Update: February 8th, 2016: Catznip 10.1 beta is now available. Functionally, it is exactly the same as the R10 release except is has a much updated openJPEG, If you are a Catznip user and are experiencing crash issues, this beta may help.
To find out if your issues are openJPEG related, go to Preferences > Crash Reports. and if you see openJPEG anywhere on that page, you should updated to the R10.1 beta as soon as you can.
Saturday, January 30th saw the long-awaited release of Catznip R10, the first update to the viewer in some 18 months, largely as a result of fate playing a very unfair hand to members of the Catznip team (and it’s good to see you back in-world Kitty, and hoping your recovery swiftly moves beyond the uncomfortable stage) .
Currently, the release is for Windows only, but it see Catznip come right up to date with the current release version of the official viewer, including support for Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF), for modern media support.
Obviously, so long a period between releases means that there have been a string of major and minor updates from the Lab, all of which have had to be incorporated into Catznip R10, and which have all be covered to one degree or another in the pages of this blog. With this in mind, and to avoid boring people with a lot of repetition of information already available, I’ve summarised the cor Lab changes found in R10 below, together with links to additional information for those who need it.
Revised Log-in / Splash Screen
The first noticeable change is that Catznip R10 now uses the revised log-in splash screen as deployed by Linden Lab, which places the log-in options at the top of the screen. However, because Catznip is unlikely to be the first viewer new user to SL are likely to encounter, the “first time log-in” option has been disabled.
SL Share 2 and Unified Snapshot Floater
SL Share 2 capabilities, introduced in 2014, allow users to upload snapshots directly to Twitter and Flickr, while the unified snapshot floater provides an initial means of accessing the options to upload snaps to Facebook, Flickr and Twitter from within the snapshot floater, as well as adding a much larger snapshot preview panel.
Group Ban Functionality
Group Bans allow group owners and those roles provided with the ability within a group, to remove troublemakers from that group / prevent them from joining / re-joining the group.
HTTP pipelining enables the viewer to issue multiple asset fetches on a connection without waiting for responses to earlier requests. This helps to improve things like initial scene loading. In addition, the pipelining code includes improvements to inventory fetching.
Avatar Hover Height
Avatar Hover Height, developed as a direct request of a proposal put to the Lab by members of the Firestorm team, allows “on-the-fly” adjustments to be made to your avatar’s height with the minimum of fuss and without having to use the Edit Appearance Hover slider or use a modifiable shape.
Also referred to as Experiences, this allows creators to build more seamless and immersive experiences in Second Life without the need to constantly ask users to grant permission to act on their avatar. Instead, permission is requested once when they join (or re-visit) the experience, and then revoked when they leave.
The Viewer-Managed Marketplace, or VMM, enables merchants to manage the creation and management of Marketplace product listing through the viewer, bypassing the need to use the Merchant Outbox (and have copies of items stored on the Marketplace inventory servers) or using Magic Boxes.
In addition, there has been all the maintenance, snowstorm and other releases which have all board improvements and changes to the viewer, and all of which have been incorporated into Catznip R10. These include, but are not limited to: viewer build library updates, interest list improvements, inventory handling updates, GPU benchmarking, attachment fixes, the ability for an avatar to wear up to 60 wearable layers – jackets, shirts, tattoo, alpha, etc. – in any combination, rather than being restricted to a maximum of 5 per specific layer type, and so on.
Notifications Floater Improvements
A further update made to the official viewer during 2015 was that of the Notifications floater, which appeared in the latter part of 2015.
For those unfamiliar with it, the Notifications floater allows incoming notifications (group, system, invitations and transactions, to be sorted and displayed for easier viewing. The default floater splits all such notifications using a tab system, with a tab for each category.
In implementing the feature, however, Catznip have made a couple of improvements.
The first of these is that rather than presenting received notifications under a series of sub-tabs, Catznip R10 allows the user to select which category of notifications they wish to view (or all of their received notifications) via a drop-down list, removing the need for any scrolling between tabs.
This has allowed the Catznip team to include their second improvement, in the form of a search filter. This allows users to filter notifications based on criteria such as originating group, sender’s name, etc. If, like me, you are someone who receives a lot of group notices, this significantly eases sorting through and finding those to which you might want to pay particular attention.
To help gain feedback on thoughts on the viewer, the Catznip team have added new Feedback button to the right side of the top menu bar in the viewer. When clicked, this opens a new floater, presenting users with an opportunity to offer their thoughts and ideas and general comments directly to the Catznip team.
Catznip R10 also has a number of updates to the Preferences floater, as noted below.
As a part of the work to remove the current Catznip tab in Preferences, R10 includes a new Snapshot tab presenting the snapshot save options found under the Catznip tab, allowing the latter to be removed from the viewer when the Catznip tab is eventually axed.
R10 also includes option to listen from the speaker’s position (Preferences > Voice chat > Speaker position (no spatial audio), and the ability to set the name tag colour for friends / others (Preferences > Colour > Name tag colour) – as per request CATZ-173.
As well as the above, Catznip R10 includes the following features added by the team:
- Return of support for “Separate (Chat) Windows”, although this currently requires using the debug setting (IMUseSeparateFloater) to control the separate windows vs tabbed container functionality
- A “EnableGrabNonPhysical” debug setting to control grabbing of non-physical objects to fix the problem of accidentally hitting an object while holding down Ctrl/Ctrl-Shift. The debug is off by default
- A new “Show Debug Setting” SLapp command for support (syntax: secondlife:///app/setting/[/show])
- Inclusion of teleport fade in/out transitions
- The viewer now shows an old “Live Help”-style message when the user opens the support/beta group(s)
- The following user requested improvements:
Catznip R10 also fixes a number of bugs found in the R9 release, and offers some fixes for issues inherited from the official viewer. For details on all of these. please refer to the release notes.
Catznip R9 Blocking
An important note with this release of Catznip is that because the R9 version lacks a number of significant features, the Catznip team intended to block the R9 release from mid-February.
I’ve always like Catznip, and in the past it had tended to vie with Dolphin as my second viewer of choice. With R10, which I’ve been running on-and-off for the last few weeks during beta testing, it has now firmly re-established itself as my number 2 viewer. In fact, were it to include just three or four more options (such as William Weaver’s excellent PhotoTools floater), it might even unseat Firestorm as my viewer of choice.
All told, it is good to see Catznip back in the fold of up-to-date viewers, and I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone seeking an alternative to their current viewer.