Kirstens Viewer S18 Strikes Back!

Guess what? This seems to be the month of SL clients competing on bleeding edge features and speed improvements! After my previous post — now outdated! — on comparing Linden Lab’s open source “Snowglobe” viewer with Kirstens Viewer, KirstenLee Cinquetti hasn’t been asleep. She obviously got hold of the open source ultra-fast texture download code and new rendering pipeline from Snowglobe, added the “Worn Items” tab from Imprudence, and created an “unholy union” which gave us… dramatic performance. Again.

Comparing Snowglobe and Kirstens Viewer S18 is inevitable, of course, and your own experiences might be quite different. Remember, this is not for the faint of heart; both are so impossibly fast that I’m wondering if someone hasn’t sneaked in a new iMac on my table and are secretly laughing behind my back! On the other hand, many people will grumble and complain that it doesn’t work for them, or that they have some odd issues that never popped up before. That’s all right; we’re talking about products not designed for the casual, mainstream user — but for someone who couldn’t care less about a few minor issues and just wants poor, raw performance out of their computers 🙂

That’s really what I’m after 🙂 I used SL in 2004 with… 2-3 FPS. I slowly got used to push sliders and click boxes on the Preferences tab and was insanely happy when I managed 6-9 FPS out of the same computer! When I switched over to a “new” iMac back in early 2007, I was happy when I first saw SL running above 15 FPS, sometimes (on empty sims and very low settings) even going all the way up to 20! Then Windlight — now called “Atmospheric Shaders” — was incorporated into SL, worked well for a while during the testing phase, but the final release simply made my poor underpowered iMac go back to the more familiar 9-12 FPS range.

That all changed until KirstenLee Cinquetti came along with her viewer and launched her new, improved rendering pipeline and better handling of the texture download — and Hyang Zhao ported it to the Mac. All of a sudden, I finally understood that 30 FPS is something even an old iMac is perfectly able to do without sweating, or burning holes on your motherboard.

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