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Alicia Sautereau wrote:

That is because it`s all user generated content

If some one would take all the content, optimise it per draw distance/region and zip it all so every one has a copy on hdd, sl will run alot smoother

But that won`t happen as it`s the backbone of sl, user generated content
:)

This is a very common misconception that I want to clarify right now.

SL's performance issues are not solely the inevitable end result of user generated content.

Like Alecia points out here, the content in SL is not optimized. This is true. Almost everything in SL uses too many polygons, textures that are way too large, and scripts that are poorly written. And, yes, one reason for this is that the people creating the content are us, the users, and most of us have never had any professional training or experience in creating content for a virtual environment like SL.

 

However, this is not an inevitable end result.

 

 Linden Lab has had plenty of opportunities to curb the most performance damaging aspects of user generated content by providing information, reasonable restrictions, and proper tools which would allow us to more easily create content, while also guiding us towards more performance friendly habits.

 They have simply chosen not to, because....it never occured to them. Sadly, Linden Lab also lacks experience in creating content for virtual environments, you might say they are entirely amateurs in this area.  They have chosen not to hire people who understand these issues and so their decision making process is flawed from the beginning.

 

 Yes, with user generated content there will always be issues. For something like SL you need to allow a certain degree of freedom which will allow users to make mistakes, which will let users dive easily into content creation without being overwhelmed with options and restrictions, however due to how LL has set things up, even a professional art team could not create a sim that looked as good and ran as well as any of the games in that article.

 For instance, we've absolutely no tools to manage texture use. You are not even given the option of seeing how much texture memory an item on the marketplace is using. If it's got bloated, oversized textures that bring framerates to a crawl, there is no way for you to know until after you bought it, and no way to fix these textures after the fact.

 With the introduction of mesh, LL introduced an entirely rebalanced way of managing environment resources. Out with "prim limits" and in with "Land Impact". Land impact balances the cost of mesh and prims and sculpted content based on how resource intensive it is....as far as polygons and physics geometry go.

 They also shoved scripts in there for some reason, even tho scripts have jack all to do with rendering resources and should have their own pool to draw from.

 They left out texture use entirely, meaning you can have a low LI furniture set that absolutely destroys framerates because the creator didn't realize that slapping 8 1024x1024 textures onto each piece of furniture and decoration is an insanely bad idea. So much so that stickingh with your old high-poly sculpted furnishings would be easier on performance despite how low poly the new mesh content is.

 

 Linden Lab screwed up. Big time. And it seems to me that they really cannot fix their mistake now without upsetting a lot of people when their 5LI chair suddenly jumps to 200LI  because it uses al dozen 1024x1024 textures.

 

 THIS, not user generated content, is why SL will never look as good and run as well as those great looking videogames your computer has no trouble playing.

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You completely missed the point, Penny. The point is that, with games, almost everything is in the local computer, so the performance is great. With SL, almost nothing is in the local computer, which means that almost everything has to be downloaded in real time. And, since accessing an SL computer is nowhere near as quick as accessing the local hard drive, SL's performance cannot be as good as games.

One other thing. You mentioned 'poorly written scripts' as one of the reasons why SL's performance is lower than the performance of games. Would you explain what you mean by that, with typical examples, please? The reason I ask is because I see the idea of 'poorly written scripts' a lot in the forum, and I doubt very much that everyone who says it knows what they are talking about. I think that most of them don't have a clue, and are just repeating what they have read. I am interested to know if, when you cited it as one of the reasons for SL's poor performance when compared to games, you are one of those people who are just repeating what they've read, or if you actually do know how to write a script so poorly that it helps to cause SL's poor performance when compared to games.

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No, I didn't miss the point. I just understand how streaming content does and does not affect performance. Yes, streaming content is an issue, I did not dispute that, but it's not the end-all, be all unavoidable obstacle that people make it out to be. If you use polygons and textures more efficiently, you will see a huge performance leap over poorly optimized content streamed in the same way.

 

 The point in my previous post is that there are ways LL could have encouraged this from the userbase, despite the lack of skill and experience in the average SL content creator, but they failed to do so. Without that guidance, people build as you expect they would, inefficiently. Why sacrifice texture detail (even if no one will ever notice it) if there's no easily understandable cost (ie: land impact)? So people slap dozens of huge textures and go right on believing their low framerates are just an inescapable fact of Second Life.

 

 

Regarding scripts, it is a simple concept to understand that scripts use resources, that there is a limited pool of these resources and every script running eats away at those resources, impacting performance. There's a couple things to consider with scripts, script memory and script time. Obviously, the more scripts you're running, the more of both you're using, so it's always better to combine scripts where possible, and yet you still see things like attachments with colour, texture and size changing features, each using a separate script and all three scripts in every single prim. So if you're object is 100 prims you've got 300 scripts all soaking up memory and script time. 

