« Cool Kickstarter: Word Realms MMO from Kingdom of Loathing Team -- Think WoW Meets Words With Friends | Main | SL Pathfinding a Potential "Tsunami" (If We're Not Prepared) »

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Metacam Oh

that also shows how little new users there are coming in, because you would assume someone would have to get familiar with SL for a little bit before they find out about the Phoenix/Firestorm project.


Newbies are unfortunately and hardly pushed to use Phoenix or Firestorm - and it's not a good thing.

Newbie sign in the first time - with LL-viewer, of course.
After 2 hours of dealing with 'tech' stuff in the viewer, learning it etc., newbie has a question about 'whatever'.

At this point, the answer from oldbies is too often "don't know, I'm using another viewer" or even worse "Oh you little noob, I see you use the LL viewer. Poor thing you, grow up an use an alternative viewer."

Charlie B.

I don't agree with your comment about LL having little control over how SL is used. Remember that the TPVs are all built on the LL Open Source codebase. Viewers like Exodus (which I rather like) utilizes much of the LL viewer and then tweaks it for a specific type of user.
My feeling was that the LL viewer should be looked at as a "reference" viewer, with the basic required functionality and as simple an experience as possible. TPVs would build off it. That was my plan anyway... :-)

Pussycat Catnap

Its a big mistake on the communities part to move off of the LL Viewer. It is superior on so many levels.

It lacks a few little wizbangs - but it has a solid UI, greater stability, greater rendering, higher FPS / less client-side lag, and so on.

New users often do get 'pushed' onto the troubled TPVs, and this push then leaves them in a confuddled and unsupported or spotty-supported state of affairs.

The TPVs are often years behind on many critical elements, while offering surface wizbang features; bells and whistles, that make them seem 'cutting edge' by pretending that nothing has changed with LLs in the areas where they are out of date.

With the changes to the TPV policy of late however, we will likely begin to see some standardization return to SL - and then it might matter less for people to be on TPVs when those TPVs are only slightly out of date and not putting in world-altering distractions.

The idea of abandoning the 'game client' to a third party that has different objective from the company and may not always act in the end-user's nor company's best interests is just bad advice.

If a notable number of users want to go with such a risky gesture - that's fine for them, but they need to start being more aware that they are in a buyer-beware status with SL as a result.

Shug Maitland

I agree with Charlie, essentially we all use the Linden viewer, as far as I know all third party viewers (except perhaps text viewers) are "tweaks" to it.
The Lab will always control the part of the viewer that interfaces with the servers. Third party developers have taken innovative steps to make the user interface part more friendly.
As for Bold & Innovative, I have 2 suggestions:
1- Develop some kind of "cloud" interface. A way to have an intermediary server do the heavy graphics lifting so that laptops and tablets can run Second Life. (Hamlet, you have touched on this in the past)
2- Begin work *now* (if you have not already) on Second Life II. Look back on the full implications of past decisions. Look forward to the technology 10 years from now. Maintain as much backward compatibility as is practical and throw the rest on the scrap heap. If LL does not do this, eventually someone else will. Our inventories will not hold us here forever.

Adeon Writer

I've seen a few residents who join up under word of mouth by a current resident - who is set up with Phoenix under their instruction, never to actually see LL's viewer. I've got a few on my Friends list in fact that are the case.

But certainly yes, the flow of new users that stick is low (SL has no problems with daily signups, it's just lacking in the retention of those signups.)

I've got to say the current official viewer isn't bad at all though - there's a few minor changes where if it had them, I'd stop using TPV's.

Kadah Coba

What surprises me about this corrected post is that Hamlet was surprised by this.
From what I've been told, Emerald peaked at around 30% -I'm guessing that was measured in agents, but it could have also been duration-, Viewer 1.2x was still the leader I believe.
About 3 months after the forking, Phoenix surpassed 50%, but the numbers from before that period were not very good -the stats system was replaced in November 2010-.
Viewer 2 never gained any substantial popularity, that much is public knowledge.

For the record, LL's viewer is unsupported by LL. If you have a free account, even inventory problems are unsupported. And ask any seller how Marketplace support is.
The sad fact is that Phoenix/Firestorm has more developers and more support personal than Linden Lab. :|

(ps. This blogware sucks. I can't post on FF because of an error thrown by typepad's server.)


Meh, to me this just means the third party viewer program is a success.

I don't use Firestorm due to any animosity towards the official viewer, I use it because its the official viewer + more stuff. Who wouldn't want more stuff?

The numbers aren't surprising nor sad, it means the TPV program is a success...for the 1% of us that both sign up for Second Life and can tolerate any viewer at all.

Ziki Questi

Hamlet, what's *really* disturbing in all this is that you the way in which you reported on Phoenix to begin with. You seem to have a love of throwing statistical numbers around willy-nilly, and then drawing broad conclusions about them without at least doing some basic fact checking, and that's just not good journalism.

Yes, most people do use Firestorm or Phoenix compared to the LL viewer, and that's probably not a huge surprise to people who are often inworld.

Ziki Questi

Addendum: But kudos to you for posting the update! :)

Kadah Coba

>Addendum: But kudos to you for posting the update! :)

^That. x3
The first post made me a sad cat, this one made up for it a bit. His 50k estimate based on nothing was just silly; I think it past 50k within the first couple days, but I'll never know because before my time with the team and before LL stats collection was working.

Little Lost Linden

What they really need to do is fix the water. We need it all 'real physics like'. I'm half temped to make a new virtual world where the water sparkles and waves all about. That's the virtual world I want to live in. Let's all go swimming since we are already drinking the kool-aide anyway.


When LL's viewer stopped running on OS X with any speed, I switched to Firestorm and never looked back.

So fix the LL viewer for more of us and we'll use it. Why is this so difficult to comprehend? We are using their world, after all. I'd just as soon use their product to view it, but it reeks on my system.

