See the latest review: Firestorm Beta 2.5.2 (16922) Release Review
This release is the Preview Release of the Firestorm Viewer. This is still Preview 1. This not a Beta version, it is a preview. It is not intended for daily use. However, something like 1,200 people are using Preview 1 as their daily viewer. So, you may fall in love and over look its flaws. Whatever, this is my first look at the Firestorm Viewer Preview.
To get a copy, one needs to join the Firestorm- Group in world and get the announced URL. They want those using the viewer to join the group. However, they are not providing support for this viewer like they do the Phoenix Viewer. They know it has problems and bugs. While they will appreciate any help you provide it is mostly a one way street as they are busy building the viewer right now.
The download and install is easy.
The viewer uses its own install folder, cache, settings and etc. by default.
I’m not sure what is up with the viewer. It went into slow mode on the initial start, taking several seconds to respond to clicks. A computer reboot fixed that problem. So, I’ll assume it was from all the playing I was doing previously with Phoenix 908. Switching back and forth between viewers often creates problems.
In my little cottage I get 35 to 50 FPS. It bounces around a lot, more than other viewers do. In complex areas I slow down to 25 FPS while things download. The viewer shows it is using: J2C Decoder Version: OpenJPEG: 126.96.36.1997, Runtime: 1.4.0 rather than KDU. Future version should change over to KDU as Firestorm purchased a license. That should make this viewer rez faster.
Going back to Celtic Myst I decided this viewer is much faster. With Phoenix 908 I was waiting on some textures to rez. I had almost no wait with the Preview. The LoD worked well. No small item drop outs from odd LoD stuff.
The Firestorm team has done a nice job of mixing a SLV1 and SLV2 user interface for long time residents. If you have been avoiding the SLV2 style viewers, you’ll find this viewer much easier to adapt to. Some people are already saying this viewer is only bridge from the series 1 to series 2 interface.
Those of us using SLV1’s are used to a number of menu items being in the bottom menu. Firestorm has those items in the bottom menu. They have been converted to icons. I think new and older residents will easily recognize the symbols. Also, you can turn buttons and on and off.
One of the things I notice is the world coordinates are in the top menu. The team seems undecided exactly where to put them. They appear in the SLURL and in the top border of the window. Also, the Build Enable, Fly, Push, Damage, etc. icons are back. Both of these are great. I am highly dependent on the world coordinates for figuring out where I am.
Chat – this is a nice mix of SLV1 and 2. I prefer the SLV1 Phoenix style single chat window with vertical tabs. It is in Firestorm. Clicking chat to open it up as one does in SLV1 works. Also clicking the group icons in the lower right opens the chat window, as it does in SLV2. So, this will work for both old and new users.
Appearance – This switches over to the SLV2 style appearance editing. So, it’s going to be confusing for those coming from SLV1. But, so much has changed in regard to inventory and clothes old residents are going to have to relearn this part anyway.
Outfits – The SLV2 Outfits are in the Preview. They did something I think is way nice, the worm items are displayed in bold and a different color while the unworn parts of an outfit are plain white text. Much easier to work with.
Profiles – Firestorm is trying to stick with in-viewer profiles rather than use the Web Profiles. Firestorm open an SLV2 type panel for profiles. You can move it around but not resize it. It is still enormous. But, better than web profiles. All the stuff about Interests, Language, and some other stuff is gone. I’m not sure linking to Facebook and Twitter makes up for it.
Build Tools – These are very much just the SLV2 build tools. The Build Math and location, size, and rotation copy features from Phoenix have not made it across yet. Builders will be sticking with Phoenix 908 until Firestorm catches up.
CameraOffsetRearView – This is such a handy new Debug Setting. It is not in Phoenix. Change this to move your camera’s default position around. X=2.5, Y=0.0, and Z=-0.15 are handy values for shoppers.
Graphics – Preview has the settings for Lighting & Shadows, Ambient Occlusion, and Shadows: Sum/Moon, etc. I am assuming the are moving toward dynamic shadows in step with Linden Lab. I wonder if they will adopt any of Kirsten’s render pipeline?
Most of the Preferences Panels are a blended similarity with SLV2 and SLV1. The lebels on the tabs change but most of the stuff is the same. I think it will be easier for those coming from SLV1 and confusing for those coming from SLV2… or not.
UI Extras – this is an interesting tab. It has the settings one needs to turn off a bunch of SLV2 annoyances, like chat/IM toasts, those annoying pop ups in the lower right of the screen.
Firestorm tab – OK… this is mostly empty. Most of the neat Phoenix stuff one finds here has not made the transition to Firestorm yet. So, no bouncing boobies. (Oh if you don’t know, bouncing boobies are planned for the Lab’s SLV2. It is another whole way to do boobies. This time I GET TO DECIDE how much I bounce. Not some horny guy. The new bounce process is apparently part of the mesh thing.)
This is a really nice viewer. I can see why some people have made it their primary viewer. If you want a viewer with many of the newer SLV2 features and a user interface somewhere between SLV1 and 2 then try this viewer.