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Cathy Foil

Why PE Has To Go UP with Larger Mesh?

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I tried it again. Cleared cache and logged back in. This time I got ~330k Tris. I had set RenderFarClip to 181, but that didn't made any difference. We have nothing in the corners of the sim, so I think the 128DD catched it all already.

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Just to note in case it's missed. ... I had put the wrong graph, it was the one for an object with 2-fold LODs. Sorry. I added the one for 4-fold LODs. The existing calculation, and the alternatives for medium and high settings are closer together at radius up to 20m or so. The existing one just gets substantially higher for meshes larger than that.

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Runitai Linden wrote:

...

The current budget of 250 thousand was used by examining the triangle count of various inworld locations and looking at performance characteristics and capabilities of target systems (which are slower than you might think).  ...

What are you "targeting"? Mobile systems? Tablets? iphones?

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Ann Otoole wrote:


Runitai Linden wrote:

...

The current budget of 250 thousand was used by examining the triangle count of various inworld locations and looking at performance characteristics and capabilities of target systems (which are slower than you might think).  ...

What are you "targeting"? Mobile systems? Tablets? iphones?

Calculators?

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Gaia Clary wrote:

The longer i think about it the more it appears to me that the "punishment of mesh" indeed could be a way to keep people from swamping the grid with non optimized mesh objects.

I guess the 'punishment of mesh' is not ment to be a punishment. We (creators, merchants) see it as a punishment because we are operating in the internal SL economie, and we know how things function there.

 

I think 'take in account what a certain new feature does to the SL economie' simply is not on the worklist of any Linden. I'm not too technical or don't know much about programming, but I guess it is more in the direction like  'you must deliver such an such performance against such and such server costs.'

 

We are thinking about the conditions that are necessairy to find buyers for our products, but Linden Lab is thinking about how it can be done so it will function for the platform as a whole against certain limited source costs.

 

Lindens and SL merchants have different needs with mesh that simply don't meet.  Because of the current PE count meshes are not attractive for people who operate in the SL economy. Rezzable meshes are deadborn babies.

 

It will be different for attachable meshes. Those don't cost in terms of land fees. Wearing attachments is free of costs for the user. So that is where the new chances are at the moment from the economical point of view, avatars and avatar attachments. But for the rezzables it's just 'kill your darlings'.

 

 

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Ann Otoole wrote:

Runitai Linden wrote:

...

The current budget of 250 thousand was used by examining the triangle count of various inworld locations and looking at performance characteristics and capabilities of target systems (which are slower than you might think).  ...

What are you "targeting"? Mobile systems? Tablets? iphones?

This is a fair question that we definitely haven't answered fully.  Here are some statistics I'd like to share:

As you may know, the viewer categorizes machines into 4 classes defined here: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/GPU_and_Feature_Tables#GPU_Class

What you probably don't know is what percentage of residents (your customers) fall into each class:

Class 0 - 34.86 %

Class 1 - 17.08%

Class 2 - 14.25%

Class 3 - 26.95%

The ramaining 6.87% fall into an "unknown" or "unsupported" category.  

To give you an idea of what qualifies as "Class 0", as of the last report, these were the top 10 chips in that class:

1. Intel Bear Lake

2. Nvidia GeForce 6100

3. Intel 965

4. Intel 945G

5. NVIDIA PCI 

6. Intel 945GM

7. ATI Mobility Radeon

8. ATI Radeon X1xxx

9. Intel Cantiga

10. NVIDIA GeForce 7000

 

We're basically talking about $400 laptops, so that's the target.  If you've got a beefier machine, keeping the scene lean will let you crank up your mesh detail so you never see those ugly low LoDs, push your draw distance out, and turn on effects like shadows and water reflections.  

 

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Runitai. Thanks. That's very relevant information. I don't know if such data is collected, but if it is it would be interesting to know what actual settings tend to be used by people with class 0 hardware *and others), although it will likely vary from place to place. My suspicion is that they would tend to use medium settings, despite low fps, because I imagine the default low setting renderVolumeLODFactor of 0.5 would be pretty disappointing. That's why I have considered the triangles they have to render on medium settings rather than low.

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Interesting Runitai,

It really does bring into question the 'must fit all' ideology, those class 0 graphics card (if you can call them that) are the reason why PE is sky high? Isn't it possible to raise the minimum system requirements from 6-8 yr old hardware?

 

I cant help but think that the policy of never breaking legacy content (scuplties) and the must be able to run on 6 year old hardware is creating a serious problem for SL, these are big limitations to anything that you guys will ever do and I can only imagine how hard your jobs are trying to ensure these 2 limits are never breached but there has to be some kind of solution.

Expecting 65% of your userbase to be limited to the hardware constraints of the other 35% is worrying, not to mention I can not believe these class 0 users can cope with heavy scupltied areas, they must suffer alot too. Meshes should be in theory a graphics update, to be able to enjoy them should require a hardware update imo, especially if your still using 6 yr old hardware.

