Catznip released version R9 of their popular v3 viewer on Friday May 9th, and marks their biggest single update so far. As the team move towards a shorter, faster release cycle, it is likely to be the last of the really big updates we see coming out of the door from the team. In the future, things are liable to appear in smaller and more focused releases.
The complete list of changes can be found in the release notes, and I refer readers to that document for a full list of updates and changes, and any necessary specifics on code contributed to the viewer (if applicable).
The following is intended as an overview of some of what I feel are the more major / interesting / visible changes to be found in the release.
Chat and CHUI
R9 sees Catznip get the best of CHUI and extras from the Catznip team that should help to present users with a chat / IM conversations.
One of the more noticeable elements is the ability to range tabs either vertically or horizontally. Given that many people do appreciate chiclets, considerable effort has been put into restoring the chiclets following the inclusion of the CHUI code.
Given the extent of the updates resulting from the CHUI merge and the team’s efforts to present a flexible, friend chat UI, Preferences > Chat has been extensively updated.
These changes are apparent from the moment Preferences > Chat is opened, with six new sub-tabs appearing in the panel. Three of these – Translation, Auto-Replace and Spell Checking – replace the button which access these options in earlier releases. The remaining three tabs – Chat, IM & Groups and Logging – are entirely new to this release, and all include options for configuring chat and IM notifications, behaviour, appearance, and more (some of which have been inherited from the old Preferences > Catznip > Chat sub-tab, which has been removed from R9, being surplus to requirements).
Additionally, the spelling checker has been updated to support German, French, Italian and Polish.
Perhaps the most obvious change to Catznip R9 is the arrival of Materials Processing. However, there are other updates as well, including:
- Windows only:
- Drag-and-drop textures directly onto a prim face using local textures as the backing store
- Drag-and-drop uploading of textures
- Added a “Selection Options” pop-out to thebuildfloater, grouping all selection related viewer options and including:
- Select Only Copyable Objects (also added to Build menu > Options)
- Option to prevent turning towards a newly selected object
- Option to prevent the avatar’s arm from pointing at a newly selected object
- Added copy/paste of the different types of texture parameters with three possible scenarios (always on a single object):
- Copy all texture faces (which may or may not be identical) => pastes the texture data on matching selected faces
- Copy one texture face => pastes the texture data on all selected faces
- Copy several texture faces => pastes the texture data on matching selected faces
- Added pipette for the different types of texture parameters.
Camera and Movement Floaters
Both the Camera and Movement floaters have been refined so they are transparent, rather than opaque, and are more compact. The Camera floater also has a revised layout.
A slider in Preferences > Colors allows you to adjust the level of transparency / opacity of both floaters.
This release sees a number of inventory related updates and changes, including:
- A significant speed improvements when filtering inventory
- Open in Inventory check box added to the Buy Contents floater + UI layout cleanup
- Texture tooltip added for inventory items
- Copy Outfit List to Clipboard is now available when right-clicking any outfit folders in your inventory
- Option to clear the current inventory filter rather than create a new inventory floater when the shown item is currently filtered
- Inventory will always show the “Received Items” folder if the inventory’s panel contents are filtered (with a non-default filter)
- Empty system folders no longer hidden by default (Advanced > Debug setting DebugHideEmptySystemFolders set to FALSE)
- New option to control how offered inventory is handled while marked as Do not Disturb
- Pop up a chiclet as normal (default)
- Auto-accept the offer
- Auto-decline the offer.
Notecards / Scripts / Text editors
These see the following features added to the R9 release:
- Recovery support for unsaved notecards (embedded items are not preserved)
- Texture tool tips for embedded notecard items
- Use the current selection (text, etc.) as the default search string
- Highlighting of occurrences in the target editor when using the Search/Replace floater
- New keyboard shortcuts to the script editor menu
- F1 opens the LSL reference
- Shift+F1 opens keyboard help
- Ctrl+G opens the “Go to line” floater.
