blogged by Inara Pey here revealed that a new sister project to  Aurora Sim has been initiated to develop a viewer that is being designed to specifically support the platform's features. The developers had not intended for this to become public knowledge presently due to it's highly experimental nature but Inara appears to have noticed it on the Aurora github and the fact it supported Mesh prompted her to try it out in Second Life and report her findings and offer some pictures on her blog.

As I am now involved with Aurora Sim and responsible for the weekly news reports I have posted an official notice to Aurora Sim  News which makes it clear that the viewer is not intended for general use, is not a stable release and is available mainly to team developers and testers working with it. Of course, the fact it supports Mesh caused something of a stir on Twitter after Inara Pey blogged about it but all that really happened was Latif Khalif, who develops the Radegast text viewer and recently joined the viewer team, decided to make a quick Windows installer so people could check out Mesh and the Astra viewer dose handle it pretty well. However, this rather over shadows the real purpose of the viewer.

Aurora Sim team were already working with Imprudence/Kokua devs as sister projects in order to get support for Aurora Sim features in the viewer but Aurora has been developing rapidly and there has been some delay in being able to carry out tests. Moreover, given the present uncertainty since the announcement by the Imprudence/Kokua lead, Jacek that she is to retire from the project in September, a group of viewer developers who support the Aurora Sim project decided to launch their own version based on Astra.

There is not a lot I can say at this time about the new viewer but it is based off of the Singularity viewer from Siana Gearz with many features & functions brought in from Imprudence & other viewers. It supports Mesh but not MOAP (Media on a Prim) presently and the developers are working on adding download functions and other features. Revolution Smythe told me a while back that when they finish the generic properties module this will allow new properties to be added to objects very easily. The module will send the information about all new properties it has to the viewer and the viewer will have a new panel in the Build tools window, which will show all of the properties, so that they can be edited easily. "Its annoying to go add each and every property manually into the viewer." he told me, "This would allow an easy way to add things to the viewer." So here we get some idea what the viewer should eventually handle.

There is also some change to the grid manager in the present experimental version of Astra which is the beginning of support for an idea I proposed to Revolution Smythe that would make it easy for users to find grids and allow grid owners to add their grid to a central database which the viewer can call data from. However, there is a great deal of work to be done and things change quickly so I can do no more than speculate on the official launch release. The viewer may even have a new name by then but, in any event, the current viewer releases remain experimental and are not intended to be in general use.