Thursday, September 30, 2010

Project SnowStorm, Whats Right About SecondLife(R) Viewer 2 ? Not Much !!

So the original Idea was to retain new customers with a new viewer interface. This is not a matter of preventative  maintenance.

It boils down too, a crap load of money getting flushed down the toilet.

I am able to get phenomenal FPS, between 25 to40, with a typical average of about 30.

But what good does that do me with a totally unusable UI. And something that really gets on my nerves, is where in the heck did the Personal Pick's in my Profile disappear too?

So lets go back to Philips speech as he returned to the helm of SL. Fast, Easy and Fun, that's what we here at LL intend to make SL. Well they defiantly got the Fast part of the equation done, an average of 30FPS on my 5 year old rig is damm good, but Easy "NO!!!" - Fun "NO!!!"

The screen is cluttered, the color scheme is still horrid, some tear offs and re-size on most menus is limited at best, the side bar is an embarrassment, and needs to be trashed. Antiailiasing is non functional!

I'll admit this is a nightly build, and project SnowStorm is an on-going process, but the recent departure of Tofu and Aimee Linden, whom were two of the project leaders, does not bode well. For that matter, just about everyone that was originally involved with creating this FrankenClient has been given the pink slip, or moved on to browner pastures.

This viewer is, and never has been ready for prime time.
I have attended several of the project SnowStorm meetings, and  have always left with the same impression. This Viewer is a Turkey!

Personally I do not believe that Viewer 2 can be fixed. At least not by LL.

Dolphin Viewer 1.5.0(3627) for SecondLife (R) A Trip Down Nostalgia Lane

This is a very nice viewer, initial setup is pretty much the same as the Ascent and Phoenix 1.x based versions.
And it comes ready to go grid hopping to numerous Open Sim Virtual Worlds, no fuss no muss.

FPS? I t really makes no sense at this point to start comparing performance specs. All of the 1.x viewers preform pretty much the same, with the exception being Phoenix, which generally puts out about 5-7 FPS ahead of the others.

It boils down to a matter of usability, and your own personal preferences. I f you have been in SL for many years, and find yourself feeling a bit exhausted with all the changes involved in the current turmoil going on at LL. ( War of the Clients ) You might really enjoy using this browser, the designers have managed to revert the UI back to the old 1.18.x interface. Yes you read that correctly. Gone is the Communicate button, replaced with the much simpler old style, separate 4 button approach. Chat, IM, Friends, Groups buttons on the lower left panel.

I have always preferred this layout because, it only takes 1 mouse click to access what I wish to do in regards to communication as opposed to multiple clicks.

Dolphin Viewer Team, a nice return to a common sense approach.

. This viewer has quick rezz times when you TP from one simm to another, due to the now widely used Draw Distance Stepping feature. Has the ability to run multiple threads while rendering, uses the new HTTP texture fetch, and Render using Frame Buffer Objects.It allows for multiple attachment points, and will download your inventory in the background when you log into your session.

Now I need to mention, all of these features are not activated right out of the box, it will take some tweaking on your part to enable them. But once that is done, you will have a rock solid, no frills, very easy to use SL client, or for any Open Simm Virtual World you wish to visit. No fancy stuff stuff here, just a good old reliable, and down to earth approach to your VR client needs.

 JayR Cela :_)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ascent Viewer for SecondLife (R) Review 9-28-2010

 Today I will be taking a look at the Ascent Viewer for SL. This is the newest version and is 5 releases forward from the last time I looked several weeks ago. Ascent is based on the SnowGLobe 1.4.1 code, and  advertised as a trimmed down power user client with enhancements, including multiple attachment points and "Outfit Linking" just like Viewer 2, temporary uploads, derender, and a host of other features geared towards builders.
A quick look at their feature page is quite impressive to say the least.

The last time I looked Ascent was at version, and there were multiple problems. Blurry textures, antialiasing not functioning, dismal inventory load times, an a few other show stoppers as well. I did not feel it was a good time make a judgment, or give the viewer a fair review. So I am really looking forward to giving this newest version a try.

The initial setup before log in is very well layed out, and it is quite obvious, that indeed this viewer is intended for the power user. Without all the extra fluff getting in the way, I'm very impressed so far.

