The SL World is About to Change

Yesterday we got word that by the end of the month we will have the time table for mesh release. Along with mesh we have other features that will arrive too. Some we know about. Others we have only had hints of. But, there are significant changes coming to Second Life.

Changing Second Life

Changing Worlds - By Paul J Everett @ Flickr

I’ve told you about the coming changes I’ve discovered over the past weeks. I doubt I’ve discovered them all. The Linden’s in the various teams hint at other coming changes and new features. We obviously are only being told about the changes the Lab feels will directly affect merchants or the economy.

The Big Change

The changes will likely mean the end of series one viewers. That will likely create the most negative energy and pain. KirstenLee is asking in her S21(7) release announcement today that residents start changing over to series 2 viewers now.

The Third Party Viewer (TPV) teams are racing to complete their series 2 viewers. Imprudence will soon vanish from the grid and be replaced by it’s team’s Kokua Viewer. Phoenix will also vanish to be replaced by Firestorm. Kirsten’s S20 will become unusable and S21 will be it’s replacement, if it isn’t alreay.  Dolphin is changing to Dolphin II, and most other viewers are adopting the series 2 code base and changing.

Soon the Lab will require the SL 1.23 and other series 1 users to upgrade to an SL Viewer 2 or TPV series 2 viewer. At some point the SL 1.23 viewer is going to be blocked. A couple of times in previous articles I’ve pointed out this day is coming. It isn’t like this is a surprise.

Those of us that have seen the mesh areas of the ADITI preview grid have seen all the cool stuff people are building. None of it can be seen by those using series 1 viewers. We have new clothes, hair, buildings, bodies, and THINGS coming. None of them will fit in the series 1 viewer window. The world in SL will be a very broken place for series one users.

It is time to change viewers, if you haven’t already. Get one and start using it. Even if you don’t use it as your primary viewer, use it some.


Some may think these changes are only for the SL grid. These changes will impact the OpenSim grids to, some grids sooner and some later. The OpenSim grids are an odd mix of being ahead and behind the SL grid. So, some of these changes are going to be painful for those of us on OpenSim grids.

Which New Viewer to Use

There is no easy answer to this question. I use a number of viewers. My friends in SL are probably rolling their eyes when they hear my often said, ‘Give me a minute. I can’t find that in this viewer…’ I’ve given up playing my favorite RP/Combat games because I am so hopelessly lost in the controls. And I won’t even go into the mass of changes happening to combat meters.

I like all the viewers. My favorite changes from version to version. Some have draw backs and others have unique abilities. Some are faster. Some crash more and some less. The TPV Directory tries to give one an idea of the most stable viewer. But, there is a trade off in that list. The viewers, like Dolphin, that provide more privacy for the user by providing optional crash reporting don’t place in the list.

I know which viewers I like. Most seem smooth and trouble free. But, none of the series 2 viewers are complete. Not the SL Viewer, it’s development or project cousins, or the TPV’s. The Lab is developing new features faster than the TPV Teams can integrate them into the TPV’s. For instance the current preview version of Firestorm is based on SL 2.4 code. The next will be based on 2.6 code. The Lab is on 2.6.9 and about to move 2.7. Great features in the TPV’s are not being integrated into the SL Viewers simply because the Lab’s teams don’t have time. No one is keeping up with everything. There is no such thing as a complete viewer. Everything is in a state of rapid development.

So which viewer? The answer depends on what you use the viewer for. For new residents the SL Viewer received at signup is probably the best. I say that because that is the viewer SL Support is supporting. In the forum new residents seldom ask for help and tell us which viewer or even operating system they are using. The answers pre-suppose they are using an SL Viewer 2 in Advanced Mode.

If you are a builder, all features you want are simply not in any series 2 viewer. Don’t let that stop you. Imprudence and Phoenix are probably the absolute best viewers for builders, but they are series 1 viewers. The features from those viewers are being ported to Kokua and Firestorm. They haven’t made it into to the new versions yet, but they will. To maintain you building edge I suggest you start playing in the descendant of your current favorite. You’ll have to do your work in your current series 1 favorite. But, I’m encouraging you to get ahead of the game and become familiar with the series 2 version.

If you are an explorer or shopper, the SL Viewers are probably best. The features power shoppers want are not in any of the series 2 viewers. So, for now, you’ll just be learning the series 2 interface.

If you are a combat gamer, you are going to be hating life. I think your hope is in Firestorm.

If you are into role play, the few features you need are in most of the new series 2 viewers, except the SL Viewer 2 and even it is ok for rp. I think spell check and automatic OOC quoting are important for rp. If you have features you think are important for rp, post them in comments, thx.

Photographers and machinamists have likely already changed over to Kirsten’s S21. The viewer is targeted at getting the best possible render of the world. It has a FILM item in the menu just for photographers and machinamists.

For the horny peeps looking for the best lay… Try the SL Viewer 2 as it is probably going to give you the best idea of how the new User Interfaces in ALL the viewers work. Clumsy is not sexy. For the BDSM crowd… I’ve got no good recommendation. The Restrained Love Viewer (RLV) Add-ons are having problems in most series 2 viewers or so I hear. The add-ons mostly work in TPV series 2. The SL Viewer 2 doesn’t have RLV features, so it is out. If you peeps have recommendations, post them in comments. I’m sure others will want to know.

OpenSim users will probably find the Kokua Viewer their best hope.


There is nothing forcing residents to change viewers today. Starting the change early is going to save you lots of pain later. Expect to hear the whiners cries of anguish soon. Avoid being in that group.

