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Rohan Dockal

Why is Second Life so laggy now compared to the past?

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Second life didn't used to be as laggy as it is today, and I don't think I'm imagining it, because my friends all say the same thing. I've been on almost 10 years now, since 2009. I didn't pay attention to my frame rate in the past, but in the past we could go to clubs, even crowded clubs as a group. It was a little laggy, but we could dance, and see each other dancing. Now it's impossible to enjoy except at the most empty places. 

For example, as I type this, I'm in the Fogbound club (a popular place every night). Even with my graphics preferences on the absolute lowest settings, I'm getting a FR of only 2 (TWO!!!) if my camera is in the direction of the dance floor. So in other words, if I actually want to look at people, all I can see are some glimpses of movement, and mesh body parts floating around the room. Even typing in IM is laggy. If the camera is on myself only, no other people, then the FR goes up to 11. If I stare at the brick wall only, then it goes up to 50.

What gives? Just for reference, I'm using a laptop with an i7 processor, 16 gb ram, Windows 10, and an Nvidia graphics card (GeForce 940M), and have a very fast internet connection. I know that's not the absolute top of the line graphics card, but my machine is well above average. And I used much more modest computers years ago, some had no dedicated graphics card at all, yet SL ran more smoothly back then. Hell, I remember years ago using a very basic laptop on a library wifi connection and going to clubs or other public areas without much problem. 

I've heard some people speculate mesh is causing this problem. But mesh is less prim heavy, so it seems the opposite would be true. But if it is, then was introducing mesh bodies really worth it?

Is there some other reason this is happening? 

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3 hours ago, Rohan Dockal said:

Second life didn't used to be as laggy as it is today, and I don't think I'm imagining it, because my friends all say the same thing. I've been on almost 10 years now, since 2009. I didn't pay attention to my frame rate in the past, but in the past we could go to clubs, even crowded clubs as a group. It was a little laggy, but we could dance, and see each other dancing. Now it's impossible to enjoy except at the most empty places. 

For example, as I type this, I'm in the Fogbound club (a popular place every night). Even with my graphics preferences on the absolute lowest settings, I'm getting a FR of only 2 (TWO!!!) if my camera is in the direction of the dance floor. So in other words, if I actually want to look at people, all I can see are some glimpses of movement, and mesh body parts floating around the room. Even typing in IM is laggy. If the camera is on myself only, no other people, then the FR goes up to 11. If I stare at the brick wall only, then it goes up to 50.

What gives? Just for reference, I'm using a laptop with an i7 processor, 16 gb ram, Windows 10, and an Nvidia graphics card (GeForce 940M), and have a very fast internet connection. I know that's not the absolute top of the line graphics card, but my machine is well above average. And I used much more modest computers years ago, some had no dedicated graphics card at all, yet SL ran more smoothly back then. Hell, I remember years ago using a very basic laptop on a library wifi connection and going to clubs or other public areas without much problem. 

I've heard some people speculate mesh is causing this problem. But mesh is less prim heavy, so it seems the opposite would be true. But if it is, then was introducing mesh bodies really worth it?

Is there some other reason this is happening? 

Well, yes to mesh but its probably avatars that are doing it for you as well. Your forgetting about avatars wearing clothing and attachments with a complexity level of god^e

Also how much graphical memory does your card have. Is it the 2gb version, if so then its a 2gb "m" version which means mobile which means...underpowered to begin with. Il give you a comparison for your card...

I have two computers, my high end gaming laptop and my MacBook. My MacBook has a Nvidia GT 650m card. MacBook is nearly 7 years old. It has 2gb graphical memory. 8gb DDR3. i7 and it hates being around more than two people. It visual lags even with complexity turned up if more than 5 people are around me and it definitely can NOT handle being in a highly complex mesh designed environment.

Now you would think "Yes but my card is a 940m, surely my card is better than your card". Nope...only slightly and at the same time not, if you check this link out : https://www.game-debate.com/gpu/index.php?gid=2802&gid2=2702&compare=geforce-940m-2gb-vs-geforce-gt-650m-v2 you will find that we actually get comparatively similar scores on everything and the cards come out roughly equal on most things with my card even beating your card on certain other things. Yet your card was released in 2015....mine 2012 or before. So thats probably one possible factor.