That's an extreme, of course (one which I've seen first hand in-world on many occaissions)but you still see a lot of examples of people using separate scripts where a single script would do the job. The more scripted objects and avatars in a sim, the more even little inefficiencies can add up.

 Now, scripts generally affect other scripts first, so if you load your avatar up with scripts and enter a sim, the most obvious impact will be other scripts being sluggish, or failing entirely. If anough scripts are running in the sim to go beyond the available script memory of the server, it starts writing to the swap file and that slows down the entire sim in a big way.

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So you agree that streaming content does affect performance and, therefore, SL cannot match the performance of games. Good.

 

About scripts: I haven't gone back to check, but I believe you said that "poorly written scripts" negatively affect SL's performance, and I asked you to explain how a script can be written poorly enough to affect performance (without including stuff to intentionally affect it, of course), but you now explain that you meant the unnecessary use of multiple scripts. Ok. You also mentioned the memory that scripts use and the time they use when running.

The memory is storage and, as long as there is enough storage, the amount of it that's used doesn't make any difference at all. If the amount used exceeds the capacity, then swapping occurs which does affect performance. But on the whole, swapping doesn't occur and memory used doesn't affect performance.

Script time does matter though. A sim allows a specific amount of time each frame for all scripts to run. If the running scripts need more time for their required operations, then some scripts won't get to do their operations, and performance will be affected. So the number of operations the combined scripts need to perform does matter, but, imo, most sims don't exceed the allowed script time, so the performance of most sims won't be affected by scripts, except in certain circumstances; e.g. when someone who is wearing the type of hair you described - with 3 scripts in every strand - and, I think, when a load of mesh arrives in the sim. The sim needs to set those things up and that can cause a lag spike.

I don't see that splitting a script into several scripts makes any difference to performance that's worth mentioning. For instance, take one big script that needs to perform certain operations. Then split it into three scripts. The combined number of required operation in the three scripts is the same number of required operations in the one big script, so the number of required operations (the amount of work/time) doesn't change when splitting a script. There are some things that will take a nanosecond longer; e.g. when one script tell a sub-routine to do something. If the sub-routine is in another script, then it will take a nanosecond longer (that's an estimate, of course). But the number of times that happens is almost certainly low enough for it never to be noticed in performance.

Now, if each script in your 300 script object has a listen open, and there are a number of that type of object in the sim, then they may well come up against the allowed script time, which may cause script operations not to be done each frame and, therefore, an apparent deterioration in performance. In popular places, performance deterioration may be quite common due to the number of scripts that people have on their avatars but, imo, that's not due to a fundamental failure on LL's part. The people who are capable of making script heavy objects have enough experience in SL to know what may happen, so it's a failure of the part of those creators. Also, the reason why some places come up against the allowed script time is because everything needs to be streamed. It's streaming that's the problem.

 

The reason why SL's performance can't match that of a game, is because SL is streamed and games are not. It's that simple. Yes, textures that are larger than necessary play a significant part at times but, if they were all optimally sized, SL's general performance still wouldn't get close to that of games where the environments reside in the user's computer.

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Phil Deakins wrote:

So you agree that streaming content does affect performance and, therefore, SL cannot match the performance of games. Good.

 Nope. That content is streamed is an issue, but  I disagree that it is to nearly the extent you believe. Once the content is visible on your screen it is already downloaded and on your hard drive. Once the bulk of the downloading is finished, any impact beyond that is negligible. How well optimized it is, on the other hand, makes all the difference in the world.

You're comments about scripting couldn't be further from reality.

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Penny Patton wrote:

Once the content is visible on your screen it is already downloaded and on your hard drive. Once the bulk of the downloading is finished, any impact beyond that is negligible.

 Bingo. We have a winner.

SL could look as good as any game, if LL stepped up and took steps to make sure that A) the content was made to better standards, and B) The viewer was using the right technologies.

If LL did those two things, it could look and run as well as any MMO on the market. The only difference would be when the downloading takes place.

Go try any new MMO. Guess what, you have to download all the content! Just like SL! The only difference is when the downloading takes place. Once the content is on your hard drive, it's on your hard drive, whether you downloaded it last week or two seconds ago.

Sure, any changes and you'll have to download again, but like Penny says, once the bulk is done, it's negligible.

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Penny Patton wrote:


Phil Deakins wrote:

So you agree that streaming content does affect performance and, therefore, SL cannot match the performance of games. Good.

 Nope. That content is streamed is an issue, but  I disagree that it is to nearly the extent you believe. Once the content is visible on your screen it is already downloaded and on your hard drive. Once the bulk of the downloading is finished, any impact beyond that is negligible. How well optimized it is, on the other hand, makes all the difference in the world.

