Singularity 1.5.3 Viewer Review

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.

Features

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.

Install

The viewer installs in its own folder. By default it creates its own cache folder, nice.

Settings

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.

Singularity Tab

The General tab has a collection of the settings you will likely want to tweak. All pretty standard.

Chat/IM

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.

Performance

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.

Command Line

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.

Security

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.

Building

This tab has setting that control some default building values.

Vanity Settings

There are three tabs on this panel; General, Color, and Body Dynamics.

General

There is a setting here to allow separate settings for each of your avatars. Also the teleport and login screen control are here.

Color

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.

Body Dynamics

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.

Experience

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.

Summary

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.

5 thoughts on “Singularity 1.5.3 Viewer Review

  1. Thanks a lot for the review.

    I’m afraid i’ll have to correct a few points. Emerald style secondary attachments are no longer supported, except for the HUD, and for display on other avatars who might still wear them. Phoenix style multiple attachments work as expected, with “Add” right click menu item appearing on prim wearables – if there are any cases where it doesn’t, please notify me in more detail. Similar to Phoenix, there is no support for multiple wearables per clothes layer yet, but it’s planned longer term.

    The built-in AO isn’t Phoenix compatible, and does not support ZHAO notecards as of now – instead it allows to create custom AO quickly and easily by drag&dropping separate animations. The #Phoenix folder left in your inventory was from your actual Phoenix Viewer. However Ascent AO is being removed for next version and replaced by Emerald style clientside AO with ZHAO notecard support and ability to collect animation from any folder (same folder as ZHAO notecard), as established users have voiced their preference towards this client side AO style.

    Login has been reworked into single field as of 1.5.4. It works for any kind of entry, though on subsequent logins it might not display your name in the exact same way as you entered it, but instead what login server thinks it should look like – could be at most mildly confusing.

    I am happy that you could measure and feel the effect of our performance optimizations, and i hope we could improve on that since.

    I’m not happy the splash page doesn’t load for you – does anything else, like in-viewer web browser suffer too? The mostly black splash with grid logo and tiny question mark are normal operation on SL for now, we need to check up with Lindens on improving that. The embedded web browser can be rather slow to load, it took up to 30s on my test system (distinct from development one and having no developer tools), but it did work. For all others having trouble, i hope to remove web browser problems within a month by upgrading to Viewer 2.7 web browser – right now the browser should more or less correspond to Viewer 2.1 or so on Windows and Viewer 2.3 on Linux and Mac.

    Ascent-style System Inventory folder is a provision for a folder which is not saved to the server but only exists on computer – right now it can store temporary uploaded textures and was intended to store WindLight notecards too, though i suppose this functionality was left unfinished in Ascent and i haven’t touched upon it.

    Considering my inventory fix work (removed one common TPV problem and made inventory behave more closely to pure Linden viewer), i’d think background download for inventory is advisable to keep on, i can’t think of a single reason not to, except you should avoid to start off with empty cache in an extraordinarily lagged sim if you have this enabled. However, if you turn this option off, you are advised not to do the first inventory search in a very lagged sim, which is something harder to keep track of and in my opinion more problematic,

    Draw distance stepping works in viewer – in all v1 TPVs actually – in the exact same manner as gesture based draw distance stepping. It really does just that – change draw distance in viewer, which in turn asks the simulator to send a new set of prims. It works around the problem with prims being delivered by simulator in a very unnatural order (not in the order you’re likely to actually see them), thus allowing you to see a useful part of the environment faster, but produces a nominal extra load on simulator by forcing it to evaluate its spatial data structure around 2 extra times. I’d advise to keep this off especially when teleporting to busy and lagged simulators. I suppose before HTTP texture get was deployed, draw distance stepping could have also had some positive effect on the simulator, but with texture service now being out-of-sim, i can’t think of this being the case.

    .oO(perhaps i should put all that on the Knowledge Base)

    Also thanks to bringing projectors to my attention – i wasn’t aware of this feature, and i won’t promise it to be anytime soon, though certainly there are plans to make the renderer and related features behave more closely to V2.

    Regards,
    Siana

  2. I dld this viewer yesterday for the first time and I LOVE it. Ive tried v. 2, Emerald, Imprudence, and Phoenix, and I ALWAYS abandon them and go back to v. 1.23.5 due to performance issues. Not the Singularity Viewer. It has a really nice look, a very smooth, fluid feel, and good performance. This may become my FAV viewer.

  3. Hi.. I’ve been trying this viewer out for the last 2 weeks on the portions that I normally use. I am an old Emerald user and when I found this viewer I was really happy!!! There are 2 things I’ve been looking for but cannot find anywhere.

    One is that since I am involved in breedables I have all 42 group spots taken up.. so to give myself a break for a while I disabled the group spam from each group… in Phoenix there was an option to disable spam from entering chat which is happening now. I log on sometimes to over 20 chat windows opening up at one time and in Singularity I can’t find where to disable that from happening.

    Another problem I am having is that I am being logged off if I am away from keyboard for very long. I come back and it has logged me out saying I was gon longer than 30 minutes. How can I stop this as well?

    Other than the 2 above problems I didn’t see anything else that I was unhappy with. I do love this viewer.

    Thanks so much,
    Sloan :)

    • I suspect there are Preference settings for both of your concerns. Finding them can be time consuming. You may want to try the Debug Settings. The SL WIki Debug Settings are easy to search using the browser FIND.

      AFKTimeout is the setting for viewer time out. If you set busy this will kick in, in most viewers, even of it is disabled.

      EnableGroupChatPopups is the other one, I think, you are looking for. Keyword here being think.

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