Archive for the ‘Viewer 2’ Tag

SL Viewer 2 — Love It or Hate It; Little In-Between

A fresh issue hath arisen on the Grid, and it doesn’t have anything to do with gambling, or banking (read:  gambling), or policy decisions by Linden Lab.

Or maybe it does have something to do with policy.  For the issue centers around the new Version 2 official viewer, which was formally made gamma a week or so ago.  Viewer 2 is now the main viewer new users are actively offered when they sign up for Second Life; I suspect Snowglobe, the Lab’s own “alternative viewer,” will go eventually in the same direction.  To my experience so far, the Residents are in two distinct camps:  they either enjoy Viewer 2, or they hate it and refuse to leave their Type 1 viewers.  There doesn’t appear to be much of a middle ground.

For my part, I haven’t found anything that terrible about Viewer 2 since the first beta.  The development team addressed many of my concerns with the original beta build, as listed in my first article on the subject and associated comments (particularly by T Linden), and most of my others are more pet peeves than real concerns, easily worked around.  My current primary concern:  Viewer 2 seems to not like “crowded” or “prim-busy” sims (the best way I can express it, not dependent on avatar presence) when you first teleport in.  I’ve tended — though not consistently — to crash out of Second Life after a serious period of lock-up as my computer thrashes with the situation.  A fresh login usually solves the problem, but it gets annoying.

However, in defense of Viewer 2, the official version 1.x viewer could do that at times as well, and even the so-lauded third-party viewers could have problems with such a situation, as well as their own glitches and idiosyncrasies.  Kirsten’s Shadowdraft, for instance, has a terrible problem with texture loading in my experience; and the last version of Emerald that I used was far slower than previous versions.  Out of recent alternative 1.x viewers, Snowglobe was the best I’ve used in recent days, believe it or not.

Overall, with respect to friends and fellow Residents, I believe this is rather the situation that was addressed once in the New Hacker’s Dictionary — known better to many as the Jargon File.  I can’t remember now which it was, but one of the definitions noted that people put a lot of emotional investment in their tools, even if the tools are mere objects and completely non-sentient.  The look and feel of the Second Life viewer was bound to change eventually; indeed, we should remember the private competition that was held sometime in the past year to year and a half, with a large prize in lindens offered for the best redesign of the 1.x viewer — meant, as I recall, to offer an easier experience to new users as much as anything.  Does the concept sound a little familiar?  Rather like what Linden Lab is now trying to do with Viewer 2…?

Give this new viewer a chance, says I.  Get used to its different layout and idiosyncracies, remember that most if not all of the keyboard shortcuts are still the same, and work with the Lab to encourage them — not “demand” that they “fix the damned thing.”  Such things prove more productive in the long run.

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