KirstenLee S21(4)RC1 Viewer Release Review

KirstenLee Viewer S21

KirstenLee S21 Logo

It is getting a little complex keeping you clearly informed about KirstenLee’s viewer releases with terms that accurately convey a viewer’s status. It is hard to be clear about which is a production viewer, test or Beta viewer, and a Release Candidate. The problem is some of the code is Linden Lab code not yet in the SL Beta or Standard viewers, which sort of makes all the Kirsten viewers pre-beta viewers. The distinctions are blurred. Suffice to say to say, the Kirsten viewers are as bleeding edge as they come.

The S21(3) is KirstenLee’s official current release. It is available for download.

KirstenLee’s current release announcement is about S21(4) Release Candidate 1 or Kirstens S21 RC1, which is available as of 2/7.


The S21(4)RC1 reveals some of the problems we are not hearing about in other places. KirstenLee’s viewers are way out on the cutting edge. While different the RC viewer is development-wise similar to the Lab’s Development Viewer. Lots of new code and bug fixes and ways to handle enabled server features and to work with server features NOT enabled and not cause a viewer fail.

KirstenLee well explains the changes and features in this release, so I won’t itemize them again here.

You will however see many if KirstenLee’s features explained simply as a JIRA ID. If you are curious what the JIRA is about, visit: SL JIRA and type the JIRA ID (e.g., STORM 547) into the search box. That will bring up the JIRA and you can see the description and details. For instance STORM-547 is about the Display Name issue of displaying names as ???.

A couple fixes worth mentioning:

There was an image upload problem that has been fixed.

A big user interface change is the viewer’s ability to allow you to use the sidebar or not. One can use the KirstenLee bottom style replacement for the sidebar or use the SLV2 style sidebar. Right-click to reveal or hide KirstenLee’s button in the bottom menu. When hidden the sidebar activates.

Machinima Makers’ Menu

KirstenLee’s viewer has long been a favorite of machinima artists. Now there is a Film Menu item with handy items for film makers.


This install puts the viewer in the S21 folder. So, it replaces S21(3). Either be sure you are ready to upgrade or rename the S21 folder before you install. I suggest you not plan to use both viewers at the same time… use one or the other as I suspect the (3) and (4) viewers will use many of the same support files like; settings.

The install removes a load of skin files. I’m not sure why that part of uninstalling (3) take so long.

I soon found the install program installing skins and uninstalling skins at the same time, this can’t be good.  Something is messed up.

I did a second install… I got some odd messages. I decided I would remove S21 and start over. I ran the uninstall program and rebooted the computer, then did a new install. That seems to have worked.


The viewer’s rendered image is very nice. In areas that are what I consider normal or typical give me about 15 to 35 FPS. That is with Lighting & Shadows – enabled, Ambient Occlusion – enabled, and Shadows – None. With Sun/Moon shadows I get about 7 FPS. It is still a PITA to change shadow settings while logged on and I often see FPS stuck between 0.5 and 5 FPS until I restart.

I used the viewer for about 1.5 hours. Catching up on chat and IM’s. It then crashed locking up my computer and putting it into a system restart.

On Restart I found that the icons for S21 were messed up. I have yet to get that straightened out. The viewer started up ok. I logged back in ok.

I had some problems with chat text being hard to read because of the text color being similar to objects behind it and there being no text-background behind it. The background later appeared after I had turned Sun/Moon off and did a restart…

After I logged back on I ran the viewer for a couple of hours with no problems. I went to some high lag areas and viewer worked well.

Preferences -> Move & View has an option to Teleport, Auto Pilot, or Lock Camera on double click. This seems to be different than in previous versions as one of those three is selected and there is no option to have double click do nothing. It can be annoying.


The viewer gets better and better. One does need some graphics processing power to use it. I think my 8800 GTS is toward the bottom of the stack now.

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