Viewer 3.2 launched, I make a few suggestions

Quick note: A couple of other blogs have linked to this piece as a review of the new UI. If you are looking for a review, you can find mine here. This article only references the fact the new Viewer is released, and doesn’t carry any specifics.

Well, well.

After blogging yesterday that Viewer 3.2 had reached Beta – lo and behold, and with no fanfare whatsoever, it’s released!

Apparently there was a blog post about it that Tateru spotted on Monday, but it appears to have vanished into the sub-etha.

Version 3.2.0 (244443), dated Nov 3rd, doesn’t have the latest revisions that the Beta release has – there is no Destination Guide open by default, and there are no translation options on the Chat Preferences, nor does Inventory have the Direct Delivery revision (not surprising, given yesterday’s announcement). The new attach points (Neck and Centre) have yet to appear – although they are in the Beta, so expect them & translate, etc., shortly.

However, everything else I covered in my First Looks piece on the new UI is there – including the direct-to-marketplace shopping button top right of the screen which is liable to annoy many who have in-world shops.

3.2.0 UI

I’m not sure when on Monday the switch-over occurred; I’ve been checking the download page daily of late (sometimes more than twice), and when I downloaded the latest Beta, the release Viewer was still 3.1.2.

Short Random Thoughts on the UI

Given we have a button-based UI, I’m not going to suggest anything radical, but here are some thoughts:

  • Make the Chat  bar optionally “sticky” so that if positioned over the bottombutton area, it displays a-la V1, without the floater surround (i.e. so the “nearby chat” floater title and X to close vanish). This would:
    • Reduce screen space used by the bar
    • Allow a further V1-like feel to the Viewer, helping those moving over from V1 feel more at home
  • Add more button options for greater flexibility, for example:
    • Environment settings to access the Environment Settings floater (and add sun positions as buttons on the floater)
    • Quick Preferences button, a-la Phoenix / Firestorm, that provides access to frequently used options such as the Draw distance, Particles count, Height offset, Physics and LOD sliders, etc, and WindLight presets

Button floaters were an idea that crossed my mind as well, but I’m not convinced they’d be a benefit.I hope the code is such that TPVs adopting the UI can add their own buttons easily enough.

I’m a little surprised that the improved camera controls / floater still hasn’t appeared and can’t help wondering what LL are doing with it.

Would also be nice at some point to see some form of client-side AO option included in the Viewer. TPVs have these as standard, they don’t impact on the sales of AOs (as people still need the walks, etc.). On that subject, LL, isn’t it about time the default waddle was reworked into something of a “unisex” walk?

Anyway, random thoughts aside, if you’ve not given the new UI a test, I recommend you do, even if you’re not a regular official Viewer user – it’s worth a look-see, and even if buttons aren’t to everyone’s liking, they at least allow a greater flexibility of approach to screen layout – and even allow a sort-of pseudo Viewer 1.x layout.

Updates: 9th November

Two excellent JIRAs on the UI have been raised, and they are certainly worth Watching (which, as we all know, is the new Voting – although putting in a vote as well won’t do any harm!)

  • VWR-27388 – make all menu options draggable to the button areas – thanks to Pat Perth
  • VWR-27455 – make button groups repositionable within the button areas (i.e. move to left/right or top/bottom edge of placement areas – thanks to Gwyneth Llewelyn
  • I’ve also raised a JIRA for the addition of a “Quick Preferences” button to access specific sliders: VWR-27457.

Also on the 9th, LL’s blog post on the Viewer reappeared, together with a number of links:

This post also included information on Direct Messaging, which I covered last month.