There are a couple of bits of news that I found interesting. First the stable SL Viewer is version 3.3.1 (254524) and the Beta is 3.3.2 (255742). The Development version is 3.3.3 (255954).
To go along with the viewers we have the current “stable” nVidia driver 296.10. There are some problems with the driver and that translates into problems for those of us using Second Life®. With later builds of the SL Viewer the driver has worked well for me.
There is an nVidia version 301.24 Beta out. I’m using it now. I advise avoiding it. With the Development viewer and 301.24 the viewer crashes in just a few minutes. If you restart, the viewer will turn off a number of features like; Transparent Water, Bump Mapping, Local Lights, Basic Shaders, Atmospheric Shaders, Lighting & Shadows, Ambient Occlusion, Depth of Field and Sun/Moon. The change basically set me to the LOW graphics setting.
At the low setting the Dev viewer seems very stable with the 301.24. As I start to turn features on I start to see some memory leaks starting up. Bump Mapping kicks in a little. Local Lights doesn’t seem to speed up the leak. Basic Shaders kicks up about 100k every couple of seconds. That tapers off until you start moving around.
So, skip trying the latest beta nVidia driver. When I have time I have to roll back to 296.10.
While the Temporary Upload of textures in Third Party Viewers (TPV) still works, that will probably end soon. Part of the road to the demise of Temporary Upload is the SL Viewer getting a working replacement for the feature. The Development and, I think, the Beta version have Local Textures. This will be the replacement.
You can find the new Local Textures in the Build Panel. When you open the Texture tab and click the existing texture to open the PICK: Texture panel you will find new buttons under the texture image: Inventory and Local. Select Local and you’ll find more new stuff. There are new buttons labeled; Add, Remove, and Upload.
Add will allow you to browse your hard drive and find textures within your computer. They are then added to a list that starts to look like inventory. You can select individual textures. You cannot select a folder. However, you can select more than one texture at a time. In Windows Ctrl-left-click allows adding and removing single items. Shift-left-click allows the selection of blocks of items.
Whatever you add remains in the list for the life of the secession. When you relog the list of selected textures clears.
As you would likely suspect, this removes an item from the list.
Oh surprise! This lets you upload the texture. It is a handy placement of the control.
Speed & Stability
I’ve found no improvement in performance. I keep hoping. Still around 12 FPS. With the 301.24 and LOW graphics setting it’s around 25 FPS.
Recently I’m only on a couple of hours at a time. Even when I’m on longer, I often run into a restarting or crashing region and get crashed or logged off. With the 296.10 and the Dev viewer I tend to crash on exit. I don’t have that problem with the 301.24 driver, but the render sucks.
There isn’t a lot of excitement in the viewer development world just now. The Mesh Deformer is relegated to experimental viewers. So, we won’t see it in the main release versions of viewers until it reaches official release. That is probably going to be more the norm with coming releases and new features.
With Second Life in general lots of things are in progress. Since some of them are complex core infrastructure changes and new features they are taking some time. More about that in a later news update.