Niran’s Viewer 1.46: the Skyrim influence

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).

“Skyrim”-style approach to Preferences

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
Readability issues exacerbated?

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
Niran’s updated World Map
  • 1.44: replaced rendering engine with the current Linden Lab rendering code; addition of spell checking.

Performance (1.46)

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.

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4 thoughts on “Niran’s Viewer 1.46: the Skyrim influence

  1. exactly thats what i need , pics of stuff that doesnt look right. thanks. as it is now those are just the normal preferences panels put into that overlay , so theres nothing really changed or tweaked or this overlay as it already works pretty well , however , im not sure how the whole fullscreen thingy will work out because theres always this thing about small resolutions… and well it works down to 1024×720, meaning that when i make use of a 1920×1080 resolution screen , it would appear with 2 scrollbars , one for scrolling up n down and one for scrolling from left to right and thats exactly what i want to prevent. However , i have to say that it is time that people should enter a age in which most PC should have atlast 1440 pixels in width which will prevent alot of problems. however i will see what i can do but i think preferences wont be changable , i´ve stated that it will hopefully sooner or later replace the floater completely. F2 key will also change , its just set to F2 for this and maybe 1-2 more releases in order to allow easy and quick access to it.

    thanks for your review, it showed me some much needed feedback.


    1. Yep,

      Aware that the panels are the existing panels dropped into the overlay format – but the visual issue is there as I commented: within the floater, a change of UI skin can largely negate the problem – and that isn’t available on the overlay.

      Appreciate the resolution problem, hence why I wonder if including a toggle option might be preferable if possible): let people decide for themselves if they want to display Preferences as an overlay or a floater. That way they can choose whichever works best with their system.

      If you did that, it would also free you to determine the lowest resolution you wish to work with for the overlay itself (say WXGA or WXGA+ (1280×800 or 1440×900)) and work from there, assuming you are able to make more use of the screen real estate offered by the overlay. I appreciate that this will still leave higher-resolutions screens “pushing” everything up and to the left, but it would appear to offer a reasonable balance-point.

      I suppose it comes down to what you want to achieve with the approach, overall.


      1. Will see what i can do here and there , the main part of it is basically done , from now on it needs fixing , finetuning and generally a lot of love.


  2. My 10 cents, if using 1920-1080 screen res, win 7 64b, a reasonable rig (intel 7 quad, Nvidia gtx580, 12 giga ddr3- AA and AF forced via control panel to run at 16 and 16hq), i’m getting always (since i start using Niran v1.39) higher fps with the highest settings possible in any viewer, with Niran!
    And to be honest, none of the other viewers i tried (and i did try a lot, not only for SL), on the higest settings, was capable of giving me the same pleasure in World as Niran’s.
    Besides, crashes are much less and sim crossings are much easy (And i can point a simple and easy test, drive on route 66 in mainland, with all settings at highest possible, draw distance of 128)!, try diff viewers, see who will let you cross them more easy, for me is Niran’s by far the ones that lets me do the most!
    Now i hate that Niran already made it clear that it will not develop a Open sim version of it, nor a Mac 1, wish that some will be able to pick it up and help or made one, but with the graphics quality and overall stability.
    And as my Soumate is also using Niran latest, on a computer with the same specs as mine, without a single problem as well, all i can think is that if you want to use the Rolls Royce of SL viewers you need at least a good rig tom run it, and i fear that is not the case of most users!
    To bad for them, cause for sure the pleasure any sees the World with it in unbeatable!
    But i guess as all games, the same happens, the higher the resolution and settings, the need to have hardware to use them and the visual quality that you will gain are always linked!


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