And I'm not buying another laptop for 2 years. If SL stops running, I'll stop using LL'd virtual world. I suspect I'm not alone in that feeling.

Kim Anubis

"As long as the grid keeps running, your existing userbase will not leave - they never have, even at the worst of times."

That would be an accurate statement even if they only had three masochistic users left. Funny!

elizabeth (16)

"even if they only had three masochistic users left. Funny!"

am wondering who the other person will be. me and anshe chung and..

maybe oz linden getting grumpy at me bc i am not using his viewer

and anshe getting grumpy at oz and telling him how my linden home is killing her land baron business

and me wondering if i can somehow get them to delete themselfs. so i will be the winner of the whole game

jejejejeeje (:

Casper Jideon

Delusional. LL should care more about the hundreds of content creators stuck between their legacy boxes and the new Direct Delivery system. If LL does not want to open-source the viewer anymore have the honesty to say so.

foneco zuzu

I can only say that when i 1st joined and knew about Sl, on a completely diff kind of forum, the advise there was, not only in locations i should go to get free stuff and so on but also in the viewer i should use (at that time, Emerald!)
On my 1st computer i used, i instaled once the v1.23 to be able to test the Rlv 1.
On this one, i didn't even bother to do so.
And if i have Firestorm and Singularity, Phoenix pre mesh and Imprudence osg beta and ragesdast installed at all times, i instlled at least once all the others Tpv but never a LL!
reason, i want LL to provide me a service and if it cant even assure me Crossing sims without crashes or solved bugs that last for years, i should i not use the viewers that are made with love for the 1 of a company that just wants to squeeze my pocket?

Moni Duettmann

After discussing V2 in fora for months and realizing that many many didn't like it, it was up to the Lindens to react. They didn't. The stubbornly clamped to their viewer and rejected all suggestions to change the most displeasing parts of it. Now reality has judged. The users have voted with their feet and have gone away from V2.


"As long as the grid keeps running, your existing userbase will not leave - they never have, even at the worst of times."

Yes Sir! That's exactly the attitude that has made The Lab, its Viewer and Second Life, what they are today.

Hitomi Tiponi

Well done for issuing this correctional post - even though most of us knew this. Maybe you should try using and comparing the top three viewers from your experienced user viewpoint.

I thin your premise for moving the official Viewer away from the core users is wrong though. The original basic/advanced viewer was rushed in and poorly thought out - but given some decent thought and just a bit of effort LL could produce a decent viewer along the basic/advanced model with simpler panels and functionality. Whether they decide to do that is another thing.

Orca Flotta

What viewer to use isn't a philosophical question or a political statement.

Chose the right tool for the job!

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Some of those "tweaks" are pretty significant, e.g. the in-client animation override in Firestorm (see http://gwynethllewelyn.net/2008/08/29/no-more-limits/3/ for just how insane a burden AOs are), or the way Kirsten's viewer was written for photographers/machinamists.

Ann Otoole InSL

There are so many easy wins Oz could incorporate. Like delete all scripts. But nobody will submit them to LL. So you see the main reason LL's viewer is not popular is because LL will simply not go TAKE the features people want. LL should be nasty and TAKE the good and drop the bad.

rodvik needs to tell Oz to start taking the good features from TPVs without asking regardless of ego.

LL ego is what is killing LL/SL.

shockwave yareach

Well, I'm using the V3 viewer. Found it to be stable, fast, and usable -- everything V2 was not.

The problem LL has today is that because of their attitudes regarding V2 (you'll use and you'll love it because we say so!), most users have migrated to other TPV by now. And those that have, aren't going to give V3 a try because they have zero reason to believe LL has actually fixed something or listened to what the customers wanted. Thus we have large numbers of people stuck in a V1 world and complaining that SL needs improvements -- improvements that are already in place with V3, if they could get over the hatred of LLViewers and give the latest a chance.

And while it is the users themselves at fault for refusing to upgrade to an up to date viewer, it is LL's fault also for paying so little attention to customer service and trying to force V2 on everyone that people steadfastly refuse to even consider LLViewers anymore. It is also LL's fault for permitting a balkanized system of viewers to exist in SL, where 3 people running 3 different viewers at 3 different Versions see three different things. What LL should do is state that in 3 months time, all server support for V1 and V2 will be cut off, so the TPV people have 3 months to get their viewers working with V3 protocols if they want to stay connected. That would reduce memory usage and code complexity in the servers, making them more stable (since they don't have to juggle who gets what protocol of data anymore).

Most TPV will become V3 quickly. A handful will not. And nobody is going to quit over it, especially when the LLViewerV3 can run on wussy laptops that even Snowglobe couldn't run on. If LL can convince all the people they torqued off so badly with the V2 debacle to give the LLViewer another try, that is.

Ajax Manatiso

I use Singularity because it is thge only viewer which always loads my entire inventory, all 47K plus items. And it rezzes faster than all the other viewers including the official view (in my own unofficial tests) so the odds of me using the official view is zero. But I do have tons of newbies coming into my sim asking where the music button is, how to switch from basic to advanced and strangely colliding with people constantly. Like a previous poster stated -- we'd like to help the newbies but have no idea how the official viewer works. And so the newbie gets frustrated and logs off to go play WOW

Pussycat Catnap

"I'm half temped to make a new virtual world where the water sparkles and waves all about."

Funny, it does that for me in SL.

What viewer are you on? :)

I'm on viewer 3, and I turn up the water settings.

Try working with water windlight settings.

I have an AO with a swim animation too, so when I hit the water and hit 'fly' - I start swimming.

- This is my only complaint, that should happen even with walk. It gets odd when you enter a no-fly water sim...

(I passed on buying a mainland lot recently because it sim bordered a water estate lot that had fly off... All nice and playing mermaid in the lot I was about to buy, until I eased over the sim border and fell like a rock...

