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(Retention suggestion) Let new users choose communities they consider to be a part of during registration and first-spawn them in specific community gateway based on their choice

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I proposed this years and years ago I even offered to build a themed spawning center free of charge but it fell on deaf ears.

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9 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

 

  1. Figure out how to move about  Oh no, that's easy.

Is it, though? The last time I downloaded a viewer other than Black Dragon I found that the default movement options had been screwed with. Try using WASD like every other "Avatar in a 3D space" piece of software developed in the past 15-20 years and you just start typing. The camera controls were wonky, too.  You need to actually choose your movement controls and LL defaulted to the one that is counter intuitive to almost everyone. I'm not sure if this is still the case, but I feel like if you're going to offer multiple control options then, upon your first login, you should be prompted to choose the control scheme you prefer. 

But beyond that, I don't think the problem is actually as difficult to nail down as you make it seem. While there's plenty of different things to do, the actual SL experience isn't all that different from person to person. We all chat with friends, shop, play dress-up with our avatars, and constantly look for fun things to do in SL (like roleplay, drive vehicles, do more shopping). We all just have a different balance to our activities in SL. Some people build more. Some people RP more. Some people shop more. But there's still a lot of overlap.

The question is, how do you convey this in a new user experience? SL is fun if you make it fun. Either you figure it out all on your own (which I imagine is rare), or you find a friend or some helpful stranger to hold your hand and show you what there is to do in SL.

I would argue that SL needs a bit of handholding at first.  Maybe not for everyone, but for the vast majority of people. Just enough handholding for them to find their bearings. However, like I said in my previous post, to achieve this kind of engagement with new users requires significant improvements to SL's feature set. Nothing outside the realm of possibility, but it will require some work on LL's part.

 Here's what I think SL needs:

The Hub

It doesn't have to be called "The Hub". You can call it "The Mainframe", you can call it "Linden City", or you can call it "Philip's Fantastic Friendship Frontier", doesn't matter. What it is is a self-contained environment full of activities which relate to the types of activities you can find in SL. Users don't have to do all of these activities. Hell, they don't have to do any of them, the important thing is that the activities are there to engage people.

 One of the activities might involve dressing up your avatar. Honestly, I think the appearance editor needs a major overhaul but if LL were willing to do that, maybe as a part of the new system avatars they're apparently planning, it would be possible to create an experience similar to games like "Saints Row IV" or "City of Heroes", both of which had popular character creators people would play with for hours sometimes. LL needs to get around this fiction that if you give people enough content to actually enjoy customizing their avatar then they won't buy user created content. It's absurd. Give people some great, but finite options in hair, clothes, etcetera. I'd bring back system skins in a big way. The old system skins were crippled by "programmer art", if an actual artist had been involved system skins could look just as good as any expensive tattoo layer skin, but there would still be limits which would mean plenty of room for custom skin textures to make money. The avatar is a critical part of the SL experience, it should be fun right off the bat to customize. People should be able to put together an avatar they're happy with before exiting the new user experience. Don't worry, they won't be satisfied with starter gear forever, but it's vital you get them engaged with their avatar as quickly as possible. LL has sabotaged themselves in this regard for far too long. The culmination of this activity could be the addition of a Marketplace toolbar button to their UI and a prompt that they can go shop for more gear created by the SL community. I'd even have a screen pop up showing some avatars created with community content. Impress people with the possibilities.

Another activity could involve racing go-karts. Obviously this means  they need to figure out how to make a go-kart race that is fun to play with. It doesn't have to be Mario Kart, but it does have to feel like a real game. Have a fun boat racing course at the waterfront of this new user area. Impress people with the idea that vehicles can be fun in SL. There could be a garage where you build your own vehicle. In another thread I mention how LL could improve content creation tools so you could import a mesh chair, right click on it and select "Add Function" which would take you to a menu of various scripted functions, basic stuff like "chair". Select "chair" and it gives you another edit window, allowing you to easily associate animations with the chair, generate a menu or control keys for the chair, adjust the avatar sitting position for each sitting animation, etcetera. Bam, any user can create a chair without knowing how to script. The same thing could be done with teleporters, sound loops, vehicles. Use these new features in a vehicle garage tutorial that shows someone how to make a car from a kit and you've not only shown them how fun vehicles in SL can be, but you've introduced them to the possibility of making their own vehicles.

