Firestorm Viewer 3.2.2.24336 Review

General

The General tab has more AFK settings. There is the standard Away Time Out and it can be set to never. There is another setting now labeled: Log out after being marked away. Plus the option to mve into a sitting position when AFK.

Images to Feed - V3 Profile

Web Profiles

There is an option to use either V1 or V2 profiles. If I remember correctly the V1 profiles will eventually stop working. The new web profiles have more and more of the social networking features. These features are handy and as more come along they will be too handy to pass up.

Camera Controls

WASD Keys

How the WASD keys respond is a control on the General panel now. It appears in a couple of places within Preferences.

Chat

This tab has loads of options. So many that the panel has 6 tabs/pages to hold them all.

Font Size

Now the Chat Window and Onscreen Console have separate font size settings.

Chat Translation

Since Google is going to paid translation a new panel is needed to allow one to enter their personal API ID for translation services. The panel for that has been added. It includes places for Bing and Google API connection information.

Toasts

Controls have been added to give one easy control over the toasts, pop ups. Also chat and IM along with Group IM controls.

There are controls to disable ALL Group Chats.

Spell check is enabled by default. Right-click spelling correction works. It is in: Preferences->Chat->Text Input.

Auto-correct is included. This is a handy feature that allows one to write abbreviations that auto-correct will expand to whatever you want.

Features

This viewer is feature rich. But, it doesn’t have everything, still way more than most. One missing feature is there is no post to ‘Feed’ in the camera controls.

Inventory

Inventory stays in place while you work with it. No more scrolling to the top every few seconds.

It drives me nuts that there is Tool Tips text when cursoring over inventory items, which makes it hard to read some names.

Build Tools

Build Tools

Firestorm seems to have the most complete set of build tools available. It has; align, Build Math, X,Y,Z copy/paste (which if copying to notepad outside the viewer does and doesn’t work… you’ll see. Or I don’t understand what it is supposed to do).

Mesh Upload

This is a big feature. One can upload mesh/Collada files to SL. I tried uploading my pumpkin, that didn’t work. I tried changing some selections, but in the end the viewer crashed. I jumped to another sandbox to see if it was the region. It was. In Sandbox ABC it uploaded first try. So, it works! \o/ This is a notable accomplishment for the FS-PH Team. Congratulations!

Teleport History

It works but it seems to miss categorize/order the history. All the places I went today are showing for yesterday and places I visited yesterday are showing as today’s.

Mouse View

  • CTRL+H brings up chat history in mouselook
  • CTRL+I brings up inventory in mouselook
  • CTRL+T brings up conversations window in mouselook
  • Beacons show in mouselook

Mesh Upload

 Note Cards

Note cards now have search (Find). And the spell checker works in them.

Attachments

When editing an attachment it is now possible to edit the coordinates for the attachment point. The values are in the Position fields.

Media Filter

This is the feature that checks which site the viewer is attempting to connect to. It is still the annoying pop up in the middle of your screen whenever you cross a region or parcel boundary. I turn it off. It does add some measure of protection. I just think it is more trouble than it is worth.

Using the Viewer

I ran into some problems. Firestorm seemed much slower to rez regions. I was in Mon Tissu, a cute little dress shop with some mesh clothes, and rez time was way up, 2 or 3 minutes to lose the grey. Coming back later with the SL Dev Viewer, the region rezzed about the same speed, slow and grey. A jump over to Celtic Myst shows it is a region issue as Celtic rezzed normally.

Initially the viewer was running at 35 to 45 FPS in my cottage. That is quite a bit faster than the SL Development Viewer 3.2.2.4 that I have been using. However, the performance quickly degraded to 4 to 8 FPS and I’m only using the High graphics settings.

For a time I was seeing 6,000+ Page Faults per minute, way too many. With the SL Dev Viewer I get about 20 to 100 faults per minute. I have 4gb of ram on Vista 32, so I should not see a lot of Page Faulting. After a short time I was getting black screens in the viewer and my computer was doing mini-freezes for 10 to 30 seconds.

