Dolphin removing the unwanted from your view

Update 16th March: features from this Viewer have been attributed as coming from NACL, which is apparently incorrect. As information is taken at source, I’ve now removed references from the article below. It is also reported that the Sound Explorer and Asset Blacklist may have licencing issues – see Comments.

dolphin-logoLance Corrimal is working steadily on Dolphin, with roughly a release every couple of weeks of late, providing plenty of new features and tweaks to the V3.2-based Viewer.

The latest release, offers potentially improved graphics handling for older / lower-specification graphics systems (with the exception of ATi systems) and provides blacklisting capabilities for those who are repeatedly troubled by unwanted sights / sounds or need to find an elusive sound.

Texture Compression

For graphics cards with 512Mb or less of memory, Dolphin will have texture compression enabled by default. This should help prevent such systems crashing when running SL. The option can be manually enabled / disabled via PREFERENCES->GRAPHICS->HARDWARE SETTINGS.

Lance advises that users with ATi graphics cards should avoid using the option, and keep it switched off.

Asset Blacklisting and Sound Explorer

The Asset Blacklist is a means of removing unwanted objects, textures or sculpt maps from your world-view. Sounds can also be blacklisted via the Sound Explorer (described below).

The Asset Blacklist operates in a similar manner to derendering an item, but with the advantages that a) items that are blacklisted remain so until de-listed, so that if you teleport away from a location and return, you do not need to de-render them again; b) the asset blacklist can be shared by accounts using the same Viewer; c) you can even share lists with other users – hand if you are running a Group or similar and your base of operations is blighted in some way.

Problems with things regularly ruining your personal world-view?
Add them to your Asset Blacklist
And enjoy the view

Items are added to the list by asset type – object, texture, sculpt map – and recorded by UUID to prevent a simple renaming of the object causing it to reappear.

Blacklisted items are managed via the Asset Blacklist floater (WORLD->ASSET BLACKLIST).

The Asset Blacklist floater and key buttons

The Sound Explorer allows you to list all sound sources operating around you. It is accessed via WORLD->SOUND EXPLORER. This enables you to filter the available sounds by type, listen to them individually, identify their location and, if required, add them to your Asset Blacklist.

Sound Explorer: locate, listen-to or even blacklist sounds in your location by type

Both of these make extremely useful additions to the Viewer, and will likely prove very useful for those who routinely visit places where there may be issues with items or sounds impacting personal enjoyment.

Other Nips and Tucks

  • Anti-spam also arrives in Dolphin with this release (ME->PREFERENCES->DOLPHIN 3-> ANTI-SPAM
  • Help has been extensively overhauled within this release of Dolphin so that all help buttons in the Viewer now redirect to the Dolphin Viewer forum
  • The “Items incoming too fast” pop-up behaviour has been changed so that it is no longer necessary to click OK in order to remove the message – it will now fade-out on its own (something I hope all other TPVs will adopt; the message is annoying in its default behaviour)
  • Anti-aliasing is no longer off by default as it doesn’t impact overall performance so much as it once did
  • Fly-after-teleport has been fixed within the Viewer so that if you were flying prior to a teleport, you’ll still be flying on arrival
  • There have been some performance tweaks.


This release has some nice additions for those that suffer visual / audio blights around their home space in-world. While the “performance tweaks” aren’t specified in the Dolphin blog, while running this release I did obtain a very small improvement of my average fps rates  (around 3-4fps), with this release averaging around 41fps at 390 metres, and 23fps on the ground compared with the last release of Dolphin I actively tried ( With shadows enabled, this drops-off to around 12fps at 390 metres and 10fps on the ground (all checks with 3 other avatars on-sim)..

I also recently used Dolphin on Kitely, where it also worked flawlessly, making it my 2nd choice of Viewer for visiting other VWs, after Exodus.

Related Links

Seeking new horizons: Humble and Short talk new products and more

Games Industry today carries an interview with Rod Humble and Emily Short. Along the way, Humble discloses what drew him to Linden Lab in the first place.