 LL needs to hurry up and bring NPCs to Second Life. Then they can set up a club somewhere in The Hub where people can hang out and watch an NPC band play music. This would be a social spot and would involve showing people how to make their avatars dance, drink, etcetera. I'd probably put some sort of automated ride near here, where avatars can climb aboard for a leisurely trip around The Hub. The ride could sit multiple avatars so the trip would be social. Make it so avatars can't break the experience by, say, sitting up in the middle and being dropped from the ride, leaving them potentially stranded somewhere if they haven't mastered teleporting and flying yet.

 Another activity could involve chasing a small animal or a robot around the city. Succeed in catching it and you get a small reward. Just the act of chasing the target down would help many people master the full range of avatar movement controls.

LL could create a new search/Destinations feature that lists publicly listed areas in the sim your avatar is currently standing in. One activity could prompt people to open this up and find all of the other activities in The Hub.

There is so much that could be done with this, and the tools LL developed to make this possible could in turn be used by the community to create more engaging user created experiences, from clubs to yacht clubs to roleplaying sims. But the important thing is that all of this has to be polished! It can't break. It can't run so poorly people get fed up. It can't be frustrating, it has to be intuitive and fun. Succeed in this and people will be much better suited to making their own fun once they find their way to the grid at large.

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22 hours ago, Penny Patton said:

LL needs to hurry up and bring NPCs to Second Life.

I think with animesh something like this would be feasible :D (compared to the creepy static / weirdly animated npcs we have now that people are making)

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Animesh could be a huge first step, assuming land impact costs for animesh end up reasonable. But still, SL really should have easy to set up, scriptable, interactive NPCs that can have scripted routines. Like an NPC that lives in a small house, sleeps from 2am until 8am, goes to work as an NPC at a small club from 9am until noon, takes an hour break to go sit at a nearby cafe eating a delicious looking meal, comes back at 1pm and works until 5pm when they start mingling with the crowd for a few hours before leaving to head to the waterfront where they throw breadcrumbs to some NPC ducks, then they head home for an hour then crawl into bed.

If you try to talk to interact with them at any point of the day, the response you get will be different depending on the time of day. Try to talk to them at the club and they'll offer you drinks, maybe give you a free glow stick, or tell you about some of the other hot spots around town. Try to interact with them on break and they'll say, "Hey man, I'm on break!" Try to talk to them while they're down at the waterfront and they'll open a secret door for you leading to a magical realm with a hidden treasure. Try to talk to them when they're in bed and they'll kick you out of their house.

It should be easy to set these up, too. At least for simple tasks. Scripting will, of course, open up more possibilities, but even if you don't know how to script you should be able to set up a basic NPC with some simple interactions and a simple routine schedule and path. Just like you should be able to create a simple chair, teleporter, doorway, etcetera without having to know how to script.

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(Referring to the Firestorm welcome area)

That's  kind of neat. I'm there now. It's much emptier in world, of course. And it seems to be a collection of disconnected sims, rather than a place. But all the stuff is there.

Scuba diving is quite nice, except that it doesn't work right unless you have a swim HUD or AO, which is not provided. If you just use all the provided gear, you walk on the bottom.

Edited by animats
Clarify
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This used to be a thing back in 2007. Since they brought back community gateways it would be nice if they added that(especially since I would like to get into Orientation Island one day so I can investigate bugs and find all the holes that need to be patched up so new residents don't accidentally go outside the tutorial area).

image.thumb.png.f826e9cc690ee41d2e3afb4c80b3869e.png

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6 hours ago, Chaser Zaks said:

This used to be a thing back in 2007.

The removed this kind of thing as it had zero impact on actual retention but imposed a lot of extra work. Literally nothing they did had any effect on the end number.

Statistics aren't everything, they wont tell you who stayed, just that a certain number did. 

I do wonder if the Lab ever worked out an internal time based "resident quality" score based on prims rezzed, money spent, money earned etc and then tried to correlate that with the type of entry experience that resident had. 

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29 minutes ago, CoffeeDujour said:

I do wonder if the Lab ever worked out an internal time based "resident quality" score based on prims rezzed, money spent, money earned etc and then tried to correlate that with the type of entry experience that resident had. 

