Exploring the Viewer: The Basics

As we learned last time, the Viewer is the piece of software which lets users like you and me access and interact with the virtual worlds of Opensim. Let’s start a deeper dive into some of the common features you’ll find in pretty much every flavor of Viewer.

Viewers have a lot of different tools and functions packed into them.  They’re sort of like a Swiss Army Knife for virtual worlds!  The good news is you don’t need to know all the tools right away, and most users only use a handful of them.

Login Screen

This is the starting point for every user’s experience in Opensim.  The Login Screen lets you pick the Grid you want to log into, and has a username/password sign-in.  If you have multiple accounts (either on different Grids, or the same Grid), you can use the same Viewer for all of them.  Login Screens generally also show a special “Front Page” for the currently selected Grid, and may show announcements and other useful information.

3D View

Once you’re logged in, the vast majority of the Viewer will be occupied by the view of the 3D world you’re entering.  By default, most viewers will try to make a “best guess” on what quality the 3D graphics should be at.  You can change these settings in menus at the drop-down menus at the top of the Viewer window. The 3D world may take a bit of time to load in (we’ll cover why later), so sometimes patience is a good thing.

3D Camera Basics

Opensim allows for two main kinds of camera.  The default is a “Third-Person” camera, which allows you to see your Avatar and move the camera around wherever you’d like.  Use the Alt (or Option Key) and click with your mouse move the camera in this mode. Press Escape to reset your camera.

The other camera type is “First Person” which lets you look more-or-less through the eyes of your Avatar.  The “M” button lets you toggle this camera.

Up next, we’ll explore some of the tools located in icons along the edge of the 3D View.  These tools will be useful for every user, regardless of what you’re trying to do in Opensim.