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