Thursday, July 21, 2011

Please Don't Screw Up One of my Reasons for Loving Second Life!

Kinkaku-ji Garden  (moderate)

Ignore this blog post - it's going to be a form of  therapy for me today.  I'm not really a Pollyanna - honest.  I do try to be optimistic because it seems much less fatiguing than the alternative but I can get cranky.  Some days are much harder than others if you're trying to see the less bleak side of things. I keep telling myself that many many others have things far worse than I do and that this stress will pass, however today is one of those days that the lectures aren't working.

I went to Kinkaku-ji Garden this morning to try to find some calm in myself.  It didn't help - but it did give me a target for some of my frustration.  I'm tired of beating myself up so why not pick on somebody else? 

Kinkaku-ji Garden  (moderate)

I mentioned the other day that the redesigned Environment Settings in the 2.8 Beta do not take into consideration people who are taking photographs and these days I spend much of my time inworld trying to do just that. I've talked about how much I love pushing buttons and adjusting sliders to see what effect they have on my photos - it usually brings me a lot of joy.  However, what usually gives me pleasure and brings me a measure of peace is currently adding to my negative view of all worlds.  Having to go through hoops and create new presets every time I just want to change one tiny aspect of the image is driving me batty.   My frustration this morning boiled over and I actually threw my mouse at the screen.  I felt like an idiot.

2.8 is in Beta so I understand we're testing it and expected to give feedback.  Unfortunately, even though they request our thoughts there is no designated place to provide them. Maybe it's obvious to the smart people and I'm just not in that group.  I'm concerned this won't be addressed before it goes into production - in fact it won't be looked at for a long time.

I actually care enough about this issue that I created a JIRA yesterday.  I did a pathetic job of it (my occasional attempts in the JIRA world do not make me skilled at this) and once I calm down maybe I'll go back and try and make it more coherent. There are parts of it I'm sure I screwed up and can't edit but maybe I can make the explanation and impact clearer.  I'll go for a long walk and try to achieve some balance.  Then I can try and do something constructive and not take all my real life stress/anxiety/angst out on some poor undeserving developer.  In the meantime what photos I do manage to take are a little dark.

Update:  OK there's a workaround.  :)

Kinkaku-ji Garden  (moderate)


R. said...

Feel free to hold your nose through this...

This is why I jumped to Phoenix and have dabbled in Firestorm... that quick preferences thingy makes it quick and easy to switch between presets and daytime, or bring up the even nitpickier sliders.

Well, that and the fact that every time I try to put my trust in V2, the Labbies find a new way to make it betray my trust and send me back to Phoenix.

I know that cycle can't go on forever, and Firestorm is evolving quickly... we'll see if the stability comes quick enough instead of incorporating a lot of the recent dealbreaker fail of V2.7X and newer.


Honour McMillan said...

We all have our preferences - and I've tried other viewers. But there's so much I like and feel comfortable with in V2. Going back to the old chat and im window just isn't an option for me - and I miss the sidebar when it's not there. So it's just this new change that has me terrified - apparently I'm not in the use cases for this design.

Uccie Poultry said...

For photos I often use Kirstens as it's access to image/Environment settings is faster than with the official viewer, but the panes with all the controls are the same size regardless of viewer. Fortunately, I have a 27" monitor so when I crank up to full screen it is easier to see the sky.

I voted for your JIRA because your suggested change would be helpful. And I wish you luck despite my strong belief that JIRAs are ignored. In all my years of filing them not a one has been solved. In fact, I had one of my few angry blog posts about that same thing Just last year (

Laura18 Streeter said...

I'm with Crap and Uccello as well, loving Firestorm when I had crinced every time I logged into a v2 viewer. I use Kirstens when i want shadows but Firestorm looks like it will be my full time client - assuming I can still walk runway with it, I love the extra layers. FS now has the quick-change button for graphics settings that I liked so much in Phoenix. That said you're right about no organized way to provide feedback and - will anyone read it anyway?

Caliburn Susanto said...

I wound up yammering on again so for brevity, here's a synopsis: FireStorm is V2 based and you can make the interface nearly identical to V2 if you want to. Worth a try for the WindLight options in my view.

Next, the long version: ;-)

Caliburn Susanto said...

The only thing I DON'T like about Viewer2 is the clunkiness of dealing with WindLight settings. Why they haven't prioritized the ability to tweak WindLight quickly and easily is beyond me (and very frustrating). As you can probably imagine from the pictures I take, WindLight is a primary feature to me.

