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Snowglobe Viewer

It is always nice to know how many residents are using new beta software. It gives one a sense of how well people like something, assuming they continue using it is a sign of preference and satisfaction. For Snowglobe they have published some of that information. Snowglobe Meterics show about 3,500 Second Life residents using the viewer as of 6m/29d/09.

Torley has a video showing the new map zoom features. In the same blog post as the video they talk about under the hood changes. Snowglobe Features There are new texture download methods in this viewer. They say one won’t likely see much performance improvement for those changes just yet as they are only used in the maps. However, the maps do update much faster so there is promise.

SnowglobeViewer

Snowglobe Viewer Interface

There is a option in Advanced labeled HTTP Get Textures to allow one to switch to the new texture download method. (Advanced -> Render -> HTTP Get Textures) On Gwyneth Llewelyn’s blog she has more detailed information that confirms this is not yet working, as in no textures other than maps are actually downloaded via this method. But the code for the new texture download is apparently in place and it provides much better texture download smarts. So, there is a definite improvement coming.

While there is no AV list one can hover the cursor over dots in the Mini-Map and see names.

They warn that Snowglobe may not be all that stable as it is experimental. So, far the current RC (release candidate) seems pretty stable. They did post performance numbers of 10 crashes per 100 hours of use. The rate for the current SL viewer is 7 to 8 per 100 hours (I think they mean version 1.23.4), which seems a little low in my experience. But I play in combat sims which stress any viewer and consistently overload a sim server. Time dilations often reach 0.01… guys let up with those twin 50 cals, please.

I’ve had some intermittent freeze problems. The viewer goes to Not Responding for several seconds at a time, like 15 to 30 seconds and occasionally longer. Sometimes it starts a cycle of ‘Not Responding’ and 1 or 2 fps that makes it impossible to use. It may not be possible to cleanly quit. One may need to right-click an open space on the task bar and select Task Manager to close the viewer process. A viewer restart seems to clear it.

I do find the way it renders a region annoying. Of course nearby things are supposed render earlier. So if one is in a room, the nearby walls would rez and you would not notice objects farther away rendering. Also much of the occluded content (anything hidden behind a solid texture) would not need to download. I rez in at my home and often find the room’s walls are some the last things to rez. So something seems off. In regions I tp into I find many of the things around me are late rendering while things behind them and far away are rez’ing. Emerald and Gemini seem to handle this better getting nearby objects sooner and leaving object farther awat until later. The difference confirms there are different processes at work.

Emerald and Gemini use the version 1.22 texture download supposedly. There is an odd mix of updates going into the render process that could leap frog Snowglobe past Emerald and Gemini in this regard. Whatever, it is not there yet.

Frames Per Second (FPS) which is very important to combat sim players and FPS seems to be a mix. Just based on empirical experience there is not much difference between Snowglobe and Emerald and Gemini.

However I have heard that Kirstens’ viewer (18) is way faster. So, it is one of the next ones I’ll be looking at. Kirstens writes she has take parts of Emerald, Gemini and Snowglobe and adding her changes. Some of her optimizations have produced good frame rates even with the new shadows turned on. Her update to version 27 is out. See:  S17 Build 197 Available

BTW, Snowglobe has its own Snowglobe Wiki Page. Lots of links there.

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One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] Read the previous review here: Snowglobe 1.1.0 Update Review […]

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