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Tuesday, February 25, 2020


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camilia fid3lis nee Patchouli Woollahra

Black Dragon is a viewer with a niche appeal, but it is a surprisingly wide niche. Consider dropping a dollar a month in the tin if you can!

Adeon Writer

Niran's got attention to detail for beautiful UI work and graphics. That's Black Dragon's whole deal: Make SL actually look elegant. As much as can be done with the codebase. If I were LL he'd have been hired to work on the official viewer years ago.


I would really hate to see this viewer go because it has contributed a lot to and enhanced my SL experience. The superb UI design is reason enough to have it around but even on my medium level machines, the viewer has been able to provide better graphics with higher frame rates than any other viewer, while using less space on my computer. Its not perfect, Niran still insists on hiding my linden amount in my inventory instead of the main view, but itis still a well crafted piece of work and after losing Kirsten's Viewer, I would hate to lose Black Dragon too.
Honestly, we should all be contributing more to all the viewer developers who hand over a viewer to us for free. Think about it, two of the most used viewers in SL are just handed to us by developers who do all the work on designing them for free. I can assure you that the people who provide the bare bones and feature lacking LL viewer are getting paid for their work.

camilia fid3lis nee Patchouli Woollahra

Adeon: given LL's recent refocus on Second Life, and the epic messup that the EEP project has become, Ebbe may not be averse to putting him in a position where he can work this into the main branch of the viewer AND get paid. We are in damn the torpedoes mode here - the only thing keeping LL afloat atm is Second Life, in the absence of any major signings of other VWs or MMORPGs with Tilia as a payment RWC-to-gamecash gateway. Perhaps it's time to make a few brash moves rather than be eternally cautious.


It may be smartidea for linden lab to partner with NiranV, especially since the fall of sansar. Black Dragon is a excellent viewer that offers excellent graphics even on older PCs the clarity is amazing, frame rates are good and i barely lag. I would hate to see it go. So if the price is right and if it can still give NiranV creative rights, Linden Lab should pay close attention especially since they are now they are considering re-concentrating on making improvements to SL.

Just an idea

I think Black Dragon is a must for photography.
I would reconsider PREMIUM account if it was somehow packaged in that, especially if Niran could be persuaded to dial back the movement controls to SL normal.


I've got a friend who will be disappointed about this he uses black Dragon a lot in terms of high Def photography in SL. ☹️


No Apple OS X version. Says he never will make one. (old blog post)

Mr Miffed

Wait, I'm missing something here obvously. And I see one comment that got posted yesterday already got deleted which was probably a bit strong calling him a leecher of his parents but...he doesn't work at ALL and now he's worried about them dying so he won't have any money to carry on developing the viewer tso might need to get a job!?
Welcome to the real world buddy! This IS life and is how things work for the majority of the human race.
Look, I don't know what your situation is, maybe you're the primaary care giver or something, but if they're pushing you to look for work maybe that's what they want you to do huh? EARN money instead of asking for it, you know, like let's see, Kirsten did with his viewer years ago. And after asking for donations on his forum what happened, not enough peolpe gave so he stopped but even then. That viewer was still developed in his spare time, he just asked for donations so he could carry on working part time if I remember or at least to help support, not just rely on everyone full stop!
So you think you can't work on a viewer as a one band band without a team to support you in your spare time? What about the Cool VL viewer? That guy does it on his own right?

So, hope your viewer carries on, I know it's good and lot's of people like it, but maybe think about other ways to fund it instead of just thinking the only way is to NOT have a job and live from patreon maybe.


Has Niran ever had a job ?


Actually it is short of a wonder NiranV is not already working at LL, he just does what he wants, ignores/scoffs at feedback and only does support Microsoft Windows. He should be Ebbe'S best drinking buddy by now...


NiranV is very talented, but I just don't see this arrangement working out.

His parents are right out of love. His talents need to be channeled into supporting himself. It sounds like his life and work are both on extremely shakey ground. Don't bet on SL. Pretty pictures aren't worth this.

Listen to the force.



The short version is, even if i wanted, i couldn't. You need a MacOS device to compile for MacOS. I don't have one and i'm hardly in a spot i could afford a Mac even if i could see past Apple's crazy prices.

