Many of us like seeing what is new or need to get a bug fix that is in the works. Before the new viewer pipeline was implemented we just downloaded and installed beta versions of the viewer. With the new pipeline that is still possible, but it has gotten rather complex. It is easier to just install an RC viewer over the top of our main install of the SL Viewer and run a single SL Viewer.
I’m trying that for now and watching how things work. In general, pretty well. There are some Windows oddities I am still sorting out.
You can download a copy of the current Maintenance Viewer 3.6.7-281236 RC from the Beta/RC page. Before you install it, open your SL Viewer and check that you have Auto-Update and ‘willing to install RC’ options enabled. Then just install it as you could the main release SL Viewer. Some versions do wipe out your settings when installed manually.
The New Stuff
There are about 3 screen-fulls of new stuff and fixes.
There is a new Automatic Avatar Render Limit And Feedback System. It adds these features:
- Rendering optimizations
- Avatar render cost information
- Simple impostors
- Graphics preferences updates
- New debug setting “RenderAutoMuteRenderCostLimit” sets render cost cutoff point (default 0 = disabled cutoff check)
It also has Extra Particle Parameters. The link to the official glBlendFunc documentation has been removed. I don’t know why. But, you can probably still get some insight into Second Life’s new particle features from the documentation. You do need to be able to read geek speak.
Look for the rule parameter: PSYS_PART_RIBBON_MASK, to get into ribbon particles.
Using this viewer you can teleport and arrive facing the direction you faced before the tp. So, it is possible to build doors that teleport one into a room without disorienting the traveler.
There are about 70 bug fixes listed for this release. Some interesting ones are:
- CHUI-836[c] [CHUIBUG]Opening chat history from the conversation log sometimes crashes the viewer
- MAINT-1555[c] Incorrect Texture Memory on Mac Client – this is a fix for a problem on Mac’s that I wrote about a week or two ago. Mac’s tended to suffer texture thrashing. This fixes that for some users.
- MAINT-2386[c] Viewer crashes when user move landmarks from Inventory -> Landmarks or Places to Favorite bar
- MAINT-2388[c] Crashing on attempt to upload rigged mesh DAE file
- MAINT-2407[c] ‘Stop animating me’ spams server
- MAINT-2436[c] Viewer crash on uploading collada with wrong number of indices in <polylist>
- MAINT-2506[c] Viewer support for PERMISSION_SILENT_ESTATE_MANAGEMENT and PERMISSION_OVERRIDE_ANIMATIONS
- MAINT-2511[c] Mesh requests not handling time outs – This should avoid mesh items not loading problems.
- MAINT-2647[c] Objects failing to render – I’m not sure which ‘failing to render’ problem this fixes. But it nice at least one of them is fixed.
- MAINT-2711[c] Add missing LSL constants for llGetObjectDetails() to the viewer
- MAINT-2879[c] Viewer should revoke animation permissions with “Stop Animating Me”
- MAINT-3161[c] Clean up avatar muting code and prototype feature
- Not much of interest here. This one may noticeably bite some people: NORSPEC-342[c] Rigged alpha attachments don’t render for impostors.
Second Life Snowstorm RC Viewer
There is a second RC viewer named Snowstorm. This is the channel through which open source features and fixes get added to the SL Viewer. There are some interesting features here that will show up in the main SL Viewer soon.
One of those is Request Teleport. Selecting “Request Teleport” by clicking a person in your ‘Friends’ list is a convenient way to ask the other person to teleport you to where they are.
There are also a number of changes that appear to be directed at allowing us to have multiple versions of RC viewers installed. That would allow the more geeky of us to have multiple RC’s installed. As it is now we can only have one version of an SL Viewer installed without a lot of hoop jumping.
The mini-map has a problem figuring out whether an avatar is above or below you when an avatar is above 768m. That is getting fixed.
The SL Viewer is pretty much the cutting edge viewer for now. Still the Third Party Viewers (TPV) are the favorite of power users. There are still some features in TPV’s that builders will not do without. Now that OSGrid viewers can make use of Deformer enabled mesh clothes it there will significant reason to stay with a TPV.
Once the Firestorm Team catches up to the Lab’s viewer, it may take the title for ‘cutting edge viewer.’ But, for the rest of this year I expect that title to be owned by the Lab.