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Firestorm v5.0.11

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1 hour ago, Qie Niangao said:

The Build Tool feature showing how an object degrades across LODs shows prospective buyers the quality of the mesh before they buy.

 

Only for those that even understand it.  I had to do a lot of reading to grasp what that info was telling me, and I'm still not sure that I really "got it".  There are many in SL that won't care enough to even try figuring it out.

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Improved LOD tools is good.

Changing user's settings is bad- but to be fair, LL should have been doing that sort of enforcement all along, now the TPV devs have to step up (like always).

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6 hours ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

My bigger pet peeve on settings persisting though is the Fly Override.  There isn't currently a way to make that persist across logins, though I don't know if it might be possible with the right code.

It's made non-persistant on purpose  because it makes it easier for FS users to bypass a no fly zone against the landowners settings.
It is possible to bypass no fly on any viewer however by enabling Admin mode, it's just a few more steps to do it then on Firestorm.

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3 minutes ago, Whirly Fizzle said:

It's made non-persistant on purpose  because it makes it easier for FS users to bypass a no fly zone against the landowners settings.
It is possible to bypass no fly on any viewer however by enabling Admin mode, it's just a few more steps to do it then on Firestorm.

Yeah, I enable the override every login.  While I do use it a lot, if I go to a location set to no-fly and anyone is around then I'll stay on the ground.  I just prefer to traverse many places by air rather than walking.

Outside of RP sims, I never really understood why stores and such felt the need to disable fly anyway.  One store owner told me it was "because they have areas where they do their creating and the don't want anyone spying". I didn't bother to tell her that there were ways around the setting.  Not to mention that if those areas are within cam distance of where avatars are on foot, they can still be spied on.

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I spent a happy couple of hours in blender and beta yesterday looking at the mesh parts of a octagon dome that I made last year.  In the rush to get it finished (not for sale, BTW) I set all the LOD sliders to zero, so as you move away it suddenly changes from a dome to 8 triangles :(.

Now I have the tools to help me know where the various break-points are, I quickly got to understand the impact of the LOD versions.  The key fact I discovered is that you can get VERY simple very fast -  Medium (LOD2) should be quite a lot less complex than High, and frequently  Low and Lowest can be just a few quads.  In other words, the effort to make the LODs was a lot less than I expected.  So soon you will be able to see my house across the sim, and not just from inside the back garden - and on a viewer LOD setting of 1.5.

Of course this comes at a price, the 2LI of the zeroed-LOD version will be 7LI in the end, but we have the prims.....

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6 hours ago, anna2358 said:

I spent a happy couple of hours in blender and beta yesterday looking at the mesh parts of a octagon dome that I made last year.  In the rush to get it finished (not for sale, BTW) I set all the LOD sliders to zero, so as you move away it suddenly changes from a dome to 8 triangles :(.

Now I have the tools to help me know where the various break-points are, I quickly got to understand the impact of the LOD versions.  The key fact I discovered is that you can get VERY simple very fast -  Medium (LOD2) should be quite a lot less complex than High, and frequently  Low and Lowest can be just a few quads.  In other words, the effort to make the LODs was a lot less than I expected.  So soon you will be able to see my house across the sim, and not just from inside the back garden - and on a viewer LOD setting of 1.5.

Of course this comes at a price, the 2LI of the zeroed-LOD version will be 7LI in the end, but we have the prims.....

Awesome. It really can be quite a fun exercise. Peculiarly, it is not one I tend to look forward to but once I am in the groove for optimising I enjoy it. There are so many tips you can learn and add to your arsenal for different occasions. I never stop learning, I love it.

I find that one of the quickest wins when moving from High to Medium is to remember that for most objects the inside will be invisible when viewed at Medium (there are always exceptions to the rule of course). You can often collect up all interior faces and remove them. The lamp I used in my LOD blog examples does that. I remove all the interior faces of the shade and after that focus on reducing the number of sides used in any smaller curved details. The glass on the light bulb etc. cos under any normal medium LOD conditions they are not visible. The big win on the lamp detailing is the normal map, because the engraving is in the materials not modelled, it is present in all the LODs and helps it remain visually consistent. Adding normal/AO even where you have small modelled details, such as the bolts, means that I can model them in the high where the triangles are relatively cheap, but let the normal map carry the illusion for the later LODs.

