Sunday, July 10, 2011

I cannot shake the taste of blood in my mouth

There's a very eloquent (and generally accurate) rant about opposition to Viewer 2. By and large, I agree with every point made. I am not the technological innovator that I could be. I do not adopt new things easily--which is sad, considering I live easily a third of each day in one or more virtual environments.

But from my small and stunted position, looking out at coming glories, why don't I just give in under all those excellent points and start using Viewer 2?

Because I am who I am. And it's not 2.x viewers I really mind; it's how those viewers arrange the features I want. And therein lies the problem, both in viewer 2 adoption, and in the entire third-party viewer community at large.

Everyone needs something different. Everyone wants something different. I'm clearly part of the herd in this--I see viewer 2 as the consequence of where the Labs are going, but where I differ is this:

I can cope with my formerly small and quiet inventory taking up half the screen. Especially as, with the new coding, Inventory can be detached and moved elsewhere. This is a plus for me.

I can cope with local chat being inseparable from personal IMs and group IMs. I can cope with never knowing exactly how much is in my inventory at any given time. I can cope with the skin, the lack of perfect transparency, the size of the mini-map, the size of the IM bar. I can cope with all of that. And, though I was scarred by the earliest iteration of viewer 2 having all media, by default, on--and on full volume--I'm even working on getting past that.

The problems that will just not go away, no matter how I try: chiclets and toasts.

I am small and insignificant and broken--in the larger scheme of things, my opinion doesn't matter in the least. Save that a lot of folks seem to share it in this (and a couple other) areas.

But that has meant innovation on SL, as Andromeda mentions, stuttering to a halt. They've tried--they've been steadily improving viewer 2 coding since the introduction. It pains me to even type these words, but for me--with my OCD fixation on some things being in the same places for my brain not to fall out--it's almost usable.

Save for chiclets and toasts. I hate them. I see them and I close them. Then I lose group notices, I lose group IMs, I lose notecards, I lose textures and individual IMs. But that's my small, broken, atavistic response--flashing things in the lower right-hand corner mean danger, mean system alert, mean something I need to attend to right now, which causes panic--and then when I realize it's not Windows trying to get my attention, I get angry and close everything in a huff, and only then realize, in my chagrin, that I've done it again.

Think on that, though--how many people out there are dying for purely cosmetic changes? Everything else in the same places as v2 structures them, because the coding wants things to go there, backported behind some--not all--of the v1 UI?

And then, update by update, slowly restructure those items, until those of us so deadset against it find ourselves, slowly but seamlessly, integrated into viewer 2 proper?

Why isn't anyone doing this? Why are all the third-party viewer coders adding in excess baggage that no one really needs, like--showing who's looking at you? (Seriously. Who the hell cares?) Or the ability to change your selection beam into a rainbow star? (Again. Get real. Builders don't care, and in this, at least, that's all that should matter.) Or any one of a double dozen other things, that's just screen or code clutter, absolutely immaterial to the job at hand.

Why isn't that the focus? Integration? Finding out why we hate viewer 2 and fixing it for us in ways we find we can adapt to it? (And don't tell me v2 Basic is my goal, because screw you, I need the Advanced tool set!)

I'm currently using the Singularity viewer, because it promises v2 functionality, as soon as it can access the code changes (and they're doing better than Imprudence or Phoenix at that), but the look of viewer v1.

Why is that important to me? It's not because v1 was a triumph of design. It's clunky, it's antiquated, and it's just as anti-intuitive in its own way as v1. Even I have to admit--especially with the recent advances--v2 is a better viewer, now, than v1 is, and it's the only viewer that's capable of viewing mesh imports.

But...those chiclets. Those toasts.

Firestorm crashes me instantly. Kirsten's viewer is built for systems much, much faster than mine. Imprudence is starting to creak around the edges. Right now, without officially moving to viewer 2, Singularity is just about the only viewer that keeps the things my brain thinks it needs, while updating to v2 code in the background.

But my solution won't be everyone's, and--when mesh comes along--everyone is going to need to be using v2 code. So this is your official heads up, third-party viewer coders: Update your viewers, keep updating your viewers, get something that your clients can use without hating it, and then keep going. Second Life is not going to slow down much longer for the rest of us to catch up.

Now, because I show off so many bad or confusing avatars on this, on occasion I do want to mention successes I find. This lady was one:

(from the Avatars album)

Unfortunately, I don't know much about her. But considering she was wearing mostly prims, not actual clothing layers, she had things excellently adjusted.

(from the Avatars

Another intriguing thing--and this one actually pulled me to check out the shoe store in question: her feet are entirely prim. I'd heard of bare prim feet before, but all the demos I'd tried, or seen on other people, were flat 'sandal'-style feet, not dancer's arched toes.

(from the Avatars album)

Even more impressive--the skin was so close to a perfect match that, until I cammed in, I thought her AO was somehow arching her feet! Or she had invisible shoes, or something. Really, really well done.

(from the Avatars album)

Unfortunately, much as I want to identify her, I can't--I've taken to traveling without my Mystitool of late, because it literally adds nearly 500 to my script count. I know she's a member of Curious Kitties (the sim we were in) and I know her first name starts with an S. Beyond that--and that she's Russian--I have no idea who she is.

