CtrlAltStudio updates and LittleSight arrives on the TPVD

Both CtrlAltStudio v3 viewer and the Android LittleSight client both updated recently.

CtrlAltStudio

The stereoscopic version of CtrlAltStudio, the Firestorm-based v3 viewer for Windows and Mac was updated on September 27th to version  1.0.0.34288, which provides a number of improvements and bug fixes, including:

  • Added Ctrl-Alt-3 keyboard shortcut that toggles stereoscopic 3D on/off.
  • Added work-around to get stereoscopic 3D working with AMD Radeon on Windows.
  • Fixed world not being updated after leaving stereoscopic 3D display mode.
  • Fixed flycam with 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator in stereoscopic 3D.
  • Fixed projected light rendering in stereoscopic 3D.
  • Fixed shift-drag object selection when editing in stereoscopic 3D.

This version of CtrlAltStudio does not support Oculus Rift, but uses OpenGL quad-buffered stereoscopic 3D, it requires NVIDIA graphics drivers with 3D Vision support (314.07 or later) and monitors set to 120Hz. The viewer needs to be running in screen mode, and suitable 3D glasses are required (does not work with 3D Vision Discover anaglyph).  The capability should work with GeForce GTS250 or better, NVIDIA Quadro cards, AMD Radeon HD 6000 or better and FireGL V7600 or better with recent drivers.

The release notes for version 1.0.0.34288 are available from the CtrlAltStudio website.

LittleSight

I first covered the LittleSight text client on July 22nd, 2012, with a review of version 1.0.4. Since then there has been further development of the client since then, notably with a paid teleport service to get around the grid.

On September 29th, LittleSight marked its arrival on the SL Third Party Viewer Directory with the release of version 1.5.0.0, although the update doesn’t appear to bring any additional functionality to the client.

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Taking a look at UKanDo, a v3 viewer for SL

logoUKanDo (pronounced “You Can Do”, and a play on the fact that the developer hails from the UK), started as a personal project for Connor Monaron and friends for use in OS Grid. However, it has grown over time (and use) to become a fully fledged viewer project, and one of the latest to go through self-certification and appear on the Third Party Viewer Directory for Second Life.

The viewer is based on the Linden Lab codebase, rather than being a fork from another TPV, and which sees a number of additional features added to it. Connor’s aim in producing the viewer is to have something which is relatively close to the Linden viewer – which as he states, is fast and usable which having additional functions and features he and his friends find useful.

The list of current additional features is already of reasonable length, and includes some popular additions from other TPV viewers and elsewhere, including:

  • Marine Kelley’s RLV (disabled by default) and her v3 implementation of the updated “z-offset” capability and menu bar slider
  • The Updated mini-map from Catznip
  • Camera uses Penny Patton’s revised default
  • Enhanced build options from other TPVs / developers (high precision within the position, size and rotation fields of the Build floater’s Object tab; prim alignment tool; option to sync values between diffuse, specular and normal maps; expand / collapse Build floater; reset / delete scripts from within the Build floater’s Content tab, etc.)
  • Katharine Berry’s Flickr upload capability
  •  Right-click to open contents on a worn attachment
  • Turn avatar when walking backwards on by default
  • Draw distance slider in the menu bar
  • and more

I’ve actually been keeping an eye on UKanDo since early August, and thought it was high time I offered something of an overview of it using the current release, 3.6.7.27838.

Download and Installation

The Windows installer is 28.7 MB in size – approximately that of the official LL viewer installer, and runs pretty much as expected, installing the viewer smoothly and I experienced no pesky anti-virus warnings on starting-up SL voice (on AVG Pro), which have crept back into the last couple of viewer installs I’ve run since the last AVG update.

Starting the viewer launches the default LL splash / log-in screen, with buttons in an interesting blue colour.

Camera

For those used to the LL camera default, logging-in will reveal the first noticeable difference: the default camera placement is a lot different.

