Research: Software - Viewer choices


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Second Life Viewers
Main Linden Lab Viewers
Third-Party Viewer Directory - 11 viewers for desktops, laptops and mobile phones (iPhone)
Third party viewers- 28 viewers (some discontinued) - graphical and text based - desktop and mobile phone (iPhone)

Linden Labs (Second Life) have a Third-Party Viewer Policy which permits the use of third-party software to connect to Second Life from any device and allows modification or use of their viewer source code under certain conditions.

Reaction Grid Viewers
The above viewers are either designed to be used on different grids or can be adapted to do so and instructions on how to do this are usually found on the respective Grid's website. Be aware that adapting Second Life viewer shortcuts to access other virtual worlds may be difficult to manage with some desktop settings.

Viewers tested for this project

Second Life Viewer 2 - Official viewer and the one users are most likely to load at home. It is difficult to use to connect to other virtual worlds/grids because it requires a customised desktop shortcut (instructions can usually be found on help pages for various virtual worlds.
Second Life Viewer 1.23(Download link at bottom of page) - Older viewer (See Viewer 2 Moves for changes to menu structure from viewer 1.23 to 2). It is difficult to use to connect to other virtual worlds/grids because it requires a customised desktop shortcut (instructions can usually be found on help pages for various virtual worlds.
Hippo Viewer - two part download the second of which may not download through a firewall or unauthenticated proxy
Imprudence - very useful and recommended. Can be installed on a USB memory stick.
Emerald Viewer - (Discontinued for Second Life)
Meerkat (Discontinued)
Sparkle (iPhone) - text based (Download via iTunes)
Pocket Metaverse (iPhone) - many features with some map graphics (Download via iTunes)

Observations
Viewers designed for use on multiple grids are useful when more than one virtual world is being used.
Viewers that allow owner created content to be backed up (exported) and imported into a different virtual world is useful for users using more than one virtual world. (NB Copyright considerations.)
Viewers for smart phones are useful for quick messaging or transactions.
Some viewers may be difficult to deploy on across some networks.

Viewer Quality and Performance
The quality and performance of a viewer is usually automatically selected on startup when the viewer examines computer specifications.
This setting can be manually changed - see Bandwidth: Viewer Tools page for more information.
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Hardware Interfaces



Web Browser Access (Near future)

See Rezzable: Unity and the On-Ramp to the OpenSim Metaverse
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The above login and view is via a standard browser with a plugin.
It is possible to have a virtual world (Unity 3 not OpenSim at present) hosted (eg Reaction Grid Jibe) and to design and export objects and terrain from Unity 3.
Virtual worlds of this kind may be well suited to meetings and exhibitions in the short term and much more in the near future.
Text and voice chat are possible.
Some institutions may not be able to access these virtual worlds from a web browser due to ICT restrictions.
This technology is new and likely to develop rapidly. See

Recommendations for possible Guidelines/Standards

  • Consider using the Impudence Viewer if you are planning to use virtual worlds other than Second Life.
  • Consider manually changing graphics settings to suit computer specifications and bandwidth.