WindLight Look-and-Feel Survey Part 2!

Hey all, as promised, we’re re-opening the WindLight Look-and-Feel Survey, which should this time feature unlimited responses. The last survey was capped at 100 so this should let everyone participate. We’ll keep it open for about a day or two and publish the results. Happy lighting and voting!

– Pastrami and the WindLight Team

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77 Responses to WindLight Look-and-Feel Survey Part 2!

  1. Blabla2 Eponym says:

    Happy to see your interested in our opinions.

    I personally think that the windlight viewer has degraded, for the simple reason that the new update, which was supposingly to fix a german url, also corrupted the sky on higher settings.
    This bug still hasn’t been solved…

  2. Doris Haller says:

    Wow, I am the first?

    The survey is nice, although it could be a little bit more detailed.

    I am missing questions about the performance.

    Summary: Looks great, but the current version is much slower than previous versions and the current main viewer. Previous versions were ALL essentially faster than the main viewer. What happened?

  3. o.h. says:

    i really think that some things shouldnt be decided by the vast majority.
    most people just dont know or understand the specific mechanics and would they have been introduced to the changed form probably never would criticize certain things. the problem is that its compeltely a matter of perception, a matter of monitors, graphiccard settings, a vote like this just isnt very helpfull imo.

  4. KS says:

    Someone needs lessons in survey writing. The limitations of this brief questionnaire do not permit adequate “research.”

    Generally speaking, I love the improvements offered by WindLight. One thing not addressed by this survey, is the fact that predominantly white textures become starkly white and lose all detail.

    Test for yourself. Find a mosaic tile with dominant white/light gray hues. Apply white pile carpetting to your build. What is perfectly acceptable under non-WindLight conditions, becomes (under WindLight) a speckled white field of lacking definition/detail.

    Under WindLight conditions, residents will find that some of their beloved products… comopletely lose the textural interest that help define their shape/appearance/character.

    I, for one, have now taken to building under the two different conditions, to compare/contrast the final product that my customers will have AFTER full WindLight implementation. In so doing, I’ve had to completely SCRAP use of many of my textures. They simply do not ‘translate’ well to the WindLight environment.

    Also, I find that… seaming issues are *different* in the two environments. What looks perfectly fine in one, becomes a flickering mess in the other.

    So… under which conditions do I build my products? In the furture-looking WindLight…? Leaving my products to look flawed within the present day client?

    Yes. WindLight’s lovely for environmental settings, water reflections, etc. But that’s the NOT extent of its impact.

    In conducting this “research” (cough cough), residents should be directed to individually evaluate a specific list/samples of MANY different aspects of the product. As this survey stands… it offers little true ‘measurement’ of WindLight’s aesthetics. The survey falls short of eliciting the information you’ll need to improve the performance.

  5. mark says:

    Well, I just responded to the survey with positive replies. I love(d) Windlight.
    I wish it would work again though. I’ve resorted to using my old client.

  6. Doc Nolan says:

    My initial experience with WindLight was great! Then I downloaded the updated version (linked from the website/login splash page). Now in the sky (and across the water) there are large concentric black bands circling my avatar. They give the impression one in inside a dome with black galleries circling around me — the black bands look as if they were several hundred yards above and outside my location. No matter where you go, they follow. My workaround is to select the ‘Midnight’ setting so they aren’t so distracting! Incidentally I’m running Second Life with an X-600 graphics card and updated to the latest driver just a few months ago…. I sure wish I could go back to the initial release of WindLight 😦 Sure hope this isn’t an incurable situation….

  7. Pastrami Linden says:

    @4: Completely agreed. But please realize those types of tests are being done with much more fine grain measures and on specific islands, etc. All of those issues (like white-out) are known and are being worked on. This is mostly a preset survey.

    Thanks,
    P

  8. Ono Noh says:

    I agree with #4!

  9. Nizzy says:

    A great improvement towards making Windlight a pleasant looking yet neutral base for users to create their own visual styles upon. Thank you for all the tweaking LL 🙂

  10. Marianne McCann says:

    Glad to get the chance this time! I love the windlight, myself, but I do find it hard to get decent portrait-style photography. With local lighting fading with day brightness, it is hard to correct for face shadows, and the “Sunrise” and “sunset” settings, while much better from a real-world stand point, do not provide the same ease they used to for taking an avatar pottrait.

    Ootherwise, keep up the good work! I used the standard viewer yesterday and was struck by how flat and bland everything looked. 😉

  11. Menchor Barbosa says:

    The washout at noon is still a big problem, the pink veined marble on our deck totally washes out, the transition should not go that bright. I think the base should, hopefully what most of us want to use, and the noon washout is still a problem. I changed settings on 2 systems from high to ultra, and the second switch promptly crashed the system.

  12. Cocoanut Koala says:

    I need to get in and test Windlight again before I fill out this survey. (And thank you the unlimited survey responses! Now be sure and give this at LEAST several days so everyone can learn of it and participate.)

    But one thing I want to mention now that I hadn’t notice the last time I spoke of Windlight on the blog:

    It causes seams – however perfectly aligned – to not only show up, but to sparkle!

    I went to a number of other home builders to check this out, and sure enough – there were seams showing where there hadn’t been before, and, worse, these seams were SPARKLING.

    You will notice this particularly around windows. Sparkling around all the windows.

    Now this doesn’t happen when the house is dark (brown, for instance) and its interior is dark also.

