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Medhue Simoni

What is wrong with Viewer 2?

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Since Mesh is a couple of months away from expected release, I thought it would be constructive for us to evaluate V2 and think about changes that might make it more adopted by the masses. Of course, I have my own views and I will state them here, but I hope to give LL a list of things they might think about before the final release. Please comment with your own thoughts and experiences with V2.

Ok, now, I could go on and on about little things here or there, and I probably will chime in later about those, but, for now, I just want to talk about what I think is the biggest problem. Yes, it is related to the sidebar. Basically, we can't customize our work space(screen) or there are many issues with screen customization. See, before, every SL user had their own screen. You placed all the windows and the next time you needed them, they popped up in the place you wanted them to pop up. Every user, no matter what you did in SL, had a unique setup for whatever they wanted to do in SL. This was completely lost when V2 was released, and even today is an impossibility. You will be constantly moving windows around in V2, no matter what.

There are a couple of major reasons why this is true. There are too many fixed items within the viewer, most importantly, the sidebar. It is stuck to the side, no matter what you do. You are forced to go through the whole sidebar routine every time you want to use anything in it. From the start, the sidebar idea was a nightmare for any1 with a custom screen or for hud makers. Yeah, the sidebar has seen many good changes, but It needs to come full circle. Kirsten's viewer makes some attempts at fixing this issue, but again, it is not quite there. IMHO, the sidebar needs to open where I want it to, instead of opening first on the side. When I click any sidebar tab, that window should open in the size and spot where I want it to open. If I choose to have it docked, that is fine, but If I choose for it to be undocked, it should be undocked all the time.

The custom screen problem is also made worse by V2's chat and IM system. In the early years of V1, these windows were separate, and then, overtime, it was realized that combining it all into 1 chat system made awesome sense. Then, V2 was released and it went backwards in time to when we naively thought 2 was better than 1. How exactly does that happen? V1 concludes that 1 window is best, but V2 ignores that conclusion. Why do I bring this up? Cause it is a window nightmare. I barely have room for all the things I need on my screen, but now, I have to have 2 chat windows open.

To me, custom user screens are the rosetta stone of UI design. We used to have this, now we do not.

Why do you think some users do not want to adopt V2?

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Hi, I like the idea of never having to replace/reset all your little window positions. In V1 how do you keep yourself from typing private IMs into local chat if it is all one window? Just curious, V2 is all I have ever used.

Edit: oh, I just checked, in V2.6.9, if you undock any of the sidebar tabs, like inventory, appearance, places, etc you can place them wherever you want and you can also resize them. Also, I always have my mini map and ctrl shft 1 thing (statistics meter) open and resized to my liking. Logging out and back in everything is in the same spot and the same size. Is that what you meant?

Regardless, thanks for letting me discover that, it is indeed a useful feature. 

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Viewer 2 has gotten many improvements, and there are still some on the way, and there always be ways it can be improved, thats a good thing, I hope it doesnt get to a point that there will not be any more ideas to improve it.

I agree that it needs more flexibility, some people may want their windows to come from the right, some from the bottom, or the top, a high level of customization will attract many residents. also, it needs to bring more to the front the solutions to what people find a problem against using viewer 2, for example some say the interface is too big, under me > preferences > advanced, theres the slide to make it any size you want.

uisizev2.JPG

it needs to provide enough tools for general creators to feel comfortable, to not look for any third party viewer unless they want something more specialized, that will keep creators happy enough.

"Why do you think some users do not want to adopt V2?"

some for nostalgia, some because of brand loyalty to a third party viewer, others dont like learning something new if their old ways of doing things still works.

its important to take this step and learn to use Viewer 2, if not having it as a favorite viewer, because it's well known that viewer 1 will be obsolete.

-----------------

by the way, Viewer 2 chat system has a way to have your chat conversations in a single window

chatv2.JPG

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I agree mostly with what you say.

In my view, the main problem with the viewer is the lack of options for tailoring the interface to my liking. A big part of that is, as you say, the sidebar. Even, as Charlotte points out, you can undock the sidebar panes - which helps - you can not resize any of them to the degree you might want to. They are always too big for me, and when I stack them up on the screen the way I like them, they overlap. This, of course, has to do with the size of my screen, but plenty of people access SL on portables, and I doubt all of them have 17" screens or bigger on the machines.

