Saturday, June 18, 2011

Boo vs Firestorm Beta Viewer

Hurray, Hurrah and yay! Firestorm beta is here, and I'm going to give it a little review after using it for a few days.

You may remember from my "Boo vs the Second Life Viewer" that I was having trouble finding a viewer that gave me a layout that was practical for what I do in Second Life and gave me great performance. I started by showing you my current Viewer layout as I have been using on the Phoenix Viewer.

As I pointed out before, it gave me a lot of screen real estate, access to my inventory, access to the camera movement and access to contacts, Local Chat and IM's in all one window. This is the layout I have used for ages in Second Life, and the layout I have been waiting for on a V2 viewer.

Well, lets have a peek at my Layout on the Firestorm Viewer to see what I came up with after some tweaking. This is set up using the starlight classic skin that is included in the viewer.

Lord help me, I even included the Mini-Map and that looks somewhat familiar doesn't it? A whole lot of screen real estate, the chat box with contacts, local and IM's, camera controls that could be resized, my inventory, the build tool...really it's quite dreamy :)

So I can honestly say Firestorm has succeeded where the official viewers have not. It gave me my preferred layout and converted me to a V2 viewer...mostly...but i'll explain that later.

Now, it could have only done those things and I'd be a happy camper, but it actually did a whole lot more than that. It has shadows that don't crash me when I use them (all the official, beta and project viewers from LL crash me every time i try to enable shadows), has a included Radar, RLV, Temporary Uploads...and many other features you might remember from the Phoenix TPV...heck it even has the option to use a old fashioned PIE menu! (I will note however, the "buy" button is not where i'd expect in the pie layout...I hope they fix that later)

So as far as features and layout are concerned, this viewer does it all right! Quite easily could get me to swap to this viewer full time....if it wasn't for the freezing.

I know a lot of folk who are having great performance on this viewer right now, so I'm not sure what it is about my machine, but as far as performance is concerned (with and without shadows) I keep having random freezing. Everything just locks up and I can't move, can't select anything, and my program just shows me a "not responding" message at the top.

Eventually it comes back around again, but sometimes it keeps doing it over and over, making everything I try to do Choppy. This is something I don't have in the official viewer. So it's kind of a trade off. Get great performance on official V2, and have the frustration of the interface, or get a choppy experience on Firestorm but get the UI I like.

I know this is only a Beta, and I sure do hope they get that sorted by the time it is a full release (maybe once they catch up on versions to the latest project build which is super quick in performance) but it is still really frustrating.

That's not to say it happens all the time. On my building platform I can get away with doing a lot before it happens, but I always know it is going to happen...and that's the thing. My settings are pretty much the same on both Firestorm and the Official Viewer (when I'm not using shadows) so it does make me grit my teeth a bit that Firestorm could get it so right in design, but my performance is so lousy compared.

The only other thing is that if you really look at the two pictures, you'll notice that i still am using a lot of screen space compared to the old one (even though I now have a lot more). If you look back and forth between the two pictures a bit you'll see exactly why that is. All the windows have more bulk to, even when re sized they are still bigger than they were.  Inventory, chat, even the build tool are much larger than they had been on default settings. I still need to play with it some more, so maybe I can adjust that in the UI settings.

I only point it out because it seems to me, in streamlining the viewer, a lot of the unnecessary UI box frames could have been streamlined themselves. Not sure if that made sense, and that is a LL complaint really not a Firestorm complaint, but Firestorm still has the similar size frames on their windows, and that is odd to get used to. That said, I will most likely get used to it, but it's still silly.....just sayin.

So, keep working at it Firestorm folks, get the performance up to par with V2 and I'll make a home there....or better still, Take a cue from Firestorm LL....your viewer could be golden to a lot of people, had you just given people what they have been looking for rather than being stubborn and stuck to the V2 UI design.



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Victorian Boo! - New Product Releases

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful week!

A while back I said I wasn't going to be doing any more Lapdance products for a bit, but I had a few requests for something in a Victorian style. I like to make people happy, so I have put together Victorian versions of both the Lapdance Chair and the Loveseat!

Boo's Ultimate Lapdance Chair - Victorian Edition

NOTE: If you already own the V2 chair or the upgraded V1 chair, the menus are exactly the same on this version. Only the design has changed

111 Animations

11 Prims


1550L Selling Price

Boo's Ultimate Lapdance Loveseat - Victorian Edition

NOTE: This version of the Loveseat does contain some different and additional Animations not included in the original.

172 Animations

15 Prims


1700L Selling Price

Also released today is a new Sofa in a Classic Style. Lesbian and Unisex versions

Boo's Afternoon Tea Sofa

Unisex Version - 194 Animations - 1050L

Lesbian Version - 142 Animations - 900L

This Sofa is only 6 prims, so it is perfect for a Linden Home


I'm putting the new Victorian Lapdance Loveseat on the Group vendor, so you can save a bit if you buy it from there (gift cards can not be used on group vendor)

Deal of the week in the Boo's Pink Truck will be the Cherry Lesbian version of the Afternoon Tea Sofa. Grab it for 15% off

That's it for this week! I have a group gift coming for you all (i know I am a bit late getting one done but it's coming!) and more new stuff in the next week or so!!