- I'll need to see if there's an AO solution to this, or just turn on the over-ride of flight disabling.

But as far as water effects: the official viewer is pretty amazing there.

Hitomi Tiponi

@Ann - most TPV developers are more than happy to have LL use their features and many have submitted them to LL in the past (and I have offerred and given details to Oz of my changes in my reskinning). But I respect that it is Linden Lab's viewer and it is their choice as to what features they incorporate, but you will see some TPV features entering the official viewer soon. LL have limited resources and fully testing a TPV mod does take some effort, and to be fair they have been doing a LOT of bug fixing recently, which also helps the TPV developers.

Pussycat Catnap

"When LL's viewer stopped running on OS X with any speed, I switched to Firestorm and never looked back."

I have to wonder what version of OSX you're on. I'm on an iMac from 2011, on OSX 10.7 (the new one) and use official Viewer 3. This morning in a sim with 68 people (89 by the time I left) - London City. I turned on all the effects: shadows, depth of field, etc... and ran around like a Mad Bunny on my alt, then took a photo (on my flickr and the forums, and my.secondlife.com/bunny.gearz ).
- At 20fps with that crowd and that stuff on. 30 fps when I turned off the effects.

So I would say it works great in at least the current version of OSX and a recent-model Mac.

"After discussing V2 in fora for months and realizing that many many didn't like it, it was up to the Lindens to react. They didn't"

They did. The result if called V3. Almost anyone who has tried it can see its very different from V2. Most find it an improvement. So much so that now, most TPVs are based off it, whereas in the V2 days, the TPVs were largely holding back and staying on V1.

Its fine to not like the official viewer, but get your facts past 2010 if you're going to make an argument over why. I'm sure there are plenty of arguments to make against V3, but this is not one of them.


"Delusional. LL should care more about the hundreds of content creators stuck between their legacy boxes and the new Direct Delivery system."

Unrelated tot his blog article - but Hamlet, if you don't have me on ignore, I'd LOVE to see your take on this. This is an issue that frightens the heck out of a lot of merchants - what will happen if they switch off the boxes before the bugs on direct are fixed? Small timers and wannabes like me are lost on what to do with our tiny shops. The big merchants must be in a state of sheer agony over it.

"rodvik needs to tell Oz to start taking the good features from TPVs without asking regardless of ego."

Its not about ego but about quality control and coding consistency. They need to ensure the code is clean, written in the write style, properly documented, and using the right algorithms.

This is why multi-attach took so long. Emerald's solution was a very bad methodology. I do not know if the code was up to standard - but the alorithms, doing it with an XML hack to the points, was the wrong way in terms of consistency. So LLs needed to find a way to do it that was better with the system.

Clean code may not be fastly coded... but its why I can get 40fps on V3... 30fps in a sim with 80+ people...

"It is also LL's fault for permitting a balkanized system of viewers to exist in SL, where 3 people running 3 different viewers at 3 different Versions see three different things."

This is why that new TPV polict came out a few months ago. To shift things back to a standard. The result seems to be working. The Phoenix/Firestorm team seems to have put increased vigor into Firestorm, and have been letting their users know that Phoenix may or may not work in future - all depending on 'things out of their control', so that users know its time to start moving out of 2009.

Even this blog noted - the trendline for Phoenix is going down, and that for Firestorm up.

Firestorm essentially is V3, but with a toggle to go pink (according to the accidental video from the other day). :)

Pussycat Catnap

"how to switch from basic to advanced and strangely colliding with people constantly."

There hasn't been a Basic Mode in SL since sometime in early 2011.

Ann Otoole InSL

@pussycat 80 avatars in an LL region? hahahahah BS

Pussycat Catnap

Go there yourself. Put "London City" on map. Then eat your BS.

Its an estate sim.

Pussycat Catnap

Better yet Ann.

The feed from my alt's image where I took the pic has a SLURL. You can't fake feed posts that I know...

Try not to be an idiot when trying to call someone out as lying. Make sure they aren't right first.

Pussycat Catnap

A step further... look at the posts from Hamlet for months now on the most popular sims. London City is often way up there. #2 on the last one, with an -AVERAGE- of 65 avatars in the region.

That's why I was there. Wanted to see some of these "most popular places in SL" that I've never been to.

It looks kind of like a cross between an infoHub and a mall, but privately run. Not sure what the appeal is - but infoHubs are very popular places. And it did have two active helpers while I was there.

So I'm going to work my way around those lists Hamlet's been posting and see if I can find the appeal in them, or if that's just a different crowd from me.


It'd be nice if there were clearly defined categories for viewers so that people could both create viewers to fit niches and choose the best viewer for their needs. For instance, Low-Spec Viewer, Machinima Viewer, Mid-Spec Viewer, Bells&Whistles Viewer, and so on.


Okay, Pussycat, I'll give V3 another go. I'm not on 10.7 yet (the university rolls out our upgrades). But maybe a fresh install and a fresh attitude will make me love a Linden viewer again. We'll see.


I guess I'm one of the thirty percent who uses the official LL viewer. I enjoyed Viewer 2. I think Viewer 3 makes better use of screen real estate, though I miss having the task bar on the right. That's where my task bar lives in Windows.

What I find curious is that Phoenix (and Singularity which I used last winter. It felt like exile!) is based on Viewer 1.2x. That means a large proportion of the population (NOT Firestorm users), is not up to Viewer 2/3 yet, though they are not mesh blind as I was.

I am actually quite impressed with Viewer 3 for another reason. In December I got locked out of the Linden Lab's viewer because the mesh compliant Linden Lab's viewer crashed my computer. I complained in a Jira (It was not my Jira. I just commented on it), and some time in January Linden Labs fixed the problem. I was too frustrated to try a Linden Labs viewer but in March I tried Viewer 3.3beta on a lark. What a surprise! Someone had not only listened to customers but also had done a tremendous amount of technical work for us so we did not have to upgrade our machines or use a second choice (for me) viewer.

