10 Things You Want to Know in Your new 1.20 Viewer

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July 24, 2008- As your login splash screen may have already told you, an Optional viewer upgrade is available.... Announcing the Second Life 1.20.15 Viewer! It features improved stability from crashes and a more flexible UI architecture under the hood. It also brings some important bug fixes, and minor changes to some common interactions you might have as a new Resident. Get it from our Downloads Page!

Full Release Notes

You can also watch a video tour featuring highlights from the details below:


So... What's New to know?

1. Improved Viewer Stability

  • This 1.20 version has finished fifteen weeks in a Release Candidate cycle of testing (thousands of your reports & logs were volunteered to our engineers).
  • The Crash Hunters project implemented a slew of crash fixes, by identifying exactly where in the code that crashes had occurred over the testing cycle.
  • Enjoying 35 crash fixes in this version, you will experience better stability than the previous version with fewer viewer failures. From reported statistics we have observed a 20% improvement in total crash rate across hardware types, compared to the last version 1.19.1!

2. A Visual Refresh of the User Interface (switch to and from!)

By popular demand, this viewer takes the first steps towards customizable skins in the future of the User Interface (UI).
The first step is to improve the colors -- you can now choose between a Silver skin or the previous Classic gray. This viewer installs with the default gray colors until you change it.

How do I change between these themes or skins?

  • Open the Edit menu > Preferences > go to the Skins tab. (It requires a restart of the viewer to take effect.)
  • The Silver skin refreshes the look & feel with lighter blue & silver colors and improved UI graphics & icons!
HINT: Torley Linden also created a video tutorial to show you how.
HINT for Advanced Users: Under the hood, this is made possible by an greatly improved architecture for the UI which is more flexible. Early experimentation by other Residents to manipulate these settings have already begun to be documented at Category:Viewer Skins.

3. The Tools menu is now hidden by default.

  • The Tools menu displays in the menu bar ONLY when your avatar is editing/creating objects in build mode
  • To enter build mode: click on the Build button, or right-click and select Create.
  • Existing tool short cuts (CTRL + 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) all still work to select a specific tool, and will also activate the Tools menu.


HINT for Advanced Users: We moved the "Stop All Animations" menu item to the World menu instead.

UPDATE: We are collecting feedback on this change! This makes the menus simpler for new users, but perhaps the Tools menu needs to be returned. Please see VWR-6328 for more discussion.

4. Improved internationalization support

  • This viewer improves unicode system font support.
  • This viewer fixes a subtle bug from previous versions:
    • There is a standard setting in your Second Life Preferences to use the Language: of System Default. The System Default does what is says now, for real this time! This choice means you want Second Life to honor your computer system's language.
    • IF YOU ARE RUNNING A NON-ENGLISH edition of Windows (or Linux): you might have your viewer set like this but still seen the English viewer. HOWEVER NOW: viewer 1.20 will attempt to revert to the same language as your Operating System. If this is not what you intended, then:

Why did my viewer switch to another language? I want it back!

You will need to explicitly set the viewer to 'English'. You only need to do this once, and it will honor that choice forever. Here's how:

Use Ctrl+P for Preferences > go to the General tab (it's the first tab in the list)> set Language: to English

5. Improvements to Search

As an update from the Search Team project, this viewer adds further progress to convert old-style Search results to an architecture with far better matching on your queries. You will especially notice improved relevance on multi-word searches.


  • Search > Showcase tab replaces the old Search > Popular Places and it points to the website Showcase.
  • Search > Groups now uses web-based search, with better word matches and less load on the central database
    • NOTE: The new Search > Groups does eliminate the ability to sort results alphabetically or by Group member count, as was possible in version 1.19.1.
  • Classified ads have a drop-down box for you to indicate Mature or Not Mature content

6. Click on resident names in Chat/IM to open their Profile

  • You'll notice that names appear in a different color now in Chat. Click on these "links" to open that person's Profile and find out more about them!
  • The color of clickable names uses the same color as webpage hyperlinks in chat. These can be changed in Preferences > Text Chat > color picker for "URLs"

7. Incomplete avatars are shown as a cloud

  • In version 1.20, any avatar whose shape or clothing is still downloading is now rendered as a Cloud, rather than gray or naked or the wrong body shape.
  • This will be especially true for newly-born avatars on Orientation Island who have not yet selected a gender.

"I see Cloud People"

  • Sometimes in Second Life, the simulator has not completely sent the minimum Appearance information to your computer about what an avatar should look like. In previous versions, this meant the avatar would look like a gray, female model made of clay ("Ruth").
    • This usually only lasts a few moments, while the server is delivering the essential information: an avatar's shape, chest-texture, and waist-texture.
    • In rare cases, if the server is misperforming, sometimes the Cloud won't ever acquire the essential Appearance information and stays a cloud for a long time. This is a tougher computer problem that we continue to track down.

8. Small improvements to daily interactions

  • The Fly button is now shown as disabled when you are sitting. (Like in previous versions, you always need to stand up to start Flying.)
  • One-click sit should not be available if you are already sitting. (It seemed too easy to accidentally jump seats - when you've already found a place to sit.)
  • Running is more intuitive by double-tapping forward on your keyboard.
  • Hyperlinks can be clicked on in the "Message Of The Day" that you see as you log in-world...

