There are some nifty changes and additions in this release. The Dolphin Viewer Download.
If you have read my other reviews, you’ll know I’m not a big fan of the media filter because it is so annoying to use. The result is most people are just going to turn it off, at least I do. Only the paranoid people will put up with the pesky popups.
Dolphin Viewer 2 now has what I think is an important change in how one can use the media filter. Now just domain names can be used in white listing and black listing sites rather then complete URL’s. This should make use of the filter much less annoying. One can now white list “.shoutcast.com” and all the various URL’s based on shoutcast.com will be white listed. You will stop getting pop ups on any parcel using shoutcast.com. Be warned: that leading dot is important. Without the leading dot the entry shoutcast.com will match badguyshoutcast.com and igotushoutcast.com. Be careful how you enter list entries.
The list entries will appear to be handled as wildcards. For those that work with wildcards the entries mean *[whatever _you_ enter]*, with leading and trailing wildcard symbols. The [whatever_you_enter] part is used as a substring match, which is geek speak to mean, if your entire string matches a part of the URL then it is considered a match.
This is much better than previous versions of the filter. I think it is still unnecessarily difficult and complex for the non-geek computer user. We’ll see the filter’s black and white lists improved and made easier to use over time.
In the Snowstorm meetings and mail list there has been some discussion about whether radar/mini-maps need distance readings. We are also seeing some shifts in how mini-maps and radar are designed.
Mini-Maps are something I consider as being for occasional use. Radar is something I consider people use constantly. So, I might use a mini-map when I tp to a place where I know a friends is I land at a tp hub and need to find them.
Radar is something I would turn on in a combat game to prevent a sneak attack and be constantly watching. Radar is also something I would use when I am interested in the people around me and need the features that let me send my camera to remote avatars or tp to the avatar.
Obviously they are pretty much interchangeable, but when the mini-map was placed in the sidebar that changed. Now using the mini-map in combat restricts too much of one’s view. So, depending on what one does in-world the choice of mini-map style verses radar becomes a deciding factor in which viewer to use. As residents run into these problems and developers are asked for changes the mini-map and radar will evolve.
One of the evolutionary steps is to use rings in the map view to indicate how far away an avatar is rather than numeric read outs in a list below the map. The rings tell one when someone is within local chat range. For combat that will give people an edge in deciding if the opponent is within spell range.
I expect that we’ll see requests for optional distance rings in the map view. Spells are tricky things, puns can just happen. Some are usable at 10 meters others at 20 or 30. Combat players are going to like being able to set range rings. Whether the combat game’s managers are going to consider this legal and allow players to use it is another issue. Then there is the issue of how will they know… but that is another story.
In Dolphin 2 right-click the open mini-map and select Chat Rings to turn them on or off.
The download is about 24mb. The install has a couple of simple options. The install takes over your Windows System SLURL setting and directs your browsers to use Dolphin 2 for the default application for SLURL’s. You can change your registry to over ride the setting (see: Emerald Viewer vs SLURL for a how to). You can also reinstall your favorite viewer to overwrite the setting.
In my cottage I get 30 to 32 FPS. That is with Lighting & Shadows plus Ambient occlusion. No Sun/Moon shadows. TP’ing over to Celtic Myst for a test in a complex region I slow down to 20 to 26 FPS. In a region populated with 55 avatars I slow down to 15 FPS, but the region’s Physics FPS is bouncing between 20 and 40 so its not all viewer slow down.
I’m distracted at the moment, so this is a bit short. But, I wanted to get this out.