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Chic Aeon

LODs Revisited

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There was a long thread awhile ago after the Lindens gave us bonus prims. It was about "their" wish for creators to do a bit better with the Long Distance Viewing. 

 

This is a bit of a rant for me. I am both sad and angry. Not sure which one wins.  I am the first to admit that I very seldom make my own "holy grail" LODs. I am getting much better with my textures, still using 1024s but often getting a whole house in with 3 or 4. But I digress.

 

What bothers me the MOST is that there are creators out there (not new folks) who are still producing items with horrible (I stopped myself from swearing) LODS. Move back a foot at an LOD setting of 2 and everything falls apart. That is bad enough, but when you look at the "more info" button you can see that they could have EASILY made the LODs better simply by choosing other values in the uploader. 

 

The perfectionists will make their own LODS and I have no argument with that. Mine never seem to be any better than the uploader -- others have echoed that finding. It may indeed depend on what you are uploading.  But even if creators JUST use the uploader, they do need to PAY ATTENTION.

 

Setting your personal LOD to 4 and considering that the rest of the world should follow you?  Unfair to a lot of folks who can't get their LODs to 4. Folks that are seeing those creations simply as triangles. I strongly suggest, AGAIN, that creators turn their LODs down to 2 or below and see how the world looks. Happily some of it looks great. Other? NOT SO MUCH.

 

This is a screenshot of my building pad. I am at one end of 64 meters, the obejcts in the background are at the other. I could zoom out further and still see them pretty well. This is LATTICE folks with beveled board inserts and you can still see the directional pieces. I did NOT make my own LODs but I defintely did TEST to see what the best uploading would be. Most of those piece in the background STILL come in at 1 land impact. The gazebo which you can see from a very long distance is 16 with lots of details. 

It doesn't take that much time to pay attention.

 

If only a handful of people think about this I will feel better :D. 

 

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I rarely leave my store so I don't see a lot of bad content,but I have seen enough to know that there is some puzzlingly bad stuff out there. The fact is, in SL and RL, a lot of people are happy owning ugly items (including avatars), of which bad LODs are just one variety. I have wondered why that is -- do they just not notice that some things are ugly and some are beautiful? Are they so focused on price they will buy anything that is cheap enough? Of course re LOD, if they have LOD at level 4, then no they can't see a problem. And don't care if anyone else does. To each his own.

I find the uploader is fine for most things, and I do test as you do. I hate making LODs but some things -- usuallysmaller detailed things that can be expected to be seen from a distance, like windows and exterior architectural elements -- require it. 

 

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I have to agree with you entirely. Second Life is a game platform used to simulate a literal second life to your real one. By that means you'd think people would follow basic game development practices. Upon my return a month ago I came here with questions on efficiency. I got a lot of good answers and frankly I am pleased with the results.

 

I went from this

 

To the now final form of my project

 

All this accomplished because someone actually gave me a visual idea of what the model "should" look like. Sadly they appear to have deleted their comment from my post. I would have quoted them with a glorious thank you for that image they provided.

 

Basically the primary model which is on the Highest LOD is around 304 poly and 262 vertices. Using the image they provided me I made the medium and low LOD's the same however the model used is 26 poly and 20 vertices with the lowest being nothing but a 2D cutout in the shape of the model. It sits at 8 poly and 10 verts, upon doing all this extra work. I get the satisfying feeling of that incredibly low LI and display ratio. So whoever showed me that image I truly do thank you for it.

 

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Pamela Galli wrote:

The fact is, in SL and RL, a lot of people are happy owning ugly items (including avatars), of which bad LODs are just one variety. I have wondered why that is -- do they just not notice that some things are ugly and some are beautiful?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are even people in SL who think a dolphin rotating endlessly in and out of the water is beautiful. ;)

But apart from that, when it comes to measurable qualities, who's gonna tell them what they should expect? Or more precisely: who's going to tell them what quality level it is possible to achieve in Second Life? This question applies both to buyers and to creators.

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Hello Chic :smileyhappy:

A few days ago a friend and I visited a clothing store.  There were special offers for the store’s group members so she decided to join.  For ten minutes, TEN minutes, we looked everywhere in in the store trying to find the sign, finally giving up, and were about to leave when at that very moment my little gray cells returned from their unusually long vacance and I began to zoom in very closely on the walls.  Et voila, there it was!  The sign was made of tens of small mesh light bulbs forming the letters of “group”, and it obviously had had its lower LODs zeroed, and could only be seen if one were to stand next to it.

Another friend was very happy to have finally found a favourite hair style, but having paid for it, she noticed that it disappears from only a few meters away (I wonder how many residents realize that they may be bald in others’ viewers).

And yesterday, a pair of very expensive shoes that I’ve been meaning to buy was put on sale for $250L by a very popular designer.  There were no demos, so I just bought it (I have other, more recently made shoes from the same store that are perfectly fine).  Again, they disappeared when looked at from just a few meters away, so I deleted them from inventory.

