A while back, Linden Lab's Philip Rosedale announced a new Second Life viewer development project. That project ultimately grew along lines similar to that of third-party viewer project, Imprudence, breaking down many barriers to user contributions, and adopting a more agile methodology. After only a couple of release-candidates, the result is already available.
One of the biggest developments you might see in the Snowglobe viewer is that the map is now an order of magnitude faster to load, rather than taking several fractions of forever, as is traditional. This is the start of a new texture-transfer pipeline, which we can reasonably expect to become standard in future viewers, and to encompass more kinds of textures, however there's a new caching architecture which should benefit all textures.
The downside is that it will crash sometimes on texture downloads, and large textures may appear blurry, the viewer may be too dark when running in fullscreen mode, and it may complain (incorrectly) that you do not meet the minimum hardware requirements.
Below is a list of features new to Snowglobe 1.0, relative to the Second Life viewer version 1.23
- Faster in-viewer map using the Amazon S3 repository tiles. See Torley's demonstration of the new feature
- A new, general-purpose texture fetching and caching mechanism (see HTTP Texture), currently used most with the map (with more widespread use in future versions)
- Minimap changes (from Aimee Trescothick)
- Turned on voice/lip sync by default: VWR-10311 and VWR-13260 (from Mm Alder)
- Allow XUI to specificy tooltips for combo box list entries: VWR-13177
- Combo to preview textures at common aspect ratios: VWR-8008 (from Aimee Trescothick)
- 64-bit Linux fixes: VWR-12763 (from Robin Cornelius)
- For developers:
- SNOW-2 - Snowglobe sometimes crashes fetching textures (problem in libcurl)
- SNOW-48 - Large textures sometimes appear fuzzy and not fully loaded
- SNOW-18 - On main login screen, when updates are available, the update and release notes are un-clickable
- SNOW-14 - Entering fullscreen sometimes makes rendering very dark/black. Relog corrects problem.
- SNOW-22 - False warnings for some platforms not meeting minimum spec
- SNOW-60 - Launching secondlife: urls (e.g. from http://slurl.com ) from a browser to a running Snowglobe instance fails on Mac
See the following for more:
- Full list of postponed issues in Snowglobe
- Release notes for the Second Life viewer version 1.23 - any known issues that apply to the Second Life Viewer version 1.23 will probably also apply to Snowglobe 1.0
Snowglobe 1.0 is available right now for Windows, Linux and Mac (universal binary), and can be downloaded from the Second Life website, where the test viewers live.
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