19 thoughts on “The SL World is About to Change

  1. The good news is that you can generally eventually find most things in the 2.0 viewers. Yes they are a little different (some would say a lot) but you get used to it. I have been using the SL 2.0 development viewer for the last few months and I’ve gotten used to it just fine. I’ve now switched to the mesh project viewer.

    So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised given all the screaming from certain sections of the population.

  2. I have a question though Nalates:

    I’ve heard from you and also Tateru Nino that mesh will be coming. I can’t find any official comment on this. Care to post a link?

    • You won’t find a single link. There are a number of forum posts by the Lindens on mesh. There are whole sections of the SL Wiki devoted to mesh. You are looking for something that is so ubiquitous people don’t link to it. It also changes quickly.

      You can dig back through TECHNOLOGY to find the original Linden announcement.

      If you are going to look for where the Lindens announced they would tell us a schedule by the end of the month, there may not be such a post. Tateru and others that have been around awhile are connected. News comes in from various sources and sometimes it is given on the condition of anonymity. I know I don’t reveal those people’s names and I’m sure Tateru doesn’t either. So, to some extent experience teaches people who they can trust.

  3. Just to be clear, any blocking of SL 1.23 and other series 1 third party viewers will not directly affect OpenSim logins since people can continue to use those viewers with OpenSim. As long as series 1 viewers remain popular, OpenSim will continue to be compatible with them since it’s driven by the code that people contribute.

    Even after viewer 1 has long since faded away, any bugs that occurwould probably be because no code contributors are interested in keeping it working. There won’t be any move to deliberately remove viewer 1 compatibility since OpenSim development simply doesn’t work that way.

    As for viewer 2, OpenSim support is currently immature (as you can see from 0.7.1 release notes). This will improve over time.

    Justin Clark-Casey (justincc)
    OpenSimulator core developer

  4. Just today, we published a post on our site – one of the interesting things we found is that while we could still use the 1.23 viewers in OpenSim (we used Imprudence most often), those viewers could not see mesh objects or media on prims, which are now supported in the 0.7.1 release of OpenSim. Interestingly, we found the latest release of Kirsten’s Viewer to be the best for seeing mesh and media on a prim. It was quite interesting to observe how differently the various viewers behaved, even on different operating systems.

  5. I just see that in the Dolphin Viewer 2 2.5.6 (15005) there is RLV .. you can activate it in Preferences Dolphin viewer tab miscelaneous.

  6. Pingback: De SL World is aan het veranderen « Krovac's Second Life Blog

  7. Pingback: Kirsten's plea to V1.23 users - Page 16 - SLUniverse Forums

  8. If they block 1.x viewers before they fix the remaining major problems in 2.x, I don’t know if I’ll stay in SL. I tried 2.x, and found myself making excuses NOT to log in to SL. That’s a bad sign.

  9. I’m -reaaaaallly- not thrilled at the switch in focus from making content in-world to making content out-world. I think that stinks and it’s going to be one of many nails in SL’s coffin.

    You’re not logging in to shop [because you’re going to the marketplace], you’re not logging in to create content [because you’re making mesh toys in maya or WTF-ever] and you’re not logging in to meet and communicate people [because you’re joining the lindens on talking on facebook or you’re chatting through profiles; so what reason IS THERE to log in again?

    At the risk of tooting my own horn -I really need to twitter that to SL.

    But on a personal level, I’m already very annoyed at having to use a different viewer on osgrid because neither pheonix nor singularity will play nice there so I probably won’t switch to a v2 viewer until one comes out that -reliably- works for me on osgrid. In fact I’ll probably switch to coolviewer on both grids [SL and OSG] since I just tried and liked it…

    • Where content is created only effects a percentage of residents. A huge percentage of SL content is created off line now. Clothes, sculpties, textures, sound, and animations are already created off-line. Mesh content opens up possibilities and I don’t see it creating any new emphasis on off-line creation. Without mesh and professional modelers SL would have a very limited life time. I don’t see off-line mesh modeling as a nail but a life line. Blue Mars may have been the straw that pushed LL to move now. But, to have any competitive chance with other virtual world systems LL had to adopt mesh sooner or later.

      Mesh is so rich in creative freedom I doubt we will ever have and in-world creation tool.

  10. Sure growth is change too..
    Growth just sounds much eeeh nicer!
    The word change is often used to stir up things i guess..

    If it will grow into something you like more than the dreams you have for it now is the question 😉

  11. Use Case Diagram: 3D Virtual World Configuration Mix

  12. The best thing would be to get the creative process back into the grid by having some kind of remote control to something like blender with the results automatically appearing inworld temporarily, kind of like the local bitmap thing that the phoenix viewer has. Then it could be saved locally and the finished product uploaded in the usual way to preserve the fee structure in sl and other grids. In fact it could be a completely local process as far as the actual building processing is concerned, like realextends tundra system so it does not load the servers but with it connected in the background too so you are still in the grid environment. It would be fantastic to be able to build mesh around inworld objects like avatars and do things like drape blender cloth objects on the actual avatar or use the lights in the sl scene to bake shadows even if no one else could see it until the finished product is uploaded.

    I know it probably is not practical but it is closer to the original vision of the grid as being something like the snowcrash story and things like that rather than a static videogame with all content created externally, and it would breathe more life into the environment than the external creation does. Being in blender or gimp most of the time with logging in for short times to test things is a cold mechanical way of doing it that drains creativity instead of fostering it and isolates the builder from their customers and the sense of community that sl has, not to mention the immersive wonder that inspires the builder to create the items in the first place.

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