Boo's Bits in Second Life

Boo's Marketplace Store

Nynaboo on Twitter: @nynaboos

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Boo vs the Second Life Viewer

I'm taking a moment out of my regularly scheduled product releases and rants, to focus my thoughts into something that, in my opinion, is very important for users and Linden Lab alike. The Second Life Viewer. I know that there are a million of these kinds of blog entries all around, and you can probably throw a stone and hit someone who has bashed V2 since its release or someone who bashes people who won't convert to V2, but i figured I'd give it a good honest try, and be as fair as I could in my blog entry.

And lets face it....many of  you don't want to hear it...and I don't even want to say it really, but even the folks over at Pheonix has said it....moving to Viewer 2 (or V2 based viewers) is going to be inevitable...and it is much sooner than you think. Mesh is coming and say what you will, it will change the landscape of Second Life. The debate is on somewhere if it is for the better or not, but regardless,  we'll be forced to adapt (one way or the other) to the Viewer 2 code, or be left behind. 

So while many are waiting for a Viewer that takes what they like about Viewer 1.23 and places it on the V2 system, I thought it was a good idea to actually rediscover Viewer 2 after not using it since its original release, and then share my experience with you....and you can go ahead and make up your own mind too, agree or disagree...i just ask that it's a fair opinion.

So, lets start with a description of what I do in Second Life, and how I use the viewer in those tasks. Mainly I build and run my shop. My business is the most important part of my Second Life these days. It could be making new products, promoting them, offering support on them, re merchandising my store, sponsoring a event for the store...that really is my main function.

So in my viewer use, Screen real estate is very important to me, being able to see what I am working on completely, while still being able to manage items in and out of my inventory, and handle IM's and local chat messages. In Viewer 1 my system was Inventory window open in the bottom Right of the screen, , Camera movement in the top right, Chat window in the upper left, build menu in the lower left, and the rest was my view of what was around me. It looked very similar to this image (taken recently in the latest phoenix viewer)

There are a couple things i will point out here later, but right now the starting point is to show what I am familiar with. Now when approaching any new viewer, you hope to be able to get something that resembles your perfered set up. In fact in all the online games/worlds I have been in, there have always been a few constants I could count on, which is why this screen is so comfortable for me. It is very similar to what I have set up in other worlds. Specifically the chat window, which I will touch on more later.

So now with that in mind, lets log onto the latest build of Viewer 2, in its standard form and have a peek. First of all, I will say that I am running this in advanced mode, with the inventory detached from the sidebar

Ok, so lets point out the thing that stands out the most to me, and that is in order to have access to my local chat and im's at the same time, I need to now have two windows that are open, and not able to access both in one. This takes up more space, and as you can see I haven't even added the build menu to this shot.

Also the camera controls take up much more space than the other viewer, which i find a bit irritating. I really notice it now, where before it was just a part of the screen i could mouse to when i wanted to rotate around something easily. When I build I do a lot of rotating around objects with that.

The inventory window is for the most part ok, but i do notice the layout, again, is much larger than it used to be. All in all this combination I am comfortable with on the previous viewer, is now using up a great deal of my screen space, and not as efficient as the old viewer.

I want to point out here that those are my main complaints about the viewer. Other than those things, I could probably adjust to V2 quite easily. I don't even hate the sidebar, now that it can be closed or opened without adjusting the screen too much, and now that you can detach the pieces from it. I'm even going to say that while I prefer the PIE menu system when selecting something, I can easily adjust to the drop down menu, because I have been using drop down menus for ages on other programs and operating systems.

So though this may sound like I am having a real bashing session at V2, I am really not. 3 specific things that make my experience less enjoyable. That's really not bad. Unfortunately it is enough to make me want to go back to the 1.23 interface.

Luckily, there are solutions to most of my problems, by using the great skin work of Hitomi Tiponi in the Starlight skins that are available. So lets revisit Viewer 2 with the skin installed. The option i chose to run was the classic with no sidebar. Lets have a look

First thing you should notice is I regained a lot of screen real estate with the new skin. The inventory window and camera controls are much less intrusive. However There is still that pesky problem with the chat windows. I need to have both windows in order to access local chat and IM's at the same time.

I really want to focus on this...I think this is one of the major problems people have with moving over to a V2 based viewer. When you visit the majority of chat based worlds/mmo's/games (at least the ones I have tried) you can have things set up to access all your chat in one place. The viewer 2 set up just doesn't allow this. Also, not everyone likes to chat at the bottom of the screen (and in my case because I am in windowed mode, if i drop down there my windows bar will come up and cover the chat entry).

ETA: Also in this same respect, the Local chat, IM's, Groups, and Friends could all be managed from this one window. While my focus is on the chat itself, having the contact section in this same single window was a fantastic ease of use function. Now I have to look into my sidebar for that...which is fine I suppose, but it really does feel like more steps to do something I could do much easier before. 

