Singularity Viewer Review Status

Shows Idle Time

Knowing what is going on with some viewers is difficult. Avoiding confusion as to who is doing what on which viewer and how any one viewer is coming along is difficult. It’s confusing for me. If you see mistakes, speak up.

I’ve been meaning to take a look at the Singularity Viewer for some time. I’ve used it before. But, I tend to ignore V1 viewers. Sorry, just personal preference.

You can find information on the Singularity Viewer on their blog here: Singularity Viewer.

The current version is 1.5.10. The viewer is still based on the Snowglobe 1.5 code. Mesh is being added. Download Singularity Viewer.

Siana Gears wrote this in SLUniverse Sept. 15:

Frankly, i am a bit dead and curing a bit of burn-out at the moment. I haven’t seriously touched viewer code in one and a half months nor logged into SL, but i do answer e-mails and monitor issue tracker still.

Astra 1.5.10/1.6.0 is actually based upon mesh development branch of Singularity, so yeah, this is as far as we got with mesh and render code. I haven’t looked thorougly whether the viewer is TPV-compliant – i suspect it is, while older Astra (it has a different numbering scheme – either 0.1 or 1.4 iirc) certainly isn’t. New Astra isn’t related technically to old Meerkat/Astra.

I believe Astra viewer will stay special purpose and will not strive for TPVD acceptance, but we’ll be cooperating with them to make sure you don’t miss the goodies.

Astra… Frontier Viewer?

Part of the confusion I run into is that development of various viewers have no clear dividing lines nor do programmers stay will a single project. As hobbyists rather than employees they are free to go over and work on or help with other projects. Some use code from and/or give code to other projects. Some projects are branches of other projects.

Inara Pey wrote a review of Frontier Viewer. It seems the idea is Frontier is the mesh enabled version of Singularity. I guess we can say it is a branch coming off the Singularity trunk, which came off the Ascent Viewer trunk, which…

Sohawtsl wrote a review of the Astra viewer the first of this month. See Astra Viewer…. The viewer is mesh capable. The review is short.

Astra Viewer is some part of the Aurora Sim project, as best I can tell.

Download & Install

The Singularity 1.5.10_2 download is about 27mb and proceeds quickly on my COX connection.

The download page warns that the install needs to go in its own folder or the previous install must be uninstalled. I found uninstalling the previous version removes the settings and program files. It leaves the cache files behind. (C:\Users\[windows_login_ID]\AppData\Local\SingularityViewer) It also leaves the logs behind, chat and crash.

The install creates its own cache folder. Settings and logs are placed in the SL default in Roaming. (C:\Users\[windows_login_ID]\AppData\Roaming\Secondlife\user_settings\settings_singularity.xml)

Experience

I go through the settings of new installs to get things the way I want them. That process often reveals interesting things about the viewer.

This version uses the large cache found in SLV3. It also has Proxy SOCKS 5 support.

Graphics

The some settings in graphics use labels different than the standard SLV3. That will make adoption by new SL users harder. I’m not finding Ambient Occlusion or anything that I would consider similar. Deferred Shading and Deferred Shadows are available.

There is no setting in graphics for Enhanced Avatar Physics (EAP) level. The SLV3 viewers have a setting to change the time spent rendering EAP.

Anisotropic Filtering, Anti-aliasing, streamed VBO, and OpenGL Frame Buffer are all disabled by default. If you want to understand these settings see: Graphics Tweaking for Second Life.

Chat

By default chat is set to use the full width of the screen. Changing that requires a restart. The defaults are different in chat than what I like, which is why I go through the settings. They may match your preferences.

Translation is powered by Google. That lasts until December this year. Starting in December, Google’s translation will be a pay-for service.

Voice chat is off by default.

There are handy buttons and an RP mode in the IM chat dialog.

Advanced Chat

Another tab in this viewer has advanced chat settings.