@Mr Miffed

Here's the big difference. I made this Viewer for 8 years because i liked doing so, i enjoy making Viewers and giving out something people like. I believe that certain things in life should be free for anyone, like mods for games should never cost money, so shouldn't Viewers. When Kirsten started doing his kickstarter i was mad at him because he wanted money for something that has always been free and should always remain free but in hindsight i came to realize that he did that to be able to continue doing what he did. The mere idea of requesting money for something like this made me insanely mad. But seeing myself being in the same situation now i kinda see the irony of me saying this. Unlike Kirsten however i didn't want to preemtively collect money (with the off chance that i could possibly just poof with the money) i wanted something that allows people to choose for themselves how much my work is worth to them each and every month, this would give people the control to say "oh fuck this he didn't do shit this month, he aint getting money from me!", if they dont like what i do they can simply choose not to pay, there are no consequences other than the Viewer someday possibly vanishing. Aside from that i'm not asking people to pay me a well paid full-time job, although that would be super cool and technically easy to achieve if more people simply paid less (having 2000 people pay a single dollar, which alone is nothing but alltogether is a huge sum) thus making it easier for everyone to support the viewer and less punishing if a few people jump off the train... i'm asking people to support the viewer enough to keep me working on the Viewer, otherwise as others have already stated, i could just do the same thing everyone does and get a job. But that would cut a big 8-10 hour hole into my available time and i'm sorry to say this but i'd rather give up the Viewer than friends and family which need a lot of attention and are much more important. Between sleeping and working there would be less than ~4 hours a day (i'm a long sleeper, 10 hours is absolutely minimum for me to not be a zombie all day) which aren't counting misc needs, like eating/drinking (making the food), showering, possibly go shopping so i can actually make food, visit family and/or go out with them because even if i don't try to show it i do value my family. Now add a bunch of friends to the mix who want to do something every day and your time is gone before you even started.

And sure you could call me a leecher, i've always felt bad for it, its part of what makes me so depressive and its the reason i sometimes just want to drop everything, get a job so i can pay off all the "depths" that i think i made with my family since my birth and be done with it, as long as my conscience stops digging holes into me like a swiss cheese but then i'd be giving up my dreams and my life, i'd become a mindless drone like so many people out there, live to work, work to live, the only rest is death. But whenever i had spare money i supported my parents, its not that i just take and don't give, i simply don't have anything to give.

Also, believe me when i say i wish i didn't have to use Patreon, doing so already makes me feel like a bad person because (although differently in implementation than Kirsten) i feel just as bad as that (oh the irony). A job is the last resort option, its the fallback in case everything fails, i've investigated a lot of options really but none of them are viable, donations are alone are far and few between, a job takes all my time and doing nothing will be the end of the Viewer. Patreon really seems like the only option to "fund" the Viewer (other than getting a job which cuts into my time) while also allowing people to support what i do.

Btw, Kirstens Viewer wasn't really further developed, it was just in maintenance mode, meaning it was literally just a copy from another Viewer (Cool VL Viewer if i remember correctly) and nothing aside from merging in LL code to keep the Viewer from totally breaking was done. Is that what you want for Black Dragon? Maintenance mode, with updates every few months that break half the Viewer in spectacular ways and no one around to help you or fix these issues? Seeing how adding a "remember username" toggle to the login screen broke basically my entire login screen when i merged LL's latest code, i'd give the Viewer 2 months tops before you wouldn't be able to login anymore (infact this very bug caused you to be unable to login unless you already used the Viewer previously) because something i don't have time to investigate and fix for hours is being introduced into the Viewer doing its thing... and what about all the users? What about all the people who need help? I spend a good hour every day at least to help people, answer their questions and investigate their issues (teleporting to them, looking at broken stuff, figuring out why its broken and how to fix it), they would be headless chicken running around in circles, the group isn't much help, how am others supposed to help other users if they don't know it better? Questions and issues would stack as high as skyscrapers and with no one to help they would slowly leave the Viewer, bleeding it out until it vanishes completely.


I did. It was around 2008-2011 when i had far less people to deal with, i'd come home, log into SL and attempt to figure out LSL scripting all day, which at the time i just discovered for myself, until i went to bed again. At that time i already came home late at 6PM and had to go to bed a couple hours later already to wake up at 6 AM again. Except that when i came home i was completely drained of any euphoria and energy, i just wanted to chill just so i could reflect in bed about how i wasted my free time doing nothing even though i wanted to do so much.


