We’ve just released the Second Life WindLight First Look viewer containing brand-new atmospheric rendering — killer skies and kickass environments — for your enjoyment! See our earlier WindLight announcement for more info.
This viewer can be downloaded RIGHT NOW in Windows, Mac, and Linux flavors.
What does “First Look” mean?
“The First Look Viewer is a test version of the Second Life viewer. This viewer connects to the main grid, so that you can test it in your everyday Second Life.”
“First Look” by definition is a “preview”. Some things are bound to be broken; we’re already aware of several bugs that need fixing. With your help, we can identify and reproduce further bugs so we can fix those, too. This also means that the included features are liquidly subject to change! As this is sort of a “sneak peak” of future technology which’ll eventually make it into the main Second Life viewer, we appreciate your help in getting things right.
To emphasize, First Look WindLight runs on the MAIN, LIVE GRID, just like the regular Second Life viewer. This means SERVER-SIDE CHANGES ARE PERMANENT. So if you spend L$ or delete inventory, for example, those changes are not undoable.
Where are the release notes?
You’ll see them upon installing this viewer, and once you’re logged in, use Help menu > Release Notes.
Will I need a more powerful computer to run WindLight?
WindLight doesn’t change our System Recommendations, so if your system meets those, then you should be able to see the newfound beauty in all its glory.
For the technically curious, this means that your graphics card should have DirectX shader model 2 or later support, and drivers that support GLSL. Check your graphics card’s manual or contact the manufacturer if you’re not sure.
And if you don’t meet those requirements, CPU fallback will still allow you to see some of the new enhancements. Regarding “lag” concerns that came up earlier, we don’t anticipate there being a significant performance impact, as some of the calculations are actually more optimized than previously.
So I logged in with First Look WindLight, what now?
- Go to World menu > Sky Settings.
- Next to “Key Frame Presets”, select another preset. Try several so you have a better feel for how it works.
- Then, you’ll want to explore further: click the “?” buttons next to each section to learn what it does, and start dragging sliders at your leisure. Watch the changes take place before your eyes, in realtime!
- Try tweaking settings in the Atmosphere, Lighting, and Clouds tab. The best way to enjoy is by doing, and experiencing.
- If you want to get even more advanced, try clicking the “Day Cycle Editor” button in the upper-right. This is where you setup your own custom animated day cycles, which can include any of the presets and extend over a given duration of time.
- A test day should already be loaded. Push the “Play” button.
Pretty kewl, huh?
This user interface isn’t set in stone and has already gone through several iterations of design… keep reading for how to suggest improvements!
Do you have more detailed documentation for this?
Jeremy Linden and our Windward Mark team have put together fab WindLight instructions with helpful screenshots, currently residing on our Second Life Wiki. As First Look WindLight matures and becomes ready for release as part of the normal Second Life viewer, we plan to move this guide to our new Knowledge Base!
These images are composited panoramas taken from raw inworld snapshots. Aside from that, no post-processing has been added.
Can other people see the changes I make?
Not yet — this is localized, or client-side, meaning only you will. In the future, we plan to allow estate owners and managers to change them, as a dramatic evolution of the current dayphase controls found in World menu > Region/Estate > Estate tab.
Can I save my presets?
Yes, with a few important caveats:
- “Save” button saves the whole list, not just the current preset.
- Related, there are inelegant user interface quirks we know about (e.g., you can’t delete presets, alphanumeric sorting is incorrect, etc.).
- Keep in mind we’re working on ways to share presets with other Residents in the future, so the current method of locally saving to an XML file is only temporary.
Ultimately, this experimental section will be overhauled and streamlined in the weeks to come, so please don’t invest too much time in making presets. Our intention here is to give you a quick way to recall personal favorites.
What if I find a bug?
If you discover a WindLight technical feature not working as expected, please use the Issue Tracker and the “WindLight” version to report it. After you’ve read the instructions, do this step-by-step:
- Login at jira.secondlife.com.
- Create a new issue.
- Set “Project” to “Second Life Viewer – VWR”.
- Set “Issue Type” to “Bug”.
- Set “Affects Version/s” to “WindLight” and fill in the appropriate details.
- Scroll to the bottom and click “Create” button.
That’s it! You’ll probably want to bookmark issues you create so you can check them later.
Only assign the “WindLight” component to issues that are directly WindLight-related. If you’re not sure, try to reproduce the same scenario in the regular Second Life viewer, and if it still happens, then you can use Tools menu > Bug Reporting > Public Issue Tracker.
We encourage you to use the “Public Issue Tracker” option (instead of “Report Bug”), because we’re moving towards greater visibility of known issues and being more communicative about our work — aggregating that info in the Issue Tracker and openly showing how important it is to our Residents helps us be more responsive.
Also, your fellow Residents will feel better if you report a bug first so they can comment and vote on it. This, among other supporting factors, helps us assess priority. See VWR-896 for an example.
Thanks in advance for helping us help make your Second Life better!
Should I use First Look WindLight’s “Report Bug” for WindLight-related bugs?
No, please do not.
Again, please use the Issue Tracker, where we have a special “WindLight” component setup for it. Makes it easier for us to find, and that’s important to you, right?
(This option is found in Tools menu > Bug Reporting > Public Issue Tracker.)
How can I give feature feedback about WindLight?
You can also use the Issue Tracker to do this. When creating a new issue, for issue type, choose “New Feature” instead of “Bug”.
In addition to using the Issue Tracker, comments on this post are of course welcome — please keep feedback constructively focused on improving WindLight in Second Life — but due to time constraints, we regrettably aren’t able to reply to it all. We however will read your observations, and take them into consideration as we refine, reply to further questions, and eventually release WindLight for your Second Life’s day-to-day pleasures.
What about an open source First Look WindLight viewer?
We’re hoping we can share this in the coming weeks. No further details yet, but please stay tuned!
Are there going to be future WindLight blog posts?
We’ll continue to release new versions with your help, and let you know how things are coming along, all in preparation for WindLight making it into your day-to-day Second Life in the main viewer. We’ll also be watching for beautiful snapshots you take. 🙂
Thanks for reading this far…
The future’s looking bright!