The long-awaiting “Project Interesting” viewer has finally made it to release candidate status with the arrival of version 18.104.22.1683895 of the viewer on Thursday November 14th.
This viewer represents the last stage in the current work on improving interest list functionality, the code which controls how the data relating to your in-world view is handled by both the server and the viewer. This includes what is sent to the viewer, what is retained by the viewer for reuse and things like the order in which objects are rendered when you log-in to SL or teleport (so that the “interesting” objects which are closer to you or which are particularly large should render first, for example).
The vast majority of the interest list work has already been delivered, and everyone should already be enjoying the broader benefits. However, the final phase of the current batch of work has been focused on both server and viewer changes, and the latter have been somewhat delayed due to a number of bugs, some of which were the result of the need to further tweak things server-side which in turn adversely affected the viewer’s behaviour, while others were bugs which appeared to have been dealt with, only to return in a later build.
The core changes within this viewer relate to what can be cached locally. This should allow the viewer to store more information on objects and regions than is currently the case, enabling it to re-use object / region data without having to rely on the server to re-send the information, improving rendering times when you are exploring a region / teleporting back to a region previously visited.
There are other improvements to further assist with scene loading as well. For example, when teleporting into a region never before visited, the viewer can now tell the simulator that it has no data for the region cached, and the simulator can in turn simply get on with prioritising the data and downloading to the viewer, rather than it having to repeatedly ask the viewer if it needs the data, as is currently the case. The result of this is that “several seconds” can be shaved from scene loading times for uncached regions. Also, the viewer will no longer load objects from cache into memory if they are completely by scene geometry, thus reducing unnecessary memory use.
The viewer is currently a release candidate, which means it will be downloaded and installed for some users who have indicated a willingness to participate in the release candidate programme through their viewer Preferences (Set-up > Willing to update to release candidates). Those who wish to manually install the viewer can read the release notes and download it from the link below.
The Lab issued a blog post to accompany the viewer release (which I initially missed), which includes a video demonstrating the changes, narrated by Torley Linden.