Kirsten’s Viewer: a trip down memory lane

On Sunday 23rd September, Kirstenlee Cinquetti made a surprise update to Kirsten’s Viewer. It was accompanied by a short blog post:

I cannot help but find myself drawn in once more, you would think after nearly ten years of what sometimes seems like punishment you would throw in the towel.

But like I have stated in the past you catch a spark of what could be.. and once more you re-discover.

The shape or form of your time devoted to this most unusual habit is not yet set in stone, but you know you quite fancy the journey once again.

Version S22(1a) was not a major update to the viewer, and wasn’t intended to be, although it has been followed by a second release on the 26th, version S22 2.8.2 (11). Both are still very much Viewer 2 in terms of UI, and are more “tidy-ups” rather than any resumption of development.

Seeing the old V2-style UI actually brought a smile to my face. Well, not so much a smile as a big, sloppy grin. Even though I’ve never been a fan of the tabs on the right side of the screen, I’ve still missed the Sidebar in so many ways. It is ironic that by the time LL decided to remove it altogether, several TPVs had re-worked it into something that was both reasonably functional and no longer a blight on people’s use of SL – with Kirsten’s Viewer being at the forefront of many of the early improvements and Sidebar innovations.

Kisten’s Viewer: a trip down memory lane

That this isn’t a return of Kirsten’s viewer – and shouldn’t be taken as such – was made clear by Kirsten’s partner, Dawny Daviau, who chatted with me earlier this evening about the updates. “He grabbed the latest Kirstens viewer and just played a bit with it and compiled it again with just here and there an adjustment,” she explained. “There wont be any serious work anymore done as he still works and doesn’t have the time for that. It’s just refreshed, and wont get the new things LL offers now like pathfinding etc. See it as recreational work on the viewer but because we had so many requests for the viewer we put it up for the fans.”

One of the last releases on Kirsten’s Viewer included a (still unique) 3D view of the world. That’s still present in the updates – you can find the option under Preferences->Graphics->Advanced-> Misc->Toggle Anaglyph Render. You may also need to disable deferred rendering (lighting and shadows) – but if you’re able to view 3D rendering on your computer, it brings a whole new depth to Second Life.

Being based on V2, performance isn’t perhaps as good as the latest generation of V3.x viewers. On my system, it ran at around 23 fps at ground level with deferred off and Draw set to 128m. Pushing Draw up to my usual test range of 360m reduce the frame rate to around 18 fps. However, I do have an older GPU, and it did always tend to struggle with Kirsten’s, sadly. This is reflected by the fact that with deferred active, I was reduced to single digit frame rates – just 7 fps at 128m, and 4 at 360m.

There is far too much in V3.x I’ve become used to  – and dependent upon, in some respects –  to make a return to using Kirsten’s viewer full-time, but seeing these two releases was a welcome trip down memory lane, tinged with no small measure of regret at what might have been, had the Crowdfunder funding raised enough for work on the viewer to continue.

Related Links

With thanks to Nalates Urriah.

3 thoughts on “Kirsten’s Viewer: a trip down memory lane

  1. When you state your default viewer settings you omit window size and whether AA and/or AF are enabled as well as shadows, projected lights, DoF, and Ambient Occlusion all of which make a significant different to frame-rates. I realize with a 9800GT that latter are probably not an option but AA and AF would be significant as well as Window size. I used to have the same GPU and also had issues with most of Kirsten’s viewers. Seemed to be specific for certain hardware in my case. I was running a dual core AMD cpu. I must say that the 9800GT is an excellent gpu on high seetings or was back in the day. I then upgraded to a i7 and GTX 460 which was a doubling of fps especially in shadow mode. Now using a GTX 670 basically another doubling of fps for shadow mode only.


    1. For reviews, I leave AA and AF in default on the basis that most people do (hence the basic deferred / non-deferred comparisons), so haven’t previously listed them; however have added them to the Review System specs to the right of all pages.


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