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Jer Straaf

What viewer should I use?

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"What viewer should I use?"  Sounds like a noobie question, yes?  It's not. I have enjoyed Second Life on almost a daily basis for over four years using Viewer 1.23. I am a merchant with over 150 scripted action products that exercise most aspects of SL. So why am I asking this question?

I have always preferred a "one vendor solution" whenever possible and I prefer to see the world the way the majority of my customers see it so I can help them solve in-world problems efficiently. Unfortunately, Linden Labs has made this impossible.  I have tried every version of the Linden Labs Viewer 2, up to and including the new version 3.0.  In every case, there have been multiple "show stoppers" that have caused me to uninstall it and go back to LL's Viewer 1.23. Forget UI esthetics, a "show stopper" is a critical function that does not work properly. Linden Labs has known about most of these problems since Viewer 2's first release, yet they remain unsolved.  I don't want to spark a big debate here, hundreds of thousands of hours of your "fun time" have been spent already in discussions about this.

I want to "jump ship" and use a Third-Party Viewer for Second Life. My functional requirements are:

1) Stability - Other than crazy boundary crossings in vehicles, I never just crash in Viewer 1.23. Never, ever.  In Viewer 2 v3.0, I crash about once per hour.

2) These three features - 40 groups, mega-prims and mesh. Among the avalanche of "non-features" that LL has added to their Viewer 2, these are the real gems to me. I want them!

3) "Improvements aware" - Over time, LL has made other improvements like compressing the data associated with boundary crossings, physics improvements, etc. This is not as important as the "big three" features (above) but any Viewer I would consider should be at least partially "improvements aware."

4) Pleasant UI design - Yep, I sure do prefer the old User Interface, but that won't stop me from moving to something new if that "something new" is actually better. Again, I don't want to debate it here, but the Viewer 2 UI is non-intuitive, harsh and foreboding. SL is a game or a VW, in that context, pleasant is good.

5) Performance -  Even on my powerful PC, the Viewer 2 client takes from one to two seconds to select an inventory item after I touch it in the list. (I have approximately 22k inventory items, not an unreasonable number.) Something is horribly wrong there, I am guessing that some seldom-used client "features" are slowing down all of the really important client functions. All client functions should be crisp on a powerful PC.

6) Vendor integrity - I am somewhat skeptical about third-party viewers because I don't understand the underlying business model.  I'm sure it takes a lot of time, effort and money to properly support a TPV, how do they generate revenue to recover these costs? I have no idea, do you?

I have contributed to the SL community in the past, I just don't want to spend dozens of hours researching this.  Many, many, many, many, many, many of you have done this already. I just want to use the viewer that Linden Labs SHOULD HAVE provided with Second Life. Does it exist? Please tell me, "What viewer should I use?"

Thank you!

Jer Straaf

Trains, Planes and Action Games

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(listed in ord of most likely to run on older hardware that can't handle V2+)

cool VL use the snowglobe 1.5 code base and keeps the old ui. I'm not sure if current version supports extended prim sizes, but it probably does since it designed to be compatible with openSim.

Imprudence also shares the same codebase and general ui, and a quick debug tweak will give you extended prim size support.

Singularity should share the same attributes as both of the above.

Phoenix should also have the same feature set.

none of those has mesh support at the moment, but both cool and singularity are officially working on it.


Kirstens is the only TPV I know of currently to have mesh support, although Firestorm shouldn't be far behind.... however both are V2 codebase so may not be suitable if you are having trouble with vanLLa V2+


all are under active development EXCEPT phoenix, and cool is often the first to back port new features, and of the actives I've never heard word one about their viewer integrity being anything less than shining, (although iIm least familiar with the folks working on singularity). the largest two reasons for creating these viewers is to make something that's just a bit better than what's already out there, and to display talents (whether for community recognition, or potential employers)

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Thanks, Void, I appreciate the information.

I have read some of the other topics on the Viewer forum too.  (Chalk up a few more hours of everyone's leisure time wasted.) It seems that nobody knows anyone who uses LL's Viewer 2 (or a TPV with a Viewer 2-like UI) on a regular basis.  Same with me, I don't know anyone that uses it nor have I ever even heard of anyone who uses it.

My decision is to continue using Viewer 1.23 so that I can enjoy SL with my friends here and continue to give good support to my customers.  Again, since nobody knows anyone who uses a Viewer 2-like UI on a regular basis, I must assume that my entire customer base uses a V1.23-like UI too. I can continue teaching them stuff and helping them to accomplish their fun goals.  When I need to make something meggy or join an additional group, I will pop onto LL's "white elephant," their Viewer 2, and suffer through a session knowing that I'll be back to having fun soon.

Mesh? Well, I guess I don't get mesh. Too bad, but it seems like very few others will be getting it either. I wonder if all of the people who have spent time and money developing their new mesh stuff realize this, they are making things that nobody can see for a market that does not exist!  Bummer.


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