I have been using Boy Lane’s Cool Viewer for Second Life since… um… almost forever. Actually, yes, since viewer 1.23 came out, and changed the top bar no-push etc icons, and they SWITCHED the positions of the chat and IM buttons, so I was forever pressing the wrong one, oh and they shoved the IMs in WITH the chat so you couldn’t see a blasted thing…. And the huge tabs and… GAAAAAAAAAAH! Yeah, so… I needed to get out of that really fast.
Now that the next generation of mesh and blah blah blah is around the corner, and Boy Lane has ditched support for Second Life, I have been dreading the day when I have to switch to a different viewer. Then somebody told me Firestorm has a customizable interface! Well hey! I’m all over that!
Firestorm is by the people who brought you the Phoenix Viewer. You can read about it and download it from here.
I was a bit disappointed with it at first… but it IS more customizable than I had discovered. This video will show you the customization and options in a quick overview: Firestorm Preview Interface Customization Video.
Okay, I don’t see a skin yet that has the nice 1.23 blue buttons. But it’s *possible*. And… there IS a Jira for Firestorm taking suggestions. (Which I’m trying not to bombard, really!) But the BEST things about Firestorm are in there, now.
First, the sidebar. Completely optional. Not just GONE (which I like), but *optional*. Hey, you like the godawful sidebar, you can have it. You can tear everything off the sidebar and have your old floating windows. Wohoo!
Second, the chat headers. Those horrid ugly bars across the chat and IMS, with icons and names and colours cutting the text up? Oh yeah, baby, you can turn that OFF! WOHOO!
Oh oh oh! They put the “Clear” button back on the main map! You know, like when you click on the map to set a marker, and then for some deluded reason, you have to go to the mini-map and right click to get an option to take it OFF? This makes sense to whom??? Click on map. Turn off button on map. THAT makes sense!
And you can get your V2 goodies, of course. Multiple objects per attachment point! Yeah, yeah, Emerald had that years ago, but it was always FUBAR displaying on other clients. And the other stuff — tattoos and alphas. Which Cool has, except it can’t display partial alpha maps on the avatar properly. I end up seeing a lot of furries with doubled legs. Not pretty. And people with seriously deformed feet sticking out of their shoes. So that will be good to upgrade.
Now I hear that Henri Beauchamp is still working on updating his original branch of the Cool Viewer… Hmmm, think I can stick with the 1.23 interface AND use mesh? People are skeptical.
And, he has the Chat and IM buttons switched. Yeah, yeah, I hear you complaining: WHO CARES!? Hey, I do! Because when a new IM comes in, the “IM Received” button pops up. And where does it pop up? All the way over on the left side over the button bar. When it pops up, I most often clear it by clicking on it — which opens the pertinent IM window — and then clicking the IM button just below it to close the IM window.
Except now, that’s the Chat button. So I hit the “IM Received” button, and the IM window pops open. I drop the cursor and click, and now the chat bar opens. Great, now I have TWO things open, when I wanted to GET RID of clutter on my screen!
Of course, V2 viewers get rid of that entirely. And have that weird lower right corner stuff going on. And what’s with the group notices? I get little black boxes with the notice title and an X. Where’s the TEXT? Where’s the group ICON? Where’s the ATTACHMENTS to the notice??? Who thought this was a brilliant idea???!?