Thursday, June 16, 2011

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Latest Second Life Viewer Update Dramatically Improves My Second Life - How About You?

Once upon a time (by which I mean last week), Second Life's official viewer was beset by profound technical problems which weighed my nutsack down with a deep and abiding sadness. This is what it displayed, for example, 5 minutes after logging in, at SL's busiest location:

Second Life Lag Rez Fail 4

The Lindens released an update to the viewer this week, however, and I have to say, it is now dramatically better. Here's the very same place today, on the same settings and laptop, after 5 minutes of logging in:

Second Life Log in Win 1

And most of the avatars and the general location was rezzed in after the first two minutes. But can the new viewer handle my fairly mediocre DSL connection many minutes after? Here's what the old version from last week was like, 10 minutes after log-in:

Second Life Lag Rez Fail 5

Now here's what this week's version looks like, 10 minutes in:

Second Life Log in Win 2

As I say, a dramatic performance improvement. And I haven't even gotten to the sweet new features like shadows and depth-of-field, but you'll surely be seeing those in NWN screenshots soon. Second Life still has a long way to go before it's really ready for primetime, but at least for me, it's taken a dramatic step that way in under a month.

Of course, a common fallacy is to assume since my experience is better, that must be the case with everyone else. So do please share your own reactions to the new viewer below.


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Rusalka Writer

Excellent. I commented here and in the forums that the new Search viewer made my experience vastly better. Off to download this one. Whatever the last year's problems were, I think they're solving them.

Rusalka Writer

I have shadows on a MacBook Pro. I thought it would never happen.

Hitomi Tiponi

There were many server changes over the last week as well - with changes to improve group chat (yes, it is much better) also speeding up many things on the grid. Why not go back and download the 2.6.9 version from the Snowstorm builds (it won't require you to auto-update) and compare it immediately after using Viewer 2.7.1 to rule out any bandwidth/server/cache issues. As always some Viewer versions work on some machines better than others - but the mesh-based code of 2.7.1 does seem quite decent.

LL are progressively improving many features in the Grid and the Viewer - most of which are not reported.

P.S. Still no story on Firestorm yet?


I'd suggest verifying that the graphics settings on the viewers for the before and after shots are the same. One thing that I immediately noticed was the lack of Windlight clouds on the screen captures of the 2.7.1 viewer.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

I'll let you know after our VWER meeting today--should draw at least 30 folks. I never encountered the problems you reported last week (?) and I've been using Viewer 2.6x.

Carrie Lexington

i cannot log on with the new SL viewer. i downloaded it and when i go to open it, i get a while screen which i inevitably have to 'force quit' to get out of. i can use the SL development viewer, which is fast and great, but i don't understand why the beta viewer doesn't work.

i'm a Mac user.

jjccc coronet

Link for mesh viewer this one sorta works woohoo
antialiasing dont work though it crashes the viewer

Doreen Garrigus

I love it too, Hamlet. Isn't it beeeyooootiful?

Rusalka Writer

Another nice thing I notice is that the new viewer recognizes my video card and logs me in with my graphics settings on High. Usually I got the lowest possible settings with any major new viewer, with the accompanying noob messages with everything I did. With this one I actually backed down my draw distance to hide a neighbor's unattractive building and return my home's faux ocean view. I can tell they put a lot of effort into making this viewer work for those of us on laptops— even Macs! Just as I had been contemplating getting a desktop, SL suddenly works beautifully on a MacBook Pro.

Adeon Writer

Good to hear it, Hamlet. You aren't the only one to report improvements. I don't see a difference on my machine, so I'm thinking only certain PC configurations were being limited, and now the playing experience is more level.

Vanadis Falconer

Your place to log in to is a terrible place to start on. Myself I always log into an empty room. Then I start to search the inventory, i write for example "wet" "free" "car" boat" etc, this realy speeds up. The view you reach after 10 minutes takes me less then 2-3 minutes. Now I can tp anywhere and its a matter of seconds before the "new place" is fully loaded.
-Smart way to do things -it´s a womans way to do things :)

Arcadia Codesmith

I didn't notice any significant performance difference on my desktop system.

Couldn't get shadows working, but depth of field was fun to play with. I'd like to have more fine dynamic control over the feature... more like a high-end 35mm camera and less digital point-and-shoot.

