KirstenLee Viewer S21(8) RC2 Release Review

KirstenLee Viewer Install

This morning I see KirstenLee has a new release candidate out. This one is based on Linden Lab 2.7.3 code. So, this viewer is on the very edge of the latest viewer code. The full version number is 2.7.3.8. The viewer remains Anaglyph 3D capable and it now works with my 8800 GTS card. My first impressions review follows.

Download and Install

One of the KLV users with an nVidia 460 card on driver 275.33 is experiencing crash on start. So, it is a good idea to keep your previous RC1 install package. I’m on an nVidia 8800 with driver 270.61 (per Windows driver ID 8.17.12.7061). Watching Group chat I see others are having crash problems. The crashing seems to depend on the nVidia driver version. Some have gone back to version 266.38 and say they get 3x better FPS. This very much looks to be an nVidia and OpenGL issue.

Word is the 266 and 270 nVidia drivers work well. The 275 version are presenting problems. But, that is highly dependent on which video card you are using. Some Windows XP users are using 275 version and having no problem. New SLI systems are getting ‘massive’ performance gains with the newer drivers.

AMD users are running into render problems. If you get render stutter, disable OpenGL Vertex Buffer.

The download is about 32mb. You may notice on the install screen that it says Install Size is 122mb. Installing over the previous viewer, most of which is removed by the install program, gives me a folder with a disk size of 214mb.

This is the typical KirstenLee Viewer install process. The previous version is removed. The cache is cleared. The settings and chat logs are retained. I’m not sure but I think some settings are reverted to default values. The install does change my graphics settings to ‘those appropriate to my video card’.

Release Notes – Changes

Some of the changes are:

This viewer has the latest Mesh code from SLV 2.7.3. I am unclear on whether this includes the new Mesh Format the Lab is testing in a few ADITI regions this week. See Second Life Mesh Update Week 23 for more details on that aspect of mesh. I’ll have to go try it out and see, so more later.

One of the SLV 2.7 changes is a larger cache. The cache can now use up to 10gb of disk space. These are changes to the VFS (Virtual File System) you see initializing when you launch the KV. The larger cache should improve performance and reduce bandwidth use. However, I think all the downloaded files remain the compressed versions. So, each time you rez the texture the viewer has to decode the file. I suppose that is part of the Lab’s effort to protect IP Rights. I don’t know if connection rights to the grid require Third Party Viewers (TPV) to avoid decompressing and caching decompressed versions or not. Seems like that would speed things up, I’ll have to ask someone.

There are some new User Interface (UI) textures and buttons. I can’t say I have noticed. But, I see several UI’s and I’m somewhat desensitized to subtle changes. There are more tones in the UI and new highlights according to Kirsten. I can’t say I see the specific changes but, this version has a crisper look.

A new Water Windlight Settings button has been added to the top menu.

New Windlight Water Settings Button

Mesh Assets Change crashing has be fixed. The Lab started out having mesh appear as a prim type with a mesh asset like a sculpty map was a sculpty asset. They ran into problems and removed the Mesh Asset and made mesh its own object/prim type. This has caused a number of TPV’s to crash.

More fixes for the Mesh Importer.

Added a feature to allow user-cloud-maps to be set in the Windlight settings.

And more ubiquitous bug fixes.

Experience

If you have not noticed, the KirstenLee Viewer has a keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet on the Splash Page. This is a version of Kippie Friedkin’s 2008 sheet modified for Kirsten’s Viewer. I wondered if there was a link to the sheet in HELP, once one was logged in. Opening Kirsten HELP presents one with a login screen. Use your login for the Kirsten Forum and you pop into IRChat for the Kirsten Viewer. So, as best I can tell there is no handy link to the cheat sheet from within the viewer, which may mean I just don’t know where it is.

Settings Changes

My graphics settings are turned down as part of the install. Lighting & Shadows, Ambient Occlusion, and dynamic Shadows are turned off. I left it that way for most of my testing.

Search

This version is using the new SL Search. I’ve written about this feature in SL Search Update. This search is better than the previous SLV2 search but I think not as good as SLV1 search. But, I can sort of find what I’m looking for now.

Build

Texture and object align are part of the build dialog. Position, Size, and Rotation triplet copy and paste is NOT included. Build Math is NOT part of the dialog.

Click Problems

I ran into some click problems. I navigate using mouse steering, I left click may avatar and drag left/right and up/down as I press W to move about. In my cottage this would activate any clickable object behind my avatar rather than steer. Once the A/D keys rotate my view so no clickable object is behind my AV then I can steer again. Annoying.

I ran into the same problem with trying to edit objects. A right click on an object in an attempt to select it often selects the object behind it.

When trying to cam in on an object or avatar has problems too. Trying to cam around a dance floor I had problems clicking on objects and avatars. I usually can’t tell what the camera fixed on. I get surprising rotations and camera jumps to bizarre camera locations.

