The Firestorm Viewer Team is thinking. Their recent April Fool’s Joke about the Dynamic User Interface (DUI), the detachable control panels, has been the goal of many developers for some time. Now Firestorm Team member Nicky Dasmijn has built a proof of concept version of the viewer with those detachable panels. In this version window and panel layouts can be saved for later use.
There is no release version of this viewer, beta or otherwise. But the team is releasing the code some other developers can work on the project. The Firestorm Team is hoping the code will inspire developers to come up with new innovations for the Second Life viewer.
See the official announcement here: The real joke… DUI is no joke!
Maybe we are seeing the Lab’s fast paced viewer development discouraging third-party developers. Some may find they spend all her time keeping up rather than being able to innovate.
In some cases, like the Dolphin Viewer, the developer’s RL got busy. But, whatever the reasons we have fewer third-party developers moving viewer technology forward. I like being on the cutting edge and when third-party viewers were the cutting edge I used them much more than the official Second Life release viewer and betas. Now it’s the other way around.
However, the recent Firestorm Viewer release is one that I use for a portion of my time in Second Life. It has features that I enjoy using. But, the SL Viewer is updating its technology and generally providing better performance, at least on my hardware.
With the recent announcement from OpenGL that games using OpenGL can perform 15 times faster than they are now, I would be much more excited to see those changes being integrated into a viewer. And that is 15 times faster not 15% faster. Or said another way: 1500% faster.
I suspect changing to the new OpenGL would be a significant task. So I would expect only CtrlAltStudio or Exodus to be the only viewers that would attempt that task. I expect the lab to put the task in their priority list, but I don’t know that we will hear anything about it if they do.
Whatever the case, I’m just happy to still see new stuff coming to viewers.