Daniel Voyager posted an article on mesh viewer adoption statistics. The stats were collected by Kadah Coba, one of the Firestorm developers, and put into a graph Daniel found posted on SLUniverse. I am assuming that Kadah used stats the FS Team collects from the splash page of their viewers or viewer stats that come from the Lab or… may be some combination of sources.
I stopped being interested in the mesh stats when adoption went over 90%. But, this chart does clearly show the influence that the Firestorm, and formerly Phoenix, viewers have on the community. Too bad they don’t have anyone that understands how to use that influence to improve the community. But, they do a good job improving the user experience with their viewers.
The next big statistics concern is going to be Deferred Rendering. In the current SL Viewer that feature is listed as Lighting & Shadows. In the near future the new versions of the viewer will label deferred rendering as Advanced Lighting Model.
This is a big statistical thing because it is not just a matter of user resistance to change. It includes a component of computer hardware capability. When the Materials System comes out designers are going to want to know how important it is for them to build with or avoid the use of Normal and Specular Maps.
As it is right now a preliminary stat from the FS Team is about 50% of users are capable of running Deferred Rendering… which seems a bit weak to me. For the other 50% to be able to enable deferred rendering would likely require a new video card.
A number of things are going to slow adoption of deferred rendering (DF). The cost of video cards that can handle DF is low. Typically a NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT w/512 MB goes for US$35. But, for some a new power supply will be needed too. So, the complexity of the upgrade will stop a number of people. So, even low cost power supplies ($50) will not help because of the complexity of the change out. While computer shops will sell adequate new power supply and video card and install them for about $100, there is the hassle of getting it done.
From the mesh adoption rates we can see that 3% or so of SL users are just not going to update. Figuring out how many of the remaining 47% are going to change is impossible to predict. So, getting the stat is going to be important to the creative people.
Also, most (majority) Mac users can not upgrade individual components on their computers. Upgrading a video card means buying a new computer. Another group that will be slow to adapt.
Yeah… I’m not an Apple fan. The same is true of laptop users too.
For info, the first experimental Cool VL Viewer with mesh support was v188.8.131.52, released on 2011-08-27 (it was the first TPV with mesh: http://sldev.free.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2&start=90#p2223). The stable mesh branch was v184.108.40.206, released on 2011-10-08 (http://sldev.free.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2&start=100#p2530), on which Phoenix’ mesh release was based.
As for deferred rendering, the adoption rate is not only a question of hardware: even people with a suitable hardware will prefer 60+ FPS rates with deferred rendering off than shadows support and barely 30 FPS… I count myself among these people.
There’s also the fact that, for indoor scenes, non-deferred lighting is way better…
I have been consistently impressed with your talent in coding Cool VL and surprised at the speed of delivery. You messed up a number of my suppositions in regard to viewer development.
The speed thing is a good point too. I had not thought much about it. But, it will be an issue for combat players.