Singularity 1.8.9: the big catch-up

April 2nd, 2020 saw the first full release of the viewer 1.x style Singularity viewer in almost four years with the arrival of version 1.8.9.8338. The last formal release of the viewer had been in June 2016, with the release of version 1.8.7 – although there have been many, many, “nightly” builds of the viewer made available in the interim to help keep Singularity users up-to-date with viewer changes.

As I don’t tend to report on “beta” or “nightly” builds of viewers unless they contain something absolutely vital to users  – were I to try, it’s not unreasonable to say there would be times when I’d be writing nothing other than articles on viewers and clients – this release means there is potentially a lot for me to cover – the to possibly drown you in an ocean of text! To avoid this, please excuse me if I just touch on the core aspects of the update and point you towards the official release notes for a full list of updates.

In Brief

Linden Lab Derived Updates

Given the length of time that has elapsed between the last formal release and 1.8.9, the latter rolls-up a lot of significant releases from the Labs. As a summary, these comprise:

  • Animesh.
  • Bento.
  • Bakes on Mesh (system wearable on mesh bodies / heads – see my Bakes on Mesh Basic Primer).
  • Experiences (World → Experiences from the menu bar).
  • Viewer Managed Marketplace. Actually released prior to the previous full release of Singularity, the Viewer Managed Marketplace (VMM) functionality didn’t make it into the 1.8.6 or 1.8.7 releases, and so arrives for the first time now.
    • The Marketplace Listings Panel can be accessed via either World → Marketplace Listings in the menu bar, or by activating the Marketplace Listings toolbar button (View → Change Toolbar Buttons → check Marketplace Listings).
    • Singularity also allows the listing ID for any Marketplace listing (active or inactive) to be obtained by right clicking on the associated folder in the the Marketplace Listings panel and selecting Copy Listing ID.
    • In support of VMM, Singularity also provides a Marketplace button (View → Change Toolbar Buttons → check Marketplace). Note that this will open the Marketplace in the viewer’s internal browser, regardless of whether links are set to open in an external browser.
Singularity 1.8.9 also features the all-singing, all dancing LL viewer splash screen with tweaks

Singularity Updates

This is actually a huge list of new additions, improvements, updates and fixes. So big, in fact that trying to run through them here would give rise to a novel, rather than a review, as noted. So again, please refer to the official release notes for a complete breakdown.

Availability

At the time of writing, Singularity 1.8.9 had been released in 32-bit and 64-bit flavours for Windows; 64-bit Linux and promised an “emergency” version for OS X that is described as possibly “buggy” and “available soon”. As the download page on the Singu website still listed 1.8.6 as the last formal release for OS X, Mac users interested in Singularity are advised to watch the Singularity website for updates.

Feedback

The Post-Processed Effects (PPE) panel (View → Change Toolbar → Post-Processed Effects) has some interesting real-time graphics processing options.

I’ve not had much time using Singularity 1.8.9, my total hours possibly amount to little more than an afternoon of fiddling. As such this feedback is perhaps a little more subjective in approach than might otherwise be the case.

All of the Linden-derived updates appear to work as expected, and the Singu-developed updates are certainly extensive and I have no significant issues with those I got to play with.

When it comes to rendering, where you’re looking, how far you can see, what is occluding your view, what to have cached, etc., all has a part to play in what the viewer renders, how fast it can do so and what your overall fps is. In an attempt at rudimentary “like-for-like” testing (e.g. same region, same location, same directions of view, roughly the same number of avatars, same graphics settings, etc), I found Singularly perhaps a little faster in rendering content than either the SL viewer or Firestorm, with average fps reporting pretty much on a par with, or very slightly higher than, those two viewers once rnedering had settled down for any given direction.

What I did notice with respect to 1.8.9, both in comparison to Firestorm and singularity 1.8.7, and when again, using the dame Windlight presets is that 1.8.9 produces a much more natural rendering result on my system  – gamma, haze, tone, etc., – than I’ve noted with either Firestorm or the SL viewer when using the “default” settings.

For those who like a v1-style UI coupled with something of a more “power user” range of options, Singularity 1.8.9 is liable to be just the ticket. Hopefully the huge amount of effort put into this release will mean that in future, the viewer will be better able to keep pace with changes coming out of the Lab.  Kudos to all involved in getting it back up to speed.

Related Links

7 thoughts on “Singularity 1.8.9: the big catch-up

  1. It’s nice to see another viewer come back into consideration as a viable choice. Given how massive the changes are, I’m surprised they didn’t label it 1.9.0. I’ve only kicked the tires, but so far it looks like a viable alternative to Cool VL Viewer for residents who prefer the 1.x UI.

    Alchemy has a major update in beta so it’s also likely to come back into the viewer discussion soon. I’m happy to see some forward motion in TPVs after what felt like a long period of stagnation.

    If we only could get Lumiya back from the grave…

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    1. As per the review, Singu has, and remains, a v1 style viewer in UI looks, but with more debug settings exposed through said UI, as well as tweaks to make it somewhat more flexible compare to that approach to the viewer’s front end, together with a lot of under-the-hood work.

      Sovereign is working hard on Alchemy, so a new release should be available Soon(TM).

      While it has a long way to go, Speedlight is starting to shape itself into a future Lumiya alternative (and also a iOS client, given the browser version is completely OS agnostic).

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    2. That document took forever for me to write ^^; I was actually wondering if you’d have a novel to write in response. Thanks for the review!
      And to anyone reading, the release notes of 1.8.9 is actually a treasure trove of new feature documentation, I highly advise glancing through it if you want to learn fun things, like Follow Pilot and right clickable everythings.

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      1. TBH… I wanted to write more – but picking out specific features wheren there is *so* much is hard, not just because of potential length, but because what *I* might find useful and write about may not appeal to others, and so risk steering them away from having a look. As such, I felt it safer to point to the release notes for folks to get a complete picture. Hopefully, next time around, I’ll be able to take a deeper dive into things as you update 🙂 .

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  2. I installed this viewer and tested at Exhale Dance Club with about 57 avatars present. It was getting double the fps of Firestorm and Cool VL however I think that was due to it not rezzing most of the avatar or varying bits and pieces. Possibly I don’t have the settings correct but has anyone had issues with this viewer at a very crowded SIM?

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    1. I didn’t try overly busy regions, mainly because of lack of time for a consistent deep dive. I did notice that while the viewer recognised my GTX 970 and set graphics to high, it didn’t flick ALM on – so maybe some of the settings are behaving differently by default?

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      1. I thought something must be amiss so I tested using the texture console and I had to turn the texture bandwidth up (Singularity) to about 70,000 (can’t be the right thing to do?) in Debug Settings to get it to rez a large crowd of avatars. At defaults it loads extremely slowly. The Firestorm viewer downloaded avatars fast at the default setting. However Cool VL Viewer seemed to run much faster after the downloads were somewhat complete. The SIM maxed out my GTX 780’s Vram at 3 gb (in all viewers) so that might have been somewhat of a bottleneck especially since it crossed over to using my Ram and used up to 13 gb use.out of 16 gb. I have 4 gb set aside for RamDisk. Firestorm is the much easier UI to use and has the handiest features I find for Machinima. I had zero luck with Black Dragon but I may not know how to tweak the settings properly. I’m running a Ryzen 5 3600 which is performing very well. There is a texture slider as well as a bandwidth slider in Singularity. Not sure what the recommended values should be. At the Exhale Club I expect a gpu with a lot more Vram would be a big help.

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