The first thing I notice is that all 3 problems I have mentioned above in seem to have been worked out, everything loads fast and sharp. A quick check of the FPS is comparable to most all 1.x series viewers. There are a ton of different Windlight  settings available, more so than on any previous 1.x viewer I have encountered so far. Separate Windlight Sky & Water presets, with about 200 individual presets pre-programed for you.

As you can see, the build menu has very precise adjustment control for size and rotation.

 And the Building Block Type field offers a wider variety of choices, than the standard viewers available from LL.

This viewer will automatically adjust your draw distance as you teleport from one region to another, thus speeding up the rezz time, increasing your ability to be able to fully enjoy the SL experience. And another wonderful feature I really like, is automatic inventory loading in the background,as you first log in for a session.

All in all, this is by far, the best 1.x series viewer yet. If they can get it to work with Media on a Prim, alpha layers, the upcoming Mesh graphics capabilities, and the FPS speed of the Phoenix viewer. I would see no compelling reason of any kind, to use Viewer2.

Highly Recommended 

JayR Cela :_)

AMMENDUM !! Posted :  7 - 30 - 2012 

    Hi there, I believe this viewer is no longer available, their web link is broken, and a number of different searches have turned out to be dead ends :(

     If anyone out there reading this, please Post a link for me.

JayR :_)

P.S. This viewer is now currently available as a fork project : The Singularity Viewer is available here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Phoenix Viewer for SecondLife(R) version

 Well I downloaded and installed the newest version of the Phoenix SL viewer. The default skin was a bit  hard on my eyes. Changing the skin to Silver works very well, myself I prefer the Dark skin. As you can see, I decided to do  some testing in a very busy simm this time. I easily achieved an average of
 0% packet loss
Time dilation of  0.75 to 0.99msec

11275 Objects
126 Active objects

 4739 Active scripts.
In my standard test simm, 25fps was the norm

CPU: Intel Pentium 4 (Unknown model) (3391 MHz)
Memory: 1023 MB
OS Version: Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 (Build 2600)
Graphics Card Vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
Graphics Card: GeForce 8400 GS/PCI/SSE2
Windows Graphics Driver Version: 6.14.0012.5896
OpenGL Version: 3.3.0

This viewer is based on  SnowGlobe 1.5, and is a clone of  Emerald, with a few extra features. Along with support for HTTP textures, and the ability to run multiple threads. Inventory loads quickly, objects and textures come into focus faster than any other 1.x version so far. It is also listed in the SL TPV download page. I have spent the past 2 weeks testing this viewer, and cannot find anything I do not like about it.
If  you are (were) an Emerald fan, I would waste no time and download a copy.

JayR Cela :_)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

SecondLife (R) Time

 Hello and happy weekend, I have been meeting some very nice people since I re-instated this Blog. One thing I have been noticing, a lot of us live in different time zones, we all know that, and I get invited to events, or to join a Dev group. and the message has a time indicated as something other than the SLT ( Second Life Time ) The little clock up in the right hand corner of your SL Viewer Screen. This can get very annoying, and if someone is not going to give me the correct information I need to attend an event or meeting, I'm sorry :(

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

SecondLife (R) R.I.P. Emerald Bites the Dust !!

Well we all knew it was bound to happen sooner or later, LL cant produce a viewer that's worth a dam, so they kill off the only one that most folks prefer "Emerald" But there are some wonderful alternatives.

  Phoenix seems to be the one I will use, as I can not seem to get antiailasing to function in  Ascent or several other TPV's, and as of today LL just killed off SnowGlobe. This Walled Garden LL seems to be dwelling in what  will eventually reach its End of Life cycle. Anyone remember AOL, Compuserve, most people do not like Viewer 2 Why cant LL get it through their fricking heads, this viewer is garbage. M Linden took you turkeys to the bank. HaHaHa

  Oh well, off to Open Sim :( and Inworldz

Sunday, September 5, 2010

SnowStorm SecondLife(R) Viewer / a Slap in the Face

Yep, ya can hate me if ya like , but this Viewer 2 is the biggest piece of crap, I have ever seen. Hitomi and Kirsten have done wonders to make it usable. But I feel it is a lost cause. And I will no longer support Viewer 2. I'm changing my blog support  to V1.x only. I have tried my best to support V2. But I am not going to waste any more time on it, until SnowStorm has tear offs and I can re-size the menu's.
  I'll be taking some screen shots tomorrow, to show you how worthless this viewer is,It's garbage, everyone knows it. including LL

Friday, September 3, 2010

Viewer 3 ? / Oz Linden the Game Changer ?

