Who it is developed by
Firestorm is a Second Life viewer that is developed and maintained by The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc. and it was first made available in 2010. The organization is entirely not-for-profit and was founded by Jessica Lyons [source].
The software is regularly updated, and Phoenix now has over 80 volunteers working on the project [source], many of whom are developers.
What functionality it provides
Firestorm is based on the V3 Second Life viewer, so it supports mesh, media-on-a-prim, modern outfits, and all the latest features of Second Life.
Media-on-a-prim is a functionality which allows you to put any type of media onto the surface of a prim. This means you could show video, webpages, or maybe even a Google document directly onto your prim in Second Life.
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An example of how media-on-a-prim could be used [source]How easy is it to use
Unlike Second Life Viewer and Imprudence, Firestorm did not come pre-installed on my school laptop. I found out about it from listening to other students in the MUV601 class and since I heard great things I decided to give it a try.
The installation was very simple and I was able to get it up and running in less than 5 minutes. The first thing that struck me as different was the toolbar along the bottom of the screen:
I found this to be extremely convenient, particularly as I am not too well-versed on the in-world keyboard shortcuts yet!
My limited testing found that the building tools are very much the same as the other viewers.
This observation may not be to do with Firestorm as a viewer, but I noticed that I had no problems resing any prims whilst I was using it, something which cannot be said for Second Life Viewer (half the time I can’t even see myself!). This leads me to believe that the software is reasonably stable.
How it compares to others
One of the main differences between Firestorm and other viewers is that it is very actively maintained. The latest version was released in December of 2012, but by comparison, the latest version of Imprudence was released in Mid-2011.
Firestorm also supports OpenSIM platforms, which due to recent licensing agreements, Second Life Viewer does not.
Finally, according to Second Life’s official findings [source] Firestorm is named as the #1 viewer in both user time and stability statistics
- Firestorm – Developers: http://www.firestormviewer.org/developers/
- Firestorm – About: http://www.firestormviewer.org/about/
- Firestorm earns #1 spot in popularity: http://phoenixviewer.blogspot.com/2012/09/firestorm-earns-1-spot-in-popularity.html