Early this morning Kirsten released a Release Candidate of the new S21(6) version. KirstenLee’s announcement lists the significant changes in this version. See: S21(6) – RC1 shipping now! Read on for my experience with this version of the viewer.
Kirsten has improved parts of the render pipeline. Frame rates are supposed to be up on supporting hardware. For those that understand the render process, there are more low level graphics settings they can tweak. The Depth of Field (DoF) settings have new sliders. Memory use has been reduced if I understand what Kirsten is saying.
There are two new camera views. One Kirsten calls a GTA Style view; it is a top down view. Also an improved first person view but with the user interface usable (the one where you press M or zoom the camera in with the mouse wheel). I’ve seen this later one appearing in viewers. It is an improvement I’ve always thought would be handy in tight places like spiral staircases in castle towers. Kirsten has made more tweaks to the OpenJPEG used with S21(6) RC1. OpenJPEG is the software used to encode and decode images, or in more Basic English; the part of the program that compresses the images files into smaller files for travel across the Internet. It also unravels the image files coming from SL so your viewer can use them. Linden Lab’s and the Coming Firestorm use KDU, a proprietary and expensive software package that does the same thing. Supposedly better and faster than OpenJPEG. Kirsten’s tweaks have hopefully made OpenJPEG more robust and error tolerant. Also the speed difference is now supposed to be very small. Since the KDU in use in now is said to be 30% faster than the previous version, Kirsten’s should show similar improvement. Those with more CPU should see more improvement using Kirsten’s OpenJPEG. Included in the install are several OpenJPEG DLL files; openjpeg(safe).dll (which is the same file as openjpeg.dll), openjpeg(II).DLL, and openjpeg(Experiemental).dll. More about how to use these later. The BUILD DIALOG has new features now found in the SLV2.5.1 viewer. (If you don’t know or haven’t noticed the SL Development viewer numbering changed, with the version after 2.7.0-xxxxx1 being numbered 2.5.1-xxxxx2.).
The download size is 29mb. The install is the typical Kirsten process; it uninstalls the previous version then installs the new version. While the uninstall sorts out the installation directories it looks like the uninstaller has locked up. It comes out it after 30 or 40 seconds.
The install remembers most of your settings. The HTTP Get Texture setting turned off… Preferences->Graphics->Advanced (tab inside Graphics)->Textures. I think it kept most of my other settings. The DoF (Depth of Field) feature can be enabled or disabled. The check box is labeled Toggle DOF effect. 😯 One must assume checked is enabled… or is it turning on some other toggle control? Unchecked disables the feature. On my nVidia 8800 DoF works. In my cottage I get 25 to 28 FPS (Duel Core2 – 8800 GTS) with Lighting and Shadows off and using the basic OpenJPEG, which I assume is openjpeg(safe). My first change was to the openjpeg(II), which seems a couple FPS slower. Next I changed to openjpeg(Experimental). I get an error and the KLV 6 won’t start because the file msvcr100.dll is missing.
Missing MSVCR100.DLL File
The file is available on lots of sites. But, taking it from an unknown site is a good way to get a virus in your computer. The file is a Microsoft file that is part of Net 2 and 3. The file in your system is protected by Windows Resource Protection (WRP). So, they are not that easy to repair or work with. If you Google you get into lots of stuff about how to fix Net. To fix the viewer you just need the file. Rather than download it, look in your C:\Windows\system32\ folder for the file msvcr100_clr0400.dll. Copy it to your C:\Program Files\Kirsten S21\ folder. Rename it to msvcr100.dll. Now your viewer should run. At least mine did. On my system I’m not seeing any problem, even have 2 or 3 hours of use.
Changing OpenJPEG Versions
The openjpeg.dll file and other version of it are in the install folder; C:\Program Files\Kirsten S21\. In Vista and Win7 you can click the file and press Ctrl-C to copy it. Press Ctrl-V tp paste a copy into the same folder. Vista and Win7 will rename the file openjpeg(Experimental) – Copy.dll. You can delete the file openjpeg.dll. Then rename openjpeg(Experimental) – Copy.dll to openjpeg.dll. Start your viewer and you are using the new version. To change back, delete openjpeg.dll again. Than copy openjpeg(safe),dll and rename it.
Comparing OpenJPEG Versions
How the different versions perform is probably dependent on your hardware. Mine is getting old. The Experimental version gave me about 26 FPS in my cottage. Now jump over the Celtic Myst and I get lots of bouncing FPS rates. At link in with max download and rez in progress I was down to 6 FPS. As things rez’d and textures decompressed I was hitting 31 FPS with about 29 FPS average. I’m unsure whether the interest list improvements the Lab is making are in use. But, more close stuff seems to be rezzing faster and ahead of far off stuff. Walking around bounced my FPS around as new textures came into view. The slow FPS were down to 17 FPS. Turning on Lighting & Shadows plus Ambient Occlusion pulled me down to 19 to 22 FPS in my cottage. At Celtic Myst I was getting about the same, more 19 than 22. I was able to turn on L & S without having to restart the viewer. Clicking OK on the Presences panel seems to force a video reset. The screen blicks black and then comes back with the new settings. Turning on Sun/Moon shadows was also possible without a restart. That change pulls me down to 5 to 9 FPS at Celtic Myst. That is better than I typically got with S19, which was about 4 FPS. Back in my cottage this goes up to about 15 FPS.
The new features the Lab is adding are included. However, the TAB key does not work in the Build Dialog. Nor is there any Build Math or advanced copy paste features. No prim alignment, but there is the texture alignment feature. All of which is ok. Render engine improvements are way more important, IMO. The Build Dialog is good enough for editing clothing attachments and minor work. Builders don’t need the high end render KLV provides, considering all the saw dust they make.
This versions interface is about the same as S21(5)’s. Any changes are not noticeable to me… The new Film Menu Item is there and way handy for machinimists. One still has a choice of using the sidebar tabs or not. The bottom menu is customizable. The Kirsten Viewer is still my idea of a user interface for the new SL resident that is looking to get a better viewer. The SLV2.5.1 Development viewer has been crashing a lot, so I use Kirsten’s more and more.
Often as I use the viewer over time I find things that I did not discover on my first use. When the new things are interesting or problems I add an update here. So, check the article dates to the right for the last ‘update date’. Interface Problem – If you have added TP favorites and do a menu selection to open Preferences, you open Preferences and teleport to the favorite under the section. The work-around is to use Cntl-P to open Preferences. Voice – Voice has been having some problems. It connects and disconnects. This is common in several new releases of various viewers.
The Kirsten Viewer s21(6) RC1 is nice. The (5) version was pretty much may daily viewer. I had some virus injection problems that got my Anti-V all excited. Not a KLV related thing. The MS patches closed that door. But, I did have to reinstall S21(5). S21(5) would just disappear from the screen. I also found that (5) was sensitive to what other viewers did to my video settings. I would hang at 2 to 5 FPS until I would reboot the computer. I suspect version (6) may be sensitive too. I’ll see over the next few days. It does seem faster and things seem to rez faster.