Yes, it’s that time again…
If you haven’t noticed in the last 24 hours or so, the left-hand column block that highlights my latest Flickr uploads has looked a little different. As in, a bright, thin bar of light down the photos. Houston, we have a problem.
Now, a big caveat: I’m talking about the Linden Lab Release Candidate 1.20 viewer, not the regular viewer. The reason I even bother with the Release Candidate viewer as opposed to the regular viewer (or the performance-superior Nicholaz viewers) is that the 3D SpaceNavigator controller is only compatible with the RC 1.20. And, 95% of the time, the 3D SpaceNavigator makes all the other hassles of a “beta testing” viewer worthwhile. It truly transforms the way a user interacts with Second Life.
(For those who want to read about the Second Arts, I’ll put the rest behind the fold.)
I’ve raised this issue on the Linden Lab bug reporting JIRA, and others reported the same thing, but the 1.20.10 revision has not meaningfully improved on 1.20.9. It got rid of the black-lined grid that tormented me through 1.20.9 and replaced it with the glowing vertical bar on the left edge of the viewer whenever the viewer is live. And, as you can see from these examples, it’s no longer an issue reserved for “save to disk” snapshot mode (BlogHUD postings are snapshot postcards).
Also, there seems to be some uneven shading along the lines of the old black-lined grid….take a look at some of the extreme closeups of my face and notice the straight-line shading gradation across my forehead. Sigh…
Let’s look at the damage (note that my style is to take lots of shots with minor variations in angle and light, then sort out the pieces later). About 90 creative minutes of my life, unfortunately wasted:
Talk about frustrating. It seems that, if I want to use the 3D SpaceNavigator, I will not be able to take high-resolution photos for the foreseeable future. So sad – photography and machinima have quietly become a major reason why I come back time and again to the grid.
Note that the shots where the bar is in the middle of the screen are taken in 1600×1200 pixel mode; the ones where the bar is on the left-hand edge are the taken in 1024×768. And, in case you wondered – Yes, I did download the latest video driver from Nvidia (I have a GeForce 8800 GT video card – no small change…). All of the pictures in the slideshow were saved to disk so I could post-process if I wished.
Oh – that “Flycam” word in the bottom right corner of the snapshots and machinima, regardless of whether one clicks to display the interface or HUDs, is a nuisance, too. I won’t go so far as to accuse the Linden Lab debuggers of laziness on this one, but it just seems to be easy enough to fix. If nothing else, just remove the word altogether from the code…there’s nothing gained by its presence. To those who say that I should just deactivate Flycam mode, I’ll reply that it’s needed to make the great shots that I’ve been able to take recently…especially the smooth-as-silk machinimas.
Once I completed the Oyster Bay book, I set to work on a new book of original SL photography. I actually took about 10 or so photos for the first book, where only about 3 were used. (The cover and back cover, specifically, come to mind…) I’m planning on a companion piece to my Oyster Bay book, but I am basically dead in the water until Linden Lab gets this bug fixed.
The problem with the viewer is especially profound in Second Life because the platform’s true value is in the immersive quality of the visuals. Yeah, it’s possible to get lost in the images that you see on the screen. However, when the images are marred with light bars, the illusion is lost. It’s even more profound when photography is involved, as the snapshots we take in Second Life (and video footage taken) represent the permanent record of this virtual world. Doesn’t matter whether we’re uploading snaps, sending postcards or saving the images to our hard drive. If the images we capture are marred, our memories are tainted — and that’s a big, big problem.
Just to remind everyone, I complain because I love…