I’ve been meaning to run a catch-up on Imprudence since mid-April; my apologies to Onefang Rejected and crew for not doing so sooner.
My last report on Imprudence, back at the end of February, made mention of the fact that Onefang, who had been working on the Meta-Impy viewer (itself forked from Imprudence 1.4.0), had come forward with a stated goal of continuing Imprudence’s development and joined the Kokua / Imprudence team. After that, things went quiet as far as the rest of the world was concerned. However, this didn’t mean nothing was being done.
In April 2013, the team released first experimental version of Imprudence 1.4, referred to as 126.96.36.199 exp 0, the first major release of the 1.4.0 code which had been in beta status for a very long time.
The update included a lot of under-the-hood work with many bug fixes from numerous contributors, improvements to the build processes, code clean-ups, the removal of the Google translate option, updates to the grid list, port of inventory category capability from Cool VL viewer, addition of a MOAP radar, and security improvements to the storage of users’ passwords.
This was followed almost exactly a month later, in May 2013, by a further release – referred to as 188.8.131.52 experimental 1, and which included further fixes and updates which built on the work released in 184.108.40.206 experimental 0.
With both releases, Onefang took time out to address a range of questions on Imprudence, and roughly outline what the team hope to achieve. His comments were caveated by noting two important points:
There is a fair amount of catching-up to do, and it will take time for the team to get there, so people shouldn’t expect everything to be done at once
The team is small, and all of them volunteer to do the work. As such, it has to be slotted-in between real life obligations, etc. Therefore, progress may be subject to interruption, and users were (and are) asked to bear this in mind.
In terms of bringing Imprudence in-line with some of the major updates other viewers have / are seeing, Onefang had the following to say (as noted in his replies to comments following the 220.127.116.11 exp 0 release – scroll down to read all of his replies in full). There are no time scales attached to any of the following because, again, the team are working on a volunteer basis and are subject to RL interruptions and obligations which may impact progress in one or more areas.
MOAP (Media on a Prim)
Robin Cornelius provided the team with the MOAP radar functionality, and subsequently with a working patch which includes most of what is required to get MOAP working in Imprudence, so the team hope to have this working “soon”.
Currently, imprudence uses the “old” rendering code which cannot render mesh objects (boxes, cylinders and weird shapes result). Replacing this code is a major task and will take time to complete. As such, the aim for the time being is to catch-up on other code elements and come back and address the issue of render code update / replacement for a later date.
However, Onefang has been experimenting with code that bypasses the bulk of the old render code for meshes, and steps in at the last moment to add the mesh after the rest of the render is done. This approach has worked well as a proof-of-concept, and he hopes that if it can be shown to work “for real”, it will offer a possible interim capability for Imprudence to render mesh until such time as the rendering code can be properly overhauled / replaced.
Second Life Server-side Baking / Appearance
The team plan to make Imprudence SSB/A compatible in the future. This will not happen prior to SSB/A going live across the SL main grid (Agni), nor is it likely to happen any time immediately after LL have deployed SSB/A. However, Imprudence will be looking to support it as and when they can.
Again, earmarked for inclusion in Imprudence, but not necessarily on the immediate horizon.
Other Things on the List
Obviously, the above is not the extent of the team’s plans, but tends to represent the items they are most asked about. Overall, the “to do” list includes a lot of work and covers things such a multiple attachment support, pathfinding support (NPC support for OpenSim), avatar physics, parcel privacy support, scripting additions, RLV/a updates, HTTP updates, and more.
Imprudence remains a popular viewer, and runs well on OpenSim. That OneFang and the team are committed to keeping the viewer going and bring it up-to-par with other viewers and both with OpenSim and Second Life is to be highly commended. It may take a while for some of the updates to reach the light of day, so some patience may be in order for those who’d like to continue / resume using it with SL in particular.
When the decision to proceed with the development of Kokua was made, a problem remained for the Kokua / Imprudence team in how to support those users in the wider metaverse who still prefer to use – or even rely on – Imprudence. While the team hoped to be able to bring the 1.4 release of Imprudence to maturity, it was noted that this would only be done if it did not impact work on Kokua.
Following on from this, Onefang Rejected, aka David Seikel who is known to many as the developer of the Meta-Impy Viewer (itself based on Imprudence 1.4) stepped forward with a stated desire to continue Imprudence development.
As a result of Onefang’s willingness to volunteer himself, the Kokua team have opted to bring him into the fold as a team member, where he can hopefully build and lead an Imprudence-focused team that will work alongside of, but independently from, the core Kokua team.
