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A Thread - All About LOD


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5 hours ago, Blaise Glendevon said:

I run at 4. I frankly don't care.

I run at 3.0 and frankly don't care either.  I think the SL Viewer default LOD of 1.125 is frankly ridiculous. The Lindens must live in 512 sqm skyboxes.

 

Edited by Jaylinbridges
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5 hours ago, EliseAnne85 said:

What is it about your computer that makes it able to handle LOD 4?  Might it have anything to do with it's cooling system?  I'm asking because many laptops do not have great cooling systems and I'm afraid my friend will burn out her machine at a LOD of 4.  LOD 4 came into vogue with sculpties (I think - at least that's what I remember) but back then we had desktops with separate fans most likely, and I'm not a computer geek (I'm just guessing) about how computers 'used' to be.  

There are many nice items for LOD 4 but they may be dated for some computers because most are laptops now.  I use a desktop and clean my fans with compressed air and fine brushes regularly.  I don't know how to clean a laptop fan, even though I have a laptop I think SL would burn it out as it's a cheapie laptop and probably full of dust.   I can't get to the fan in my laptop like I can my desktop.

Yes good cooling helps.
There are laptop/notebook stands with extra fans for around 25 Euro and upwards available.

1200x1200.jpg

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13 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

I can testify to the fact that turning your LODs up to 4 (or more but I never did that) definitely hurts your computer.

Not true.

It only hurts a badly designed and/or built computer that is prone to heat death but then any graphics application or game designed to use the available computer's resources to the fullest would do that to it too not just LOD 4's in SL.   These computers are effectively broken products.  It sucks if you bought a computer like this and didn't realise it. I can certainly imagine there are many PC's, especially laptops, out there that are prone to this but it doesn't alter the fact that it is the computer that is broken.

A properly designed and built computer with good airflow in and around it, with a properly functioning cpu/graphics card combination screaming away at the fastest rate possible can cope with all of this and SL's LOD 4 easily and not burn out.  I've certainly never had a burned out graphics card from using SL despite keeping my LODs at 4 for the most part.  Why would I keep my LODs at 4?  The difference in performance between LODs 2 and 4 on my hardware is negligible and I don't believe that after such a long time of using it this way I've just been lucky either.

I am aware that will not be the case for the vast majority of people and most should probably stay with the defaults so it's sound advice generally but to say "LODs 4 definitely hurts your computer" is just plain wrong.

The difference is the type of hardware you buy.

Edited by Gabriele Graves
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8 minutes ago, wesleytron said:

I think it's really cool that all the people who like to wander around with their LODS set permanently on 4 don't care what their avatars look like and don't mind that they might look bald and naked to the rest of us.

You don't think we check hmmm?  Interesting...

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2 hours ago, Gabriele Graves said:

Not true.

It only hurts a badly designed and/or built computer that is prone to heat death but then any graphics application or game designed to use the available computer's resources to the fullest would do that to it too not just LOD 4's in SL.   These computers are effectively broken products.  It sucks if you bought a computer like this and didn't realise it. I can certainly imagine there are many PC's, especially laptops, out there that are prone to this but it doesn't alter the fact that it is the computer that is broken.

A properly designed and built computer with good airflow in and around it, with a properly functioning cpu/graphics card combination screaming away at the fastest rate possible can cope with all of this and SL's LOD 4 easily and not burn out.  I've certainly never had a burned out graphics card from using SL despite keeping my LODs at 4 for the most part.  Why would I keep my LODs at 4?  The difference in performance between LODs 2 and 4 on my hardware is negligible and I don't believe that after such a long time of using it this way I've just been lucky either.

I am aware that will not be the case for the vast majority of people and most should probably stay with the defaults so it's sound advice generally but to say "LODs 4 definitely hurts your computer" is just plain wrong.

The difference is the type of hardware you buy.

You are trying to explain that to someone who kept blaming server updates in the past for the "screen blacking out" and other local hardware/software issues. And still does pretty much the same in this thread.

But yeah, of course you're right. Hardware is designed to run at 100% 24/7 and if it fails then it's either expected failure rates or the issue with the setup (bad cooling, bad airflow, external factors like pets etc).

---

I use LOD4 at all times too. And my entire region is built/designed with that in mind. If someone on a potato PC can't see it or me correctly, then can't say I care. I do stuff for myself and my own fun, including avatar and/or region customization. That said for over 2.5 years I had it, I had only a couple cases of people telling me something looks broken on their end.

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I used to run my SL viewer LOD continuously at 20.0 (via Show Debug Settings, RenderVolumeLODFactor, 20.0) for over ten years and I never experienced any slowdown, lag, graphical glitching, or GPU/CPU/PSU thermal issues.

