CtrlAltStudio Viewer

I am always cautious when testing new viewers. I’ve taken time to ask around to see who knows Strachan Ofarrel or has heard of CtrlAltStudio Viewer. Basically: no one in my circle of friends.

You can find the support blog for the viewer here: CtrlAltStudio. There it shows the developer as David Rowe. I suppose that is a RL name.

3D Controls in CtrlAltStudio Viewer

3D Controls in CtrlAltStudio Viewer

The CtrlAltStudio blog has been around since March 2013. The rez-day for Strachan Ofarrel is in 2006.

None of this means the viewer is safe. We have had enough rip-off viewers that one has to be careful. I can’t say it is or is not safe.

The viewer is said to be based in the Firestorm viewer’s code. This selection was made to allow the viewer to be more compatible with OpenSim. This would indicate that it does not have Navmesh rendering. It does have grid selection and setup controls.

The Viewer

The interesting part of this viewer is that it provides 3D images. Initially I was thinking this was anagyph style 3D, red and blue glasses. It isn’t. It is shutter-glasses 3D. So, this means you need a 120hz monitor. Most monitors are 60hz.

120hz monitors are selling from US$200 to $400 in the 21 to 24 inch range (53-60cm).

You also need the shutter glasses. NVidia makes those for its graphics cards. These are selling from US$30 to $90.


The file size is 40.5mb. That is a bit on the large side. Download is quick.

My ESET Anti-Virus says the file is clean.


The install doesn’t set off my anti-virus.

The program installs into: C:\Program Files\CtrlAltStudio-Viewer-Beta.

The viewer puts its cache in: C:\Users\[Win_Login_ID]\AppData\Local\CtrlAltStudio Viewer\

The chat logs go into: C:\Users\[Win_Login_ID]\AppData\Roaming\CtrlAltStudio Viewer

The default bandwidth is 512mb/sec. This should be boosted up to 1,500, provided you have fast Internet.

The default cache size is: 2048mb. That’s OK. I usually use 4096mb, because I have a large drive.


As soon as the viewer starts you know it is based on the Firestorm Viewer. It has the viewer mode selector used by Firestorm. So, you can go into the Phoenix emulation mode. Otherwise it looks like and SL Viewer.

The initial splash screen is the standard Linden Lab screen with the Destination Guide and SL related announcements and a Patterns promo.

Preferences for my GTX560 come set to LOW. :/

The Preferences panels are very much Firestorm like as are the menus.

Running this viewer one notch below Ultra I am getting 60 FPS without AML or shadows. With AML, Ambient Occlusion, and Shadows/Projectors on I get 45 FPS.

I find texture rendering a bit slow. But, in the same area the current SL Beta Viewer was failing to render some textures. So, slow might be a step up.

Other than getting the viewer to change and remember some Preference settings, it seems to work well.

It does have the ‘some things do not render until clicked on’ bug. So, I walked into a few things.


Until we have more feedback and experience with this viewer I am using the viewer with my poor sister avatar. I suspect it is legit, but I don’t know. I trusted it enough to try it. Decide for yourself whether or not to use it.

I doubt there are that many of us using nVidia Shutter Glasses. But, this could be first steps toward getting a viewer that will work well with Oculus Rift. But… who knows.


5 thoughts on “CtrlAltStudio Viewer

  1. A note on using active shutter glasses: In addition to the glasses and the 120Hz display you need a means of synchronizing the glasses with the display. Often this will take the form of an IR transmitter – either a stand-alone device or one built into your computer or display. For examples of NVIDIA-based options see: http://www.nvidia.com/object/3d-vision-main.html.

    • Thanks for pointing that out. I tend to make some assumptions about what people know. Making this one was probably less than helpful.

  2. From in-world I am told:
    [17:27] Sphynx Soleil: (Saved Fri Jun 28 18:17:59 2013) Strachan Ofarrel used to do some metaverse survey thing for outside companies back in the day. 2007 – 2009, I think. Beyond that, no clue. But that might give you a little more context. 🙂

    I appreciate the additional information.

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