Dolphin 3.2 gains the FUI – and more

dolphin-logoThis is turning in to the week I catch up on Viewers!

Lance Corrimal has released Dolphin 3.2 (3.2.0.22166), which sees his Viewer move to the new Flexible User Interface (FUI), and gain a few choice goodies as well.

Installation

Installation was smooth with the Windows installer, although it was interesting to see the a copy progress pop-up appear as files were extracted and copied to my install directory.

FUI and Updates

At first glance after installation, this would appear to be a simple adoption of the FUI with various other TPV updates. But if you think that – best look again. There may not be mesh upload in this release, but there’s more going on than meets the eye here.

Like Niran’s Viewer, Dolphin 3.2 tweaks the FUI a little – only rather than providing an area at the top of the screen where buttons can be added, Lance has incorporated additional buttons into the Button Toolbar:

  • AO ON/OFF and AO SETUP – for quick access to the Viewer’s animation override functions
  • AREA SEARCH – accesses the Area Search for Objects floater (WORLD->AREA SEARCH or CTRL-SHIFT-A)
  • ENVIRONMENT, provides quick access to the Environment Settings panel floater, otherwise accessed by WORLD->ENVIRONMENT EDITOR->ENVIRONMENT SETTINGS.
New button options in Dolphin 3.2

Note that by default, all four buttons are active when you launch Dolphin 3.2 from a fresh installation (all on the left side of the Viewer window), I’ve shown them in the toolbar floater out of convenience.

Providing buttons for the Viewer-side AO makes perfect sense, as does including Area Search (something not everyone is aware exists in  and keyboard shortcut notwithstanding) and quick access to environment settings, which itself is an option people twiddle with a lot.

Dolphin 3.2 also gets the new snapshots floater, complete with the option to upload to your web profile feed. According to Lance’s notes, he’s also working on porting the option to upload snapshots to Flickr to the new floater, but will probably be a while before it appears in the Viewer.

This release also gains

  • The ability to turn your avatar around when walking backwards, again a popular viewer-side feature among TPVs
  • Firestorm’s texture refresh, which forces a re-fetch of the textures for an avatar or object which remains stubbornly grey on your screen (right-click & select from the context menu)
  • Firestorm’s object particle editor, which may yet be the subject of a separate blog post here
  • The latest RLV updates from Marine Kelley
  • The STORM-1713 fix, which corrects the issue of the mouse pointer flickering over UI elements that has been seen in V3.x.

Performance

Overall, performance on my system is comparable to the official SL V3.2 averaging in the mid-20s when I’m in a sim on my own, and dropping to around the mid-teens when sharing a sim with 5-6 others. All comfortable enough. With shadows enabled, this falls to an average of 6-8 fps, again pretty much in line with official V3 performance on my PC.

Opinion

Frankly, another robust Viewer from Lance that again builds on V3 to present a nice, tidy alternative with a good crop of additional features and options. The fact that it doesn’t have mesh upload shouldn’t be any hindrance to most – mesh rendering in the Viewer is fine. And one cannot blame Lance for wanting more time to consider what is the best fit for his Viewer when it comes to incorporating an uploader, rather than rushing to add the first that comes along.

If you’re looking for something that offers the V3.2 FUI, together with a good, solid selection of popular items from TPVs – radar, area search, Viewer-side AO, together with Lance’s own mods to the Viewer (including these excellent 3.2 FUI tweaks), then Dolphin 3.2.0.22166 is very much worth a look.

Related Links