  Ok I been trying to get my hands around this viewer 2 for over a month now. I still do not like it, but that may be changeing soon. OZ Linden is determined to make this work, and I believe we all need to stand behind him with support. He has one hell of a job to get the SnowStorm project going full steam. These people are dedicated to fixing this mess we call Viewer 2
  So what do we have to look forward to, Tear Off Menu's finally, re-sizable, that's a cool thing too, and about time, also as a side note Hitomi is about to release a new StarLight with PINK !  as the skin theme. Yaa !!
   But seriously folks we need to stand behind Oz Linden and get this Snowstorm Viewer up and running as soon as possible. Viewer 2 is a turkey, everyone knows it, including LL, so Oz  we are counting on you, go for it!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SecondLife Viewer 2 Standard - vs.- SnowGlobe & Snowstorm - Quick Performance Comparision

  After yesterdays post  Kirsten S(20)-(35), I decided it was time to take a look at the official LL versions of the nefarious Viewer2. This is not intended to be an in depth review, just some general performance measurements. I will be using the standard SL-V2 2-1-1-208043, SnowGlobe- and SnowStorm-2-1-2-208809.
  The testbed computer is an Intel based P4 3.4GHz -1023 MB, Nvidia GeForce 8400 GS/PCI/SSE2 512 MB the Video Driver is a tweaked version of 258.96   I have the Nvidia Control Panel set to the performance mode, Antialiasing - Mode is set to application controlled. The internet connection is via cable modem at 1GBs. I have adjusted all 3 viewer's network connection  maximum bandwidth to 200kbps and custom port #13004. The Viewers Graphics, quality and speed to Mid with Atmospheric Shaders ON, draw distance is 96m. Hardware Options has Antialiasing at 8x. The Operating System is WinXP SP3. The test Simm has 7297 objects, active objects 447 - 450, active scripts 4240 - 4275, script events 325 - 375eps. In other words a relatively average mainland simm with a number of structures and virtually no avatar activity.
  Each viewer took 1 re-log to finish loading 11,544 inventory items.Here are the basic performance specs

Viewer 2
  Bandwith               17 - 118kps typical average 14kps
  FPS                       11 - 17 typical average 12fps
  Packet Loss           0.8 - 6.2% typical average 1.6%

  Bandwith               25 - 120kps typical average 42kps                 
  FPS                       8 - 45 typical average 19fps
  Packet Loss          0.0 - 6.3% typical average 1.9%

  Bandwith              35 - 250kps typical average 17kps 
  FPS                      19 - 29 typical average 24fps
  Packet Loss          0,0 - 9-5% typical average 1.6%

  Ok so what do these numbers mean to me, and I stress this is only my opinion. The first figures represent how the viewer uses available bandwith and its abilitty to deal with, and distribute the load. If thats the case then SnowStorm is the hands down winner, it retains a relativaly steady 17kps to the server, yet is able to reach quick bursts of speed up to 250kps when needed in order to maintain a realitively consistent Frame Rate of 24fps.  
  SnowGlobe on the other hand seems to prefer to keep a more consistant load on the bandwith channel, in order to do its job. Viewer 2 is typical, and does not seem to have been optimized to react accordingly to various loads. Packet loss seems to be consistent between the 3 viewers, with SnowGlobe slightly higher. As  it should be, considering the fact it has a greater amount of constant communication between the client and server. My guess would be the SnowStorm team has recognized this, and tweaked the code to react more intelligently to varying loads.
  The main number to look at is the FPS. SnowStorm maintains a fairly consistent 24fps, and on 5 year old mid range hardware, this is pretty darn good. The Motion Picture and Television Broadcast Industry use 29.97fps as the defacto standard in the U.S.A. A high end computer with more available bandwith will be capable of achieving near movie like quality.
  Now the final note to this post.
The UI of all 3 of these viewers is absolutely horrible, In all my days of working with computers, since 1984 and the first GUI's. I have never encountered, a more poorly designed, ill concieved, worst implemented, user unfriendly human to computer interface to date! 
  I'll be dealing with this issue tomorrow. Stay Tuned !!

JayR Cela :_)