A: It's my Viewer, obviously i do what i want. All Viewers do this, if they do something you wanted then its something they wanted as well otherwise they wouldn't have done it.
B: I don't ignore feedback. I just don't get much usable feedback outside of "add X Firestorm feature" and/or "make this Viewer another Firestorm". The point of Black Dragon is not being Firestorm otherwise i could just contribute to Firestorm or make a clone of it.
C: Linux is dead, not even LL supports it anymore and Mac (just like Linux) requires you to have the OS installed or a machine with it installed. Do you want me to waste potentially your Patreon money that you gave me to continue working on the Viewer on an overpriced, glorified laptop so i can POSSIBLY (i dont know how) compile the Viewer for a machine that per definition isn't made for an application that basically paints "You need better hardware" (although thats not true) on its flag? I'm pretty PRETTY sure you'd be mad as fuck if i spent 1-2 grand on a Mac, money i could have used to keep working on the Viewer. So i'd assume that it is in the best interest for us all that i don't compile for Mac/Linux and leave that to potentially helpful people who do have Linux or Mac and the knowledge to compile the Viewer for me/you.


Nirav black dragon. Strange name. https://leonflix.co/

Summer Haas

I don't get how anyone can say the money isn't "earned". The real leechers are the people who use Niran's work without donating anything to him.

Niran's mistake is bringing his personal life into the equation and opening himself up to criticism. Either make enough in donations to live off of or don't, that shouldn't be anyone's concern but his own. If it works out, great! If not, find something that pays better. All this melodrama just comes off as unprofessional.

As an aside, If you are tipping some gesturbating host in a club for a couple of hours of spam and not donating to the guy who spent thousands of hours working on the viewer you love, maybe reconsider where you are putting your L$s.

Mr Miffed

Couple of things Niran.
I'm not one that accused you of leeching, as I said that was a comment yesterday that Wagner deleted, free speech isn't allowed apparently.
Also people still do have to work in life, I get you don't like asking for support, goo don you, work part time. You mention Kirstens situation years go, fact check (look it up on NWN) he was already working part time and needed to support his partner , so only asked for donations to carry on developing because SHE was ill and stopped to work full time for her.
Also it wasn't a copy of Cool VL, the original viwer was beased on Snowglobe Viewer 1 like Cool at the time but by the time Kirsten stopped it was V2 based and had been for a long time. The same time you were always posting on the KV blog and forums about your XML changes and "enhancements" and annoying everyone with what you wanted Kirsten to change before he stopped and you learned to code a viewer for yourself. I can even remember you saying how you could only do so much yourself because of only knowing xml.
Great you figured out so much but it's still not the same thing comparing Kirstens situation with yours especially if you're going to start saying things about back then. Dude, work part time if you have to, ask your viewer supporters and fans to volunteer and answer questions for you and share the load and manage your time so you don't have to with support stuff.
You Don't need to do this stuff ALL day. Figure out how to use a forum on your blog and just answer stuff that way too instead of running over the grid. Christ, why make the inworld stuff more complicated?
RL is hard enough without the virtual stuff overloading and adding to it.


@Mr Miffed

I didn't say you accused me. English is a really unprecise language when it comes to pinpointing who you're talking to over the internet, especially when you can mean anything from you (the person directly in front of you), you (the other person you may be pointing at), you (your group or a group of any size), you (no one specifically like it was meant in this case) or you (as in everyone). Its quite hard for me to understand how people don't misunderstand each other every second sentence.

I have no control over what Wagner does and i don't know what the deleted comment said but i'd assume that its quite a douche move to come here and basically piss on my grave with something like that, so i'd assume it was probably deserved, i mean i do get my comments removed on forums too when i go asshole mode on someone.

I know what the case was with Kirsten and i never said (or well meant, maybe it sounded like it) that Kirstens Viewer was a copy of another Viewer, i said the "maintenance" version that later came after he gave up on it were just a copy of Cool VL Viewer, not the actual Viewer while it was still actively developed.

You mention the Viewer mods, yes, i was extremely active at that time and did what i could which was limited to XML only at that time. I supported him a lot, reporting bugs, finding issues, making suggestions for improvements some of which he added and i even made the already mentioned UI changes quite a good chunk of which Kirsten btw added to the Viewer. Also back then i was quite a different person, i was a lot younger and much more annoying for no reason.

There is no point in asking the community to volunteer for support. Firestorm is the reason i do not want to do this. I've spend a good month on their newbie area, watching the helpers/supporters do their job. They do a terrible job in my book. They teach people the same laziness they are being teached and they are being teached a lot, i've visited several of their 45 minute long "lessons" to teach them about the Viewer and how and where to find options and stuff. When they had to explain for 45 minutes how to use the backup settings in Firestorm which was so simple that it was totally obvious the moment you see it, i was quite shocked. I swore that i'd never want to do the same thing. I don't want my users to tell outdated stuff, i don't want to have them spread misinformation (and theres already way too much around), which is why i'm doing this personally, besides, teaching a couple volunteers the ins and outs of the Viewer would take months, if not years and that wouldn't even begin to scratch the surface, it would be a constant maintenance work to keep them updated with what i do and what i change so these people know what is intended or what isn't, in the end its the same or more work than simply doing it directly myself which is much faster and more efficient to do. Most people don't even read the patch notes that i put together, i could literally write shit into the changelogs and no one would give a damn, i can't expect people to give well informed, up-to-date information about an everchanging Viewer.