This click thing is the only annoying problem I ran into in this version.

Clear Cache

The Lab has finally cleared up the confusion about how the RESET button in Setup works… or doesn’t. The Reset button has basically changed the location of one’s cache. If the location was to a new folder, it gave the impression it had cleared the cache. But, the old cache was left behind and continued to contain all the downloaded stuff. Now the SLV2 and KV RC2 have moved the cache controls to Me → Preferences → Advanced. We now have the RESET button relabeled Default Location and a button labeled Clear Cache. You will also see cache size can now be 64 to 9,984mb.

Cache size is a setting that is hard to recommend because several factors influence your computers performance with SL. Disk size, free space on disk, disk speed, available RAM, how you use SL, and other factors contribute to your best setting. It has always been that at some point the time needed to look through 10gb of cache is more than the time needed to delete a texture and download a new one. To eliminate that problem Texture Indexing has been added to the viewer.

Mesh is also going to change how we’re rely on the cache. Objects are cached too. I suspect this cache size increase is likely to be for mesh and Texture Indexing is needed for larger collections of textures and meshes.

While finding the optimum size for your system is an art, bigger caches are the new thing. So, start experimenting. I set my KV cache to 10gb.

Texture Indexing

With the larger caches the new Texture Indexing will provide better performance. So, even with large caches find the right texture will take less time.

3D Anaglyph

3D anaglyphic rendering is a feature in S21. In RC2 this works for me. Yay! I see about a 2 FPS decrease when I turn it on. Now I have to chase down some good anaglyphic glasses. Fry’s, Best Buy, Walmart, and other stores in my area don’t carry them. I guess an Amazon order is in my future.

KV8RC2-C_002

Kirsten 3D for Second Life

Speed

I have a new place to test viewers. My Celtic Myst in region McMasters1 and Milky Way are gone (I did find a nice Sexy Leather shop and sandboxes in those locations). The Sleek Beach Club and shopping areas are in a region named Sleek. On average there are 20 to 45 people around. The region does a good job of providing good Time Dilation, Sim and Physics FPS, Packet Loss, and ok ping but ping is about twice (150-180ms) what I see in other places (50-90ms). I’m not sure what is up with the region, but I do run a high number on Unacked Bytes. The place really slams my FPS and it quickly brings the Lab’s SLV 2.7.3 Dev to its knees, knees as in a steady decent to 2 FPS and ever increasing memory consumption .

The KLV 8 RC2 gets about 8FPS on the dance floor and it holds steady and my memory use holds steady too.

Since Celtic Myst has great mystical jewelry I tracked them down using the new search. Something which was practically impossible in the previous search feature. They are still on the grid. They have moved to Stygia South. While I can still get FPS rates in Celtic they won’t be the same for the new build, but the new place is very similar to the previous location. Once the area rez’d I was getting 20 to 22 FPS. The region was lagging a little with 12 people present. Time Dilation .82 to .95, Sim FPS 41-43, and physics 40-42. My Unacked Bytes are their typical low values usually around 0 to a few kb.

In my little cottage I get 29 to 32 FPS.

Mesh

The viewer renders mesh. I went over to ADITI test grid to see how mesh is working. Most mesh is rendering. I could not get a my mesh to upload in Sandbox 24. Then I realized the new Confirm Rights at the bottom of the dialog was not checked. I suppose this is part of the Mesh Enablement that is being introduced. See Second Life Mesh Enablement.

KV8RC2-C_001

Mesh Sandbox 20

Once I clicked UPLOAD… nothing happened. A quick look in inventory shows it empty. 🙁 It takes a bit to load on ADITI. I think inventory loads faster if you collapse all folders. Once everything loaded… I still didn’t have a mesh or an error message. I tried the Mesh Upload Wizard and got the same results.

I did a tp over to Sandbox 20, which is supposed to be running a different sever version. Viewer crash. I have no idea if this was a Time Warp crash or something from the upload fails. I logged into Sandbox 20 and that worked.

Mesh Sandbox 20 is used to test the new mesh upload pipeline. Uploading mesh in Sandbox 20 failed too. I tried a basic cube as a mesh. No luck there either. So, I went to Sandbox 23 and tried the cube with the Wizard. That worked.

So, I think the mesh format the viewer is using is the older format. Mesh City 2 uses the new mesh format too. As best I can tell all the meshes there are rendering. So, I’m not certain what is going on. I expect June to be confusing for those trying to upload mesh. There is an SL Project Viewer that uses the mesh format.

Summary

The viewer seems stable. Lots of new stuff and bug fixes makes a viewer that works well. The default skin looks good. The video driver problems will be an issue for some. I guess I may stop updating the video driver until those issues are figured out… or not. Mesh upload is confusing in this version. I suspect the KV 8 RC2 will still work on OpenSim. I have yet to try it.

 

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