    So the upshot of it will be: Either the SL population will gradually become tolerant and accepting of sparkling seams, or builders will have to limit their builds to the browns and darker colors. (My bets are on the latter.)

    It is already very difficult for the most meticulous and skilled builder to prevent seam visibility. But with Windlight, everybody’s seams show, and sparkle!

    Unless they are dark builds.

    This is in addition to the problem of flooding all prims with orange at sunset, and similar flooding at sunrise, to the point where the original hue is no longer present at all. (Again, if your build is brown, it is okay; even enhanced.)

    But I think these seams showing and sparkling unless you have a dark build is an even bigger problem.

    coco

  13. Zarkela Tucker says:

    Windlight updates the look and feel of Second Life to the standards of modern computer gaming, it also seems to run faster then the standard viewers.

    Overall, I would have to say it allows for a more natural look and feel to the world and offers far more customization.

    I feel Windlight will lend itself well to Role Play communities as well, as one can custom design an environment that suits the situation.

  14. Pastrami, I’ve worked on my own preset in WL viewer. Since the recent update kinda killed my presets via darker ambient. :/ Not sure what was changed other than SL’s default presets…. should go back to one before this. Also I feel that some of the sliders are limited as far it goes from 100% black to 100% white shades. I feel best and would be wise to have a preset for one environment instead of two, one for sky and other for water. The color of the water should go along with the sky setting as one whole mood setting.

    As for Post #4: I believe the texture image itself shouldn’t affect daylight effect render as it should in other way around.

    In other word… we need to remove both Shinny and Bumpmap and replace with Normals Map for where it apply the bumps in RGB channel and Shinny/dull amount in Alpha channel (50% as middle way for zero default). The Dull (negative in shinny spectator) should able to address the lighting issue you would have.

  15. JZ Paine says:

    Only things i would improve is the rendering of the sun and the glow of the moon. Otherwise PERRRRFECT!

  16. Grace Loudon says:

    I love love love love love Windlight and I am anxious to see how it’s enhanced. Of course there are some bugs…such as my sim times not matching up…but it’s a small price to pay for such a really cool look to Second Life. It really gives my sims and builds a whole new depth. LOVE IT! Keep up the good work! I know you guys have a thankless job at times, but it is appreciated very much:)

  17. alpha Klata says:

    Hello. Is there anyone here who has the skills to put together a proper survey? Seriously, theres so many other questions that need asking here, at least stuff about sunrise/set colours (cos at the moment they very saturated i feel, it never sunrises pink here! etc) also stuff like the atmospherics, water,textures – all sorts of details that make up the possible subtlety of WL. At the least this survey could give us some wide ranging feedback, even if Lined does nothing, i for one would be interested what we all really think.

    I went to this survey expecting a good stack of questions. Got one tiny page and an advert!

    Or does anyone out there already have a survey??

  18. The only thing I would add RE: Sunrise and sunset settings –

    I thing the sunset is just a tad too red (I am speaking of defaults, now) and the sunrise should have more a blue-ish tint in shadows and a yellow-red in the actual sunlight (shining on items)

    Overall – I think it looks pretty good.

    Kepp cranking on it. Can’t wait for the production model. 🙂

  19. Hal says:

    My tuppence worth: in most aspects of SL Linden seem to have taken the approach of providing an environment which mimics RL – so we have hills, trees, different terrains, day-cycles etc. These can all be changed or added-to by the residents to make their own creative statements – but the defaults are set to be fairly realistic.

    With Windlight we seem to have shifted emphasis. The current implementation has some very unrealistic effects set as proposed defaults. For example, at noon the ground, floor and any horizontal surfaces are ‘overexposed’ and bleached out by the brightness of the overhead sun. Why? This is NOT what we would see in RL, our iris would close down reducing the brightness to normal levels, instead this is a SPECIAL EFFECT a photographer would create in-camera by overexposing the film/video. The problem with introducing creative special effects is that it immediately becomes subjective. One person might love these unrealistic but creative effects and the next person hate them. Either way, without some kind of shadow-mapping, seeing indoor floors turn into the surface of the sun is just bizarre.

    It might seem a bit boring if Linden create defaults which mostly just mimic real-life – certainly compared to Torley’s purple sunsets and green clouds (oh yes u did Torley! 🙂 ) – but at least it would be a base level we’d all be familiar and (moderately) content with. Then the creative amongst us can go crazy with WindLight and make and share some truly amazing scenes.

  20. Darkk Outlander says:

    I’d just be satisfied if the latest Windlight viewer would launch in Linux. After the last update, the connect button will no longer go bright blue after a password is filled in. On the Windoes version I’m seeing the large circular black bands in the sky, but not noticing any performance issues, other than a possible memory leak. I’ve seen the client crash a few times after extended use. All is on (multiple) high-end high-power Intel/Nvidia hardware.

  21. Katiya Rhode says:

    The defaults seem ok to me, but then I rarely use them – when I’m on the WindLight viewer I’m there to play with the settings!

    Otherwise, the normal viewer performs better on my system.

    (P.S. I adore WindLight, but the latest version seems a little more difficult to use – is it just me or are some of the shaders a tad more extreme in what they do? i.e. a small movement with a slider creates a bigger difference than before?)

  22. Drako Nagorski says:

    well night time is too bright and day time is washed out. and shouldnt water change to a darker color at night? also will settings ever be sellable or in ones inventory? and what about saving settings so they stay once you log out?

