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From NVIDIA Blog: "NVIDIA, AMD, Intel Explain How OpenGL Can Unlock 15X Performance Gains"


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The answer to that would be "no, you can't really see any benefit from that".

SL has been hamstrung in many ways, the graphics engine is pretty oooooooold. Look at materials: That stuff has been basic for computer game graphics since around the time SL launched. Yet we barely got support for it. And we still have no support for shaders, no support for displacement/heighmaps, no support for a lot of things computer games have taken for granted for years. And with the new-ish LI system LL would now have the tools to allow creators some fairly amazing things - true mirrors for example - at a cost.

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Jenni Darkwatch wrote:

The answer to that would be "no, you can't really see any benefit from that".

SL has been hamstrung in many ways, the graphics engine is pretty oooooooold

Strongly disagree.  The viewer's rendering engine has been updated a hell of a lot over the last 10 years, you just haven't noticed it.


Look at materials: That stuff has been basic for computer game graphics since around the time SL launched. Yet we barely got support for it. And we still have no support for shaders, no support for displacement/heighmaps, no support for a lot of things computer games have taken for granted for years.

Which has more to do with performance problems due to User Made Content than anything else. We can't even trust average joe the builder to make something out of prims that won't lag half the grid to death and you wonder why we don't have all the fancy stuff games made by professionals do. I mean seriously no support for shaders? Do you really want the average builder in sl to be able to run arbitrary code on your gpu with god knows what kind of performance? 

 

 

Anyway implementing these things in the viewer wouldn't be all that hard relatively speaking. LL even tried to do texture arrays 4 years ago in viewer 2.0, but back then opengl didn't have the nessecary features so they had to hack together a home made system. It didn't work so well tho which is why it got removed and thus you probably never heard of it. The main problem and why we won't be seeing this in sl anytime soon is all this stuff requires opengl 4.2 or higher, some of it isn't even fully supported on all hardware yet. Where as many people in sl are using old and decrepit hardware that barely supports opengl 2.0.

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Yes the engine has been updated continuously. The issue I have with the engine is that it's bound by old bugs that became "features" and can't be fixed without breaking content. Then there's the issue that from a programmatic point of view you can update to a point, but eventually you'd have to do an entire rewrite - with the associated slew of new bugs.

Personally, I'd make many advanced features available - for people who fulfil certain criteria. The "Experience Permissions" system I'd imagine may end up as such a filter. One thing I'd expect is being held responsible for ones creations, among other things.

On the topic of shaders: If LL would just provide some simple common configurable shaders, that would be plenty fine with me. Water would be a prime candidate, obviously.

Granted, that does not take the entire User Generated Content issue out of the equation, but it should help. As you know very well as a respected creator, a very large percentage of worn mesh currently on the grid is utterly disastrous in quality - because there's no penalty for running around as a walking lag monster. People with old obsolete hardware should be fine if it's possible to turn off all the bells and whistles.

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I agree that the bugs turned features and other compatibility issues are very annoying and definitely holding the platform back. I'd love to just rip out many parts of SL and replace them with something modern but I know if that ever happened most users would grab their pitchforks and torches and storm LL's headquarters. It's kind of sad that not breaking user content will eventually kill SL due to stagnation. 

Having a certified builders program is an interesting idea, but I don't think it would work in practic. People generally don't like being told they're bad.

As for configurable shaders that's exactly what glow, shinny, fullbright and the like are. You're really just asking for more of them.

Anyway I'll repeat what I said a few years ago. The cause of SL's success (user made content), is also the cause of its problems (horrendously bad performance) and also its eventual downfall (lagacy compatability).

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