Sunday, 23 January 2011

Phoenix and Firestorm

Having just blogged about the progress that Kirsten and Imprudence have been making towards incorporating V2XX features into their TPVs, it's only right that we cover Phoenix as well, it being the most popular viewer, I believe, for builders in SL.

Firstly... about Firestorm..

This from Jessica Lyon...
"Within the next year or so, LL will be essentially breaking all 1.23 and snowglobe based viewers with features they are rolling out in their Viewer 2 which won't work in 1.23 and snowglobe viewers. Because of this, and because we want our users to be able to take advantage of those new features we will be starting up a second viewer called Firestorm Viewer.

Our Firestorm Viewer will have all the features the LL viewer 2 has, plus we will be moving our features from Phoenix Viewer into it. So our users will get the best of both worlds. Moving to V2 codebase is a must because of the inevitability that 1.23 and snowglobe based viewers will no longer work in the not so distant future, including Phoenix. Our primary focus for Firestorm will be with making some big changes to the UI in the hopes of making it as familiar to our users as possible. We won't be able to make it look exactly like the Phoenix interface but we will do our best to make it look and function closely to what you are used too."

....and courtesy of Axi Kurmin who is one of the people testing Firestorm... the following shots...

Pretty obvious is the fact that the developers are fundamentally interested in what builders and content creators want....

"We have collected hundreds of emails resulting from our Firestorm Poll, listed in a previous blog post, thank you all for taking the time to send them. We will be using the results of that poll to determine what priorities we shall make in the development of the Firestorm Viewer." [jessica]

...and as you can see the row of little function buttons in the bottom left (which can be removed/customised) is far more useful than the stupid LL lefthand slab of black rubbish.

Local chat and IM's are/can be docked/merged as in the 1.23...(if they can do it LL...why can't you?)...

All in all this looks very promising, aware as I am that there are lots of things still to sort out before it is finished. Phoenix will continue to be improved too, so there will be two viewers from the same stable... as Jessica makes clear...

"We will have TWO viewers on the Third Party Viewer Directory when Firestorm is released, however we don't expect a solid release for Firestorm for at least 3-6 months [she said this in November...]. We have a LOT of work to do on it. To be clear, we are NOT forcing our users to use the Firestorm Viewer, however in time when Phoenix no longer works, we will all have to move to it.. or another V2 based viewer."

Many thanks to Axi Kurmin for help and to the Phoenix/Firestorm team for taking our wishes and needs seriously in the further development of the new viewer.

I would imagine that with Kirsten, Imprudence and Firestorm we will be able to find a UI that suits us and our specific needs .... and I doubt that V2XX will gain much of a following... we will see.



  1. I only began testing it last night, but this is what I have learned so far, as I told Soror:

    According to what Ive been told, they are planning on moving the friends list away from the side and putting it back in the tabbed chat window like it is in 1x. You will notice much greater screen real estate due to the perpetual sidebar being gone, replaced instead by buttons on the bottom of the screen which you can remove as you choose by right clicking and disabling them (I don't have the gestures button enabled, for example since I don't use gestures.) The sidebar disappears entirely. The space the sidebar previously occupied is currently the default popup location for your friends list and inventory, but you can tear them off and move them where you like. Tabbed IMs are enabled by default, in a vertical pattern and local chat is FINALLY docked back in with IM windows.

    The camera and movement controls are significantly smaller (thank goodness) than they are in 2x proper- they are much more a 1x size. The movement controls pop up in a lousy spot, and are hard to move because it's a hard box to grab- I'll tell Tonya about it when she logs in.

    They are working on skins for it- this is default and I was told that currently skinning is unstable. I don't like orange but I'll keep it if it works. It has now crashed once, sixteen hours after initial load.

  2. It should be noted that the interface is still very much a work in progress. The preview that will be released in a week or so is exactly that, a preview. Things will change between what you see here and that preview, and more between that preview and the final release. We think there's still more room for improvement, and we're making those improvements as fast as we can.

  3. Yep, well, as I said the really heartening thing is that someone is developing a viewer with us in mind... thankyou all for that.

  4. THANK YOU!!! Now if we could only get The Benevolent Monarchy to just bite the proverbial bullet and go ahead and buy the viewer that will give us what we are screaming for.
    {HEY GUYS! Sometimes it is wise to outsource...wait.. you know that. You outsourced support didn't you?)

  5. I think, Brinda, V2 was the result of outsourcing to a bunch of ex iron curtain devs.

    Lastest news...there is a viewer skin that has the same buttons etc as 1.23.under dev by Phoenix.

  6. Big thanks to the Phoenix devs. I look forward to testing out the preview, I'm in the Phoenix-Firestorm Preview group.

    I am so glad that the sidebar is gone. I always get mad when I can only slide the sidebar back and forth, it's like an accordion...nothing against accordions btw. But it just gets tedious putting the sidebar back to where it belongs.

    And I'm looking forward to having 42 group slots. I can't enable it in my version of Phoenix, even when I log into V2.4.

  7. Yes, I think we can all breathe a bit of a sigh of relief that the terrible UI is being improved.

  8. If i get a GUI who is not black withe negativ types i bee a happy girl!

    The design school taught me that it was bad for readability, and all DTP programs have found that out many years ago, so why try making a slick user interface that allows head ache.

  9. @ Betty, I agree 100%... blogs too that are white text on black are soo difficult to read. It is a very basic design flaw, one that surely all designers know.... Mac, Windows, Linux, Google....everyone uses dark text... everyone except LL.

  10. Hope you make the profile pics big enough to see again too............please!

  11. I love the way phoenix viewer lets you open it up large profile pics ... it is great for people with vision problems..hope you keep it like ..No sense making a profile pic if no one can see it, it will certainly save me lots of lindens not taking pics anymore if they remain small like viewer2

  12. Phoenix is great as it is, dont mess with it and end up with a heap of crap like SL Viewer 2