  23. Maxwell Faulkland says:

    Like many others have probably already said, I have found the more recent Windlight to run a lot slower than the initial release from so long ago. I think it would be best if you were to move things back to that older version while keeping as many simple bugfixes from the new one as you can. Especially for those of us who can’t afford to constantly upgrade their computers to try to keep up with SL’s growing system requirements.

  24. Argent Stonecutter says:

    I think you need to bring back gamma and nighttime gamma, or a global directional and ambient lighting bias if you can’t implement gamma, and if the user sets them differently apply them progressively during sunrise and sunset.

    Yes, people can create their own settings for each hour, and create their own day cycles, but it’s really unreasonable to expect everyone to do that amount of work just to compensate for a simple brightness preference.

    In addition, people won’t be able to do that *and* use estate settings.

    And, yes, people really do need to do that. Everyone has a different monitor, different monitor settings, different lighting in their workspace, different preferences for user interface brightness. In the old client you can adapt all these things with a couple of global settings and they apply everywhere, and that’s what people NEED to be able to do.

  25. Jessicka Graves says:

    The features are too memory consuming and I can’t even run them for more then 5-10 minutes on the medium-low settings :\ It’s a crappy viewer, and I would much rather stick to the normal viewer, without all the fancy gadgetry (and I run a higher-end system too, with broadband internet, SL windlight is pathetic :\)

  26. Argent Stonecutter says:

    For example, it took me half an hour this past weekend fiddling with my color profile and my monitor settings to bring up the brightness in Windlight so I could see well without washing out the user interface. That’s something that’s HARD to accomplish outside the program, and was easy to accomplish in the old client.

    I’d like to make a comment about realism, too. Windlight seems to try and produce “photographic realism”. But in real life people’s eyes adapt to the dark and to the lighting. Walk around in reddish light for a whiel and you don’t notice it any more. Go direftly from daylight to indoors and everything’s dark, but after a few moments you can see just as well as before. These adaptations don’t work when you’re working in front of a monitor (thought they might with VR goggles, I don’t know), so the lighting model of the game needs to show that.

    Perhaps you could have a “photograph” profile and a “vision” profile?

  27. Stefan Blinker says:

    @20 Darkk Outlander said:
    “…I’m seeing the large circular black bands in the sky, but not noticing any performance issues, other than a possible memory leak. I’ve seen the client crash a few times after extended use. All is on (multiple) high-end high-power Intel/Nvidia hardware [running Linux].”

    I like the way that Windlight looks, but it doesn’t work reliably on Linux.
    I have a high end dual core machine and an nVidia graphics card.
    I crash nearly every time I transport with Windlight.
    Is there someone who cares enough to fix this bug so that the Linux users can enjoy Windlight regularly? Linden Labs support said that there are only a small handful of folks working on Linux bugs. That’s a bummer if it’s true. The only stable client for me is 1.18.3.5. I would like to use Windlight regularly, but it’s just too flaky.
    I see black bands also. Is there a workaround for this? Windlight is so much faster and more pleasing to the eye, but I can’t trust it if I’m going to TP anywhere, which is most of the time.
    I would be happy to be an alpha/beta tester and track this bug down.
    Torley? Are you listening? I’m offering my services for Linux client SQA. Let me know if you want me to help with this nagging problem.

  28. I chose “I like Windlight better for some things” – but there’s no place to offer an opinion on slow rezzing of sculpties and textures (ie – a question on “what are the biggest drawbacks to using Windlight?).

    The “some things” I prefer windlight better for is limited to 1 thing only because TPing around the grid in WL just isn’t working due to slow rez time (in comparison to main viewer). That one thing that it’s better for is scenic (not avatar) photography.

    I do love Windlight if I am staying in one place – but it’s not as useful outside of that sadly. Hope it will improve. You ought to bring back the First Look island to test rezzing times vs. main client.

  29. Alyx Sands says:

    #6: Boy, did you even read the blog entries of the last two Windlight versions? Then you would have noticed that a) it’s a known bug and b) get rid by fiddling a bit with the sky detail settings under graphics preferences…. 😉

    As Mari said, letting the effect of local lighting stay a bit stronger during daytime would immensely help getting nicer portraits! Apart from that, I love my presets…a different sky and lighting for different places and situations.

  30. Gixxxer Geesink says:

    I don’t like the login screen very much!!
    When I type in my name and password the screen refreshes and I can start all over again!
    Also… in my case.. the login name and password are NOT memorized, so I have to fill it in every time I need to log in again.

    Also with earlier versions of the viewer I had a better graphic experience (Sky and Water ripples).
    With the latest on my card is having problems (ATI X1650 with latest drivers).

  31. Aquarius Paravane says:

    I tried to use Windlight the other day to take a picture of a new building by moonlight. Performance was simply horrifying. I never even got near the snapshot button. On the rare occasions where I got the moon vaguely where I wanted it, it was so faint that I didn’t notice it. A few minutes after I quit Windlight, and started up the regular viewer again, my iMac froze and had to be hard restarted. This has happened more than once and I’d say it’s readily reproducible on my setup with 1.18.6 (76453). This is a one year old iMac and it’s been trouble free since an Apple OS update fixed its graphic drivers in spring 2007.

    I’d like to be able to use Windlight regularly. But I am finding perfromance in the current version worse than previous versions.