To help establish this new Imprudence team, the Kokua / Imprudence project has put out a call for volunteers, requesting that anyone interested in getting involved in Imprudence as a developer or tester or some form of support category put themselves forward. Those wishing to join the team are asked if they can attend the next All Hands meeting, which will be devoted to Imprudence and its future.
As ZATZAI (Sean Greyhound) put it in the Kokua blog, “This will not be a ‘reboot’ of the project but a continuation. So for all of you out there who lamented the ‘death’ of Imprudence, here is your chance. Join us this Sunday, be you a potential developer or tester and help us to bring Imprudence into the future alongside Kokua.”
The meeting will take place at the usual time and venue: 12:00 midday SLT (20:00 GMT), Sunday February 26th at the Hoagie sim of the 3rd Rock Grid. Requests for further information should be directed to the Kokua / Imprudence blog.
Just on a month after Jacek Antonelli announced she would be retiring from the Kokua / Imprudence project, the team have announced they have a new project organiser in the shape of ZATZAi Asturias.
ZATZAi, aka Sean Greyhound in SL, has been active in SL since 2005, and among other notable activities, helped organise the in-world elements of SLCC 2007, and his appointment has been warmly received.
Also, this weekend see Imprudence celebrate its third birthday, and the team are marking this with a series of events across a number of grids. In Thursday 1st, they celebrated on their “home” grid, 3rd Rock. Over Friday and Saturday, they’ll be travelling to InWorldz, OSGrid and Second Life, with an open invite for friends and supporters and everyone else to join them in celebrating. Here’s where:
After 3 years of serving this project, I will be retiring effective September 1. As often happens in life, the priorities in my life have shifted over time, and it is now time for me to focus on other things.
Obviously, this will be a major transition for the project. But, I will be working for the next month to make it as smooth as possible, so that everything can continue with minimal disruption. At this time, we have not yet decided who, if anyone, will replace me as “benevolent dictator“, or whether there will be some other form of project leadership. Of course, we will keep you guys informed as the details are fleshed out.
My retirement is not an occasion for somberness, but rather for fond reflection on the past, and hope-filled anticipation for the future. I am proud of the work we have done and what we have accomplished so far, and I look forward to the great things that will be accomplished after I am gone. What’s more, I am immensely proud that we have accomplished all this without compromising our principles or our integrity, even when the road was most difficult, and the temptation most pressing.
Imprudence has been a major force in the world of third-party Viewers, and the team, lead by Jacek, have rightly gained themselves a loyal and enthusiastic following. Over the years, Imprudence has often been a pathfinder for new functionality, and/ or has striven to meet the most-needed requirements of users.
It is not entirely clear what will be happening in the future – the team have a month to get things sorted out, and hopefully both Imprudence and the still in-initial-development Kokua will remain with us, and the vision of seeing Imprudence 1.4 stablised and Kokua gorwing into its worthy replacement will be realised over time.
As a former Imprudence user myself, I’ve always appreciated all the work the team has put into the Viewer, and I personally wish Jacek every good wish and every success, both in her virtual and real lives.
I started using Imprudence when I first started learning about building. If memory serves, back then it was ostensibly under the Electronic Sheep Company banner.
One of the things like liked about Imprudence even then was the more logical approach that was being taken towards functions and activities: build tools were better organised, etc. One of the things I was less keen on was the fact that for an age, nothing happened with Imprudence – something that eventually caused me to wander away from it.
That latter factor is itself fading into memory: while there were concerns over Imprudence’s slow revival due to Linden Lab’s Third Party Viewer Policy – the Imprudence team even announcing they were pulling out of SL. Fortunately, this never happened as, on the one side, Linden Lab actually demonstrated they were capable of listening to people, and so modified their stance somewhat; while on the other cooler heads prevailed in Imprudence’s thinking.
Since then, the Viewer has been in a steady state of development, with releases coming along on a (by-and-large) weekly basis – and it has now reached Release Candidate status. As I’ve mentioned Imprudence before, I thought that given it is now at RC, it would be worth a closer look.
For those who don’t want to make the jump to Viewer 2.x, there is much to recommend Imprudence, including:
It is built on Viewer 1.23.5 code
It can be installed itself, without the need to install the “official” 1.23.5 Viewer first and then install over it
It offers revised and improved menus
It incorporates many functions and options from popular TPVs such as Emerald (without the associated Drama people like to create around Emerald)
It is Restrained Love enabled – great for both D/s and non-D/s activities
It can be used across OS Grids, and includes excellent additional features for this.
