This is my first look at the Catznip Viewer for Second Life and OpenSim. It appears this viewer is targeted at residents that want an RLV (Restrained Love Viewer) that uses the SLV2 user interface. The last release of the viewer was in December 2010. The author of the viewer is having computer problems, and that has slowed things down.
This is not a viewer on the TPV Directory. The author claims the viewer is TPV Policy Compliant. So, using this viewer is at your risk.
Kitty writes the Catznip Viewer Blog and does a good job of explaining features in the Catznip Viewer.
The download is a 38mb ZIP file. Those with Windows Vista and newer computers can unzip files without additional software. If you want a decent file compression/decompression utility, try Zip Genius, it’s free and handles several compression formats.
There is no install program. The TPV and SLV install programs unzip their files and place them in your Program Files folder. Using an ‘unzip’ one has to manually target the correct location or move the folder after it is unzipped. So, if you are a computer novice, this is not the viewer for you. If you are comfortable with moving files and making shortcuts, then installing this viewer is well within your abilities.
Typically the unzip will create a folder named Catznip-2.4.0. That folder and everything in it needs to be moved to your Program Files. It appears the folder name changes with each version. That is like other viewers installing each version in a new folder. One can create a Catznip folder and move the files into that. Then when it is time to upgrade just delete those files and place new files in the same folder.
The viewer uses its own cache, a plus.
Catznip Viewer is very much a SLV2 style viewer. Checking the Preferences before logging on I find the following:
General Tab – standard.
Graphics – This is the advanced panel with the settings for dynamic shadows. The Lighting & Shadows, Ambient Occlusion, and Shadows – None, Sun/Moon, and + Projectors are there.
Sound & Media – Standard. At this point all the settings are pretty much the ones I use, which are not all that typical. So, I suspect it read its initial settings from one of my existing files or the viewer is using the SLV default settings file. A quick look shows the Catznip Viewer has created its own settings folder. So, I won’t have to worry about this viewer conflicting with other viewers’ settings or changing them.
Chat, Move & View, Notifications, Colors, Privacy, Setup, and Advanced – all appear standard.
Skins – Only the default skin is included. As this is a 2.4 viewer one could load in some of the other 2.4 skins. However, right now skins are version sensitive.
Catznip – This tab is common to all TPV’s and typically has the settings important to the viewer’s developer. There are some handy settings here. The RLV enable/disable is here. A setting to enable/disable legacy attachment points is here. I suppose that handles the Emerald/Phoenix custom attachment points. Handling the legacy attachments was/is important for those using them and moving from series 1 viewers to series 2 viewers. Many found that it was hard to detach or unware items on those custom attachment points while in a series 2 viewer.
Crash Reports – This is a unique tab in Catznip’s Preferences. It allows one to send crash reports or not. This is a big privacy issue. Your computer login name is used for a ‘user_name’ folder in Windows. The path information is included in crash reports, which gives those receiving the reports additional personal information about you. This setting allows you to control the release of that information. Nice.
In an empty region with minimal download I was getting 44 FPS. Moving into a mall and having a high download (500+kbps) I was down to 25 FPS. My avatar took a long time to download. Otherwise the initial login was quick and textures in the mall area were quick.
Toggling on the download monitor (Ctrl-Shift-3) it appers there are some of the SLV2.4 and OpenJPEG texture download issues. A number of textures were stuck and appeared locked in download loops. Eventually they all cleared. I was in Celtic Myst, a region with a ton of textures I never see elsewhere, so I think it is a good test for texture download. If you are into medieval jewelry this is a great place.
Build Tools – these are pretty much the current SLV2 set of tools.
Chat/IM Toasts – The text pop ups in the lower right, these time out and go away nicely. When buying things the two acknowledgement hassle is mostly gone.
This is a nice SLV2 style viewer with some nice additions and changes. For those wanting the RLV features and SLV2 interface this is a good choice. The install is not as easy as it could be. I suspect that will hold the viewer back.