    All that apart, Windlight is stunningly beautiful in any scene with water; it’s almost sad to think that one day people will consider it ordinary.

  32. WarKirby says:

    I wish it were possibly to stress options. The new far weaker local lighting breaks some of my products. I REALLY think it needs to be stronger.

  33. Lillith Yoshikawa says:

    What’s with the phenomenal amount of crashes with this new version ? Up until now, I could happily stay on grid ALL day, with not a crash in sight. This recent “update” spits me out at least once ever half hour… NOT a happy kitty… Otherwise it looks really pretty, except the failing sky on the highest setting…

  34. Karensa Karas says:

    I finally decided to upgrade my video card from the Intel to the Geforce 8500 *just* so I could check out windlight. Novelty factor notwithstanding, it looked phenomenal. I tinkered around with the presets and learned a little, so it’s not so frightening (scared I’d mess it up somehow!).

    I noticed on some of the sky settings if you slide too high there are black streaks or whatever, so lowering it makes them go away. No idea what that’s about.

    It seemed like flying on this viewer was much slower than the other one for me, the other one, flying just zipped on along. WL flying ‘feels’ like slow motion and the settings/draw distance, etc. are only barely higher than the other one. I followed the suggested settings to start out. Other than that, it’s really stunning to see.

    I will be really glad if LL could manage ALL textures to have such realism, real skin, real metal, real wood, real grass – where the 3d world looks like tv than toon…THAT would rule.

    Visually – awesome compared to the original.
    Technically – little slower, but the rest – I’m not saavy enough to really comment. I like it and have been using it exclusively since downloading it. Unless it just screws up completely, I doubt I’ll go back to the original viewer…

    Keep up the good work.

    KK

  35. Davina Glitter says:

    I loved the previous version of Wind Light before the sky stipe bug, it looked wonderful. I have been comparing RL sunsets to the SL version, taking photos and such. The ambient light during sunsets in SL is too bright, I noticed this when I was leaving work the other day, took a photo for reference. 🙂 Well I am mainly looking forward to having a yellow sun and solid sky WL/SL viewer again, I want to continue to do photography in SL. Thank you very much for all the hardwork and effort you are putting into SL, it is very much appreciated by me. /end babble

  36. Oh yes!

    There is *DEFINITELY* a memory leak. Fortunately I can go about 5 or 6 hours before it happens (3Gig RAM on Vista) – so this weekend I ran into it consistently. At least I got all my building done and as annoying as it was – no complaints because of the long stretch before the viewer puked.

  37. Stolen Razor says:

    Windlights looking good for me for the most part.I do have problems with some kinda overhead triangular lookn objects some times which tottaly messes up my view but for the most part it works well.I seem to have very few crashes since the last update ive been on up to 8hrs.at a time without a crash.But i got a friend that runs a mac that crashes bout every 15 mins. sometimes so bad she has to reboot her whole computer.This good be tons of things though i suppose for her she may not keep her computer leaned out or what not.Im runnin a clunker Dell with a radion x1300 card if that helps anywith the triangle problem.

  38. Neon Dingson says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to participate in another survey about Windlight (I missed the first one). I was quite surprised by the results of the previous survey considering some of the opinions expressed on this blog at times and I am hoping that a survey that allows for a larger sample of SL residents will confirm the first survey’s results and give a large thumbs up for the work being undertaken by the Windlight team. There is still some way to go but what we see now is a vast improvement on the current live SL viewer. One thing I would like to see changed soon is the way interiors are lit the same way as exteriors regardless of walls, windows or doors. They should be different with inside being darker unless local lighting is in use. Also, I noticed the other night that lights under water do not illuminate the surface.
    Great job so far guys and I look forward to seeing what other treats you have in store for us.

  39. Alicia Mounier says:

    I wish I knew what I was doing wrong but when I turn on the Wind light features my fps drop down to 1, around 20-30 with it off. I have a gForce fx5500 pci card. maybe it’s not good for this viewer. 1.5gig ram on pc and 2.66ghz cpu. I wish I could use it but 1 fps is way too slow to do anything.

  40. anyone seen thoes Face light things and noticed how baddy they Lag people using the WINDLIGHT viewer, infact they also increase the Rendering time on the Normal SL viewer

  41. Slade says:

    Avatars are invisible alot of the time for me in windlight, and the sky gets hosed at higher settings. Other than that I love it lots. Oh it’s a bit slower on load but I put up with it.

  42. Rex Cronon says:

    @ #27 “Stefan Blinker Says: January 8th, 2008 at 1:11 PM PST”
    -my computer crashes on tp too, and I am not using WL. This has started sometimes during the last 7 days.

  43. Montana Corleone says:

    Not really tested it since basic settings halve my frame rate from 20fps to 10, and with clouds on, down to 0.04, making it completely useless, along with the new login screen.

    So if people are rushing out scrapping textures left right and centre, what is the outlook for us more normal plebs who don’t or can’t afford to rush out and buy every doohickey? Or more importantky earn a living on it rather than use it as a toy and thus want it stable and working, not full of beta hardware and software?

  44. Sherry Greggan says:

    Since I started using SL a year or so ago,
    This has to be the first thing that has been changed that has made me forget the lag, forget the ever increasing rules and limitations and just sit there staring at the sky.

    I think we need greater control as builders over the local lighting (I.E being able to turn it up to blinding levels lol).