An important tip I got from @polysail was to bake an AO from the normal map (a number of tools can do this for you, but this relatively simple video shows a manual method using Photoshop), you can then provide a detailed AO shadow as part of the diffuse texture and give the effect of some of the material details even if people have advanced lighting disabled.

 

 

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On 1/27/2018 at 6:35 AM, Whirly Fizzle said:

There was similar hate with Jelly Babies. And initially it was hard to get avatars down to 80K and below, but the creators of hair and clothes picked up the ball and this is far easier now. I guess we will see similar improvements with Mesh in general.

I gave it a try, I used to run 4 as I am into vehicles and they use LOD hacks to keep the LI down, to make sim crossings better, but thought to give it a good go at the new lower recommendation. It really hasn't made that much difference to the world. A few things break up closer than before, but to be truthful it's not so bad a change.

It's certainly made me consider constructing my own mesh better, something that is probably the ultimate goal in this anyway. Like the jelly Bean changes, in a few months mesh will be better and normal people won't know the difference.

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On one of my properties I found some obvious (what I am going to call) "LOD-Abuse". And by a very well known home creator to boot. I can't name him due to our forum rules, but he has 2 sims of display homes in world.

This home is breaking up at the 143 meters as the new improved object tab clearly shows. And the new feature added shows why it's breaking up.

lod_abuse_by_roost_homes.thumb.jpg.4d854e293bb95dab0c1c83d7f18b2530.jpg

And more than 143 meters away (a little over 1/2 a sim) this is how the home looks.

cb479050c8d9d0e4da48636fd1c71b52.png.1971f6cadb850e74f3570e65de137486.png

Up closer and using the dropdown to simulate Low LOD 

3efd08387a5293e35deb68c174a35027.thumb.jpg.aae819b7f6d9152b4cd9d020ef878649.jpg

 

 

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Taking the investigation of the LOD-Abuse of this home a little further, here is it's main feature, a 2 story window in the main room. It's a grand statement. And the Medium and Low LODs are effectively removed. More than 50 meters away (90 meters at LOD 4 viewer forced) these windows just dissappear into thin air)

eeca46cc58e2cf0eef7d0f7eb35fd84a.thumb.jpg.956215c0562505721f9afd2f617fad00.jpg

The wireframe shows a little of the reason for the 2322 triangles

84385c5a44e56beb0e2fef313e0aae7d.thumb.jpg.2b0b5220eef58f895e87615df8c28ccd.jpg

But let me zoom in on a bit to show how it maybe could have been simplified in non LOD-Abuse ways.

1b12e4577baee065e2c5b6410c6c1911.thumb.jpg.18d8c490cfcab5dce76fadea2efdbf8e.jpg

 

Edited by Callum Meriman
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That's a pretty house, and very low LI.  I am pretty sure I have seen it, and it was not broken down like this with my LOD factor set at 2.5. As you see by the comments on that Firestorm blog, a lot of people keep their LOD set very high, like even above 4 (and/or keep their draw distance very low) -- so there will be a market for it, esp with the low LI.

At 2.5 it is hard to keep window LI down and keep the LODs good. Windows are by far the most difficult thing to do that for. They are relatively small but are seen at a distance, and there are a lot of them. I hope LL will indeed change the accounting for the lowest LODs because those take a big LI hit now. Creators now pay a considerable price in LI for good LODs.

 

Edited by Pamela Galli
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On 1/27/2018 at 10:00 AM, Qie Niangao said:

The Build Tool feature showing how an object degrades across LODs shows prospective buyers the quality of the mesh before they buy.

Unfortunately, I think we can be pretty sure this won't bring enough pressure on creators to make a difference. As we know (see other recent threads) folks are still willing to buy no-mod products when they can see the warning label right on the tin. But we also don't know that creators will feel much pressure from this decision to make ultra-high LOD Factor settings ephemeral.

