KirstenLee Viewer S21(4) Release Review

Kirsten S21(4)

Panel Close Button

Kirsten has release S21(4) as a non-release-candidate viewer. I hesitate to call it a production viewer as it has moved into the version 2.7 code, which is very leading edge. Only Linden Lab’s Development Viewer is using 2.7 code. Whatever one chooses to label it, this is the viewer most of us would consider to be for daily use.

The OMG! aspect of the viewer is Mesh Upload… O.O …but don’t get too excited. While it is there, it isn’t working.

Install

This time I decided to use the previous and currently installed version S21(4)RC2’s uninstall program to remove it. The uninstall program leaves a number of files and folders in the install folder, C:\Program Files\Kirstens S21. However, I can delete the folder and all its subfolders manually, which is an improvement as previous versions made the Kirstens S21\fonts folder only removable by the ‘System’. Previously one had to do an Admin war dance to get rid of the folder. Fixed.

All of the cache files and folders are deleted by the uninstall program. However, the settings, logs, and chat/IM logs in C:\Users\[user_name]\AppsData\Roaming\Kirstens S21\ are all left behind. The settings are in a file named settings.xml. One can delete that file to prepare the way for what is, for practical purposes, a clean install.

From the online group I am seeing several people that did not clear cache and settings having problems with viewer crashes.

The install was much faster than I remember the last one being. On startup the viewer remembered my login ID and password. The settings were back to Kirsten’s default values. I’ve been through those in a preview review. So, I won’t go through all of them again. If you want to see the previous reviews, click VIEWERS in the menu above. I’ll comment on the one’s I think have special interest.

Preferences

Click Me->Preferences or press Ctrl-P.

Graphics – This panel, I think, is unchanged from RC2. The viewer comes up in what would be High graphics settings on the SLV2 viewer. I leave those settings in place so I can see the frame rates I get with default settings. The Depth of Field (DoF control is in the Advanced tab within the Graphics tab) is enabled or disabled here. One must have deferred rendering on for the control to have an effect.

Sound & Media – this panel has the voice chat enable/disable. Allow media to auto-play is on by default. I turn that off as I often have an Internet Radio Channel playing.

Chat – This panel has the controls for enable/disabling those incoming chat pop ups, toasts. The control to show chat/IM in separate windows or s single tabbed panel is here. Translation is enabled on this panel.

Colors – As you probably know, this panel collects all your color choices into one place. Today I noticed the choice to select a highlight color for friends’ chat is not included. Several other TPV’s have that option.

Advanced – This panel has the option to show logon Grid Selection.

Skins – This version comes with 4 skins. The default is Royale, purple.

Viewer – This would be labeled Kirsten or something more viewer specific name related in other TPV’s. It has the settings unique to this viewer. The controls for which buttons appear in the bottom menu are here.

Fixes

Kirsten has a long list of fixes on the download page (Kirsten Viewer S21 Download). There are some interesting fixes listed.

Animation Data Packing – The Kirsten Viewer has a modified data packer for animation uploads. I haven’t done any animations recently so I’m not sure what effect this has on animations. I’ll have search the forum for more information.

F1 – brings up a nice help menu.

Networking is being changed over to handle the coming IPv6 standard.

If I understood correctly, the Mesh Project Viewer and non-Mesh Viewer code are merged in this viewer. Whether I did or not, the viewer renders mesh. Some other fixes deal with mesh and shadows.

The SPEAK button can be hidden. The bottom menu uses icons now.

OpenJPEG has been upgraded. I think this is a big deal. OpenJPEG has been generally acknowledged to fail with about 1% of the SL images/textures. I think TPV’s made by some have probably failed to adhere to the SL standards for JPEG2000 compression. My belief is this is causing some of the avatar rez issues and other problems. Others think the ‘free’ texture upload is the primary contributor to those problems. Hopefully, whichever it is the upgrade is more robust and won’t choke on flaky uploads.

Experience

The first thing I notice is the X-box in the upper-right of sidebar panels to close them. \o/ This is SOOoooo nice. It saves a load of mouse travel and cursor targeting.

Kirsten S21(4)

Film Menu

The FILM menu changed. See image.

