Emeraldgate and the latest LL 2.0 viewer issues with rendering has caused me to search for new viewers to use. I looked among Second Life's third party viewers, located in their directory at http://viewerdirectory.secondlife.com/ to seek out a potential quality viewers. to seek out a potential quality viewers. The list is vast but I wanted a one that was graphical for the average computer user, so that left me with Imprudence, Snowglobe and Kirsten's.
From the regular user's perspective, Emerald is the favorite and is still used by some. But from those in the know, its dead for many reasons. And so the search continues in finding a similar quality viewer that may measure up. The latest news is that the Emerald team claims to have updated their viewer, but it is still not in compliance, nor approved by Linden Labs as of yet. There are avatars walking around Second Life with only their prims visible and no body texture. It's a well known texture glitch with Emerald and LL Viewer 2.0, that has contributed to this quest.
In reviewing the third party viewers last week, I could only log into two. The first viewer I tested was Imprudence, which was updated in June 2010. The developers web site can be found here at http://imprudenceviewer.org/
I installed and logged on Imprudence (Blog: http://imprudenceviewer.org/) and found it to be okay, but it reminded me so much of Second Life's original viewer in speed and GUI with no extra features. I've always tolerated Linden Lab viewers but never really liked them. Rendering was not fast, and sometimes slow, I found it to be average and not up to my standards of rendering or features. Viewer features are listed here: http://imprudenceviewer.org/wiki/Features . I most likely will not continue to use Imprudence.
I then downloaded and tried to use Kirsten's Viewer but due to my 'average' computer specs (I'm actually a web developer and my comp is built for graphics & coding), I could not even log on to this viewer to review it. Kirsten's viewer is an alternative comparable to Linden Lab's viewer 2.0. and made for advanced users. I'm technically inclined but got no where with this viewer. :(
Kirsten's site is located at: http://www.kirstensviewer.com/ - It's a hybrid viewer based on a mixture of snowglobe and render-pipeline aimed specifically at high end users, film makers and photography. "It has a custom graphical interface and makes use of selective patches , shadows and advanced lighting, Post-processing and other elements for the more technically minded and creative individual." I guess, I won't be using Kirsten's viewer.
I then installed the Snowglobe viewer, which is a project of Linden Labs and open source developers. Here's the wiki page: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Snowglobe
I was very impressed with its super fast rendering, even faster than Emerald. The graphics quality on both an XP Operating system, Vista and win 7 is unsurpassed. It never crashed on me, and yet I jumped from sim to sim with no render issues or anything else. Its features are average, but the quality in itself makes me really like this one. I think I'll stick with Snowglobe until I find something better.
On August 16, 2010 Linden Labs announced on their blog that they are working on a new development project called 'Snowstorm', a new viewer that will import desirable patches and features from Snowglobe and other Third Party Viewers.
Read more from the blog Here.