Prim Perfect’s Guide to Third Party Viewers: The Gridnaut’s Friend – Hippo

Welcome to the third part of part of our guide to the various viewers available to users of Second Life – and other virtual worlds constructed on the same code (such as Inworldz, Reaction Grid etc).

We’ve looked at the two main viewers put out by Linden Lab, the old Viewer 1.23.5 and the new Viewer 2.2.  This time, we’ll take a look at a Viewer completely without bells and whistles, but one which I use because of its ability to shift effortlessly from grid to grid – and that’s Hippo.

First, here’s a screenshot of Hippo:

Screen shot of Hippo viewer
Screen shot of Hippo viewer

It needs to be said at once (and bluntly) that this is not among the prettiest of viewers.  It’s clearly related to Viewer 1.23.5, but unlike that viewer, its on-screen menus remain largely opaque even when you are on another part of the screen, meaning you either collapse them or put up with a much reduced screen size,. It is also slow to load graphics – I think this is because it relies on an older engine (see the date of the last update – March 2010).  BUT it’s one I keep on hand for its sheer stability.

Let’s look at the facts and figures, courtesy of the excellent MCF Viewer Comparison Spreadsheet.  These are not complete – and I suspect (although I haven’t checked them all) that most of the blank columns on the righthand size equate to No.  Perhaps someone could help fill in the gaps.

Name Hippo 0.6.2 Audio supported
URL Video support
Last release? 2010-04 Voice support
Graphics support Standard Text-to-Speech
Avatar support Player Song Info
Supported Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows Doubleclick TP
Language, License C++ Import/Export
Code Lineage LL 1.23.5 Chat translator
Plugins Multi-grid support (Yes)
Max Cache / Bandwidth 1 GB / 8000 Kbps OGP support
Misc Notes Unmaintained. New version (0.6.2) put online on 2010.03.07. Client-Side Scripting
External services IM Encryption No
CLIENT NAME / index Hippo 0.6.2 Stability in SL Good
Stability in OSgrid High

One of the reasons there are gaps, I think, is that Hippo no longer appears to be maintained – which is sad.

For me, on top of the stability, there’s the fact that you can open Second Life in a second window with an alt.  This makes it very useful to bring my business alts to meetings (they hold information that the meeting needs).  Hippo is sufficiently ‘light’ enough that it doesn’t significantly slow the performance on my moderate machine – unless I take  either avatar to a very crowded sim.  It is also ideal if you want/need to run an Open Sim grid in parallel to Second Life – although, of course, you get better performance if you are only running one account.

Where Hippo comes into its own is on Open Sim grids.  The lack of bells and whistles in the viewer matches the fact that the newer grids actually have fewer bells and whistles!  In a couple of cases, where a proprietary viewer has been developed for the individual grid, I’ve found Hippo more reliable and more sturdy (i.e. I crashed out less often).

It’s the viewer I prefer to use when recording the Designing Worlds show in non-SL grids, and I believe it’s the choice of most of the Designing Worlds team too.

Earlier Posts:
Prim Perfect’s Guide to Third Party Viewers: The Future? Second Life Viewer 2
Prim Perfect’s Guide to Third Party Viewers: The Basic: Second Life 1.23.5
Prim Perfect’s Guide to Third Party Viewers: How will we review them?
Prim Perfect’s Proposed Guide to Third Party Viewers


  1. Hippo is by far my favorite viewer. While other viewers have their updates and fixes and tweaks…they still dont do everything I need.

    You mention it being slow to load… It is slower than SLV2 in SecondLife – but faster than most others. In OSGrid spaces – Hippo is super speedy and its great for building and scripting.

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