Viewer-side AO. Modelled on the Emerald system, this provides access to essential AOs- walks, sits, flies, etc., directly through the Viewer without relying on a HUD. While not as slick or comprehensive as something like HUDdles, it’s nevertheless a very good tool to have
Viewer-side “Radar” (or more correctly, Avatar List)
Area object search
Vertical IM tabs
Temporary texture uploads
Inventory quick filter
Double-click Teleport capability
Teleport button included in IM windows (via a neat drop-down menu)
Mu* poses and auto OOC closures.
Beyond this, Imprudence offers increasing support for Viewer 2 functionality such as Alpha Masks, tattoo layers, and so on.
Less Controversy, the same Fun!
In including “Emerald” features, Imprudence avoids the more controversial functions and additions – some of which, it has to be said, are a trifle intrusive in the former. In the some cases Imprudence actually improves on such functions.
Take the Avatar list / “radar”. Rather than having it open in a dedicated window, Imprudence combines it with the Mini-map, presenting the list as a drop-down from the latter. Clicking on a small button in the lower left corner of the Mini-map slides out the Avatar list; click it again and the list slides away.
As with the original Meerkat Avatar list first ported to Emerald, Imprudence offers a series of action buttons which can be used when a name on the list is highlighted – such as offering a Tp, initiating an IM conversation, etc., which stopping short of the so-called data-scraping activities such as grabbing an avatar’s key with a single click.
If you have Estate Rights, the list now additionally includes a tab allowing you to access a set of Estate tools.
The Mini-map itself also includes the zoom feature that made its way from Meerkat to Emerald – and adds a couple of extra options.
However, there are a couple of issues I found personally annoying / frustrating with the mini-map zoom and the Avatar list.
The zoom options seem nowhere near as smooth as Emerald’s (at least for those of us without a mouse wheel – I use a trackball), with both ZOOM CLOSE and ZOOM MEDIUM being a tad over-done, even with the Mini-map window resized. MEDIUM doesn’t appear to “reset” the mini-map as it does with Emerald, and this makes seeing things on the map a tad annoying unless one reverts to tinkering with debug settings.
Also, and speaking from an estate manager’s PoV, the limitation of 512m for detecting avatars is a trifle limiting. While I can understand why it has been limited – to help retain people’s privacy – I nevertheless miss the ability to rapidly locate an Avatar on-sim in times of mischief, particularly when they could be standing anywhere between ground level and 4096m above the ground.
Turning to the Friends / Contacts list, Imprudence avoids adding additional columns to the Friends / Contacts list, preferring to keep it clean and simple and in line with the official Viewer – which is to their credit; the additional columns can be a source for Drama.
The Viewer-side AO is pretty much as found in Emerald, and functions smoothly and efficiently, although I understand there were a few bumps with earlier releases. It took my existing AO card (used with Emerald) and activated immediately, as one would expect.
The Imprudence team have been very wise in including the Area Object Search. As builders and Estate Managers who have used it will testify, this is a real boon when a prim / object zooms off to heaven knows where due to a careless co-ordinate input.
Pies and Menus
One of the major improvements (for me) in Imprudence is the overhauling of the pie menus. Not only have options be rationalised and re-ordered, they’ve been laid out in such a way that makes adapting to them and finding things pretty straightforward – and infinitely less painful than getting to grips with the original Viewer 2.0, to be honest.
There are a few niggles – I miss CREATE when standing on a prim. As I build in the sky, this is particularly annoying, as right-clicking and selecting CREATE from a pie menu is a lot faster than opening the Build menu whether by clicking a button or using a hotkey combo. LL made this mistake in Viewer 2.0 and ultimately revised their decision – I hope the Imprudence team do as well.
Of course, not everyone likes change. Using the pie menus gets very ingrained over the years to the point where any change, no matter how small, causes irritation – which is again why the Imprudence team have been sensible and included an option in PREFERENCES to use the “legacy” pie menu system found in the official Viewer.
It is because SL users seem so resistance to change that Imprudence’s other menu changes – re-organising the drop-down menus, moving some options from Preferences to menu, etc., might bring them under fire from some users. Habits get ingrained, and unlike the pie menus, these options cannot be “switched back” to the “old” layouts / locations. I have to admit, I’ve had a couple of “argh!” moments myself looking for options that “aren’t where they should be”.
But, once one takes the time to get used to the changes, one cannot help but accept that for the most part, they do make sense. Whether it be simply moving the position of a menu option within the menu itself, or moving a function / option / check item to an different menu, the changes are logical and result in a smoother use of the browser.
