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Second Life Viewers

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Update 10/12/2009

October 12, 2009 – Another Beta version has been released. See Imprudence 1.2 Beta 2 Viewer Review here for a link to more information.

Update 10/1/2009

A new Beta version 1.2 is of the Imprudence viewer is out. New World Notes has a good review of Beta version.

Original Imprudence Review

I have been hearing about this viewer. I decided to try it out in my ongoing quest for the best Second Life viewer. While looking for information I came across Gwyneth Llewelyn’s review of Imprudence (11m/25d/09y). It is an interesting read and covers much of the philosophy of the Imprudence developers, of which the sort summary is, they are developing a viewer for Second Life Power Users. Ok… sounds cool.

The Imprudence Viewer release notes tell one what is new and what is still a ‘known’ problem. I’ll give you the short version here.

The pie menus have been reorganized. If you are switching from viewer to viewer this penchant for changing the menu really gets you in the habit of actually reading the pie menus. There is an idea that new users need to be protected from the DELETE command in the pie menu. I would like to see Group Invite moved off the opening menu for avatars and replaced with Give Calling Card.

There is a Restore to Last Position option along with WEAR in the inventory right-click choices. Now that could be handy.

There are lots of under the hood changes… ok that is probably good.

The song title and artist name print in the debug channel now… yeah sounds weird but they have plans to put it someplace useful soon.

Bunches of menu items have been renamed… like Rebake Textures is not Refresh Appearance… ok ok … power user not geek is the target.

Some Advanced items have been removed. You will likely find them in the Debug Settings.

If the SIM allows point to point teleporting you can double click the mini-map to teleport. There is an option in Preferences on tab General to turn that teleport thing on or off. When off double click brings up the Map. The mini-map does not show avatar names when you cursor over the green dots, which is becoming standard in most viewers now. It does have the extra zoom in and out that other new viewers have.

A few building features have been added; transparency can be set at 100%, there is a slice thing (prim torture related), path cut and profile increments on keys are now 0.025 and changed Select Texture to Select Face to Texture (more descriptive). However, the build menu still has only 3 decimal places. Several others have gone to 5 and it makes a difference to the build by numbers people.

Collision Skeleton is odd. This is supposed to show what parts of the AV can be collided with; think where bullets can hit or what keeps you from walking under something. Some combat gamers use it to defeat dark colored characters in dark SIM’s. That won’t work with this viewer. The skeleton shows up as a black ball the top of which is at the AV’s waist and center near or below the feet.

Disable Camera Restraints… I can’t find that setting in its normal place, which is real pain. I always have the Camera Restraints off. However that setting is in Advanced (Ctrl-Alt-d) -> Debug Settings then start typing DISABLE. By the time you get to the ‘i’ the setting disableCameraConstraints should appear. Set it to TRUE to release the camera. This saves loads of time when exploring by letting you move your camera almost anywhere.

Texture downloading… I’ve stood in shops and watched the bandwidth usage drop to 5k to 30k and textures not download until I click on them. My FPS is doing ok staying in the 15 fps range. But lots of things are grey or blurry. It does not seem to matter how long I wait. The texture download console shows a continuous stream of textures downloading. I can stand still for 10 to 15 minutes and nothing really changes. Textures around me remain grey or blurry until I click or move the cursor over them. Some textures just never seem to download unless I click. Turning the Draw Distance down to 64m didn’t help this problem. I can’t see shoppers, photographers or explorers enjoying using this viewer.

Restrained Life… TaraLi says these features will likely be added to the Imprudence Viewer sometime in the future. The Emerald viewer has these features as options one can turn on and off, as does CoolViewer and Marine’s and others.

FPS Rates… This viewer is pretty good until you get near a parcel that has birds and crickets or anywhere there are distant sounds. The low to zero audio level sounds seem to drive the viewer crazy. Open the Fast Timers (Advanced -> Consoles -> Fast Timers) and walk in and out of an area with crickets and birds. Audio Update will spike and FPS will fall to 0.1 to 5 fps and I’ve seen SIM Ping time go through the roof. I understand this is part of the OpenAL support library and not really a viewer problem. But this viewer uses the OpenAL and has a serious problem. It is not the only viewer that seems to be hitting this problem.

You can find the Source Code here: http://github.com/jacek/imprudence/tree/master

There are two things that make this viewer unusable for me. The texture downloads and the low FPS from, I think, sounds. While Gwyneth sees this as a power users viewer… I don’t see that yet. I do agree with her that Snowglobe (Snowglobe Second Life Viewer Review) and KirstenLee’s S18 (Second Life Dynamic Shadows) are both hot high performance viewers.

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