Teapot: brewing-up a viewer

Teapot is a Kokua-inspired, SL 3.x-based, viewer for Second Life and OpenSim grids, compiled by Armin Weatherwax (on OS Grid, or ArminWeatherHax Resident in SL). It includes numerous TPV derived functions and capabilities (please refer to the About Teapot pop-up in the viewer itself for additional credits), but is not top-heavy in terms of additional functionality.

The version reviewed here is 0.2.5, released on July 20th.

Download and Installation

Teapot is available in three flavours: Linux 32 and 64-bit, and Windows. The Windows installer is 42.3Mb in size, and downloaded and installed on my PC without any issues.

On start-up, the viewer displays the familiar splash screen, but with a slightly different approach to grid support.

Grid list pull-down and New Grids button

Clicking the arrow next to the grid name field will display a default list of popular grids, as per most other viewers that support OpenSim. However, if the grid you wish to log-in to is not displayed in the list, you can click NEW GRIDS. This will display a more complete list of grids (some 168 with this release of the viewer) in a pop-up window, which also contains a warning that “some of these grids, especially smaller ones, might be not online all day, or at all”. Clicking on the name of a grid in the list will initiate an attempt to log-in to it.

If the grid you wish to access is not displayed in either list, you can type the uri for it directly into the grid name field. When you click the refresh button next to the field, the grid name (if found) will be added to the drop-down list and an attempt to log-in to the grid will be initiated.

User Interface

Once logged-in to a grid, Teapot reveals itself to be something of a hybrid. The overall layout is very much Viewer 3.x, but the menus combine elements of both viewer 3.x and viewer 1.x, including as they do File, Edit and View from the latter and combining them with World, Build and Help from the former (with Advanced and Develop also available).

The File, Edit and View menus (click to enlarge, if required)

Default buttons are all arranged at the bottom of the screen, and are displayed with icons only visible. They comprise (in left-to-right order): Chat, Speak, Voice Settings, Preferences, Snapshot, People, Build, Camera, Map, Mini-map, AO and Inventory.

The AO (Animation Overrider) is by Zi Ree, and is as found in Firestorm – including using the #Firestorm folder (so if you have run Firestorm with the AO set-up, Teapot will use the same settings).

Preferences

Teapot more-or-less uses the default SL viewer Preferences floater and tabs, with the addition of an OpenSim Grid Manager  tab, and the inclusion of options to enable the pie menu for those that prefer it over the V3.x context menus (enable / disable the pie menu in the Advanced tab of Preferences, set background colour and opacity via the Colors tab).

Other Functionality of Note

  • Teapot uses V1-style profiles by default (using older code from Firestorm) and includes Nicky Dasmijn’s open-source mesh upload floater
  • Objects can be temporarily derendered from your world view, however:
    • They will only be derendered while they remain in your world view, and will be rendered once more should you re-log or teleport away and back
    • The derender option is only available when using the pie menu – it is not displayed in the context menus
  • There is no RLVa support included in the viewer at present.

Performance and Feedback

Performance-wise, using my standard set-up with the viewer and on my home sim, Teapot produced the following frame-rates: ground level: 16-18fps; 370m: 29-32fps; 2875m: 40-43fps. With lighting and shadows enabled, these became 7-9fps, 14-16fps and  20-21fps respectively. These figures put Teapot roughly between my recent “tests” of Niran’s 1.46 and Firestorm 4.4.1.28744.

Overall, the viewer performed well during a 4-hour test run on Second Life, which was crash-free. There are some nips and tucks required in places – such as ensuring options included in the pie menu are also available in the context menus (inspection option, derenderer) – but overall, Teapot presents itself as workable and pleasant viewer. It may not be as feature-heavy as other viewers that are out there, but this shouldn’t be held against it. Indeed, if you’re an OpenSim user looking for a reliable, fast and well-presented V3.x-style viewer that offers core functionality and things like Media On A Prim, mesh uploads, etc, then Teapot might well be … just your cup of tea!

Some Things to Remember

  • Teapot should not be confused with the Teapot-Viewer, used for viewing OpenGL models
  • The viewer is very much a personal project Armin has put together, and his time / ability to provide support or add specific functionality is limited
  • Efforts have been made to ensure Teapot is compliant with the TPV Policy, but it is not currently listed in the TPV Directory
  • While inspired by Kokua, Teapot stands as an independent viewer, and should not be confused with the Kokua project.

Related Links

4 thoughts on “Teapot: brewing-up a viewer

  1. Maria Korolov

    Inara —

    My favorite feature is that when you’re looking at a map, it gives you the option of seeing the region coordinates. This is great for anyone trying to navigate the hypergrid, because you can’t jump more than 4096 regions in any direction. (Silly, silly 4096 bug.)

    Without this feature, you have to go to the about menu, and divide the coordinates there by 256.

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  2. Marcus Llewellyn

    I’ve been using Teapot regularly for a lil while now. It’s definitely a good choice for OpenSim. There’s still a few TPV features I feel I’m missing. The top three would be IMs and local chat sharing a window, an enhanced radar, and the sit anywhere hotkeys. I’ve been hesitant to make feature requests’s on Armin’s tracker, as I’m not sure whether he’s looking for that sort of input there.

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  3. foneco zuzu (@ZZBottomHL)

    Used it on OSGrid, lack of Rlv (Yes there is Rlv on open sims, lol) made me not use it there as i wished, cause its pretty good!
    Wished it could use Niran changes on the graphics, as Niran already said He doe not support open sims.

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  4. sickjessicka

    I knew someone with the know-how would finally get it done. The freaking menus look damn near fixed! I’m so sick of the new menu structure >_> So many things look and feel out of place with the new menu structure, especially some of the important stuffs (like…y’know, uploading image/sound/etc.) being buried under some off-shoot sub-menu.

    If this Armin person can keep adding little tweaks like that to the V3.x viewers, maybe the Singularity crew might look into collaboration and try to produce an /actual/ hybrid of V1/V3…Or y’know, whatever D:

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