Adeon Writer

@Vanadis: It's also the SnowCrash way of doing things. Traditionally, it was rude to log-in or out except in the privacy of one's own home. :)

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Had a great experience with the latest download.

To reduce lag, I had to dial graphics back to medium on my MacBook Pro--2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 8 GB Ram. Draw distance was set fairly high (I forgot to turn it down). I lost the shadows I had been seeing when I turned down graphics, but we had about 20 avatars present and there was not a gray soul in sight. Been a while since that happened. Everyone rezzed in after about 2 minutes.

Looks like LL is getting something right again. Might even be time to go driving the Linden roads.

Nice work.

Carlett Resident

Considering my physical location (Italy), a 7Mps connection speed (quite stable) and a good backbone towards San Francisco, I am impressed by the shadows and the faster rendering myself but the lag in resource-consuming locations remains on my iMac (mid 2010). Performance is much smoother and faster on a PC (Alienware Aurora).

As long as LL continues to port a Windows application to the Mac OS instead of writing one specifically for the Mac, we will continue to have the same problems. And have our graphic cards tested to the limit and broken after a while.

Besides, antialiasing does not work (even with shadows off) and I cannot get the fullscreen view I get on other browsers. For some reason, LL removed it from the releases of V2.

Shadows are definitely a plus for realism, but they come at a cost.

Not to mention that I find V2 GUI bothering.

Hanno Tietgens | Xon Emoto

Hamlet, last week, my V2 experience (on MacBook Pro) was a bit better than what you described, but actually, I had to use Phoenix to really rez that sim you tested and the crowd. This week, I started right out with what you call a 'sweet new feature', shadows.

SL had basically become just another window on my desk to work in (shared with so many other windows taking me into various OpenSims, Olive, Wonderland, Kitely, Unity etc etc). Now for the first time in a year or so, I took SL to full screen and wandered around, just for the fun of it.

Yes, it's a dramatic improvement. I'd compare the immersive effects to those I experienced at the launch of spatial voice and Windlight.

And know what I like best? This comes almost as a surprise, with little public noise and agitation on the sides of Linden Lab. Their communication is vastly improving, too. Becoming sort of ... humble, but effective ;)

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Well... for me it allocates all available RAM, slows to a crawl, and then crashes, just like the new Firestorm and Kirsten's client. I will be firing it up repeatedly, and perhaps after a few hundred dumps LL might do something... though OTOH, the thread on Kirsten's forum at includes a message from someone who says Soft Linden has officially said LL doesn't care whether the SL client runs on 64-bit Linux or not; bugs filed on the JIRA for 64-bit Linux issues will be ignored--so perhaps I've been thrown under the bus.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Hmmm... turning off all media at least slows the RAM grab down considerably. Streaming media on the (32-bit, all there is for the official client) Linux client notoriously doesn't work on 64-bit Linux (some say that you can install the 32-bit gstreamer libraries, but I must not be doing it right.) I have to wonder whether the client gets into some nasty loop that allocates RAM repeatedly in the presence of streaming media if it doesn't have the libraries it expects?

Ener Hax

nice on the screenshots - how was performance such as frame rate? did it feel about the same or better?

looks like a huge improvement! =)

Vanadis Falconer

Have a iMac myself, MacOs needs two things to work properly without overstress the card. 1) Clear cache before every start - MacOS security settings dont allow viewer to empty cache. 2) Enough empty space on the hard drive for "virtual memory" minimum -110-140 GB - check that with "Activity control". In general 30% of the harddrive must be empty for a Mac to work properly.
And I use Onyx to clear "divx-cache" at least once a month- on my blog(use Google-translation) I have several posts aboutto get a Mac work well together with Second Life.

Vanadis Falconer

And one more thing - shut of nametags! -They eat videocard and memory.

Carlett Resident

Thank you Vanadis! I will follow your suggestions, which I never tried.

Carlett Resident

Och vi ses i Second Life :)

shockwave yareach

I love the shadows, personally. And the drop in my FPS is nothing as bad as what friends have reported -- maybe a mere 20% loss.

The only negative I have is that the new viewer did something the previous viewer never did -- crashes after 2 hours of use. While it's nice to relive those 1.18 days, I've grown accustomed to remaining logged in long enough to get something done. I hope a bug fix comes out soon because I do like the shadows a lot.

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