Kadah Coba

>>"After discussing V2 in fora for months and realizing that many many didn't like it, it was up to the Lindens to react. They didn't"
>“They did. The result if called V3. Almost anyone who has tried it can see its very different from V2. Most find it an improvement. So much so that now, most TPVs are based off it, whereas in the V2 days, the TPVs were largely holding back and staying on V1.”
We started working on FS the same month Phoenix was forked with a new dev team, but it took a long time to have anything done to actually show.
>“Its fine to not like the official viewer, but get your facts past 2010 if you're going to make an argument over why. I'm sure there are plenty of arguments to make against V3, but this is not one of them.”
Despite everything LL has changed, removed, or added from viewer 2, then later 3, -including mesh-, it has had next to no affect on its usage.

>“Its not about ego but about quality control and coding consistency. They need to ensure the code is clean, written in the write style, properly documented, and using the right algorithms.”

Nearly all of the viewer source code doesn't conform to LL's current code standards, and a lot of the newer code going in doesn't either.



>>"how to switch from basic to advanced and strangely colliding with people constantly."
>“There hasn't been a Basic Mode in SL since sometime in early 2011.”
That's partly true, LL merged basic and advanced modes in to something new mid 2011.


>“I guess I'm one of the thirty percent who uses the official LL viewer.”

You're not even close. :P

>“What I find curious is that Phoenix (and Singularity which I used last winter. It felt like exile!) is based on Viewer 1.2x. That means a large proportion of the population (NOT Firestorm users), is not up to Viewer 2/3 yet, though they are not mesh blind as I was.”

Both of those viewers are based on 1.5 with a whole lot of viewer 2 and 3 code. Imprudence is mostly 1.4 based to my knowledge. There are no current TPVs based off 1.2x.

Tonya Souther

By the way, just for people's reference, the current version of Firestorm, 4.0.1, is based on Linden Lab's Viewer 3.2.2, and the next one, 4.1.1, will be based on Linden Lab's version 3.3.1.

Desmond Shang

I'm a fairly big fan of the latest viewer (V3) but... sadly can't use it most of the time.

Why? One stupid reason. Profiles don't load quickly. I need to do business; slow loading profiles are a dealbreaker. "Ah, sure, wait while I try to load your profile four times in ten minutes"... no. Just no.

Might be a bug on my end, I don't know. Poked around and can't find it. Nobody cares if I can see mesh or not. They care if I can communicate with them effectively. As such... I'm stuck on 1.23.

Hoping this issue shakes out. Doubt my Alienware Aurora with Eyefinity and my really decent 20 to 30mbps and low latency are a problem here... if those are a problem, good luck to everyone else. Not about to start chasing Jira's over it.

Kadah Coba

@Desmond, that's not just you, I get the same thing and I get 20mbps and 10-15ms to either of LL's data centers.
I've heard countless complaints of slowness ever since web profiles went live a year ago.

Stone Semyorka

This is such a Ford vs. Chevy kind of argument. It's hard to convert someone else's choir. I have been using LL v.3 successfully from its first appearance and I'm bringing nearly a hundred new students a year into SL for my various classes here. They have very few problems learning the viewer quickly and getting on with their work. Since they don't carry around the old baggage from v.1, v.2, Emerald, etc. in their heads, things go quite smoothly for them.

Aeonix Aeon

I hear a lot about how new users are "pushed hard" to use a TPV like Phoenix or Firestorm, as if it's some sort of unprovoked bias against the main viewer. I'd like to set that record straight with my own personal story -

It starts with my own mother (real life), who uses Second Life as well as myself, and when she first began, I *really* wanted her to experience SL from the point of official viewer and all that jazz, giving Linden Lab all the benefit of the doubt. Being a Firestorm user myself, I was against just pushing my own choices on her and wanted her to give things a go on her own.

After loading the latest official viewer from Linden Lab onto her laptop, which is effectively no different than mine, she was greeted with a horribly broken experience.

We're not talking about some minor things here, either. I could have handled that and helped her along. What I'm speaking of is that all of Second Life was rendered in BRIGHT PINK to her. No textures... just BRIGHT MAGENTA AND PINK.

I even tried a cache clear, a reboot, and a clean reinstall to no effect. The official viewer was simply broken for her, which was a horrible first impression. I could have searched through the JIRA for an answer, but look at this from a new user experience - they wouldn't know or bother to do that.

After much hand wringing, I gave up and installed Firestorm on her laptop and uninstalled the official viewer. Firestorm has worked near flawlessly for her since.

So here's the deal - the reason the existing user base pushes Phoenix and Firestorm and other TPVs on newbies is because it's for their own good. It's something that most newbies will come to understand on their own over time, and as good Samaritans, we're trying to help them get the most out of Second Life by attempting to show it in the best possible light.

The reason Phoenix and Firestorm have such a commanding lead over the official Viewer isn't because of some marketing blitz, or because we run around as a community pushing it on newbies like a drug at a party or as a bunch of cult members, it's simply because it's *better* than the main viewer on most accounts (and I'm throwing Linden Lab a bone here by saying most)

Instead of shunning or trying to control the TPVs and make them fall in line with what Linden Lab wants, they need to get their s**t together and understand that the best asset they have isn't on a server farm somewhere but the community itself. Take a hint from the majority of their userbase for what they want to see in this viewer and virtual environment experience and be willing to follow *their* lead instead of trying to force the majority to follow Linden Lab's lead.