The most important features of V2 for me are that it's very stable (not totally, but compared to other clients) and lets me take very high-rez pictures WITH shadows and everything cranked up to the maximum settings. For what it is worth for your own use, I've discovered that if I go exploring with "regular" settings to find something picture-worthy, then log out, crank up the settings in the Preferences while still on the splash screen (before logging in), then log in and wait for everything to rez before taxing the video card with camera movement, I can then have a nice stable high-rez picture taking session with my DD set to 256 or so. I recently did just that in a region filled with moving prims and lots of particles, and everything everywhere casting moving shadows onto everything else. I took 15 high-rez pics and 10 minutes of machinima without crashing once.

I've tried the above (log out and setup) method on all the other viewers of note and none of them have made it past the second high-rez snapshot without crashing (and the picture quality was often inferior as well).

I recently installed FireStorm to give it a chance to convince me. Yes, it has perks, and two photography-friendly features (which could be easily included in V2, but ridiculously are not yet) are the scroll-through-the-list buttons on the sky settings panel and the little quick-settings popup panel on the bottom toolbar.

Those alone would lure me to use it but, along with the other perks incorporated into FireStorm, they are moot because the client is über crashy for me. Even when I'm just sitting chatting, with a short draw distance, doing not much of anything, it simply shuts down for no apparent reason. When viewers do that I suspect memory leakage, but regardless of the reason it's not tolerable. It's especially not acceptable when I've just spent 10-15 minutes composing a photo, tweaked WindLight to a fine tune, and am getting ready to snap the picture and the screen goes black because I've just been disconnected from SL by the client and lost all my settings. Argh! Violence crosses my mind momentarily when that happens.

HOWEVER, it's a V2-based client and if you have accustomed yourself to V2 layout and functions you can make FireStorm look and behave (superficially) in almost the exact same way interface-wise. So if you are wanting to stick with the V2 interface but have slicker WindLight options available, it's at least worth installing it for that to experiment with picture taking on your system. It might turn out to be more stable for you than it is for me.

Speaking to no one in particular, I want to emphasize here before it looks like I'm trying to start a debate on viewers that I am NOT. I am totally AGAINST viewer "wars." They are assinine and childish. The important things about SL are the people and the graphic content. The client is nothing more than a tool to have access to both. It's good we have choices because every single one of us has a different computer setup; different brands, different components, different reliability. And we all have varying degrees of ISP quality and dependability. There is no such thing as the "best" interface to enjoy SL except on an individual level. Simply try them all then pick the one that works best for YOU. Currently for me, it's V2 because I'm primarily a picture taker and I need the stability and graphics quality. But I'm always experimenting and giving other viewers a chance to show me what they can do.

On that note I'm going to now have to install this 2.8 beta of which you speak and find out what changes they are making that got you so annoyed. :-)

Honour McMillan said...

@Cal :) I hope you come back and tell me there's an easy solution! In the meantime I'll see if I can get Firestorm to mimic my favourite parts of v2 - at least so I have the option.

Caliburn Susanto said...

Okay. Preliminary fiddle report.

Bottom line (appears to me) they have taken away the slider graphics for tweaking WindLight and replaced them with making you open the color picker panel instead. You get the same effect as before, but have to "play it by eye" and watch the effect on the screen rather than look at the sliders. I guess someone felt this is a more familiar paradigm for new users and all the slider numbers were too intimidating (?). Dunno. Looks like a dumbing down on the surface, but really the functions are all still there unless I'm missing something.

I have a huge set of WindLight settings that I typically copy over to any new client so they are all available in the drop-down menu. I did this with the V2 Beta and they are all there and all work fine.

Then I chose one to modify (Places Pathfinder) and saved it with a new name. I also checked the box "Make this my new sky setting." It worked fine, and is persistent -- when I log out and back in again it is still the same and still my default sky setting. Also the original preset is still fine and unchanged.

Anyway, the method of creating/tweaking presets has drastically changed visually, but is still functional as far as I can tell. So barring further info on what doesn't work I'll have to see what else is an issue from your perspective.

Honour McMillan said...

You found what I did - it does work. Now imagine you're me and you pick one of the windlight settings - setup your photo and think - no I want the light to hit that object from a different angle.
Now you go back to that edit preset window - pick the windlight again - change the angle - save it and the window closes.
But no it's not quite right still - so you have to repeat the process.
Then if you're me you decide to see if increasing the haze will get the effect you want - so you do it all over again.
The difference between the steps required to do all that in the production version and now 2.8 is very big. The hassle makes me stop trying to get exactly what I want and just frustrates me.

Caliburn Susanto said...

Okay, gotcha. Will keep playing with it from that POV and see what I can see.

Dale Innis said...

Voted and Twittered. Even though I haven't myself started using any V2-codebase client yet at all. :)

Honour McMillan said...

@Dale - you wuss! :) Thank you