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Dolphin Viewer

Dolphin Viewer Logo

On the 21st the Dolphin Viewer made the Third Party Viewer (TPV) List. Congrats. So, it is probably time to take a look at this viewer.

I like blue colors so I think the web site is pretty, Dolphin Viewer Web Site/Blog. Bug reports are to be made in the Dolphin Viewer Forum. The forum is new, so there is not much there. The Dolphin Viewer Download page has instructions for installation; it’s different so pay attention. Linux, Mac, and Windows versions are available. Source code is available; links are on the download page.

Warning: The developer can’t test Mac versions. So, you may find problems in the Mac version that are not visible to the developer. Your feedback would be helpful, if you’re into helping.

In the viewer’s ToS is the information that the Dolphin Viewer is based on Henri Beauchamp’s “Cool VL Viewer” and ported to the Snowglobe 1.4 code base. That makes this a Second Life Viewer 1 (SLV1) series viewer. Some of the dialogs still refer to the viewer as Snowglobe.

One is also advised there is no version checking system in the viewer. You won’t get notices on screen that a new release is out. You have to periodically check.

Install

The Dolphin Viewer, as most others do, installs using the default Second Life cache location. (Windows)

C:\Users\[user_name]\AppData\Local\SecondLife

I strongly suggest you create a new cache folder before you ever login. In the Dolphin Viewer one does that by clicking; Edit-Preferences->[Network] and creating a new folder for the Disk Cache Location. May be:

C:\Users\[user_name]\AppData\Local\Dolphin

Once created, close the viewer and restart it.

Features

Lots of the features found in TPV’s can be found in the Dolphin Viewer. Many can’t.

Vertical Chat Tabs – Rather than have a row of tabs across the bottom of the chat window, this option places them vertically along the right side. I find this arrangement much more useful.

Build Accuracy – This allows one to set the decimal places used in prim location, size, and rotation from 0 to 5.

Build Features – The Dolphin Viewer is short many of the new build features found in Imprudence and Phoenix.

Growl – The Dolphin Viewer is more Growl ready than others I’ve seen. There are options for how the viewer works with Growl. A couple of Emerald Growl debug settings remain too; emeraldEnableGrowl and EmeraldGrowlWhenActive.

Phantom Prim Visibility – I find it odd that this feature is on by default. In Preferences‑>[Advanced]‑>[Navigation/Movement] there are settings to make phantom prims partially visible. One can set the level of transparency.

Physics Enabled Highlighting – This also is on by default. It highlights physics enabled prims, which are usually vehicles.

HTTP Get Textures – Is included. Preferences->[Advanced]->[Graphics tuning]. It is off by default.

Speed rezzing – This is a feature we see more and more often in TPV’s. Some  time ago a Speed Rez HUD came out for Emerald. Later Emerald built it in. There is a huge difference between HUD based and Viewer based speed rezzers. HUD based ones are a problem because they increase the load on region servers, which increases lag. The Phoenix team has an entry in their wiki about testing the behavior of HUD and Viewer speed rezzers. They designed their built-in speed rezzer to avoid placing a load on the region server. When teleporting built-in speed rezzers change the draw distance when exiting a region. They arrive in the new region with a short draw distance. Over time they automatically set longer draw distances until they reach the value you have your draw distance set to. This is an efficient way to handle the problem. HUD based speed rezzers cannot change the viewer’s draw distance until after they arrive in a new region and this is the big difference. Because now the viewer sends a request for everything within the draw distance well before your HUD scripts have loaded in the new region. The HUD then, at some later point as it becomes active, sasy belay that request and only give me the stuff within some minimum draw distance. The viewer throws away everything already downloaded and sends a new request. The effect is many things have to be downloaded twice. Viewer speed rezzers good, HUD speed rezzers bad.

Having the viewer speed rezzer on is a big plus.

Radar – Yep, it has it. They put it under Ctrl-Shift-Alt-R or View->Radar. More of a Phoenix style radar.

Translation – Off by default. Preferences->[Text Chat]. Uses Google API.

Breasts – I did not find any jiggle settings in Preferences.

Anti-Aliasing – It appears to work in this viewer. In many viewers right now AA is broken. When you turn it on you must relog for it to go into effect. There is no warning to that effect. So, many may think it is broken.

MOAP – Media On A Prim, no didn’t see it work.

Stability – This viewer seems stable. I used it for a couple of hours and had no problems.

Speed – In general on high graphics settings I was getting 40 FPS. (2.4mhz Duel Core2 w/8800 GTS nVidia). Switching to Ultra brings me down to 20 to 25 FPS.

Shadows – Trying to turn shows on crashed me when I turned on FBO. Preferences->[Advanced]->[Graphics tuning] Multiple tries always resulted in a crash.

Summary

It seems like a good viewer. I don’t see anything exceptional in it, other than it installs and runs on first try, which several viewers seem to be having a problem doing right now. For the most part it worked well.

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2 Comments

  1. How do we access Advanced at the top near the help and tools bar? TY in advance.

    • Press Ctrl-Alt-D and in some viewers with two advanced menus Ctrl-Alt-Q. Linux machines may intercept some key combinations. In those cases include the shift key in the combinations; Alt-Ctrl-Shift-D.


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