Now, I hear the Firestorm viewer is coming out with a version of chat that does combine the local and im's in one for people, but I can't help wonder why they had to? I can't imagine what the thought process was at Linden Lab to not allow those to be combined. In all the promotion and marketing of Second Life, the main draw is what you will see. And to be honest, in viewer 2, when I have nothing open at all, i see just fine, and it looks just lovely (with better performance too)

But try to do anything other than look around and see things that are pretty...well, that's add 4 or 5 im's at once, a group conference, someone trying to talk to you in local chat, be half way through building something creative, trying to move your camera around, toasts popping up at the bottom because people are sending you notecards....

Ok true, even on Viewer 1 a lot of that was a pain in the bottom, but at least the local chat, im's, group chat, could all be confined to one single box in the UI. And that is the killer for me, the thing that keeps me from switching over. Everything else I really can adjust to. I have had no other issues with it (well except the crashing, but that is only with shadows)

So I suppose i wait for the Firestorm TPV to come out so I can have this. But it still keeps me from using the official viewer, which should be a concern to Linden Lab in my opinion. They made the statement that they wanted Viewer 2 to be THE BEST choice in viewer to use in Second Life. They can achieve this if they want to, for me anyway. Just re combine the chat into one simple window again, and I believe you will find a few less complaints about the viewer, while not losing anything that will affect new user retention (if anything the combined window was a plus for new users, not a negative. I don't know why that was taken away really)

What did I like? Well, a whole lot actually. Love the world with really made Second Life look on par with more modern worlds. The outfit management is a godsend. A friend had a movie playing from his youtube page in a theater in Second Life, and i was finally able to visit it and enjoy that because it was web on a prim (sure i could have gone to youtube but how cool is it to be sitting in a theater with your avatar and watch no one? well i thought it was cool!)

Things I need to mention because it's a pain in the bottom: I havn't been able to figure out how to access my classifieds anymore through Viewer 2...that's an issue for me, also can't seem to find land for sale through a general search like I used to...that is greatly missed. Sometimes when i type in a notecard the cursor doesn't appear where it should and i have to start over...that's particularly annoying, and finally sculpts seem to take a long time to load on http textures, which i had thought was actually supposed to help loading. maybe i'm wrong

My verdict of Viewer 2 as of June 8th 2011:

It isn't that bad in fact I have better performance while using it. It is not as scary as it was when launched with the use of a third party skin (Starlight), but without some changes to how it handles the chat windows I can't see myself using it.



Monday, June 6, 2011

Home is where your BOO is! - New Prefab Releases!

Hi all! As I promised last week, I have some Prefab releases for you this week, and I'm really excited about them! Two Residential cottages and a Lil Town unfurnished building to add to the collection!

First up lets look at the Cottages, which are the first (of i hope many) collaborations with my very dear friend Rhiannon Skinstad. The Cottage design and textures were done by Rhiannon, and when I got a hold of them I tweaked them to lower the prim count and then added furniture to them! We hope you enjoy these new buildings

Boo & Rhi Cottage Series 1 and 2

Cottage 1 info:

20x20 footprint

House 128 Prims

Furniture 165 Prims

Cottage 2 Info: 

25x30 footprint

House 138 Prims

Furniture 182 Prims

All parts of the house are Modify and Copy, which means you don't have to worry about losing it, and you can change it around if that takes your fancy! They include a lighting system, and a window tint system, Kitchen, Living Room, Bedroom, Hot Tub, Piano and fireplace! 

(furniture is no mod)

Cottage 1 sells for 2000L Complete

Cottage 2 Sells for 2200L Complete

If you are interested in the Cottage but not the furniture, please contact me and I'm sure we can make arrangements!

Please by all means come and have a peek at them on my Prefab Platform, which you can access from any of the teleporters at the main store. They really are lovely homes and I am happy to be able to present them to you through Boo's Bits. 

Here are some pictures of the inside of these great cottages!

Cottage 1

Cottage 2

Last up we have a new Lil Town building. This is one I worked on for a while but was never sure what kind of a building it would end up. Instead of waiting around to decide that, because there really were so many options for it, I decided I'd release it unfurnished and let you folks decide what to put in there!

Lil Town Multipurpose Building - Unfurnished

40x35 Footprint

123 Prims

Window Tinting system included - Seperate Tinting Control for Upstairs and Downstairs

Lights can be turned on/off by switches on the walls. Seperate switches for Main Room Down, Upstairs and conference room

Podium included in the Conference room with a single animation. Sit on Podium to activate.

Let your imagination run wild! And do send me pictures of what you decide to do with it if you buy one!

The Lil Town Multipurpose building sells for 750L

The Group vendor will stay as is for this week, offering the Beach version of the Threesome Lounger, and the deal of the week will be on the the Lil Town Pub! save 15% on its price.

That's it for this week! 



Nynaboo on Twitter: @nynaboos