It has been a while since I took a look at a number of viewers. Rather than post them separately, I’ve lumped them together, except for Nirans. I had not used it for months, so I expected lots of changes.
The main Linden Viewer is still at version 3.4.5 (270263), pre CHUI (Chat Hub User Interface). I seldom use the Beta Viewer now. It is more of a fall back viewer for when a Development Viewer version has problems. This morning the Beta is at version 3.5.0 (271345). The Development Viewer had been at version 3.5.1 (270826) for about 10 days. Today it updated to 3.5.1 (271386).
I am still fighting with the CHUI update to keep it the size I WANT IT. Other than sizing problems I like the new CHUI. The new build 271386 seems to have some of the sizing problems fixed.
The Beta version is currently the second most stable Second Life™ Viewer available. The main viewer is the 3rd most stable. I expect that order because people with newer hardware are likely to be testing viewers and looking for the best render quality and performance. They are a small set of the SL users. They are probably more likely to have everything updated too. As viewers are used by a larger selection of people more old hardware and out of date drivers are in use, resulting in higher crash rates.
As you update viewers you will find that your graphics settings are updated when you change to a viewer shifting from the old quick settings slider with 4 settings value to the new 7 values settings. Depending on the viewer some of your settings are saved through the update.
If you have problems with a new viewer version, go in and clear out your settings file. It will probably start working.
Settings file: C:\Users\[win_login_id]\ AppData\Roaming\[viewer_name]\user_settings\settings.xml
The settings name varies from viewer to viewer. Above is the main SL Viewer’s file name settings.xml. Examples: settings_development.xml and settings_phoenix.xml.
Nirans Viewer Review
The blog is still listing the November 24, 2012 viewer as the latest version. I seem to remember there is an experimental version hidden away somewhere that updates more often. But, I can’t find a link, so my memory may be faulty. See: Exodus Viewer Reviews.
As far as I can tell there are no blog or Twitter updates. This is not surprising as Geenz Spad, one of the Exodus movers, is working on the Materials System for Second Life. We will likely see a new release sometime around the time of the Materials rollout.
This morning the Kokua/Imprudence blog is having a problem connecting to its database. The wiki has the same problem. This outage also wacks up the splash screen. That will likely all get corrected later today. Until it is I cannot get to the download links.
Kokua Viewer 188.8.131.52234 (Feb 27 2013) Experimental is out. This version has the CHUI.
I’ve tried using it. I find I tend to crash, every time I try to open the CHUI. But, we have enough information about viewers behaving differently on different hardware, that you should not let that put you off.
Imprudence Viewer Status
This viewer is still listed in the TPV Directory. That means enough people are using it to generate the required number of user reports to get it listed. Amazing. The viewer does not support mesh objects. It is not going to be updated for Server Side Avatar Baking (SSAB). This can be considered a dead viewer unsuitable for use on the SL grid.
If you look through the Market Place you can find some mesh things to wear that render in none mesh supporting viewers with rude messages showing. Rude is always tacky, but sometimes necessary. Some people have designed objects to put in stores that appear one way in mesh capable viewers and another in viewers without the capability.
Dolphin Viewer 3 Quick Review
Lance Corrimal is pumping out a steady stream of updates. The current release is 184.108.40.206321. The latest release is a bug fix release.
This viewer is very similar to the main SL Viewer, but with features from the Third Party Viewer (TPV) world.
It does not have the CHUI change. I also seem to have more problems crossing regions. That may be a server update thing rather than the viewer.
Singularity Viewer Quick Review
This is a viewer that uses the old V1 user interface. It is currently at version 1.7.3 (3624). Singularity makes a Linux 64-bit version of the viewer.
If you install this version you are instructed by the Singularity blog to uninstall the previous version. That is a bit of a drag. So, I deleted the settings file: settings_singularity.xml and installed over the top of the old viewer. That seemed to work. The viewer runs OK.
This used to be a viewer that ran very fast, for me (50 FPS). With Lighting & Shadows, Ambient Occlusion, and Sun/Moon – Projectors enabled I run in the 10 to 15 FPS range. Once everything has rezzed and textures have fully loaded I get up into the 30’s.
After some time in an area I found I was getting frames rates up in the 50’s and 60’s again.
This update has several changes in preparation for the HTTP Library, Server Side Avatar Baking, and the coming Materials System. Also, some past SL changes are now supported, Large Groups for one. There is no CHUI update. The viewer still uses the old V1 chat dialog.
When you reset the setting you get the media connector pop up for blocking media. Still in the middle of the screen, annoying.