We have just released the second preview of Wonderland 0.5. You can download the release from the Binary Downloads page. Since we have been feature frozen since the first preview, this release primarily contains bug fixes. Check out the Issue Tracker to see a list of all 214 bugs that were fixed since September 14th. There are still over 200 known bugs left to fix, so it will take a while longer to work through all of those and arrive at a final 0.5 release. While not the final 0.5 version, we believe that this release is now more stable, and certainly more functional, than v0.4. On the programming side, the APIs have also been stabilized. We strongly encourage anyone still using 0.4 to move to this second preview release as soon as possible.
In addition to bug fixes, the release contains a few previously unfinished or incomplete features. These include:
Apps on HUD
In Preview 2, you can right click on any 2D application and select "Show in HUD" from the context menu. This places a copy of the application on the glass pane, known as the HUD or heads-up display. In the image below, you can see Firefox running in the world (bottom left). By also placing the Firefox window on the HUD, we can walk around or change camera angles while maintaining a pixel-perfect view of the Firefox window.
To remove the application from the HUD, you can simply click on the blue Remove from HUD icon or the red X in the window header. This will not close the application in-world, but will simply remove the item from your glass pane.
Go to user
"Go to user," an important feature from v0.4, has finally made a reappearance in v0.5. To use the feature, open the Users list (Window –> Users) and click on the name of the person you wish to find. Then click on the icon to the right of the telephone icon, which the cursor is pointing to in the image below.
Also note that you can change the volume for any user in this window, as well as change how name tags are displayed (right-most icon).
Cone of Silence
Some changes have been made to the Cone of Silence. There is no longer a Cone of Silence item in the Components dialog. Instead, you can add a Cone of Silence capability to any object to turn it into a sound-proof area. The property sheet for the Cone of Silence has been re-designed, providing more options for defining the bounds of the cone. Perhaps the most useful new feature is the ability to "Show Bounds."
This lets you see exactly where the sound proof area is located. In the left-hand image below, you can see what the bounds look like when I select "Use Cell Bounds" from the property sheet. Although the object is cylindrical, you can see from the visualization that the bounds are rectangular. If I used these bounds for the cone of silence, people standing right outside the pod would be included in the cone of silence and be able to hear anyone speaking inside. To avoid this problem, I chose to specify a radius, which gives me a spherical shaped area instead of a rectangular one. By adjusting the size of the sphere (below right), I was able to more exactly match the shape of the pod model such that the cone of silence only activates when avatars step inside the pod.
The new property sheet also allows you to specify if you want to hear any audio from outside the cone. You might want this, for example, if you are holding private meetings in the cone, but still want to hear the buzz of activity from the surrounding space.
In this release, a server can be set up with authentication. The new authentication scheme allows you to configure the server so that any guest may log in, but only authorized users can access the Server Admin console.
See the tutorial Configuring Wonderland Authentication for information on how to set up authentication on your own server.
Although not technically part of the Preview 2 release, I wanted to mention the availability of a new stable module for viewing webcams in world. The Webcam module is available for download from the Documents and Files section of the wonderland-modules open source site. To install this module, download webcamviewer.jar and save it on your computer. Then use the Manage Modules section of the Server Admin console to install the module on your server. The next time you restart the Darkstar server, you will have a Webcam item in your Component dialog (Insert –> Component…). For more information on installing modules, refer to the Managing Modules section of the Web-Based Administration tutorial.
The image below shows the Webcam application running in the world. To switch cameras, right click on the application and select "Take Control" from the context menu. Then click on the Open icon (second one from the left) and enter a camera URL. For example, for this Citron-crested Cockatoo cam in Germany, I entered:
For more information, see Nigel’s New Webcam Module forum post.