MUVE Viewer: Phoenix
Phoenix Viewer (v 188.8.131.520) – http://www.phoenixviewer.com/
The Phoenix Viewer is a third party viewer for Second Life and other virtual worlds, which is developed by Phoenix Viewer Project Inc. The development team consists of a large number of different people (19) and is headed up by Jessica Lyon who is the Project Manager and the Founder of the Phoenix Viewer Project. In conjunction with the development team they also have a large support team that consists of 42 individuals and covers 9 different languages.
The Phoenix Viewer is listed second on the official list of third party viewers on the Second Life wiki page. All of the viewers listed on this page are ordered from best crash rate to worst crash rate.
Phoenix Viewer is based on the Official Second Life viewer (v 1.23.5) so contains all of the features from that viewer.
By default it provides all basic functions such as avatar movement, build options, appearance modification, debugging etc.. Phoenix viewer also allows for the support of “Avatar physics” (Example of Avatar Physics) which basically allows for such things as butt sway and as Clare puts it “bouncy boobs”. This allows for residents to create more realistic avatar (or more unrealistic depending on the settings) that best suits their Second Life persona. I tried to make my butt wiggle but for some reason I couldn’t seem to get it to work, or it was working but the black pants made it hard to see. So I would put it down to me just being noob.
(Update!!)I just purchased the Phoenix team physics for L$0 (https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Phoenix-Team-Physics/2270517) and equipped the physics layer and after changing appearance I was able to see the effect that the physics layer has in the Phoenix viewer.
Phoenix viewer also has a convenient feature that you can enable (ctrl-shift-d) that allows the user to double-click a viewable location and then instantly teleports you there. If this is not to your liking you can use the conventional double-click to engage auto pilot to get you to the same location but in a less speedy fashion. I found that while the double-click to teleport can be convenient if you are traveling larger distances, however if you are trying to only move a couple of meters it can become reasonably annoying so for the time being I am going to stick with the typical double-click auto pilot.
After some playing around I also found out that Phoenix viewer also supports mesh. I tried to find some clear documentation online that supported this but soon gave up and decided to try and find some free mesh designs to try out and to see if they would work. I managed to find a demo version of a mesh hoodie designed by RedCat on the Second Life market place (https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Mesh-STRIPE-HOODIE-DEMO-RedCat/2674781) and once this was delivered I tried in on while using Phoenix viewer and it displayed correctly. So that was my evidence that Phoenix viewer supports mesh. Since I don’t yet know how to build anything using the mesh architecture I haven’t yet been able to test if Phoenix viewer is compatible with the uploading of mesh as well.
Phoenix viewer also encompasses grid manager that allows you to connect to other grids. For example you can connect to Jokaydia Grid (http://www.jokaydiagrid.com/) which runs on the OpenSim platform (http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Main_Page). This then enables you to interact within this new world as you would generally in Second Life including avatar customisation, building and scripting.
Since Phoenix viewer is based on v 1.23.5 of the official Second Life viewer it has the same interface, with the pie menus that are displayed with right click as opposed to the drop down menus in the new V3 Second Life viewer. Another thing is that all the icons are located at the bottom of the screen and instead of images they are labelled with names as to what they relate to. For me I found this to be much easier to use as instead of trying to figure out what each icon was supposed to represent I could just read the title. Because of this I felt that it was a very simple viewer for first time users to Second Life (such as myself) to use. I also found that the graphical display was nice and clear and it didn’t seem to be lacking in that department.
What I did find however was that some of the advanced features were kind of hidden away a little bit or filed under not so clear headings. For example I was trying to find where to clear my cache as I was starting to have some weird problems from switching between multiple viewers. In the end I found it listed under the “Network & Folder” setting in Preferences. To me this didn’t seem to make that much sense, yes it made sense setting the folder location to store the cached files, but to clear it in the same place… I’m not so sure on that, though this would just be a personal preference.
What I did find with the Phoenix viewer is that it is great to use when in the classroom. It seems to not use as much bandwidth as the other viewers that are based on the V3 viewer code (or the V3 viewer itself). This means that I don’t keep getting dropped every 2 minutes yay! 😀 Though after using it for each session in class I have come to like this viewer and use it both in class and at home. I have found that it suits my needs in every way. From the support of mesh, to the efficiency it has in the user interface, and the ease it provides in my feeble building attempts.
So really would I recommend Phoenix viewer to other Second Life users? The answer to that is a big YES!