the OnRez viewer

7 Mar

I’m on my quest to find the best Second Life viewer for me. So far, I’ve only been using the standard SL viewer and the Windlight viewer when I feel like enjoying the landscape for once. For months this is all I’ve had to play with.

Little did I know there were so many other options out there! This shouldn’t be a surprise to me, since the viewer code it is open source. So far I’ve heard of: Dazzle, OnRez, Dale’s SL Viewer, The Nicholaz Edition, and Cool SL Viewer. Most of these come in Windows/Linux only and so we lowly Macoholics are left with few choices. Not that I’m complaining too loudly. How many viewers does a gal need? I’m already used to Macs getting the shaft when it comes to the Second Life experience.

In light of these discoveries, I decided to try the OnRez viewer on for size. Below are some of my terribly disorganized thoughts as a casual user, not as an expert on programming and application functionality.

First Impressions
The login screen is clean, simple, and similar to the standard viewer in many ways. It does not show statistics of users online or any announcements or callout text boxes. The color scheme of the viewer is already clear from the silver gradient along the bottom login panel, blue text, mousover effects and and yellow highlights around the buttons. Needless to say, it’s looking better already. I’d give a visual, but nothing shows when I try a normal screen capture with Grab.

OnRez viewer

A greeting screen called “The Loop” comes up on startup noting fresh and featured builds and shops to visit. This reminds me of the silly AOL Istant Messenger “homepage” popups that you have to disable whenever you get a new version. Popups and cluttered windows= ick.

It doesn’t remember my window placement since my last login. My inventory window opened in the middle fo my screen instead of along the right edge as I prefer. It also didn’t remember my media preferences that I set in particular before logging into the viewer for the first time. I had to go back into my preference pane again and fix my voice chat, media streaming, and some advanced graphic options.

I can’t figure out how to undock the nearby chat history. It’s in a fine position (along the left bottom corner), but sometimes I like to have it up top next to my IM window when I’m hosting and needing to pay attention to open chat and IMs all at once. Just me being picky, I suppose. I like flexibility.
Plus, when I minimize any windows (such as my inventory), they default to the left bottom corner—on top of the chat history. Boo hiss.

Speaking of inventory: There is a semi-transparent location bar along the top that allows you to use your teleport history and go back, TP home, type in SLURL, search, and access “The Loop”, the (very handy!) built-in web browser, and your inventory. When this bar is minimized, you can’t click any easy button to view your inventory window. I like instant gratification and instant access to my mot necessary features (such as my junk drawer of an inventory). Is there a keyboard shortcut for this? If so, leave a comment and educate me.

I love the teleport history! Great new feature. You can also specify how many locations you want it to list.

In the OnRez viewer I easily found some options I like a lot: View property lines, log chats/IMs, and a more compact Contacts/Groups window. One negative about the Contact window: it doesn’t show whether someone can edit my objects or find me on the map. I’m not sure how to access those settings.

I find the application menus very much simplified from what one normally finds in a standard viewer. In fact, because I’m not a mistress of all the menu functions within SL, I’m not quite sure what I’m missing that I will want as I go through my day. This is something that will come to my attention in time.

One odd moment I had was trying to take a snapshot. My camera controls seemed severely limited—as if I wasn’t able to orbit, but I could use the simple alt+click. Still, even this seemed strange and unpredictable. I’m not sure why this would be.

Editing prims was a pain in the ass! I bought a pair of way cute cords from Celestial Studios and couldn’t make the sculpted prims move up my calf until I clicked them about eight times until the position arrows stayed put instead of disappearing immediately after clicking. Arg. One good thing was that my av didn’t move when I closed the edit window (which is what usually happens in the standard viewer). I like that it didn’t reset my camera every time. So half suck, half okay.

At this point I need to go back to the Linden viewers. I’m going a bit bonkers even though I like the slick look of the viewer and a few of the extra features.

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