I doubt we are a big enough audience to be worth those studies... after all they cost. So going with your guts might be not a bad idea here, economical speaking.

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8 minutes ago, CoffeeDujour said:

The Lab do love their statistics

Maybe I should try to to get them into allowing us for calling R from withing LSL then... :D for ultraconfusing statistics coding

Edited by Fionalein
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2 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

The removed this kind of thing as it had zero impact on actual retention but imposed a lot of extra work. Literally nothing they did had any effect on the end number.

Statistics aren't everything, they wont tell you who stayed, just that a certain number did. 

I do wonder if the Lab ever worked out an internal time based "resident quality" score based on prims rezzed, money spent, money earned etc and then tried to correlate that with the type of entry experience that resident had. 

They also won't necessarily tell you why someone stayed or left. and depending on how you look at statistics, you could end up making false correlations. Remember, it's a statistical fact that ozone depletion has increased with the decrease in the number of pirates on the high seas. Arrrrrrrrr! Thar be skin cancer! That's why I say a lot of LL's attempts to increase retention have been sabotaged by the Lab's inability to recognize the more fundamental problems with their product. Fix those problems and you increase retention, AND THEN other means of bolstering retention, such as community gateways, can be more effective. 

The good news is that it sounds like the current team over at LL agrees and is finally starting to look into fixing some of the more fundamental issues. Granted, it still remains to be seen if they can deliver the goods, but they're saying a lot of the right things lately.

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4 hours ago, Penny Patton said:

That's why I say a lot of LL's attempts to increase retention have been sabotaged by the Lab's inability to recognize the more fundamental problems with their product. Fix those problems and you increase retention, AND THEN other means of bolstering retention, such as community gateways, can be more effective. 

I don't think that applies, the biggest growth all happened when the grid barely worked, grey goo nuked everything every 3 days and the clients render pipeline was designed on a napkin.

SL's users will stick with it even when it makes no sense for them to even try, a staggering number of people log in for hours every single day with single digit framerates on obsolete hardware with minimum settings. Literally no amount of technical magic can be applied to improve the experience for those users aside from buying them new computers.

This is why you still get ugly full bright builds, those who live in them honestly can't tell that it looks bad because everything looks like that to them. 

 

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6 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

I don't think that applies, the biggest growth all happened when the grid barely worked, grey goo nuked everything every 3 days and the clients render pipeline was designed on a napkin.

That is back when SL was new, the hype was huge, and people were fully expecting it to improve exponentially along with its userbase. When the improvements failed to materialize the hype fizzled out and that massive growth turned into a massive decline from which SL has never recovered. Remember, SL's popularity and userbase peaked in 2008-2009 and most of that growth took place over the course of like 2 years when the hype machine was in full effect.

6 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

SL's users will stick with it even when it makes no sense for them to even try, a staggering number of people log in for hours every single day with single digit framerates on obsolete hardware with minimum settings.

 

This part is true. Except, look at it this way, is it better business sense to rest on your laurels hoping the handful of die-hards stick around? Or to figure out what's driven everyone else away so you can fix those problems and grow your business?

6 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

Literally no amount of technical magic can be applied to improve the experience for those users aside from buying them new computers.

This part is not so true. I've designed multiple sims in Second Life where people have been able to enjoy less lag, higher framerates, and even been able to bump up their graphics settings to higher levels than they can use anywhere else on the grid. And they're good looking sims at that. Get content creators to recognize the importance of optimization (or force them to optimize, if you have to, by chaining lack of optimization to higher land impact costs and hard resource caps) and you will improve the experience for everyone, whether they're on an expensive, bleeding edge gaming machine, or a potatoe that also powers a light bulb for your science fair presentation.

40700266065_239f2b9928_b.jpg

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8923990017_91497d13fd_b.jpg

On top of that, there are many ways to improve Second Life that aren't related to graphics or performance. Linden Lab needs to make SL easier to use, more fun, and more engaging. Then you will see an increase in users logging in.

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7 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

I don't think that applies, the biggest growth all happened when the grid barely worked, grey goo nuked everything every 3 days and the clients render pipeline was designed on a napkin.

Not Exactly, product quality is important to potential customers but...

