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Dolphin Viewer

Dolphin Viewer

The Dolphin Viewer (3627) has been updated to use Display Names and fix several general SL problems. The version number did not change. However, in Help -> About the version date did change, Nov 21 2010 13:50:52 (Dolphin Viewer).

Also a problem encountered when using the viewer on OpenSim has been fixed. Several viewers would crash when double clicking a texture while on OpenSim. The problem was also found in several other viewers including the SLV2.

In some viewers there has been a problem with the viewer crashing if you turn your avie in a 360 degree turn, spinning in place. Swinging the viewer to see new areas can cause crashes. Dolphin does NOT have that problem.

The release announcement is here: Dolphin Viewer 1.5.37.3627 and includes link to downloads. 

Interface Sounds

Linden Lab is sorting out a licensing problem with Interface Sounds. TPV’s cannot provide the default SL sounds with their viewer package. Dolphin now handles the missing sounds without problems and the Dolphin site provides a work-around that allows you to add the sounds back in. The steps for adding the sounds back in are in the release announcement (link above). Basically copying files from your SL install to the Dolphin install.

Install

This install resets Dolphin to use the default SL cache. So, if you have previously set up a separate cache for Dolphin, you will have to do it again. Making a new cache also seems to clear the settings. I’m not sure about the settings being cleared. I think I had set them to my preferences. It has been some time since I used the Dolphin Viewer, so I may not remember.

Otherwise the install is a typical simple install.

With basic Ultra graphics settings I get 25 FPS (Duel Core2 w/8800 GTS v258.96).

Display Names

You have the option to set the viewer to use Legacy Names, Display Names + [Legacy Name], and just Display Names. That pretty much covers what people want to see. I think some people are over reacting to display names and running in Chicken Little circles. We’ll see how Display Naming works in actual use over the next few weeks. The control is in Edit -> Preferences (or Ctrl-P) -> Advanced -> Chat/IM.

Phantom Prims

Phantom prims are the ones you can walk through. In the Dolphin Viewer the opacity for phantom prims is set to about 50% by default. In most viewers opacity is set at 100%. I suppose a 50% setting is good for finding secret passages in combat SIM’s. I think most combat GM’s would consider the setting an exploit… or something undesired.

HTTP Get Texture

This feature is on by default. That is good for use on the SL grid. It is case-by-case for other grids. It would be nice if this setting could be part of the Grid Settings.

Many think there is a major problem with HTTP Get Texture. There has been some issue getting it working. It may be causing you a problem on your specific computer and connection, but in general it works well and speeds up performance.

Problems arise when one mixes cache files downloaded with the series 1 code of Dolphin Viewer (Snowglobe 1.5 based code) and series 2 viewers in the same cache. Also mixing cached images/textures decoded with OpenJPEG (TPV’s) and KDU (SLV’s) can be a problem. Using separate caches for each viewer can reduce these problems.

Sculpty Detail Level

The Dolphin Viewer is the first viewer in which I’ve seen this setting. The problem with sculpties is the render time and their changing shape as one approaches them. These changes are an effect of LoD – Level of Detail. LoD is a process programmers use to increase render performance. If the sculpty is well designed one does not notice the changes. Poorly designed sculpties begin changing shape between 3 and 6 meters away. This annoys lots of people.

For pictures and machinima the changing shape of things can be completely unacceptable. For those special uses and for performance tweaking Linden Lab included a setting that allows one to specify what level of LoD to use. This allows those with high and low performance computers to be set to give the user their preferred experience. The problem with the standard setting is that it affects all things. The setting in Dolphin is specifically for sculpties. This allows one to use the optimum LoD for everything but sculpties and render sculpties at a different LoD level.

It has been common practice for many to tell people to raise their LoD setting  in response to questions about the shape changing, with no mention of the hit it makes on render performance. In general most people do not notice the slow down when using Mid or High graphics settings. However, once one tries to use dynamic shadows the degradation is significant.

So, this is a nice feature. It is in: Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Graphics Tuning. The higher the value the less sculpties will change shape. Also, the slower they will render. But, it is a small slow down and you may not notice it.

Shadows

The viewer has settings for shadows. One needs to use Ultra graphics settings and then go to the Advanced -> Graphics Tuning. The first step is to turn on Frame Buffer Objects (FBO). Doing this in world turns my view black and the viewer does some odd on and off things then comes back. But the view remains black until I close the Preferences dialog. When I reopen Preferences I see that FBO has been turned off. Logging off I can set this to on, then login and it seems to work.

However, checking Debug Settings I find that it is again disabled. Using Debug to make the change also fails.

So, I can’t get shadows turned on.

Cache Working?

Trying to trick the viewer into using FBO and relogging to the same location several times I found the textures in the area were reloading, which means the cache is not working well. This is a problem that has been a subject in the Snowstorm project. They recently found a caching problem and fixed it. I suspect this fix has not found its way into the Snowglobe code and doubt it will. If you use the Toggle Ctrl-Shift-3 you can see where your textures are coming from.

Speed Rezzing

This is an old trick to improve render time in malls and other high texture count locations. Once it was only possible if one used a hud or attachment that changed your draw distance. The problem with that approach was the script only ran AFTER the viewer had sent the initial request for textures within the draw distance. Changing the draw distance after that initial request caused the server to discard delivery information and start over, forcing textures to download second time and increasing load on the server. In other words it lagged the server.

A fix was to change the viewer. With a built in Speed Rez the initial request sent to the server is changed. Rather than making an initial request based on your draw distance setting the initial request is reduced to 16 or 32 meters depending on your viewer. Then every so many seconds the draw distance is increased until it reaches your draw distance setting. So, one gets the benefit without lagging the server. So, turn this on and enjoy. Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Miscellaneous.

Attachment Points

If you are committed to using the old Emerald Attachment Points, Dolphin has a setting for that in: Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Miscellaneous.

Snapshot Notify

There is a setting to provide you a chat notice whenever anyone takes a picture. I suppose that is to catch up-skirt-pervs…  Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Miscellaneous.

Anti-Aliasing

Aliasing is all about removing the jaggies from the rendered image. This gives you better edges on objects and your avie. It is also a major client lag producer.

Gestures

Those playing in combat SIM’s often use Phoenix’s ability to extend controls for gestures to a larger selection of keys. Dolphin does not have that feature. However, gestures made in Phoenix or Imprudence using the extended key set do work in the Dolphin Viewer.

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3 Comments

  1. that “snapshot notifier” was put in on request from a shopowner who uses that to catch cheapskates who use her pose shop as a photo studio.
    and where did you get the “version number has not changed”?

    the previous version was 1.5.36.3627, this one is 1.5.37.3627.

    • I looked right over that .37. 🙂

      • happens.
        here’s my versioning scheme explained:
        1.5.37.3627 means: based on snowglobe 1.5.0.3627 and it’s “build 37″…


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