You're comments about scripting couldn't be further from reality.

My comments about scripting are based on my (almost) 30 years as a programmer, and my years of experience in computers at the chip level (circuit design), and even inside the chip level. Your opinion is based on.... what? I notice that you failed to provide any reasoning for your "further from reality" opinion, but I suppose it's best not to get into detailed discussions on subjects you know little or nothing about - a wise decision ;)

The necessary streaming is a very large part of why SL cannot match the performance of games. Imagine you're in SL. Everything where you are has been downloaded and nothing is changing - not in the sim you're in and not in any adjacent sims. Don't move, don't move your view - don't do anything. Now, as you rightly said, it is all in your computer, and, of course, SL's performance is right up there with the performance of games. You aren't moving, your view isn't changing, nothing is changing, so the performance is as good as any game. Now turn around. If it were a game, the new data you need would be local so displaying the new view would be very quick. But, with SL, much of the data for the new view isn't local, and has to be downloaded. Therefore, SL's performance when you turn around cannot match that of games, because of the necessary downloading.

You may say that the data for the new view should have been downloaded whether you were looking that way or not - all possible views should be downloaded - so that the performance when turning around is very quick. I wouldn't argue with that, but I would say that it all has be downloaded at some stage, so it's six of one and half a dozen of the other, except that it's obviously better not to download all possible views at the same time or the performance would be badly affected while it is happening.

With games, the scenario is fixed and stored locally, which means that performance is very quick. That includes all the textures, of course. With SL, the scenario and textures aren't fixed and, therefore, cannot be stored locally. It's that simple. Don't imagine that SL repeatedly streams the scenario, etc., like a video. It doesn't. Once the data for the land has been received, for instance, it stays local and only changes need to be received for that part of the session.

Back in the mid-90s I wrote an online multi-user graphic game, so I'm very familiar with the concept of only sending changes to the user, but SL cannot have fixed environments stored locally, so a lot more than just changes needs to be sent to the user, simply because nothing in the SL environment is fixed - except the textures used for mainland land.

You are right that users could help by optimising things like textures, but your suggestions would never cause SL to perform as well as games. They could improve SL's performance a little, but that's all.

When you get right down to it, LL always knew that the nature of SL is such that it could never match the performance of games, so they've never tried to get it to match. They can't be blamed for the mismatch and neither can users, because the nature of SL is that users decide what's in it, which necessarily means that it cannot match the performance of games - not until the speed of accessing data from the internet matches the speed of accessing data from the local storage.

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Orca Flotta wrote:

SL has come a long way in the quality of the user generated content, especially once Mesh was released.

Mesh has taken  away more than it brought us. Starting with sculpties, and now mesh, we lost the ability to create cool stuff in world. You need to master some 3D graphics software and create your models offline. That's directly diametrical to SL's very principles and philosophy. I mean oldstyle prim building is still cool but the results are lacking in professionality. But it's a nice pastime.

@ Gadget Portal: you sure you even belong to SL's target group? Gamers are the last people Philip had in  mind when he came up with his virtual world. And that holds true even today. The typical SL resident wants to log on from their smartphone or tablet or equally underpowered consumer grade hardware. And most don't care if they can't even see the bad SL graphics to their full extent.

 

 

I agree 100% Building with prim was a real challenge and anyone could jump right in. It took me longer to learn blender than using prim. It's no longer an equal playing field like it once was.

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I agree with both of you about it being better before sculpties and mesh because anyone could create nice objects inside SL. These days, much of what is considered 'nice' is made with sculpmaps or mesh, which can only be created externally. It's not the same any more. It would have been nice to have such building tools as 'rounding', for instance - rounding the edges of a prim - instead of sculpties.

There are pros and cons, of course, but, as you said, the playing field has not been equal since sculpties arrived.

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Amethyst Jetaime wrote:


Deja Letov wrote:

What's really said is that I can run any of those games on high settings with ease yet SL with it's crappy graphics and low performance tends to slow my system down far worse. Something wrong with that picture.

You are comparing apples to oranges.  Games like those have in world content created by professionals that optimize their content.  The game can download all of it to your PC at one time since the content is fixed.  SL on the other hand must download the content as you view it because it changes all the time.  SL content is mostly created by hobbyists who haven't a clue how to optimize their creations.

I agree and You I am glad its the way it is. User created. Yes its not as graphical as those games but it also gives me a sense of community as well as it gives me a chance to be a creator.

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Phil Deakins wrote:

I agree with both of you about it being better before sculpties and mesh because anyone could create nice objects inside SL. These days, much of what is considered 'nice' is made with sculpmaps or mesh, which can only be created externally. It's not the same any more. It would have been nice to have such building tools as 'rounding', for instance - rounding the edges of a prim - instead of sculpties.