A forum didn't work out well, i wouldn't get notifications, so i wouldn't see issues when they arised unless i looked hard enough, leaving the impression that there was no support available at all. I scoot around the grid when i have to, when i want to see an issue on my end to investigate what the issue is, pictures and sometimes even videos of users aren't particularly descriptive so i'll have to investigate them on my own and waiting 2 hours between each replies is too much wasted time for me so i'm not really making it more complicated i'm actually making as simple and direct as possible, you tell me what the issue is and i'll look into it and fix it or help you. Also, there is Discord now, people can chat there with others, share pictures, ask for help and whenever i got time i can check there easily and help, it also offers a lot of QoL like pasting pictures/videos directly and all those fancy shenanigans you could possibly ask for, heck i could go into a voice channel with someone and have them live stream the viewer and show me the issue live. If with easier you mean writing a huge wiki like Firestorm did that the support just links to whenever someone comes up with an issue again, no thanks. Same story with teaching people, i'd be maintaining the wiki all day, changing all kinds of stuff everywhere whenever i make changes.


Perhaps free speech isn't exactly the same as free defamation?
In fact Hamlet is usually pretty transparent, surely better than other SL blogger that live atop their high horses and until they can argue, they would publish critics and anything; but write even a polite correction that they can't argue against and that hits their huge but delicate ego and they won't publish it. Or they won't publish any reply in order to have the last world. Or they quietly change the article after your comment, making your comment looking funny.

That aside, I agree with Summer Haas about the donations.


Someone please refer me to the correct Black Dragon viewer's Discord server link? The one on Niran's website is incorrect.


"A job is the last resort option, its the fallback in case everything fails, i've investigated a lot of options really but none of them are viable, "

Well thank goodness some folks do go to work dependably, or I'd be sitting in the Starbucks drive-thru waiting forever for barista Godot to make my latte. Now it only feels like forever


@ NimueG
Just tried the Dicord link on Black Dragon Blog, it works fine. Opens up Discord on web version and proper Discord. check again.


The viewer is open source right? I wonder if NiranV can allow the community to keep the viewer alive. Not sure on the logistics of that, not very software literate. Either way I wish the best for NiranV.


Honestly, people that harp about the movement really need to get modernized. I dunno any other game that doesn't use wasd as a standard, and Black Dragon is the only reason I consider Second Life playable any more.

If that viewer dies, so does any interest I have in dealing with SL.


IMHO WASD is unergomical as hell, but almost any of my viewers allowed me to remap to the keys.xml file to something more useful...

There are lefties out there, there are people with disabilities, there are people with computer RSIs...

If WASD works for you, fine, but keep in mind it won't work for all.

@Priscilla Niran might have some good things he deserves praise for but enforcing a silly input scheme onto his users for sure is none of them.


I wouldn't give such little credit to your Black Dragon community. Since the day I've found Black Dragon, it's all I use for pics and videos and whenever I have an issue, I poke the group. And while, yes you have been there quite a few times to help me out, which I appreciate, your group members have always pulled together to help me and others out. I've even had people in the group, that I don't know, TP to my set just to help me work through the issue. Even if they didn't know, we went through everything until we figured it out. Your volunteers don't need to know the ins and outs of the viewer. Would it be nice if they did? Of course. But I think you have some very tech knowledgeable people there. Welcoming nice people who really do try everything to help their fellow creative community. Whenever I get someone to DL your viewer, my next comment is always "Join the group. Any questions someone is always there to help." And that's just a fact. An amazing fact. :)

Lone Dubratt

If you like SL you like Black Dragon.

I've always seen it as that second viewer. The camera and UI is different, and for people set in their ways that's a bad thing. That's not what Black Dragon is about, though. Black dragon is an alternative, THE alternative to a stagnant SL viewer. It's cutting edge, ground breaking, everything the SL viewer (for some absurd reason) isn't. Firestorm is most popular, it's the middle ground. Some neat features atop ye olde reliable SL viewer. There'd be no future for SL without a cutting edge, Nirans work has at times dragged SL forward when nothing else will. It's the second viewer you use when you want to see things at their prettiest. When you want things to run at their fastest. When you want a taste of what SL can, and should be. It's your holiday from the comfort of the simple and known. Your view into what future SL or firestorm viewers should or at times should become. Very often, it very much is the future (by which I mean, other viewers 'acquire' from Niran's open source code, perhaps without so much as a mention they used his work.)

