Monday, August 2, 2010

Linden Lab(R) SecondLife Viewer 2 User Interface

  Today I will begin exploring the UI of the 4 different SL clients, reviewed in the previous post's beginning on July 31. I am going to start off with the official Second Life Viewer 2 v.

  This will be the first time I have ever attempted to do anything like this, so please bear with me. Since Philip's return to LL as CEO, and his honest admittance, that the UI for Viewer 2 is less than Ideal, and him asking the SL Customer and Developer base for help, I have decided to pitch in as best I can. Now I must admit, I have never been a fan of Viewer 2, so my experience is very limited. However I do recognize the potential possibilities this new platform is capable of with help from the Open Source community. And I am bound and determined to pitch in, with the goal to make Viewer 2 the most robust, easy to use, yet powerful SL client yet. So before I get started, I need to rant a bit.
  I'm going to go back a to the first time I opened up this new client, it was a less than ideal experience. I rezzed as a poof ball, after about 5 minutes and still no change, I activated the Advanced menu ( ctrl+alt+d) and selected Rebake Textures. This did not work, so I opened the Debug dialog box, and navigated down to (renderunloadedavatar) and set the value to True. This solved that problem, but my Avi was all mushed up ( Ruthed ) and I was wearing an outfit from 2 months earlier ( the last time I had tried Viewer 2 ). Now right here I have to say this has been a well known bug since the Alpha development stage of Viewer 2, hardly an ideal environment to thrust upon a new customer. Since this is supposedly what V2 was designed to do, is attract and retain new SL customers, you would think the Lab would have made this a top issue to be fixed. No problem, once my inventory had loaded, I located my shape and skin, and I was back to normal. Next, one of my Hud's,  normally located at the top center of my screen was out of whack. It is now almost dead center in the middle. Another well documented bug from the Alpha stage of development. So far things are not looking so good, but there's more. I notice 960L$ were missing from my account balance, my last log out showed 980L$, now there are only 20L$. Thankfully this is an easy fix. I IM a friend and asked her to pay me 1L$, this brings my account to 981L$, need I mention this is yet another bug LL has been well aware of with Viewer 2 for a long time now. How on earth a company can release a product with so many well documented flaws is beyond me. I guess I will blame it all on former CEO M. Linden ( I am so glad he is gone and Philip is back in charge )  Ok I got that out of my system, ready to start the review :_)
  I log in and, my god this interface is so ugly and crowded, right off the bat I hate it.
I click on the side bar and watch in horror as my screen shifts to the left.  
  Next I access the camera controls which have an opaque black background. I am about to get ill. I'll play around with preferences, figured out how to stop the screen from shifting to the left when side bar is opened, Wow that's real progress! How many months did it take the Lab to figure that one out ? Oh cool I found the mini map, and it can't be re sized. I have no location coordinates displayed on the top bar, no fly button, no build button, the local chat area is way to small to carry on a conversation, and is not detachable. Oh and now, I am receiving group messages in huge ugly opaque black box on bottom right hand corner of screen. I cant build anything until I clear up the screen and maneuver the way to big camera controls into a better area of my screen, so i can actually see what I am doing.
  I have stepped away from the keyboard for to long and my avatar is now sleeping with the away indicator floating above my head, unable to locate the setting to turn this off feature off. ( have you ever been ejected from a place or logged out of SL because of inactivity ? )      
  Located the search feature, OMG what the hell is this mess? I continue to open menu's and press buttons, seems like most of the features I use on a daily basis are gone, or buried in the debug menu now. Say! This is Fast, Easy and Fun !
  I said this month's ago and I'll say it again, this UI looks like a 10th grade Computers 101, High School Class developed it. I'm done, this is a piece of crap, and totally unusable.
  In all fairness, if you have read my previous post on performance, this viewer is fast, just a tad behind Emerald, so I know the potential is there. I'll take a look at the stable Snow Globe viewer next.



Ari Blackthorne™ said...

Finally: someone who doesn't just bitch, moan and crybaby about it all damned day long, but actually willing to use the experience in a constructive way.


I for one have managed to get used to the V2UI. It's okay. I like it enough. It's the overall performance that is the deal breaker for me. I like most of the features of Emerald, but it's performance is worse than V2.1.

I am personally convinced the Imprudence is the best of all Second Life Viewer world: all the features of Emerald, and blazing fast performance and rock-steady reliability.

Viewer 2 has a ridiculously long way to go to hope to even catch-up. Not as far as Emerald, but it *seems* the Emerald devs aren't all that gung-ho as they used to be in the beginning.

Just my own too-sense. Your mileage may vary.

JayR Cela said...

Hi there Ari, thanks / I think I recall seeing you around at a number of LL meetings the past several years or so :_) Yeah the Imprudence Viewer is pretty kool, personally I wish I could resize the mini map, it's to large for me. I do know McCabe, he is on my friends list here in SL and on the InWorldz Grid /// /// I run into him every now and then over there, you might wanna check it out, quite a few SL people using the same names we have here. And ! Mega Prims are the norm !!! / LOL / why we can not do that here in SL is beyond me.
I was reading the Imprudence blog this morning RC1 is just around the corner.
I agree with you 100% V2 has a long way to go, but I believe it can be totally kick ass, just needs someone besides the people at LL to fix all the problems they have created, KirstenLee is doing one hell of a job, and someone I was talking to this morning suggested I check out the StarLight Skin for V2.
I plan on stirring up some dust, making a stink, and hopefully waking a few people at the Lab up. If you or anyone else, would like an Op-Ed on this Blog or just promote another viewer or Grid, just let me know.
Oh yeah / please tell your friends / I will not moderate this Blog, unless some one is Vulgar or Flaming. All opinions are valid. I plan on at least 1 post a day, so stay tuned :_) I got a lot of pent up thing to say, and tons of stuff to review, any and all help is welcome.