All I can suggest to you is this..

1. Turn complexity all the way down so avatars are de-rendered to jelly dolls. That should at least help in reducing your frame rate drop

2. Try updating your graphical drivers. You have probably already done this but sometimes that works.

3. In graphical settings change to mid and then check :

    -Your draw distance down to 96 or below

    -Object and sculpt LOD down to 1.0

    -Turn anti aliasing to 2x or disabled

    -Turn down Max # of non-imposter avatars to like 8...5....whatever so long as its low

    -Turn off atmospheric shaders

    -Turn down the sky slider

   -Turn down avatar physics

4. As your on a windows PC running windows 10. Right click the SL / Firestorm / Whatever viewer you are usings icon and make sure that the default card to run SL is your Nvidia card and not the built in Intel card. I had that problem when I first installed SL on to my windows laptop and had to manually tell the computer to use the Nvidia card instead of the intel card.

Besides 4 these are some of the tricks I use to make my MacBook more usable for SL. Mainly because I prefer design flow on my MacBook than I do on my Windows PC

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3 hours ago, Rohan Dockal said:

I've heard some people speculate mesh is causing this problem. But mesh is less prim heavy, so it seems the opposite would be true.

It's not the prims nor the mesh stuff, it's all the scripts and (mainly) all the textures slapped on them. When for example there are tons of 1024x1024 textures to render, then, of course, the fps will go rock-bottom. What you describe seems to me that your puter has a hard time rendering the world. Even without having more specs and setting info, I rather would recommend what @chibiusa Ling said.

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To be honest I hardly experience problems since I got a new graphic cards. I'm far from tech expert, really far, but took someones advise on it. The PC is like 5 years old, the card last year (Geforce 1080ti) and I usualy am able to walk around Ultra settings with shadows on. Only when really crowded places like clubs, I turn the shadows off.

I think SL has changed in the past 10 years, so if you like to experience it like 10 years ago, you will need to upgrade your hardware accordingly. Or settle with lower performance/quality.

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i'm on sl with gtx 640 m during day and at home a gtx 960m, i can't say it's changed a lot since i have the 640 machine, thats about 7 yrs old now. Perhaps i'm a bit more modest in my settings ( don't need to hit all sliders to the max.. a bit the same as with your avatar, look for a nice balance and it will work pretty good)

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I holdControl+Alt+shift,   - , 0, and 3 to clear out any non essential elements to not be drawn after log in. Also you can hit control A to call up all persons in your immidate range on your radar. click on the top name (hold shift to select them all) can also deselect friends on the list. Then right click and select Derender.

You may have to do this every session (you can also permanently derender to a blacklist ). these steps can help your performance.

SL is not just a graphics delivery container. It is a physic environment engine and reacts accordingly to it's rule sets in conjunction with your setup as well as a ton of data (this can vary depending on the given physics data being communicated).

Sim crossing or teleports. Sims communicate with eachother as well as your client. There are too may factors to consider that could be interpreted as lag when it's just a matter of the system talking and thinking and people being in a rush.

Edited by Hunter Stern

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One of the biggest frame rate hogs around is the Advanced Lighting Model (ALM).  (I mean, frame rate hogs that you have some control over.  You generally can't change what people wear, how many people there are around you, or the textures in the region.)

ALM makes things look really, really nice.  I love it.  But if I am somewhere and I am getting miserable performance, going into Preferences/Graphics and unticking its box will speed things up a lot.

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3 minutes ago, Lindal Kidd said:

One of the biggest frame rate hogs around is the Advanced Lighting Model (ALM).  (I mean, frame rate hogs that you have some control over.

This. Turn off Advanced Lighting and your frame rate will double instantly. 

@Rohan Dockal - here's something I haven't seen mentioned, yet: have you tried a different viewer?

The newest Catznip was just released last week and I am seeing such a performance boost that I am able to literally double my graphics setting for the same performance as I get with Firestorm. It's not my intent to evangelize Catzip or harp on firestorm (I am with the belief that most of the viewers, including the official LL viewer, are great viewers). They cost nothing but a little time and experimentation. Try them: Catznip, Kokua, etc.

My standard response to people with complaints about SL performance is always the same: Firestorm ain't all that when it comes down to it. You need to set your own priorities. If it's performance then do something about. If it's so-called "features" (that you likely never use most of) then so be it - pick one and stop bi**hing about the other.

