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Snowstorm Project

We have a new Beta version out. See the announcement:  Try Out the New Viewer 2.4 Beta, Now Available. Jack Linden posted the news today.

Auto-Updater

This new feature is included in this Beta release. I’ve been watching it coming through Snowstorm this week. It will be interesting to see how well it works… or not. The idea here being that viewer updates will download in background. At your next logon you will be asked if you want to install the upgrade. You have a choice.

This should make the process of updating a viewer much simpler for non-techs and less tedious for power users. 

User Interface Changes

Don’t get too excited. These are mostly Esbee Linden’s redesign of the Preferences dialogs. For a couple of three weeks Lindens and residents have been discussing the changes. How things are labeled, which page settings appear on, and other rather mundane aspects of user interface design.

While not earth shattering or glamorousness, these changes will hopefully make things easier for new users. For others of us it will annoying as we look for moved settings and changed labels.

External Editor

This is about allowing one to use a scripting editor one’s own choice. I write scripts in LSLEditor and copy paste them into the SLV’s script editor. It is nice to have the round trip process smoothed out. I’ll have to use it to see how easy it is. Jack says the user interface needs some work… let’s not go there.

Graphics Improvements

Jack says ‘some’ graphics improvements are included. It is hard to know which ones. Snowstorm and other projects are working on a number of improvements. The KDU 6 upgrade is still in process. They are working on KDU image compression stuff now… well, at least one Linden is.

Fixes and New Features

Jack’s post is targeted for the majority of residents. If you are geeky enough to be interested, the list of changes in this Beta is here: Release Notes for Beta 1 – Second Life Beta Viewer 2.4.0 (215891). This list is HUGE.

Update —

Install

The install is basic. The Beta installs in a separate folder so one can have it and other SL viewers installed. It does use the default Second Life cache location. I created a new cache folder before logging in.

Viewer Experience

First thing out of the box, I’m stuck in a flying animation and can’t get out of it. They have really hidden the Stop Playing Animations… :/

While the region downloaded I was running 6 to 8 FPS. Once the region downloaded I was bouncing around between 6 and 55 FPS. I use High setting on a Duel Core2

Tear Off Panels – These ‘undockable’ panels still behave oddly. I am used to Photoshop and other applications that allow one to tear off panels, they are click and drag. Putting them back or ‘docking’ them is also click and drag. People are talking about whether it is a good thing or bad thing that the sidebar snaps shut when you tear a panel off and stays open when you dock a panel. I’m undecided.

Preferences Changes – These are subtle. But there are a lot of things we are used to that are missing. The interface is much nicer. But, things like setting how arrow keys react in chat and whether pressing Enter/Return bumps you out of chat are missing.

Anti-Aliasing (AA) – The setting is still in Graphics -> Hardware. The default setting for my card is off. It requires a restart to turn on AA. But it does work now. One of those fixes. I take a 5 FPS hit on performance. Not bad. But it does keep my CPU up around 100%.

Caching – I’m still wondering why leaving a region, as in logging off, and then coming back to the same region requires so much stuff to be downloaded again… There is a Debug Setting labeled CacheValidateCounter, but I have no idea how it works.

Depth of Field – As best I can tell this Beta does NOT have the DoF toy. I think it is only in the Mesh Project viewer.

Summary

I usually use the Development viewer rather than the main production view 2.3 when in SL. So, I don’t see lots of change. However, the bug fix list is HUGE… enormous… and that is a big deal. Try out the viewer and give the Snowstorm some feedback. Be nice and be constructive. This is the most communicative Linden team around. Avoid scaring them off…

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2 Comments

  1. i have been using 2.3 beta. today, 12/3/10 when i wanted to log in i was prompted to download a required 2.4 upgrade if i wanted to log in. when i tried to do this it got almost to the end and got an error message that there was a problem loading some file something like: “sl…/plugin/…tiff.dll” would not skip or retry only abort. this happens every time and i now am no longer able to play SL. i am sad 😦

    • I suspect you are getting caught in a bug in the 2.4 auto-update feature. Try loading the 2.4 Beta viewer. It worked well for me. You may need to uninstall all your SLV’s and reinstall. Be sure to manually delete all the SL folders before reinstalling. Save your chat logs before deleting folders if you want them. There are several articles here that get into the how-to’s of this.


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