April 3rd a new RC Viewer made its way to the Beta Viewers page. Some will see this viewer replacing their current viewer, if they have Willing to update to release candidates… enabled.
This one is named: RC HeatWave Viewer version 188.8.131.520424. This is a maintenance release with 77 fixes. Normally I would use a short code to place the list in an accordion, but that feature of the web site isn’t working today as I run plug-in free. So, the long list can be found in the release notes.
A look through the list will tell you if you can benefit by switching to this viewer. I’ve been running the tools RC Viewer. Since the HeatWave has performance enhancements I decided to try it. I haven’t manually downloaded and installed a Second Life™ viewer since January. I’ve been letting the automatic process run, which for the most part is good. Every now and then I am jammed into waiting for an update install when I am in a hurry to get somewhere. Irritating.
Download size is still in the 30+ mb range, 31.9 for this update. Download is quick. The install was error free. Surprisingly after the install the viewer launched. That is a new behavior. I suppose that is to make things a bit easier on new users.
My first login was nice. For the first time in I don’t know how long my home rezzed quickly. Nice. YES! But, I wanted to check out what was happening and see if it was a onetime thing. I use a SpaceNavigator, that 3D mouse. Love it. Zooming the camera to places and later snapping it back to wherever I left my avatar standing. The snap back usually means the area my avatar is in has to re-render. It has been taking some time the past weeks.
When I snap back using HeatWave the render is better, faster. But, some of the textures still fail to render for 15+ seconds. These are textures that rendered just minutes ago and should be in the viewer cache. I expect a much faster load as the viewer should not have to go outside my computer to retrieve the textures. But, we have had cache inefficiency ever since I came into Second Life. So, I am not surprised. I am happy things are better.
Next I went shopping. Things are better. Renders seem to work better and textures never seem to stall. They can take 14 to 60 seconds to load. But, that is an improvement over what I was seeing.
I went to a newbie landing hub to see how the viewer handles crowds. With 20+ people there and a couple of them spamming me it was still better. I stayed in double digit FPS. It did take 30+ seconds before avatars started changing from gray to textures and well over a minute for most to render.
This is a better viewer performance-wise.
I have been checking my Internet connection over the last few days because of the blog problems I am having. So, I can be pretty confident this improvement isn’t due to a network connection improvement I haven’t noticed. But, I won’t be certain this is all just viewer improvement for a few days. For now it looks good and I’m happy with this version.