Local chat I don't have to many issues with. I can get use to it. The part of the screen used for IMs, notifications, object menus and other system messages are way to crowded, and a lot of the pop ups push other pop ups aside making it very stressful experience from time to time keeping track of what's going on in that particular area of the screen. I do like the fact that  you can easily see who an IM is from, or which group chat has been updated, by the little icons in the bottom bar, even if you don't have IM or group chat windows open on screen.

I also think LL should implement more of the popular features found in TPVs. There is a reason why so many people use them, and it is not *just* because of the sidebar.

Oh, and I want different skins for the viewer, supported by LL.

- Luc -

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Luc Starsider wrote:

Oh, and I want different skins for the viewer, supported by LL.

- Luc -

Yeah, I can't really understand this. How long does it take to make a new skin? They could even ask people to make them and add them as options. It's a minor thing but it makes many people feel more attached to their viewer.

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Charolotte Caxton wrote:

Edit: oh, I just checked, in V2.6.9, if you undock any of the sidebar tabs, like inventory, appearance, places, etc you can place them wherever you want and you can also resize them. Also, I always have my mini map and ctrl shft 1 thing (statistics meter) open and resized to my liking. Logging out and back in everything is in the same spot and the same size. Is that what you meant?

Yes, but you can't close those windows, where they are, and open them again using the tabs. You have to redock it, then close it. You can minimize them, then that puts a little box right where I put my minimap. I put the Stats window below the minimap. If the floating sidebar window had an X to close it and return the tab back to the side, then it would work the way I would like it to.

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Canoro Philipp wrote:

by the way, Viewer 2 chat system has a way to have your chat conversations in a single window

chatv2.JPG


Yes, but what I mean is that IM and local chat are 2 different windows. I would like to see IM in my local chat. It is common to be standing in a group of people all talking in local chat, and then having other conversations with some of those people in IM. In V1, you can see the IM messages in the local chat, and designated with a different color, then just click the correct IM tab to chat in IM.

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The Camera controls irritates me every time I use V2. 99% of my time in SL is related to taking pictures, where I use Camera control often. It can't be resized. As soon as I click on something else, it disappears. It should stay where I place and size it! It should even remember this and turn up by default when I log in next time, IMHO. 

 

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Marianne Little wrote:

The Camera controls irritates me every time I use V2. 99% of my time in SL is related to taking pictures, where I use Camera control often. It can't be resized. As soon as I click on something else, it disappears. It should stay where I place and size it! It should even remember this and turn up by default when I log in next time, IMHO.

 

Ditto!

I always have my camera controls on my screen, and it is huge. Way bigger than it needs to be. Plus, it should always be semi transparent, or work the same as the other windows, when not used. Heck, If I were making the UI, I would just make the camera control part of the UI, not a window.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:


Charolotte Caxton wrote:

Edit: oh, I just checked, in V2.6.9, if you undock any of the sidebar tabs, like inventory, appearance, places, etc you can place them wherever you want and you can also resize them. Also, I always have my mini map and ctrl shft 1 thing (statistics meter) open and resized to my liking. Logging out and back in everything is in the same spot and the same size. Is that what you meant?

Yes, but you can't close those windows, where they are, and open them again using the tabs. You have to redock it, then close it. You can minimize them, then that puts a little box right where I put my minimap. I put the Stats window below the minimap. If the floating sidebar window had an X to close it and return the tab back to the side, then it would work the way I would like it to.

Yeah, I see what you mean. I have to put my minimap and stats window under those little boxes.

If it helps, instead of minimizing you can hit the dock button in the little window and then when you want it undocked again, it will put it back in the same spot you had it. I'm not trying to sell you on V2, Im just letting you know incase you have to use it. Which I guess you don't.  

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Agreed. I would like there to be a default button just like hitting escape returns you to behind your avatar view, it would be grand to have a similar button for default to front view, I am not often taking photos of the back of my head.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

 

The custom screen problem is also made worse by V2's chat and IM system. In the early years of V1, these windows were separate, and then, overtime, it was realized that combining it all into 1 chat system made awesome sense. Then, V2 was released and it went backwards in time to when we naively thought 2 was better than 1. How exactly does that happen? V1 concludes that 1 window is best, but V2 ignores that conclusion. Why do I bring this up? Cause it is a window nightmare. I barely have room for all the things I need on my screen, but now, I have to have 2 chat windows open.

Not everyone liked that change. Look in the archives for the old old forums and you'll see that people complained about that almost as much as people have complained about v2. In fact 4 years later you can still find TPVs with the pre 1.17 UI.

