With all the excitement over the new UI reaching the Development Viewer code, it’s been easy to overlook the fact that the last few days saw the latest release of the Viewer, which includes the new mesh uploader floater, and sees prim counts and prim equivalency replaced with Land Capacity and Land Impact.
The new uploader floater provides improved capabilities for adjusting and optimising mesh objects prior to upload.
Land Impact itself can be seen in the Build floater, as shown in the image below, which compares how objects are now displayed (right) compared to how we’ve seen them in the past (left).
Similarly, the Land Capacity can now be seen under OBJECTS in the About Land floater, with the old (left) and new (right) shown below.
I’ve got a more extensive post on these changes, which includes a look at other options as well. With the changes now firmly in the Viewer release code, expect to start seeing Capacity and Land Impact in the About Land and Build floaters of your preferred V3-based TPV in the very near future.
In the meantime, for those trying out the latest Viewer release, be aware that there are upload issues with it that some people are experiencing, and a JIRA has been opened (SH-2595).
The first phase of the new UI has arrived as a Development Viewer release (3.2.1 (243328)). So what do we have in store?
Well, actually, quite a lot, and it’s obvious right from the login screen, where the absence of the BASIC and ADVANCED modes is clear.
Once logged-in, more differences make themselves immediately felt:
The top of the UI has been revised so that the Navigation and Favourites bars have been combined, with a slider between the two allowing you to adjust their sizes relative to one another
There is a new button up on the Menu Bar I’ll return to shortly
There are no Sidebar tabs visible on the right of the screen
There is no chat bar at the bottom of the screen
There are two sets of buttons visible: one on the left, featuring icons only (by default), and one at the centre bottom of the screen, featuring text and icons (by default).
If you want to type, you can either click the CHAT button on the bottom toolbar, select NEARBY CHAT from the COMMUNICATE menu (as per previous versions of the Viewer) or, in a move that follows V1 behaviour, tap ENTER. All three options will display the chat bar in its own repositionable floater.
Buttons, Buttons, Buttons
As there are a lot of them, let’s start with the buttons – most of which should be perfectly obvious.
On the left of the screen, we have by default, seven buttons. These are: Avatar, Appearance, Inventory, Search, Places Map, Nearby Voice and Mini-map. All of these will be familiar to V2/V3 users. They perform the same functions as in earlier releases of the Viewer; although in the case of Appearance, Inventory and Places, rather than opening them in the Sidebar, the buttons open the Appearance (outfit), Inventory and Places panels in their own floaters.
I have to admit, Mini-map had me fooled for a moment – the button’s icon suggests it is something to do with Voice.
Only Avatar is a new button here, lifted directly out of the BASIC mode. Clicking it opens up floater than enables you to pick an entire avatar look – shape, skin, clothes, etc. Four types of avatar are provided with the development release: human, animal, robot and vehicle. One suspects further choices (such as other races) will be added in time.
At the bottom of the UI is the more familiar toolbar with the following options: Chat, Speak, Destinations, People, Profile, View, Move and How To.
Of these, Chat enables the chat floater, as described above, while Speak, View and Move do exactly what they did in previous releases of the Viewer. People and Profile display the People and Profile panels from the Sidebar, now in their own floaters, leaving Destinations and How To.
Both of these will be familiar to those who have tried the BASIC mode: Destinations displays a mini Destination Guide floater, with destinations split into categories: What’s Hot Now, Chat, Newcomer, popular Places, and so on.
How To is something I’d speculated / hoped would be carried over from the BASIC mode as a part of the merge. I was a big fan of How To when it made its debut in the BASIC mode, as it is a simple, easy to use “cue-card” system for obtaining help, especially for those new to SL. If I’m honest, it is something I banged on at Rodvik about back when it first appeared, I was that enthusiastic about it, so I’m really pleased it has come up into the revised UI.
True, I’d personally like to see the range of topics it covers increased (without going completely overboard), but perhaps further topics will be added over time.
Within How To, the GET LIVE HELP option is new – it wasn’t in the BASIC mode. At first my oldbie heart soared on seeing it, as it seemed to herald the return of the long-gone and sadly lamented Live Help as used to be in Viewer 1.x.
