With Server-side Baking / Appearance due to be enabled on the LeTigre Release Candidate Channel on Wednesday July 10th (from which it will gradually roll across the grid), the Exodus team have issued a new version of the popular Exodus viewer. Classified a beta release, the new viewer update has the version number 188.8.131.52, and includes the latest code updates from the Lab.
This means that with this release, Exodus is:
- Server-side Baking / Appearance ready
- Includes the Lab’s Communications Hub User Interface (CHUI)
However, the release:
- Does not include materials processing support
- Removes RLVa support.
CHUI and SSB/A
There is not actually much to report here per se, other than both work entirely as expected. CHUI sees the LL integrated chat / IM conversations floater working in Exodus.
Simlarly, SSB/A works exactly as expected on SSB/A-enabled regions, with other avatars rendering correctly in Exodus, and your own avatar rendering correctly to others.
That both SSB/A and CHUI do work flawlessly tends to hide the amount of work the Exodus team have put-in getting both ready to go prior to SSB/A being enabled server-side.
Why No Materials and RLVa?
Both the integration of CHUI and SSB/A capabilities into a v3-based viewer are very large amounts of work (CHUI has something like over 1200 change sets of its own). They therefore require time and effort to implement – and have likely been keeping the Exodus team more than a little busy (on top of some of them being actively engaged in developing the materials capabilities in SL as well as working on other items such as the Mac Cocoa project).
There’s also the fact that while materials doesn’t use CHUI itself, both the materials code and the CHUI code touch on other areas of the viewer code. Therefore, it makes sense for the Exodus team to focus on implementing CHUI first and then merging and cleaning the materials changes sets (which is exactly the order in which the Lab did things), rather than racing to implement materials, only to find those updates impacted at a later date by required CHUI updates.
So for all those hoping to see materials in Exodus – it will doubtless be coming, you’ll just need to wait a little longer.
The blog post for the release explains the reasoning behind the removal of RLVa support from Exodus thus:
By its nature and by necessity, RLVa is an extremely invasive patch. We do not have the resources to maintain this code, and it is the primary reason for our lack of updates recently. We hope that this removal enables us to produce more frequent updates going forward and apologise for the inconvenience.
While the loss of RLVa is perhaps to be regretted, how much it is likely to be missed obviously comes down to the number of Exodus users who make use of it, obviously – and it is worth pointing out that RLVa was something of a late arrival to Exodus in the first place, so it may not be that greatly missed.
This release also sees Exodus:
- Using Cocoa instead of Carbon on Mac computers
- Gain full screen support on Lion
- Fain Retina support for the Retina MacBook Pros.
This is not an in-depth test of the latest Exodus beta, but a quick spin around the Aditi block. Everything works, as notes, as expected, and the rendering enhancement which have been part and parcel of Exodus for a long time certainly make their presence felt even in a default rough & ready snapshot such as the one grabbed above for the SSB/A comparison.
I didn’t do any performance tests this time around, as I was on Aditi – I’ll save that for another time :). That said, I’ve always found Exodus to be a solid performer on my current hardware, where it has tended to be my “reserve” viewer (along with Dolphin).
This is a very tidy and timely update to Exodus which brings it back to a par with other popular v3 viewers, and perhaps even a little ahead with the Cocoa support. Kudos to the team!