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Mesh Generator and mesh object at distances? How to


walterwhiteSr
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I hope there are some Mesh Generator users out there... I love the way MG can reduce 50+ prims to 1 prim, I am just learning though.  I recently purchased MG, and am creating columns for a building my current structure the prefab columns can be seen clearly including their detail which is recessed squares mostly, viewed at a disctance of 64 m or greater, they are mesh.  My columns approx same physical sise but with some finer details , break down and distort at about 10 meters.   

I am using FS with ultra I have 2gig fast dedicated video card..  How do i get the settings to make viewing at longer distance so the MG created mesh object doesn't distort and become a pixel mess at distance?

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I just tested and the LOD setting in FS at Ultra is 3. You can bump the LOD to 4 by moving the slider in the graphics settings in Preferences.

 

THAT however isn't your real problem. It is important to note that the default LOD settings for most viewers are 2 (FS) down to 1.25 and even 1.  That means that most everyone will see your build broken up and 10 meters is a VERY SHORT distance to have that happen. If you are working on a building you will likely want it viewable at about half a sim distance or 128 meters. To do this you have to import differently, not just let the uploader use the defaults.

 

That being said it is likely that your mesh is less than optimum for building use (at least it certainily seems that way -- a screenshot of the mesh in your program is always good when asking questions). It is very likely that your fine detail is simply TOO fine and not practical for game use.

 

I know nothing about Mesh Generator so these are just general mesh areas that you need to consider. If you don't understand how LODs work (details at a distance) then this old video might be helpful.

 

http://blog.machinimatrix.org/optimizing-meshes/

 

It was made to explain how to transition from sculpts to mesh but the explaination of LODs and what you need to do to make them work well (for everyone - not just you) is very clear I think.

 

If you do some searches on LOD settings in this forum you will likely find lots of info.

 

So to be clear, it isn't YOUR settings === it is the mesh :D. If the pillars break apart at 10 meters at 3 LOD they will not be much better at 4 and expecting everyone to change their setting to 4 is unreasonable since many folks cannot. I test at 2 and try to make thing viewable further away than necessary just in case someone wants to put those vases outside :D.

 

Good luck. Hopefully someone else will have info on your program. I haven't heard of it so can't fill in any empty spots.

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In addition to Chics post,

there are some oddities also, especially with column meshes (and the like, thin and long on the Z axis) which switch at a shorter camera distances to the lower LODs already. Even more so when there are 3 materials applied on the mesh (weird long standing bug).

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walterwhiteSr wrote:

How do i get the settings to make viewing at longer distance so the MG created mesh object doesn't distort and become a pixel mess at distance?

As Chic said, you can increase your RenderVolLodFactor but remember that it only affects how you see the item, not how everybody else see it. You mention "prefab", does that mean you are going to sell or give away your builds? If so, they need to be optimized to work with Lod factor 1. Same if you build for public places of course.

What you build for your own little hidden corner of SL is nobody's business but yours. But keep in mind that increasing RenderVolLodFactor adds a lot of extra strain to your graphics card. Typically you should expect the gpu workload to double if you increase it from 1 to 2. No matter how strong your computer is, there are always better ways to use its power than to compensate for poorly made mesh.

 


The "switch points", the theoretical distances where the view switches between the different LOD models, depend on the object's size. The formula for the first switch point is: √(x*x+y*y+z*z)*L/0.48 (x, y and z are the dimensions along the three axises, L is the RenderVolLODFactor.) The second switch point is four times as far and the third eight times as far away as the first.

 There are however quite a few factors that affect the actual distances:

  • There is always a delay in the switching when you move towards or away from the item. The delay depends a lot on how busy your computer is.
  • When an item is rendered, it is first drawn as a generic shape, then as the lowest LOD model, the low LOD and so on until it gets to the LOD model it's supposed to have. Usually that happens very fast but if your computer is heavily loaded, it can take ages. (That actually means that if you set the RenderVolLodFactor too high you may well get worse, not better LOD.)
  • There is at least one bug that sometimes causes objects to get stuck at a lower LOD level than they should have. For various reasons some meshes (and sculpts) are more vulnerable to this bug than others.
  • The bug Arton mentioned applies not only to meshes and prims with three faces but also to ones with four. What happens to those items is that the z factor in the formula is ignored. Usually that has little significance but it can have a huge impact on the LOD of tall, slim items like columns.

 


I really can't give detailed instructions how to make good LOD models with Mesh Generator, that's way too big a topic for a forum post. But the first rule is never ever use LOD models generated by the uploader, they're simply not good enough. The only exception is that unless you're really obsessed with low LI and good LOD, you may allow it to generate "zero models". Sometimes you don't really need the lowest LOD model at all, sometimes you can do without the low LOD and even - in rare cases - the mid LOD models too. Such models can be generated reasonably well by the uploader.

The trick to get good LOD without sky high LI is to create the LOD models manually. Decide how much detail the model needs to have at the various switch points and make separate LOD models to match that. Curve resolution is the first step. Mesh Generator only has limited options here but it's not too bad and you can get a lot done simply by choosing which of the numbered buttons on the panel you click on. That is just the start though, to get really good LOD models you will also have to manually edit the prim build to eliminate details you don't need.

Mesh Generator can never match the optimisation that is possible to do with a 3D editor like Blender. But then again, it seems few Blender users really optimize their LOD models, they just hit the decimate modifier and/or limited dissolve and leave it at that. With a bit of thought and experience you can do just as well as that with Mesh Generator.

 


How to do it? Well, that is the weak point with Mesh Generator. I really don't want to start a Mesh Generator vs Mesh Studio argument here but it's hard not to notice that while there are lots of excellent meshes created with Mesh Studio, the ones made with Mesh Generator tend to be of much lower quality - last time I checked even the example meshes included with the program were garbage. It's not because of the scripts themselves, MS isn't that much more powerful than MG, it's because of the support. With Mesh Studio you get a lot of great tutors and tutorials teaching new mesh makers the basics and also a strong, active community of users helping each other, sharing tips and tricks. With Mesh Generator you are thrown into the deep end and left alone.

As I said, there's no room for detailed instructions in a single forum post and it would be far too much info to digest in one go anyway. But keep asking, keep experimenting, keep working on it! You'll get there in the end.

 

Edit, almost forgot: Extra special thanks to Drongle McMahon who were the first to post the switch point formula in this forum!

Edit 2: Also forgot: the "z factor bug" isn't just for meshes, it also affects prims.

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