The new user experience does not need a separate viewer. The existing viewer needs to take a calculated and logical look at how the interface and hand-holding experience is presented and actually *present it* in a manner that new users will immediately comprehend. This means a New User Mode and an Advanced User Mode - something like I've suggested in the JIRA already a few years back wherein the Advanced User Mode is enabled when the Advanced Menu is activated (or at least a popup saying "You have enabled the Advanced Menu which allows for Power user options. Would you like to also switch to the Advanced Interface when you log in again? [Yes] [No]

If they choose [No] then have it say "Advanced Interface will not be enabled at this time, however you may enable the advanced interface later by selecting Advanced -> Enable Advanced Interface at a later time"

What should the New User Interface look like? It should be overly simplistic and stripped down. We're talking ultimate hand-holding experience here and close to Fischer-Price mode. Think essentially the Skylight viewer mode. Most of that stuff we do today in there is absolutely pointless to throw at the new user (like building options). Less is more in this mode, and a heart-warming and comfortable interactive walkthrough for all the functions and features should be built in. Imagine the first area that is loaded for a New User isn't on a server region, but a local area HOME that is a built-in local tutorial space. Nobody else wandering around in this little local area, just the New User in a space that allows them to become comfortable with the basics before wandering onto the grid in a live fashion.

This is how you fix the experience. The local tutorial world ends with: "When you have mastered the basics of your Second Life experience, we encourage you to enable the Advanced Menu. The Advanced menu will allow you to add further abilities to your viewer such as Building and the Advanced Interface. You can take this tutorial again at any time by visiting the Tutorial Space in your Teleport List."

Problem. Solved.

It's not my problem if Linden Lab cannot see the blatantly obvious writing on the wall and take appropriate action to rectify the situation. Such far, all they seem to be doing is blatantly violating every causality of metaphor shear - and I can speak from experience on this subject, so I'm not just some random pissed off blogger venting about how Linden Lab is evil.

Linden Lab isn't evil at all. They just monumentally fail to comprehend the ecosystem domain they are "masters" of. I'd almost rather they *were* evil at this point.

Deoridhe Quandry

What I'm speaking of is that all of Second Life was rendered in BRIGHT PINK to her. No textures... just BRIGHT MAGENTA AND PINK.

That error actually hit Firestorm as well briefly, before the latest release. I logged into the official Firestorm/Phoenix support group, asked, and got handed a notecard on how to fix it - which I keep handy just in case I hear about someone else with the error. In the wake of that, I checked out the Firestorm wiki - which has a whole troubleshooting section with various errors described well (things like "black screen" and "why am I lagging"), and ended up easily configuring my system so that the browser ran faster. I just tried to find "troubleshooting" on the Linden webpage; there are nine articles, one is on viewer performance, and it doesn't address 90% of the viewer issues I've had.

I know if I have viewer problems I can go into a chat and get help almost immediately. If I contact SL through the ticket system, it will take several days and there's a 50% chance they won't have read what I said, and so tell me to repeat doing things that I've already done as a "fix."

Honestly, it's a no-brainer for me.

foneco zuzu

V1 viewers that are not mesh are by far the 1 that give sharper and detailed images, if you use a good monitor and a good computer!
Reason, Mesh code capped the anisotropic filtering to 4x and does not let any graphic card menu override it, there are several Jira's about this!
So yes, V3 viewers can run at higer Fps, at a cost, worse image quality!
Perhaps if you use a laptop, or minimal or even high settings but you have a good sight you will not notice or it will not matter!
For me is the difference in being in World of moving to real graphic jewels that let SL miles away!
So far, using pre mesh viewer, allows me to be on SL!
One more choice to be taken away from users (Shinny lil stupid users, all the same, all seeing the same, all connected the same, all on the same, a dictator's dream made true!)and one less premium memberhip!

Archangel Mortenwold

Phoenix Viewer's numbers are probably the highest, but I doubt that the number of users switching over to the poorly designed and glitchy Firestorm is rising. More likely it's stagnant or declining along with Linden lab's official viewer.

Singularity is another good viewer, as it keeps the version 1.23/1.5 graphic user interface while implementing such features as mesh. Meanwhile, the phoenix development team's attitude toward any and all who point out bugs in Firestorm or reveal a preference for Phoenix viewer ends up turning people off.

Metacam Oh

well hey, Linden Lab knows best! Even if no one on staff logs in or uses the product!! they know best!!!

Archangel Mortenwold

Oh, and Aeonix, a large number of Phoenix users are being pressured to give up the working viewer in favor of Firestorm, which has about as much usability as the default SL viewer — especially to those of us who signed up before 2010. I use phoenix as my default viewer, switching occasionally to Singularity, and but for the occasional crash from things like chat-induced lag, region-based lag, and massive amounts of scripts and sculpts and meshes, not to mention high avatr traffic (in other words, the usual), they work perfectly fine.

Having tried to use Firestorm, I can tell you right now that it simply is an inferior viewer, designed to mimic the official SL viewer with successive versions only getting worse or offering only cosmetic GUI changes instead of addressing viewer functionality. If Firestorm starts up successfully at all on ym brand new computer, it crashes within minutes if not seconds, the frame rate is ridiculously bad compared to Phoenix/Singularity, and the endless menu-pop-ups and the necessity of having to manually un-anchor everything just to return to some semblance of functionality just makes it not worth it.

The worst part is the elitist attitude Firestorm users tend to express when met by Phoenix/Singularity/Cool VL-users, as though somehow we're 'children" that need to "grow up" and get "big person" viewers.

Kadah Coba

>"Phoenix Viewer's numbers are probably the highest, but I doubt that the number of users switching over to the poorly designed and glitchy Firestorm is rising. More likely it's stagnant or declining along with Linden lab's official viewer."

They are getting close to even actually. FS's growth appears (to me anyway) to be independent of the small decline in usage on Phoe. FS has shown constant growth in usage from week to week since release and this amount like 5x of what Phoe's dropped in that period.