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Charolotte Caxton wrote:

Agreed. I would like there to be a default button just like hitting escape returns you to behind your avatar view, it would be grand to have a similar button for default to front view, I am not often taking photos of the back of my head.

I may have missed it, but I think it would be great if there at least were keyboard shortcuts for activating the different views.

- Luc -

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Yeah, I started using the front view more recently. It would be cool to just use a shortcut key, but we are kind of running low on quick and easy shortcut keys to use, lol.

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Charolotte Caxton wrote:

If it helps, instead of minimizing you can hit the dock button in the little window and then when you want it undocked again, it will put it back in the same spot you had it. I'm not trying to sell you on V2, Im just letting you know incase you have to use it. Which I guess you don't.  

Now that is the most cumbersome way of closing a window I have ever seen!

BTW: Maybe it would just be the easiest way to solve the design issues by dropping an Apple logo right on the screen so everyone knows they will get patronized - and in case of the fanboys pay even money for it! ;)

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Oh, I didn't design it, I was just pointing out a way to do it. There are no more clicks involved than the standard way of closing a window. It is just one click. So in that way it is not more cumbersome, unless there are ways of closing windows with zero clicks. I wasn't being patronizing. I don't use Apple. I'm not even really sure what you meant by what you said, but I hope you weren't being mean to me, I was just trying to help.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:


Luc Starsider wrote:

Oh, and I want different skins for the viewer, supported by LL.

- Luc -

Yeah, I can't really understand this. How long does it take to make a new skin? They could even ask people to make them and add them as options. It's a minor thing but it makes many people feel more attached to their viewer.

Don't we, in effect, have that with Hitomi Tipomi's Starlight Skins?   I find they make the viewer far more usable.

 

 

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Those are neat, but it really needs to be an option in the viewer. Or possibly, you drop the xml in the right folder and can put as many as you like, and they come up in a drop down window when you log in.

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You're right. We have the Starlight skin. I haven't used it, but from what I've seen and heard it adds quite a few useful features as well as provide a different color scheme (or several?) to the viewer. Kudos to Hitomi Tiponi for all the work she has put in to it!

But. It is not an official solution, which I think is important. If it was an LL supported solution, I also believe it would be easier to both access and use, which would be a huge plus. Like I say, I haven't tried Starlight, so I don't really know how much work it is to install it.

(Personally, I also believe viewer 2 would be more popular and easier to accept if we had a different color choice than dark gray and green. But that is mostly a wild guess...)

- Luc -

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

Those are neat, but it really needs to be an option in the viewer. Or possibly, you drop the xml in the right folder and can put as many as you like, and they come up in a drop down window when you log in.

 

But that's pretty much what you do do.    Dowload the skins from the link given at  https://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Viewer_Skins/Starlight  and unzip them, and then drop two folders into your V2 folder, and say "Yes" when it asks you if you want to overwrite existing files.

Then you get this at log in:

starlight.jpg

There are a couple more optional tweaks that involve copying other individual files to particular subfolders (if you want vertical tabs in the IM window, for example) but the basic process really is pretty straightforward.

ETA:  If anyone's interested, the unofficial Starlight forum is http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/viewer-xml-skinning/ -- it's not just about Starlight, but it's a very good place to ask Hitomi questions.

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I had no idea it was that easy.

Great! But.......


ALWAYS DOWNLOAD THE CORRECT VERSION OF STARLIGHT IF YOU SWITCH VERSIONS OF THE VIEWER

StarLight is normally updated here within a few hours of Linden Labs issuing a new version of the Viewer (and sometimes before it is officially released)



 So, what happens when you are not using a version that has a Starlight set for it? I tend to use alot of project viewers.



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Medhue Simoni wrote:

 
So, what happens when you are not using a version that has a Starlight set for it? I tend to use alot of project viewers.



Dunno.   Worst that can happen is that it doesn't work and you have to reinstall the project viewer, I guess.   If in doubt, I'd check over at http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/viewer-xml-skinning/ , which is where Hitomi usually posts.

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"(Personally, I also believe viewer 2 would be more popular and easier to accept if we had a different color choice than dark gray and green. But that is mostly a wild guess...)"

it seems they have this idea of an easy way to change the colors but the idea got dropped or postponed.

the option to change color of the interface can still be seen under the menu "debug" before you log in as "UI/Color settings".

right now it only opens a "debug settings" window.

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