Dolphin Viewer 3.2.4.22939 Released Review

A new version of Dolphin Viewer 3 (DV3) is out. This one has a power user feature for inventory, show/hide links. I’ll get to that. The ability to change LookAt is added. There is drama there. New inventory API has been added. This is the one that sort  of breaks V1 viewers that have not been upgraded. Subsequent shift-D snapshots save in the correct file format. Plus other fixes.

Dolphin Viewer 3 Look At Beacons

Download

File size is 27mb. Download is fast.

Install seems to have changed and seemed quicker, may be multi-tasking just makes it seem that way today.

Experience

Links Explained

Links… these are great. In inventory I often have items that are no-copy. Yes, I try to buy only Copy-ok items. But, some things are just too cute to pass up. Whatever, links allow me to place ‘apparent’ copies of no-copy items in more than one folder.

The Outfits panel uses links exclusively. This is the Linden answer to making no-copy items less of a problem for new users. There are lots of usability problems with Outfits, but the link idea is a step forward.

Links are like Desktop or Launch Bar shortcuts in Windows. Clicking them is like clicking on the real file or program or whatever. Copying no-copy items doesn’t really copy the item, it makes a pointer to the original item, giving it a link that in many ways is like a URL or any web address we save as a bookmark or favorite. We don’t save the web page, just its address… a link to find it.

My Test

My inventory has about 27k items, mostly clothes. I have about 60 Outfits… and nothing to wear. So, I thought I would look to see how the new Show Links works. Well… I guess I don’t have any links. Yeah those 60 Outfits have some 15 to 35 items in each Outfit and those are links by definition. But, they don’t show up, if I select Show Links or Show Links Only.

New Links Features

In DV3 things that are in Inventory’s Appearance/Outfits folder did’t show. Things like Boy Next Door by Renegade Clothing were not there either. Bummer.

There is no Show Links in Appearance-Outfits, which would be rather redundant.

So… I figured let’s make a link in some other folder. Copying an item enables the right-click item Paste as Link. And PRESTO… nothing. I tried to copy a no-copy item. I mean that is what this is feature is for, right?

OK… try a copy-ok item. It does copy paste, but I couldn’t paste it as a link.

OMG! It’s broke, is my first thought. I should know better. It isn’t the viewer it’s SL that is broke.

I looked in SL Viewer 3.2.7 to see how it is handling the Outfit folder in inventory. I have been making folders and subfolders in Inventory->Outfit. That worked fine. I can see the contents of the subfolders and the items in the actual Outfit folders.

A few hours later when I went back to DV3 to grab another screen capture, the link thing in DV3 is working. So, it has to have been SL that was glitching.

Near the circled ‘A’ you can see the new options that are in the Gear Icon’s additional options. ‘B’ shows the Paste as Link option. You can see the arrow pointing to some of the items I pasted as ‘links’.

‘C’ shows inventory in Links Only mode. Notice inside the My Inventory folder numerous system folders are not showing, i.e., Animations, Body, etc. To the right is an image of the Lab’s 3.2.7 Inventory Panel. You can just see the Lost & Found folder showing.

Show Only Links is great for finding link things. However, if you leave it on and try to create a new folder, you’ll swear your inventory is broken. Find whatever link you are looking for then turn it back to show links. Otherwise, you will spend some frustrated time wondering why things do not work as you expect.

Show and Hide links are like radio buttons. You cannot unselect Show Links by clicking it. Check on it as much as you want it stays checked. Select Hide Links and then Show is deselected. Only one of Show, Show Only, or Hide can be selected.

There is a basic inconsistency in how SL viewers handle check marked items. I’m sure this makes it harder for new users. In some places check marks are for turning on and off options and have no affect on other options enabled/disabled setting. Here check marks act like radio buttons. One could put radio buttons for this feature in filters, which seems logical to me. But, fortunately I’m not building this viewer, so you don’t have to live with my logic.

I’m not sure I’ll use the Show, Show Only, or Hide much. But I do use the Paste as Link.

LookAt

You probably know that several viewers have the ability to display the camera’s focal point, where it is looking. It’s called a look at beacon. With that beacon turned on you can see what others are looking at. If I click on a white latex suite in a mall to zoom in on it, a crosshair with my name will appear on the suite display. The same is true if I click on someone.

Anyone that has been is SL for more than a few days probably has heard the term prev’ing or perv caming. It means someone is doing a close up inspection of an avatar. They have clicked and zoomed in on your avatar. Some people find that flattering or funny and others are offended.

Several Third Party Viewers have the setting in their Preferences settings or in Advanced or Developer menus. This allows people to turn the beacon on so they can see them.

Once people have that information they can make it into drama.

In DV3 the setting was in top menu Develop->Avatar-Show Look At and Show Point At. The lookat beacon will be removed from the next release of DV3, according to Lance. Unless someone explains a good non-drama related reason why it should remain. He has filed a JIRA feature request asking that the code showing LookAt beacons be removed. (VWR-28044) It has 4 WATCH’s.

Inventory API

The Linden Lab’s backend servers are changing and the viewers must change to work with them. Recently the Lab announced that a change had to be made in the viewer or some inventory functions were going to fail. Since the Lab’s older versions of the viewer are not being upgraded, they will fail.

The change to remain working has been made to the DV3.

OpenGL

Lance says this version includes code from the Lab’s viewer 3.2.7 code. I suspect that means all the shining fixes to OpenGL are in this version. I’m not particularly good at or interested in finding and reading the repository comment comments that says what is going into the Lab’s code. So, I’m fuzzy on is in which viewer update. Also, the Lab’s release notes in the wiki run a bit behind.

Summary

We have a new version and it seems to work well. I only used it for a couple of hours. My hands-on experience is: this update is more of a backend upgrade, hidden improvements. Performance is about the same.

As to the drama of LookAt beacons… if the drama isn’t about that then it will be about something else. Taking features out or adding them in an effort to influence or control behavior comes from the thinking that people can and/or should be controlled. Giving people the freedom to do whatever they want and letting them learn from their experience is the other side. Preemptive verses reactive. It is an old philosophical debate with lots of historical answers.

Why Lance chooses to remove the feature may simply be he’s tired of listening to the drama. Since he makes the viewer it is his choice. Time will tell how well things work out. I hope it’s for the best of all concerned.

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