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[VIDEO] Make Second Life Behave Better in the Background

Torley Linden


The Second Life Viewer can be pretty resource-intensive, but there are ways to help it cooperate better with other things happening on your computer. You can easily increase or decrease the amount of CPU power the Viewer uses when it's in the background — for example, if you're surfing in an external web browser, or editing images in Photoshop. In other words, anytime the Viewer doesn't have focus. This video shows you exactly how:

  1. Select World menu > Show > Advanced Menu. (Veteran Residents will remember this used to be more obscure!)
  2. The Advanced menu appears next to the Help menu. Select Advanced > Show Debug Settings.
  3. Type in "BackgroundYieldTime". It autocompletes. The default is "40" milliseconds, a reasonable balance.
  4. To make the Viewer lighter in the background, increase BackgroundYieldTime to "200" and click on the desktop (or another app where you can still see the Viewer). You should see the Viewer update less frequently — animations will be choppier. For the inverse effect, decrease this to "1". The Viewer should still run smoothly when it's in the background.

Why might you want to increase the power the Viewer uses in the background? If you're on a powerful computer with multiple cores, you can run multiple Viewers easier. If you're making machinima, you could film two Viewers simultaneously (since one would always be in the background) with less of a framerate drop.

So depending on your specific needs, you can adjust this whenever you want. Experiment and see what works best for you! The Task Manager (Windows) or Activity Monitor (Mac) can show you CPU usage.

Have Second Life performance tips? Share 'em in da commentz.

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Thank you so much for this video Torley! This really helps me, I am one of those people with lots of stuff all open at the same time. Sometimes, like you say in the video, I have the Viewer, Internet Explorer (with multiple tabs open), and PhotoShop open all just to do an awesome Flog Post. This video will help my computer deal with all this stuff. Awesome video Torley! BTW your avi is looking awesome too.

Keli :)

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Great vid Torley!


Is it still ´-multiple´ at the end of the SL shortcut for multiple Viewers?

With the Second Life 2.5.2 it is what I see "C:\Program Files (x86)\SecondLifeViewer2\SecondLife.exe" --set InstallLanguage en", so it would be "C:\Program Files (x86)\SecondLifeViewer2\SecondLife.exe" --set InstallLanguage en -multiple", eh?

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  • Lindens

@Keli I can totally relate! Thank you re: my fashion, I was over at Zaara and couldn't resist.

@mally Thanx!

@Steve "-multiple" isn't necessarily "at the end" — and the BEST THING is there's an EASIER way. Do this:

  1. Select Me menu > Preferences.
  2. Click the Advanced tab.
  3. Check Allow Multiple Viewers.
  4. Click OK in the PREFERENCES window.

You may need to restart the Viewer to start multiple Viewers, but aside from that, you're all set!

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Thanx Torley @ home i dont much worry about it but at work im runnin a dual core so between surfin flashing phones and working in sl and photoshop it kills this computer lol ya saved my butt :P 

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