Dolphin Viewer 3.2.0-22166 Review

A new Dolphin Viewer version has made it out. I see it has a new build tool, Particle Editor, which is way nice.

Dolphin Viewer 3.2.0 Download

Dolphin Viewer Buttons Tool

Download and Install

The file size is about 26mb, on the small side for an SL viewer.

The install process is more like the SL Viewer install now, opening multiple little windows as it installs. These are indicators that files are being copied from a network location. Just like the SL Viewer these windows stall with 0 seconds remaining. One can leave them open for as long as they like. They’ll sit right there on your screen.

A check of the network status (Performance Monitor) shows nothing is downloading from the net. Nor is the CPU spending much time on the install program.  Nor can I see that there is any disk activity related to the install.

As with the SL install, canceling the ‘file copy’ once they reach 0 seconds remaining seems to work and the install works. However, it can be hard to cancel the process. You may have to resort to the Task Manager to kill the process.

In Vista this file copy hang is a known problem. Microsoft has a fix:  KB931770. If you have been using automatic updates, it should already be installed. If you missed getting the install, you are somewhat out of luck as Microsoft says they stopped supporting Vista in July of 2011. You may have to dig up the patch from a third party source.

Updates and Experience

The Dolphin Viewer site has release notes and describes the changes in this version. The code base has been upgraded to 3.2. It seems to have the performance limitations common in the SL Viewer, its slow on my hardware.

I’ve moved out of my little cottage. My new house is at ground level and much more laggy. The SL Viewers average about 10 FPS here and so does the Dolphin Viewer 3.

There are some new features. There are some notable omissions too. The largest is mesh upload support. Lance tried out the current open source uploader and was not happy with it. So, we may not see an uploader until he finds one that works to his standards.

Lance is working on a Flickr uploader. It may be some time before RL time limits let him get it finished.

Particle Editor

I had not realized Firestorm has a particle editor in the build tools. Now Dolphin Viewer has the editor too. You find it in the top menu: Build -> Objects -> Edit Particles. To use it you first need to open the Build Dialog/Editor and select an object. Otherwise the feature is grayed out.

The Particle Editor

When you open the Particle Editor it opens in a window separate from the Build Panel/Editor. It is a busy panel with lots of options. Particles have loads of settings and it seems they are all accessible via the Particle Editor.

If you have an object selected, the existing particle settings are NOT loaded. It always uses a standard default setting. If the object is already emitting particles then you see the particles the object is emitting plus the default particles the editor creates, which can get confusing. I don’t see a Particle Clear function. I had to take all the settings to zero to turn off particles.

When changing particle settings in the editor the changes immediately display. With each change the particles react. So, you can see the effect of your editing. Nice.

When you have the particles the way you want them, you have a choice to copy the settings and paste them into a script or ‘Inject’ them into the object/prim. If you Inject them, they become part of the objects attributes.

I think there needs to be a button in the build panel that opens the Particle Editor. I also think there should be a Clear Particles button in the editor. And it would be nice if it loaded the particle settings from an existing particle emitter, so one could edit them.

I think this is a marvelous addition to the build tools. Amazingly it’s not a feature request in the SL JIRA. So, for the foreseeable future this will be a TPV feature.

User Interface

The Dolphin Viewer 3 (DV3) is using the new FUI, Flexible User Interface. One of the additions to the UI in DV3 is an Animation Override (AO) button to access the built-in AO.

There are two AO buttons; a simple on/off and an AO Setup. I’m not sure if they are on screen by default because I installed over the top of my last install. I’ve customized my buttons. This install remembered my setup, so I don’t see the default settings.

The interface is pretty much V3 style.

6 thoughts on “Dolphin Viewer 3.2.0-22166 Review

  1. Firestorm does not *yet* have the particle editor. Support says “soon(ish)”. I sent them the link to this article so they remember to put in a clear button 🙂

  2. The Particle Editor is original code by Zi Ree (Firestorm). It hasn’t yet been released yet, it’s currently set for our 3.3 release which should come out “any time now”.

    Firestorm does have an honor system agreement with most major TPVs, where we agree not to take each others original prerelease work and release it in another viewer before the team that originally developed it has a chance to release it This level of politeness helps insures that the original authors get proper credits and allows teams to share their in-progress work more openly. We hope that Dolphin and other viewers projects will cooperate to encourage open, original work.

    • I appreciate your post Arrehn. My previous comment is in response to Ansariel’s, which I then decided to set back to pending approval. I made the mistake of approving it before I thought it through, which splashed it into the RSS readers.

      The Firestorm team has many commendable traits. However, I think the honor system agreement is going to breed drama and problems for the entire community. I recommend discontinuing it. If you want to control release, control release. Otherwise, please do not build in a drama producing honor system you know will be violated.

      • Overall the honor system has worked out very well for us and has been well received and reciprocated by major viewer teams such as Imprudence/Kokua, Catznip, Singularity, and others. In general we haven’t had many problems.. The last incident was almost a year ago when one viewer took pie menu code directly from our development repository, committed it to their viewer, and didn’t mention where it came from before our own release went out publicly. This lead to a humorous situation where our team was accused of ‘ripping off’ our own code.

        The events with the in-viewer particle editor really appears to be an honest mistake or unawareness of the gentlemen’s agreement and seems easily addressed.

        One thing that journalists like yourself can do to help the viewer development community is ask questions about where features came from, and do some due dillgence into discovering who the authors are. Doing this kind of thing prevents of a lot of confusion, and encourages more and more people to get involved in original viewer development, knowing that their efforts will be recognized. Many of us will be happy to help source the origin of any particular piece of viewer code.

        Keep up the good work!

        • I appreciate the kind words.

          You however seem to make my point. That a minor problem came up with the pie menu, you got accused of stealing your own code, and now Zen and the Particle Editor supports my view that an honor system breeds drama. We saw some start with Milkshake and that viewer got withdrawn. I can probably dig up mode cases.

          That attribution issues have not gotten out of hand is because people are working to avoid that. I removed what I decided was a snide sounding post and sent Jessica a NC asking her opinion. I think it is just a matter of time until the problems get more serious.

          As to wanting bloggers to do due diligence, I might consider running down attribution if ALL the viewer developers made it reasonably easy to to do. Taking time to read repo commit comments is not something I’m willing to do. Nor do I want to see developers spending time writing more release notes than code.

          Due diligence is about what is a common practice in a field. I read lots of software reviews. I don’t see attribution in most of those articles. So, running attributions to ground is not something I consider due diligence for a viewer review. Thinking it is will just create more room for bickering and drama because there is no way for reviewers to check every repo and determine who wrote what first with any certainty. So, there will be lots of mistakes for people to get all bent over. So, your idea of due diligence opens another door to more drama and seems to be a straw-man argument. I’m not going to take that path.

          I think the honor system makes more work and opportunity for drama than it is worth. You are free to abide by it. You are free to encourage others to abide by it. I will continue to think is slows the release of features to users and breeds drama and hard feelings. Also, most of the users of the viewers couldn’t care less. That’s human nature and you seem to want to swim up stream in that river.

          I like to give proper attribution. But, it is mostly an issue of importance to those writing code. So, I see it as an issue that is up to the code writers to resolve. I don’t mind people posting attribution or correcting my mistakes. I do mind when such posts are worded in a way to try to force compliance with arbitrary ideas, kill the ideas of freedom, or imply wrong doing. Those things can be handled on the writer’s own blog. I don’t have to put up with them.

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