We now know, however, that there shall be much fussing to the viewer developers.

You know as much as I appreciate all the work that the devs did on the LOD and physics visability I am pretty sure that it will mostly be used by builders, not consumers who -- over and over again  :D demonstrate that they really don't care about quality.  This is not me complaining, just a very obvious observation (sadly). Most folks don't even go look at the demos I painstakingly put out FOR THEM. They just buy from the Marketplace.  That is actually an unfair statement so I take it back. I have no PROOF this is true, just a hefty suspicion :D. 

Event folks DO seem to care more, perhaps because the shop more and lots buy the landmarks to demos when I have those out -- so that is encouraging. 

I had a fairly interesting experience this last month as I was setting up the Machinima Open Studio Project. My criteria included LOD 2 friendly mesh. I have had my viewer set at 2 for maybe a couple of years now and life is SO MUCH more pleasant even though I have a hefty machine. I am guessing the machine is cooler and happier also.

Anyway after making the infrastructure myself, I looked though my vast inventory of blog items. I pitch a lot after I blog anyway as I know there are things I will never use. Still LOTS of stuff. Of those items (some up to four years old and some still very good) I could only use about half due to LOD issues. There are a couple of creators that I used to feature. I like their work very much but after a time I just couldn't convince myself it was good to be promoting LOD 4 only mesh. But I still saved those things just in case I needed a close up (what can I say; film folk are odd :D).  

After I installed the new FS I checked some of that LOD 4 fall apart mesh. I knew that the download costs were WAY less than they should be, I just didn't know why. Well the creators had used the default for level 2 and had ZEROED OUT both level 3 and 4 (or however you want to designated the lowest LOD levels). OMG. No wonder they fall apart at two feet away. 

I on the other hand go in the opposite direction. I mostly likely make my items TOO long distance. The LODs do hold at a very long range BUT aside from the fact that I like to be able to see things "correctly" at a distance, having items that fall apart at a distance in an EVENT SETTING is SO not good. Since I try and keep the mesh density very low (now and then I walk on the dark side but not often) it seems to work well. 

Still, personally, I doubt that many folks will take the time to do their homework before buying. Just like very few bother to check their avatar complexity settings. But at least now they have the tools to do that homework. And a lot of builders seem VERY happy :D. 

 

Edited by Chic Aeon
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On 1/27/2018 at 11:27 AM, LittleMe Jewell said:

Only for those that even understand it.  I had to do a lot of reading to grasp what that info was telling me, and I'm still not sure that I really "got it".  There are many in SL that won't care enough to even try figuring it out.

But actually all a prospective buyer needed to do was TEST VISUALLY. I have been doing that for years.  But it is nice to see those actual numbers of vertices etc -- we could never know that before. And the physics while we could look and see via the menu tools, this is much nicer.

and let's face it -- it is simply "cool" LOL and as builders we don't GET a lot of cool stuff. 

Edited by Chic Aeon
obviously late - spellink agwful :D
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2 hours ago, Callum Meriman said:

Taking the investigation of the LOD-Abuse of this home a little further, here is it's main feature, a 2 story window in the main room. It's a grand statement. And the Medium and Low LODs are effectively removed. More than 50 meters away (90 meters at LOD 4 viewer forced) these windows just dissappear into thin air)

Wow, that makes MY two bottom level example seem like nothing. 

I HAD NO CLUE people were doing this!   What a hornet's nest. 

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I know that I have purchased things that have bad LOD's, either because I see it when I use them, or because they come with one of those NC's about setting the LOD setting in debug to some high number.   Because of this, I generally have my LOD setting at 3 (but no higher than that).  Objects which end up irritating me with where they break down at that setting and the distance I generally want to view them at, end up getting deleted (or at least not used).  

Having picked up a lot of information over the last several years from reading in the forum, I had learned that it's not a "just the way it is - creator's have no choice" type of situation and that having a high setting for the LOD value in the viewer does affect performance, so I am a bit irritated when I buy something that comes with one of those type of NC's, especially when it suggests really high numbers like 8 or 10.