For those of us recording chat logs at meetings there is a handy ‘Do not echo/log notifications in chat.’ That saves lots of clean up if you need to post a chat log.

There are 3 tabs in the panel. One of them is SPAM. There are spam blockers. You can eliminate spam in night clubs.

The third tab is Text Options. The spell checker is here. Keyword highlighting is here.

Skins

Two skins are provided; the default and Dark.

Grids

A grid manager is included. Only the main and beta grids of Second Life are included. But, it is not hard to come up with the needed information for other grids. For most grids one just needs the login URL to retrieve automatically retrieve the rest of the information.

System

This panel has 4 tabs; General, Command Line, Security, and Building.

One setting is Power User Functionality. These are function that will allow you to do bad things, mostly to your belongings and self.

One can enable the Ascent Inventory System, which I don’t know about.

This is where the Speed-Rez feature is located. When the feature is built into the viewer the Speed-Rez improves rez time without throwing more load on the server, read as less lag.

Command Line

This is the feature that allows one to type commands in chat and have them executed. For instance to change draw distance one can type dd 64. That will change the draw distance to 64 meters. Check out the commands. Handy stuff there.

Security

Features in this panel have to do with Point At Beam, which is disabled by default. Showing others Look At markers and other stuff is here.

Building

There are settings here for your default building preferences.

Vanity

There are 3 tans on this panel; General, Tags/Clouds, and Body Dynamics.

This is where you can turn off teleport screens. That allows you to keep chatting while in TP.

Tags/Clouds

The settings allow you to control how you see name tags. You can set by class, friends, Lindens, etc. You can also change the viewer ID shown to others.

Body Dynamics

The viewer seems to support SLV3 breast bounce. Belly and butt bounce are not included, which I’ve found almost no use for unless wearing only a swimsuit.

Login

The viewer remembers and deals with multiple users. The option is present to remember or not the user and remember or not the password for that user.

There is a user agreement you must accept to use the viewer and log into SL.

Experience

At 1024×768 window I get 22-25 FPS in moderately complex regions. In my cottage I get around 35 to 55 FPS. In Celtic Myst I was getting 32 to 45 FPS while things rez.  In Dance Island with 40 avatars I was getting 15 FPS w/music and spam, which is pretty good. Time Dilation was in the 0.8’s and Physcisa FPS in the 30 to 44 range.

The trip to Dance Island shows the Speed-Rez is working. Nearby stuff is rez’d first.

Media Filtering is available in this viewer. It uses the annoying popup in the middle of the screen that freezes everything until you deal with it. It can be disabled. I can’t find where the settings are for the filter. I have to be looking right at them and missing it.

Two things I ran into that I really miss is web profiles and favorite LM’s. Singularity doesn’t use them. Favorite SLURL’s or LM’s on viewer launch is part of favorites. I didn’t realize how much I’m using both of these. A bookmark in your browser solves the web profile one.

One interesting feature is the idle time shows up in the name tags.

An odd bug that came up some time ago has to do with those wearing mesh phasing in and out every few frames. Their avatar seems to jump around.

Summing Up

The viewer is fast. It does not yet support mesh rendering. It has great features and a V1 User Interface.

Discussing SLV3 issues in Open Development after Oz was called away I found out how fast the viewer is. In comparisons with people there Singularity is using a sixth the time SLV3 does doing several things.

I got to use the viewer for about 3 hours. No problems.

V1 Viewers Dying?

There is a huge amount of miss information circulating about the death of V1 viewers. The best explanation of the situation I’ve seen recently is: How SL Changes Affect V1 Viewers and Singularity Viewer (OK… I tweaked the title to give the article better placement. – I hope.) The article is well written, accurate, and clear.

All that said, while V1 viewers that remain in production will continue to work, they will fall behind the main stream viewers. I think it is a losing battle. But, tenacious programmers could well prove me wrong.

