FSM beta was released back on Sept 6th and a very important update was released on Sept 11. I strongly suggest those who have not updated to the FSM Sep 11 Update do so ASAP, especially if you are a sim owner and need to do sim restarts on occasion, due to a bug in the old FSM code while using the MetaHarper skin, that could leave your region in limbo upon a restart and will require a call to LL to fix it. Details here.
First, to get it out of the way, PH will get mesh support in the near future (no ETA yet), according to Jessica Lyon (PH/FS Project Manager). Mesh will be ported from the CoolVL project and it will be basically a hack job… Jessica has mentioned on her entry on the Phoenix Project main page, that it will likely be buggy and probably the last major update to PH, but it will buy you time to transition more orderly towards FSM. Read Jessica’s entire post here.
As much as I loath to recommend buggy software, I would expect the PH team not to release PHM until all the major ones are ironed out and the viewer is relatively stable, therefore I will recommend, for those of you who are not ready to go FSM yet, to upgrade to PHM when it is released… after all, who wants to wear a pretty mesh dress that moves more realistically when you dance and have half of the Riverside audience see you naked with a giant football attached to your hand? 🙂
Now back to FSM. For those brave enough to try it, please be aware that, by the FSM team’s own wiki, there are a number of issues that could, to some, be show-stoppers, such as:
a) Nvidia graphics cards with relatively recent drivers (newer than 260.99) have a nasty, random bug that may cause any V2 newer than 2.8 or any version of V3 (FSM is V3-based) to crash on login with an error code 8 (Driver lost connection to Display), the screen goes black, then recovers. LL is working on it and, for those interested in following LL on its quest for redemption, you may check the following JIRA SH-2240; the assumption is that once that issue is resolved, the next iteration of FSM after that code merge, would be free from the bug. By my informal count, GTX 400-series and 200-series seem to be affected more than 500-series.
ATI cards are apparently not affected by this bug but, if you are, go to your graphics settings and disable “Basic Shaders” and then login. Some have commented that, once logged on, you can re-enable Basic Shaders and you may be fine, but I have not been able to re-enable them successfully on my GTX 460M,so your mileage may vary. Basic Shaders can be found in:
Preferences > Graphics > General > Uncheck Basic Shaders.
b) Non Prim parts of the avie flicker in and out of visibility. Reported by several, but I have only seen it on some sims and also mostly on skyboxes, high up in the air (1000m high or more). Sometimes, changing the angle or zoom level might make body parts be visible again, only to disappear once more when you move. This is documented on the following JIRAs (probably also related to SH-2240, above): JIRA SH-2268 and JIRA SH-2322
As a workaround, you may disable “Bump Mapping and Shiny”. Though not explicitely stated so on the JIRA, I found by trial and error that this helps temporarily when on an affected parcel. You can re-enable it later when you TP back to an unaffected place. Bump Mapping and Shiny can be found at:
Preferences > Graphics > General > Uncheck Bump Mapping and Shiny
For a full list of LL issues affecting V3 and FSM follow this Wiki link
On the plus side, issues with settings not being saved across viewer restarts (pie menu being an obvious one) are now fixed and the spelling checker has now been enabled! woo-ho! no more “teh” for me!
Also, FSM has ported “Viewer modes” from V3 but expanded it into a concept we can actually use. There are three basic modes that you can select before logging in: Phoenix, Viewer 2 and Hybrid. Phoenix and Viewer 2 modes are exactly what they claim to be: Settings for making the viewer behave, though not necessarily look, closer to either Phoenix or Viewer 2. Hybrid, on the other hand, is the new mode designed to take some of the best features from both Phoenix and V2 and merge them into one… you can say that Hybrid is basically “Firestorm” mode. I suggest experimenting with all three modes until you find the right one for you. Please note that changing modes will require to close and reopen FSM for the changes to take effect.
Once you have loaded FSM, go to the marketplace and look for Mesh outfits. True “Mesh” outfits, vs “fishnet” outfits (that are sometimes called “mesh” too at the markeplace), can be identified by some legend in the description text that reads “Viewer 3 compatible” or “Needs Mesh-enabled viewer” or some similar capion. If you do not see this, it is probably not a true Mesh outfit.
Once you get your Mesh outfit, try animations such as sitting, walking and dancing and watch the outfit follow you as you move, rather than just fall down through the chair, as with the current long coats or skirts. There are other items advertised as mesh, such as objects and sculptures, with full Mesh avies to come soon.
Just remember… those not on a mesh-enabled viewer will not see your outfit and will probably just see a giant football or a cube attached to some part of your body, so if the outfit comes with an alpha layer to cover your naughty bits, make sure you wear it!
If I still have not scared you to death with the issues list, give FSM a try and have fun!