Monday, January 31, 2011

Trying Phoenix for a Week

The Official Second Life Viewer (v2.4; Web) has been crashy of late, slow to load, forgetful of my preferred settings, and more, so I thought I'd give "everyone's preferred viewer" another chance, so I'm going to use Phoenix (v1.5.2 ; Web) for a week. One of the first things I noticed after tweaking the vast selection of settings and venturing out into the world is that most people I see appear to be using the Official Viewer. Phoenix and other viewers will display this information in user tags and except for some friends, I don't see many folks sharing the flaming bird experience with me.

But I'll take the buzz about Phoenix's user numbers as gospel for now while I compile a list of things that I miss about the Official Viewer: The Landmarks pop-out, the handy Favorites and Navigation Bar, the chat and IM experience, and the ability to set specific window sizes, to mention the most obvious.

Phoenix has some features I like, however, such as the the old-style Profile panes, the ability to easily allow Fly in areas that have turned off the feature, and the chat bar-level access to Windlight settings. The latter can be auto-controlled by region owners in this version of the viewer with and I think that is pretty cool, too.

To try this, I visited Traxx (SLurl), a place that my friend мεɢ αυđισρђιℓε (kuthola.homewood) runs and one that I know uses the feature. So here I am in the first pic, before accepting the viewer's request to change the settings. It looks like standard Noon to me.

The second photo shows the same view after I accepted the new settings. I thought the sky looked like Verdigris, a preset I tend to favor for photography. I used Search to pop back a bit later to see if I could confirm this and found (/*Windlight Sky: "Verdigris" Water: "[TOR] Claira"*/) in the description. Odd, but I guess putting that information in the parcel description is how the feature works. I wonder what happens if someone visits but doesn't have the preset installed. Though, I'm guessing they are all included with the viewer. One other place I found, The Wonderful World Of Meeroos (SLurl), has (/*Windlight Sky: "AnaLu *studio* 5"*/) in it's land description while another part of the region has (/*Windlight Sky: "[EUPHORIA] Plum sunset"*/) and other areas have still more variations. Really cool.

Phoenix has many other interesting features. I'd like to try the integrated Animation Override, but that would require me to move my No Copy AO animations from the HUD to my inventory and I'd have to remember to attach a HUD with a different AO when using other viewers. The Lab could easily make this a standard feature. Having a radar is nice for when I work Security at the Isle, but it is cumbersome in use.

Like my transition to a v2.x viewer from the v1.2x viewer, some of the differences will require acclimation. At first I was not a fan of the next generation of viewer but I came to find it is very nice. Let's see how my week with "moving back" while moving ahead works out.

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