Viewer 2: Finally starting to show promise

Viewer 2.2 is now out and available – and it is finally starting to look like something many people can live with.

The ability to customise the interface has long been a bugbear in all iterations of the Viewer; and while we still cannot reasonably expect to be able to fiddle with things to the Nth degree, the ability to re-order things like the on-screen buttons is a step forward. We don’t all work the same way, we don’t want to do the same things – we’re not all right-handed or left-handed, much less all left-, or right-brain dominant – so this is going to help many reorganise things into a way that they feel is more logical and easier to use when it comes to their needs. Kudos, at last.

Similarly, the ability to float options away from the sidebar is a good step forward – although it seems from comments that the sidebar still remains the focal-point of the “new” Viewer, and not the in-world view; so my personal pet peeve with the Viewer remains.

It’s also nice to see the promised two-way “dialogue” between TPV developers and LL start to yield fruit, with tools we’ve seen commonplace in several TPVS – texture alignment, Google-powered translation, etc., – finally entering into Viewer 2; may snowstorm result in much more of this – and in both directions.

It’s also nice to see some major idiocy in the Viewer finally disappear, seemingly despite LL’s repeated refusal to initially listen and then simply drag their heels after admitting the problem(s). That parcel icons are now on by default is welcome news so is the ability to turn off scripted lighting and particle generators. Given the amount of resistance shown by LL to do the former, I wonder who took Esbee or someone outside and gave them a firm talking-to?

The reaction to the new Viewer has, overall, been positive in the comments following Esbee’s post, and there have even been some very good suggestions put forward for future improvements. I would hazard a guess that, unless said suggestions find their way into a TPV from a third-party – such as Kirstenlee’sS20, which still outstrips Viewer 2 and offers a (largely) genuine pleasure of a Viewer experience – and thus potentially into Snowstorm, I seriously doubt that they’ll be taken anywhere by Esbee et al.

Are these change enough to get me to jump ship from 1.23.5? Well, to be honest, no, not quite yet. I am curious to see if Marine updates her initial cut of the RLV-enabled version of Viewer 2 she put out on the 10th Oct, and which appears to be based on the Viewer 2.2 code as it stood then; whether changes were made to the base code between the 10th and yesterday’s release is beyond me. If she does, I’ll give things another look; but I’m still very attached to Phoenix – not just because of RLV, but because it still offers capabilities that are extraordinarily handy when keeping an eye on sims and tenants. These far outweigh the bells and whistles offered by Viewer 2, such as media-on-a-prim (which itself seems to have fizzled out like a wet firework rather than illuminating Second Life like a night-time space shuttle launch). As to the really useful features of Viewer 2: Alpha Masks, Tattoo Layers – they are already in the majority of TPVs, and so are hardly an encouragement to make the jump elsewhere.

So where is my incentive to move? Multi-attach / multi-wear? Very nice, but not actually essential, given how long I’ve lived without them – and certainly not worth a trade-off with that bloody sidebar barging out onto my screen without me cluttering-up world-view real estate with minimised windows torn off from it. And then we have the biggie: does search actually work in Viewer 2 now? I’ve honestly lost track of that situation.

Which really means my personal analysis of the latest release is really, “Congratulations, LL on getting a new usable Viewer out there for people. Pity you opted to push the code through the door eight months premature; you’ve still left yourselves a big mountain to climb in the eyes of the more cynical as a result of that mistake. But – well done, all the same, for keeping to your promise vis Snowstorm”.

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