A look at Dolphin 3

dolphin-logoDolphin 3  (official 3.3.0.3 (20418) is the latest V2/V3-based Viewer for Second Life to gain support for mesh object rendering. With it comes a raft of other features. So how does it look and behave?

As with all V2/V3-based TPVs, Dolphin installs directly, without the need to install any “official” Viewer. The installation is fast and smooth, and leaves you with the customary option of launching the Viewer directly upon the installation completing.

Given it is based on one of the latest code releases from Linden Lab, Dolphin 3 is the first to incorporate the new Second Life log-in screen – and kudos to Lance and the team for including it.

For those who have been using TPVs exclusively, the new SL Viewer log-in screen allows users to search SL for activities, events, destinations, etc., and log-in to them directly, without having to log-in to home / their last location, then run a search and then teleport. It’s a nice, tidy feature, and one I’ve reviewed previously. Not everyone will find it useful – but it would be nice to see it more widely available for those who do.

Dolphin 3: Features the SL Viewer log-in screen

Logging-in

Once logged-in, Dolphin 3 presents a very V3-like UI, with some subtle differences. The Navigation Bar gains a new button – ENVIRONMENT – while retaining LAND, while the toolbar and the bottom of the window retains the INVENTORY button from Dolphin 2.

Dolphin 3 UI: familiar with a little difference

The inventory button is something that has been seen elsewhere in V2/V3 TPVs, providing a means of quickly accessing the Inventory slider of the Sidebar. Dolphin 2 has always approached things a little differently, and in a way that could appeal to those who have no great fondness for the Sidebar – it opens a dedicated Inventory window floater.

Inventory floater: directly from the Inventory button

What’s more, clicking on the Inventory Sidebar tab doesn’t close the floater – it still opens and closes the Inventory slider, as per “normal” Viewer 2 behaviour. Working together, both the button and the tab thus allow for two Inventory windows to be opened with the minimum of effort, thus overcoming one of the major complaints concerning V2/V3. I’ve always felt this to be a smart move, and it is good to see it being retained in Dolphin 3.

The Environment button provides quick access to an updated set of Windlight settings, etc.,for the sky.

New Features Overview

Mesh object rendering is perhaps the major reason for Viewer 3, and by extension, the changes we’re seeing to Viewers in general at the moment. Dolphin 3 renders mesh objects as well as V3 or any other Viewer; I used my familiar examples from the Beta grid, and they rendered without issue.

Mesh rendering

Like all Viewers that can render mesh objects, Dolphin 3 includes the new prim count / PE counts in the edit menu.

Prim Counts and PE

Also as with the majority of  TPVs at present, Dolphin 3 does not have any upload feature for mesh objects.Hopefully, this will change in the future for all TPVs that currently do not have the capability; but as I’ve mentioned ein the past, for most people the capability to see mesh objects is what matters, rather thean the ability to upload it.

Alongside mesh object rendering, Dolphin 3 supports the new native 64m maximum size  – which it again, unsurprisingly, handles without fault.

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