February 25, 2010

Thoughts on Second Life Viewer 2 - Part 1

I'm probably going to make a series of posts on this topic since I think the direction Linden Lab has taken with Viewer 2 is ultimately doomed to some sort of whimpering failure. Thus, the Part 1 label. Will there be a Part 2? Who knows. Just have to see if I'm motivated or burned out.

Unfortunately, I think commenting on all the things that are wrong about this Viewer will probably be futile. As with so many things the Lab is doing these days, they appear to be disconnected with how people actually use and interact with Second Life. Yes I appreciate that this is the result of a lot of hard work. But sadly, I think it was work done in a vacuum and not really immersively in-world.

So if I can put this in a nutshell, there were two goals behind this viewer. One was to add features and functionality that residents have long demanded and that Linden Lab feels are necessary to maintaining the long term growth of SL. The other was to make it easier for people to start in Second Life and stay in Second Life.

I love features like virtual outfits, tattoo layer for alphas, html on a prim and things that add functionality to SL. What I find amazingly short-sighted are the design elements in the viewer that totally fly against the way ANYONE, new or old, uses software.

Let's see....what's on the menu bar of most browsers? File / Edit / View / History / Tools. Hmmm. And what does SL Viewer 2 have? Me / Communicate / World / Build / Help. Me?? Huh?

Second Life is supposed to be immersive. A way of taking your RL self into a virtual world. Instead, what you've given us is a window into a world that's covered with decals, magnets, sticky notes, doo-dads and general crap. How am I supposed to feel like I'm wearing a $4000 ballroom gown with diamonds and pearls when what I'm actually seeing looks more like the front of my refrigerator. How am I going to enjoy that gorgeous Windlight sunset with a sweetie? Slide the sidebar in, the whole screen jumps. Slide it back out, it jumps back. Ick.

Simple things that used to take 2 - 3 clicks now take 7 or 8. Media controls are awful. IMs and group chat are so painful to use that it almost seems by design. As in  "let's screw it up so no one will use it and we won't have to fix what's wrong on the server." I remember back when LL first changed the chat stuff to "Contacts" and Nicholaz (who made all those great viewers that fixed LL bugs) first response was an XML that changed it back and made them usable tear-offs.

Finally, when all is said and done, I can't believe this is really going to be easier for a newbie to learn or even more so, get them to stay. It feels so cluttered and scattered. Even Facebook with all its stupid plug-in games and toys never looks this nasty.

I'm not in the "hate it" category as so many are, but I'm sure squarely in the "don't like". I sincerely hope the Lab allows the Emerald folks to carry on what they're doing but still incorporate the Viewer 2 features because I'm sure they can do better.


  1. I hate the viewer 2, it is absolutely horrible.
    If we were forced to use it, without a chance for an alternative old viewer, I would probably withdraw all my funds back to my creditcard and leave SL

  2. Viewer 2.0 worked a whole heap better for me. Showcase and search never worked for me in the 1.0 viewers or Emerald, despite trying multiple computers, asking Linden support, and using the forums. As someone who only uses Second Life casually to communicate with friends who are more hardcore players/users its a Godsend. Perfect? Probably not, I have no clue how to build or script in SL, but Viewer 2.0 feels like a working product rather than the mess that the other viewer was.

  3. It's interesting you make this comment because "search" is not really tied to the viewer, it comes from the server. Almost universally, the new search is despised. Merchants especially are being driven crazy because it's still being "gamed" AND the keyword spamming that wasn't supposed to have any effect seems to have even more effect now. But if the way Viewer 2 is organized works better for you, then that's good.

    As a creator and "power player" I still think Viewer 2 stinks.

  4. disgusting awful viewer THANK GOD FOR EMRALD

  5. The concept of switching to viewer 2 is SCARY

    Everyone I know hates it, this hate is flared up immediately into a fire the first time they use and and both Music and Media are blaring at once and you cant find the controls to turn them off! ( SL removed the nromal Music/Media controls)

    I have taken the time to list things I HATE about viewer 2….


    Takes forever to load your inventory then usually gives up

    Avatar is usually a cloud for 5 minutes

    Whenever I stand up from a chair or seat I shoot up many times 3000m for no reason, and I ALWAYS am flying when I stand up!

    It no longer lists the characteristics of the LAND (ability/inability to fly/ rezz/ scripts/ voice, and also cant click on the lands name to bring up the land menu and check on/return your unwanted ‘others objects’) along the top, which was so handy in viewer 1

    Apparently theres no way to SEARCH for people to IM them, and also extremely hard even to IM your FRIENDS!

    When sending notices to your group (which is also 100 times harder) you CANNOT drag an item into the group notice so as to send it out to the whole group.

    You cannot click on the ground to build, you have to use the HARD TO FIND Menu up above which makes building WAY harder in viewer 2

    When you log into viewer 2 your Avatar often is wearing ODD clothing that you havent worn in years, and also is often the wrong gender! ( sounds like a bad night on the town lol)

    The “side bar” the slides in from the side is organized in a way that is NOT good, I hate hate hate it, I loved my old inventory window that used to pop up in viewer 1

    Every time I think about viewer 2 I get depressed. I hope and pray that SL doesnt discontinue viewer 1!

    Wouldnt it be a dream come true if they SIMPLY made viewer 1 Media capable? OMG you would here cheering all across the world and people weeping for joy

    VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! ! VIEWER 1 ! !


All thoughts are welcome.