Phoenix Viewer Released Review

The new Phoenix version has Enhanced Avatar Physics. This wasn’t planned. It is a bug fix, as odd as that sounds. The problem is that series 1 viewers started having problems rendering avatars wearing the new SL Viewer’s Physics Layers. So, Phoenix  Viewer users would see avatars wearing the new layer as a Ruth. Oddly the SLV2 people would see Phoenix users Ruthed too.

The details of the problem are in a JIRA report: VWR-25479

While one does need to upgrade their copy of Phoenix to the latest version, one is not required to use Avatar Physics.

I gather that the Phoenix Team had pretty much moved on to Firestorm. But, suddenly the realization the Phoenix viewer was not going to correctly render the avatars of those using the future Firestorm, Kirsten, Singularity, Dolphin, or any other viewer that used Physics Layers. This was worth a fix.

Series 1 viewer are likely to continue to have this problem. They require a back port of Enhanced Avatar Physics to render avatars correctly. So, if you are a series 1 holdout, you world is likely to fill with Ruth looking avatars.

Download Phoenix Viewer 1102

Bouncing Realistically

Of course the whole point of Avatar Physics is so that women’s breasts bounce realistically. I’m sure many of us playing with the settings have discovered that one can easily create two perpetual motion machines… anything but realistic. While RL large breasts can bounce… hilariously? …amazingly… for watchers in RL, they always come to rest rather quickly when the woman stops moving. So, breasts in SL are another Not Possible in RL feature.

To help people get something more realistic, the Phoenix Team is giving away Physics Layers. See their Market Place store to put some bounce in your avatar (for free – 3 good reviews as I write this) or to get more information on making our own jiggle on the Phoenix Wiki. See: Phoenix Avatar Physics

The instructions provide a good explanation of what the Physics Layer Settings do. Cleavage and sway are not as intuitive as one would think. I consider this must read for any woman giving up training bras. 🙂

When I say NOT INTUITIVE… when was the last time any of us considered AIR RESISTANCE affecting our breasts? I doubt many of us ride a motorcycle topless at high speed. But, there is a setting for that.

In the Phoenix Viewer it is possible to turn off Avatar Physics for yourself. It stops your viewer from rendering yours and others bouncing. This can save your computer some CPU cycles and improve performance. Preferences (Ctrl-P) → Graphics → Enable Avatar Physics (lower left of panel). It is enabled as the default.

Along with enabling there is a slider. Moving the slider right makes movement more fluid and requires more computer power, slowing performance. Moving left is of course the opposite.

A related setting is: Dont send Avatar Physics to server – this allows you to see your own bounce but no one else can see you bounce. I know… big disappoint guys. This is not a standard SLV2 feature. Preferences (Ctrl-P) →Phoenix → Page 1 →Avatar.

Recommended Bounce Settings

Before you get your jiggle on, you should know that bounce and attachments don’t work well together. If you have Excite tassels or nipples, they DO NOT move with your new jiggle. Nor do skirt panels move with a bouncy butt or belts with a bouncy belly.

Shape affects bounce too. So, getting the right bounce with your custom shape requires personal settings. But you can get close with generalized recommended settings.

Phoenix Panels Order
Breast Bounce: 12 to 35, 12 to 30, 12 to 30, 44 to 60
Breast Cleavage: 2 to 30, 10 to 30, 10 to 30, 50 to 60
Breast sway: 6 to 20, 5 to 15, 10 to 35, 35 to 50
Advanced: 12 to 18, 11 to 15, 8 to 16, 12 to 18, 8 to 16, 8 to 16, 10 to 14, 10 to 14, 10 to 15

The Phoenix wiki has recommended settings for belly and butt too.

Phoenix Known Issues

You have already been warned that attachments don’t move with the new physics and probably never will, or at least not for the foreseeable future.

You cannot experiment with physics in edit mode as you can in SLV2. Your avatar is frozen while editing. The wiki gives a work-around. For now it would just be easier to edit them in SLV2. You can adjust the ‘gravity’ in real time for just the right look. Plus the VIEW button in SLV2 and some other series 2 viewers will let you switch to Front View to see how things are working as you walk.

Lag makes bounce do odd things.

Others may see you Ruthed. If you need to correct that, you need to remove the Physics Layer (it’s a clothing item) or turn on Don’t send Avatar Physics to server (see above), leave the region and return. That should update older viewers, so they see the correct shape.

Install Issues

The Phoenix Team is recommending you uninstall your current version of Phoenix before installing 1102. Even then you may have problems if you are a multiple viewer user, in which case they recommend a clean reinstall. Phoenix idea is to uninstall all viewers and start over. I consider that an absolute last resort after everything else has not worked. Phoenix Clean Reinstall

I recommend a more conservative approach. See: Second Life Clean Install

More specifically, version 1050 does not do a complete removal even when you are asked if you want to removal all Phoenix components. The cache files in LOCAL and settings files in ROAMING are not removed. You can probably avoid having to reinstall all your viewers by manually removing those files.

I removed:  C:\Users\[user_name]\AppData\Roaming\SecondLife\user_settings\settings_phoenix.xml

There is a second Phoenix file tucked away in there named: saved_logins_phoenix.xml. It shouldn’t be necessary to remove it.

In Phoenix Viewers you have control over where these files are stored. If you have changed the locations, you must look there to remove the files.

I deleted the settings file and I did my install. One now has the option to have the install program set the default handler for SLURL’s. By default this is turned on and will set your computer to use Phoenix when you click an SLURL in a browser. If you install another viewer after Phoenix, that setting will likely be over written. Always install your primary viewer last and always have the current SLV2 installed before installing other viewers. That will save you lots of problems.

An uninstall and deleting the settings worked for me.

The first problem is Phoenix still has the horribly annoying media filter. Every parcel boundary crossing you get a popup in the middle of the screen. I suppose those will be less and less over time, if you are white and black listing media sources. I suspect most people turn it off, Preferences →Audio & Visual →Media Filter.

HTTP Get Textures is off by default. That setting is a performance hit. Turn it on. Preferences → Phoenix → Page 2 → Advanced Graphics → HTTP Get Texture. I think this requires a viewer restart.

This viewer is still using Phoenix’s experimental unique Windlight settings. This system will be over ridden by the coming SL Windlight for region settings being added now. I’m not sure how those will change in the future. You have options for how the viewer handles those settings. See: . Preferences → Phoenix → Page 2 → Windlight.

Spell Check is off by default. Preferences → Phoenix → Page 2 →Spell Check.

Minor Issues

When one clicks on a Physics Layer (PL) item in inventory that is not worn, the EDIT option is highlighted, but you must wear a PL to edit it.

The PL editing is in the Appearance Dialogs, which is to be expected for a series 1 viewer. If you have gotten used to SLV2 editing, this is surprisingly awkward. One adapts quickly as it isn’t that much different.


Jessica mentions security fixes so I’m assuming the OGG sound file fix is included. Everything seems to work. For those preferring a series 1 style viewer this version 1102 is a good choice in viewers.

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