    But aside from that I’m loving it… Especially the glow doo dah!

    C’mon people, don’t be so negative!

    Shez!

  45. Lamat Lisle says:

    I have been building using the WindLight viewer and for that it behaves perfect. Textures are presented sharp and more detailed. Also photography is a miracle in WL. But one important thing we seem to forget is that the new Viewer behaves very sensitive when it comes to your Graphic Card. Putting the settings too high can cause it to be unstable when it comes to fast camera or avatar movements. I run it on a Mac Pro G5 tower, using the standard graphics card. It hardly crashes on the old viewer but did several times using the WL viewer. Still when I put some of the settings too high (just a couple of millimeters on a certain slider would do) I crash whenever I fly, go to a large ocean scene or air scene or scenes with a lot of activities going on. The rendering still seems too slow for the graphics card to accept. It also makes me wonder weather the servers LL uses to run the viewer on is not capable enough in keeping it stable. We might probably see some more development there!
    For now; whenever moving in-world, I take to the old viewer and for all my design activities (most of it being done on the spot) I am happy to use the WL viewer. Although I already noticed a few bugs… I will try to make an inventory of them soon to publish them here later. BTW those black circles around you in the sky are simply there because you put some of the graphic settings in Prefs too high… sliding them a bit down will take them away. And makes your viewer more stable also.
    I feel WL is surely an improvement but there’s still al lot of work to do… Especially to take out the bugs and improve the servers that are driving it.

  46. Jon Ree says:

    The Windlight viewer works great for me, somewhat laggier than the normal viewer but nothing that’s intolerable.

    Right now my sim is covered in snow and at the default setting it’s blinding blowout white at midday and my avatar is too dark in contrast but otherwise other times of day are looking better and better.

  47. Handmadeandroid Zenovka says:

    My old agp system kept crashing so i upgraded new cpu/mb/gpu/ram and to be honest i think windlight looks fantastic, i went to straylight and it was blown away. I agree with the white problem

  48. I have not used anything but the Windlight viewer since they brought it back towards end of last year. I could not go back to the flat dull world of the normal viewer after this. It does not seem to crash any more often than normal.

    I even use it to race bikes, I am told its slower than normal viewer, but my FPS are the same as most and i run it across 2 monitors at 2560 x 1024. I don’t do well in the races though, I could blame the viewer for this but probably just my driving.

    For photos and video work it is superb, the customisation of weather and lighting is great, you can set up almost any conditions you want.

    I think its brillaint and hope I never have to use the old viewer again.

    The login screen is awful though!

  49. Janet Rossini says:

    I very much prefer Windlight but I know a number of people who do not. One item in particular that bothers people is that things do not fade in the distance. Was that called “fog”?

    The survey, as others have suggested, does not leave enough room either to give you good information, nor to give us the feeling of really being able to contribute.

    Thanks!

  50. Penny Patton says:

    I think a lot of these settings should be decided by graphics professionals who specialize in lighting. I see so much poor, abusive, and downright horrible looking uses of lightsource attachments, local lighting in builds, and use of fullbright everywhere, even among some of the biggest names in SL content creation, that it’s clear to me that the majority of SL users just are not suited to making decisions about default lighting, how it should look, and how they should adapt to it.

    And that’s not something that ought to be construed as a failure of the community, we’re not all graphics professionals after all, that’s simply the way it is. We can’t all be experts at everything.

    Ever since Windlight resurfaced, I’ve been seeing this debate out avatar shading, sunrise/sunset colours, local lighting, and other aspects of how Windlight changes the look of SL. I’ve seen lots of people bring up valid issues and concerns, but then offer suggestions that only cover up their main problem by creating new problems that others will get up in arms about.

    Shading on the avatar, some complain that it makes their av look bad because it reveals flaws in the av mesh. SL has needed a new avatar mesh (or rather a set of new avatar meshes suited to different body types) since pretty much the beginning. At least as long as I’ve been in SL. Gimping avatar shading to hide pinched vertices, bad seams, and other mesh deformaties is not a good answer.

    Others complain about shadows obscuring textures. Well, there is some degree of merit in this as the light settings have needed tweaking, but at the same time there’s a school of thought that shadows shouldn’t obscure textures at all. That’s just not the way it works, though. Shadows obscure. That’s what they do. In doing so they show depth. Thath as been one of the biggest visual improvements to SL with Windlight, and it was severely downgraded with the last major change to the default settings.

    Some people complained that sunset and sunrise turned everything orange. Again, the settings needed some tweaking but in general that’s precisely what happens. When the sun is low in the sky, all bright and orange on the horizon, things are darker and the light there is makes everything a bit orange. Again, that needed tweaking, it was a bit much, but now it seems to have been swung equally far in the opposite direction.

    Then there’s the issue of local lighting that most people don’t even seem to see existing. The range of local lighting is severely limited. It doesn’t show up as much as it does in the regular client, and even at night to get subtle effects you need to cranke the range and intensity far too much for things like seeing an orange glow when standing in front of some glowing orange display screens on a spaceship or in an underground facility.

    To have really bright lights, you’ve got people stacking light sources on top of each other. You see a lot of this with personal lighting attachments. SL only renders 6 light sources, to my knowledge, yet people are walking around with 7 light sources circling their face. Some of those light sources cranked to the highest settings, so they, and everyone around them, looks ridiculous.

