Snowstorm Viewer Progress (208921)

The Snowstorm team is entering a new sprint. The recent Office Hours (OH) meeting shows concentration on some items that annoy residents. For me the top one is Chat.

Latif Khalifa provides a write up of several considerations for fixing chat. See: Viewer Chat Recommendations. At this point we don’t know how the team will see these recommendations or what priorities they will assign, if any. But, it is an interesting consideration and Esbee liked the write up.

One thing I learned is that there are volume adjusters for each AV in a voice conversation. Mouse over the AV and click the Tool Tip that opens. There is a volume adjust in there. They call these panels Inspectors. One can find the inspectors in several places, not just in Tool Tips.

There is a consideration going on in regard to chat as to how to use the WASD movement keys. In SLV1 viewers there was an option to turn WASD on or off. When off one uses the arrow keys. The reason for the discussion is in regard to how chat works and changes focus. There is currently a problem with pressing Enter to get back to chat. The big problem may be that some Linden’s did not realize that pressing Enter places one in chat in both SLV1 and 2 viewers.

This boils down to how to make chat and WASD work and whether to add more options or avoid more options. The discussion begin to center on code complexity, a Linden issue, verses user preferences, a resident and SLV2 appeal issue. The point is not everything in the viewer can have an option that would be just too many options. Whatever the decision, this sprint will fix chat focus. This week the team will look at suggestions given and come up with possible solutions.

There is considerable debate about SLV1 and SLV2 interfaces. It is clear the Lindens are firmly set that a reversion to the SLV1 interface is not going to happen. They are open to moving parts of the SLV1 interface to the SLV2 viewers. I find it very clear that the Lindens are intent on making a better user interface. Effort is going into separating the user interface code and the render engine code to allow other interfaces.

Developers are working on detachable side panel. One will be able to make it a floater. I think it will be interesting to see. Also, icons like the Gear in the side panel have been found to be to hard to ‘discover’. The team is looking at fixes for that problem.

Developer Viewer Versions are available: Snowstorm Latest Version (as of 9/2 = 208921). Remember these are often untested versions. You get them at the same time the Lindens get them. Well… almost.


The viewer installs in its own folder and creates a unique icon. So, it can run in parallel with your other viewers without fear. It does appear to use the default Second Life cache, something that makes me nervous. So, before using it I changed the cache location. Open the viewer, do NOT login, open Preferences, open the Settings tab, and change the cache location to a new folder. Something like: C:\Users\[user_name]\AppData\Local\SecondLifeDevelopment

The viewer logs you into the main grid. On the fist open I crashed by changing the window size while the region was still rez’n. I did better on the second try, I left the window size alone. I do find the FPS very low on my Duel Core2 w/8800 GTS, 0.9 to 1.5 even with graphics on low. So, don’t plan to use a development viewer for more than seeing what is up with new development.

More Info From the Snowstorm Team

Dusan Writer of Metaverse has posted an interview with Esbee Linden and Q Linden titled: AN INTERVIEW WITH PROJECT SNOWSTORM: ACCELERATING CHANGE IN THE SECOND LIFE VIEWER It is well worth the read.

Coming features are tear away sidebar tabs. The tear-away will be dockable and can float. There is also the ability to move tear-aways outside the main window. Also, to open multiple copies of a tear-away panel.

One can click the bottom menu button bar and add and remove buttons.

Another feature is to save window/panel layouts and use them for specialized tasks. So, one might have a window layout for clubing and another for building and another for scripting.

The team hopes to be blogging and providing sketches of what a revised interface might look like.

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