The Second Life Viewer is getting lots of changes. Even more are to come in the next weeks as the Materials System that allows the use of normal and specular maps. The 3.4.5 version is currently in pre-beta stage, Development. You can download a copy by looking in the left column for: SL Dev Viewer DL.
Second Life 3.4.5 (268856) Jan 9 2013 13:53:27 (Second Life Development)
Download & Install
The file size when downloaded is 29.6mb. It is fast. The viewer installs in its own folder. So, you can have it and other SL Viewers installed without conflict. It also uses its own settings file. It won’t up set the settings on your other viewers.
This version does reset your graphics settings, if you have a previous Dev version installed. In my case everything but the Basic Shaders was turned off. The settings were all the way down on LOW. With those settings I get 90+ Frames per Second (FPS).
The buttons you may have arranged to your taste stay. So, you won’t have to redo buttons. It is apparently only the graphics part of settings that change.
The install will change which viewer handles your SLURL’s. The last viewer installed handles the SLURL’s. This is true of most Third Party Viewers too. I think this should be an install option, but the designers are trying to help the mental midgets.
This is another of the viewer that has 7 levels graphics settings on the slider, LOW to ULTRA.
- The first setting above LOW turns on:
- Transparent Water
- Bump mapping and shiny*
- Local lights
- Basic shaders
Moving up to MID adds only: Atmospheric shaders. Of course other settings like Draw Distance are increased too.
Moving up one setting above MID will add in Lighting & Shadows, which is deferred rendering. This is the feature that will be needed to see the Materials System. At this point I am still getting 30 to 70 FPS. My viewer stays mostly within the 60’s.
The busier the scene gets the slower the viewer runs. In my house I see mostly FPS in the 40’s and some in the 50’s.
Moving up to the HIGH setting I stay in the 40’s to 60’s. Ambient Occlusion is added to the render features.
Moving one more setting up adds Shadows + Projectors. My viewer stays in the 40’s and 50’s at this setting between HIGH and ULTRA. I’m impressed. In my house I stay in the high 20’s and low 30’s.
Moving up to ULTRA changes lots of setting like Draw Distance (256m) and turns water reflections to EVERYTHING. Outside I stay in the high 20’s and inside slow to high teens. If I cut the Draw Distance back to 128m I jump back up to the 30’s.
All of this is with the nVidia 310.70 driver for my GTX560. There is a 310.90 WHQL driver out as of Jan 5. I’ll try it later today.
I also was using the viewer’s Anti-aliasing and Anisotropic filtering. I might get a few more FPS if I turned those off and used the nVidia controls for AA and Aniso. But, then my pictures would have jaggies and the viewer text would fuzz a bit.
This version lacks the new Chat Hub.
I don’t see much else that has changed in this version. The Mesh Deformer can still only be found in the Deformer Project viewer. Oz Linden is looking at updating the Deformer project with the latest Dev viewer branch updates. So, we may soon see a new Deformer viewer.
I think this version has the latest HTTP Library features. It still does not cache well. Each time I return home the place is gray and I have my cache set to 5gb, which I think would keep my home textures handy.
Areas do rez quickly. I had not realized how quickly until I made a run over to OSGrid using the Zen Viewer. I haven’t used Zen in SL for some time… I probably should try that.
There is a new item in the right-click popup menu: Show in linksets. This opens the Pathfinding linkset panel and highlights the item clicked. This allows one to easily set the item’s Pathfinding attribute to; movable, walkable, or whatever. I think it is quite handy.
It does have to be an item that you have the ability to edit.
You may know there is a feature in menu item Advanced (Ctrl-Alt-D) -> Performance Tools that is labeled: Show Draw Weight for Avatars. The coloring on this feature has been off for some time. Basically a nude avatar with sculpty hair would show as overloading the system by displaying the weight as Red.
The red color lead those not familiar with SL and how it works to assume the worst and the more fascist of them went on patrol to MAKE people reduce their Draw Weight for the sake of others…
I think there has been some change. I can now wear clothes and hair and stay out of the red. Adding shoes pushes me into the red. It would be nice if they got the numbers to something reasonable.
Render Complexity is in the Develop menu (Ctrl-Alt-Q). That is supposed to tell us more about the complexity of the things we are building. That hasn’t worked for some time. It still doesn’t.
For some time the SL Viewers have had some serious memory leaks. This one seems to have that under control. There is a setting Develop->Show Info->Show memory that shows the memory being used. That value is going up and down now, what it is supposed to do. Mine is staying around 660mb.
*Bump maps are a type of normal map and shiny is loosely a type of specular map. I’m not sure what will happen with this feature when the Materials System is rolled out. It won’t really be needed. But, it may be retained for those that cannot run deferred render (lighting & shadows).