In the comments the key question was asked. When will Phoenix blocking start? Jessica answered:
We haven’t decided yet what we will do with Phoenix. I may not have been clear at the meeting but the 3 version rule will start as of now, existing builds don’t really fall into the rule because we expect SSA will kill them off anyways. However if after SSA is fully deployed for a few weeks, we see there are still thousands on Phoenix, we ‘may’ decide to block it. I would rather avoid that if I could though.
We seem to be coming to a crunch point in viewers. The Lab is changing things so quickly third party developers have a challenge keeping up. Henri Beauchamp does well with Cool VL Viewer, which is a viewer based on V3 code with a vintage V1 user interface.
Image by Kitty Barnett
Niran seems to have leapfrogged the Niran’s Viewer to having all the latest Linden features by jumping to a recent SL Viewer V3 model. Niran’s Viewer is now Nirans Black Dragon viewer. Niran’s features from previous versions are being added to the new SL V3 Viewer code in Black Dragon. Eventually Niran will have Black Dragon on a feature par with his previous versions.
So, both of those viewers have materials. Firestorm 4.4.1 doesn’t and Tonya Souther of the Firestorm Team explains why, in a blog post: Tracking LL’s big changes, and why the 4.4.2… well now that there is an emergency roll out… 4.4.3 version won’t either. Continue reading →
Saturday Jessica Lyon, representing the Firestorm development team and support groups, spoke at the first Phoenix Hour since March 2012. This meeting was to announce the coming end of support for the Phoenix Viewer. That announcement could have been a sentence on the blog. So, why have a Phoenix Hour meeting to make the announcement?
Part of human nature is people having personality and beliefs. The nature of Jessica, the leader of the development team, is such that she is a volunteer. That says something, good I think, about Jessica. So, Jessica was doing her best to explain why they have chosen to end support for the Phoenix Viewer.
Today the Firestorm-Phoenix team held and office hour meeting. The primary announcement was that the team will stop providing support for the Phoenix Viewer on December 31, 2012. I suppose about midnight.
Most of the rest of the meeting was about explaining why. I’ll get to the reasons why in another post. I’ll stick to what is going to be happening here.
The Phoenix Viewer will be available for down for some time. In 2013 the download links for Phoenix will be removed from the main site. One can still find them in the PhoenixWiki. The actual date has not been decided.
The Phoenix Team is going to hold an Office Hour… an open meeting in-world and streamed to the web. The meeting in-world will be at the team’s region: Phoenix Firestorm Support. This link lands you at the door to the meeting hall. You can probably figure out that single landing point is going to be stacking avatars like pancakes the day of the meeting. So, here is an alternate: PhFsSupport. It is about 20m east of the official landing point. Turn 180 and you’ll see the building.
Phoenix Meeting Notice
The meeting will be Saturday at 1:30 PM SLT or PST… US West Coast time. The team is advising you get there 30 minutes early… Think about this. One region, one landing point, one entrance to the building… attending is going to be a problem.
On the 14th the Firestorm-Phoenix Team posted on their blog about the release of a beta version viewer. The Large Group Editing changes for the server side have been rolled out on the grid. This roll out creates a bit of a problem, but not really.
Once upon a time using the UDP protocol for Second Life was a good idea. Now that the devices that make up the Internet’s infrastructure are smarter and more HTTP aware the use of UDP for downloading large group member lists is not such a good idea. Also, the way users have decided to use groups has changed from what the Lab initially designed for. So, users are sending much larger data sets across the old UDP protocol used for the Group Member List download.
UDP packets can be lost and there is very little that can be done to recover them. For SL-users that means the user list of large groups often (usually) fails to load.
The new code now limits the list size to 10k or less for all UDP requests. For those using the SL Viewers and several Third Party Viewers (TPV) the limit makes almost no difference as they already had problems trying to edit lists over 10k.
There is an article by Hamlet, Future Phoenix Viewer Development in Peril?, that points to a post by one of the Phoenix-Firestorm developers, Tonya Souther. See: Viewer 1 is officially on borrowed time. The title says it pretty clearly. The writing is on the wall, Phoenix is a dying viewer with an expected near term death. While Hamlet focused on Phoenix, there are problems ahead for any V1 viewer. Well… actually any number of viewers brands.
I’ve gotten to use the new Firestorm viewer for a bit. I like the Firestorm default mode and have only been using that mode. It is nice. It is close enough to the Linden V3 interface I can find most things easily.
It has the debug settings for CameraOffsetRearView and FocusOffsetRearView, which I change on all my viewers to give a better camera position. See Camera Position Tips for more on that.
The performance of the viewer is faster than Linden viewers. I turned off Sun/Moon Shadows to get the skin color adjusted in my new N-Core Eloise ‘One Voice’ shoes. My FPS was hitting 40 in my apartment. Nice. My Core2 Quad and nVidia 560Ti are not as fast as I had hoped. But, this version of Firestorm is faster than the last.