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.
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.