Alternative Alternative Viewers

Not feeling Emerald? Here’s my recommendations:

If you’re a staunch Emerald fanatic (i.e. you have to have everything exactly the way it is), you can try Emergence. However, do note that Emergence will not be updated so it shouldn’t be used long-term.

Jessica has now teamed up with reputable devs and has released the Phoenix Viewer, which is a direct port of a safe Emerald release and will be maintained. However, Phox has uploaded code to the repository and it is unknown whether this was intentional or just an attempt by Phox to cause trouble for Phoenix. In addition, several Phoenix developers refuse to reveal their real life information and may be alts of malicious Emerald devs. While I believe the Phoenix Viewer offers substantially increased safety over Emerald, it may be dangerous, so use it only at your own risk.

If the exact Emerald interface isn’t critical, but you still love those extra features, Imprudence is a great option, as it’s growing insanely fast these past few days – Emerald users are switching to it by the thousands. It is noticeably different (for example, it doesn’t offer skins to my knowledge, and the interface is much different) so it may take a week or two to get re-accustomed to it.

You may also want to check out Ascent, which includes many Emerald features but with a refreshingly new interface. It also includes many features not found in Emerald. I’m using it most of the time now and I highly recommend it.

Now’s also a great time to get used to the Viewer 2 interface – face it, it’ll become standard eventually. Content creators and tech support folk should definitely get to know it a bit, as noobs are given vanilla Viewer 2 and it’s critical that you know how to answer their questions. Kirstens S20 is my personal recommendation, but be warned: it’s still deep in beta and it’s extremely stressful on your computer. However, photographers and machinima geeks will love the new graphics effects, including smooth shadows (which seem to run better than Emerald shadows, surprisingly), enhanced shiny rendering, better atmospheric lighting, and a new rendering pipeline with numerous tweaks to make everything – especially lighting – seem more realistic. The developer also offers S19, based off of the Viewer 1 interface, but it is heavily deprecated.

Of course, you can always go with vanilla Viewer 2 or even 1.23. Or the open-source Snowglobe viewer, if you want to give it a try.

Don’t forget you can get Second Life clients for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, as well as your (vastly superior) Android phone/tablet/supercomputer. (I use MGC every so often, myself.)