Second Life Viewer Comparison

Most viewer reviews are written for those using Second Life®. However, more grids are opening. For the people using alternate grids there is another blog looking at viewers: Excelsior Station. The author, Sarge Misfit, does a Second Life® style VIEWERS COMPARISON. SL users will gain some benefit from the comparison,

The most recent comparison is dated May 3, 2012.

Viewer Comparisons

The comparison is a cross between a viewer list and a feature comparison. One of the valuable points in the comparison is whether the viewer is multi-grid ready, does it have a grid manager, handy comparison point.

The current comparison points are:

  1. Viewer Name
  2. Version Number
  3. Viewer Home Page
  4. Viewer Download Page
  5. Interface Style
  6. Grid Access (Manager included)
  7. Export Linkset XML (Object Export)
  8. Axis on Root (? – presumably this is about where the axis appears when editing prims)
  9. Nano Prim (? – I assume this is about whether one can use prim dimensions  less than 0.01m)
  10. Max Hollow
  11. Undo (Prim editing undo)
  12. Built-in AO (Animation Override)
  13. Radar (Tells whether the MiniMap or separate extended features radar is used)
  14. Double Click TP (In MiniMap)
  15. Mesh (Not clear whether this means it has ability to render or upload mesh, assume render)
  16. Command in Chat (type DD ## to change draw distance)
  17. AuroraSim Compatible
  18. Viewer Notes – special notes on odd viewer traits (i.e., Firestorm/Phoenix bridge)

The viewers currently compared are:

  1. Astra
  2. Catznip
  3. Cool VL
  4. Dolphin 3
  5. Exodus
  6. Firestorm
  7. Imprudence
  8. Phoenix
  9. Singularity
  10. Teapot
  11. Zen

An interesting point is 56% of the Third Party Viewers (TPV) use the V1 (old style) User Interface. The other 44% are using the new V3 Flexible User Interface. This is likely to change over time, as new users start with the Linden Lab viewer and its V3 Interface, as older SL users leave and new users come into SL. Someday the majority of SL users will be people that learned the V3 interface first.


Viewer comparisons are a bunch of work. I considered the number of features in current viewers and gave up any thoughts of doing comparisons. There are currently well over 3,000 settings controlling various features in V3 viewers. I figured I would never be able to complete a comparison before several viewers changed, making it out of date before published. So, yay for Sarge.

Which features are important varies by our personal preferences and what we use the viewer to do. I think being able to change the default cameras locations for Front and Rear View is mandatory. I suspect most users in SL have no idea one can make that change or why one would want to. (See: Camera Position Tips).

For others it would be a matter of not just which viewer can upload mesh, but how well it can upload mesh. Figuring that out would take lots of testing. In depth comparisons are way complex and take lots of effort and time. Only a group of people could take on the task. It could easily turn into a job rather than recreation.

8 thoughts on “Second Life Viewer Comparison

  1. Although it hasn’t been in development long, I’d like to see “Nirans Viewer” in the comparison. It seems to be on the bleeding edge with features.

  2. Please, Nalates, I see that you are once again using “Cool VL” for the name of my viewer, which is wrong… My viewer is named “Cool VL Viewer” (yes, “Viewer” is *part* of the viewer name).

    I added a note on my website about this (tiresome, for me) naming issue.

    Many thanks in advance for quoting my viewer’s name right.

    • Sorry to annoy you. I probably will continue to use Cool VL. I will try to remember to use Cool VL Viewer in links to help your placement in search engines. I am a somewhat lazy typist, sorry.

      • *sighs* What would you say if someone was to use “Nalates’ Things” for the name of your blog instead of “Nalates’ Things & Stuff” ?…

        The name of my viewer is “Cool VL Viewer”, plain and simple. If you can’t or don’t want to spell it right, please refrain from citing its (distorted, mangled, truncated) name at all on your blog.

        I am sorry to demand this but I prefer to loose “visibility” than to have people constantly using a mangled name for my viewer because they saw it written in a mangled way on others’ blogs.

        Thank you.

        • Fair enough. Regardless of what someone labels my blog in their comments it would never occur to me to think I could demand anything of them. I value my freedom and thus respect theirs. I am not going to try and limit or shape their speech. I may try to convince people to change their philosophy or behavior. But, when failing I won’t resort to coercion or attempts to curb their speech.

          I hope you learn to deal with free people and free speech.

          • This got nothing to do with free speech; free speech is the right everyone have to express their opinion about something.

            In this case, it’s just about respect of grammar and spelling for proper names.

            I hope you will learn to deal with people who, like me, don’t like having their name or the name of their creations grossly distorted.

            • If you think free speech requires one to correctly spell things, I think you are mistaken.

              Also, if free speech were only about expressing opinion, then novels would not be covered by free speech. So, again you are mistaken.

              You are correct that it is a matter of grammar and and proper spelling. Fortunately as free people we are allowed to convey ideas, thoughts, and stories however we wish. I think after I refer to the Cool VL Viewer a number of times the readers are capable of knowing that Cool VL means the viewer. It seems you don’t. We as free people we have a right to have different ideas and express them. The law describes how we are limited in those expressions and what is considered an infringement of our or others rights.

              Your tying grammar to respect is a bit of a straw-man argument. I don’t see using the two spellings as disrespectful. As people become familiar it is common practice to shorten names, not an issue of respect.

              I deal with Nalates being misspelled and shortened all the time. I deal with it.

              As to learning to deal with people like you, I think I did some time ago. You stated what you wanted, I stated what I was willing to do. You then made the mistake of demanding. That is not a sign or respect for my rights. You seem to feel you have some right to make demands for having gifted something into the public domain and that is a loose use of public domain. Gifts do not carry obligations. Nor do gifts entitle one to making demands. To think so is to misunderstand the nature of a gift. If you feel you are owed an obligation of some kind then place that in the license and trademark the viewer name and Cool VL. That still won’t give you much control over the name, other than to prevent others from using it to refer to another viewer.

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