I'm just saying that complaining about the same things over and over and doing nothing about it is, well... 

I'll leave it at that.

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10 minutes ago, Alyona Su said:

This. Turn off Advanced Lighting and your frame rate will double instantly. 

@Rohan Dockal - here's something I haven't seen mentioned, yet: have you tried a different viewer?

The newest Catznip was just released last week and I am seeing such a performance boost that I am able to literally double my graphics setting for the same performance as I get with Firestorm. It's not my intent to evangelize Catzip or harp on firestorm (I am with the belief that most of the viewers, including the official LL viewer, are great viewers). They cost nothing but a little time and experimentation. Try them: Catznip, Kokua, etc.

My standard response to people with complaints about SL performance is always the same: Firestorm ain't all that when it comes down to it. You need to set your own priorities. If it's performance then do something about. If it's so-called "features" (that you likely never use most of) then so be it - pick one and stop bi**hing about the other.

I'm just saying that complaining about the same things over and over and doing nothing about it is, well... 

I'll leave it at that.

But..but..my God-given right to complain! Nooooooo!

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19 minutes ago, Alyona Su said:

Turn off Advanced Lighting and your frame rate will double instantly. 

Its not wrong to try to turn off particles, too. At least when using a lower end computer/laptop.
When i login to SL while being outdoor, i use a dell latitude business laptop, what performs quite well, but the frame rate drops dramatically when turning on the shower, for example. Not to mention places, where are a lot of running showers...

Dont ask me, if the frame rate also doubles, when particles are turned off, but its much faster.

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Just curious, using Firestorm. If you put the sliders to Ultra, shadows all on. Is that the max graphic you can get, or is there more finetuning to be done/maxed? I am wondering because I would like to see how far I can go for taking pictures. (besides the resolution when taking the pic itself)

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19 minutes ago, Zeta Vandyke said:

Just curious, using Firestorm. If you put the sliders to Ultra, shadows all on. Is that the max graphic you can get, or is there more finetuning to be done/maxed? I am wondering because I would like to see how far I can go for taking pictures. (besides the resolution when taking the pic itself)

I also make sure antialiasing mode is maxed to 16x. I don't think it does that automatically. So check your setting for it.

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1 hour ago, Love Zhaoying said:

But..but..my God-given right to complain! Nooooooo!

True. But no God-given right to be heard. Bahahaha!

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15 hours ago, Rohan Dockal said:

I've heard some people speculate mesh is causing this problem. But mesh is less prim heavy, so it seems the opposite would be true. But if it is, then was introducing mesh bodies really worth it?

LL didn't introduce mesh bodies. Users did. I'm convinced that LL introduced mesh for objects, not anticipating that users would use it for things like bodies, and maybe clothing.

As LL has improved SL with things like sculpties, mesh, animated mesh, the system has become slower/laggier, especially since LL has always insisted on squeezing as many sims as they possibly can into each sim server. As time goes by, SL becomes a system that needs computers of higher and higher specs to run it. Computers get faster and memory gets cheaper, so lower end computers automatically have higher specs, and speed up as SL's requirements do, but not as fast as SL's requirements. The result is that computers continue to fall behind and SL gets generally laggier.

Edited by Phil Deakins
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Ok so I know little about computers and especially computers working with SL.  If I wanted to upgrade something in my computer to make SL run smoother, would it be more memory or and upgrade to the graphics card.   I have 8 GB of RAM now and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 8GB graphics card right now.  

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For me the upgrade of graphics card was the difference between silders just above halfway and sliders on ultimate

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I got a new computer about a year ago and I have a fast broadband connection.  This made a great improvement to SL but there's something I've noticed.  When LL does a viewer update, there's usually a marked improvement in performance, but it gradually declines (I do clear cache regularly) until the next update.  Performance is generally good, even with advanced lighting, the exception being mesh avatars, which can take ages to rez, and particularly applier textures, that sometimes never rez properly.  I normally have my jellydoll threshold set to exclude the most laggy avatars.  These days more people seem to have grasped the idea that if their complexity is to high, it's wasted effort because most other people see them a s a jellydoll.