SL's biggest "growth surge" was the 2nd Wave Lastnamer Invasion...

That wasn't about game quality, graphics, reliability or whatever, it was about marketing an impossible dream.

"No matter how arrogant, ignorant, clueless, talentless, useless, clueless, or worthless you are, you can get RL RICH, just by logging into a computer game world! Come get your FREE MONEY now!"

People bought into that in droves, and briefly, SL's economy went into Gold Rush Fever, but by the end of 2009, the rush to get in was over, and the rush to get out had started, because MOST people didn't all get to be RL rich JUST by logging in...

These days, the surviving 2nd Wavers tend to be either... 

A) Successful SL business people, making RL Money by means of talent, skill, or knowledge, or...

B) They tend to whine a lot about how they are not getting their "free money just for logging in" and about how entitled they are, or...

C) They make some money, more by luck than skill or judgment, but not as much as they feel they are entitled to, so they come on the Forum and demand that LL change SL to guarantee that they get their FULL entitlement of FREE MONEY!  

Cue an endless series of  wall-of-text posts demanding special fixes to the economy, or the removal of abilities they feel harm their business (such as demanding the removal of wear to unpack shopping because it reduces the need to rent land from Wannabe Slumlords), or claiming that having to pay Lindex transaction charges and Cashout fees is "abuse" because their $460 odd's worth of L$ ended up as ONLY $450 odd in theyr paypal account! ABUSE! ROBBERY! Gimme my FREE MONEY because I'm ENTITLED!

 Yes some asshat actually made that claim, in the Abuse section of the Answers sub forum.

That's why "2nd Wave Lastnamer Entitlement Syndrome" is named after them, they were promised something they could not have and they left when they realised they were never going to have it.

...

One of the biggest "Retention Problems" in any business, are the lies told by company Marketing Sith, that the product and it's sales and support staff, simply cannot make good on.
 

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3 minutes ago, Klytyna said:

One of the biggest "Retention Problems" in any business, are the lies told by company Marketing Sith, that the product and it's sales and support staff, simply cannot make good on.

Klyryna may be on to something. Here are the three pictures the home page of SL shows right now if you're not a logged-in SL user.

SL_Homepage_March2018_Adventure.jpg

Have an adventure

 

SL_Homepage_March2018_Creator.jpg

Become a creator

 

Hero_3Business.jpg

Earn money

Those are very nice pictures. They were all taken in SL. But compare what users can do with those pictures.

  • You can have adventures in SL. You have to find them, but they're available. So that's real.
  • You can't paint in SL. SL does not even have 2D paint, let alone 3D in-world paint. You can't create a texture in SL at all. Nor can you do modeling of the quality shown. For that, you have to go outside SL and use pro 3D modeling tools that are not easy to use. Compare Microsoft Paint 3D. SL doesn't even have Sketchup-level modeling.
  • You're unlikely to earn money in SL today. The good product niches are mostly taken. If you can make money in SL, you can probably make more money in RL.

The new user who sees those pictures and signs up is going to be angry and frustrated by day 3.

 

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On 4/25/2018 at 11:43 PM, Deann3 said:

Back a while ago when i first joined SL with an old, now retired avatar, there used to be something similar to what you're suggesting. Mind you, i originally joined back in 2007, so ....

Yes. It was in effect the second time I joined as well. But if it was there the first time I didn't notice it.

Original avatar 2006

Rejoined in 2009.

They retired that program in 2010 or 2011... I think 2010... The LLs of the time said it was not effective at retention of first time sign-ins.

 

I have always believed they are looking at the data wrongly. From managing the social community of a book publisher some years back, I noticed sign-in and drop-off rates just as if not more extreme than SLs. So I put a lot of time into figuring them out. The answer was actually extremely easy to find...

Any time you put up something online with free account creation to a social community, bots will join it in massive numbers. My case was a small book publisher with 2-4 million in annual sales, we were getting about 300,000 forum account creations PER DAY.

A simple set of filters for IP addresses by regions, and a captcha system... cut that to under 100. A few more measures and I was under 10 per day... but all of them were people that then participated in our forum, and not with 'Call CANDY at 1-900-xxx-xxxx'  or 'meet ladies from [insert country here]' ads that were getting flooded with before... (well... we also had a few thousand eBay cross-post ads a day too).

