Second Life Tutorial: RLV, Mesh, and Folders – How it works, How to Use

The Viewers

For you to take advantage of RLV you need an RLV capable viewer. So, the leading RLV viewers are:

  • Black Dragon – V5 Alternate User Interface – RLVa – NiranV Dean
  • Catznip Viewer* – V5 User Interface Enhanced – RLVa – Kitty Barnett
  • Cool VL Viewer*V1 – User Interface Enhanced – RLV – Henri Beauchamp
  • Firestorm Viewer – V5 User Interface Enhanced – RLVa – Firestorm Team
  • Kokua Viewer – V5 – User Interface Enhanced – RLV – Nicky Perian
  • RLV Viewer – V5 User Interface Enhanced – RLV – Marine Kelley
  • Singularity ViewerV1 – User Interface Enhanced – RLVa – Siana Gearz
  • UKanDo Viewer – V5 User Interface Enhanced – RLV – Connor Monaron

UPDATE 6/28/2016: Thanks to Lord for filling out the list, adding 5 viewers – See comments. The Alchemy Viewer does not support RLV/RLVa as of 6/2016. *Denotes a viewer not in the Lab’s Third Party Viewers List. While not in the list, these viewers do have a significant user base and the developers are well known in the SL viewer community. I’ve used all of these viewers.

V5 stands for the version 5 user interface (UI) used by Linden Lab in their viewers. When Project Bento completed viewer versions bumped from V4 up to V5. The UI didn’t change much from V4 to V5. I’ve labeled viewers V5 if they are significantly similar to the Linden made viewer.

Catznip Viewer Logo

Catznip Viewer Logo

If you have been using the Linden viewer you’ll have little problem changing to any other viewer using a V5 UI. The controls used in the Linden UI are mostly used as is in other V5 UI viewers. There are more controls and tools in these third party viewers, additions. Thus my saying enhanced. And some controls are different or in a different place.

I suspect most people interested in RLV are using Firestorm, but I have no actual numbers specifically related to RLV use and Firestorm. I was using Catznip for RLV play more than Firestorm. I was having problems with Firestorm, especially in a crowd. As of 2018, FS works better than Catznip (a rendering thing IMO) so, I’m using FS more now.

Firestorm Logo

Firestorm Logo

I like the RLViewer but the install and setup are awkward for most SL users. It needs a better install program. As it is the user has to make their own shortcut and copy some files from the Second Life viewer into the RLViewer install folder to have it fully operational. Not all that complicated but, a problem for non-tech computer users. The website gives the step by step.

‘Fully’ in this case is about whether you use voice or not. If you are interested in the RLViewer see: RLV versions. The RLV viewer has some interesting features. It’s a nice viewer.

RLViewer Logo

RLViewer Logo

Another point to consider with the viewers is whether you will use RLV or RLVa. There is a difference but, for most users, it probably won’t make a difference. I suspect more people use RLVa than RLV. That is a guess based on Firestorm Viewer using RLVa and being the most popular viewer in SL at this time (6/2016). In 2018 FS remains the most popular viewer.

See Trinity Dejavu’s, a Catznip team member, page on RLVa/RLV Differences. They are mostly technical differences that only those writing programs need to consider. You probably won’t need to know which you are using. Only worry about it if something you are buying says you have to have one or the other or something doesn’t work.


Once you use the viewer to login, if using FS or Catz, you will need to enable the RLV feature as those viewers have it disabled as the default state. In Firestorm open Preferences and type RLV in the Preferences Search window. In Catznip open Preferences and navigate to: Catznip (tab) and enable RestrainedLove API support. You will need to restart either viewer after enabling RLV.

The RLViewer assumes you got the viewer to use RLV capabilities and has the feature enabled by default. The RLV capability can be disabled in the RLV viewer.
More pages… page links below.

8 thoughts on “Second Life Tutorial: RLV, Mesh, and Folders – How it works, How to Use

  1. Cool VL Viewer, UKanDo Viewer, and Kokua Viewer all use RLV as well, and then Singularity, Black Dragon, and Alchemy Viewers use RLVa (with Singularity adding some home brewed updates to it).
    Cool VL Viewer:
    UKanDo Viewer:
    Kokua Viewer:
    Singularity Viewer:
    Black Dragon Viewer:
    Alchemy Viewer:

  2. Pingback: Open Collar – Blue's Fantasy

  3. Since this is pretty high up on google when searching for BARE I thought I’d make an update:

    The best practice since 2015 for BARE is to use the JasX HUD for outfits. It has the benefits of working with all JasX games, being open source, moddable and usable by other non-jasx products for stripping and gender detection.

  4. Hi,

    very nice from you to teach us how to make a folder to keep your mesh avatar together when stripped…

    But you forgot the important part, how to make a folder so your Dom can strip you…

    There are lot of pages where people explain how your Dom can use folders to make you add this or that content of the folder to your nude avatar…

    But no one explain hoew to prepare a folder to get you naked in the first place!!

    And of course there is no button in Open Collar to strip you of everything you are wearing…

    Please, could you update this blog to include how to prepare a naked folder, so your dom can undress you?

    Thanks in advance.

    • You are missing the idea… If you know how to make an RLV outfit you know how to make a nude outfit. Plus generally, you want to make a nude outfit so ‘strip’ commands work without stipping off skin and head.

  5. Hey, complete SL newbie here trying to get to grips with this RLV malarky:
    I’m not sure if anyone still monitors these posts, but here’s a question…
    For RLV to work, do the residents participating have to be in an RLV enabled zone? My partner and I tried to use her RLV collar and attach myself as an owner but it keeps saying that I am not in range – even though I’m standing right next to her. We were in my Linden premium home.

    • The SL servers, or we can say regions, are not involved in RLV. It is strictly a viewer to viewer thing. So it is not the “region” that is the issue.
      Make sure you are using an RLV enabled viewer, whether you wear a collar/relay or not.

      I’m not doing much with the blog. So, I did not see your post until now. You can always IM me in-world.

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