Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Second Life Viewer 2.0: First Impressions

Written 24 February, 2010

Second Life Viewer 2.0: First Impressions

This morning Marianna McCann IMed me to tell me Linden Labs' new 2.0 Second Life viewer was out in beta version.

I immediately downloaded and ran it.

I was only able to stay in the new browser for about 15 minutes-- and ten of that was spent in trying to locate the radio and media controls so I could turn the music TF off. I never found them.

My overwhelming first impression was one of claustrophobia. There were just too many totally opaque intrusions on my screen space. And far too much room was lost on the bottom and top of my screen. 

My second impression was 2.0 was Second Life for dummies. There were buttons for stupid stuff no one uses like turning and moving one's avi and changing the camera view, but all the useful buttons were gone. Most functions (inventory,, map, seemed to have been relegated to the pop-out menu on the right side of the screen. The menus up top took up twice as much space in order to fit in a favorites bar.

The sim coordinates were gone, too; seeing your position required clicking on the information tab at the top of the screen. In a world that lives and dies by three-dimensional navigation, how stupid was that?

The pie menu was gone, replaced with much less intuitive text in a box. I wasn't able to find the mini-map, either,  

Preferences had been dumbed down as well. I'm not sure how many settings had been disappeared, relegated, perhaps, to the debug menu. Gone are two I use. Now I can no longer turn off my group tags-- and worse, until I find out wtf the setting went I have to watch those horrible friends online/offline notices that pop up every five seconds. Damn the Lindens for hiding that one!

And sweet Jesus, why can't I right click and rez a prim? What is WRONG with you folks???

By the time I had processed all the above I was so frustrated and disoriented I closed the program.

Tonight I reloaded 2.0 and looked at the release notes. I worked past he description of the interface and decided to try the much-vaunted URL on a prim. Once I figured out how to do that simples of simplest operations-- rez a prim and put Google in the media tab and applied the land media texture (which I had to manually find, as search in inventory wasn't working), nothing happened. 

Reading the release notes made me sad. Simple information that was on the interface (land permissions, for example) now require digging in menus. It will be most frustrating to teleport and have no idea of the build, script, fly, push, damage, and voice settings of the land. 

View Admin Options seems to be gone. That means there will be no flying in no fly zones. That alone will keep me away from 2.0.

And arggh, the keyboard shortcut for snapshots seems to be gone-- not that it's worked properly in a while. What, are the Lindens getting rid of the stuff that's broken and calling it a new interface?

It seems we'll no longer be able to drag objects, photos, and other things onto nearby avatars; instead we'll be forced to open their profiles. I hate that.

I could go on, but these are first impressions. I'm sure I've missed some shortcuts-- but my first impression is my first impression: this sucks-- majorly


Whatcha Eaton said...

I hate change. HATE IT. So it was by some unlucky circumstance that I had just returned from an eye exam with my pupils dilated when I found out the new viewer had been released. I wasn't a "dumb" user but I certainly was blind.

(Yeah, yeah... why were you trying out a new interface with dilated eyes, Whatcha? NEW! SHINY!)

Fortunately for me anyway most of the keyboard shortcuts still work. I use them all the time and to my delight I could get to things without having to know where they had moved the buttons.

Dragging inventory items onto avatars and name tags does still seem to work (it did for me, anyway).

You can:

* Turn off login/logout notifications within preferences (Ctrl-P), Notifications tab, "Tell me when my friends log in or out."

* Turn off group titles... preferences, General, "Show group tags."

Ctrl-Shift-Alt-D still makes the Advanced menu visible. From there, there's something called a Develop menu that can be switched on and... um... from in THAT menu you can turn on the Admin menu. I still don't know where "always fly" is. 0.o

This viewer clearly wasn't built for those of us who hack on prims and textures. I guess there's always Snowglobe, Emerald or one of the other "third-party" viewers... one can hope.

Amanda Martin said...

It's a little hard to understand someone rushing to try a 'beta' viewer and then complaining publicly about it. I've just recently tried the latest one, and once I figured out where things were, it's not that bad. Most things you can do that you could do before. And you shouldn't fly in no fly zones anyway... ha.

Cheyenne Palisades said...

Amanda, it's not like I was complaining because the damn thing has bugs. I was complaining because it was a fuck-up from beginning to end. No number of bug fixes could help it.

Besides, Linden Lab never treated 2.0 as a beta, anyway, even though it was officially designated as such. When every new citizen gets 2.0, it is not a beta.

No fly sucks and most of them make no sense. I get around it when I can.