Tonya Souther

Archangel, have you tried Firestorm 4 in Phoenix mode? It uses the LL viewer's FUI to implement a user interface that's *very* close to Phoenix.

Phoenix may well work now. It will not work forever, and not because of anything we do.


"Poorly designed and glitchy"... mmkay.

Funny, practically everyone I know uses Firestorm, and this is not how they refer to it(once they take the time to learn to use it). I know a couple of hold-outs who readily admit they are too lazy to either learn a new interface or go through the trouble of converting the newest update from it's default settings to full V1-style UI. I personally am pretty happy with the hybrid version that I've been using since I first started with Firestorm last year. For the record, I have been around since 2007(and have many friends around that age and older, still in-world), so the idea that "oldbies" won't convert is just silly- they are nearly all on Firestorm. I know a person or two whose machine is so out of date they can only run V1 style viewers... and they have the grace to admit this is their own fault and not blame technology for daring to move on and leave them behind.

The simple fact of the matter is that computer tech is generally obsolete within 18mo of release- and this is being generous. This is not to say that one must buy a new machine every other year(those of you who don't build your own... which I HIGHLY recommend), but that there will be improvements available. If you go 2+ years without taking advantage of any of these- whether because of inability or unwillingness- you will naturally have increasing difficulty with newer software. This is not something mean companies like LL are doing to you to make you spend money, this is just the way things are. Imagine if you had one of the original smart phones still and were trying to use new apps, or trying to play PS3 games on a PS1(yes, I understand this is impossible, spare me) xD muddled and overly simplistic comparison, but not entirely inaccurate. If you haven't purchased/upgraded your machine in the last couple of years, you should probably stfu about client-side lag and limited graphics capability. This is on you.

I will admit that I have never tried V3, but I just don't see any reason to. I took a long hiatus from SL that ended about a year ago; prior to leaving, I was using the Emerald viewer. When I came back and discovered Emerald had been done away with, I dl'd V2... and was literally horrified the first time I logged in. The whole interface was completely foreign. I spent less than 5 minutes fiddling with it and googled "Second Life viewer most like Emerald" which led me to the Pheonix team... and I'm with them to stay. I have *never* had my jiras or "bug complaints" ignored or treated badly. There are ignorant trolls in the inworld support group like any other, but the helpful people will generally IM to get around it if you're in there and having difficulty. Surely we're not judging the Pheonix team by it's trolls- if you are, I prescribe immediate disconnection from the internet until such a time as your head can be extricated from your rectum.

If the intolerance to complaints being referred to is less about trolling and more about the blog, let me put it this way- those people do masses of work, for nothing, and endure constant whining from ignorant, selfish users who have no idea what goes into coding a viewer and only WANT WANT WANT... and behind their screens are very brave about how they disrespect people. Imagine doing volunteer work under nearly constant abuse from the people you're helping. Would you constantly be Mary-fucking-Poppins? I recently made a Jira for Firestorm; I was experiencing an error on the newest update that gave me a pop-up instructing that I contact support. Being in a hurry, and annoyed by my inability to teleport, I made it without searching for previous ones(BAD BAD ME, I know!). I received a reply within 24 hours informing me that it was a known issue, linking me to the original Jira, and offering some polite explanation along with it. To reply to someone who created more work for you by their own laziness in such a way *when your job doesn't depend on it* is not the mark of an intolerant team unwilling to listen to or help.

To me, the difference between a TPV and a LL viewer is as simple as this- tpvs are made by users for users. They're not paid, they're not out to; they do it out of love of creating things and ostensibly of SL. LL is a business and their decisions reflect that. Ultimately, they will compromise the experience of users they're not worried about losing in pursuit of money. SL is going to be glitchy and buggy on any viewer; I'll support the one that's interested in giving me what I want in a viewer. You can dismiss those extra features as "bells and whistles" but to the people who like/use them, they're important. It's sad that we were forced to lose any that weren't hurting anything; it was much easier to help new people, for instance, when you could see what viewer people were on. Did anyone really feel like their privacy was invaded by that? *shrug* At any rate, the whole argument boils down to personal taste, so I'm not worried if I didn't change any minds.


@Archangel - post your specs. "Brand new computer" means nothing... new =/= gaming. If you run V1 better that V3 based code, either your settings are out of whack or your machine is likely running integrated graphics(if it's brand new). I have a midish range custom pc slightly overclocked. None of my parts are newest generation(probably not even last) or high-end. I got an immediate performance boost when I switched to Firestorm- like double the fps. However, when I had an AMD gpu, I did have a driver conflict issue with Firestorm in beta before I switched back to Nvidia. I constantly crashed and would get an error message that my drivers had failed; ended up having to go back a few updates until I found a stable one.

The point of all that semi-techy babble is that just because Firestorm works badly on YOUR machine, doesn't mean there's actually anything wrong with it. You can take two machines with identical hardware and OS and they might not necessarily run the same software the same way. I swear, computers are almost as unique as people and seem to have personalities to me sometimes xD I'm gonna shut up before the nerd gets all the way out of her cage. Point being; try not to throw around words like "inferior" so lightly. It makes you sound like a douchebag.

Archangel Mortenwold

There is no "Phoenix Mode" on Firestorm, Tonya. What you're describing is effectively merely a classic-stylr skin for the V2-V3 user interface, which doesn't actually alter the functionality of the viewer. If you put half as much time into developing a stable viewer as you do lying to people, you'd have a lot fewer complaints on the Phoenix viewer blog.

Archangel Mortenwold

Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) II X2 260 Processor

Memory (RAM): 4.00 GB

Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series

Gaming Graphics: 2815 MB Total available graphics memory

System type: 64-bit operating system

Number of processor cores: 2

This machine is the same kind and specs as that used by the friend who put mine together for me. It runs on a terabyte hard drive on a Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit operating system. It is a year and a half old.