I'm pretty much at a point now where I don't really need to buy things, so this might be a good time to start taking a harder look at what I do have and how well it is made, and then start looking for better made replacements for items I have that come up short.

I'm not as concerned about LI of objects now as I used to be, partly because of the increase LL made to the base LI allowance awhile ago, and partly because I am fortunate to be able to rent or own land with a sufficient LI allowance for me to feel comfortable with.  Now I'm starting to be more concerned about is an object copy/mod so that I can delete sizing and texture change scripts after putting an object out and configuring it. 

I think with the additions to the build menu in FS, and their change in how they handle the setting, more people will become aware of the issue, and hopefully creators will take note and make some changes to how they build items in the future.  I think that I need to pay more attention as well when I'm out shopping, and definitely start setting my LOD to a lower value while shopping. 

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49 minutes ago, moirakathleen said:

so I am a bit irritated when I buy something that comes with one of those type of NC's, especially when it suggests really high numbers like 8 or 10.

My whole world changed (well the appearance part anyway) when I went from 4 to 2 :SwingingFriends:.

But to your quoted comment. Yes, that is very bad. I don't have folks that I blog for that include those cards -- or have mesh that falls apart since I just toss those items as needed.  BUT I did run across something a couple of months ago that was very bizarre. A notecard was included in with something (a group gift, a hunt item? Not sure) about how to change your setting to 4 -- that OLD notecard. I checked and the LODs were JUST FINE on the object. Why oh why the creator was still including that notecard I know not. Likely they had readymade boxes and never even thought about it. 

I had one big name house maker a few years ago, but I think he has disappeared now,  that wanted me to retake the photos of his new release (there was a preview party) because I had "missed" things. And wanted me to turn my LODs up to 10 or whatever and make more photos. I refused, saying that if I couldn't see it at 4, then most folks wouldn't be able to anyway.  GEEZ!

 

AND 

 Ouuu -- first time I ever made a table but I wanted this to stand out some.

For those of us that do not make our own custom LODs (sorry, tried many times and did no better than the uploader "for MY stuff"; not arguing the point in general) having those vertices numbers will be GREAT if you forget what settings you uploaded at. You can simply rez on the beta grid, look in the build menu and check.  Same if you are exporting something back to your hard drive.  

So woot there! 

I typically put that info in the object name but over on the beta grid it has a tendency NOT to stick with the name you give something. Not sure why. So I used that new feature today and it was helpful as I didn't have to retest! 

 

Edited by Chic Aeon
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I'm feeling very chastened about my Octagon Dome now.  It does just the same as Callum's house.  But we WILL improve it.  Just glad it was never offered for sale.

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17 hours ago, Pamela Galli said:

At 2.5 it is hard to keep window LI down and keep the LODs good

For windows have you tried using imposter/billboards for the lower Lods ?

In the example below the high LoD mesh has a similar tri count (2000+) and Object radius (5.4m) as the window in Callums example above.

Instead of zeroing out the 3 lower Lods to give 3 tris in each of the 3 lower Lods slots I used 2 tris for the billboard and another 2 hidden tris to hold the 2 materials used in the high LoD mesh.

My Lod settings is set at 1.125. :

5a6faa4780ef4_Capture1.thumb.PNG.41a4f3831ccf1a755607348c0f0bf73b.PNG

 

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Edited by Aquila Kytori
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I am not a expert at making models but even I can make proper LODs, I think the issue is people are just lazy, or cheap, or both.

Although I am not completely innocent either, I cheat the LODs on stuff I upload once as a joke then never use again(I don't feel like paying L$152 to upload a really high resolution model of aesthetics vaperwave head guy(forgot his name and if i switch tabs on tablet this text will be lost)). But stuff I intend to use  a lot I try to give a custom LOD set, or at least let the viewer generate okish LODs.

On small stuff I do often just set the lowest lod to a polygon because no one will see it anyway.

I do like making physics meshes though, those things are fun and I can break the physics engine with them! \o/

Edited by Chaser Zaks
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1 hour ago, Aquila Kytori said:

For windows have you tried using imposter/billboards for the lower Lods ?