Various people advised me not to increase the LOD settings, but this was back in the olden days of 10 metre prims, gigantic megaprims, sculpties and early mesh, when high LOD settings were a necessity, not an extravagance.

At the time, I heard lots of nonsense from overzealous people telling me not to do this as it "would fry my PC", but these people generated more hot air than my PC's power supply, CPU or GPU ever did.

Eventually, Window XP's demise caused me to retire that faithful old PC, which I still keep maintained offline and occasionally use for nostalgic retro gaming. It still has it's original GPU, CPU and PSU and proves the high LOD naysayers were wrong.

My present PC is far more capable than my retired one and I run SL with the LOD permanently set to the viewer's maximum setting, a measly 4.0!

Edited by SarahKB7 Koskinen
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Techies and creators tend to mean different thing by "strong LOD"

As a techie, what it means to me is that the LOD models were crafted well and the item appears acceptable at whatever distance it is viewed from, without rendering tris that are irrelevant to the size of the object on-screen, without collapsing into disordered triangles and without undue "popping" as the object is approached and a higher LOD rendered. Because I'm a techie I try real hard to create that way.

To far too many creators it means making mole mesh, where they select "use LOD above" twice and then generate the lowest LOD at a tri limit of 0 to try and cheat the LI calculation.

The ONE place where zero-ing out the lowest LOD is acceptable is an interior setting where the object cannot be seen at a distance sufficiently far to make it render at lowest LOD with the default viewer LOD set. By the time it collapses into two or three random tris, there's a wall between you and it.

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2 hours ago, steeljane42 said:

Hardware is designed to run at 100% 24/7 and if it fails then it's either expected failure rates or the issue with the setup (bad cooling, bad airflow, external factors like pets etc).

You're obviously not an engineer. Designing a system meant for intermittent loads to be able to run at full capacity continously will mean it will be grossly overbuilt and you'll be wasting weight, energy and money. The reason you can start your car with a switch instead of a hand crank is that an engineer realized you could start it with a small motor that would only have to run for a few seconds - if you tried to use your starter motor continuously it would burn out pretty quickly. It's the same for aircraft engines, etc.

To get back to the topic, when I used to keep my LOD factor at 4 the thing I noticed it doing was using large amounts of system memory. I now keep it only high enough for certain old items I have that I don't want to replace. If things don't work at that level now? They're not getting bought.

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6 hours ago, Jaylinbridges said:

I run at 3.0 and frankly don't care either.  I think the SL Viewer default LOD of 1.125 is frankly ridiculous. The Lindens must live in 512 sqm skyboxes.

The only two ridiculous things are that LOD factor can be set globally by each user and that it can't be set for individual objects.

The LOD factor determines the swap distances for an object and a good LOD model is always made to work with one - and only one - specific swap distance. Increase the swap distance and you're only getting worse performance and no visual gain, reduce it and you get collapsed meshes. This means the creator has to know what the LOD factor is. Is it 1? Fine, we make meshes that work for that. Is it 8? No problem, we adjust our meshes and work with it. What we can't possibly adjust our meshes to, is an unknown LOD factor.

On top of that, ideally different meshes need different LOD factors and even different LOD factors for different LOD models of the same mesh. Here are two illustrations of Unity's LOD system, both from the official Unity manual:

InspectorLODGroup.png.9cb50b60501c692b06c590be5d0b0a02.pngff0612c9-2ca4-4fb9-93c4-07740ef8f294_image2.png.d3e6f3b08d6c3d91ca988e75429d4db7.png

I hope you can see what's happening here: you can set the swap point for each LOD model for each and every mesh individually, and also the cutoff distance. You can even change the number of LOD levels for each mesh.

This is how all modern game/vitrual world engines does it and it's how SL should have done it. Unfortunately Second Life's mesh implementation was made by developers with little or no understanding of practical content creation and when some user who actually knew what they were talking about proposed a proper LOD handling mechanism, Andrew Linden shrugged it off as "too complicated". That was a HUGE mistake and the reason why we have all these LOD issues and arguments today. It's kind'a understandable they made that mistake if they assumed that prims were going to remain the main building tool and meshes would only be rarely used. But if that was the case, they were incredibly naive.

Come to think of it, Andrew Linden is back. I wonder what he has to say about the issue now... Maybe he watches the forums... Paging @Leviathan Linden

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8 minutes ago, Theresa Tennyson said:

You're obviously not an engineer. Designing a system meant for intermittent loads to be able to run at full capacity continously will mean it will be grossly overbuilt and you'll be wasting weight, energy and money.

I'm not, just a PC/hardware enthusiast. But neither are you, not that it matters.

