MUVE Viewer Comparisons
So after playing around with a few different viewers for Second Life I decided that I would put together a little bit of a comparison between them.
The first thing I did was to set all the graphics settings to high with a draw distance of 128 and took a snapshot within each viewer with the interface showing the frames per second and the bandwidth.
What I noticed was that the Second Life viewer had the lowest frame rate followed by Firestorm then phoenix and imprudence basically the same. If you look at the images you can really see why there is a difference in frame rates. Both the Second Life and Firestorm viewers bring more detail to the user and Phoenix and Imprudence limit the detail shown to the user (shows more detail close to you and less the further away you get).
Running around in all of these viewers on these settings I noticed that Phoenix and Imprudence were marginally smoother than both the Second Life Viewer and the Firestorm viewer.
With the user interfaces I have to say that I enjoy the viewers based on the older version of the Second Life viewer (that is Phoenix and Imprudence) as they seem to make the experience easier for the user and everything is clearly labelled. Out of the other two I think that I like the interface design of the Firestorm viewer much better than the Second Life viewer which to me has an overly cluttered feel when you start taking advantages of the multiple features of Second Life.
Other than that all of the Viewers enable you to take advantage of all the features provided by Second Life, well that is for the exception of Imprudence which does not yet support Mesh or Avatar Physics.
So with all of this in mind which viewer would I choose as the best of the best? Well I wouldn’t actually just choose one. I feel that if you have less bandwidth to play with and don’t have a high end computer then Phoenix Viewer is the best choice. But if none of those is a problem I would choose the Firestorm Viewer (also developed by the same company as Phoenix Viewer). Maybe I am just a Phoenix Viewer Inc. fanboy or perhaps they strive to bring quality alternatives to the public, you be the judge..
Viewers can be found here:
http://www.phoenixviewer.com/downloads.php (Both Phoenix and Firestorm)
http://secondlife.com/support/downloads/ (Second Life Viewer)