In addition, the following behaviours have been revised:
- When you Go To a line in a script editor, at least three lines above/below the target line will now be visible
- Case-insensitive search is now enabled by default for notecards, scripts and text editors.
As well as the updates to the Chat tab, this release sees a number of other updates in Catznip’s Preferences which form a part of ongoing work to overhaul Preferences.
The Sound and Media tab has been completely overhauled, with new sub-tabs for volume controls and streaming, Sound Alerts, and Voice Chat.
A completely new tab and panel in Preferences is the Troubleshooting tab. This is aimed at helping users resolve common problems by bringing together a number of viewer options, together with an option to join the Catznip in-world group, where further assistance can be obtained.
Future updates of Catznip will see further revisions to Preferences, including the eventual removal of the Catznip tab, as the options there are gradually relocated to other tabs and elsewhere in the viewer (as with the Chat sub-tab, mentioned earlier in this article).
Profile Display Updates
Catznip’s profile floater has been revised.
The top section of the Profile panel now includes a Copy to Clipboard button which, which clicked, displays a drop-down menu of copy options (full name, display name, user name, SLurl and UUID).
The buttons at the foot of the floater have also been revised:
- Add Friend has been removed
- New Pay and View Web Profile buttons have been added
- Options at the bottom of the Profile panel has been replaced with gear icon button (consistent with other panels and floaters), which contains the Remove Friend, Show on Map (if mapping has been enabled by the user in question), Share and Block options.
Toolbar Button Floater
The toolbar button floater has been revamped and tidied to present a fresh look.
Other Items of Note
As mentioned at the top of this article, there are a huge number of updates and changes to Catznip with this release, and users are referred to the release notes to get details on them all. However, others likely to be of common interest include:
- Double-clicking on the title bar of an open floater will minimise it
- Legacy behaviour of showing a texture preview at full resolution (if possible) has been returned
World > Landmark This Place now displays a more compact Landmark panel for easier editing of Landmark information when saving
- The Avatar Picker (e.g. the floater displayed when you click the + at the bottom of the Friends tab of the People floater, for example) has been updated by popular request such that the Friends tab on it now includes user names, and names on the tab can be filtered.
- Counts of friends online and Total Friends added to accordion sections of Friends tab
- Option to Highlight Hidden Groups added to the Options pop-up at the foot of the Groups tab
- The login-in / splash screen now support a multi-account drop-down when more than one account has been used to log-in to SL
- Check for Updates option added to the Help menu to manually trigger checks for Catznip updates, plus improvements to the updater
- RLVa improvements
- Bug fixes from both the Catnip team and LL.
- Plus more.
A huge update in many respects, including not only support for LL-driven features, but also a boatload of nips, tucks tweaks, fixes and so on as well as many UI and other updates and improvements.
Performance-wise Catznip R9 is as slick and fast on my primary SL PC (My Bits > Review Systems & Settings from the menu at the top of this blog) with FPS staying comfortably in the upper double-figure ranges, even when visiting a particularly busy sandbox with my Crash Test Alt.
The Catznip team have worked hard on this viewer over the years, and there are some innovative features which really set it apart from other TPVs, and it’s easy to see why Catznip’s star is in the ascendant (3rd most popular viewer by user numbers, I’m informed). Catznip R9 raises the bar again, and it’s hard to see this release disappointing any regular Catznip users – but easy to see it winning more among those who may not have given it a go in the past (and if you’re looking for a new v3-style viewer as your primary viewer for whatever reason, I cannot recommend it strongly enough).
From this point forward, future Catznip updates are liable to be smaller and appear faster. Given the way the Lab has been churning out features and option for the viewer of late (even allowing for the current lull in things – a chance also for TPVs to catch up a little more / catch their breath), and the new shorter cycle with more tightly packaged updates will hopefully see Catznip keep more on a par with LL viewer updates in the future.