Dance Island

On an aside: There are now donation requests appearing in the Dance Island region. Seems they need funds to stay open. I thought market shops’ rent funded Dance Island. Plus there is advertising in the club. But, I guess not. I’ve always tipped the DJ’s, if I was there to dance. If I’m just there to test a viewer, I don’t. May be I better tip DI when I come by to test a viewer.

It is a great place to shop. There is some lag. The club and the shops are in the same region. For club wear it is a great place and the lag really isn’t that bad.

There is a big Fantasy Trance Party at Dance Island the 29th. It is an all day party. Dress as an elf, dragon or other fantasy character. The place is already decorated for the party and has a definite fantasy feel. That should be a fun time to get your weird on.

 

7 thoughts on “Singularity Viewer Review Status

  1. I agree with your assessment of the efforts that go into trying to keep V1 viewers relevant and up to date. For the vast majority of users, V2/3 are the way forward, and I think most of us would far rather that most TPVs spend their time improving or fixing the viewer in those areas where LL lets us down.

    That said, I do like the idea that a few TPVs will maintain the V1 base for a little while yet for the benefit of those whose computers just can’t handle or play well with V2/3. If V1 can gain a stable implementation of Mesh that at least allows it to be displayed, then that alone gives V1 quite a bit of breathing room. V1 doesn’t actually have to implement every new feature to be useful, it only needs to provide a reasonably usable experience.

  2. The assumption that it will keep getting harder to keep SL V1 viewers up to date with Second Life changes doesn’t apply to Singularity, and doesn’t apply to a particularly high degree to Cool VL and Phoenix either.

    We have lead the way – or rather, primarily Shyotl on our team did – refactoring Singularity source code to match V2’s code structure. Refactoring is a common name for such modifications, which change structure of code but not its functionality. The process is not yet complete, but it’s close to being. This allows us to pull direct comparisons between our code and V2 codebase, such that we should be able to back-port any V2/V3 feature rather rapidly. Since march, we have continuously favored getting our general code structure more in line with current Linden viewers as opposed to doing quick-and-dirty feature backports, this is why many vital features aren’t there yet – but day doesn’t pass without them getting closer to completion. The only thing holding us back is the small size of our team and lack of developer time. I could name a few ways how our users could remedy this if they wanted to, and i will come forward with those when this appears promising to me, as our user numbers grow to reach a certain point.

    Henri from CoolVL has made a similar effort, even if not quite as far-going, and this has been ported over to Phoenix by Ansariel. Of course, with the huge effort put into Firestorm, Phoenix team is more interested to get Firestorm into a user-friendly state and let Phoenix die. One of their team members also attacked me personally, fully unprovoked, for keeping my viewer going, and it makes sense that they try to convince everyone that V1 UI viewers are not a good long term solution. I’m sure some other developers out there know that there is little substance to this claim.

    • Thanks for a clear explanation.

      I wish all the developers the best and try to be equitable when describing a viewer. Refactoring to create compatibility and retain the V1 user interface seems like a lot of work to end up in the same place as V2 and 3. Plus, the new FUI is likely to become popular. It is too soon to tell. If that happens then there is no, or little, use for the V1 interface. With user turnover rates at 2 yrs the majority of V1 users will have left SL in the next 3 to 4 years. Time will tell.

      I think the effort could have been spent on more productive things. However, much of the work on V1 viewers is done because that is what the developer wants to do. My views and ideas of what is productive don’t really matter when one works on the projects they like or believe in. I’m really just an end user that is happy the developers are making viewers. I continue my search for the PERFECT viewer. 🙂

      In many ways it is like looking for the perfect chocolate or ice cream. I may have my best favorite. I will also try all the new flavors in a continuing search for the perfect one…

  3. Singularity viewer is there a way to have it so it can correct you when you spell something wrong in eng? as firestorm has , ty

    • I seldom use Singularity because I prefer the V2/3 UI. So, I’m not the one to ask. Try Singularity’s in-world chat.

Leave a Reply to josh carter Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.