Camera placement: the default for the SL viewer (l) and the default for UKanDo (r)
Camera placement: the default for the SL viewer (l) and the default for UKanDo (r)

Of course, this is somewhat subjective, as we likely all have different views on what constitutes a “good” camera placement; so whether one likes this or not is going to be subjective. I’ve been a supporter of Penny’s alternative camera positioning for a long while now – she allowed me to include in my blog’s tutorial section and I use a variation on one of her other settings -, so while the default used in UKanDo is slightly different to my own, I nevertheless found it refreshing not to have to fart around with camera debugs for once, but simply get on with using the viewer.

Buttons, Preferences and Menus

UKcanDo follows the LL viewer default button display and placement, and the toolbar floater reveals no additional buttons. Similarly, the Preferences floater offers-up more-or-less the same as the LL viewer, although there are some noteworthy additions / tweaks to defaults:

  • Move and View > Single Click on Land is disabled (rather than set to Move to Clicked Point) and Double Click on Land is set to Teleport to Clicked Point (rather than None)
  • Colors includes the ability to set name tag text colours
  • Privacy includes options to Look At / Point AT to private
  • Set-up includes:
    • A warning about setting bandwidth no higher than 1500 kbps
    • An option to always rez objects under the land group, if possible
    • An option to enable RLV functionality
  • Set-up also excludes the LL automatic viewer update options
  • An additional tab – UKanDo offers additional options for the camera, mini-map and avatar (under the Miscellaneous sub-tab) and additional building defaults (under the Build sub-tab, shown below).
UKanDo includes an additional Preference tab - UKanDo - which provides additional build options as well as
UKanDo includes an additional Preference tab – UKanDo – which provides additional build options as well as additional options for the camera, mini-map and avatar (Miscellaneous sub-tab)

The viewer includes an additional menu option – again called UKanDo – which includes options to stop all animations, teleport to ground and show the time (top right of the viewer) in your local time, rather than SLT. The “Me” menu is also renamed “Avatar”, and other menu updates include:

  • Build  > Scripts includes option to delete all scripts in an object
  • Build > Options includes options to set the build grid mode (world, local, reference)
  • Help includes options to view the UKanDo viewer support and forum web pages and removes the LL bug reporting option
  • Advanced includes:
    • Sub-menu of UKanDo menu options (see above)
    • Sub-menu for hover tip options
    • Additional Shortcut sub-menu for build tool selection options
    • Develop > Avatar includes options to set privacy on Look At and Point At.

Other Points of Note

Given the viewer is based on recent code from LL, it also has the expected support for SSA (which it has had from July 2013), CHUI and materials processing. The viewer also has pathfinding support, including navmesh, which means it is now limited to use with Second Life, as reflected by the Grid Option drop-down on the splash / log-in screen only lists the two SL grids: Agni and Aditi. the SLShare / Facebook options are not in the current UKanDo release, which is hardly surprising given SLShare appeared after the UKanDo 3.6.7 release.

Feedback

UKanDo does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a viewer based on the LL 3.6.7 code base and offers a filtered set of additional options which should actually appeal to a broad cross-section of users.

Performance-wise, the viewer was just shaded by the LL viewer in terms of frame rates in my subjective back-to-back testing on the same region with the same field of view / scene rendered with my usual defaults. The LL viewer managed a consistent 65-70 fps with ALM on, Shadow options enabled and ambient occlusion enabled, with UKanDo hovering around the 58-62 fps, which isn’t a big enough difference to be noticed. Switching off ambient occlusion and setting  Shadows to none but leaving ALM active took frame rates over the 100 mark.

Overall I found UKanDo an interesting addition to the TPV stable; as noted at the top of this article, it does exactly what it says on the tin, and does it well. My only slight reservation with it – which is entirely personal – is that I found the combination of blue and white on things like buttons and tabs, etc., a little hard on the eyes after a while. As I generally have the toolbar buttons set to icons only, this wasn’t a major issue with them, but I did actually find myself either leaning forward or squinting at times to read tab labels – which surprised me. Perhaps I am getting old, after all …

The viewer doesn’t include the media filter, so if you are concerned about streams and nitwits, you’ll want to make sure you pop into Preferences > Sound and Media and disable the appropriate options (Allow Media to Autoplay, Play Media Attached to Other Avatars).

If you’re looking for a V3 viewer which is a step closer to the LL default, but which offers a reasonable set of additional functions and options, you might want to take a look at UKanDo and see what you think of it yourself.

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