Someone on the Phoenix blog was kind enough to post screen captures comparing the poor performance of Firestorm to the better performance of Phoenix. The comparison shows that Firestorm is a resource hog that has an inferior frame rate compared to Phoenix.

As is evident in the screen captures, Firestorm just eats up a computer's resources. Phoenix and other viewers that still use the V1 GUI, such as Singularity and Cool VL, offer better, faster performance. It has to do with the programming of V2-V3. Linden Lab outsourced its new viewer to a foreign company that didn't understand the software it was tasked with creating a viewer for, and the result has been a rise in the number of third party viewers to the point where Linden lab's own default viewer became a minority among users.

Tonya Souther

1) You obviously haven't *tried* Phoenix mode on Firestorm 4. Zi Ree will be very unhappy to learn that all of the code she wrote to give things V1-style behavior just makes it all act like V3.

2) Firestorm runs *faster* on my system than Phoenix. Not a lot, but it's certainly no slower. In short, performance varies from one system to the next even with the same programs. Your statement may well be true on *your system* in *your use* with *you settings*, but it's far from universally true.

You really should quit slamming Firestorm until you've tried the current version.

Oh, and go buy some more RAM. 4 GB is marginal for any SL viewer on Windows 7, in the experience of our support team.

Tonya Souther

And as for complaints on the Phoenix viewer blog...if those folks actually went somewhere that would be able to help - the Phoenix/Firestorm Viewer Support group inworld - they might find that their problems are addressed. We explicitly tell people, over and over, that complaining on the blog won't get their problems fixed. Some folks just refuse to listen.

So no, I'm not lying to anyone. The answer doesn't change just because you don't like it. I put the truth out there, and people can either understand it or not.


I wonder if it's more to do with the technical aspect of the viewer builds or if it is all just a hype and marketing war. There are builds and places I'd have 15 fps and builds and places with them I'd have 80 fps.

I mean, I recall long ago on the forums there would always be a phoenix/firestorm advocate religiously bashing around about LL and then there would be another person countering that and either defending the viewer or counter-bashing the TPV.

It's pretty much the same here by the looks of it. Everyone has different experiences and each might be right in their environment. Things get iffy when we're pushing our lazy comfort zones on each other.

What I do know is that, whenever I have trouble with a TPV, I clean it all off my system and I go back to the Official LL client. I know that the Official LL client, usually works, and I started with it in the first place. TPV's I explore later after long periods of time.

I start with the stable release and when all seems well, I might try either the Beta or the Development and see if that seems stable enough.

It's gone through cycles of poor, decent and awesome frame rate performance, on my hardware (I stress) and so have the TPV's.

Sometimes it's not even the viewers fault (we're in a user-content environment that is very lax on how many textured triangles you can place in the camera view - and it even tries to optimise that in some way, though not others).

Eventually I'll go back to seeing what the TPV's have done with their builds, find one that seems comfortable and stick with it until I have an issue.

I'm not going to keep up with all the TPV release cycles, even if they try and release faster than the Lab. There is a sweet spot with release speed and too fast has its own negative implications, but too slow means current problems are around a long time. I don't care what version numbers a TPV uses and how different they seem to be from LL's versioning choice, it's all relative crap on a users end and means more on it's own local turf.

I went from LL to Firestorm to LL to Exodus to NiranV. I'm staying on NiranV for a while. I might go back to LL. I might try Firestorm again, eventually. I haven't tried it since the RC because it left a bad taste in my mouth with the UI, but that was my personal comfort. NiranV earlier builds before the one I'm trying, also left a bad taste with the UI but the more recent, 'major major major' fixes however they described it - build was a pleasant change. And that's not counting the time I had a fling with a few other TPVs.

I like the LL viewer though, it's comfortable and the same branding markets it. I'd always go back to it more easily than the TPV.

If some of us had our way, there wouldn't be TPV programs.

These days, I just care if the viewer works and works well. If there is something in there that doesn't work, I start to not like it quickly. We don't need a lot of posturing with all these different developers and developer teams - we just need them to make awesome programs that work well.

Graceful code for a graceful experience is all a user needs. The popularity games and to and fro though, is wasting more energy than necessary.

After all, shit on a stick is still shit on a stick, even if it smells just a tad less. Relativity is great.

I use Firestorm, when I feel it's worth my time to use Firestorm, not because someone told me I should use Firestom so I'd use it because someone else uses it, but because at the time it works well enough for what I want.

Same with the LL viewer.

Tonya Souther

Adromaw, that's great. Everyone should use the viewer that works best for them. If that's the LL viewer for you, then have fun with it.

I would not be in SL right now if it weren't for TPVs, specifically the RLV. If LL outlaws TPVs - something I see as extremely unlikely - then lots of people will leave. I'll be gone, because a big part of what makes SL interesting for me is RLV.

Practically speaking, there's no stuffing the TPV genie back in the bottle. LL would have to make an incompatible change to the protocol *and* close the source of the official viewer at the same time. That would cause lots of problems for existing users.


You're right Tonya, and some day I might actually make use of and explore the RLV feature set, though I don't at the moment. And it is true that I won't be able to if they all were to be canned, so to speak.

So hopefully, more effort will be put into TPV's where that effort counts and hopefully TPV releases will be more reliable across larger numbers of users still.

We all want hardware support like a boss and just about every viewer has had experimental code for years, required restarts likely from design and an inherent need to restart the application to reconnect.

And yet a lot of energy and time is spent on arguing on the UI and what tweeks to make as if it was death or glory.

I'd rather just have developers do the best for us all. Instead of getting tied up in circles.

Aliasi Stonebender

There's a lot of little TPV features I rely on myself, like the viewer AO in Firestorm, comprehensive radar, and so forth.