Yes I have, not for all but some — mainly the smaller windows, which don’t  work as well with any other approach.

I have gone back and redone some windows and doorways I made earlier, to  improve  LOD, but I still have more to do. It’s very time consuming, I must say, and rarely nets more than a single LI point, if any. That’s  okay but it would be nice if the effort paid off more than it does. 

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3 hours ago, anna2358 said:

I'm feeling very chastened about my Octagon Dome now.  It does just the same as Callum's house.  But we WILL improve it.  Just glad it was never offered for sale.

LOL. Well happily my very early stuff is five years old now or so and mostly "gone". I always tested visually BUT I was using LOD4. Amazingly, one of my first creations has really pretty good LODs, a "Seen Better Days Barn" which is over at LEA6 out in the countryside. It is on my list to redo but mostly for better textures. It is "primmy" though LOL. Not sure what but I pretty much made it in many sections (see old; not smart then or at least LESS smart LOL).  Anyway, I frequently remake things when I could just make from scratch easier. I think it is GOOD to see how much better we are over time.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Chaser Zaks said:

am not a expert at making models but even I can make proper LODs, I think the issue is people are just lazy, or cheap, or both

When Mesh was introduced I had to real quick learn Blender then real  quick replace four  sims of pre-mesh content with mesh. Except none of it was real quick. It was real slow. Optimizing is just as slow. Wish I had been better at it from day one, but I have been learning on the job. (It helps that Chin, bless her, holds our feet to the fire  and makes us all feel guilty for building for any higher LOD than 1.:ph34r:

 I could do what a lot of people do and just hire someone to make my content, but I didn’t get into this job to do that, I got into it because I like making things.

 

Edited by Pamela Galli
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1 hour ago, Aquila Kytori said:

For windows have you tried using imposter/billboards for the lower Lods ?

In the example below the high LoD mesh has a similar tri count (2000+) and Object radius (5.4m) as the window in Callums example above.

Instead of zeroing out the 3 lower Lods to give 3 tris in each of the 3 lower Lods slots I used 2 tris for the billboard and another 2 hidden tris to hold the 2 materials used in the high LoD mesh.

My Lod settings is set at 1.125. :

5a6faa4780ef4_Capture1.thumb.PNG.41a4f3831ccf1a755607348c0f0bf73b.PNG

 

5a6faa678ffb3_Capture2.PNG.98505daa9391342d7f7919d1aec4b55a.PNG

 

5a6faad54c1f5_Capture3.thumb.PNG.179ad16f31260bbd76e483eef26449ac.PNG

 

5a6faae3ba70f_Capture4.PNG.d0917054d30ff2b2329f09d5fdbfc530.PNG

 

 

Woot Woot. I actually DID THAT with windows on the Victorian Warehouse. But I put four different models in the pack and "I" actually wanted the windows (damn I am such a detail person) for MY project. It worked very nicely as I took a really good photo of the windows and used that in place of them as a texture. Then on the fancier one I put the windows right over that texture. Even if they broke up --- it still LOOKED like windows. Although honestly they wouldn't break up for anyone on Firestorm -- unless of course someone had low graphics and super long draw distance by custom settings. 

And I never use single panes of glass or rarely glass as part of the actual window.

BUT that being said when I finish this damnable TV camera (the database lost the one I had purchased long ago; it was primmy as all get out but still LOOKED good and I would have used it and couldn't find another to BUY) which is taking OH SO TOO LONG;  so many pieces -- I will try redoing some many-paned windows on the sound stages (like small warehouses but with very detailed windows for that "inside" feel. I bet that would work fine as they are kinda marginal no matter what I did (well I didn't try the enlarged bounding box trick either).

So THANK YOU!    On my list. Long list. Will have champagne when I cross off the TV studio camera (getting close she says hopefully). 

 

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6 minutes ago, Pamela Galli said:

holds our feet to the fire  and makes us all feel guilty for building for any higher LOD than 1.:ph34r:

I am sticking with "2", but my version of acceptable for "2" might actually be "1" in lots of books LOL.  At least we work on it.