Linden Labs has always assumed 7-billion people a day make an account here, and then all but 5 of them decide SL sucks and never return. I would instead say that 6,999,999,993 of them were actually bots... 2 gave up, and 5 stayed...

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46 minutes ago, Pussycat Catnap said:

Linden Labs has always assumed 7-billion people a day make an account here, and then all but 5 of them decide SL sucks and never return. I would instead say that 6,999,999,993 of them were actually bots... 2 gave up, and 5 stayed...

I wonder how many of the "signups" LL counts even made it through the intro tutorial section.

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1 hour ago, animats said:

I wonder how many of the "signups" LL counts even made it through the intro tutorial section.

While obviously I was speaking in exaggeration, that is a good question.

Back in the day you could just log right in... and so, I strongly suspect bots were doing so in absurd numbers. To back this theory up... we did used to have serious problems with those same "might be bots" spamming these forums.

Bit account creation is a massive problem on every single online platform without 'account creation checks' that admits it... And SL has the lowest level of account verification of almost any service I have seen save for the forum I used to manage before I took it over...

It has always baffled me why they don't just have a simple "click all the pictures that include a road sign" or "spell out the letters in these two images" captcha system on account creation.

Then again... I partly know the reason. After I managed to cut new accounts down from the hundreds of thousands to a few per day... the owner of that book company asked why we weren't getting the usual volume of new customers... he wasn't sophisticated enough to understand the concept that they were spammers and not customers...

Engineers here have had to work, in the past, under some pretty 'thick in the head' CEOs... so maybe they just 'hid the ball' from them...

 

Edited by Pussycat Catnap
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Inworld: I am not 3 weeks old yet and got ''banned'' a second time already.
In character and in life I always check out the edges so I fell thru the gras when my friend and I were visiting  a club.

Lovely date, into an intimate talk I am not willing to share, I start falling, and as a noob (shouldnt I know better now after being banned already one time)  I just waited to see where I would land... must have been a skybox or something like that cause i felt quite a while... I already IM-ed my friend that he  or me should offer the other a TP cause i was falling thru a bug again...

And yes I got down finally, curious where I ended, I walked around a shed.. and... my friends TP could not hekp anymore.. I got expelled and banned again! Tried TP and restart SL. No login possble for the next 7 hours that told me. So glad I could log back in after some attempts, man Linden makes it hard tp stay on here, but by now I also learned they follow up false reports of misbehaviour and re-correct as well so OKAY.

We newbies need good info and straight rules, nothing more nothing less!
A big TY (you know who) to some very helpfull active members!

 

 

;;;;

 

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8 hours ago, Penny Patton said:

This part is not so true. I've designed multiple sims in Second Life where people have been able to enjoy less lag, higher framerates, and even been able to bump up their graphics settings to higher levels than they can use anywhere else on the grid. And they're good looking sims at that. Get content creators to recognize the importance of optimization (or force them to optimize, if you have to, by chaining lack of optimization to higher land impact costs and hard resource caps) and you will improve the experience for everyone, whether they're on an expensive, bleeding edge gaming machine, or a potatoe that also powers a light bulb for your science fair presentation.

You're missing the part that for many in SL, they wont even be able to see the trees in those beautiful well engineered spaces. Single digit FPS, with everything as low as it can go, standing alone ... at <10 FPS with a junk integrated "GPU".

No amount of optimization will improve Second Life, texture memory is system memory and they have literally none by todays standards. Better mesh .. they can't see any mesh! Everything is rendering at the lowest LOD and appears as a single triangle. Smaller textures.. the viewer is already culling almost everything to the lowest decode.

Edit - This is why there are still people logging in with pre-mesh viewers, those run and don't even try to render current content.

Why are some houses full bright? Because for their owners.. it's dark.

Why prim? Because those actually render.

System body? Their own avatar with a mesh body kills the client. 

 

Edited by CoffeeDujour

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I agree strongly with most of the points already stated. I'm very new to SL and I honestly feel like there isn't much for noobs to do. I found the games while browsing YouTube and the videos I was watching made SL seem so amazing. I used to be very big in another virtual world-type game, (IMVU) and I noticed that SL had SO much more things to do and allowed you to do just about anything, but when I first logged on I found this not to be the case.