PC hardware/components are, in fact, designed to run at provided capacity 24/7/365 for its expected lifetime, which does vary depending on what part it is, but always within the warranty period. If it fails until warranty runs out while being used in its full capacity and during normal conditions that fit provided specifications for voltage, temperature and so on, then it's expected failure rate.

You will likely get more out of your hardware if you don't push it into 100% (or more in case with OC) 24/7 mode, never said it's not a thing, however with the modern hardware by the time it gets bad through natural 100% usage it's already outdated by a few generations anyway. Even serious overclocking, while shortens hardware lifespan considerably, still doesn't matter much. Out of hundreds CPUs I've overclocked over the decades only one did show signs of degradation after being run at nearly 2GHz above default specs 24/7 for 6 years in a row.

Won't even bother to comment on apples vs oranges part after it. Cars, aircraft and many other things are designed the way they are, so are PCs. No point to compare.

Energy and money saving is its own topic too, and it's up to each person if they care enough to reduce LOD in SL, disable shadows, ALM, put 32m draw range and to also run games on lowest settings on order to save money on expensive PC components and energy bills. I, personally, don't care, as it's my hobby.

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7 hours ago, Sid Nagy said:

Yes good cooling helps.
There are laptop/notebook stands with extra fans for around 25 Euro and upwards available.

1200x1200.jpg

Yes, I was going to mention there are external cooling systems for laptops.

As far as those saying "I don't care"...this wasn't a thread about whether you care or not...? because I don't know what the people in this thread mean by care or don't care.

I started the thread more to understand LOD.  Why FS is setting me at 2 I have absolutely no idea WHY.  All I remember about LOD being a factor was when sculpties started and we all were recommended to do a debug thing and always run at LOD 4.  Now with meshes and FS, it's 2.  And, I have no idea what is going on with it or why nor how to explain this to anyone.   So, let me start with a question, why is FS setting us at 2 when we load a new viewer?  I run at 3, clean my fans often (desktop).  My laptop actually stays in it's case most of the time.

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The higher the LOD factor, the more detail is displayed at further distance, so less or no chance of deformation with meshes.

Lower LOD factor helps the graphic card from the computer, so if one experiences lag, it lowers the lag, just like if one lowers the draw distance.
Lower LOD factor helps to lower temperatures from the graphic card as well for obvious reasons, less work, less heat.
Lower LOD factor means less data over the Internet, so it helps to reduce lag if one doesn't have real fast Internet.

Modern graphic cards in desktops have their own fans to control the heat.  That's why most current desktops can easily run SL with LOD factor 4.
Laptops have very little room for the components and produce more heat. Not every laptop is laid out for gaming purposes.

So to be on the safe side LL puts the LOD factor standard to 1.25 in their viewer.
FS has chosen for 2.
Both are arbitrary but safe numbers.
I guess they want to stay backwards compatible to the computers that already lived a bit longer life and be gentle to all laptops out there, including those that are not or just barely designed to game with.

LL knows that a lot of current machines can handle higher numbers, so they don't hard code that 1.25 LOD factor in their viewer, but give the opportunity for people who know (or think they know) what they are doing to adjust the number as they please, to make their views in SL prettier.
Same goes for draw distance, shadows or not, avatar weight etc.

Edited by Sid Nagy
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2 hours ago, steeljane42 said:

PC hardware/components are, in fact, designed to run at provided capacity 24/7/365 for its expected lifetime, which does vary depending on what part it is, but always within the warranty period. If it fails until warranty runs out while being used in its full capacity and during normal conditions that fit provided specifications for voltage, temperature and so on, then it's expected failure rate.

 

Mmm hmmm...

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Mining-with-a-PNY-graphics-card-will-automatically-void-its-warranty.274358.0.html

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1 hour ago, Sid Nagy said:

The higher the LOD factor, the more detail is displayed at further distance, so less or no chance of deformation with meshes.

Lower LOD factor helps the graphic card from the computer, so if one experiences lag, it lowers the lag, just like if one lowers the drawing distance.
Lower LOD factor helps to lower temperatures from the graphic card as well for obvious reasons, less work, less heat.
Lower LOD factor means less data over the Internet, so it helps to reduce lag if one doesn't have real fast Internet.

Modern graphic cards in desktops have their own fans to control the heat.  That's why most current desktops can easily run SL with LOD factor 4.
Laptops have very little room for the components and produce more heat. Not every laptop is laid out for gaming purposes.

So to be on the safe side LL puts the LOD factor standard to 1.25 in their viewer.
FS has chosen for 2.
Both are arbitrary but safe numbers.
I guess they want to stay backwards compatible to the computers that already lived a bit longer life and be gentle to all laptops out there, including those that are not or just barely designed to game with.