There are pros and cons, of course, but, as you said, the playing field has not been equal since sculpties arrived.

QFT!

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Melita Magic wrote:


Phil Deakins wrote:

the playing field has not been equal since sculpties arrived.

And that took a lot of the fun away, for me. It became a land of professionals and consumers, same as real life.

QFT #2 - I still build with prims and will continue to do so until and unless no one is buying them anymore.  There are some things that would just be overkill to make with mesh...such as 1-Prim welcome mats.

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Czari Zenovka wrote:


Melita Magic wrote:


Phil Deakins wrote:

the playing field has not been equal since sculpties arrived.

And that took a lot of the fun away, for me. It became a land of professionals and consumers, same as real life.

QFT #2 - I still build with prims and will continue to do so until and unless no one is buying them anymore.  There are some things that would just be overkill to make with mesh...such as 1-Prim welcome mats.

I'm with you on that, Czari - almost. I use mostly prims as is. I do use sculpties but only very simple ones, such as corner rounding and 4 separate table/chair legs in 1 sculptie. Even my very simple corner-rounding sculpties make the playing field uneven.

For the sake of reducing the prim count, some people went overboard with sculpties and made their items not work properly. One creator, for instance, made 4-poster beds that you couldn't sit, stand or walk on because the sculptie's bounding box wouldn't let you. You had to use a poseball, and when you stood up after being on one of the posebalss, you ended up on top of the 4 posts - on the canopy. In a bedroom, you'd probably have ended up in the room above lol. It was ridiculous. Armchairs and sofas with arms don't work as single sculpties for the same reason - you can't just sit on the seat part.

But I digress, so I'll stop.

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Phil Deakins wrote:


Czari Zenovka wrote:


Melita Magic wrote:


Phil Deakins wrote:

the playing field has not been equal since sculpties arrived.

And that took a lot of the fun away, for me. It became a land of professionals and consumers, same as real life.

QFT #2 - I still build with prims and will continue to do so until and unless no one is buying them anymore.  There are some things that would just be overkill to make with mesh...such as 1-Prim welcome mats.

I'm with you on that, Czari - almost. I use mostly prims as is. I do use sculpties but only very simple ones, such as corner rounding and 4 separate table/chair legs in 1 sculptie. Even my very simple corner-rounding sculpties make the playing field uneven.

For the sake of reducing the prim count, some people went overboard with sculpties and made their items not work properly. One creator, for instance, made 4-poster beds that you couldn't sit, stand or walk on because the sculptie's bounding box wouldn't let you. You had to use a poseball, and when you stood up after being on one of the posebalss, you ended up on top of the 4 posts - on the canopy. In a bedroom, you'd probably have ended up in the room above lol. It was ridiculous. Armchairs and sofas with arms don't work as single sculpties for the same reason - you can't just sit on the seat part.

But I digress, so I'll stop.

so true

 

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Phil Deakins wrote:


Czari Zenovka wrote:


Melita Magic wrote:


Phil Deakins wrote:

the playing field has not been equal since sculpties arrived.

And that took a lot of the fun away, for me. It became a land of professionals and consumers, same as real life.

QFT #2 - I still build with prims and will continue to do so until and unless no one is buying them anymore.  There are some things that would just be overkill to make with mesh...such as 1-Prim welcome mats.

I'm with you on that, Czari - almost. I use mostly prims as is. I do use sculpties but only very simple ones, such as corner rounding and 4 separate table/chair legs in 1 sculptie. Even my very simple corner-rounding sculpties make the playing field uneven.

For the sake of reducing the prim count, some people went overboard with sculpties and made their items not work properly. One creator, for instance, made 4-poster beds that you couldn't sit, stand or walk on because the sculptie's bounding box wouldn't let you. You had to use a poseball, and when you stood up after being on one of the posebalss, you ended up on top of the 4 posts - on the canopy. In a bedroom, you'd probably have ended up in the room above lol. It was ridiculous. Armchairs and sofas with arms don't work as single sculpties for the same reason - you can't just sit on the seat part.

But I digress, so I'll stop.

In the pre-sculpty era of SL, I used to see some absolutely jaw-droppingly amazing builds.  I spent a lot of time back then in Victorian sims.  Victorian-era furniture was very ornate and I was astounded by the skilll of some builders who made very authentic-looking furniture, complete with curly-cues and such only using prims.  No idea how they did it and, of course, the furniture was much primmier than other styles, but the point is, it could be done.

LOL, on the 4-poster bed example.  I've seen some furniture like that - made great ejecto-furniture that could launch one great distances. 

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