JayR Cela :_)

Ari Blackthorne™ said...

I appreciate it.

I am of the firm belief that is Linden Lab would implement their own Snowglobe code into Viewer 2; it would be a huge "kick-start" on it's way to being a formidable viewer. I do like it and I especially like the "outfits" feature.

It's just that once you've tasted that darned Snowglobe (and any other viewers based on it) it's real hard to go back.

For the record (if there is a record LOL) - I agree that Viewer 2 could be a really formidable viewer. I like what there now, but it took real getting used-to. My personal opinion is Linden Lab should get performance up to what first, then focus on the rest.

JayR Cela said...

yeah I agree, but it's gonna take a whole lotta hollering to wake LL up. I'd hate to see them go the way of Compuserve and AOL / but that seems to be the direction M. Linden plotted for them. ya gotta remember it to M 2 years to allmost destroy SL / will take at least that long to turn things around, if we rely on the Lab / that is why the OS community needs to take the reigns now !!! / before it's to late

JayR Cela :_)

Hitomi Tiponi said...

You said:
Oh cool I found the mini map, and it can't be re sized. I have no location coordinates displayed on the top bar, no fly button, no build button, the local chat area is way to small to carry on a conversation.

Mini-map is way more resizable than in 1.xx - just drag the bottom corner.
Co-ordinates are easily got back by right-clicking on the location bar and the local chat is resizable - so much better than before.

I am sorry but that was a poor review of the UI which smacked of the "it's different to Viewer 1.xx" approach.

Viewer 2 has a long way to go but none of those factors are real issues.

JayR Cela said...


I was so fed up with the amount of screen clutter, on Viewer 2, I only spent about 20 minutes with it. Can you imagine a new user, trying to figure out what to do, let alone get help or assistance, from experienced people, the majority of whom are using or one of the TPV's

JayR :_)

moore said...

I have to say that most user addicting to the movie like screen of SL viewer. Viewer 2 slide bar and all pop-up just to destroy them totally. It frustrate me whenever I try to use it. Like, simply manage folder stuff with drag and drop now change to work procedural, but not intuitive. I have to admit that the release of it let me feeling angry as it ignored most of the comments outside. I am still feeling angry.

Anonymous said...

I have put up with various oddities from viewer 2s and I actually believed them when I read the " you will not be required to change from your current viewer, blah blah. I went back and forth. Then I HAD to get the next 2. and since then, it's been a rough ride. Light that I've not set for my screen keeps sweeping through, It seems not to matter how many people are around when I try to rez, I stay a blob and have to reboot. The worst part (there ARE good parts)for me is that for whatever reason, I have not been able to utilize the in-world search n classifieds. I often browse through it to look at rp worlds. new shops, new or old entertainment venues, builds contests Hunts...but now, I can't do anything to fix it. everything that could be helpful that I know of--is also blank. rather, the box opened says "help"/"find"
and after that, nothin', nada, zip. there is just a dark box with the above wordings. I want to throw somethin'!!! I DO think the version 2 has great potential, and I actually enjoy being able to have my mail down there waiting for me--but hate that beside that, there are so many notes that no longer work, I assume this is because they are no longer valid...but then again, some of them are definately valid, but won't open and as I can not use eyelids are even angry red about now, dang it, Lindens! You want us to fix everything for free, great. I have been doing the best i can which means that I can help newbies with their problems. and send those who are pretending, on their merry way and I will report them if what they were doing was the bad dog!! "hi i'm a newbie i have no money can i have some money, can you tell me how it works.....and eventually get around to trying for your paypal or whatever. I commonly warn newbies to watch out for these people. I made quite a few suggestions to LL that they have a more organized way of introducing newbies to an increasingly complicated world--more interesting, but for them, can be more challenging and I knew of some that were so overwhelmed by the time I met them that I would have had to spend days simply teaching them basics. I have done it and will do it, but time is precious, ya know? and organized makes freaked out new people feel better. So, apparently they now pay a small group of ppeople to do what I have been doing for free ever since I came to sl, which is longer than this avatar has been :) i got bored one day, and went through the process again and it was crap that they want you to pay for your picture taken and made perdy, I hope that part is gone. teach them how to do it on their own and add that as they get to know the world, they will find people within it who are excellent at their job....LL gets enough money. I apologize for bitching, but this morning, I open SL and it has new terms of service that I must sign before I can get in world. Except, as with my other problems with words showing on top of the 'box' there are NO words on the page that I could see, and I couldn't get into SL to try to fix it *have been for a while, asking friends what they know, and mostly getting told to not use 2. but get a diff one.
so now, I can't use that version anyway because I can't see the words on the mandatory update and the cancel button works but the "ok" button is unworkable and there is no wording that I can find, anyway. boo.
So, I decided to try phoenix as i was told by a friend to try it once my stubborn streak wore out. :) oh. one last issue, which may be not such a big deal, we've all seen bits and bobs and stuff, but since dealing with the last update, i increasingly, and have had it confirmed by other peeps, that leaving one place dressed up and nice and arriving at the next scene either with shirt gone, hair gone or all of it gone is MEGA annoying lolol--but not life threatening.
sorry for ranting and being confused, but i'm really glad to be able to read the other posts. G'day world.