Second Life

Viewer 2 Redux: Releasing the Obvious

Linden Lab is taking Viewer 2 up to 2.2, while in Amsterdam Catherine Linden is under a release of her own and is hunting down work in Europe. While most people outside of Second Life won’t particularly care about either of these things, it strikes me that the change, which was once fast and furious, is now slow, steady and sort-of sure. But we’ll see how things play out in the coming months.

Viewer 2.2
Its just over a month since Linden Lab announced Project Snowstorm, its open source project to bring viewer development under one stream (it was previously split between the main release and Snowglobe) and to act fast, make things easy and have fun doing it. Forget about the fact that filing JIRAs is hardly my idea of a good time.

Now, Tateru points out that the Snowstorm team has released a new version of the fabled Viewer 2 into the Beta Grid wilds, and within that month since the Lab went public with their plans, they accomplished an incredible feat: they completed stuff that’s stunningly obvious.

I mean – when did they launch the new viewer? A year ago or something? It feels like an eternity in any case, but it also feels as if it might be edging towards something that incorporates the blindingly clear: Second Life users have a pretty good bead on things that just make sense, and if the Lab can just implement some of them they can go along way towards moving the software from incredibly irritating to reasonably tolerable (with a line straight through to Fast, Easy and Fun!)

In any case, the main feature of the 2.2 release (which follows a bunch of patches this past month) is that the side panels (which most people hate but which I’ve, oddly, started to like) can now be un-docked.

Tateru summarized the main changes, but you really need to have a look at the release notes to get a sense of how much stuff seems to be jammed into this release.

* Sidebar Tabs can now be undocked and turned into regular floating windows.
* The buttons on the Bottom Bar can be reordered.
* Right-click on your avatar and select “Sit Down” to sit anywhere.
* Parcel property icons (found in the Location Bar) are now on by default.
* Selection beams are working again.
* Language translations in local chat (via Google Translate API).
* Group permissions now work via the Snapshot tool.
* Turn off scripted particles and lights.
* View profile inspectors via the Mini-map.
* Pan the mini-map with shift-drag.

Planar Textures
I’m particularly fond of the implementation of cross-prim planar textures. It will save hours on texture alignments and just, well, makes sense. Here’s a video:

The feature I’m not so sure about is the following:

“Snowstorm Sprint 2: As a User, I want the ability to double-click on the land I can see inworld and teleport to that spot so I can move around more quickly and easily.”

It feels like, hmm, a weird dislocation of the concept of geography but maybe I’m being picky.

Catherine Linden Moving On
Meanwhile, one of the last of the founding spirits of Second Life is “pursuing new opportunities”. Catherine Smith is no longer with Linden Lab and is actively seeking stuff to do in Amsterdam.

I mean – who’d want to come back to San Francisco anyways when you’re a few hours from Paris and all the rest of it.

I enjoyed getting to know Catherine and spending time with her. You couldn’t help feeling that she was a true guardian of that initial vision for SL and really did have the community’s interests at heart.

Actually, what I enjoyed more was when she’d get all huffy with me for posting something she wasn’t so keen on. Every now and then she’d send me a pretty ticked off e-mail (although she wasn’t offensive about it – more like a tsk tsk kind of thing) and I have to say, I admired that it wasn’t some sort of form letter response and was just genuinely being, um, displeased.

Best of luck to Catherine.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.