    Not to mention these light sources break the local lighting implemented in the build you’re standing in, ruining the creator’s intended light effects for everyone. If we would make light sources brighter, we could maybe light large builds a bit better, and discourage the use of light attachments by having workable indoor lighting. Maybe it’s simply a lack of education on the topic. (Speaking of, it would be nice if we could “mute” light attachments so we can simply turn them off and enjoy the local lighting as intended by the build’s creator.)

    In the meantime, I see people complaining, often about effects that are touted as features in the videogame industry and other graphic intensive professions, and I have to wonder how playing to that will affect SL’s long-term potential among a larger potential userbase that does not feel the need to be lit for a photoshoot at all times.

    As someone suggested, maybe there should be an easy way for people to switch between advanced lighting effects, and simplified “photo shoot” settings, while still keeping the general time of day in sync with the region.

  51. Michael Timeless says:

    Since I’ve been building computer systems for thirty five years I like to think of myself as reasonably endowed with computer knowledge. However, SL seems to elude all but the graphic professionals. My system runs an Intel Extreme processor dual high end nvidia GeForce 8800 Ultras and yet I can’t run it on the highest settings. I’ve upgraded my network and even dragged my home system into work to try it on an OC3 line and yet…..It still locks up.

    Rather than continue to criticize Linden Labs I am willing to put my money where my complaints/lindens are.

    Since my system exceeds every single one of the requirements listed I would like to know – What system do you use for your testing? Processor, memory, GPU. I want to at least see why I don’t seem to get the same results that some of the cheerleaders get. Once I get the results that you guys get I can scale back until I find where the point of failure seems to be.

    As for the survey.

    Not everyone works the same hours as Linden Labs. While the last survey had many flaws it seems silly to have a survey that is open for a few replies before many people get a chance to see it.

    Just my 2L

  52. Paula Langset says:

    Sorry, not sure anyone else said the same things as I do here.

    Survey left me totally cold, I had to answer like I agreed most of the windlight presets, which isn’t true. If you ask me if brightness is okay, I will have to say it is, brightness isn’t the only parameter involved here though, not even the most important, at least to me.

    Colours have weird dominants all the time, not only on sunrise / sunset. Dominants are still as bad and heavy as before, only dominant colours have changed. And even when the sun takes the sunrise / sunset colours, dominant isn’t the right one, my pale skin looks just pink (I mean as pink as a pig), while with the old viewer and even with old versions of windlight I rightly looked slightly orange-coloured by the athmosferic light. At noon the blue/gray dominant of the previous windlights is luckily gone, but most of the 3D magic is gone, too.

    So the survey will tell I’m very happy with the present windlight, but I’m not – you need a far better survey, or you shouldn’t even bother asking

  53. Vivienne says:

    And it still does not work with my ATI Radeon 9800, a card which is still in production and widespread usage.

  54. Vivienne says:

    @ 44

    “C’mon people, don’t be so negative!”

    2/3 rd of the population is running SL on less than 15 fps average. Without using windlight! Do you really, really think these 2/3 rd are even able ENABLING atmospheric shaders without being brutally locked up?

    Nice for you that you have a high end system which seems to be able too run this in an acceptable manner. But this is not about being positive or negative, itßs just about being realistic. And LL´s own quality statistics tell me that this is far from being acceptable for the vast majority of customers.

  55. Zha Ewry says:

    For those looking at wWindlight framerates, and comparison to the non Windlight client, it’s not as simple as “Windlight is always slower.” Around home and the office, I’ve a fair range of graphics boards. On the fastest Nvidia boards, Windlight sometimes runs faster than the plain client, and it often runs at higher framerates with more features on than off. (As in running 15 fps on low and 30 on ultra) I rather suspect it depends how well your shader support matches Windlight’s use pattern.

    Visually, I’ve noticed three annoyances which don’t show at the level of the survey. First, local lighting seems to cut off very sharply, leaving some things looking almost as if they are lit by spheres of light. Sometimes, this seems to be distance related, with abrupt turning on and off of the local lighting effect, which is quite displeasing. In a possibly related thing, some particle system effects seem to chop off in a similar fashion. The ofte reported faces in shadow effect, is very real. Yes, wearing a face light helps, no, it doesn’t sem to be uniform, in all lighting. I’ve gone to a fancy scripted one, which allows a lot of settings, and it helps a lot, but it cant do good things for lag.

    On the bug front. Yep, the black stripes in the sky are icky. Can make them go away with careful settings, but.. at loss of sky quality. Aves missing in skyboxes? Yes. Funny effects on some invisiprims, yes. Crashy? Not worse then mainstream, that I’ve noticed

    All in all, bugs, and work in progress, I like windlight a lot but the fit and finish, and overall stability still indicate a fair bit of work to do.

    – Zha

  56. Rris Greenfield says:

    Windlight still have the annoying “invisable people” bug. I wont use it untill that is fixed.

  57. Vivienne says:

    The bugs are normal, this is an alpha. But…it still seems to run stable on a very narrow selection of graphic boards and systems – if atmospheric shaders run at all. The “plain” client, without atmospheric shaders enabled, obviousy is more speedy and more capable than the official client. But “Windlight” itself (atmospheric shaders) gives more headaches to most users than pleasure. So this surveys do not really make much sense as long as not every other user gets (nearly) the same average result in visuality and performance.

