The tools used to build our viewers are not the hot topic among most residents. However, the VS2010 in this latest project test build is all about the tools. VS2010 means Microsoft’s Visual Studio IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Getting to where this tool can be used to develop the SL Viewer has been a main topic in the viewer development circles. Why is this important to you?
It will be a big deal for those with newer computers. First, the VS2010 is a tool much like Microsoft Word but for programming. Developers use it to write programs. It enables links to programming libraries, like Word has Thesaurus and Dictionary. It has syntax checking that is very much like spelling and grammer checking for word. Imagine if you could literally not read a document, it scrambled all over screen, just because a comma was in the wrong place. That is the level of precision with which programmers must write. VS2010 provides lots of help and support. While that is nice for the programmer, the benefit seen by residents is faster updates and bug fixes.
The big benefit that is hard to see is that VS2010 deals with many of the complexities of your computer’s hardware. It builds in the code to decide if you have multiple CPU Core’s, what those cores can do (think SSE2 to SSE4) and take advantage of them if you do. The tool builds in support for GPU’s and other hardware and software aspects of computers.
Consider the genealogy of VS2010. It takes time to create and test such a complex piece of software. So, while we use its predecessors, VS2005, VS2008, etc, VS2010 is being built. Developers are leaning more and new hardware is coming out. New hardware means new and better ways of doing things. That usually translates into faster and better graphics. The ways to use those new processes have to be built into the tool. VS2008 can only handle processes and ways of doing things that were known before its release. How long before is unclear.
Getting the SL Viewer code to work with VS2010 allows viewer developers to move up to the newest tools. That means we will start to see more features that can use new hardware features and better performance.
The viewer is a test build. You can find it here: Second Life Test Builds (24mb).
This viewer installs in its own folder but uses the Second Life Default Cache. It also initially opens in Basic Mode. You will have to change to Advanced Mode and restart to create a new cache location and the restart it again for the new cache to take effect.
This version does not have the Enhanced Avatar Physics (no bouncing boobies – sorry guys). Nor does it have Mesh upload.
In my cottage I get 45 to 55 FPS. Jumping over the Celtic Myst … O.O … and find it is closed for renovation. There goes my reference point. Oh well. There is the other store at Milky Way. If one looks SW the places are similar. I get 29 to 31 FPS once things are mostly downloaded. Walking around pulls me down to 19-25 FPS.
Going through the settings I see one for Software Updates. Me->Preferences->Setup. There is full-automatic install and Auto-Download with manual install. So, the Lab is making progress on eliminating the software updating task for residents.
The build tool does NOT have the Copy/Paste or Math Tools found in TPV’s. Still, no prim alignment tool either. It does have the texture alignment tool. It also seems to have lost the ability to tell us how many prims are in something we are considering buying, which is probably an effect of the Mesh Equivalency changes going on.
Search… the window never loaded. It opened and showed Loading… I waited about 5 minutes.
Dynamic Shadows (Sun/Moon) controls are not in preferences yet.
This isn’t a viewer you are going to want to use. It is a test in a step forward in technology for those compiling their own viewers and creating features for the viewers.