Archive for the ‘Second Life viewer’ Tag

New Hover Height Setting

Here’s a tip for you:  if you’re using the newer clients, such as the latest version of Firestorm, don’t be surprised if some people tell you that you’re walking through the ground occasionally.  The thing is that, if you’re correcting your hover with the new “on-the-fly” hover height setting in right-click context menu, it will be visible only in the new viewers, similar to mesh only being visible in viewers built to accept mesh.  If this bothers you, you can still modify the actual hover number on the shape itself (assuming you have a modifiable shape).  However, as the new-viewer titer grows, this will change.

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Check Out the Latest Improvements to Second Life

Thanks much to Daniel Voyager for this news.  Linden Lab will be rolling out some delicious changes to Second Life in the upcoming months.  Not all of them may be useful to everybody, but everyone should find something in this batch to like.  Read the article, and salivate!!

Check Out the Latest Improvements to Second Life.

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Posted February 10, 2015 by Harper Ganesvoort in News

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SL Viewer 2 — Love It or Hate It; Little In-Between

A fresh issue hath arisen on the Grid, and it doesn’t have anything to do with gambling, or banking (read:  gambling), or policy decisions by Linden Lab.

Or maybe it does have something to do with policy.  For the issue centers around the new Version 2 official viewer, which was formally made gamma a week or so ago.  Viewer 2 is now the main viewer new users are actively offered when they sign up for Second Life; I suspect Snowglobe, the Lab’s own “alternative viewer,” will go eventually in the same direction.  To my experience so far, the Residents are in two distinct camps:  they either enjoy Viewer 2, or they hate it and refuse to leave their Type 1 viewers.  There doesn’t appear to be much of a middle ground.

For my part, I haven’t found anything that terrible about Viewer 2 since the first beta.  The development team addressed many of my concerns with the original beta build, as listed in my first article on the subject and associated comments (particularly by T Linden), and most of my others are more pet peeves than real concerns, easily worked around.  My current primary concern:  Viewer 2 seems to not like “crowded” or “prim-busy” sims (the best way I can express it, not dependent on avatar presence) when you first teleport in.  I’ve tended — though not consistently — to crash out of Second Life after a serious period of lock-up as my computer thrashes with the situation.  A fresh login usually solves the problem, but it gets annoying.

However, in defense of Viewer 2, the official version 1.x viewer could do that at times as well, and even the so-lauded third-party viewers could have problems with such a situation, as well as their own glitches and idiosyncrasies.  Kirsten’s Shadowdraft, for instance, has a terrible problem with texture loading in my experience; and the last version of Emerald that I used was far slower than previous versions.  Out of recent alternative 1.x viewers, Snowglobe was the best I’ve used in recent days, believe it or not.

Overall, with respect to friends and fellow Residents, I believe this is rather the situation that was addressed once in the New Hacker’s Dictionary — known better to many as the Jargon File.  I can’t remember now which it was, but one of the definitions noted that people put a lot of emotional investment in their tools, even if the tools are mere objects and completely non-sentient.  The look and feel of the Second Life viewer was bound to change eventually; indeed, we should remember the private competition that was held sometime in the past year to year and a half, with a large prize in lindens offered for the best redesign of the 1.x viewer — meant, as I recall, to offer an easier experience to new users as much as anything.  Does the concept sound a little familiar?  Rather like what Linden Lab is now trying to do with Viewer 2…?

Give this new viewer a chance, says I.  Get used to its different layout and idiosyncracies, remember that most if not all of the keyboard shortcuts are still the same, and work with the Lab to encourage them — not “demand” that they “fix the damned thing.”  Such things prove more productive in the long run.

Viewer 2 Beta is Updated

For those who say Linden Lab doesn’t listen or respond to the comments and critiques of its one major product, I hope you’ll reconsider your statements.  The Lab kicked out an update on the 15th to the Viewer 2 beta, with some needed fixes and other tweaks, and promise more in the weeks to come.

I have not yet installed this, as I’m still assessing how well my desktop is working after this latest trip into the shop and return; but I’ll attack that tonight and see what’s what.  Comments from me to come on this critical software.

