On Monday, July 24th, Alchemy issued an update to the release version of their viewer. Version 188.8.131.52161 incorporates all of the updates found in the last Beta update (version 184.108.40.206120, reviewed here), which included Project Bento and Avatar Complexity support (although no Graphics Presets), updates to the right-click context menu for better avatar and estate management, and numerous other improvements.
The new release, available in both 32- and 64-bit for Windows, and 64-bit only for OS X and Linux, brings with it assorted improvements and updates, some of which are very much “under the hood” in the form of a revamp of the rendering system, together with nips and tucks to the UI.
This release also sees Alchemy achieve parity with the Lab’s 5.0.6 code-base, and so includes all the recent updates from the Lab, including, but not limited to:
- HTTP improvements and Asset fetching via CDN
- Use of custom inventory folders for the receipt of uploads
- Avatar rendering and exceptions
- The updated region access controls and revised Trash behaviour updates
- The new Grid Status toolbar button, allowing you to view the Grid Status page in the viewer’s built-in browser.
The most visible change to the viewer is that while maintaining the LL “v5” look about profiles (avatar, group, object), Alchemy now displays profiles in separate floaters, rather than “tabbing over” in the current People / Friends / Nearby People / Group / Inventory floater or mucking about with a sidebar, making it a lot easier to browse multiple profiles in each class / across profile classes.
For OpenSim users, this release of alchemy also provides a warning when log-in credentials are being sent over an insecure connection, while the grid manager has received some reliability improvements. Alchemy also now has the ability to store avatar log-in credentials.
Much of the work on this release is said to be geared towards performance improvements. Alchemy has always – for me – produced pretty solid results FPS when on a near-like-by-like comparison with other viewers as it is possible to get (same graphics set-up, same region, same windlight defaults, similar / the same avatar numbers, etc.). Such tests are by no means perfect (you cannot account for the graphics load of individual avatars on a region, for example, even if the numbers are the same, for example). On my i4 / 16 GB DDR3 / GTX970 system, I found this version of Alchemy continues the tradition of providing me with on average higher FPS than the LL viewer (roughly 10-20fps on average) and Firestorm (between 15-30fps), although the differences could be negligible in popular spots.
There’s no RLV / RLVa in this release, nor has the Lab’s Graphics Presets been implemented – which in my personal view is an oversight, as they do allow for much smarter use of graphics settings by those prepared to put the (not exactly extensive) effort into setting things up. That said, Alchemy continues to do what it says on the tin, and this update should keep regular users of the viewer happy.
- Alchemy website
- Alchemy 220.127.116.11161 release announcement
- Alchemy 18.104.22.168161 release notes
- Alchemy downloads page
- Alchemy in this blog