Send this video to the hardcore gamers in your life who keep insisting Second Life graphics look last generation:
It's a demo of the latest version of KirstenLee Cinquetti's Shadowdraft viewer, S19, an open source spinoff of the SL viewer which renders the still-unsupported dynamic shadows of Second Life, and for my money, it shows an SL on par with, say, Aion. (Here's some in-game footage of Aion, for compare-and-contrast fun.) But the graphics aren't the only highlights in this build:
"S19 is up to and in sync with the Snowglobe trunk," Ms. Cinquetti tells me, "so it has all the features of the latest builds, it uses the new plug-in system, plays YouTube videos in profiles. Has the Google translator, double click teleport, and all that jazz. Even some Viewer 2.0 code lurking in there (stuff that has filtered down into the SVN)."
That said, watch the video closely for new juicy graphics features:
"At 1 minute mark, note how the shadow intensity changes based on camera position relative to the sun. The viewer also brings another unreleased render pipeline extra, mouseover glow to objects (was unfinished but now working properly as of build 378). The end of the vid was me just messing with the enviroment controls. Other than that, it's now quite a stable viewer, lots of [user] reports of logins of 6-9 hours, and of course shadows or not, it still has that magic rendering speed.
Where to get this version of Second Life for yourself? Here's a resource list for all things Shadowdraft. Just make sure you first have a 3D card with heavy ninja skills, and prepare for some cautious tinkering and tweaking.