Her bare prim feet were made by N-Core; her outfit, with the swirling curves and ivy leaves, is sold by Illusions. I'd highly recommend going to either establishment and tracking bits of the look down, if you're inclined at all.


Fogwoman Gray said...

I have read tons of assessments of v2 interface problems. We have certainly heard that the problem is us, and not the interface.
Ultimately, for me, the issue became that to use SL I would have to use v2. And the problem with that is that I could not find a way to integrate v2 into how I used SL. The issues you mention are huge for myself as well, and so I had to just stop using SL.
When I come back, it will be as a quasi-noob. Expectations will be that I learn the new viewer and see if I can reintegrate my SL identity using the new tools - and maybe enjoy the grid again. Ultimately, if it is more trouble than it is worth then I won't bother making that effort.
And really, that is what it boils down to. If enough people decide that it is more hassle to switch than to go do something else - then SL had best try to find a bunch of new customers with different expectations of the platform.

Emilly Orr said...

The problem is, when Mesh comes along, people not on viewer 2 code will no longer be able to see the world. Forget seeing other people--I've seen pictures where the roads, the buildings, the trees, the park benches are all mesh, and nothing can be rezzed in without v2.x.

Imagine, a world where our only options are to use viewer 2--or some variant with viewer 2 code by a third party--or to have our world be planes and angles, that never become chairs, walls, windows, streetlamps. I'm sure it won't be everywhere, but enough will change so that it really will come down to those on viewer 2, and...those who don't log in anymore.

And I resent bitterly that if I want to stay active in SL, that I have to make a choice that extreme.

Opensource Obscure said...

If you don't like toasts, why don't you disable them? That's what I do.

And with regard to chiclets, I think you can just enlarge the size of your chat field, so that chiclets become almost invisible. Some notification about new messages is needed anyway.

Emilly Orr said...

Because to date, I hadn't figured out how.

Winter Ventura gave me an in-depth run-down of where to look to disable toasts, and reduce the amount of time chiclets flash, and a couple other tips.

(And part of my complaint on viewer 2 is the amount of screen acreage taken up by various windows; the last thing I'd ever do is widen my chat field so even more of the screen disappears behind windows.)

Icterus Dagger said...

Ms. Fogwoman, regarding your last paragraph, "And really, that is what it boils down to. If enough people decide that it is more hassle to switch than to go do something else - then SL had best try to find a bunch of new customers with different expectations of the platform," have you seen Avril Korman's Tin Foil Hat Theory posts? Part 6 there has links for all parts.

I have managed, through teeth clenched just below headache inducing level, to deal with Firestorm's beta viewer. It has JUST enough of a v1.5.x feel to be usable and just NOT enough to be annoying.

I totally agree with Miss Orr. The screen usage is abysmal with v2. Also, I'd be more concerned with how the build tools will work, if I didn't think Mesh had such a large probability from removing me from the build equation all together.


Emilly Orr said...

I've been following Avril Korman's column for a long time; Lady Fogwoman, I would strongly suggest that if you haven't read it, you do. She's an entertaining writer, but more than that, she knows what she's talking about, and she's a merchant in SL using viewer 2, so the problems of both merchanting and daily life in-world are covered.

Icterus Dagger said...

{and apologies for the horrible grammar in my post - yeesh!)


Emilly Orr said...

No worries.

Though intriguingly enough, I can't use Firestorm. Not won't; can't. Every time I install it and run the version, it auto-crashes on me. I can't even get in Second Life to see if it's a better viewer!

So I've given up. I don't know why it's happening, but I do not have the time to try to make it work; I need something that works now, or as well as I can make it work. (I'm thinking, unfortunately, it's time for a series of viewer 2 posts again. Argh.)

Fogwoman Gray said...

Thanks for the link, reading it now!
Nice to see v2 information that is not confrontational and self-righteous.

Serenity Semple said...

Ugh I couldn't stand reading that big rant about people who don't care for v2. I think I'll have to curl up in a ball and cry when mesh comes around. If I can still use Phoenix, yay, if not it's going to be a very very difficult transition. I love how big and open the window is for v1 compared to the compactness of v2. As I've always said, change that bloody UI and I'd use the dang thing. But it's just so messed up. I remember trying it once and never going back. I haven't tried Firestorm mostly because of my teleport blue screen needs. Talked to a friend and she told me that if someone teleports you on Firestorm, it goes into an IM. I would easily miss that and miss out on lots of stuffs. XD Also that av you linked, what a pretty one. :3 Nice to see some people can work prim feet right. I've seen it more wrong than right in my time. XD

Emilly Orr said...

Oh, I have too, and it's nice to know there's at least one prim footshaper who knows what they're doing.

Somewhere, in the labyrinthine byways of the Marketplace, I came across arched fur feet, too, but I honestly couldn't tell you where.

As far as the v2 thing...I've downloaded the latest Snowstorm, because it's the closest to v1 from v2's standpoint, but I haven't had time to poke it yet. I have the same complaint--if the UI didn't take up half the damned screen--STILL--I'd use v2!

As it is, it's still VERY unfriendly to anyone who wants to create content, at all.