03 April 2010

SL Viewer 2: Preferences

Second LifeOk, so SL Viewer 2 is now the official viewer. So I suppose they've put a lot of thought and work into it, making sure the most obvious (and easily fixed) bugs are gone and it's more user-friendly than any viewer ever could be. Let's have a look.
This is part 2

We're off to set our Preferences, so let's just for now get rid of all these buttons in the bottom bar (where I ended part 1), I like the Snapshot button, so let's keep that (which makes me wonder, why make Snapshot an icon and the others text?) and open Prefs. Command+P opens.
Hey, I remember once opening a JIRA issue for getting Command+comma to open Prefs, just like in every other OS X app. Let's see. NO?! Back to VWR-6197 and add Viewer 2 as affected version.

Well, let's use the inferior Command+P (which is supposed to open a Print window) instead to open Prefs for now.

Whooh, another big, clunky window with a lot of wasted space. Well, you don't have this open all the time, so I suppose it's fine (in the old viewer it was just as big as here).

SL Viewer 2

Ok, General tab seems fine for now.

SL Viewer 2

Graphics tab, sure, fine. Although I am wondering why the Apply and Reset buttons aren't on the same height as the OK and Cancel buttons. The General tab doesn't even have a Apply or Reset button. Like I wouldn't want to reset anything I set up in there? Sure, there aren't so many options in there as in the Graphics tab, but still, it's inconsequent not to have them on all tabs.

SL Viewer 2

Privacy tab. Again, no Apply or Reset buttons. What if I totally messed up my Location of logs? "Oh crap, now where was that..." I want that to be on its former location again, I can't reset it. I'm officially screwed.

Also, there's a Block list. What this has to do with privacy, I don't know, but the button is on this tab anyway. But if you click it, it opens the block list in the sidepanel on the right... And the Preferences window is blocking that... And ESC does not even close the Prefs window! Any other normal app out there has the ESC key connected to the Cancel button. But in this viewer, it still acts as resetting the camera position. Which is bullcrap, because the Prefs window is so huge, I couldn't have it open and position my camera at anything, so why the hell does ESC reset my camera while the Prefs window is open, yet there is no way to quickly close the Prefs? Even Command-P, which is, contrary to other apps, not used to Print, but to open Prefs, does not close the Prefs window (VWR-1266, yes, this bug exists for three years now already).

SL Viewer 2

Sound & Media is next tab. Input/Output devices toggles a few extra options. That looks good, that's how I sort of expected the Block list to pop up too. Although five blocks for audio monitoring is not very much, I suppose it suffices. But even when I'm silent, it shows two to three blocks of background noise. And the fourth block is already red. Now I happen to have one external harddrive on atm, but surely that's not generating so much noise. It's certainly not more than any standard pc makes.

Anyway, the other buttons look simple enough, although it is a bit confusing Voice Chat is on this tab (I suppose it's Sound), when there's also a Chat tab in the Prefs window. To distinguish one from another, I think you would expect to have Voice Chat and Text Chat. And then Voice Chat could have its own tab in the Prefs window, there's plenty of space for another tab. I say this now because we will encounter more Voice Chat related preferences in one of the next tabs. Just so you're prepared, but remember any average new user will be confused to the extreme.

SL Viewer 2

Text Chat tab next. Ok, to set the text colours. And some more options. Tip: check the 'Enable plain text chat history' checkbox, because otherwise the chat history window is going to be hell.

The colours list is confusing and incomplete. Owner is default a light yellow. But in my chat history window, an object I own is green. Also, chat history from previous login sessions is all in some darker grey colour, which I cannot set here.

Show IMs in separate windows or in tabs. Why does that require a restart? 'Enable plain text chat history' does not require a restart, even when that also changes the look of a UI element. So why do I need to restart? I wouldn't know.

Oh, and with all these colours, you would expect there'd be a Reset button here too, but there is none. I can seriously duck up the colourscheme and there'd be no way I can reset it.

Anyway, Notifications tab is next, I'll skip that now, because there's nothing to see.

SL Viewer 2

Setup tab. Oh, that's network setup. And... whether or not I want cookies. And... how to set up a joystick. Ok, just throw a bunch of random stuff to setup in here.
Why isn't there a separate Network tab in the Prefs? And a separate Joystick tab? And a separate Web tab? Plenty of space, the eight tabs there are now hardly even take up half the screen anyway.

SL Viewer 2

Well, Advanced then. Ok, I can set the camera default preset here, I suppose? Could I maybe set the other camera presets here too? No. So they added a much wanted feature camera presets, which is cool, then deny them the option to customize those presets (or, heaven forbid, add more presets), which is cruel.

And what is Toggle speak on/off doing in the Advanced tab, when all other Voice chat options are in the Sound & Media tab? Wouldn't it be better to put them ALL in a separate Voice Chat tab?

I am missing the option to install new viewer skins. It used to exist in Viewer 1, they had created an extra skin called Dazzle. Well that's cool, allow us to ditch the hideously dark default skin and let us create our own nice and light and open and friendly skins. No! Skin nazi says you may only use the default ugly skin.

I am also missing the option to turn on or off tooltips. Maybe that's in the menus though, I will have a look at that...
...in part 3.

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