Humble’s reasons for joining the company are enlightening – he’d actually forgotten about the platform and had been thinking of developing something along the same lines when the opportunity to join Linden Research popped-up. A nice example of serendipity in action.

Since joining Linden Research, Humble’s focus has been on the platform’s usability, which the article describes as being “far from perfect” – something many users would doubtless regard as an understatement. While there is still a good way to go in making things “better”, only the churlish would refuse to accept there haven’t been improvements in a number of areas, and that Linden Lab is working to get some deep-rooted issues – stability, performance, region crossings, even (dare I say it) the official Viewer – properly addressed.

There are also some comments that are liable to have users cringing in some quarters. Humble’s comments on gaming mechanics in particular may well offer little comfort to some as to the future of the platform. While SL may not itself be a game, it is a perfectly valid platform upon which users can develop games of their own if they so wish. Indeed, one might argue many have been doing precisely that almost since the platform entered open beta 10 years ago. That LL are now making the capabilities to do so easier to use is demonstration that the company is working meet user demands and provide more effective means by which the platform can be leveraged by users themselves.

As well as wanting to get issues around SL’s usability sorted out, Humble reveals that one of his overall goals would be to expand LL’s portfolio of products – to put the “Lab” back into “Linden Lab”. Reading this, one is tempted to wonder if this desire formed a part of his  pitch for the CEO position, and was thus one of the reasons he was hired. Thirteen years with just a single product is a remarkable achievement for any company – but it is also a precarious position to hold.

In terms of the acquisition of LittleTextPeople, it appears to be something of a natural symbiosis more than a straight buy-out: Humble / LL were working in a particular direction and at the end of last year it became apparent that Short and Evans were working towards the same destination. Thus, the acquisition was to their mutual advantage. It’s also interesting to note that the Humble / Short / Evans relationship is a lot deeper than the EA Games link between Humble and Evans many of pointed to when news of the acquisition broke.

As to the product itself, little is said in detail, but what is mentioned helps frame the product more clearly. It will be primarily text-based with 2D graphics. It will be a story form, but deal with social interactions – how people treat each other and what say to one another. Most intriguingly of all however, is that it appears the product will be capable of supporting user-generated content. “Although it will launch with some very, very well crafted content, the overall plan – just like all Linden lab products – is to democratise the actual creation process. Other people will be able to make things on that platform. That’s really the business we’re in: building platforms that allow people to express themselves in different ways.” Humble informs Games Industry when mentioning the product.

Of the other two products currently being developed at the Lab, even less is said other than the intimation they will also support user-generated content – although Humble did hint this would be the case when the development of new products was first announced at SLCC-2011. However, this is the first time we’ve had it directly confirmed that three products are currently in the pipeline. Again, Humble has only previously hinted at this in a comment on New World Notes, wherein he made reference to the LTP project being “Product 3”, and there being a “Product 2” under way at the Lab as well – although at the time, some did speculate as to whether “Product 1” was perhaps Second Life.

The interview isn’t going to satisfy everyone within the SL community, but for my part, I found it a worth-while read, not so much the for the titbits of information that emerge about the upcoming new products, but because it again shines a light on Rod Humble’s thought processes and some of his strategic thinking where both the company and SL are concerned. Given the company has been pretty quiet when it comes to talking to the community as a whole on such things, it’s refreshing to gain this kind of near-candid insight, and actually does help restore one’s faith that, overall, SL is in a safe pair of hands right now – a perception that has been slipping a little of late.

Obviously, the new tools being rolled-out / developed for SL and the new products themselves aren’t going to lift LL out of the perceived mire, and it fair to stay the company is facing further clouds on the horizon –  particularly around the stormy issue of tier. But taken as a whole, this is a positive piece and carries with it the promise that we may well be hearing a lot more from LL as whole in the coming months – and that in itself will be refreshing.

Don’t just take my word for it – go read the article, and don’t miss the side-bar piece as well.

With thanks to Daniel Voyager for the pointer.