The short version for those that don’t want to read all my ramblings. (click to enlarge)
As much as I love charts, there are many things that go into viewer choice that aren’t as easily quantifiable so I’ve written about each viewer individually. Warning, it’s long, longer than usual even, so I split it up into seperate posts but they are intended to be part of the same test.
Catznip Viewer http://catznip.com/
In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that Catznip is the viewer I log into about 70% of the time. As a member of SLU other posters sometimes catch my eye and Trinity Dejavu is a poster whose opinions I always enjoy reading and she comes across as very knowledgeable so one day I decided I’d give her viewer a try. Might be a silly reason to try a viewer, but there it is.
Much to my surprise, I found that Catznip has the option to dock the local chat to the IM conversations window. Well how freaking brilliant is that?! We haven’t been able to do this in the official since V1. In a virtual world comprised of text based chat and visuals, why the heck would I want to have my conversations in two different windows and taking up twice the screen real estate? To me, this is broken in all other viewers. We used to be able to do it, now we can’t = broken. If someone somewhere had the brainwave for a new “feature” that doubled the amount of screen real estate required to communicate with people in Second Life, they must be a recluse.
Again, like the broken inventory searching V3 functionality this makes no sense to me but as so many viewers have not touched this functionality and chosen to focus on new shiny things, I must be in the minority on this one. Luckily for me though, I have Catznip *pets the nice kitty*
Catznip is also brilliantly stable. I don’t think I have crashed once, read that again, I have not crashed one single time since installing Catznip in March when it made the approved TPV list. All the bells and whistles in the world don’t matter a whole heck of a lot if you can’t stay logged in, not to me anyway.
Another perk that I didn’t notice at first was the lightning fast rez times. You know how when you log in, or TP to a busy sim, you say to your friend “Sec, rezzing”. Well that doesn’t happen to me on Catznip. I’ve said this before about doing hunts or going to events, but when I’m on Catznip everything is just immediately there for me, I will use no other viewer for these types of activities. I’ve become so accustomed to this now that every time I log into another viewer and teleport somewhere and have to wait a to rez I snort in frustration. I’m spoiled, I know.
Combined chat and IM window. As this is the number one feature I look for in a viewer, this makes Catznip a clear leader for me.
Stability. In fact check out Linden Lab’s opinion on that, Catznip is often one of the leaders for stability based on their own stats. http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Third_Party_Viewer_Directory
Lightning Fast rez times. I don’t have measurements on this, and it might differ for you, but truly Catznip has changed the ages old “sec, rezzing” conversations I have had in SL.
The FPS is more than adequate, in the 20s on Ultra and above the sim FPS (80s at times) on any other settings so FPS is a non issue for me on this viewer.
It doesn’t have the ability for separate search terms in inventory tabs though Trinity did respond to a post I made in SLU saying she’d add this to the change requests so I’m hopeful. In fairness, only Dolphin and Cool VL can do this at present so it might be unreasonable of me to want this, but I do anyway ;p Catznip also doesn’t have a Worn tab in the inventory. I really wish it did. I know that I can use the wearing tab in outfits but I also like the worn tab in my inventory so I don’t have to open a second window.
Catznip doesn’t allow tool buttons to be placed along the top, not a deal breaker, but would be nice.
No built in AO.
Graphics and ability to customize or tweak certain things aren’t as advanced as some of the other viewers, particularly Nirans, so I tend not to use it for photography but it’s far more than adequate for day to day use.