Windlight release on the horizon.

Just back from today’s Windlight office hours.

Not much to report except to say that it looks like Windlight will probably see Release Candidate soon. Runitai mentioned maybe one or two more FL releases before all the kinks are worked out.

It’s been pretty interesting looking back at the last few months of Windlight development.

There have definitely been a lot of snags along the way, with a wide range of opinions all round from the appropriateness of the lighting offered to the operability of the client on the wide range of computers that run SL. And there will always be folk who feel Windlight is too ‘x’ in some way, always stuck firm in the opinion that ‘Windlight sucks! Why are you not working to make SL more stable??’ etc etc etc. But from what I’ve seen these past few months of keeping an eye on WL office hours, LL, and in particular the Windlight Team has been really good about keeping up with problems that are plaguing their testers.

They’ve added parts of the client that have definitely made things better form a stability point of view – allowing for av imposters has definitely helped cut down on lag in heavily populated areas. They’ve also run a lot of feedback surveys and have listened to feedback given on the blog, over JIRA and at office hours.

Overall, for such a major addition to the SL client, things have been working out really well and I look forward to seeing it in general release in the near future.

That said, as a resident using somewhat old hardware, I have to express dismay that something that was readily accessible back in June/July during its first trial in First Look is barely accessible to older computers at this point. My Mac Powerbook 1.67GHz, 2GB RAM, ATI Radeon 9600XT machine runs Windlight… reasonably well with no atmospheric shaders applied, but that means no Windlight skies – just an adjusted sky and slightly improved lighting structure. I can run atmospheric shaders, but doing so slows down performance to less than 0.5FPS, rendering any sort of movement or interaction nigh impossible.

This is a limitation of my computer to some degree, and I’m sure significant components were added to the latest Windlight compared to the original trial – I guess the visual benefits of the new client leave me wanting more than what I can get with the machine i use. And that’s a good thing I guess. But saddening since I don’t have the resources to see that happen any time soon.

Anyhow, getting back to the office hours commentary, I think it’s a good thing that the WL team has been so open about making things work for residents. For a time transparency from LL was not a strong point, and it’s good to see that change, since so much of what SL *IS* involves the community. It is nice to see Lindens recognize and appreciate that.