The release notes for this version of the Second LifeTM Viewer were published August 12th. There are about 33 fixes and additions. There are eight known issues that remain. Your viewer will automatically update to this version if you are using the default setting to automatically update.
If you have “Willing to update to release candidates” enabled, you may get a release candidate. I’m still flipping coins on whether that is a good idea or not. I’ve mostly decided I need to turn off Automatic updates for everything except the main SL Viewer and I have ‘Willing’ disabled on all my viewers. I do install release candidates, but manually.
This version of the SL Viewer Second Life 3.6.3-279564 was put into RC status Aug 6, 2013. Just yesterday it was promoted to the main release. This is the exact same viewer that was the RC, which is the point.
I get a notice to update my video drivers. I am running on nVidia’s 320.49, the current stable release version out July 1. There have been 3 beta versions released since then; 326.19 (July 18), 326.41 (July 30), and 326.80 (Aug 20).
I doubt the viewer actually checks nVidia to see if there are new drivers. I suspect this is just a reminder to get you to check your driver status.
My thinking is that if you update the driver and the viewer, you can’t know which one is the source of any new problem you run into. So, I prefer to install a viewer and keep the video driver until I have time to decide if there is or isn’t a problem.
In my house I am getting 29 to 42 FPS with ALM, Ambient Occlusion, and Sun/Moon/Projectors enabled. I also am using the viewers anti-aliasing 2x. Anisotropic Filtering is enabled too.
If you have less than 512mb of video ram and you are seeing texture thrashing, you should try turning on texture compression in Preferences->Graphics (tab)->Hardware (button). See if that helps.
I’ve made some trips back to regions that I could not get to render with the previous viewer, as in textures were not loading. Those places rendered. All the textures loaded quickly. But, I saw that when I went back with the same viewer, just hours later.
NCore just released their Indy Sandals. I popped over and there are 20+ people here. The rendering is MUCH slower. The sandals are eeeeh, OK. Not for me. But, there are some nice flip-flops and flat feet there.
Some things were slow to render. I the the 20+ avatars slow things down. But, almost everything in the store did render or rendered within a few seconds of my looking at it or in the worst cases when I walked up to it. Clicking on or hovering the cursor over things doesn’t seem to make any difference now.
Some mesh things never did load and a few things never rendered a texture (the Euphoria boots I so drool over). The mesh objects outside (like entrance stairs, columns, trees…) remained spheres. They never rendered the whole time I was there. In those places my FPS was in the single digits. Inside the store with the non-rendering mesh out of sight my FPS was back in double digits, teens and 20’s.
Of course this viewer has SSA and Materials. As I wrote above there are 30+ fixes. The fix for Neck and AV Center use with scripts is worth noting. Also, the viewer has automatic particle limit reduction when viewer frames per Second (FPS) drop below some level. I think it is single digit frames rates when it kicks in.
The GPU table has been updated. Which may be what triggers the notice to check your drivers. But, I guessing wildly.
You can now select particles. That will allow to easily block griefers using particles. I still do not see Ribbon Particles in this version. We are told they are coming.
The notable known bugs remaining are:
- Brightness and Darkness legacy bump maps render incorrectly on Intel GPUs.
- WL Haze effects are inconsistent between solid and transparent objects under water.
- Objects with legacy bumpiness and new specular appear flat shaded.
- Opening chat history for groups only works once per session, if at all.
That doesn’t mean those are the only known bugs. That means those are the known bugs they were working on and did not get fixed this round. Whoever assigns bugs to fix surely has more to hand out. Plus there are other fixes in the various release candidates.
About Updates in General
Serendipidy Haven has a post her blog: The tempest. After reading the article I have less empathy for those that won’t upgrade their viewer. I know some do deserve our empathy. But, many certainly do not.
An interesting note that passed through the Open Source mailing list was Oz Linden commenting that the Lab is working on a ‘range of projects to improve texture handling.’
This seems to be a old problem that many are seeing for the first time. Those with less video ram are more likely to see it. Stopping it is not a single ‘do this and you are fixed.’ It depends very much on your hardware and where you are and what you are wearing.
So, the current batch of fixes consists of taking off HUD’s. Some HUD’s apparently use large textures. The other option is to open Preferences->Graphics->Hardware (button) and enable texture compression.
You can also turn down your draw distance.
The Lab and TPV developers are trying different things to reduce thrashing. The current viewer drops textures that are behind you. That has made some problems, So, the release candidate does exhibit that behavior. I’m not sure of the 279564 build does or doesn’t. Some TPV’s were changing that behavior. They kept textures the avatar cannot see until video memory is 95% consumed. Then they start dropping textures.
So, you may see different behaviors depending on brand and version of viewer used.