You can still do just about anything, I just find it so hard since I'm still so new. Also, interacting with people is so difficult. I can'tr manage to keep a friend for maybe more than two days and that isn't from lack of trying. We might talk for a few hours but it never goes beyond that. 

Despite what I said I still find myself falling in love and I log on almost everyday.

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I think I brought this up in another thread. The biggest problem coming into SL is once you’re done with newbie island or whatever it’s called these days....you’re pretty much on your own. Unless you’re lucky enough to find a good mentor. 99% of newbies just aren’t going to find a good mentor.

As it stands it’s like taking a six year old to New York or Tokyo and then telling them “You're on your own, kid.”

what should happen after you’re done with the basic tutorial is be taken somewhere to learn more basics. A picture telling you you can create is cool and all. But how about a tutorial showing you how? Basic building stuff, then if they’re still with it, intermediate blender stuff?

....you get the idea. Instead of telling them what they can do. Show them what they can do. Then let them loose on SL.

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On 4/29/2018 at 11:22 PM, CoffeeDujour said:

No amount of optimization will improve Second Life

People on low end hardware, even integrated graphics, do experience better performance in optimized areas. How do I know? When I travel, I use my laptop, with integrated graphics, to pop into SL now and then. I don't get great performance, but it's good enough for me to actually use SL. This isn't a hypothetical, I've been doing it for years and it works.

On 4/29/2018 at 11:22 PM, CoffeeDujour said:

Better mesh .. they can't see any mesh! Everything is rendering at the lowest LOD and appears as a single triangle. Smaller textures.. the viewer is already culling almost everything to the lowest decode.

This happens because content creators gut the lower LOD of their content as an exploit to get lower land impact. They tell their customers to essentially disable LOD to view this content properly. It's insane.

On 4/29/2018 at 11:22 PM, CoffeeDujour said:

Edit - This is why there are still people logging in with pre-mesh viewers, those run and don't even try to render current content.

Do you know why people get a performance hit with mesh? It's not because of the mesh, it's because since mesh was introduced, texture use on individual models has gone nuts. People are loading individual hairpieces with twenty 1024x1024 textures. Drinking cups with five. Houses with literally dozens, then you lump materials in on top of that. High end hardware chokes on this stuff. Low end hardware doesn't stand a chance.

On 4/29/2018 at 11:22 PM, CoffeeDujour said:

Why are some houses full bright? Because for their owners.. it's dark.

They can enable local lighting without such a performance hit when in an optimized area. I know this from experience.

On 4/29/2018 at 11:22 PM, CoffeeDujour said:

System body? Their own avatar with a mesh body kills the client. 

 

Most of the popular mesh bodies/heads/etcetera are performance killers because LL failed to crack down on this problem before it became a problem. If they were optimized they wouldn't kill the client.

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Case in point: I just visited two events. At one there was a small decorative DJ deck sitting on the back of an open, canopied truck. Together their combined LI render weight was about 50,000. Two decor items. The whole region is filled with stuff like that. And at Uber there are 10 decorative planters in the event room, with a combined LI render weight of almost 77,000.

Much though I love decorative and beautiful items, do people even bother to check what they're rezzing out to make their event locations look pretty? I've started blacklisting this extraneous stuff lately, just so I can get a good enough framerate to move my damn camera at busy events. I have a gaming rig that's about 6 years old. Still decent, has a 6GB NVIDIA 1060GTX, and 32GB of RAM, but I'm in the UK, and pings to SL are pretty slow. Anything I can do to speed up my experience, I'll do it. I also 'Show Friends Only' and reduce my LOD to 2 (which is as low as I can go before a lot of mesh items look like hell anyway; I do at least need to see the little tubes of hair dye that I'm buying my hair from...).

Edited by Skell Dagger
Corrected LI to render weight. My apologies.

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2 hours ago, Skell Dagger said:

Case in point: I just visited two events. At one there was a small decorative DJ deck sitting on the back of an open, canopied truck. Together their combined LI was about 50,000. Two decor items. The whole region is filled with stuff like that. And at Uber there are 10 decorative planters in the event room, with a combined LI of almost 77,000.

The most you can have on an entire private region (and you have to pay extra for it) is 30,000

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