Catznip R8: purring with delight at SSB/A support

catznip logoCatznip slipped out R8 on June 11th. I actually missed it, as it appears the redirector to their wiki page was still pointing to the old blog, so when checking I was still seeing R7 as the last release; so I was a little surprised to check the link this evening and end-up at the Catnip wiki and see Catznip R8 sitting there and purring at me!

Anyway, the important thing is the release is here and sees Catznip join the ranks of Server-side / Appearance ready SL viewers, gain pathfinding functionality and become the latest viewer to offer full Havok support, as a part of the Lab’s Havok sub-licensing arrangement. As well as these two major updates, R8 gets a number of improvements and bug fixes.

Server-side Baking / Appearance

Not actually a lot to say here, other than “it works”!

Catznip R8: SSB/A ready: (l) my Alt (at the back), running the SL SSB/A-rady viewer, renders correctly in Catznip R8, while (r) I render correctly in the SL SSB/A-ready viewer
Catznip R8: SSB/A ready: (l) my Alt (at the back), running the SL SSB/A-ready viewer, renders correctly in Catznip R8, while (r) I render correctly in the SL SSB/A-ready viewer

When tested on an SSB/A enabled region, Catznip R8 rendered my Crash Test Alt (running on the official SL viewer, which is SSB/A ready) and my avatar correctly, as did the official SL viewer. No grey ghosts or clouds with either.

Pathfinding and Havok Sub-licensing

A major element missing for the last Catznip release – R7 – was pathfinding support. This wasn’t because the Catznip team have anything against pathfinding; they simply found time working against them, as I noted in my R7 review:

Catznip R7 does not include any pathfinding tools, as the team had enough on their hands getting all the updates, changes and fixes already planned for this release merged, tested and made ready for release. This doesn’t mean pathfinding is being ignored, however. Expect to see it in a future release.

R8 rectifies this. Not only does it provide the expected Linksets and Characters options, Catznip R8 becomes the latest SL viewer to sign-up to the Havok sub-licence agreement, meaning it also gains the ability to visualise the navmesh when working with pathfinding.

The pathfinding navmesh can now be visualised in Catznip R8
Pathfinding arrives in Catznip with the release of R8, and the Havok sub-license agreement means that the release includes navmesh visualisation

A further benefit with the agreement is that Catznip can also use the official Havok-powered mesh uploader.

Further Updates

In addition, Catznip sees the following added / updated:

  • Addition of a “Per user” option to the “Show friends permissions” in the friends gear menu to always show non-default permissions
  • Addition of an Edit Hover button functionality to show the shape editor, scrolled down to the “Hover” wearable param
  • Addition of a further toolbar at the top of the world view
  • Addition of a Close All Folders button to the inventory outfits view toolbar
  • Addition of alignment options to toolbar buttons. Those at the bottom of the screen can be centred or left or right aligned, while those to the side can be aligned to the top or bottom of the screen as well as in the centre.
Catznip R8 adds left/right alignment to bottom toolbar buttons and Top/bottom alignment to side toolbar buttons
Catznip R8 adds left/right alignment to bottom toolbar buttons and Top/bottom alignment to side toolbar buttons
  • changed : highlight the currently worn outfit folder in bold
  • changed : rearrange the avatar inspector to add extra lines to the profile description
    • one extra line added by default through layout changes
    • two extra lines are added by expanding the textbox to fill the volume slider space if voice is disabled
  • changed : report more useful information about memory state in case of a crash
  • changed : allow multiple crashes to be selected in the “Crash reporting” preferences panel.

There are also a number of bug fixes which have been implemented by the Catznip team and / as a result of fixes coming out of the Lab; there are also a number of updates to RLV/a. For details on all of these, please refer to the R8 release notes.

Feedback

This isn’t a huge update compared to others, but it marks a significant step forward for Catznip both with the Havok su-licence support and, most importantly, the SSB/A support. I also have to admit I like the button alignment options (something we’re unlikely to see in the official viewer, but which is so very handy in making screen space more usable.

Given this release is to ready Catznip for the grid-wide deployment of Server-side Baking / Appearance, it is strongly recommended that if you are a Catznip user and have not updated, that you do so ASAP.

Performance-wise, Catznip R8 on my PC offers around the same performance as most viewer releases over the past few months. Running with Advanced Lighting Model off while in my home region with around four other avatars, FPS varies from the high 20 through the high 40s, depending on my altitude. When running with Advanced Lighting Model enabled but no shadows enabled, rates tend to range from the low teens through to high teens / low 20s.

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9 thoughts on “Catznip R8: purring with delight at SSB/A support

  1. This is good stuff, i’d like to compile and try it as i rarely run other people’s binaries. Too bad there is still no sourcecode available for this viewer. The binary has been out for like 5 days now, usually people publish the sources before or during the release. Apparently there is a delay ‘so other viewer developers can’t steal their ideas’. It is a bit sad that opensource development in sl has turned into this strange competition that forces developers to keep their sources closed as long as possible so they can earn the credit from the unaware users rightfully.
    No offense, but pushing source code to Bitbucket or wherever takes 1 click, how can there be enough time to compile several binaries over hours and write up a blog post etc but not publish the sources as you are required to by various licenses in the viewer. Anyways, good work.

    Like

    1. You can thank “bleeding edge” viewers for that, LL now work in a similar way.

      We are not, have not, and never will be in breach of any of the licences we are bound by.

