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Comparison: Firestorm, Phoenix, Cool VL 
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Joined: 2011-12-30 03:02:31
Posts: 10
Location: Corporate-Fascist States of America
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New World Notes has a new piece up regarding the Linden Lab default viewer's status as coming in third behind Phoenix and Firestorm, respectively. As usual, Tonya Souther started in with deliberate falsehoods regarding the user numbers for Phoenix and Firestorm.

http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2012/05/second ... arty-.html

I saved some screen caps someone had put up to show the inferior FPS and other elements of Firestorm compared to both Phoenix and Cool VL.

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As you can see, Firestorm sucks. It still does, even with the classic-style skin used on the current release. People still report crashes on startup, poor frame-rate, overall poor performance, and wholly unnecessary steps to try and "V1-ify" the Firestorm viewer. Yet claims are still being made that Phoenix use is down and FS use is up, with ZERO evidence offered to back them up.

Meanwhile, looking at the specs for Cool VL, it's pretty clear that both Phoenix and Firestorm are sorely lacking in a number of areas.


2012-05-20 01:02:44
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Joined: 2009-03-17 18:42:51
Posts: 3793
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Benchmarking viewers is something that must be done with a scientific method, something people rarely ever do.

Here are things you must do to get reliable benchmarks:

  • Use a reliable measuring tool: the statistics bar is in no way reliable as far as the FPS rate goes (because it varies too much and doesn't give a value averaged on long enough a time). Instead use the periodic FPS logging that the viewer provides (this is precise to the first decimal or so). Simply set the FPSLogFrequency debug setting to 60 (i.e. one minute averaging) and enable the debug console: you will get the FPS rate each minute.
  • Make sure all benchmarked viewers have the *exact* same graphics settings enabled and have the same UI elements displayed while benchmarking (UI takes time to render: if the UI elements are different or with a different size, they will affect differently the FPS rate). Set deferred rendering (lighting and shadows) OFF (or do two sets of benchmarks, one with deferred rendering and one without), because the renderers differ too much (especially the number of shaders, but not only) with shadows on.
  • Make sure the camera view (focus point, camera angles, focal length, etc, and, of course, the same draw distance) is the same every time (else different objects will be rendered, leading to different FPS) and that the environment is the same (same avatars, wearing the same things, located at the same place, playing the same animations, etc... In fact, it is best having only your Av and thus finding an empty sim to do your FPS benchmarking).
  • Keep the viewer window focused during the whole benchmarking process (else, the viewer will voluntarily yield time to the OS and other running applications and its FPS rate will drop dramatically while it does). Also make sure the viewer is the only running application on your system while benchmarking it.
  • To perform a benchmark, log in with the viewer, then enable the debug console and wait till the reported FPS rate stabilizes (it will take 5 minutes or so). Do NOT move or TP before benchmarking (else a different number of objects will be cached in the viewer, leading to different performances; the objects list takes time to scan and such scans are necessary for the viewer to calculate whether each object is in the FOV or not and thus must be rendered or not, culled or not, etc).
  • Perform at least 5 benchmarks (5 logins / logouts) for each viewer, retain the 3 best numbers and average them. You will be surprised on how much FPS rates can vary from one session to another...
  • Benchmark the viewers at the same time of the day (it's best running one session of each viewer for all viewers in a raw (i.e. at a 5 minutes interval or so), then running the next batch till you got the 5 benchmarks done for each viewer).

Also bear in mind that the benchmarks you will obtain are only relevant to the hardware of your PC: for example, v3 renderer based viewers (Singularity and all current v3 viewers) will run faster on high end GPUs than v2.6 renderers (Cool VL Viewer, Phoenix) that in return will run faster on middle range and low end GPUs. That's because v3 relies more on shaders to render scenes than v2.6 does. So, you must also quote your system configuration (hardware, OS, graphics driver version).

PS: the name of my viewer is "Cool VL Viewer", NOT "Cool VL". Please be careful about that: I'm very touchy on proper names...


2012-05-20 09:15:55
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Joined: 2012-02-09 21:01:50
Posts: 284
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If someone is looking for a simple overview sheet, there is one on the google docs:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... XNFE#gid=0

Several people update it every now and then.

:-)


2012-05-26 12:22:20
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Joined: 2012-01-19 03:18:40
Posts: 110
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Henri Beauchamp wrote:
PS: the name of my viewer is "Cool VL Viewer", NOT "Cool VL". Please be careful about that: I'm very touchy on proper names...
Is CoolVLV an acceptable abbreviation? :)


2012-06-01 13:05:42
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Joined: 2009-03-17 18:42:51
Posts: 3793
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linyifei wrote:
Henri Beauchamp wrote:
PS: the name of my viewer is "Cool VL Viewer", NOT "Cool VL". Please be careful about that: I'm very touchy on proper names...
Is CoolVLV an acceptable abbreviation? :)
Certainly not ! The only valid name is "Cool VL Viewer".


2012-06-01 13:09:42
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