9. Improved support for Joystick and 3D input devices

  • This viewer integrates a new open source library created by 3Dconnexion, designed to integrate multi-axis input devices with Second Life
  • There is a setup window for adjusting these multi-axis devices: go to the Preferences > Input & Camera tab > Joystick Setup
    • The settings are currently optimized for Logitech's 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator but should be tunable for any joystick or 3D input device.
    • Since this is the first release of basic support for 3D input devices, there are some known glitches. See the Known Issues section below for more information!

HINT: Torley Linden created 4 great video tutorials about using this feature more.

10. And new options for Advanced users...

What's new in Advanced features

  • This viewer adds beta support for a avatar LipSync to visualize your Voice Chat. Turn it on in Advanced menu > Character > Enable Lip Sync (Beta).
  • There is a new calculation display to detect laggy avatars... These are avatars which are render-intensive. Turn it on in Advanced menu > Rendering > Info Displays > Avatar Rendering Cost.
  • If you mute a Resident, it visually mutes his/her avatar to a flat grey placeholder. (You must have Avatar Impostors turned ON in your Preferences > Graphics > Custom options.)
  • This viewer adds the feature VWR-1735: Directly interacting with a muted resident will unmute them, with a note logged in the Chat console
  • This viewer adds the feature VWR-2600: Full-Scene Anti-Aliasing (FSAA), which uses 2 to 16 extra rendering passes on each frame, blending the pixel edges. (It may reduce performance *noticeably* on less-powerful machines!) Turn it on or off in Preferences > Graphics > Hardware Options button > Antialiasing.

What's new for scripting

  • A prim's glow attribute can be controlled by scripts! Additional documentation is found in the LSL Portal for LlSetPrimitiveParams.
    • Here's a script to get you started:
touch_start(integer total_number)
list values = llGetPrimitiveParams([PRIM_GLOW, 1]);
float glow = llList2Float(values, 0);
llSetPrimitiveParams([PRIM_GLOW, ALL_SIDES, 1.0 - glow]);

  • In viewer 1.20, the function llLoadURL will now always open webpages in a system's external browser.

  • This viewer adds 5 new texture constants for referencing in llSetLinkTexture:
    • TEXTURE_BLANK is the non-transparent blank texture, equivalent to UUID "5748decc-f629-461c-9a36-a35a221fe21f"
    • TEXTURE_DEFAULT or TEXTURE_PLYWOOD is the default plywood texture, equivalent to UUID "89556747-24cb-43ed-920b-47caed15465f". (Yes, these two constants are synonyms.)
    • TEXTURE_TRANSPARENT is a fully transparent texture, equivalent to UUID "8dcd4a48-2d37-4909-9f78-f7a9eb4ef903"
    • TEXTURE_MEDIA is the default Media texture, equivalent to UUID "8b5fec65-8d8d-9dc5-cda8-8fdf2716e361"
    • Note on Compatibility with older viewers -- be sure to see the Release Notes!

Other Questions

What are some Known Issues in 1.20?

  • This 1.20 Viewer will not run on a Mac PowerPC that is running Mac OS X 10.3.9. The minimum requirements for running Second Life is using Mac OS X 10.4.11 or higher. Please see http://secondlife.com/support/sysreqs.php for more information.

Mac users with a PowerPC with the 10.3 Operating System can continue to use the 1.19.1 Viewer instead, which still fully supports that hardware on OS X 10.3.

  • There is a known issue in the 1.20 Viewer on Macs using Apple's USB Mighty Mouse and a 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator. The Mighty Mouse will be erroneously detected as a joystick and the primary mouse button will toggle "Flycam" with unusual behavior. Therefore the support for the 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator in Second Life does not yet extend to Macs using a USB Mighty Mouse.

WORKAROUND: You must use a different mouse in order to use a 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator in Second Life without problem.

  • VWR-6363: In the 1.20 Viewer, there are known issues with camera behavior and/or button-mapping behavior when using the 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator in a combination of "Flycam" and Build modes under some circumstances.

  • VWR-5749: When running Second Life in Full Screen mode on computers with some Nvidia graphics cards, you may be unable to scroll up/down on webpages that are shown inworld. This includes the web-based interfaces of Search > All tab, and Search > Groups tab. We are investigating this issue.

WORKAROUND: You must run Second Life in a window to avoid this problem. Go to Preferences > Graphics > Run Second Life in a window.

  • VWR-7779: On some Macs, there are reports of periodic and cyclic freezing of the computer when running Viewer 1.20. This does not seem to affect all Macs, but we are continuing to investigate this performance issue.

There are some workarounds discussed in the Release Notes and more extensively on the issue VWR-7779.

Where can I get the latest drivers?

We always suggest it: you will want to make sure to be running the latest drivers for your graphics card. Here are the links to your vendor's driver pages:

Where can I get the previous viewer 1.19.1?

If you still want to go back to 1.19.1 viewer, here are the links to download the previous viewer:

I still have bugs...

Your bug reporting is invaluable. During the beta cycle, Residents have already identified several outstanding bugs in the Issue Tracker, therefore:

  • type some keywords in Quick Search first, to see if your symptoms have already been reported -- and then add your voice!
  • If you find new issues, please make a new bug and be sure to set "Affects Version/s" to "1.20".
  • Resident participation is ALWAYS welcome for inworld bug triage meetings too!