An example of this is the positioning of the option to enable / disable Restrained Love functionality. Traditionally in TPVs, this has been located somewhere in PREFERENCES. Within Imprudence, however, it is located in the ADVANCED menu – a move that makes it far easier to access, although admittedly one has to remember to activate the Advanced menu first (CTRL-ALT-D on PCs) in order to find the option.
Those used to Emerald may also have a few problems finding things – the Advanced Build options, for example, have been moved from a tab in PREFERENCES -> EMERALD to being activated via a button on the BUILD pop-up itself. Again, this is entirely logical – and actually preferable; but that doesn’t unfortunately mean there will not be further grumble when people option to switch or “give Imprudence a go”.
Another area of update is the Profile window. Some of the changes are very subtle and smile-inducing. The “2nd Life” tab is now “Avatar”, while the “1st Life” becomes “Real Life”.
The biggest changes to Profile, however, are in the “Avatar” tab, which has had a complete make-over. The About and Groups windows have been reduced & swapped in their positions in the tab relative to one another, while the various buttons from the bottom of the tab have been moved alongside the Profile picture, and logically grouped.
In a nod to those concerned about key-scraping, the Avatar key is not displayed a-la Emerald, but there is still a button that allows the key to be copied to a computer’s clipboard. It will be interesting how many angst-ridden and accusatory posts are written about the “wrongness” of this feature should Imprudence gain in popularity.
Overall, the new Avatar tab layout is very logical and helps the information it presents “flow” more easily from screen to eye to brain. Even so, it risks getting some criticism in that many put time and effort into laying-out their About windows (as I have to a small degree) – and the reduced width of the window means this careful formatting is lost when a Profile is viewed in Imprudence, and any Profile formatted to the Imprudence About window will look odd in other 1.23.5 Viewers. However, this really is a minor niggle: people face the same problems when viewing / creating Viewer 2.x Profiles.
Imprudence is very useful if you spend time on other grids. It is configured to work directly with the most popular OS Grids (as evidenced by the fact you can pick your primary grid from an additional pop-up the first time Imprudence is run after installation), and I’ve used it on a couple of European-based grids with no problems. Indeed, it now rivals Meerkat as my Viewer of choice for my OSGrid wanderings, and will likely become my defacto standard soon enough.
Imprudence includes options that make using it on OSGrids a joy. It includes Lightshare, for example, which allows regions on Grids that support it to broadcast Windlight settings to the Viewer, bringing a more SL-like look to the environment.
Imprudence has come a long way over the past few months, and the team deserve credit and congratulations on all they’ve achieved: not only in bringing in some of the most popular features from other TPVs, but also in steering clear of the more controversial elements, and gearing Imprudence towards supporting the more popular Viewer 2 options as well.
There is still much to be done, as the RC status of the Viewer indicates – but this is again to the team’s credit, demonstrating a willingness to develop and enhance in stages, take balanced steps and work towards a good, solid Viewer that deserves to have a popular uptake. Given the way things have been hurried and hashed with regards to Viewer 2, it is a lesson LL would do well to learn.
There are a few things I’d personally like to see – a spelling checker, for example (given I spend a fair amount of time writing and editing Notecards – and cutting / pasting between SL and a text editor for “quick” changes gets tiresome). I’d also like more in the way of skin options – however you look at them the “traditional” blue and silver skins are looking increasingly dated. But again, these are minor points; and given that only a few weeks ago I was lamenting the lack of a double-click Tp capability and lack of support for Mu* poses and auto OOC closure – and all of these are now present in Imprudence, I think it safe to say concerns on skins and things will be dealt with in the future.
As it stands, and even while still RC, Imprudence is worthy of consideration for those still dissatisfied with Viewer 2, and who a) don’t want to be saddled with the angst surrounding Emerald and b) don’t want to have to install the “official” 1.23.5 and then have to install additional files, but would rather do everything from a single installer.
Widdles. In being little-Miss-Blogaminute, I forgot two things:
If you’re a voice user, you may have to copy the relevant files across from your existing 1.23.5 folder
If you are confused about where everything is in Imprudence, look here.
While SL may no longer be the primary “market” for Imprudence (and Lord knows the OS environment needs a viewer with Imprudence’s strengths), that they have reversed their earlier, and somewhat irrational action is to be strongly commended. So to is their willingness to engage in the issue of clarifying concerns around the TPVP’s ill-considered wording.