This Friday the Lab announced the Materials Beta Viewer is out 3.6.0-276764. Yay!!! See the announcement here: Materials Beta Viewer Launches.
The post explains a bit about what Materials is about and gives a quick tutorial on how to set the viewer so you can see materials. Now if they had just said something about where you could see some things using the materials… Well, try Hippo Hollow.
They provide links to the Good Building Practices, which are in the wiki. There is also the Content Creators Guide. They say we will be getting more information there in the coming days, which is good because it is certainly sparse now. If you follow this blog you pretty much know the information you’ll find… or not find… there. Actually you know more than what is available there now…
For more information about what you can do with normal and specular maps see: Specular Maps Tutorial.
The new multi-beta viewer pipeline is not operational yet. So, this beta can be found in the usual place and installed just as we have installed Beta viewers in the past. Beta Viewer download. It is the Materials Viewer.
Your previous shortcuts to the Beta Viewer are not going to work. This Beta installs in a new folder. So, you’ll have your last Beta viewer installed in C:\Program Files\SecondLifeBetaViewer and this new one in C:\Program Files\SecondLifeBeta.
This install does use the same settings file as the previous Beta Viewer. So, I suggest you manually delete the C:\Program Files\SecondLifeBetaViewer and shortcuts. Unless you change it, the viewer will use the default SL cache.
Also, it takes about 15 second or so to open Preferences. I get a black screen for about 10 seconds. The viewer recovers, but you’ll think it has frozen. It only does that the first time you open it. In the past after some amount of time it would hang up if opened again. I was never sure when it would freeze or not.
Opening inventory used to do something similar but without the black screen. I don’t see that in this viewer.
I did have trouble staying logged in. There is a bug that logs people out, well loses the connection and you disconnect. Its late so I don’t know if it is me or the viewer.
Bugs in the Materials part of the viewer are to be reported in the JIRA’s MATBUG project.
You should be checking ‘diffuse’ texture colors with and without specular maps to see if you get the expected colors. Some are seeing some problems. But, it is hard to know which viewer they were using and when that was happening. But, now is the time to get in your bug reports.
The current materials viewer got BIG issues with alphas rendering (see http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/MATBUG-112 ), among other graphics glitches… IMHO, it’s a tad bit early to declare such a viewer as “beta”… Hardly an early alpha, by my standards.
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As much I’ve been waiting for something like this come around…. suddenly feared SL gonna be all glossy plastic-look everywhere because people have bad taste.