Niran’s Viewer continues to be updated on a weekly basis, with various new ideas being tried out. Version 1.46 sees an interesting take on the viewer Preferences, and as such, I thought it worth a look, as well as providing an update on some of the changes occurring in recent releases.
Download and Installation – 1.46
The x64 download weighed-in at just over 41Mb
On starting the viewer the first time, I received a virus threat warning for SLPlugin.exe. This tends to be a frequent false positive for the likes of Nortons, but rarer with AVG; this is one of the few times I have had the warning flagged.
New Preferences Layout
The most significant change within this release is to Preferences. As well as including the main Preferences floater (NV->FILE->PREFERENCES or CTRL-P), NiranV has included an experimental Preferences overlay, which can be accessed via the F2 key (you will have to re-assign any gesture using F2 to another key in order for this to work).
NiranV describes this as his “Skyrim inspired” approach to Preferences – and I have to say that, overall, I like the concept.
Right now, the option is clearly experimental and offers access to a limited set of Preferences options, so it is a little hard to judge as to how well it will scale and whether it will provide improved access to all Preferences options. However, the potential would appear to be there – and the ability to use the entire screen rather than a defined floater area would appear to offer significant advantages in terms of information presentation. As it stands, my only potential critiques of the approach is that:
- Some of the text within the Preferences is poorly defined against the background (this has been something of a problem in general with Preferences in the viewer)
- Some people might not like the fact that in using an overlay in this manner they cannot access other on-screen floaters (such as being able to IM others with Preferences open). A way around this might be to offer a toggle switch allowing users to display Preferences either as an overlay or as a “traditional” floater
I’m personally not so bothered by the second issue as I am by the first; elements of Preferences in Niran’s Viewer have always been hard to read at times, although swapping skins has tended to alleviate the problem. However, everything in the overlay Preferences is displayed on a relatively dark background which tends to mask some text in the displays very well (see the image above), exacerbating the problem of legibility.
Nevertheless, I’ll be watching to see how this idea develops over time, and how NiranV translates-over the use of multiple sub-tabs within a panel (e.g. incorporates the RLVa and Setup sub-tabs into Viewer, for example).
Server-side Avatar Baking
This release of Niran’s viewer includes a debug setting to “enable” server-side avatar baking. As this service is not actually available at present – and is unlikely to be rolled-out for least another 4-to-6 months – it is probably worthwhile pointing out that enabling the debug setting will not alter the way in which your avatar is baked.
Other Recent Updates
The following is a summary of the significant changes made to Niran’s Viewer since I last blogged on it:
- 1.40: saw the machinima sidebar (released in 1.39) modified so it slides over the Ui, rather than shunting things to one side (a-la the original Viewer 2 Sidebar); the Picks and Places floaters were added to NV->EDIT
- 1.41: primarily saw the update / addition of Windlight presets
- 1.42: local chat fixes to show the speaking indicator correctly; toggle check box added to the Machinima Sidebar for easy switching between Region default and Custom Windlight
- 1.43: ability to sat the time after which the Navigation bar will auto-hide; new World Map layout; ability to right-click/zoom to People floater for avatars within draw distance; alignment with LL’s code releases
- 1.44: replaced rendering engine with the current Linden Lab rendering code; addition of spell checking.
Performance has been a mixed bag for me with this viewer – and NiranV Dean has some comments in the release notes for 1.46 on the subject. Overall, performance on my usual system & with the usual settings (see the panel on the right of the home page of this blog), I had the following results, based on my home sim with 4 other avatars present. With deferred / shadows and lighting disabled: ground level: 14-17fps; 370m: 35-39fps; 2875m: 48-50fps. With shadows and lighting enabled: ground level: 7-9fps; 370m: 11-12fps; 2875m 13-14fps. All of this was remarkably consistent, and only slightly lower in all cases than I’ve experienced of late with other viewers.