Recent SL viewer activities

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any of the official SL viewers from LL, so here’s a quick round-up of recent releases.

New Log-in / Account Creation Prompt

The new account creation prompt, displayed if the viewer does not locate any user settings files on a computer, and which first appeared in the 3.4.1.263582 release (August 16th), now looks to be the default option for all development / project viewers. It is part of both the most recent Mesh Deformer project viewer (3.4.1.264215, August 31st), and the new HTTP Group Services project viewer (3.4.1.264495, September 7th). However, it has yet to filter through to either the Beta or release versions of the Viewer.

Account creation prompt: now standard on all development / project releases of the SL viewer released since August 16th (click to enlarge)

Mesh Deformer Project

August 31st saw a new release of the Mesh Deformer (3.4.1.264215), which includes a revised mesh uploader floater with deformation options for the male and female shape.

New deformation options

According to Nalates Urriah, the new options invalidate all test items so far provided for the project, and new samples are now required, although no comments to this effect appear to have been made on the JIRA or elsewhere, so they may have been confined to a user group meeting. Details on how to provide test items can be found in Oz’s forum post on the matter. The JIRA (STORM-1716) for this project is still open for viewing and comment.

Group Services Project Viewer

As noted this week, there is now a Group Services (group management) project viewer available for testing the new HTTP group management service. The server-side of this project has yet to be rolled-out to Aditi, so it cannot be tested as yet. However, Baker Linden, who is developing the service, is apparently updating the JIRA, SVC-4968 (which is still publicly viewable) with the project status, and has indicated he’ll post when the server-side elements are available for testing.

The viewer is available in Windows, Linux and OSX flavours.

HTTP Libraries Viewer

The HTTP Libraries project viewer (3.3.3.262585) appeared on July 27th. This project, which Monty Linden is driving, is currently aimed at improving texture downloading and rezzing as a part of the Shining project.

HTTP Libraries project viewer: improved texture loading and rezzing

Texture loading / rezzing would appear to be significantly faster on this viewer compared with other offerings, although there also appear to be what might be placebo effects associated with it. Some people have reported that floaters, etc., seem to load more slowly, and some have reported various performance improvements outside of the HTTP library changes.

Beta Viewer and Release Viewers

The Beta viewer (3.4.0.264445 at the time of writing) continues to be focused on pathfinding, with fixes and updates going into it on a weekly basis – which is why the pathfinding tools have yet to release a release version of the viewer.  The removal of JIRA numbers from the release notes now means that tracking issues previously being watched is that much harder (even if the JIRA themselves are no longer accessible, having the JIRA numbers still visible facilities easier identification of issues being specifically tracked).

Similarly, the release viewer (3.3.4.264214) appears to be focused on bug fixes and general improvements, with the release notes currently benefiting from the retention of JIRA numbers, making scanning for specific fixes easier.

Performance

I carried out basic performance tests on the viewers listed above using Dimrill Dale as my sample sim, during a period when there were the same number of avatars in the region (5, including myself). Tests were carried out in the same location on the region, looking in the same direction and with the same viewer settings (e.g. Graphics on high, Draw Distance set to 260m, using default time-of-day, with deferred disabled / with deferred enabled and lighting set to Sun/Moon+projectors, etc.). While all such tests are rough-and-ready, these did tend to show that all of the viewers offer the same performance on my default PC (see the sidebar panel on the right of this blog’s home page for system details). My results were:

  • Non-deferred: 18-20fps
  • Deferred with Sun/Moon+ projectors: 8-10fps

Similar figures were also obtained using the current Firestorm and Exodus viewers, although with deferred enabled and Sun/Moon+projectors active, Firestorm was slightly down at an average of 17-18fps, the other viewers being closer to an average of 19-20fps.

Viewer release summary 2012: week 36

This summary is published every Monday and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Viewer Round-up Page, a list of  all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware) and which are recognised as being in adherence with the TPV Policy
  • By its nature, this summary will always be in arrears
  • The Viewer Round-up Page is updated as soon as I’m aware of any releases / changes to viewers & clients, and should be referred to for more up-to-date information as the week progresses
  • The Viewer Round-up Page also includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.  

Updates for the week ending: 9 September, 2012

  • SL Viewer updates:
    • Current release rolled to 3.3.4.264214 on September 5 – release notes
    • Beta version rolled to 3.4.0.264445 on September 5 – release notes
    • Development: rolled to 3.3.5.264487 on September 5
    • Group Services project viewer 3.4.1.264495 released on Sept 7, but awaiting server-side roll-out on Aditi
  • Zen Viewer rolled to 3.4.1.1 on September 7 – core updates: Flickr upload option added to snapshots floater; Latest Mesh uploader with avatar shape deformation; whisper/mumble option for OpenSim; performance updates – release notes
  • Cool Viewer:
    • Stable branch rolled to 1.26.4.29, on September 8- core update: Re-reverted to v3.4 latest fixes to llTargetOmega()
    • Experimental release rolled  to 1.26.5.8 also on September 8 – core update: Fixed the bug that caused objects not to be rendered in sims with mesh support disabled (such as in Inworldz)
    • Release notes for both
  • GroupTools rolled to installer release 2.2.10.0 on September 5
  • LittleSight Android client rolled to version 1.3.0 on September 9 – core update: addition of pay-to-teleport function.

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