There was mention of mesh + prim only regions, I think this should be seriously looked into and also consider the possibility of making these special regions have lower PE from meshes, make an announcement that to enter these regions will require an average computer, its a good solution! You guys wont have to break legacy content but residents can enjoy the full capabilties of meshes without being hindered by scuplties and low end users, it would stimulate the economy, be a great advertisment with the new beautiful meshes, encourage new people to join and encourage others to return.

Other wise SL remains a 6 yr old game that will never evolve, its either that or make Second Life 2 :matte-motes-big-grin-squint:

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I use low graphics settings, except for setting object detail to mid (renderVolumeLOD to 1.1 or so). I get 15 fps in normal places, 1-5 fps at places with a lot of alpha textures, or over 15 avatars on screen. sculpties don't matter all that much, as I only see high lod when zoomed into it. Not many people I meet day to day use sculpties that look bad at medium LOD.

I'm on an NVidia GeForce 5200fx

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Count me as another one of the people who thinks the current PE costs are a problem. Or, to be more specific, the PE costs are a problem when compared to other prim costs. Let me give an example. A few years ago, I made a little grove of three beech trees using megaprims and five sculpted prims. That's, per tree, 1 2/3 prims and - I'll round up - 3414 triangles. Tonight, I made a nearly identical mesh tree, a single copy of which weighs in at 800 triangles and 16 PE. If I decide to be scrupulously fair and link three of them together, the whole thing comes in at 47 PE, saving me the equivalent of one whole prim. I've gone from 2048 triangles per prim with the sculpties to a little over 17 triangles per prim with the mesh trees. Per triangle, the mesh trees cost over 120 times more than the sculpties. Now, I haven't done custom LODs for that tree yet, so maybe that's skewing things. As is, however, I view this as a broken system. In addition to making mesh less usable, with all the problems attendent in that (an uglier SL, frustrated creators, etc.), it sets up perverse incentives. To get back to my tree example, in terms of load on the viewer's computer, the mesh trees are over four times more efficient. The PE doesn't reflect this, however, and in fact heavily favors the sculpted trees. Even if I'm being an especially conscientous builder and decide to take the prim hit in exchange for a less laggy build, most people won't do that, either out of preference, necessity, or ignorance. A properly done mesh build will run much better on an older computer than an identical one made of sculpties, but how many of those are there going to be if mesh is so much more expensive than sculpties?

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Won't low spec intergrated graphics users be on 64M draw distance, negating most of the LOD issue. Unless you mean you are aiming for a 64k scene for these users...

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Hmm I got some serious reservations about those numbers. I tried SL at work with a very cheap GPU and guess what? SL set it to "low" by default. I could crank it up to "high" and got a very smooth experience so I wonder just how reliable those numbers are considering every friend of mine has a much better card than the one at work.

Those numbers should reflect the "regular" users anyway, not those that make an account, log on to have a look around and then leave again because I bet there would be worse hardware there on average. Usually those with crap hardware are also the freeloaders who wouldn't invest a dime in SL so what is your problem? That you wouldn't cater to them? Come on!

Also, with each sculpty having so many poly's, you can't pretend that lots of sculpties don't have an effect - once rendered, they have more or less the same stress on a GPU than a 2048 poly mesh.

I think there's a lot of truth about this being a question of money. If you can make entire meshed houses that use just 10 prims, it would mean people need less prims meaning less land gets sold and THAT is the main reason I think. All the rest is just fluff to cover up the crux of the issue.

The high upload fees is another example of it being pure greed that is at the center here. Saying that the cost reflects the overheads is a real insult to my intelligence. When uploading the mesh, it could calculate the complexity of the model and then give a cost for the upload. Setting a flat fee that is not tied to the complexity is beyond ridiculous.

This whole situation makes me really dislike how LL runs the place. I know they're not a charity, but I do NOT appreciate lying, hidden agendas and bull**bleep** being said to appease us. Either you're honest and come clean, or don't say anything at all. Crippling designers like this and acting as if it's the most normal thing is not going to make anyone happy. I can see why Lilith Heart is so upset about the whole situation - she has every right to be when the dream of meshes is being turned into a greedy nightmare.

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Runitai Linden wrote:


2. Nvidia GeForce 6100


I don't think you should be catering to systems that are below your own systems requirements page for SL.  That calls for a Geforce 6600 minimum:

SL System Requirements

I also think it is an error to base a triangle count of 250,000 for slow systems on a full region, when people on the low graphics setting have a default draw distance of 64m, and therefore only actually see 20% of a region at one time.  In simple terms that is charging mesh for things the slower PCs cannot see or render.

