I have a friend that has a couple of SIM’s in Second Life. She started looking at the cost of a build she would like to make. The pricing on the OSGrid is much lower. So she started playing on the OSGrid to see what is possible. That got me interested in my private open simulator grid (OSGrid or OSG), which broke on my last update.
Getting my grid updated and running again is another story. I was having trouble with Emerald on the OSGrid. Camera and select problems mostly and the camera zoom. (I can go change values and fix those but…) I decided to try the Hippo Viewer.
Compared to SL and Others
The SL viewer is on version 1.25.x and the alternative viewers are based on that version too. The Hippo Viewer is currently based on the SL 1.22 version with changes for the OSGrid.
The viewer defaults to the OSGrid as one would expect. Since it is likely anyone playing on the OSGrid will be playing on more than one grid, they have added a GRIDS tab in the Preferences. They have a selection of the most commonly used grids. You can delete and add grids from and to the list. Plus it is a handy look up for the grid information if you want to use the settings in another viewer.
You will find a Grids button on the logon screen. A grid choice system of some kind is appearing in many of the 3rd party viewers.
Prims can be up to 256 meters in size. That greatly reduces your prim count and does a lot to reduce lag on the client. There is still only 3 decimal places of precision. There are only the 8 basic prim shapes. Most of the rest of building is pretty much the same as on SL. I really miss my Prim Docker tool. I build some things that have a lot of prim to prim fitting and texture mapping in SL and export it to my private grid.
Hippo does not remember the last texture selected as do several other viewers. This means if you are using a texture over and over you need to drag the texture to the screen so it can easily be dragged and dropped into the texture window.
There are no coalesced objects. This means one must link a building or any multipart object before saving. The rules on linked sets are intended to be sim by sim and are a limit of the sim not the viewer. In general the main OSGrid limits it to 255 prims. On my default OSG I find I can link over 1,000 primitives. However, things behave oddly when one starts linking large numbers of prims. Up to 250 things work well. I created a set of 360 and moved it no problem. When I tried to double it to 720 I ran into problems. It took a long time to render correctly after I duplicated the 360 set, minutes. (2.4 Duel Core nVidia 8800). Doubling it again (1,440) crashed the viewer.
The sim continued running and when I reclogged all the prims were there. So, I would say the link set number of prims is sort of unlimited. However, moving and deleting large sets gets really slow.
Link distance seems pretty much unlimited. I only tried a 100m link. It worked. So, the loss of coalesced objects is not that big a deal.
It is possible to do things will cuts and holes that one cannot do in SL. Most other viewers will not render such objects correctly. By default that ability is turned off for compatibility. It’s called Rendering Compatibility and can be found on the Grids tab in Preferences.
Import & Export
Hippo Viewer does not have the import and export features of Meerkat and Emerald. I wrote about Export & Import from SL in: Export from SL to OpenSim
Hippo has Windlight. They have included most of the popular settings, like Torley’s.
No dynamic shadows in Hippo yet.
The chat dialog is a bit different. Chat, Groups and Friends are separate. Each has its own button on the bottom of window tool bar. In Preferences you have to option to switch back to the ‘classic’ SL chat dialog.
Using Ctrl-Shift-1 to get some performance values, I can see in my mostly empty SIM a FPS of 80 to 120.
AV animations do not seem to work so well. Walking in sim’s is funky. Jumping was also funky. I found that in my grid and the OSG.
I’ll be using Hippo and Meerkat on my OSG and the OSGrid, so, I’ll likely update this as I learn more. For now it is stable and works well but appears to lack many of the features I enjoy in other viewers.
Most people won’t be giving up their favorite viewer for Hippo. For ease of use in getting onto the OSGrid Hippo is the good choice.
PS: I ran into a problem of not being able to walk on prims using the default setup of OpenSim. I write about my quest to fix that next: Changing the OpenSim Physics Engine