Update: version 1.11 with an out-of-memory crash fix is now available. If you have downloaded 1.10 and are experiencing crash issues (memory use exceeding 1.25Gb), you might want to download this version.
Niran’s Viewer is one of the two most capable graphics Viewers in current development – easily standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Exodus (which has in some respects gained far more attention of late).
Niran’s hasn’t been without problems – simply because it is so advanced (possibly too advanced for some people’s tastes). While NiranV Dean has worked hard to present a range of graphics controls that are more intuitive (using settings such as “low”, “medium” and “high”, rather than numeric sliders, etc.), it is possible that people have been so used to the slider mechanisms may find his newer approach a little more confusing.
I’ve tried to follow Niran’s development from Beta onwards because, well, I like it. Rather a lot. Things for me went a bit squiffy with release 1.02, which simply refused to work with my PC (or my PC with it, not sure which way around it was), and some of those issues carried over into 1.03.
Release 1.10 redresses all of that with a nice set of nips, tucks and updates that have so far given me a very pleasant ride and which again point to why those with a bent for photography, etc., in SL should take Niran’s Viewer for a spin. It is based on the very latest LL 3.2.7 (Project) code base, and includes all the latest Shining fixes to boot!
Graphics and Rendering
On the graphics / rendering front, Niran has re-worked the original sky glow defaults from V3 into the Windlight preset for the Viewer for those that find the Niran’s Viewer glow defaults a little too bright. You can find them under the Sky settings, with names such as “Realistic” should you wish to swap over to them in preference to the Viewer’s own glow defaults.
Within the Graphics panel itself, NiranV has been fixing various bits and pieces – adding tooltips, etc., and also, God bless him, adding default (*) indicators alongside options so that it’s relatively easy to get back to a starting point when making adjustments. This I’ll treasure him for, as I’m no graphics expert, and have confused myself once or twice playing with settings on a number of Viewers.
The most obvious difference in the UI for those who are familiar with Niran’s Viewer & who do a clean install), is that there are only 7 buttons on-screen by default, and these are both icons-only and moved to the left / right sides, potentially maximising the in-world view.
Visiting PREFERENCES->VIEWER->UI reveals the alpha / beta options have been expanded, with the ability to enable / disable the mesh parametric deformer alpha being added to the other options.
On the parametric deformer, NiranV notes, “For all you that wanted to disable it, you will now find the option to do so … untick it and re-wear any mesh or the whole mesh AV to make it update and look normal, the reason why it doesn’t auto update like in Exodus is easy, Qarl’s code adds an update to mesh nearly every second or less , this results in flickering mesh shadows and totally freaking Meshes on other people , i took that one out , contra is that you have to “refresh” it then , but it definitely works better :)”
I took a quick plunge into the Beta grid to give the Direct Delivery options a go, now that the public Beta is underway.
Enabling the Received Items and the Merchant’s Outbox will add both to your Inventory panel (in difference to the official Project Viewer, which has the Merchant’s Outbox as a separate panel).
In testing the options, I found the Received Items side of things worked as expected. However, I was unable to test uploading goods, as the Merchant Outbox section refused to let me drop anything into it, which I’ve reported to NiranV.
This issue aside, I find NiranV’s approach to Direct Delivery more intuitive than LL’s – having the Merchant Outbox included in the Inventory panel means one doesn’t need to have yet another panel open and floating around, and dragging-and-dropping will be much easier. Other TPV developers, take note.
As a slight aside, don’t be confused if you see “Niran’s Viewer” popping up in place of “Second Life” (such as in the Merchant’s Outbox, which refers to “Niran’s Viewer Marketplace” rather than “Second Life Marketplace”) – this is the result of an accidental global replace of “Second Life” with “Niran’s Viewer” by one of NiranV’s colleagues on the project…
Small, from an end-user perspective, but very welcome and tidy changes to the Viewer that do much to encourage its more widespread use. Performance-wise on my usual machine, and on my usual sims (the usual caveats in place), it ran well – better than 1.02, giving me performance on a par with Exodus with or without shadows enabled, and a very smooth run. There are still some things I feel are missing from the Viewer – but these are personal choices, and they won’t stop me from using this Viewer alongside Exodus in my fledgling attempts at SL photography.
If you’re into photography and / or machinima, then Niran’s is definitely a Viewer to take a look at.