Now there is an idea… Inventory likely becomes a headache for every user of Second Life. I know I have an ongoing battle with inventory. Now the Lab has come up with a new idea. I suppose it is a spinoff from the SLCC announcement of making SL easier to use.
ProductTeam Linden posted an announcement in the Second Life Forum about the new project to test the idea of a simplified inventory. See: Simple Inventory Project Viewer. They want feedback on the new inventory. They ask you to give them information on how you think it will affect new users. I guess we can put on our newbie avayar and see how it goes.
Download and Install
This is the standard download (28mb) and install. The viewer installs in its own folder, so there should be little conflict. It also uses its own settings file (settings_projectviewer-simpleinventory.xml). It does share the cache. While I am a great fan of separate caches for each viewer, I have been allowing all the viewers from the Lab to share the same cache. I don’t recommend allowing the Lab’s 1.23 to share a cache with the new 3.x.x viewers.
The Project Viewer is using a version 3.2.8 (248008) Jan 19 2012. That makes this a definite pre-beta project viewer.
The Preference panels are the standard panels found in the current 3.2.5 main viewer.
The viewer figured out to use 2x anti-aliasing (AA) with my video card (GTX560). Earlier viewers tried to use 8x AA and stepped on my performance.
The viewer still selects a HIGH setting for my computer.
The SETUP panel has software updates set to automatically download and install. I want mine to be manual so I know what is happening.
When a new viewer from the Lab does a separate install it forgets which messages and announcements I’ve handled. I have to go through the collection again.
When I logged in the Search panel was open as was the Inventory Panel. Inventory has a new option at the top of the panel labeled Switch to Folder View. Doing that gives an inventory that looks like the opening image.
When you move the cursor over the inventory folders the highlight reveals an ACTIONS item that open a drop down list of actions; Open in New Window, Move, Rename, and Delete. Shockingly, clicking Open in New Window opens the folder in a new window… oh you figured…
The new window opens offset just slightly from the parent. At first I thought it had replaced the main inventory panel. But, it just covers it up.
At this point I’m thinking ‘Oh crap’ as I imagine drilling down through my layers of folders. But, then this is for the new folks. So, that may not be that big a problem. Then I notice that items in Folder View sort in strict alphabetical order: folder, folder, item, folder, item, item, folder… eck. That is messy. Then I realize there is no Gear icon. I have no way to change the sort. Of course a new user isn’t going to know about the gear anyway.
Opening windows via Open in New WIndow is going to be a drag for anyone with a large inventory. I suppose the knowledge that something like this was coming is why Outfits have no sub-folders. Whatever, being curious I double clicked a folder. It opens by sliding the existing list left. As I drill down into the folders and get to an item the Actions list changes Open in New Window to Wear. I had hoped double clicking would just wear the item, but no. I have to select Wear.
Now… how do I back out now that I’ve drilled down to an item? Once you start to drill down there is a sort of navigation thing at the top of the panel. It shows which folder you are in… or folders you have passed through is probably more accurate. I drilled through Clothes, Hair, and Updo to get to my Beautiful Dirty Rich folder with the do I wanted. See image. Now if I just had that do in black…
As you click the green indicators you move up through the folders. It is really nice that I can jump all the way to the top.
I like how Outfits make it easy to change my appearance. But, I think the implementation is a blind spot for the Lindens. I mean, surely they have at least one Linden working in the Inventory Project that is female and has more than a couple of do’s and pairs of shoes!
Opening My Outfits I find that all the outfits I’ve made are mixed in with the Linden Library of outfits and avatars. I think there is some confusion in the Linden thinking, or mine, about whether an avatar is an outfit or not. I think the way the feature is implemented the folder should have been named Avatars and should be in another accordion bar like Library and Received Items. Whatever, I think there is some needless confusion in this area.
I’ve been labeling all my outfits with a beginning ‘!’ character, so mine sort out ahead of system’s outfits/avatars. Looking I realized all my outfits were not showing. I have been arranging my outfits via Inventory into sub-folders. This new inventory is using those folders, which probably shouldn’t surprise me. Yay!
The new Simplified Inventory feature is kinda nice. About the only thing I would change is the tool tip when the cursor is floating over a folder. It displays the folder name, which I think is redundant and useless. I would have it say, double click to open. After all this is for new peeps.
Otherwise, for now it seems pretty well done. It certainly removes the need for lots of scrolling, which is one of the Linden goals.
Also drag and drop is going to be much nicer with the ability to open up specific folders in a separate window. I can have my main inventory open in the standard mode and my Dresses folder open in Simplified. That will stop it jumping around as I move around in the main inventory to find things. I am often opening boxes and folders to try things on before moving them to a sub-folder in Dresses. I am always scrolling up and down and getting lost, repositioning the scroll in one window so I can drag and drop to another… I think this will be much nicer.
The Lindens are not sure how this will work with large inventories. I’m at 27k items. I think thatis large, but I know people with much larger inventories. Whatever is large, the new features seem to work well with my inventory.
The Wiki page gives us some of the limits for this new Folder Viewer feature. While you can drag and drop folders you are limited to dragging and dropping one item at a time. It seems this is something they will fix if this feature is adopted.
Also, you lose selection when switching between views. I ran into that. I had hoped, but, it isn’t working. I think this is also something they may fix if it moves ahead.
Also if you use another viewer feature to open inventory, like when taking a snapshot, the option to change to folder view does not appear.
The Search feature in Folder Viewer is missing. The Search field is there but it behaves as a FILTER rather than a search… whatever it is doing I found it useless.
Whatever view you have inventory in when you close the panels is the view inventory open in. Which I think makes sense. What is a little unexpected is if you have drilled down, it remembers the level you were at and opens there. So, when I opened a Clothes panel and drilled down to Dresses->Short Sexy that is what it opened to. It was still a clothes Panel open on Dresses->Short Sexy.
What’s a new feature without some bugs? The ones we know about are minor. The wiki tells they are;
- Hidden System folders are still shown in Folder View mode: though the Hierarchical View now filters away empty System folders, Folder View does not. Consequently, some folders may appear in Folder View that are hidden in Hierarchical View.
- Items do not remain highlighted when modal dialogs (Move…, Rename…) are displayed: this might be confusing if the user hesitates and somewhat forgot from which item she triggered the action.
- Renaming folders does not update the breadcrumb immediately: is the rename folder appears as a breadcrumb in a separate inventory window, that breadcrumb label will not be updated till the user navigates out of this part of the hierarchy.
I sort of like the feature. I see possibilities. I have yet to decide if it is a good or better thing for new users. Avoiding information overload is usually a good thing. So, maybe it is better.
Rhett Linden makes it explicit that this feature is a test for user feedback. This means you need to get your opinion posted.
Whitestar Magic points out in the forum that a big improvement to inventory management would be the addition of Cut and Paste. We have Copy and Paste. Some TPV’s have the Cut feature. I agree. I also think this new Folder View will make it easier to arrange inventory.