      I’m sorry you felt the need to splash your impatience everywhere you could find a comment box. Seriously, we do this for fun, for free, in our own time. Unfortunately that means we have to support our time with real lives and real jobs. The immediate needs of our updating user base are infinitely more important than the needs of one or two self compilers.

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      1. Don’t take this personally, I just commented here since you took down your blog, and because several days passed again since you guys promised to publish sources. This is not about the needs of annoying self compilers, it’s about license violation, you are in fact in breach of several licenses right now since there is a binary with no source code! This is Open Source 101, and like i said – compared to hours of compiling, uploading several binaries and writing up changelogs, blog posts, wiki and such – pushing source is a matter of seconds and should happen simultaneously. Indeed even LL is developing *some* features in private (or at least did so in the dark ages of V2 and mesh implementation) till they release it to the public, but when they do release it, there is always source available, every viewer does that, anything else would look pretty shady. Kitty does good work and sure is pretty busy right now so i didn’t mind a day wait, but come on guys, it’s been a week now.
        I do it for fun too, in my spare time, doesn’t mean i can bend the rules. We are not Kirstenlee after all 😉

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  2. Lack of pie menu, lack of any really inquire on the amazing xui of Niran’s!
    besides that, works good, supports rlv!
    Still no worn items tab on inventory!
    No choice to use pie menu!
    No choice to click on itens and see the menus when on mouselock!
    No quick preferences button, even if not asking a machiminia bar like Niran’s at least some like singularity or firestorm!
    Is it to hard to create a buttom that would allow you to change windlight settings?
    Still has 1 feature that i do really think it should be mandatory and for instance Niran’s refuses to add it, that is the option to hide all iterfaces form screen, a great tool for the ones wishing to make movies!
    Enough for me to let it instaled!

    Like

    1. Catznip isn’t Niran’s – which is why they are different (and I believe Niran is switching back to the V3 UI with Black Dragon anyway…).

      Firestorm, Niran’s, Singu and Exodus all lean towards SL photographers; Catznip doesn’t – again that’s the reason there are different TPVs. Hence why Catznip differs on mouselook options, the WORN tab in inventory, etc. If they all used the same feature set, we’d effectively only have two viewers, LL’s and “The TPV”.

      Hide HUDs and the viewer UI from your world-view? You mean like ALT-SHIFT-H (pretty much standard throughout all viewers – including Niran’s and Catzip – to hide HUDs) or CTRL-ALT-F1 to hide the viewer UI (again, pretty much standard on all viewers, including Niran’s and Catznip) 😉

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    2. Eh i wouldn’t Compare Catznip to Niran’s tbh.. actually i wouldn’t dare to compare any good TPV to Niran’s. Just sayin’ 🙂

      Like

  3. Stupid assessments
    Niran Black Dragon is far from being finished!
    Nirans latest version of the viewer with his name never has as any ~before that he made the shortcut option crtl+alt+f1!
    Short pie menu is most a very intuitive way of interacting and as can be made as an option!
    Worn itens tab on inventory is not a question of choice but of being clever!
    Dare to compare any good tpv with niran?
    Did by any chance you used any of his versions of the old viewer?
    There are viewers for all tasts and hardware, but for me, that again, installed and used catnip (can you say the same about niran’s?) i can say this:
    It work but its dull graphics make it useless for me, period!

    Like

    1. It’s far from a “stupid assessment”.

      As previously stated, what options TPVs chose to include is down to the developers and what they see as their primary user demographic. As such, choices over pie menus, etc., is down to them. Which viewer you opt to use is down to you. That’s what choice is about.

      As to comparing viewers – look through this blog. I review the vast majority of viewers used to connect to SL. Some more than others, admittedly (but then my personal tastes sway more to the v3-style UI than the v1-style). However, Niran’s has always been well up there in my reviews, even though at times – again, as I’ve commented in my reviews – it has been one of the poorest-performing viewers on my own PC / environment. And even versions which don’t get reviewed here (as I don’t always have the time to review every single update which comes out) gets downloaded, installed and taken for a “test drive” over the course of several days in case it turns out a review is warranted.

      In terms of the pie menu, we’ll have to disagree; I and personally find them far more intuitive (and frequently more consistent between different viewers).

      You also need to bear in mind the amount of effort required to include something like the pie menu. To you it may seem easy – for a viewer developer it is possibly anything but.

      When LL add new context menu options (such as with pathfinding), those menu changes are inherited by viewers when they obtain that code, making it somewhat easier for them to ensure any “custom” options they have in their context menus are properly integrated with the newer menus from LL.

      When it comes to the pie menu, adding any new options can be more time consuming – is there room on any of the existing sub-menus? How often will the options introduced be used? Should they go on the top-level pie, or a sub-menu? If the top-level, is there room? If there isn’t room, what need to be moved to make way for them? If a sub-menu, (i.e. off of “more”), which sub-menu? how far down the tree? Do the existing options in the sub-menu need to be re-ordered to maintain current logic and hand-movement? Is a new pop-up menu required (again, vis pathfinding)? And so on.

      Granted, we don’t get menu updates with every new release from LL, so issues like this don’t come up every release cycle, but they can still occur – as such, it can add overheads to maintenance of a viewer.

      Like

    2. Why don’t you just stop complaining here and go back to Niran’s blog, where you constantly whine about bugs in every new version he releases? And then coming here and claiming Niran’s viewer is far superior to others is such a unbelievable joke! Or did you smoke? If yes: I want something of that, too!

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