Sidebar Preferences Options
The recent releases bring a couple of noticeable new Sidebar Preferences updates. In the initial release of Exodus, inventory and the script editor each used a custom style. Users now have the option of reverting to the “default” SL approach to both: the traditional icons for inventory, and a white background for the script editor.
The options to change the styles can be found in SIDEBAR -> EXODUS PREFERENCES -> INTERFACE SETTINGS and comprise a pair of buttons for each.
With the inventory style, a Viewer restart is required in order for the change to take effect; with the Script options, you need to close and re-open any script windows in use in order for the change to take effect.
PDT or Local Time?
An interesting tweak with Exodus is the ability to display the time in the top right of the Viewer in either SLT (Pacific Daylight Time) or in your local time. This is toggled using a Debug setting, EXODUSPDTCLOCK. When se to TRUE (default), the Viewer will display the time in SLT/PDT; when set to FALSE, your local time will be displayed.
Another tweak is the “double resolution” option in the snapshots floater.
I’m unclear as to the advantage in using this option; the image resolution remains constant, as does pixel pitch, although higher resolution images did require more disk space when stored (a 1440 x878 image with the option turned off required 643Kb (PNG format) when stored on my PC, but 727Kb when using the “double resolution” option).
The option is enabled by a check box, although there is a slight layout issue in the current release – display the snapshot floater in its minimal mode, and the “double resolution” check box remains visible (see left).
Not much to report on here; things are pretty much as they were on my usual test PC when I tested the 11.09.28 (2) release I reviewed in September. This puts it as being somewhat faster than Firestorm with the twiddly bits I like (shadows, etc.), enabled, and comfortably matching Firestorm in all other respects.
There are still some popular Viewer options that are missing from Exodus, and as we know, Linden Lab have recently introduced the FUI – Flexible User Interface – into Viewer 3. In reviewing the latest updates, I took the opportunity to chat with Ash Qin from the team as to some of their plans for the future.
The UI question in particular must have additional thorns for the team – they’ve put considerable effort into making better use of the Sidebar; so I kicked-off by asking Ash if they’d given any thoughts as to how they’ll be handling the new UI and the departure of the Sidebar.
“UI wise, we’re going to adopt the new FUI interface because we don’t believe in creating yet another user interface deviation,” Ash replied. “We’re probably going to go in the direction Linden lab takes with the interface, which isn’t very clear at the moment because Linden lab don’t really know the direction themselves. Makes it as you said, somewhat of a headache.
“I can’t really say just yet how the preference sidebar is going to be handled, there’s much debate internally on how to approach this.” That said, Ash is also confident the team will be adopting the Viewer 3.2 UI with their next major release.
In my original review of Exodus, I lamented the lack of RLV and the likes of MU* poses and OOC auto-closure. The latter two have been addressed with these updates, so how about RLV making an appearance? Ash was cautious in replying.
“The problem with RLV is that it’s really a lot of work to merge in with every viewer release. It’s one of the reasons why other TPVs take so long to release. As a tiny developer team, we’d probably end up spending more time integrating RLV than anything else in a release – It’s not really in our best interests to do RLV since it would slow down our development of new features. In the future, I couldn’t say yes or no to supporting RLV support. I can say that I don’t believe it will be available in the near future.”
That doesn’t mean that elements of RLV-like functionality will not be appearing in Exodus. “We have instead started working on a API system that has certain functionality from RLV, while introducing our own functionality called eAPI, that shouldn’t be so much work to merge with each release,” Ash informed me. “It’s mostly general functionality that has many uses outside of the kinky scene. Like, telling the viewer to sit on an object or to teleport to a destination, manipulate your graphical gamma settings etc.”
As to other common Viewer features, such as the media filter, Ash was clear on where the focus for Exodus lay. “No specific plans [for the media filter], but probably. Our development process right now is more in line of, what unique features can we work on rather than what existing features can we copy. A bit later down the line when we’ve reached our ‘feature’ target, we’re going to be looking at more common UI and common features.”
Given all that the team has achieved so far, it’s hard to argue their stance on incorporating features and functions. Exodus already has some truly unique features, and offers a unique approach to Viewer functionality and capabilities and which offers some exceptional performance to boot. It’s remarkably stable given it is still in Beta, and Sidebar reliance notwithstanding, I put it as my number 2 V3-style Viewer after Firestorm; truth be told, I like the good use the Viewer puts the Sidebar to – in some ways it will be a shame to see it go.
That said, and given the creativity put in to Exodus in terms of feature and function access, it’ll be interesting to see what the team come up with vis-a-vis making use of the new FUI and, particularly, the button toolkit.
Definitely one to watch.
Note: Exodus 11.10.31 (b) should be available via the Exodus website on general release later today, Monday October 31st, 2011.