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Running a GTX1070 with 16gb of ram & Ryzen cpu here (so that will quench the DUH GET A BETTER COMPUTER crowd). And I've been getting a lot more GPU driver crashes lately for daring to do some photoshop work with SL running in a a somewhat busy place.

So yeah I can confirm that things have steadily been getting worse on, the client side of things, I assume, as competition rages on between avatars/creators as to who can hog the most ressource in a single product.

Edited by Kyrah Abattoir
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If you are experiencing slow frame rates in crowded places, go to Graphics Preferences and set "Max # of non-impostor avatars" to 2 or 3 and "Maximum complexity" to around 100,000. The nearest 2 or 3 avatars will render normally. Ones beyond that are rendered only 4 times a second or less. Turning down maximum complexity will prevent avatars with insane numbers of triangles from choking the viewer's render loop. Those avatars go to "purple blob" mode/

Edited by animats

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10 hours ago, Lindal Kidd said:

One of the biggest frame rate hogs around is the Advanced Lighting Model (ALM).

 

10 hours ago, Alyona Su said:

This. Turn off Advanced Lighting and your frame rate will double instantly.

That's not true in all computers. For example in my computer the frame rate stays practically the same with ALM off and ALM on. I have tested this in many places, crowded and non-crowded places.

I have seen it said that ALM has great impact on frame rates on lower end computers. But very little or none at all in more powerful computers. As I have only one computer I cannot verify that statement myself. Anyway on my computer ALM on does not slower frame rates.

My computer specs:
Firestorm 6.0.2 (56680) Feb  9 2019 18:55:39 (64bit) (Firestorm-Releasex64) with Havok support
CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40GHz (3411.13 MHz)
Memory: 8169 MB
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit (Build 17134.590)
Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 970/PCIe/SSE2
Graphics Driver Version: 25.21.14.1735
OpenGL Version: 4.6.0 NVIDIA 417.35
 

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17 hours ago, ThorinII said:

It's not the prims nor the mesh stuff, it's all the scripts and (mainly) all the textures slapped on them. When for example there are tons of 1024x1024 textures to render, then, of course, the fps will go rock-bottom.

The switch to more mesh is actually quite significant there because it requires a lot more data to be transferred. Typically the file size of a 1 LI mesh will be 10-30 times that of a prim. Not only does that mean downloading is much slower, it also means the cpu is kept busy fetching data rather than processing it. If I understood @CoffeeDujour right, it's usually the cpu, not the gpu that is the limiting factor for client side speed in SL these days. It doesn't matter how powerful your graphics processor is if it has to while away the microseconds waiting for isntructions from the boss before it can do anything useful. Fitted mesh is especially heavy since it requires a lot of preprocessing beore it can be displayed.

Textures are definitely important too. But again, it's not the gpu that is struggling, it has quite efficient ways to deal with superfluous texture pixels. But textures have quite large file sizes too and they certainly add up to far more data transfer than they used too, partly because there seem to be far more of them, partly because the average resolution has increased, partly because SL now seems to use lossless compression exclusively. The textures in SL can also easily overload the VRAM. Generally 2-4 GB is regarded as enough VRAM for modern computer games unless you have really large screen. Even if you use a huge 4k high resolution screen, you don't usually need more than 8 GB. As Kyrah mentioned, even 16 GB may not be enough for SL. The moment the textures have to be  stored in regular slow RAM, you have to expect a significant drop in performance.

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1 hour ago, Coby Foden said:

 

That's not true in all computers. For example in my computer the frame rate stays practically the same with ALM off and ALM on. I have tested this in many places, crowded and non-crowded places.

I have seen it said that ALM has great impact on frame rates on lower end computers. But very little or none at all in more powerful computers. As I have only one computer I cannot verify that statement myself. Anyway on my computer ALM on does not slower frame rates.

My computer specs:
Firestorm 6.0.2 (56680) Feb  9 2019 18:55:39 (64bit) (Firestorm-Releasex64) with Havok support
CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40GHz (3411.13 MHz)
Memory: 8169 MB
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit (Build 17134.590)
Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 970/PCIe/SSE2
Graphics Driver Version: 25.21.14.1735
OpenGL Version: 4.6.0 NVIDIA 417.35
 

That's very interesting, because I have a faster CPU, more RAM, and the same graphics card...and ALM off does make a big difference for me.

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