Latif Khalifa is well-known if the viewer community. Not only does he maintain the very excellent Radegast lightweight client for SL and OpenSim, he has also been a regular contributor to Singularity, the popular viewer using the v1-style UI. Now Latif is working on a v1-style viewer of his own.
Replex is still very much in the alpha phase of work; as such, there is no formal release version of the viewer, but alpha builds are available for download with the caveat that there is no official support as yet. There is, however, an in-world group where questions can be asked of other users and information exchanged. There is also an IRC chatroom #replex on Freenode where the developers can be reached via an IRC client or Freenode webchat.
The viewer itself is based on Singularity, unsurprisingly, given Latif’s close ties with that team, and there is an acknowledgement on the Replex website of their role in providing the Singularity source code. The viewer is available in Windows and Linux flavours as both 32-bit and 64-bit builds, and also for Mac in a 32-bit build.
The following is a very brief overview of the viewer; I don’t pretend to have covered all the options and capabilities; rather I’m just pin-pointing some of the features it includes.
As might be expected given its heritage, Replex has a default skin with a decidedly dark tint to it – although not so far towards the black default of Singularity, more a charcoal colour. The Singularity dark skin is also available via Preferences > Skins, as is the classic LL v1.x blue skin and – something I’ve not seen in a while – the equally classic LL silver skin; this brought back some very old memories, as that was my preferred viewer 1.x skin when it came out.
The Replex change log lists recent features and additions to the viewer, and these are handily split between “Common” updates, indicating they are shared with Singularity (presumably in an upcoming release of that viewer), and those specific to Replex.
One of the more interesting updates from Singularity which appears in Replex is the ability to add / remove buttons from the viewer’s toolbar, a-la 3.x viewers. Obviously, buttons are restricted to the bottom of the viewer, but this is liable to be of interest to users as it allows some degree of customisation in the UI.
Adding / removing buttons is a simple matter of opening the button chooser (View > Change Toolbar Buttons) and then checking those buttons to be displayed and unchecked those which are not wanted. There are a fair number of button options available, including debug options, windlight / sky /water / post-process effects, camera & movement controls, search options, etc. This can mean the button bar can get a trifle packed and a little hard to read if you go button bananas, but the feature is certainly a useful addition to the v1-style UI. Kudos, Lirusaito for the development work!
Oddly enough, during the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday June 17th, a wibni (“Wouldn’t it be nice if”) comments was made about having a viewer-side capability to automatically teleport you somewhere if you happen to be AFK when a region restart occurs, rather than being logged-out.
I’ve no idea if the comment was passed as a result of someone peeking into the Singularity repository or taking Replex for a drive, because Replex has implemented this very capability using code also from Lirusaito.
Preferences > System > Security and Privacy includes two slots into which landmarks can be dropped. Should you be caught AFK during a region restart, Replex will attempt to auto-teleport you to the first landmark in the final 20 seconds before the restart occurs. If that destination is unavailable, the second LM will be used in a further attempt to teleport you.
With regards to region restarts, Replex includes the STORM-1980 screen shake and restart warnings.
Depth of Field and Xbox Controller Support
Lirusaito is also responsible for the code adding depth-of-field controls to the Graphics tab in Preferences and also for adding support for an Xbox 360 controller (from CtrlAltStudio) with similar default button mappings as used by CtrlAltStudio, e.g:
- A = Alt; B = Shift; X = Ctrl; Y = Escape
- Back = Toggle Flycam mode (fun!)
- Start = Toggle Cursor mode
- Right Stick Click = Toggle Mouselook
- Left Stick Click = Jump/Fly
As noted, Replex is in an alpha state at the moment, but being built on the veritable Singularity code base, it seems to be stable. While I admittedly didn’t spend a major amount of time running it, I didn’t encounter any problems, and performance was certainly very good, easily up there with the V3 viewers I use, both with and without Sun/Moon + Projectors active.
The ability to select which buttons are displayed at the bottom of the viewer window is a nice touch – Singularity users are bound to appreciate that when it appears in a Singu release, and for those wanting to take Replex for a spin, it’s a nice little bonus.
Releases at the moment tend to be coming through fairly rapidly – it was only formally announced on June 17th, and there have already been a couple of updated alpha builds since then (I started on 5975 and am now on 5995).
There’s no indication on when a formal release might appear – expect it when you see it, as the saying goes. I’ve not had a chance to catch-up with Latif to see where Replex may be heading, vis-a-vis any Third-party Directory listing where Second Life is concerned, but doubtless that will be discovered as the viewer matures. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how Replex sits alongside Singularity, and how and where it might diverge as it matures in its own right.
All-in-all, a nicely packaged, v-1 style viewer ideal for those who are looking for a bit of a change (or who want to try shiny yet to arrive in a Singularity release!).
This and future articles on Replex will be available under the Replex category via the category search on the right sidebar of this blog, and via the menu: Viewers > V1-style > Replex.