I thought I’d put up a list of Third Party Viewers (TPV’s) for Second Life and/or OpenSim based virtual worlds. I tried some of them, and will add some personal comments on those viewers I tried. I’m only gonna blog about graphical viewers, not text based viewers. I might blog about them another time.
Since I use these viewers mostly on OpenSim grids like OSgrid, some things are not included, like direct delivery and such.
Also, I’ll let you in on some little secrets about some viewers I learned over the past couple of years. And I’m gonna show you my favorite Top 3 list of viewers.
But first, the TPV’s:
The Imp-viewer is a v1 based viewer. Has been around SL since the time men were made out of steel, and ships out of wood.
I’m not sure if the Imprudence team is still working on this viewer. It seems that the focus of this team is on the Kokua viewer. The blog states that there is a second team that is working on Imprudence, but the latest stable release was around May 2011.
Oddy’s comment: I have used this viewer for a long time for building. It’s a very fast viewer and that’s what I want while I’m building. With this viewer you can’t see meshes. That’s a big thing for me personally, I love playing around with meshes
From the website: ”
Catznip aims to refine and reinvent your window into Second Life. Our focus is stability, usability, privacy and plenty of new original home grown features. It’s about taking a fresh look at things and attempting to do them better.
Catznip is the development viewer for the alternative implementation of the RLV specification. RLVa goes from Catznip into many other TPV’s including Firestorm and Phoenix. This is especially useful for script developers as Catznip represents the future of RLVa often months ahead of the mainstream.”
Oddy’s comment: None, haven’t tried it, but this viewer seems to focus on RLV/RLVa (Restrained Live Viewers, mostly used for BDSM play inworld.)
From the website: “Singularity Viewer is an exciting client for Second Life and OpenSim, which strives to combine the beloved look and feel of Viewer 1.23 with the latest and greatest of available technology, and to stay compatible with future Second Life changes and features.
Singularity is a non-profit open-source project!”
Oddy’s comment: Have played with it, but it’s not running decent on my machine.)
This is also a v1 based viewer, but with some up-to-date features like meshes, direct delivery, etc. This viewer has a history in SL, almost got booted from LL’s tpv list, but recovered remarkably well. Has some nice new features like lightshare on different heights, build in radar, tp history, etc, etc. Most of this stuff is now in official LL v3 viewers!
Oddy’s comment: One of my favorite v1 based viewers, but I hardly use it, since the devs are also working on the Firestorm viewer. I do use it for attending a party now and then on OSgrid.
Firestorm is a community development project headed by The Phoenix Viewer Project as an alternative viewer for Second Life. Our primary goal is to improve the user experience with new features while extending usability, functionality and flexibility of the Viewer 2 code base. Our secondary goal is to lessen the learning curve for users migrating from older V1 viewers, while still being easily accessible to users of Linden Lab’s latest viewer offerings. We package contributions from various community developers along with code from Linden Lab and of course ourselves to bring you a quality, feature-rich viewer experience backed up by a large volunteer support team available 24/7 in various languages. More information on support can be found from our website. Documentation here http://wiki.phoenixviewer.com/doku.php?id=firestorm and Tutorial Videos here http://youtube.com/user/PhoenixViewerSL
Oddy’s comment: One of my favorite viewer these days. I like taking snapshots in-world, and I like to build. This viewer has some features that makes things easy.
Nirans own Viewer , inspired by Kirstens strict selection of Features and declination of basically a lot of Features of other Viewers, definitively a Viewer trying to do a lot of stuff different instead of following others.
Oddy’s comment: none.
Exodus Viewer is a new flavour of the Second Life Viewer 3 series, packed with useful features to enhance the experience and competitive play in Second Life. Photographers, roleplayers, fighters and virtual sport stars will benefit from a viewer designed for maximum performance! Exodus Viewer also packs some cool visual effects that are perfect for photographers and machinema film makers.
Oddy’s comment: none.
Restrained Love Viewer.
The RLV enhances your experience when you use it in conjunction with RLV-compatible objects, that are very common around the SL grid now. It is primarily intended to be used by BDSM fans with BDSM oriented objects in-world, which are able to restrict the user from detaching items, receiving IMs, hearing chat, teleporting etc. It can also be useful for totally PG purposes, such as forcing to teleport somewhere (facilitating transport networks), changing the Windlight settings through scripts (helping sim owners), preventing from teleporting out of a maze, etc.
This viewer was formerly known as “Restrained Life Viewer”, and changed name to “Restrained Love Viewer” to comply with the TPV policy. It still stays broadly known as simply “the RLV”.
Oddy’s comment: none.
The Dolphin Viewer is a viewer for virtual worlds, based on the official Linden Lab source code, that contains many fixes and enhancements for builders, explorers, sailors, and other vehicle enthusiasts. There are versions based on Snowglobe 1.5, on the official Second Life Viewer 2, and on the official Second Life 3 source code with mesh support.
Oddy’s comment: Decent viewer, has some nice features build in like Quarls mesh deformer, build-in AO, Texture refresh, etc.
The Zen Viewer is a v3 viewer based on the Second Life® viewer-development Snowstorm repository. It contains all the latest shines and fixes from the SL™ community plus a consolidation of unique features specific to content creation on the Second Life Grid™.
Oddy’s comment: I didn’t play with this viewer enough to make a decent comment, but it’s on the download page of the OSgrid website.
So, these are all the TPV’s in the official LL list. There more viewers, like the Kokua viewer I mentioned earlier, but I’m not going to include them on this list. There are a lot of viewers for SL/opensim grids, and there are a lot of uses for them, like second inventory, a backup tool that allows builders to save all their creations directly to their hard drive or move them to other grids. (This ‘viewer’ backs up everything you want to back up as long you are the creator. It backs up scripted items, link-sets, etc. It’s not free though)
Oddy’s tips-n-tricks for viewers.
Tip #1: Shortcuts for the SL viewers:
More here: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/All_keyboard_shortcut_keys
Tip #2: Being a cloud.
There are some things you can try to stop being a cloud. First thing you could do, is to disable anisotropic filtering the hardware tab of the graphics settings in the viewer.
Another thing that might work, is to rebake your avatar. Hit CTRL-ALT-R to do that.
Changing skins or wearing a new ‘Bald Head’ works sometimes too. Even wearing a random prim from your inventory might work. (Be sure to detach the box, castle or whatever you are wearing)
Tip #3: Build-in Particle Editor.
Some of the latest TPV’s have build in particle editors.
You will find the particle editor in the top menu => Build => Object => Edit Particles.
Tip #4: Build-in Animation Overrider.
A couple of TPV’s have a build-in Animation Overrider (AO). It’s a very useful feature because it does not have an impact on the region servers (it’s running on the client side, your viewer).
How it all works: http://wiki.phoenixviewer.com/animation_overrider
Oddy’s Top 3 SL Viewers.
Here is my top 3 of SL viewers.
My #3 viewer: Imprudence viewer. I still use this one now and then. Mostly for a quick meet with friends, or attending a party.
Oddy’s #2 viewer: Firestorm. Great windlight settings for taking snapshots, some neat building tools like the align tool.
And my favorite SL viewer: The latest official LindenLab SL Development viewer .
It’s the most stable, and fastest viewer for me. The viewer doesn’t crash as much as the others do, it loads my inventory pretty quick, I’m almost never a cloud.
It misses some of the neat TPV features though.