 

A builder friend of mine was chatting with me the other day about who's sim to pick for Fantasy Faire. Personally, I don't think the style I am making is going to work for him, but he did say something like,  'well, at least I know it will be low lag with good LODs and plenty of room" and he is right on that.  My first building can been seen ALL the way across the sim and is 57 I think so I am very happy with that. And the uploader (bless its heart) made a perfect physics model FOR me that was only 3 li and it is a very organic shape. I was so thrilled I almost started dancing as I was NOT looking forward to that physics model even though I pretty much enjoy making them.  That doesn't mean that the others will work so automatically of course  :D.   

 

My build for SL14B had the best framerates going (officially) but one of the performance leads wanted to add "a bunch more stuff" as it wasn't busy enough. I told them that wasn't going to happen, it wasn't BUSY because people were actually going to be able to dance there!  The reply was "but we love lag!".  

 Actually lots of folks were very happy with the low lag sim :D.   I think I only used a dozen textures in the whole sim and "I" at least thought it looked wild and fun. 

Anyway, end of my work day and past and I was working yet again on that camera, so a bit bleary. Caftan Wine and Netflix on the agenda. 
 

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4 hours ago, anna2358 said:

I'm feeling very chastened about my Octagon Dome now.  It does just the same as Callum's house.  But we WILL improve it.  Just glad it was never offered for sale.

Oh, I am totally chastened by this addition too. I look at my old mesh and see the same thing and I honestly didn't understand why - or more how bad it looked for people with lower LOD settings than my previous 4. I guess, that's the good thing about this addition to FS, it will help the grid approve. We will learn and our mesh will become better :D

I can now clearly see the importance of not just zapping those numbers out to get something of low LOD, but spending the extra time making a low poly version to plug in instead. Especially with the addition of the distances the deform happens. I can look and see "OK, for LL viewer people, they go to medium LOD at 12!! metres and from that decide if that's ok (inside a home use) or not (outside in the garden)

Just to be clear I wasn't picking on that home creator, he does beautiful homes, This tool has just been a huge eye opener to me, along the same lines as complexity was to my outfit. I could have also used this other item that has used LOD abuse, a Chestnut from the number one garden shop in SL (unnamed). More than 12 metres and the trunk disappears. (I coloured the link purple, but the rest of the trunk is the same, zeroed out LODS)9b7aa29a720630b9410783b56690bf2a.thumb.jpg.585fac4f02c6b08e1ef3c816b1b843b0.jpg

I think I would *far* prefer if there was a simple 6 sided tube for the medium level of trunk, and maybe a 4 sided tiube for the low and lowest, rather than just dissapearing.

When I bought this chestnut at a Fameshed there was no way of knowing how it deformed in the garden. These numbers make it very clear.

 

 

Edited by Callum Meriman
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2 hours ago, Aquila Kytori said:

For windows have you tried using imposter/billboards for the lower Lods ?

In the example below the high LoD mesh has a similar tri count (2000+) and Object radius (5.4m) as the window in Callums example above.

Instead of zeroing out the 3 lower Lods to give 3 tris in each of the 3 lower Lods slots I used 2 tris for the billboard and another 2 hidden tris to hold the 2 materials used in the high LoD mesh.

My Lod settings is set at 1.125. :

5a6faa4780ef4_Capture1.thumb.PNG.41a4f3831ccf1a755607348c0f0bf73b.PNG

 

5a6faa678ffb3_Capture2.PNG.98505daa9391342d7f7919d1aec4b55a.PNG

 

5a6faad54c1f5_Capture3.thumb.PNG.179ad16f31260bbd76e483eef26449ac.PNG

 

5a6faae3ba70f_Capture4.PNG.d0917054d30ff2b2329f09d5fdbfc530.PNG

 

 

I would just point out that in my experience, for many windows not inset into a wall, LODs (excepting lowest), need top and sides because you can see the empty space there otherwise, even at a distance. I had to redo some windows like that.

Also, this is a huge window, and will not switch until it is at a great distance. Most windows are going to switch much closer, that’s why they can be tricky to get right.

Edited by Pamela Galli
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