The Project UI viewer: a look at the new user Guidebook

via Linden Lab

In  May, the Lab issued the Project UI RC viewer, part of the work to overhaul the new user experience and provide greater context and support for incoming users when getting to grips with Second Life and – in this case – the viewer.

At  the time it was issued, I  provided an overview of the viewer based on my own walk-through of the viewer as it was at that time, and notes supplied by Alexa Linden (see: Lab issues Project UI viewer aimed at new users).

Since then, the Project UI viewer has progressed through the RC process, and was promoted to de facto release status in week #25. Along the way, it saw some revisions and additions, including a Guidebook to help new users find their way around the viewer. And it is that Guidebook I’m taking a look at here.

Before getting to it, however, a quick recap on the changes within the viewer previously covered:

  • A new menu option called Avatar, and streamlined / revised right-click avatar context menus.
  • Improvements to the Inventory panel.
  • An updated Places floater.

All of these are looked at in the blog post linked to above.

New User Guidebook

The Guidebook appears to be a case of taking an idea first seen in the Basic version of Viewer 2.0 a decade ago, and greatly enhancing it.

In 2011, the was to provide new users with a simple guide to tackle basic actions such as walking and chatting through a pop-up How To guide accessed via a toolbar button. The problem was that the idea was never really followed through: the How To guide was brief to the point of being ignored, and never fully leveraged.

The new Guidebook takes the same initial approach as the old How To, using a button within the toolbar to open a dedicated panel, samples of which are shown below.

The pages of the new Guidebook relayed to avatar / camera movement –  click for full size

However, it is at this point that all similarities with the How To approach ends, as the Guidebook dives a lot deeper into basic needs – walking, communicating, interacting with objects, an overview of avatar customisation and using avatar attachments, finding where to go in SL and where to meet people. It also offers pointers to various viewer menu options and how things like right-click context menus work.

On first being opened, the Guidebook will display the first of the pages dealing with avatar movement, with each page including “next” and/or “back” buttons. Pages display information clearly and concisely, and good use is made of illustrations.

The Guidebook menu

All of the topics covered by the Guidebook can be accessed directly at any time via the three-bar Menu icon in the top-right of panel, then clicking on the desired topic. This index also includes an option to teleport to a Welcome Back Island – a duplicate of the new Welcome Islands incoming users may arrive at, giving those already in SL the opportunity to hop back to an environment where they can gain a refresher. In addition, some sections within the Guidebook also reference locations within the Welcome Islands that also help new users gain familiarity with Second Life and the viewer controls.

Obviously, not everything can be covered in a single guide like this, and people will doubtless have their own views on what “should” be included. However, what is provided should provide incoming users with a reasonable grounding in finding their way around the viewer. It’s also worth remembering that these updates may not be all that’s coming by way of viewer UI updates and/or simplification.

A further aspect of the new user experience is that the Welcome Islands will use an Experience, which in turn uses web page links, it is possible there are yet-to-be revealed elements accessed as new users explore / travel through the new Welcome Islands that may actually give further context to the viewer. As such, any final judgement on what is available in the viewer as released might be premature. Given this, I’ll likely / hopefully be returning to these updates to the viewer as an when the new user experience comes on-stream.

In the meantime, the Project UI is available as the default official viewer download, and the updates it contains will, as usual, be a core part of all future viewer updates and releases from the Lab.

2021 viewer release summaries week #25

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates from the week ending Sunday, June 27th

This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
  • Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Release viewer: Project UI RC viewer, version, dated June 14th, promoted June 23rd – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Fernet Maintenance RC, updated to version on June 22nd.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers


  • No updates.


Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

A Cloven Forest in Second life

Cloven Forest, June 2021 – click any image for full size
A quiet calm and stillness will comfort your soul as you wander beneath a canopy of trees and explore the spellbound forest at Cloven. Enjoy photography, horseback riding, the stone circle, hot springs and more.

So reads the description of Cloven Forest, the Full region design by Nova Murray that lies surrounded by mountains and offers a wooded landscape suggestive of great age, and where feet (and hooves can wander freely.

Naturally set beneath a night sky – I’ve opted to use daylight settings in the images here – the region may include the LI bonus available to Full private region, but the setting doesn’t in any way feel overloaded. Instead, it presents a landscape that undulates gently beneath that canopy of trees, shadowed avenues passing beneath their cover.

Cloven Forest, June 2021

These avenues are largely natural in nature, broad swathes of grass unburdened by track or paved surface. Periodically lit by by flower-shaped lanterns, these natural trails are easy to follow on foot and ideal for riding if you have a wearable horse.

Towards the centre of the region there rises a gentle hill, crowned by mature oak trees, and from which the two streams that cut through the land issue, presumably sourced by an underground aquifer. Whilst spanned by bridges, neither of these fast-flowing streams presents a real hazard to navigation, although the splashing waters of one has attracted a small family of black bears, a small sample of the wildlife scattered throughout the forest.

Cloven Forest, June 2021

The sense of age to be found here is not only offered by the great height and maturity of many of the trees, but also in the ruins to be found as one explores. These range from the remnants of what might have been a fortification crowning the flattened top of a hill to the west and what is left of an  old church and grave yard occupying the lowlands below, to an inner garden where the trees have been draped in lights, and a stone conservatory and fountain stand, both carrying a hint of fantasy to them that contrasts nicely with the more medieval look to the ruins.

Marked by a drystone wall with a single circular entrance guarded by two aged trees, this garden is just one of a number of places within the forest offering places to pass the time. Another such space come with pagan elements in the form of tree trunks craved into the form of a couple joining in matrimony, the fire and circle of seats nearby bracketed by barrels of wine or mead to one side and a small natural alter to the old gods on the other.

Cloven Forest, June 2021

Other places to sit lay scattered throughout, with one of them carrying a more modern vibe to it: a small camp site that almost borders on glamping, sitting on a table of rock rising from alongside the aforementioned garden space.

The one path that is to be found within the region runs alongside the north side of the island, passing through an area of younger woodland (going by the height of the trees) among which is hidden a wooden watch tower that overlooks the waters beyond the region. Passing beyond the tower, the path eventually branches, its two ends eventually delivering those who follow them to the old church ruins.

Cloven Forest, June 2021

With the landing point tucked into the north-east corner of the setting, balanced by a ring of standing stones in the south-east corner, Cloven Forest has a lot for visitors to discover throughout, both inland and along the shorelines. To the west, a stone bridge spans a channel of water into a second region – Clovenhearth, a homestead – but as the sign at the bridge notes, that region is a private residence, so explorations should be curtailed without crossing over the water and intruding on privacy.

Atmospheric under its night-time sky and highly photogenic by almost any daytime EEP setting, Cloven Forest makes for a relaxing visit and opportunity for exploring.

Cloven Forest, June 2021

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