Black Dragon is MY Viewer, i decide which feature i want to add and which to remove, i share this Viewer to show the world that user base size is not important, i do rate quality by effort, thought and love put into the project, not some rough estimated numbers. I consider feature requests only if i you can name proper valid reasons i can agree on. It is my (unpaid) time i'm putting into this project, i'm not here to cater to every Joe's desires.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Black Dragon Viewer - Update "Occluding Ambience"

I highly recommend you press the default buttons for all SSAO options to make sure they match the new defaults.

First update of 2016.

Let's start this year with revisiting Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) shall we? I made some tweaks to the blurLight shader, overall increasing the smoothness of SSAO without impacting framerate negatively. Also fixed is the weird case of light being blurred twice (it's in the LL Viewer too and explains why shadows are so horribly overblurred), that means less blur on shadows, crisper shadows and most importantly projector light shadows are not ultra blurry anymore, they look fine again. While doing some tweaks to the light blurring i also fixed the ability to control shadow blur on distance and SSAO blur, both work now. These changes were necessary as i removed the ability to switch between Tofu's softening kernel and the default LL one, Tofu's is now default and cannot be toggled anymore, good riddance shitty quad kernel!

I used the time jumping around between shader files to do a little... comparison between original LL style look of graphics and my most current Black Dragon style graphics. I reverted all my tweaks, all my debugs, removed all changes, swapped my shader files with those of LL and brought all my visible graphic features on par with those of LL to show you an example of how different both Viewers look in their "recommended" default settings.

Linden's Original

Black Dragon's Default

Note: I recommend using "Custom" Tone Mapping and "Linear" Color Correction.

Also in this release is an updated layout for the Machinima Sidebar which now matches the preferences layout.

Fixed are also a few little layout inconsistencies as well as an issue with the Landmark Profile buttons which didn't enable.

For Adeon i also included my Freakangels 5 Windlight sky preset which i often keep using for a lot of pictures in modified form obviously, the original Hippotropolis Windlight sky preset which i used for the loginscreen video is also included in case you want to see it for yourself, the last is Insilico 4 which i used quite a few times for the SIM Insilico, the old loginscreen image for example, again modified for whatever shot i'm taking. The actual graphics preset i used for the video can be found here on the forums.

Below are some snapshots, showing my Avatar in pieces and funny experiments with the SSAO and projected light blurring.



Added: RenderSSAOBlurSize Debug option to control ssao softening.
Added: Tweaks to blurLight shader, allow SSAO and Shadow smoothening controls.
Added: SSAO Blur Size slider to Machinima Sidebar.
Added: Freakangels 5 Windlight preset.
Added: Insilico 4 Windlight Preset.
Added: Hippotropolis Login Screen Windlight Preset.
Changed: Chat Preferences title bar length.
Changed: Much enhanced SSAO, smoother, darker.
Changed: Machinima Sidebar layout, applied Display panel buildup.
Changed: Version to
Fixed: Shadows and SSAO being blurred twice.
Fixed: Distance Blur not working. Broke Shadow Gaussian and Blur Size for it.
Fixed: Control buttons in Place/Landmark Profiles not working.
Fixed: SSAO Blur Size slider in Display Preferences.
Removed: Softening Kernel options, they are no longer used.
Removed: Unused code.


  1. My avatar corrupts to all body green or blue when using both and, however no problem in And it occurs in some avatars but does not occur in others. Does it occur when exceeding the number of attached items? Anyway no problem in I don't test it in viewers between and as I don't have them. This is my review. Thank you.

    1. Please read:
      as well as the official guide:
      Avatar Rendering Complexity
      and for some pictures and examples:
      Inara's Viewer Review

      There's also a topic on the Forum:
      Forum Post

      There was also a comment related to it in previous posts:
      Update Update Section

  2. P.S. The problem above occurs when I look at my alternative avatar or other people avatars by black dragon so it does not occur when looking at my own operating avatar. However it's important to look at my alternative or other person's avatar when taking a snap shot.

  3. I'm having a tiny problem with dynamic level of detail I have it off so things will be fully rezzed at all times but now I noticed that objects are unrezzing and only rezz when I hover my mouse over it but as soon as I'm not hovering my mouse over a object it quickly goes back to being unrezzed :<

    1. Not reproducible, therefor unrelated to dynamic level of detail. What you are seeing is simply texture trashing, which can also cause sculpts to go into a broken/derezzed looking state since they are just textures.

    2. Is there something I can do to fix that?

    3. Texture Trashing is a problem that cannot be fixed as it is a feature of every Viewer. You can only delay it but not prevent it from happening.

      You can close all group chats immediately after they open up.
      You can increase the system/texture memory setting.
      You can stay away from high resolution textures.
      You can change a specific setting to make all textures load on only half their original resolution.
      To name a few.

  4. Hi Niran. I kept getting told by friends that Black Dragon viewer is great for SL photography so I thought I'd give it a try. For various reasons, I just can't get comfortable getting used to it after getting used to the flexibility and scale of customizations available in Firestorm, so I probably won't switch. I don't expect you to make any changes based on that, but I thought I'd send you a few objective, unbiased issues I found while trying it. It's up to you if you want to address them, but I felt like I should leave them here.

    1. When running the installer, it just extracts the files. It doesn't put a shortcut on the start menu or desktop. I ran the "installer" twice to make sure it wasn't a one-off issue.
    2. Small typo in Preferences: "Mute viewer when its minimized" -> "it's"
    3. In preferences, radio buttons are rendered as checkboxes (confusing UI).
    4. When setting the chat text to 'Small', the text in the chat box (the input field) doesn't scale down with it.
    5. When using chat, Ctrl+Backspace doesn't delete whole words, unlike other native input fields.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. 1. The "installer" is just a self-extracting WinRAR, it does however create shortcuts that is unless the very release you installed didn't have it because i fucked it up in that particular release... which really shouldn't happen as i'm using a default WinRar packing profile which always automatically sets it to create a shortcut making it impossible to miss unless i don't somehow select the profile. You might want to try a newer release.
      2. Not actually a typo, the ' isn't used in the UI other than for clearly "quoting" something, i'll have it fixed or changed regardless.
      3. That is on purpose, radio buttons should not look different, they kinda destroy the streamlined UI skin. Radio buttons had a separate texture for quite some time and it looked simply ugly.
      4. Local Chat chatbar does not change, yes. This is actually the wanted behavior, the IM/Conversation window doing it is what i consider a bug. I'll look into that too.
      5. I'm not sure i want that. A better place to suggest would be Linden Labs, this should if at all a baseline feature.

      Though why are you answering to a 2 year old post?