The Lab has been experimenting with a revised log-in screen for the official viewer. The viewer, version 188.8.131.522660, is referred to as offering “a simple and clean login screen for new users.”
In actual fact, the viewer offers two log-in screens, although one of them (shown in the image below) will only be displayed the very first time a new user runs the viewer (or if an existing users performs a completely clean install of this release candidate).
Those who have previously logged-in to Second Life (or have not performed a clean install) will see a more familiar log-in screen on starting the viewer, and will immediately notice that the log-in credentials area has been relocated to the top of the screen (see the image below).
The keen-eyed may also notice that the Create Your Account option that used to appear over on the right of the log-in credentials area, and which was introduced as the Lab were making the viewer available through Steam, has been completely removed.
The new header area offers three independent log-in options:
- At last location – as most users will be familiar with, logs you in to your last location; you’ll also be logged in to that location if you type-in an avatar’s name and password and tap
ENTERas per the current viewer log-in screen
- My Favourite Places – a drop-down which lets you choose to log-in to your home location, or any landmark you have dragged and dropped into the viewer’s Favourites Bar / the My Favourites folder in your Inventory
- The familiar Type a Location text entry box, allowing you to type-in the name of a specific region / sim to which you want to log in.
Note that if you have the grid selection drop-down active, it appears to the right of the log-in options, as shown in the enlarged view, below.
Relocating the log-in area like this certainly makes it a lot more attention-grabbing for new users, although existing users are likely going to have to go through a period of muscle memory re-training to get used to things, assuming this progresses to the status of being the de facto release viewer.
I suspect the three log-in options, with their separate buttons may generate a mixed response among existing users; I’m not altogether convinced by them myself. I assume that things have been done this way due to the addition of the My Favourites drop-down, combined with feedback from new users as to what they’d like to see. However, when taken as a whole, the approach comes over as clumsy and potentially less than intuitive, particularly when compared to the older version, which offered a logical left-to-right flow of information.
Outside of the log-in screen updates, this version of the viewer doesn’t appear to contain any additional functional updates, but does include a fix to prevent the viewer crashing when opening Preferences.
One thing I did notice while fiddling with this version of the viewer, is that if you already have landmarks in your viewer’s Favourites Bar / in the My Favourites folder, they may not actually appear in the drop-down in the log-in area until after the first time you’ve used the viewer to log-in to SL. Similarly, should you subsequently log-in with another version of the SL viewer, you will need to log-in to SL at least once with this viewer to get your Favourites to again be displayed in the drop-down. Given most users don’t hop between different versions of the same viewer that often, this shouldn’t be a problem for those opting to grab a copy of this viewer and take it from a run.
At the time of writing, the viewer has yet to be added to the official Alternate Viewers wiki page, as it is experimental. I suspect it will appear there soon if the project is carried forward. In the meantime, please use the link to the release notes and download options at the top of this page if you wish to look at the viewer yourself.