If you use SL and can afford to spare a little, please do consider sponsoring Niran. He's possibly done more by himself than most Lindens to advance SL this past decade. As gratitude and thanks I feel honored to be able to give back for once to a person who has been nothing but charitable with large swathes of their time for so long.



I checked the blog link just to make sure, works fine for me too.


Yes, the Viewer is opensource and anyone can continue it. Will anyone continue is a whole different question and what will they do with the Viewer is something entirely different too.

Maybe someone who is a better programmer than me picks it up and does all the things i couldn't do. Maybe he won't because he doesn't want to invest any time and just keeps it alive and working.

Maybe someone like me, who has no idea about coding comes around and does nothing for the first months, maybe he gives up because he can't figure it out or maybe he starts maintaining the Viewer after a while.

Who knows. Remember that every Viewer has its own special character. Switching the lead also means switching out priorities, plans and ideals. Someone else might think that most of the Viewer is useless, throws everything out that made the Viewer what it is and adds things he thinks are useful. My biggest fear would be that someone just makes another Firestorm copy out of it.


Not sure how often this was said already but all controls can be fully customized in Preferences - Keybinds. IN-Viewer. No need to edit the XML file (which you can still do, its just a different format now but still as easily editable as before). No one is forced to anything, you've got options. You can add binds, you can rebind them, you can remove them, you can do whatever you want, heck you can scatter your movement keys all over your keyboard, you could make the control scheme an orchestrated symphony of button pressing and use it to play a music instrument while moving inside Second Life to the music you are playing.


Well yes, there are always people who will attempt to help but my problem is less the fact that someone doesn't know about something and attempts to help in any way possible, my problem is that this person might be telling you inadvisable things. Which is why i used the Firestorm Gateway example.

In the gateway helpers told someone who asked for movement help that they should use the onscreen controls. I IMMEDIATELY intervened and wrote the newbie an IM, explaining him that there are AWSD and Arrow Key controls depending on what he prefers, the onscreen controls are really just a fallback not meant to be used at all times. When the newbie was gone, i asked the helper why he told him to use the onscreen controls instead of telling him about proper controls first and then working down from there to whatever is more comfortable to the user. The answer was "because it works for me". This "because it works for me" is exactly the mentality i don't support, don't tell other help-searching users bad practises just because they work for you, start at the very top, work down from there, if the best doesn't work for him, fall back to the alternative, if that doesn't work, fall back to the fallback option, if that doesn't work, attempt to find a solution that works, don't start at the fallback option, this kind of teaching is the reason people still ask me today how i record my videos and why my videos don't show any onscreen camera controls and why my camera movements are much smoother, i learned to use the camera controls from the get go and never bothered with the onscreen camera controls unlike most people today who never get told about the camera controls because teachers teach their bad practises rather than attempting to teach the best before the rest.

Improving Second Life is much more than just, changing the UI and adding some features and yelling at people for bad optimization, improving Second Life also means improving the users and their experience. Teaching people building, proper movement and camera controls is just as important to improve Second Life as a whole.

@Lone Dubratt

Heartwarming, a bit over the top maybe but heartwarming nonetheless.

How much impact i really had is up in the stars, no one knows, we'd only know if i never had a Viewer. Regardless of how much impact i had i try to offer something, as you describe it: shows what SL could be, it could be far far more than what i'm showing but what i'm showing is like scratching on the surface of what was possible if LL really wanted to take some steps into the future. I'm just trying to nudge them as far as i can towards trying more and at least sometimes it seemed to have had an effect. Snapshot window improvements are coming (someday), rebindable keys are coming soon, custom camera presets are coming soon, the poser will be coming (someday), complexity rework, all features that my Viewer had for years, features i've been attempting to make LL consider adding. I just wish they would listen more when it comes to graphics improvements...


That's an interesting opinion @Fionalein, but not really an opinion shared by the majority of the world. WASD is perfectly comfy to me, and it's the standard of most every modern action game or RPG, fps, and otherwise

It's such an ubiquitous standard that you have to understand your take on things is very much a holdover or niche opinion.


Ana as Niran noted, you can rebind it any ways if you don't like the control scheme that's popular enough to have become the global standard for PC gaming.

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