I could go on and on:  Empty “galleries”, people riding invisible mesh cars and bikes, men with distinguished coiffured hair who transform into Telly Savalas at 10 meters distance (I pity those that have to look up the name)……

As you gathered from a previous chat, my viewer LOD is the default of 1.125, but raised to 3 or 4 when taking pictures.  One has no choice:  the absence of lower LOD’s in mesh (never mind poor LOD’s!) has been transforming SL into an unsightly place for those who, sensibly, leave the setting at default.  Whether these residents are the majority I don’t know (I hope that their numbers are growing), but I do know that they must include all the newcomers and visitors! 

I’ll therefore add to your warning that if they at all care about this world that we all love, they need to make the extra effort. 

Almost everyone that I’ve come across or know in SL has a low-end computer.  My own system, a supercomputer in comparison with theirs, sets the LOD default at 1.125, not 2 as some would expect, and if I were to raise that number there will be a noticeable drop in my frame rates.  Imagine the lag that they would experience if they attempted the same!

Chic, if you go through the tech section of the forums, you will find complaints here and there about SL failing to take advantage of such technology as SLI (use of multiple graphics cards) or multi-core processors, and I’ve never really seen someone explaining why that is the case.  Not being a programmer or an engineer I could be completely wrong, possibly even making a fool of myself, but I think the explanation maybe hinted at by this very conversation:  It is to level the playing field, a democratic decision if you will.   The idea is this:  That all effort should be made to make SL a pleasant experience for all, and not just for those with an endless supply of cash to throw at their computers.   

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I have a fight with myself every time I think about this. On one hand I believe totally in freedom and creativity and well just about anything else as long as it doesn't infringe on someone's else's life or enjoyment etc. 

I guess what makes me shake my head the most is that some very well know designers have been using LOD4 for over four years. As per my screenshot it would be SO VERY EASY, just to choose "use LOD above" for level 2. That would help a lot and in most cases not raise the land impact. 

Most bloggers that I know have their LODS set a 4 automatically. I did for 8 years or so. NOW at 2 (I really don't personally believe it is is necessary to design for the lowest common denominator) I see some pretty iffy mesh and yes, disappearing hair and signs and such LOL.

I can't in good conscious blog items that a lot of folks can't see. Part of my job as blogger is to show things I think people would like. There is also that blogging for the designers which I believe in heartily too. There becomes a fine line. Happily I have stayed away of all the blogger corrals and blog what I like and enjoy even when it is a review copy.  

The blogger part of the equation is important too and I was thinking about that this morning. What would happen if ALL the bloggers stopped blogging things that had to be at LOD 4 :D.  That might make a few designers take note.

 

There are PLENTY of WONDERFUL creators in second life who make good items with low arcs and good lods.  People just need to really pay attention and TRY THE DEMOS.   

 

Name recognition is not as important as quality in my book.

 

Time for wine! 

 

 

Later in the eve edit:  I wanted to also reply to the "wonderful for all" idea. I respect eveyone's opinion. For me? I aim for the middle (hence the LOD 2 setting which often is much further away then needed so could be construed as 1.25 but not purposefully that).

 

It ALSO isn't fair to the folks who have invested a fair amount of money in graphics cards and computers that can run SL well as well as bake Cycles in Blender (can be extremely time consuming on a mid level computer). If everyone built for LOD1 (some viewer defaults) that could easily make the land impact raise quite a bit OR make very simplistic (and boring) goods. For me there is a meeting point between server load and beauty. 

 

I DO realize that everyone has their own point of view on this. That's just mine :D.  

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Am I correct that the distances for the LOD changes depend on the size of the object?

I know I have had simple mesh objects vanish at quite short distances. And I have sometimes uploaded the mesh with the Medium LOD set at the same level as high.

What really hurts are the incredibly complicated meshes some people use. I see that the Lindens are talking about how people should use normal maps to get the fine detail. That looks like being one of those very high-end skills that they think we all know. There's a hand-wave about using a high-res model to generate the normal map, but I've not seen anything about which programs might do it. Blender, I suppose, but they're not really communicating.

There's a bit too much "everyone knows" thinking in what the Lindens say

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arabellajones wrote:

Am I correct that the distances for the LOD changes depend on the size of the object?

Yes. I can't find the link to the formulas right now (there are three different ones for different items) but size is a very important factor.

 


arabellajones wrote:

What really hurts are the incredibly complicated meshes some people use. I see that the Lindens are talking about how people should use normal maps to get the fine detail.

I try to avoid using normal maps for essential details since they always look fake at close view and the way they are implemented in SL is rather dodgy to put it mildly. I do use normal maps a lot but only as the final little "icing on the cake".

But it's amazing how detailed you can make a mesh without increasing LI or lag and without reducing LoD with a little bit of artistic skills and/or technical knowledge. Artistic skills to know which details are essential and which aren't, techincal knowledge to know how to make a mesh as easy as possible for a computer to process. The average SL mesh could easily have been amde with less than half the LI and half the lag with no visual changes whatsoever.

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