Initial Thoughts on Viewer 2 Beta

After making sure that the new beta for Viewer 2 installed into a different directory than the main viewer, I finally gave it a spin over the past two days.  It’s proved interesting — not perfect, and to say it’s an improvement is subjective to how you feel about the layout changes.  But it’s a piece of software that should not be discarded out of hand.  If nothing else, I suspect that we’ll all be using this to navigate the Grid within a year at the most.

Screenshot for Viewer 2 Beta, (c) Linden Lab

You can see some of the basics here.  Before I logged in, I first hit Ctrl-P to get the Preferences, the same combination as Viewer 1, and the first thing I noticed was a lot fewer tabs on the screen.  Some of the functions have been consolidated or eliminated.  Most interesting, I couldn’t find a checkoff to let me set a custom preference for the graphics, so I could increase or decrease draw distance.  With trepidation, I logged in.  (Update:  I’ve found the button since; it’s at the bottom of the Preferences window when you open Graphics.)

And found that I didn’t need to fiddle with the graphics particularly.  Rezz time is pleasantly quick for my computer, and navigation seemed fairly rapid using standard keyboard controls.  This does slow down, of course, as region load increases.  Don’t expect to never want to diddle settings when you go in for Tuesday Carraig at Fibber Magee’s or a dance at Frank’s Place; that is a perfect world hope, and we aren’t there yet.

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Do You Think the SL Viewer is Too Complex?

Second Effects wrote yesterday of a concern that I’ve heard of before on occasion:  the retention rate of new users, so that they become old users like you and me.  I’ve no reason to doubt their horrendous calculation of 1%, aside from it maybe being hearsay; but no matter the true retention figure, it truly stinks.

The writer (I’m unsure who it is, as there’s no byline) offers up a prime reason for this lousy figure:  the complexity of the Second Life viewer.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the official Linden client, Snowglobe, Emerald, or whoever; they’re all based on the same configuration, with the same commands for the most part.  (Emerald adds in a clutch more command possibilities!)  The author counts 1,708 menu options on a basic viewer, without adding in the Advanced menu!.  This indicates with legitimacy that the 1.x viewer series was built by “true” hackers, who aren’t afraid of a little complexity.  In other words, by engineers.

A daunting number indeed.  I confess, I’ve never seen a need for the majority of the command options available to the user.  However, I’ve been in computers long enough — since 1981 — that complexity doesn’t always intimidate me.  And most of that complexity in the SL viewer can be ignored until needed. When I hit that need point, someone with more experience is often willing to coach me through in what to do, or I find a Knowledge Base article or a Torley Linden video to explain things to me.  That done, another bit of learning is accomplished, and I move on.

Would you agree with Second Effects‘ contention?  Is it just that we old SL hands aren’t afraid of complexity, and so go moving on to become old SL hands?  Please vote in the poll above, then share your thoughts below in the comments.

What Do You Think of the New Login Screens?

The login screens that Linden Lab rolled out with the start of the Christmas holidays haven’t gone away; they’ve just changed.  It did take them a while to get away from the snowmen and snow-covered hills, but now you can see a selection of venues — and not just the stock generic landscapes that they were sporting before.  I think I’ve spotted at least one region or location that I recognize.

What do you think of this new gewgaw?  No, it doesn’t improve Grid stability or the usefulness of the viewer, but I think myself it’s a nice touch.  What would be even niftier would be if they cold use user-taken photos, formatted to the correct size.  A competition could be held through Flickr or Koinup, with entrants shooting to the needed screen standard, and consenting to the non-exclusive use by Linden Lab of their photo on a rotating basis for one month.  Winners could also get some more material recognition, either real or virtual — say, a gift certificate on XStreet SL, or a L$2,000 cash prize.

Any thoughts?

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Review: Linden Lab Second Life Viewer 1.21 (First Impression)

Updated below!!

Well, I was going to do my modeling shtick and show off some clothes, but a fresh event has altered this.  And it gives me an excuse to try something else:  the new polling function in!