To be honest, I don't see it as a bad thing. I mean, Linden Lab has scaled back on this a bit, but the viewer is in some ways the least important thing for them to be concerned about. (I can hear Hamlet protesting already! :) ) That is, there's no Central Web Cabal that mandates an Official Web Browser for all the Internet to use - there are mandated STANDARDS. We were getting very close to that point once upon a time with Second Life, between OpenSim and hypergrid teleportation and so on.

LL's crew is generally made up of people who might find SL a fascinating bit of technology, but very few of them seem to actually use it beyond the sandbox hermit level. Exceptions exist, but this isn't an ideal way to keep a pulse on what needs to be in client-side software. The TPV teams are made of people who use SL and thought "hey, wouldn't it be great if I could do...?"

Even the 'let's radically redesign it for the newb!' idea kind of fails here. Who has a better idea of what a new resident goes through: A Linden coder, or a SL resident who is a coder and, say, is also a New Citizens Inc volunteer?

Kadah Coba


If it doesn't work well for you, why don't you just use a different viewer? I'm lost.

As far as the HD 4600 goes, I have just over 150,000 data samples on that GPU for December. Phonix had an average FPS of 19.73 across the whole session, FS was 18.58.
For Win7x64, I have over 4.7 million data samples which show Phoe with an session average FPS of 17.92 and FS with 21.46.
I don't have more granular data, but suspect it's something with your config. ATI/AMD have really shit drivers, trying different driver versions would likely have a noticeable effect.
I personally have never used an ATI for SL again after the last gaming laptop I bought.


Kadah Coba

I really hate this blogware (preview does not mean post you stupid piece of junk). Here's the pretty picture I was trying to figure out how to tag properly. :/

Archangel Mortenwold

Having actually tried the latest edition of Firestorm, I can safely say that its GUI is nothing more than V3 with the option of having the classic-style default skin. Otherwise its functionality is the same unworkable type it's been from its inception.

And again, as pointed out before, the specs on Firestorm clearly show it to be a resource hog that crashes even on higher-end computers. Simply put, it's a badly designed and programmed viewer no matter how one cuts it.

Hamlet Au

"I really hate this blogware"

Believe me, I feel your pain!

Tonya Souther

Archangel, I'll have to tell Zi she failed in her attempts to make Firestorm 4 act like Phoenix.

And Kadah's numbers show that your experience is atypical.

Use Phoenix all you want. I'm going to keep concentrating my efforts on Firestorm, and one day, Phoenix will become unusable for you because some feature it depends on for what you use it for has gone away at Linden Lab's end - and you'll be up a creek. What will you do then?


I'm a long user of 1st Emerald, Phoenix and Firestrom and now moving to LL viewer.

The reason is that Phoenix and Firestorm were never really good with music, voice or movies, and that I am fed up loosing time trying to have music in clubs with Phoenix & Firestorm. The quality of these 2 viewers is not coherent, somethings good & some bad.

Another bug with firestorm is crashing when importing pics. Nothing improves with updates.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Making a Metaverse That Matters Wagner James Au ad
Please buy my book!
Thumb Wagner James Au Metaverse book
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
Wagner James Au Patreon
Equimake 3D virtual world web real time creation
Bad-Unicorn SL builds holdables HUD
Dutchie Evergreen Slideshow 2024
Juicybomb_EEP ad
My book on Goodreads!
Wagner James Au AAE Speakers Metaverse
Request me as a speaker!
Making of Second Life 20th anniversary Wagner James Au Thumb
PC for SL
Recommended PC for SL
Macbook Second Life
Recommended Mac for SL

Classic New World Notes stories:

Woman With Parkinson's Reports Significant Physical Recovery After Using Second Life - Academics Researching (2013)

We're Not Ready For An Era Where People Prefer Virtual Experiences To Real Ones -- But That Era Seems To Be Here (2012)

Sander's Villa: The Man Who Gave His Father A Second Life (2011)

What Rebecca Learned By Being A Second Life Man (2010)

Charles Bristol's Metaverse Blues: 87 Year Old Bluesman Becomes Avatar-Based Musician In Second Life (2009)

Linden Limit Libertarianism: Metaverse community management illustrates the problems with laissez faire governance (2008)

The Husband That Eshi Made: Metaverse artist, grieving for her dead husband, recreates him as an avatar (2008)

Labor Union Protesters Converge On IBM's Metaverse Campus: Leaders Claim Success, 1850 Total Attendees (Including Giant Banana & Talking Triangle) (2007)

All About My Avatar: The story behind amazing strange avatars (2007)

Fighting the Front: When fascists open an HQ in Second Life, chaos and exploding pigs ensue (2007)

Copying a Controversy: Copyright concerns come to the Metaverse via... the CopyBot! (2006)

The Penguin & the Zookeeper: Just another unlikely friendship formed in The Metaverse (2006)

"—And He Rezzed a Crooked House—": Mathematician makes a tesseract in the Metaverse — watch the videos! (2006)

Guarding Darfur: Virtual super heroes rally to protect a real world activist site (2006)

The Skin You're In: How virtual world avatar options expose real world racism (2006)

Making Love: When virtual sex gets real (2005)

Watching the Detectives: How to honeytrap a cheater in the Metaverse (2005)

The Freeform Identity of Eboni Khan: First-hand account of the Black user experience in virtual worlds (2005)

Man on Man and Woman on Woman: Just another gender-bending avatar love story, with a twist (2005)

The Nine Souls of Wilde Cunningham: A collective of severely disabled people share the same avatar (2004)

Falling for Eddie: Two shy artists divided by an ocean literally create a new life for each other (2004)

War of the Jessie Wall: Battle over virtual borders -- and real war in Iraq (2003)

Home for the Homeless: Creating a virtual mansion despite the most challenging circumstances (2003)

Newstex_Author_Badge-Color 240px
JuicyBomb_NWN5 SL blog
Ava Delaney SL Blog
my site ... ... ...