  58. Honcho HullaBaloo says:

    Cannot take snapshots in Windlight. No point in having it if you are photographer in-game

  59. Rusalka Writer says:

    Here’s the problem I’m having with sunrise and sunset. They may well be perfectly accurate as to real-world light levels. But in the real world the human eye adjusts to lower light levels. That doesn’t happen in Second Life. Therefore, the world looks too dark.

    I’m staying with the old viewer for now. In Windlight I keep having to reset to noon just to see.

  60. Penny Patton says:

    Ja, a survey like this makes even less sense if different people are seeing different things. In #52 Paula says that the colours are just as dominant. On my two nVidia 7800’s running together under SLi on Windows XP I’m also seeing the sunsets being pink, however it’s a pale pink. It should be orange, and it should be even more noticeable. It’s hardly as dominant as it was under the previous Windlight settings.

    Of course, and I don’t mean to single out Paula especially as I certainly don’t know this to be the case, but I could see someone regarding any colour tinting as unacceptable. There’s a reason so many people bathe themselves in overly bright white light attachments. I don’t agree with it myself, but there are people who see it that way.

    Again, why the defaults should be left up to professionals, and the option given for a “photo shoot” mode made easily available as something individual users could set as their personal default.

  61. Tegg B says:

    I’m hoping the blackbands will be fixed in the next update, they keep coming back so I just ignore them now.
    Hmm rather short survey and a lot of us were forced to pick just right because we didn’t understand all the cotrast/lighting to preset comparisons.

  62. Zi Ree says:

    @61: Open your Preferences, click on “Graphics”, check “Custom” and push the “Sky Detail” slider one tick to the left. This should fix the black bands, as described in the original release post for this WindLight version.

  63. Royer Pessoa says:

    Windlight stoped working for me at the end of 2007, and I still can’t use it! Actually can’t use any of the Test software… just hangs at “Loading…”.

  64. Vylixan Fallon says:

    I like the windlight vieuwer,

    But I would like to see the removal of that extra searchthing in the upperright corner and bring back detail when zooming out . All I see is flat land when I zoom out to much. and in the normal viewer i did see all details.

    overal performance is slightly better then the normal viewer only daylight setting noon is to bright and needs more softning and shadows.

  65. Lamat Lisle says:

    I think overall, WL is a better viewer than the old one. Simply because you can change mor settings yourself to make it behave the way you want it to. I agree on nigt time settings being too dark, and noon settings being too white, but still I could adjust settings to an acceptable level.
    A bug that is bothering me however is: If I built something in WL and then lock the object(s), I will be unable to unlock or adjust it in the old Viewer! I hope this will be fixed soon because I tend to switch a lot between the viewers.

  66. Penny Patton says:

    Another thought on it being “too dark at night”. In real life we also have lights everywhere so we can see. Street lights, indoor lighting, flashlights, lamps.

    I realize I’m in the minority, but when it gets dark in SL I often do break out a lamp or a flashlight if there’s no local lighting worked in to the environment.

    Also, again, far too few people seem to work local lighting into their builds, and when they do people with obnoxious multi-source facelights tend to break local lighting for everyone around them.

    I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to encourage people to make better use of local lighting, or simply change the time of day in their own client settings, if night is too dark.

    Again, this seems to be one of those cases where many would simply rather there was no time of day change, and so gimping time of day effects would only server to limit SL’s broader appeal to a potential mainstream audience that has come to expect time of day effects from MMOs and other videogames, where a lot of what people in SL are complaining about is touted as well recieved features.

  67. Paula Langset says:

    @60

    By the way, I happen to BE a professional. I am ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) certified in colour analysing, and if I use the term “as pink as a pig” in order to define a colour here is just for the fun of being easy to understand.

    And and, when I was telling dominants are as bad and heavy as before, I wasn’t speaking about sunset / sunrise. In fact, I told about sunset / sunrise *after* that sentence. And yes, pink is ugly. And yes, the right colour is orange. I also told the worst dominants are near to gone at noon, but 3D magic is gone, too… I feel I’m not the only one having these same impressions about the latest setups.

    I didn’t want to give an input about colours and light here though. I wanted to give an input about the survey, which I felt was near to useless by the way it was implemented. I was just making a quick list of things I didn’t like and I didn’t find questioned by the survey. I have many others at hand. Then, sorry if I wasn’t *professionally* accurate in explaning all my findings.

    As a professional, I feel people working on WindLight so far have done a beautiful job. I also think their dedication in order to adapt the device to anyone’s taste is stunning, and they seem to be mostly going in the right direction. I also think that, by being the individuals who actually built this thing and made it work, they both must be quite good in colour analysing and lighting, and are the most suitable in order to bring this to a final satisfying setup. Also, when you work with colours you learn the knowledge of the device you are using and its everyday use can be much more effective for success than great theorical training.

    Finally, I don’t get all this thing about professionals. Sure my monitor is far better than most around in terms of colour, contrast and brightness setup, I don’t think this to be important for the general SL setup though. Most of the monitors around are unnaturally blue-ish, and this is much more important for general setup than me to be able to see perfect colours in SL. This is another reason why i don’t agree with stances about professionals to take power over Windlight setups.

  68. Rita Munro says:

    It has so many buffer underruns and no online-bug-report, …

    BUT I LOVED IT for its graphic!
    It was so beautiful!
    I wish it back.