Those who have created a new account in the past 12 hours or so, or went to log in during that time, will have noticed the advice for a download of the new 1.21.6 viewer.  The chief change here is the addition of support for scripting with Mono, which appears to be either an upgrade to or a replacement for the old, sometimes disparaged LSL (Linden Scripting Language for the new and unaware).  You can watch a video by Torley Linden explaining in more detail what Mono is, and the advantages it has over vanilla LSL, while you’re downloading the installation package.

I’m not sure how much Mono is tied in to the rest of the experience around the Grid, or whether developers took time to work over some more issues and add some bells; but my (currently brief) experience with the viewer has been positive so far.  In fact, I think this viewer is running smoother than past iterations, though I’m not sure what effect my new AO and HUD are having on it.  (I need to go up and down a particular set of escalators with the AO completely off to make sure.)  But I seem to be moving more smoothly, things may be rezzing a touch faster, and I like that my chat text is highlighted in blue suddenly, allowing me to see at a glance what insults and insipid banalities I’ve been uttering (grin).

A really good impression will require a longer use time, which won’t happen until Monday.  But the viewer hasn’t crashed on me yet, and I can’t find any noticeable problems.  So, what’s your thoughts?  Take the poll above, and then leave your deeper comments below, and let’s compare notes!

SUPPLEMENTAL — 11:00 a.m. local:

Well, I just found something very nice in the new viewer, and it’s vital to photographers like myself and several of my friends.  If you use the Snapshot button on the bottom toolbar, you now have the option to save in your choice of BMP, JPEG or PNG formats, and you can change the picture name for the session!  This gives photographers a lot more flexibility, as well as eliminates the need to convert a 2 MB bitmap down to a far smaller format.  A full-screen JPEG I shot today clicks in at 91.89 kB!  That’s a savings in disk space of over 95%, and reduces the need to go harvesting and archiving screenshots for a long time.  Who says Linden Lab isn’t helping out the experience?

Old Linden Viewer, or Sexy Independent Viewer?

Writing from Destin, Fla.:  off-Grid until 7/26.

Many users apparently have a bugaboo with the stock viewer we download from Linden Lab for use in Second Life.  I myself am a tolerant sort, and have not had any problem locating any of my main controls since I first started up last October — yes, I’m a nerd; I’ll admit it — but there are still some idiosyncrasies that I wouldn’t mind seeing adjusted, mostly in the Inventory area.  (Any tools allowing us to wrassle that particular bugbear into submission would be welcome!)  In M Linden’s letter to Residents on the Big Blog, he notes that the recent and current Release Candidates have over 50 crash fixes, and that Linden Lab is planning to redesign the viewer interface completely, to make it easier for newcomers to navigate.  (I’m always shy about this, or just plain fearful; “increasing simplicity” usually means we’re headed for the era of what the New Hacker’s Dictionary calls “drool-proof paper.”)

However, alternatives are coming at you.  Since the viewer is open source, anyone can tinker with it in an effort to improve it; and many have already.  In fact, Dusan Writer has been running a contest, with prizes totaling L$800,000, for Resident-created redesigns of the viewer.  And some have taken him up on it.  The field has been narrowed to five finalists, whose results you can examine both on their own sites and Dusan’s.  The final five will go up against the judges on July 22 at 2:00 pm SLT, in the Remedy region (logically, I assume).  If I was able to get onto the Grid right now, it’d be an interesting event to watch as each presenter makes their case.  In the presentations I’ve seen, each has had some interesting ideas, such as grouping logically related functions closer together, improved inventory sorting and filtering, and various levels of depth for newbies to experienced users.  Some of the pictures I’ve seen so far are rough, and could use smoothing of graphical concept, but there’s enough to get the main idea of what the designer is intending.

Will any of these prove to be popular?  That’s up to the individual Resident — whether they are content with Linden’s work, willing to wait for the Lab to continue the native viewer’s evolution, or wish to venture into uncharted territory.  I suspect there will be a mix of each; despite all the yowls from various quarters for changes, some Residents are content with how the viewer is progressing.  Some, frankly, may not want to invest more time in a new learning curve.  That could be to their benefit, or their harm, either way.  Only time and experience will tell.

Thanks to Hamlet Au.

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