Sunday, January 23, 2011

Confused Terrain

While working on Pixy Hollow at the Isle of Lesbos, I needed to log in a second avie to adjust poses, so I fired up Imprudence (v1.30 , Web) as I was already using the Official Viewer (v2.40, Web). I love the mini-map in Imprudence and find that it plays nicer with the System Resources than any third party viewer. I'm not a fan of the older 1.x-style interface, but it is my go-to viewer for when I need multiple log ins or to take pictures.

But I was surprised to see the ground texture changed. One of my next tasks was to manage the sand texture you see in the first picture, from the Official viewer, as I think it spoils the view. I could change the Texture Elevation Ranges in the Estate tools, but the boss would likely object, so I started thinking about using a prim rock face, perhaps, but I wanted to investigate the discrepancies between viewers first.

The same shot, roughly, taken with the Imprudence viewer shows the sandy area to now be grassy. Camming around the region I found that the textures were different everywhere that a transition existed. I had seen variations like this occur over a period of time while using the same viewer, but never had I noticed such difference when using different viewers on the same day or at the same time.

Mind you, all the graphics settings are the same, particularly the ground texture detail settings. And I matched the Environment settings, too. Logging out then logging back in made no difference. So I tried the current
Kirsten's Viewer build (v2.60, Web) and the result was slightly different as the third picture shows. Again, camming the region showed differences much like I found with Imprudence. There is more sand with Kirsten's, but the level is more acceptable.

Bring on the Phoenix (v1.5.2, Web) and behold! Another variation despite the similarities. This viewer renders less sand and does so more naturally, but on my 27" iMac it uses far more System resources than any other viewer. I'm not sure that trade off is worth it despite the addition of bouncy boobies.

So, what does all this mean? I'm stumped. On the one hand, it is great for nature to take its course, but as a landscaper I have certain things in mind and would appreciate some consistency. I'd rather not have to worry about who is using which viewer when I landscape. Maybe the Lab should look at the current terrain mesh as they evaluate other aspects of Our World during the inevitable transition to a browser-based viewer. Or, perhaps, someone in my readership has ideas? Please feel free to post comments, even if it is advice to simply stop being so picky and just let the terrain be confused.

Update (January 25): Logging in with the Official Viewer today I noticed that the terrain looks like the Phoenix picture. My, how time changes things.

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