LL knows that a lot of current machines can handle higher numbers, so they don't hard code that 1.25 LOD factor in their viewer, but give the opportunity for people who know (or think they know) what they are doing to adjust the number as they please, to make their views in SL prettier.
Same goes for drawing distance, shadows or not, avatar weight etc.

I'm beginning to understand now.  So, those saying they don't care are saying they don't care about the default that LL or FS viewers set us at.

As far as drawing distance, I don't think they should set a default for that when loading a new viewer (if thought about doing so in the future).  I can't stand a low draw distance in the 60's (forgot what number for low draw) because the world half collapses at that low of a draw.  I use about 128 for draw when in the world or thereabouts.  

So, basically, higher everything is more workload, and hopefully lag is reduced if set lower.

Edited by EliseAnne85
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24 minutes ago, Theresa Tennyson said:

Yeah, manufacturers trying to make more money again and alter warranty rules in a way it benefits them and not customers. Never happened before, nope. Next "argument"? Although it's already way into off topic anyway in our previous messages too; and can't say I care much to prove something to someone known for arguing for the sake of arguing all the time.

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1 hour ago, EliseAnne85 said:

I use about 128 for draw when in the world or thereabouts. 

Outside, that makes sense.  Inside most buildings, it's unnecessary especially at indoor events/clubs that are busy.  1/2 that and you'll see what needs seen and reduce lag tremendously.

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53 minutes ago, EliseAnne85 said:

I can't stand a low draw distance in the 60's (forgot what number for low draw) because the world half collapses at that low of a draw.

It's a scientifically proven fact that a residents draw distance is inversely proportionate to their level of narcissism, the more self-involved they are the smaller the radius of their attention becomes and vice-versa! 😅

I think one of the more frustrating things about SL from a creative perspective is the lack of continuity in regards to how content is displayed for each resident.  It's bad enough trying to accomodate the ALM vs non-ALM users without having to worry about wildly varying LOD settings and all the other things people seem to tinker with.

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15 minutes ago, Fluffy Sharkfin said:

It's a scientifically proven fact that a residents draw distance is inversely proportionate to their level of narcissism

Nonsense. I am totally in love with MEEEEE...but I wanna see the world too, in all its pixel glory.

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On 9/15/2022 at 6:35 AM, Charalyne Blackwood said:

Low LOD means an item will distort when viewed from a distance. Any mesh build I import has the LOD maxed out to prevent this. Low LOD means a lower LI though.  It kills me when I see a really nice mesh build item that turns into random triangles as I move away from it. 

By now you have probably realized from what is being said that a viewer set to a lower LoD preforms much better. Only things poorly designed look bad.

@EliseAnne85

I don't see people mentioning that EVERYONE's LoD setting affects everyone in SL. The mesh things in SL, and most 3D environments, are made from 4 separate models. When the viewer sees an item it does some calcs and decides which LoD model it needs to download and requests it. If the thing is far away then the small, low poly model gets downloaded, quickly, small load on the SL system. The closer one gets the more detail needs to be shown and the larger more detailed LoD models are downloaded.

If you are traveling through a region the stuff 128m and more away should be using the low poly models. Less load on the system and less for your viewer to deal with. Mean better performance for you. Less load on the system means better performance for everyone.

Designers have to do four models to get the BEST render of their product. That takes time. I personally hate doing the low poly model more than any other. It requires more thought. How do I keep the shape and minimize the poly count? In some cases designers go to a final low poly shape as a rectangle, 2 polygons. They stick a picture of the thing on the rectangle. I f ind that only works in rare instances when you can control the viewer's line of sight. Designers always look for ways to save time. Plus reducing the size of the 4-models saves in upload cost. So the trick is to tell you to set your viewer to LoD-4, screw everybody, and they can forget providing LoD-2, 3, and 4 and just stick a 1 polygon in each...

The net and our computers are getting fast enough we don't really notice the impact of poor design until we get 10 more avatars together in one place. Then we start to feel it.

 

Edited by Nalates Urriah
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On 9/15/2022 at 3:31 PM, Rick Daylight said:

Ignore the instructions some sellers still give to set your viewer's LOD factor at 4 or even higher in order to 'see their wonderful creations properly

Always thought this was a myth until I read the same on a notecard accompanying a product I had purchased recently. The item itself is falling apart at the 2nd LOD level already with LOD set to 2. This is just crazy.

However, since I as a customer potentially only have disadvantages when writing a negative review on the marketplace (I may get blocked and become unable to purchase items from the store in the future, and there may be a good product eventually) I just left it at that 🙄

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