Saturday November 24th saw the next release of Exodus hit the download page, and Ash Qin from the team was kind enough to give me the nod – I confess, I’d lost track of the nightly builds and so have fallen well behind with the viewer’s on-going development – and access to the beta release of the build.
Exodus 188.8.131.52 is based on the Linden 3.4.2 code base, so it includes the majority of the most recent updates from the Lab, including the new Group Services code for managing and editing groups with more than 10K members, and a host of other Linden goodness.
The Windows installer weighs-in at a touch over 34MB in size and contains absolutely no surprises during the install process – as one would expect. As per usual, I did a completely clean install, which brought me to my first surprise: on start-up Exodus displayed the Steam-related “Create Account” prompt.
No, Exodus isn’t going to Steam.
This doesn’t mean Exodus is heading for Steam a-la the official viewer, just that the Steam code is now part and parcel of the SL beta viewer code, and the Exodus team didn’t see any reason not to merge it into their code, given it is only ever something established users are ever going to see once after a fresh install (and possibly not at all if they don’t perform a clean install or the team moves to an updater system – which is something they are considering).
This release brings with it pathfinding, which the team had originally hoped to release a lot sooner. This includes not only the build tools associated with pathfinding (Linksets and Characters floaters, attributes in the Build and Object Profile floaters, etc.), but also includes the Navmesh visualisation code, as Exodus becomes the latest viewer to sign-up to the Havok sub-licence agreement with Linden Lab.
An impressive image of Deshima, showing the navmesh visualisation in Exodus
This means that anyone who has been using Exodus to access OpenSim grids via –loginuri will no longer be able to do so when using this release. Similarly, the optional grid selector which can be displayed on the login splash screen only lists Agni (the main grid) and Aditi (the beta grid).
The move to the Havok sub-licence also means that with this release, Exodus moves to the official mesh upload code from LL, rather than using the HACD code which has been in common use within TPVs.
Large groups will load and can be edited with this release of Exodus
As mentioned above, Exodus gains the large group management and editing code from Linden Lab with this release, allowing groups with 10K or more members to load in the Group floater and which allow group owners and officers to edit and manage very large groups.
Again, just as a point of reference for those unfamiliar with the new code changes: these do not relate to group chat or anything related to improving group chat. That is an entirely separate project within Linden Lab (and one which may not be being actively progressed while other work is being undertaken). This is purely about using HTTP protocols (rather than the old UDP) to bring more stability to the downloading, viewing and editing of very large groups.
Alongside the updates and fixes from LL, Exodus 184.108.40.206 gets a number of updates all of its own:
- The Flickr option on the Snapshot floater now includes an option to include the parcel name / SLurl in the description
- You can now Paste as Link’ and Copy as Link using the right-click or CTRL-SHIFT-V and CTRL-SHIFT-C using Exodus’ built in “pastebin” functionality
- A Copy as Link button added to the About Second Life Viewer floater, allowing the information in the floater to be viewed via the web
- A Copy Key option added to the avatar right-click context menu, allowing for easy copying of the Avatar Key.
Two new options for Exodus: the include location option for Flickr uploads on the Snapshot floater, and Copy as Link on the About Second Life Viewer
Fixes and Changes
Exodus 220.127.116.11 also includes a number of fixes and changes from the team:
- MOTD should work now on OS X
- Added copy key to gear menu for avatar inspection panels
- Colouring of certain elements
- BMP cursors on Linux
- Higher compression of LZMA packages on Linux
- Curl on OS X no longer defaults to trying to use IPv6 in Curl (related to MOTD issue).
Performance and Feedback
Performance-wise Exodus 18.104.22.168 again gives very similar results on my usual review system (see the panel on the right sidebar of this page) as recent viewer releases I’ve taken a look at in the last month:
- Deferred off:
- Ground: 28-29 fps
- 370 metres: 36-38 fps
- 2875 metres: 43-45 fps
- Deferred on + lighting set to Sun/Moon + Projectors; ambient occlusion off:
- Ground: 9 fps
- 370 metres:15 fps
- 2875 metres: 18 fps
Like like Catznip R7 and the recent Firestorm beta, these figures dropped only very slightly (just 1 fps on average) if I also activated ambient occlusion in deferred; again marking the fact that for me, things seem to have improved recently over the start of the year.
Compared to other recently releases, this one from Exodus is relatively small and compact – which doesn’t lessen its overall impact; once again it places Exodus back among the leaders of the V3-based TPV pack. There are still a couple of things I’d like to see, one of them being my usual request of TPVs in general: the ability to left / right range the toolbar buttons at the bottom (or top for those that use that space) of the screen. Only one does it so far, and it is really handly having the option.
Nevertheless, nothing should be taken away from the Exodus team, offering as they do a pleasing and worthwhile update.