Alternate Viewer

I decided to download the alternate version 3.2.1.24179. Today the download is still slow, about 6 minutes and I had to download twice to get a good copy. I seldom have a download problem. I suppose there could still be a lot of people downloading the viewer.

This version is as fast as 3.2.2.4 is. And, it doesn’t slow down with time. Page Faults per minute stay in the 0 to 70 range. For my system I get 15 to 45 FPS in my cottage, while I get about 15 to 25 with the SL Dev Viewer.

After an hour of use I used the 3.2.1 version to visit Retropolis, an amazingly detailed build. The region is considered an Adventure region. There are no HUD’s or meters. Exploring is great. D’ni Refugees will love finding all the hidden stuff. But, back to the viewer.

In Retropolis, with loads of detailed textures, the viewer performed very well. No slowdowns as I moved into new areas with new textures. The viewer maintained a fairly consistent FPS rate of 20 on High with DD at 256.

After 30 minutes or so in Retropolis the viewer was doing mini slowdowns. Every once in a while I would get a white screen in the viewer. After a couple of flashes it would recover. During these periods the Page Faults spike up to 1,500 to 2,000 per minute. I tried it again later after a reboot and it ran much better. So, I suppose something I’m running has some memory leaks, FS or Chrome… closing Chrome usually speeds things up.

After Retropolis I went dancing for an hour or so. The viewer held up to all the chaos.

Summing Up

This is an impressive viewer. Those I’ve talked to that are using it like it. Now that I have the alternate version of it, I like it. It is fast and feature loaded.

9 thoughts on “Firestorm Viewer 3.2.2.24336 Review

  1. Great review. I tried out the viewer for about 20 minutes last night from a clean install and was impressed with the information displayed on the initial screen. It was easy to get up and going and things weren’t looking too bad. Then I started to move around. The movement was fast but kind of jerky, not as fluid as the Kirsten’s viewer or LL’s viewer, but I hadn’t changed anything from default yet, so maybe it wasn’t at it’s optimized settings. Walked around a bit on the Homestead sim I was on (no one else on the sim) and also noticed that some regular prims where having a heck of a time rendering. They rezzed, but their texture was messed up. Not all of them, just some. Also noticed that I couldn’t get media to play even though I seemed to give it every permission to do so.

    When I have more time, I plan to check out other options to see if I can resolve the issues I’ve seen so far. Looks promising, but wasn’t camera ready out of the box with my first use. I’ll assume operator error on my part and give it a more in depth look over in the near future.

  2. Unfortunately Firestorm still has no OTR (Of-the record messaging) support. Lets hope they backport this feature soon. Privacy is important.

  3. V1 profiles will eventually go away in SL but they will still be necessary for OpenSim grids, at least for now.

    The current 3.2.2 Firestorm build appears to have a major memory leak. I had a similar problem where it chewed up excessive amounts of RAM on my system.

    • I agree with you on the memory leak. After some time I would see Page Faults start to cascade into a runaway.

      I think we will start to see OpenSim Viewers and SL viewers. I think it is going to be too much work to maintain all the code needed for each grid.

    • I was finding that the SL viewer was eating up lots of ram too so i downloaded and installed a free program called “CleanMem”. It works fanstastic keeping my available ram free. If you’re interested you can find it at http://www.pcwintech.com/cleanmem – Give it a try.

  4. I think the Firestorm team ought to be congratulated for an outstanding job!!! It comes the closest to being the ideal viewer IMO.

    I agree with you about the V3 interface, although it’s not a biggie for me personally. I do like the new v3 interface better but have also gotten used to the v2 right panel for some windows. Having all those buttons in the bottom bar is a bit overcrowded.

    I agree that the team should move to the new v3 interface. In the meantime, I’m using the “v3″ interface where I park some of my less used buttons in the right panel.

    • The Firestorm team has done an amazing job. What they have accomplished is no small task. IM them a thanks.

  5. Pingback: Firestorm Viewer Release and OpenSim Use | =IcaruS= News

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