Viewer release summary 2012: week 5

Updates for week ending: 5 Feb, 2012

This is intended to be a weekly round-up of current public SL viewers (of which I’m aware). Links to my most recent reviews of said viewers will be included, but may not reflect the current release. As few Viewers are static, and releases are made according to individual development cycles, further versions of any given Viewer may well be released between these updates, and as such the information here may become out-of-date as the week progresses. Please check with the relevant download pages.

Text clients I am able to run and review may be included in the future, depending upon how useful this page proves to be.

SL Official Viewers

Available for: Windows, Linux and Mac

V3.2-based TPVs

V1-based TPVs

  • Cool VL version (stable) / (experimental)
  • Imprudence version 1.3.2 (stable) / 1.4.0 (beta 2)
    • Released: 1.3.2 – May 18th, 2011; 1.4.0 – September 25th, 2011 (download page)
    • Available for: Windows, Linux, Mac
  • Phoenix Version
  • Singularity version

Related Links

Kokua to move ahead

kokua-logoThe development of the Kokua and Imprudence Viewers has been somewhat stalled for several months for a wide range of reasons, all of which are understandable given the voluntary nature of Viewer development in general.

At the end of January 2012, the Kokua / Imprudence team held an open meeting at which the future of both viewers was discussed, and following this, a blog update was put out summarising the conclusions reached, and which reads in part:

We’re going to continue to develop Third Party viewers with a focus on cross supporting Second Life and OpenSim/Aurora. However we’re going to focus on Kokua in the future, the ultimate fate of Imprudence is still undecided though as we may push for a final 1.4 release but nothing that takes up too much of our time. Kokua will use Second Life v3.2 as a base, we feel the LL code for v3.2 has matured greatly beyond v2 and v3 and we’ll of course make our own modifications to it to make it more “purple” in flavor. It is also our intent to finalize the name change from Imprudence to Kokua, Imprudence and Kokua are separate viewers and the project has historically been called the Imprudence project. The intent was to switch from Imprudence to Kokua as the next generation client was released but it has been dragged out for quite a while now and caused confusion, so we’re going to finish the change over to Kokua.

This is excellent news for the SL TPV / OpenSim worlds, as Imprudence has long had an outstanding reputation for usability and has been popular across the wider metaverse (may of us who bounce between SL and other grids find it to be our Viewer of choice when outside of SL). That the expertise that has made Imprudence so popular and so capable a Viewer is now being brought to bear on the V3.2 FUI and capabilities is good news and means that both OS and SL stand to gain given wider choice in Viewer options.

Of course, many will lament what amounts to the eventual passing of Imprudence – but again, all Viewer development is only voluntary, and teams / devs must move in the direction that they feel is most appropriate for them in terms of building and maintaining a viable Viewer and it would be unfair to chastise the Kokua  / Imprudence team for their decision.

Work will, for the forseeable future, focus on Windows (32-bit) and Linux 32-bit & 64-bit), although it is hoped both Windows and Mac 64-bit options will be available “down the road” – with the further caveat that Mac development is dependent upon the team gaining a Mac developer. Sounds reasons are given for not focusing on a Windows 64-bit version from the off, although the 32-bit version will have SSE optimisation.

Alongside the core work on the Viewer, the Kokua / Imprudence blog & forums are liable to see an overhaul in the near future as well.

As well as the blog post on the subject, you can also read the full transcript of the meeting, if you were unable to attend.

The towering architecture of Kölner Dom

Update August 4th: the region containing the cathedral is no longer available.

Working on Fallingwater put me in mind of some of the truly great builds in Second Life. One of the most famous is perhaps that of Cologne Cathedral / Kölner Dom. Taking up the majority of Koelner Dom (with the arrivals point on neighbouring Virtuelles Kolen), the cathedral is a powerful tour-de-force of what can be achieved in SL with patience, prims and high-quality texturing.

The build is the work of Seminal 3D, and has long been regarded as an example of what can be achieved architecturally within SL. The initial version of the cathedral opened in Second Life in 2007, and had the full support of the Cologne Cathedral Administration team from real life, and drew on the expertise of the Cathedral’s architect, Barbara Schock-Werner.

“Version 2.0” of the build has been underway since approximately late 2007, and I’m actually uncertain as to the overall status of things: there are still “under construction” signs to be found inside the build itself, together with notices outside relating to the renovations, but I’ve been unable to find any more recent news on the project than items dated mid-2011.

Nevertheless, the Cathedral is well worth a visit, particularly if you’re into photography in SL and / or are using a Viewer such as Niran’s or Exodus, which really bring the beauty of the build to the fore when using their enhanced graphics capabilities.

The magnificence of 13,000 well-ordered prims
A beautiful use of textures captures many features of  the original
…which continues inside the build…
…and up to the ornate flying buttresses, seen here from one of the towers

There is sadly little in the way of internal details in the cathedral at present: the nave and transept columns are all present, as are most of the magnificent stained-glass windows, but of alter, seating, etc, there is nothing. It would be nice to see the inclusion of something like the Nave Organ, a 1998 addition to the original, perched high over the nave itself – but with the build apparently pushing the parcel limits, one can understand why such are not currently to be found.

The nave, looking east

Even so, for those that appreciate building and architecture in SL, as well as those who enjoy capturing the sights of SL in photos, Kölner Dom is worth your time for a visit.

From the air

Related Links