Catznip Viewer R12 – Awesome or Not?

This is the first final release in something like a year… It has great stuff in it. Definitely worth a try. And for anyone playing the inventory maintenance game, this is likely the winner’s choice of viewer.

Catznip R12 Opening Splash Screen

You can download the viewer here: Catznip Viewer Download. If you have the beta links, forget them. They have stopped working.

While 64-bit is the preferred choice, those of you with HD Graphics may have to run the 32-bit version. There is a notice on the download page explaining the problem and what you can do.

Install

The download is about 98MB if that matters these days. Install runs, no problems.

Test Drive

My first login I butter-fingered the password. I mistakenly added a space at the end that didn’t belong, assumed it wouldn’t matter, it did, and then I could not get the viewer to accept the password without the space. The Login button would not wake up. I had to restart the viewer.

This is a quick viewer. In my standard test places, I get 107 FPS on my porch, 122 FPS in my green-screen room at 1500m, and with 12 avatars in my field of view, it drops to 19-33FPS. The first two are faster than any of my other viewers by 20 to 30%. The ‘avatars present’ slowdown is typical.

The viewer uses its own cache. For this viewer, I have an empty cache. So, I was thinking scene render is a bit slow because of that. However, on return to a place, it renders things fast. But, textures are lagging.

After 3 or 4 hours of use, I was unhappy with the speed of Catznip scene renders. I went shopping. That’s when the problem became unbearable. During that time, I switched back and forth between Catznip and Firestorm. I was checking to see if my connection was acting up, memory loading up, the region was just slow, or what. I decided it is just Catznip. However, running the cursor over a thing I wanted to render helped and was quick to fully render whatever. But, it would not stay rendered.

So, both Firestorm and the Linden viewers were rendering the shopping areas in the Region Evocative, the SWEAR stores for men are there, way faster than Catznip and they stayed rendered. So, doing cam-shopping with Catznip and my SpaceNavigator is out.

View after 45 minutes…

I ran into texture thrashing. Thrashing may not be the best word in this case as I think of ‘thrashing’ as a faster thing. But, it is the words we use to describe the problem. When textures did finally render, they would drop back to a blurry render. Then on a somewhat slow cycle, they would render, stay clear for a bit, then go blurry. They might remain blurry indefinitely. I seldom see texture thrashing in ether Firestorm or the Linden viewer.

While writing this I took my avatar home. Most of my textures there did not render while I typed the majority of this article.  I would use the viewer, write some more, use the viewer… never did see most textures fully render. Some did, but they did not stay fully rendered

I tried the trick of removing all the HUD’s, restarting the viewer, leaving chat closed… nothing seems to help.

Profiles come up WAY faster in Catznip than in Firestorm. Is that just me that has slow, way slow, profile renders in FS? I use web profiles, not the legacy. So, that may not be a fair-to-Firestorm comparison. Catznip’s Profile panel is more the legacy type profile.

I’m not a fan of the Profile panel in Catznip. But, I like fast.

Inventory search has an upgrade or two to make finding stuff easier and improves how results are displayed.

The Quick Preferences is awesome. Ctrl-Shift-P to open. Inara explains how to use the panel, so I’ll skip the details. There are other WAY handy features not found in other viewers. So, this could become the shopaholic’s viewer of choice.

Inara is, apparently, a heavy user of Firestorm’s Photo Tools. I am too. What I use most is Firestorm’s change to WL Sky, which in Catznip is the Fixed Sky setting. So, for the majority of my use, the Catznip Quick Pref’s are good enough. And the Windlight presets, while extensive, have been cleaned up.

RLVa is available. It is off by default. You’ll find it in Preferences->Catznip->General. A viewer restart is required when changing the setting.

Summary

Inara is adopting Catznip as her alternate viewer. For her Firestorm remains the preferred Viewer with Catznip in second place. For me, the slow Catznip render during shopping kills it for me. The Linden viewer remains my primary backup. Other viewers, I consider as specialty viewers, best for specific tasks.

Black Dragon for photos when I need to adjust poses. Catznip when I have a lot of inventory maintenance to do. Linden for playing with new features, think animesh. Firestorm is my primary viewer.

I’ll do more testing with Catznip throughout the week. I am hoping it is something transient. The features in Catznip I could get really attached to. I think they are awesome.

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