Playing with the new group limit I was joining all the viewer related groups I found. The Singularity group is one I joined in the process. The other day that got me a notice that a new version of the Singularity Viewer is out. I’ve never used the viewer. For that matter I’ve never heard about it. It is not in the TPV Directory. But, I’m curious so I wanted to try it. I have an avatar just for testing viewers not in the TPV Directory.
The viewer’s web site is, of course, Singularity Viewer. It is a nice looking site. They have a knowledgebase, download, forum, and a link to the Github for the source code. The forum appears to be a Google Group, not what I think of as a forum.
The creator of the viewer appears to be Siana Gearz (Resident Since: 2010-16-03 ). The history on this avatar is limited. Most information is from 2010 posts. I suppose one has to flip a coin and decide to trust Siana’s work or not.
The viewer is a branch off the Ascent Viewer. Both are based on the Snowglobe 1.5 code. The User Interface (UI) is the SLV1.23 style.
The viewer includes Kitty Barnett’s RLVa features.
The viewer has partial support for Display Names. It apparently is a bit behind Phoenix and draws on their code for Display Names.
Alpha and Tatoo Layers (SLV2 style) are supported. Multi-wearables and attachments are supported. Plus there is support for legacy Phoenix attachments. However, I don’t see the typical ADD buttons for clothes, just the wear buttons. So, I’m not sure how one uses multi-wear.
There is an extra button in the lower right that allows quick access to draw distance, particles, max avatars, and other performance settings.
In the top menu there is an item labeled Singularity. In it are unique features of this viewer. One is a built in pose stand with 6 poses. The set lacks the flying, walking, sitting, and a few others I think most clothes makers would use. But, this is a handy feature for tweaking things when your out and notice something out of place.
The build panel is good. It includes the Qarl Alignment, Copy/Paste, and Build Math. It lacks the 2.0 Projectors settings on the Build -> Features tab. The Textures tab has Copy/Paste and Texture Align. There is a tool to measure the distance between prims. (I didn’t find it) For most builders this would be a good choice.
The viewer includes a build in Animation Overrider (AO). That means one can wear fewer scripts and help reduce SIM lag. I suppose it works like the one in Phoenix, especially since it names the folder for the animations ‘#Phoenix’. (Instructions)
It includes an enhanced Object Inspector panel. I’m not sure what the enhancements are. All the stuff I’m usually interested in seeing is there. The columns are stuck. I can’t change their width, minor. I can expand the window size to read anything that is hidden.
No Dynamic Shadows or Projectors.
Snapshots are quick. There are a couple of special features like those found in KirstenLee’s implementation of the camera. One has to select save to disk for them to be active. Distance and Object Mattes are available.
The viewer installs in its own folder. By default it creates its own cache folder, nice.
The settings are typical for a Snowglobe style viewer. Singularity has two extra tabs in Preferences. The seemingly obligatory unique viewer named tab, Singularity. Plus a Vanity tab.
The General tab has a collection of the settings you will likely want to tweak. All pretty standard.
This tab has a nice collection of the chat related settings put in one place. It has the chat/IM settings not found on the standard Text Chat tab. By default the vertical chat tabs are turned on, which is nice for me as it saves a viewer restart.
This is an uncommon tab.
There is a setting to push inventory download into the background and start it automatically after login. This means when you go to inventory you do not have to wait for it to download. It also means whether you use inventory or not, a download will start and place a load on the SL servers. So, if you are infrequently in inventory, this should probably be off. When the Lab fixes caching, this setting will probably not matter.
The Enable Wind Effects setting is on this panel and off by default. Having it off saves some CPU cycles, but not enough that I can see a difference in my FPS rate.
Enable Clouds and Enable Classic Clouds are on the page. We have two types of clouds. Before Windlight there was a layer of clouds between 150m and 250m. These are now referred to as classic clouds. With this viewer you can control whether they are rendered or not.
Speed-Rezzing is enabled or disabled on this tab. It is off by default. Viewer based speed-rez is a lag reducer for the viewer and SIM’s. As the Lab improves interest lists and occlusion processes this feature will have less effect. For now it is a nice speed enhancement. Avoid confusing viewer based speed-rez with HUD based speed-rez. Viewer good, HUD bad.
Singularity has the command line abilities I first saw in Emerald. One can change them on this panel. It is this feature that allows one to type commands into the bottom menu chat window and change settings or trigger commands. The most handy being; dd and a number to change the draw distance.
This tab has some items I would not call security settings but some are. The Disable click-to-sit objects is often considered a security setting. Griefers like to use objects set to do a sit on click to trick residents. Disabling it can cause problems with various teleport devices.
In general I think most of the settings on the tab are privacy related.
This tab has setting that control some default building values.
There are three tabs on this panel; General, Color, and Body Dynamics.
There is a setting here to allow separate settings for each of your avatars. Also the teleport and login screen control are here.
Most of the effects that allow color control are on this tab. One can change their name tag color on this panel. One nice feature is this viewer can show you your tag color as others see it.
There is also a feature to automatically check the web site for viewer updates. It is off by default.
This panel has the breasts physics settings and avatar offset settings. Offset settings move the visible avatar in relation to the avatar hull used for physics calculation. In other words, if you avatar always seems to be 6” above the floor, this is the setting you can to move it down to the floor.
The breast settings… we know what they are about. These are a temporary thing in SL. Once mesh is released there will be new ways for this to be handled.
The splash screen is not working. The login is still the last and first name boxes. There is a tab to drop down sign on ID’s. This works with the Vanity setting to allow one to have different settings for each avatar.
The first logon I was getting 35 to 75 FPS (Duel Core2 w/nVidia 8800 GTS). On average as I move around I get 25 to 50 FPS. To see if I could lag the viewer out I jumped down to Dance Island, a popular trance music place. It gets crowded and the SIM usually lags. Time Dilation is anywhere from 0.5 to 1.0 with SIM and Physics FPS often in the 30’s. There is lots of texture animation and moving prims. The place is hard on viewer performance and is not a place I usually take a new viewer. It did well. The area rezzed well for a crowded SIM and FPS stayed between 15 and 25 FPS, which is pretty decent. (I feel like a total noob in this avatar. Too many sexy women in the club.)
The fonts used in this viewer are nice and easy to read.
The viewer senses and displays the group limit, now 42.
The inventory my test avatar has contains a whopping 1,500 items… so it is no test at all. The viewer’s inventory seems to work well and has provision for the new Links used in inventory now. There is an option in Preferences to switch to the Ascent style inventory. I’m not sure what the technical details are for the differences… guess I need to go read.
Chat has vertical tabs, which I like. The OOC stuff is a bit odd. Smilies trigger it… but I guess that is to be expected.
I played with this viewer most of Saturday. I visited Dance Island and Fermi sandboxes. If the viewer was going to leak memory and/or crash these two locations would push it over the edge. I survived and good FPS even when Fermi was lagging 0.3 Sim FPS. I looked like I was in slow motion but that wan’t the viewers fault.
In all, Singularity seems pretty nice. So, if you can get past your trust issues this might be a good all around viewer.