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DanielRavenNest Noe wrote:


Runitai Linden wrote:


2. Nvidia GeForce 6100


I don't think you should be catering to systems that are below your own systems requirements page for SL.  That calls for a Geforce 6600 minimum:

The system requirements page is a little conflicting. The minimum ATI and Intel chips listed as supported are significantly slower than the Nvidia chips listed. Except for on OSX where the minimum card supported is listed as the 11 year old Geforce 2, which you can't even use in any supported Mac.

Basicly LL hasn't really bothered to update that page in 6 years.

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The first PC I used for Second Life (5 years ago), had a Geforce 3 Ti 200, which is a notch faster than the 6100.  It was barely capable of running SL on the lowest settings, and that was in the days before flexi and sculpt objects.  From experience helping newbies with intel 945 chips, that was completely inadequate to run SL properly.  You simply cannot run SL on computers made of plywood :matte-motes-evil-grin:, and the system requirements should be adjusted to realistic minimums.

Also, how many of those low-end systems are being used as bots, shop assistants, or IM receptacles, and not really trying to render or move around?

Catering to the lowest of the low systems logged in only ensures Second Life will continue to look bad for people with computers that can actually use the higher quality settings. 

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I know, I started with an 800MHz G4 with a Radeon 8500 which was just below the minimum system requirements of the time and I averaged 3fps. But a lot of people still login with this archaic junk. Look at indra/newview/tests/gpus_seen.txt in the source tree, it lists all the video cards people have logged into SL with in the last 6 months. You'll see a lot of cards that I would have thrown away years ago in it, even the Geforce 2.

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DanielRavenNest Noe wrote:

I also think it is an error to base a triangle count of 250,000 for slow systems on a full region, when people on the low graphics setting have a default draw distance of 64m, and therefore only actually see 20% of a region at one time.  In simple terms that is charging mesh for things the slower PCs cannot see or render.


I agree, 250,000 triangles is nothing really, I play some games that use 8 times as much and it still looks and runs like a dream, in theory with the settings for low end users we should be allowed a million per region, or at least 500.000. Even if its too much for those 6 yr old cards they can turn down thier draw distance even more, or even better .. send thier computer off to a charity and upgrade to one thats actually capable of properly rendering 3D graphics, after all SL is a 3D platform.....

I mean, you can get a 8 series nvidia for £20 for goodness sake, or a 9 series for £30 .. if these 'customers' can afford our stock, then surely they can afford a half decent graphics card.

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More and more people only use a laptop, meaning they can't upgrade their graphics - and as they have loaded all sorts of stuff on them they are reluctant to change as long as they remain able to access the internet and look at documents and photos.

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"..send thier computer off to a charity and upgrade to one thats actually capable of properly rendering 3D graphics, after all SL is a 3D platform....."

You shouldn´t be so arrogant. It will be the people running that "junk" who will pay for your precious meshes, after all, as they paid for the investments which were necessary to enable you to import your precious meshes at all.

In case you do not wish to sell your precious meshes, why do you bother then? Try Active Worlds. Or Blue Mars.

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Dont confuse arrogance with passion for wanting meshes to be as good as we can get them.

But out of the 5 pages of very intense and important discussions on meshes scaling, PE counts and hardware requirements, thats all you have to say? :matte-motes-whistle:

If I could please everyone I would but to please the 30% of users who have low end computers by severly restricting mesh to low poly models will no doubt be a thorn in the side of the other 70% of our potential customers who demand highly detailed eyegasmic models. If there was a magic wand around that made glorified calculators better at rendering i would be swinging that mutha around like a monkey on steriods, but alas this is the real world and catering to 70% of the market is logical business sense.

To give an 'extreme' example of whats possible with mesh and what we will be seeing in platforms like SL within the next 5 - 10 years.

Mesh Bedroom.jpg

 

Yes thats really a mesh model

Mesh Bedroom MESH.jpg

 

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OK. Class 0 is described on http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/GPU_and_Feature_Tables#GPU_Class as "low power or obsolete", and roughly a third of SL users have it (modulo people who fall in the cracks by having something too new to have an entry in the lookup table and so get misclassified as class 0).

If I were a vendor, I think I would ask: are people using obsolete hardware likely customers, and aren't I better off catering to the majority?

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It depends.  Some people logged into a low power machine may be using a text-only client, or leaving it idle just to recieve messages or as a shop modeling avatar, while they are creating or doing other tasks on their better PC.  We can't tell from the statistics how many people are doing things like that vs. actually only have a low power machine with no alternatives.

Conversely, does the class table properly report multi-GPU systems, or people driving two monitors with one GPU (which would slow down SL on one monitor because the GPU spends time driving the other)?

What bothers me is statements from Linden staff that they are targeting mesh performance for systems below their stated System Requirements page.  Either the system requirements are wrong, or they are designing mesh for PC's they don't actually support people using.

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