Reader Wolf Baginski posted a comment on the subject of alternative skins for the official LL viewer, prompting me to think about Starlight. This is a set of alternative UI skins and additional options available for the official viewer (and for some TPVs, although they are outside the scope of this article), which I last wrote about in these pages page back in 2010/11 when I was using it with viewer 2.x.
So, given I haven’t written about Starlight for a good while, and given there may be users of the official viewer who haven’t previously come across it, I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at Starlight as it is today, and offer something of an introduction for those unfamiliar with it.
Produced and maintained by Hitomi Tiponi, Starlight has been available for the English language version of the viewer for a good few years, as noted above. Today, it includes no fewer than 10 alternative UI skins and a range of other UI updates and tweaks which may appeal to users. The ten skins comprise:
- Original Orange: a dark theme with a touch of orange
- Nostalgia Blue: features buttons and some layout changes to remind you of Viewer 1.x
- Silver Blue: a ‘dark on light’ theme using a cool blue
- Silver Pink: as above, but with a hint of pink
- Mono Teal: a high-definition black on grey / white & teal green buttons
- Orb Red: designed to make the interface seem less one-dimensional
- Orb Blue: as above, but a deep shade of blue
- Original Teal: The Lab’s original viewer 2.x colour scheme with slightly improved contrast
- Two customisable skins which can be modified via the StarLight Colourful User Interface (CUI):
- Custom Dark: for using with a backdrop of a black, navy blue, dark red etc.
- Custom Light: for a brighter, vibrant look, ideal for integrating black text with a lighter theme.
The additional UI items offered within Starlight include, but are not limited to:
- Top bar Draw Distance slider (between 32 and 992 metres)
- Revised Preferences panels
- Additional Toolbar buttons
- Film menu, for photography and machinima fans
- Inclusion of a “lite” version of PhotoTools
- Comprehensive Shadows, Rendering, Depth of Field and Local Lights settings in Preferences > Graphics
- Assorted UI layout improvements / updates.
For a full list of such options and updates, please refer to the Starlight wiki page.
Note that while available for the official viewer, Starlight is a third-party product, and isn’t supported by Linden Lab.
- Log out of Second Life.
- Go to the Downloads section of the Starlight wiki page.
- Read the notes on downloading the correct version.
- If you download the .ZIP file (suitable for Windows, OS X and Linux) following the manual installation instructions on the wiki page.
- If you download the Windows Easy Installer:
- Launch the installer and follow the on-screen instructions
- Make sure you install Starlight to the installation location of the viewer with which it is to be used
- If you use different RC and project viewers, and wish to have Starlight available for all of them, you must install it for each one.
Note that if a new version of the viewer is subsequently installed to the same location used with Starlight, the Starlight files will be removed as a part of the installation process. You’ll therefore need to re-install the latest version of Starlight in order to keep using it. However, as the Second Life settings files are not removed during viewer updates / installations (they are only removed if you manually carry out a completely clean installation), the viewer should revert to the last active Starlight skin once you have re-installed your Starlight files.
- Launch the viewer.
- Select a Starlight skin from the drop-down displayed below the log-in button.
- Re-start the viewer and log-in.
Repeat these steps should you wish to change skins.
Well documented and supported, Hitomi generally has an updated version within hours of any new official viewer de facto release, offering a good cross-section of UI skins and some excellent UI additions, Starlight remains the add-on for the official viewer.
As per Wolf Baginski’s suggestion, I’ll be adding links to Starlight wiki page to my Current Viewers Release List and my weekly viewer release summaries going forward, to help people more easily find it.