Exodus Viewer Release Beta 8 (12.08.09b) Review

Exodus has new version of their viewer out. If you like Exodus, this is a must have update. I think that this release is labeled a Beta as they plan to quickly provide a main release with the New Pathfinding Tools. I am guessing they are just waiting on the Lab to OK it. Or may be there is some last minute Havok Licensing stuff going on. So, the tools may already be programmed in.

Exodus Viewer – Exodus Preferences

It gets confusing which version is a test version and which is a production release version. The idea with production releases is they are feature stable and intended for primary use by Second Life™ residents. Production viewers only have approved features. Test or Beta viewers can have whatever feature set a developer is experimenting with. This release had some of the experimental features taken out, like the Mesh Deformer. So, I find the Beta designation a bit odd, but it makes a sort of sense.

Inara has a nice review of the features in her post: Exodus updates. So, I won’t spend much time on features listing.

The Exodus team does a pretty good job of explaining the new features available in this release in: Beta 8 (12.08.09b) – We’re Back! Inara does more explaining of how features work and has a link or two to some technical explanations of the new shaders available in this viewer release.

Exodus Shaders Feature

Geenz Spad made the post on the Exodus site. I like the easy to read formatting and colorful outline. Geenz notes that Exodus has not had a release since January 2012. That seems a bit miss leading. They have not had a release of a PRODUCTION version since January. They have been cooking through nightly builds at a pretty good pace. Fast enough that I skip updates and only now and then update. So, if you like the viewer, try both the Production and Nightly versions. They are separate installs and you can run either version as your mood moves you.

Experience

I find the viewer fast. With Deferred Render (or Light & Shadows), Ambient Occlusion, and Sun Moon Shadows I get 30-36 FPS in my house. That is 5 to 15 FPS faster than my current Linden Viewers.

I have to get up to 1,000m to get some empty space in my region. I have lots of skybox builders around me. At altitude I get 46 FPS.

Exodus Viewer at Kickin Club

Jumping over to Kickin Club for a Krisie Snowdrop concert, with 39 people in the region, and my viewer set for 12 Max non-imposter avatars (Max non impostors has a big affect on performance); I was getting 7-9 FPS. But, I noticed that with Sun/Moon on I wasn’t getting any shadows. While the region stats were good (TD 0.9 avg – PFPS 43+) the region was having problems. Some things just were not rezzing and scripted items were slow. The region was still showing a bit of Spare Time.

Aside: Kickin Club is a nice venue with a good line of performers. Of course they have Krisie, so I’ll be there when I can.

Flying

I did run into a changed default setting for flying. It has the E-key/Page Up controls set to jump only. That is often a needed change for combat games in SL. However, I generally want the keys to put me into fly mode. You can change it here: Me->Preferences (or Ctrl-P)->Move & View – Fly on holding Up/Down.

Shaders

These are fun to play with. I think the default settings are probably the best, unless you understand what you are doing and trying for a specific look.

The feature has the ability to export and import settings. I suppose you could share the files.

Summary

If you are using the nightly builds, you not going to see a big change.

I used the viewer for a couple of hours, including an hour of dancing at Krisie’s concert. No viewer problems. No crashes.

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