Kirsten Viewer Update

Today Lee posted on the Kirsten Viewer blog. The post is an update on the current effort to get Lee funding so that he can afford to work on the viewer and support Dawny. He discusses the goals for and results of the funding.

Funding

Lee is looking for funding to reach the point it can cover a year of development. For one with obligations that is understandable. Basically he is saying, hire me for a year or I need to get a job that will. That covers his comfort zone.

The funding is being handled through CrowdFunder™. That makes it easy and safe to contribute. I also keeps things transparent.

Finding Goal

The goal is £25,000 or about US$40,000. I think that is pretty good deal for the viewer’s users.

Results

The users of the viewer are of course curious as to what they will get for their money.

First, if the funding goals are not met, all the funds will be returned to the contributors. So, there is a sort of money back guarantee the project will move forward. It is an all or nothing deal.

Depending on how much one contributes what they get changes… There are contributor levels, 5 apparently. From £20 ($30) to £50 ($80) one is eligible for access to special sections of the Kirsten Viewer web site and earlier release copies of the viewer.

From £50 ($80) to £100 ($160) one adds to previous benefits some say in I which features are added and with what priorities. Take it as a voting right.

From £100 ($160) to £1,000 ($1,600) you get to have a 30 minute one-on-one meeting with the developer, I suppose that means Lee.

From £1,000 ($1,600) to £2,000 ($3,200) your say increases to having a say in which features can be voted on. I take this as another level of voting, sort of like primary elections.

From £2,000 ($3,200) and up the top 10 contributors add to all the previous levels’ privileges the right to have one of the 10 splash screens be theirs. If I understand this, it is a type of promotional advertising you can use for your business or service or just to brag.

I think that is a rather creative rewards system.

Immediate Result

As soon as funding goals are met a release of a preliminary S22 version will be released. I think it would mostly be some bug fixes and an update to the current level of Linden code. From there work would proceed.

Exceeding Goal

If we can exceed the goal, the additional funds can be used to purchase KDU and other proprietary third party software that the Lab uses. It may even allow Lee to license Havok and create a duplicate of the Lab’s Collada uploader. That will make the Kirsten Viewer even more compatible with Second Life and possibly make it the most compatible third party viewer available.

Motivation

We have several free viewers in SL… There are a few SL viewers that are special use that are purchase only. So, with free viewers why would one want to pay for a viewer?

In the case of Kirsten’s Viewer it is because it is and has been planned to provide the best render image possible with today’s technology.  It has already earned the reputation of being the photographers’ and machinimaists’ favorite viewer. No other viewer is focused on render quality and imaging features. I personally think it has the best features for photography of any viewer. I’m mostly ignorant in the area of machinima. But, I can see the machinima tools in the menus and I think would be handy.

Lee states he intends to make the Kirsten Viewer the most advanced render engine available for Second Life and Open Sim.

Other Viewers

Other viewers are setting different goals. Phoenix/Firestorm is a feature and user interface oriented project that I think targets the power user and combat players. Exodus is a viewer that primarily targets combat players. Most developers are oriented toward features and user interface.

Most of third party viewer (TPV) developers rely on the Lab’s graphics programmers to handle development of the render pipeline. So, TPV’s tend to use the exact same render pipeline as the SL Viewer. Lee develops unique code for the Kirsten render pipeline and post processing features in the viewer. This is a significant difference between the Kirsten Viewer third party developers.

User Interface

One of the ideas in Lee’s mind is a radical change to the user interface for the Kirsten Viewer. We have recently started to hear rumors from the Lab that a new user interface (UI) is on the way. SL Viewer 4? Remember SLV2 when it first cane out? It has taken some time to make that UI usable. While most TPV Dev’s are working to carry forward a V1 user interface. The Lab is looking for ways to make the UI easier for new users to use. So, a user interface change is certain.

It looks like TPV Dev’s are working to get their features integrated into the SLV2/3 UI. They are facing challenge just keeping up with the UI chanes the Lab is making. I haven’t seen any impressive UI innovations that shift the learning paradigm.

The Lab has their need to retain players in mind and their ideas on how to do that. I can just about grantee you that the Lab will dumb it down to reduce the learning curve. That may be a very good thing. But, power users will want something else. Form what I see a Kirsten’s interface may be the only innovative UI that has power users in mind.

Summing It Up

This viewer project and the Mesh Deformer Project are both being funded by SL residents to improve Second Life. I think both are worthwhile and deserve funding. I see no way to get Kirsten Viewer features without Lee. Funding the Kirsten Viewer Project gets us a high quality render engine and possibly an innovative user interface. Plus as Hamlet emphasizes at New World Notes Lee points out it puts much of the control over the viewer in residents’ hands.

Kirsten Donator

If you want to help, visit the CrowdFunder site for Kirsten Viewer Funding and kick in some cash. How much is good? Whatever you can.

I suspect there are 1,500 to 2,000 Kirsten Viewer users. I know more copies have been downloaded. That was when S21(9) was the only viewer other than SLV2/3 that could upload Collada models. If there are only 2,000 users, we each need to contribute US$20. If 1,500 is a closer number then we need to kick in US$27.

You can also help by letting people know about the fund raising. If you have space for it, I have a MOAP object (image) with a working fund raiser button. Send me a message via my feed or Send Message in my profile (it won’t cap) and I’ll give you a copy.

Or you can build your own. Use this URL for the home page: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/investment-widget/the-kirsten-s-viewer-project-480 (You can verify the URL at the Kirsten CrowdFunder Page. Look for the embed code. The is that code striped down to the URL.)

If you need help getting this page working on a prim see: Second Life MOAP Tutorial. It is a little old and the crash warning are definitely out of date. But, what you need to know and how to do it is there. 

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