Sadly, this is not the case. Selecting the option displays this message:
“Click the button below to teleport to a Help location where a Second Life guide is available to assist you between the hours of 10am – 6pm PST.”
Beneath it is a TELEPORT button, which in turn opens the Places floater, from which you should, in theory, be able to teleport to a suitable help location. Quite what or where this help location is and who staffs it (one assumes resident volunteers) is unknown. I’m not sure if it is because I tried the option after 18:00 SLT or simply that the function isn’t working as yet – but Places came up a blank, leaving me nowhere to teleport.
So, back to the buttons…
Looking at the layout, one might end up thinking that all LL have actually done is swapped a set of ugly tabs and screen-hogging slidey Sidebar and replaced them with a set of buttons on the left of the screen.
And one would be entirely wrong. Why? Because these buttons are movable buttons. Not only that, they are customisable (to a degree). For example, right-click on any of the sets of buttons and a prop-up displays a menu with the options CHOOSE BUTTONS, ICONS AND LABELS and ICONS ONLY.
The latter two options allow you to switch between displaying the buttons with icons only (as is the case by default with the buttons on the left side of the screen) or with an icon and text (as is the case with the buttons on the bottom of the screen). But it is when you select CHOOSE BUTTONS that things start to get interesting, because this displays a Button Toolbox floater (which can also be accessed via CTRL-T or the TOOLBARS option of the ME menu).
This contains all the buttons available to you within the UI. Any buttons that you haven’t yet used are highlighted for easy identification. Note here, as well, that there are a few new buttons to play with, notably ABOUT LAND, PICKS AND PREFERENCES (yes, you can now have one-click access to the Viewer Preferences!).
To add a button to your UI simply position the mouse pointer over it, click and hold the LEFT mouse button and drag the button from the toolbox.
As you do this, you’ll notice the border on three sides of the Viewer turns blue, indicating you can position the button either on the left, bottom or right side of the screen. Nor does it end there.
You can also move buttons between locations (left side, right side and bottom of the screen) using the same method: simply left-click and hold over each button you wish to move in turn, and drag it to your preferred location. Thus, it is perfectly possible to have all your buttons placed at the bottom of the screen a-la V1, or you can split your buttons between the bottom and right of the screen, a-la a “traditional” V2 style.
Tateru Nino carries some news relating to the initial changes to the official Viewer UI, obtained courtesy of Rhett Linden.
Rhett’s revelations, while interesting reading, are not entirely earth-shattering, and don’t actually go that much beyond what Rod Humble himself has already said concerning the Viewer, and what some of us were speculating as a result.
In a nutshell, Rhett has confirmed:
The Sidebar is to go. This is something that wasn’t hard to guess at, given Rod himself said as much at SLCC 2011
There is to be a more flexible approach to the UI in general, that will allow users to, “Arrange the UI to fit the way they use Second Life. This is important because it moves us toward a model more like most creative software“
This latter point more than likely refers to things like the “Customise Toolbars” and the “FUI” (which people have taken to mean “Flexible User Interface”), both of which are mentioned in passing / hinted at in the SL Helpfile wiki pages (although no specific information is available on either right now). Certainly, the release notes for the merge (see below) point in this direction as well.
What is worthy of note is that Rhett confirms that the initial code for the UI changes, which should also see the arrival of things like click-to-move and the new camera palette (again as revealed by Rod Humble, this time talking on the SL Universe forum), was merged into the Development Viewer code today – although TPV developers had been expecting as much, going on comments passed elsewhere during the day.
For those planning on trying out the latest development Viewer, be aware that the release notes state:
The Viewer floater camera views and presets do not work
The Nearby Voice panel does not update to a new call or from nearby voice info once opened
Viewer crashes when updating UI size in preferences
The Speak button is activated when dragging and dropping between toolbars and/or moving back to the toolbox
Viewer crash when moving the speak button from one toolbar to another when there is an active call request
Teleport history doesn’t display visited locations
Viewer crash when double-clicking the mini-map in People > Nearby
Notification and conversation chiclets overlap
WASD controls don’t move avatar while move floater is in focus
Closing voice controls while a group or p2p call also closes the group call / IM window
Viewer crash after teleport
Hitting back in the ‘Create Group’ panel or ‘Blocked’ panel requires multiple clicks for action to occur.