One of my first experiences with V1 TPVs was via the Windows Cool Viewer compiled by Boy Lane, and which became the Rainbow Viewer. For a long time, this was simply my Viewer of choice. I was therefore intrigued to see that after over a year, Rainbow has been overhauled and made available once again.
Based on the 1.22 release of Viewer 1, Rainbow has a core of die-hard fans, and the new release does much to bring it up to par with the likes of Phoenix and Imprudence 1.3/1.4, given it now includes:
- Client-side AO
- Media filtering
- TP history
- Display Names
- Multiple attachments (but like other V1 TPVs, no multiple wear for the same layer of clothing)
- Tattoo and Alpha layers
- Outfits creation
- Prim alignment tool
- Multiple grid support
Using Rainbow is like a blast from the past. At installation, you’re informed that you need to obtain several files from either the “official” Viewer 1 or from Snowglobe. This is something I haven’t had to do in ages, and while I can understand why Boy has gone this route (better performance where the Kakadu system is concerned), I nevertheless wonder as to how vulnerable this leaves Rainbow: Viewer 1 is no longer available and there is no guarantee LL might not at some point simply remove snowglobe access, given it is now a dead project.
Once in the Viewer – and my use of Firestorm of late notwithstanding – there was something nostalgic in using Rainbow; the interface, the Preferences options – all hark back to the “good old days” in many respects when things were indeed, “fast, fun and easy”. However, the nostalgia is actually very short-lived. There is much that Rainbow lacks that I find hard to do without: there is no vertical tabbing for IM windows, for example, and no Quick Preferences option (although granted, both may come). Even the inclusion of avatar physics is – to be honest – now dated. The Viewer 2 system (already adopted by Firestorm) is far superior for those willing to give it a go.
Where Rainbow is likely to score is in being aimed at other OS Grids. I tested it with InWorldz and Avination, both with few issues other than getting the “you have been logged out” message, complete with options to review chat / IMs each time I logged out of InWorldz, rather than getting s “clean” exit. Other than that, performance was easily as smooth at Imprudence 1.3, and a lot better than the likes of Phoenix. As such, it is a welcome addition to the list of Viewers that can access other grids.
In terms of SL, however, I do wonder about the Viewer’s longevity. As I’ve already commented, the reality is that V1-based TPVs for Second Life are likely coming to their End of Days, what with the Search issues, mesh, and so on.
To be fair to Boy Lane, the Viewer has been released with a clear statement of intent:
“Rainbow does not intend to be a competitor of viewer 2 or any other of the 3rd party viewers around. All of them are based on either V2 or Snowglobe code. Rainbow is based on 1.22, and playing in a league of it’s own. To support legacy hardware, and to support all my friends in Opensims.”
The last part of this statement is a worthy goal in itself – and again, full kudos to Boy for providing OS grid users with a greater choice. However, where Second Life is concerned, and even with a loyal following, given all that is coming down the road in the next few weeks and months, it’s hard to see this latest Rainbow release as having a decent shelf life.