With the default graphics settings in my little cottage I get 35 +/- FPS, peaks up to 45 FPS. (Duel Core2 w/8800 GTS) In Celtic Myst’s shop I get 10 to 20 FPS depending on bandwidth use, if I’m downloading textures things slow down. I’ve got 80ms ping in the shop, so I think it is a good test site.

Turning on Lights & Shadows plus Ambient Occlusion slows me down to 26 +/- FPS in my cottage. Going back to Celtic Myst I slow down to 14 FPS, after stuff downloads and rez’s. I turn on Light & Shadows and Occlusion while logged off.

Turning on Sun/Moon Shadows while logged on creates problems. I get a minute or two of black screens and rendered views, not responding and then 1 FPS that slowly climbs to 9 FPS. As stuff downloads and I move around I slow to 5 to 7 FPS. Not what I would want for full time use or machinima but its fine for photography. In places less complex than Celtic Myst I get 15 to 19 FPS with Sun/Moon Shadows on, which is quite usable.

Zooming in on nano-prims and small sculpties works well. No disappearing mini-prims or strange LoD behavior.

OpenSim – OSGrid

I’ve had problems with the last Kirsten Viewer on OSGrid. Plus OSGrid has been in the process of lots of changes, which actually is the normal operating procedure of OSG. So, I’ve installed the 2/15 simulator updates and changed over the INI file to use the new throttles. So, I shut everything down, reboot and start the simulator. While it starts I clear the cache in S21(4).

I start the viewer and go into the top menu Develop->HTTP Textures and uncheck it.

Things work pretty well. I run around looking at things and checking the couple of meshes I’ve imported with SLV2 Mesh Project. All looks good and with Lights & Shadows + Ambient Occlusion I’m getting 20 FPS.

I turn HTTP Textures back on. I don’t see much difference but most everything has downloaded.

World Map is not working. I suspect I need to change some setting to control which map server the viewer uses.

My clothes… they work. Instead of wearing 5 shirts, pants, undershirts, underpants, and etc from previous changes, I’m just wearing the set I last put on while using Imprudence 1.4 Experimental. Oh Yay!

This viewer is not the perfect OSG viewer. I did several different things that caused it to crash. Some OSG teleport units were too much for it and the viewer crashed. Also some of the Debug Settings I typically change do not stick and so have to be changed with each login. That won’t matter to most people. CameraOffsetRearView is one I most often change.

Mesh Upload OSGrid

Kirsten S21(4)

Model Upload

When looked at the upload menu there was MODEL. There is also a Model Wizard. These panels are in the viewer. But, they don’t work, at least for me on OSGrid. As soon as I start any process to deal with the mesh’s physics the viewer disappears. Crash. Bummer. But, mesh is still in development by Linden Lab so it is not surprising that Kirsten’s is too.

Kirsten S21(4)

Model Wizard 1

For those not using the SL Mesh Project Viewer, the Kirsten Viewer is so far an almost identical reproduction. The Model Upload Wizard in both viewers is for novice and simple mesh uploads. The Model upload is for more advanced modelers that want access to more options to optimize the mesh for lower prim cost and better render efficiency.

Kirsten S21(4)

Model Wizard 2

At a certain point the mesh upload has to deal with the physics of the model. The calculations dealing with the physics are handle by part of the Havok physics that SL uses. The Havok processes are not available to TPV’s for distribution unless they want to buy a license from Havok. So, at that point the Kirsten Viewer crashes. An alternate process is in development by TPV Dev’s. But, this shows what is coming.

Kirsten S21(4)

Model Wizard 3

Kirsten’s Viewer sure makes the OSGrid look good.

SLV Mesh Proj

Model Wizard 4

Kirsten’s Viewer does not use Lightshare so the neat lighting that many are adding to their OSGrid regions doesn’t showup. I expect for some time we’ll see some divergence between the grids. Once the foundations for the basic new features Linden Lab is adding to SL are in place the grids can converge… I hope.

Summary

Kirsten’s is a nice viewer and this version seems to be working well. I am happy to see this version out and that it works very well on the SL grid and reasonably well on OpenSim.

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