  69. Balpien Hammerer says:

    It’s gotten better but you need to fix noontime total washout problem. On the other hand, maybe that will cause a boom in the sales of virtual sunglasses. I am susprised your survey omitted askng for feedback on noon snce it asked about all the other times of day.

  70. Once WindLight has its little peskies worked out, it will be a major step forward for the graphics end of SecondLife. I am not a fanboi; but I must say the LL seems to be moving in the right direction now…
    It will only be a matter of time until we are saying “Remember what SL looked like several years ago….” I appreciate the work that is put into this and SURE, I get pissed when my scripts don’t save, when I tp into death, or SL changes my permissions on my objects I create, but it IS a work in progress, and soon the errors will be a distant memory….

    My hat is off to the Lindens for designing this wonderfully (Sometimes irritating) joyful platform that I am able to express myself creatively in a digital form.

  71. What happened to the reflections and ripples on the water in WindLight? I am no longer getting them!
    What can I do to get them back? I tried getting a new Graphics card but that didn’t work.
    Please help!

  72. Selador Cellardoor says:

    Felt the survey was ok for testing a few issues, but that more needs to be done on basics before fine-tuning.

    This is my impression of Windlight:-

    Sky and sea are brilliant – could not be better. A very high degree of realism.

    In general, lighting is poor. Far too contrasty, and some textures seem to be lacking detail. The ground texture where I live (Umber) is degraded and lacking detail. I noticed that hair too is actually lacking information.

    I have downloaded the new update this morning, and find that I am getting a series of concentric black circles in the sky, covering the whole sky, so that if you look up, you see something that looks like a target. This makes Windlight unusable for me, so I will wait for the next upgrade before venturing in again.

  73. Thank you LL for your continued interest in our opinion and making SL the leading VR community…

    That being said I also want to thank you for (partly) fixing the black band issue, I can now use it at he top of the top on Ultra settings.

    For those having trouble WindLight is /very/ picky about what hardware it chooses to band (Bullseye, lol) on. My system is a dual Pentium D 3.0GHz with an nVidia GeForce 8600 (GTS 256MB) and I had to turn the sky down until the latest release which allowed me to crank it up to full. Your mileage may vary.

  74. Ishtara Rothschild says:

    Thanks for asking for our opinion, and for listening to us before. Avatars are perfectly lit now, imho. I love the new noon lighting, it looks much better than the non-WindLight viewer. Please, pretty please keep the avatar lighting as it is now 🙂 The environment looks great too.

  75. Ishtara Rothschild says:

    @54: “2/3 rd of the population is running SL on less than 15 fps average. Without using windlight! Do you really, really think these 2/3 rd are even able ENABLING atmospheric shaders without being brutally locked up?”

    I agree that SL, especially the WindLight version, are very performance hungry. But so are all contemporary 3D applications. Those who get only 15 fps in SL would likely be down to 5 fps in MMORPGs like Vanguard, if they managed to run it at all. 3D games / virtual worlds get ever more complex, so the user needs to invest in new hardware now and then.

    I think it would be wrong to limit Second Life in order to keep the old minimum requirements. All new MMORPGs are barely playable on mainstream hardware at the time of their release, in order to still look acceptable 2 years later. I can understand that LL too have future technology in mind and want improvements to last for a while.

    SL is still useable on older machines if the settings are tweaked a bit. Visible range down to 128, mesh details reduced, local lighting turned off etc. In addition, many users leave all the shiny but performance hungry video card features enabled, like anisotropic filtering or anti-aliasing. If that is turned off, the WindLight client runs acceptable on medieval video cards like a GeForce 6800 GT, and with 40+ fps on current mainstream cards like a 7600 GT.

  76. Ishtara Rothschild says:

    @50: “I think a lot of these settings should be decided by graphics professionals who specialize in lighting. I see so much poor, abusive, and downright horrible looking uses of lightsource attachments, local lighting in builds, and use of fullbright everywhere, even among some of the biggest names in SL content creation, that it’s clear to me that the majority of SL users just are not suited to making decisions about default lighting, how it should look, and how they should adapt to it.”

    In other words, you don’t like the preference of the masses (who, like me, want a perfectly lit avatar at noon) and want to see your preference forced on everyone. Wouldn’t it help the popularity of SL to cater to the masses?

    For many if not most residents, SL is all about social interaction, i.e. about people. Avatars should look as good as possible, despite the flaws of the current avatar mesh. With perfect avatar lighting (which some find a bit too bright), skin texture artists can apply shadows that look realistic without their creations being messed up by rendered shadows. Customers can finally look like the reference model on a skin vendor and don’t need to carry their own local lights around.

    Same with clothing. All the carefully designed shadows and folds are pointless if one half of the wearer is rendered almost black due to environmental lighting. That’s not how we perceive shadows in RL. The avatar mesh is flat, our clothes don’t have folds, and a too realistic lighting destroys the illusion of not wearing skin-tight catsuits only. I think the current WindLight settings are a big improvement for all who value their avatar’s appearance over realism.

    I agree that a better avatar mesh would also solve many problems, but high polygon avatars would be an incredible lag source. The current avatar mesh can be greatly improved with realistic textures, but that only works if the lighting is a bit overdone and leaves the shadowing effects to the skin & clothing artists.

  77. Cloe Nitely says:

    I really like it, but I don’t get why I can’t change the sky and water settings, my sister can only change the water settings, and people look really bad from far away, the original didn’t do that.
    But other than that, its great!

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