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MariahWhispers

Where is the best place to find out the best way to have your settings set up?

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It depends a lot on what viewer you use, what places you go, and most importantly, how powerful your computer is. The best settings for a photographer that uses Kirsten's S20 Viewer on a high-end system are very different from the best settings for someone who goes club hopping, using Viewer 1.23.5 on a marginal system.

What are your graphics card specs, and which viewer do you use?

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For me it depends a lot on what I'm doing at that time and where. I also used a lot of the preset graphic settings under Quality & Speed:

Low - if there are too many avatars and I'm only there to chat with someone and doing nothing but dancing (seldom used)
Mid - my default setting
High - when building or taking some pictures with windlight settings or places that aren't having too many avatars in it.
Ultra - for intensive photography that requires debug settings manipulation, shadows and frequent changes to the windlight settings.

 

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Some of your settings are set automatically based on your graphics card, but that is very generalised and you may find you can work fine at higher settings.

Preferences in general are a matter of taste & limits of your computer. Obviously everything will look better in SL with everything maxed out, but if your system can`t handle that then not only would things not look better you will likely not be able to move and even crash.

So change things one at a time, see if things are better or worse & get used to what differences they all make. If you change everything at once and 2 days later you have a problem, you will not know which one caused it or how to fix it.

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I'll take your question as being more about where to find a good set of recommended settings for Second Life.

As Peewee and others point out personal preferences and your hardware determine the meaning of Good Settings.

It sounds like you may be more of a casual player than a hard core game player. If you get into RPG/Combat games in SL you may soon find yourself in the Hard Core Gamer classification. In simple terms this means you will be attempting to get every single frame per second (FPS) possible from your computer. Render quality will be less of an issue for you. Your end-all-be-all will be speed. 

If you like clubbing and dancing then some mid-range settings will be ideal. If you shop and explore SL then you will likely enjoy higher quality settings.

But, your question hints the question, how do you know which settings are good for which type of use?

There is the simple answer and then the geeky answer.

The simple one is to use Me->Preferences (Ctrl-P) ->Graphics. You have a choice of Low, Mid, High, and Ultra. The settings are ranging form performance (Low) to Quality (Ultra). The better your computer the easier and more desirable it is to use Ultra. Pick one of the settings. If your movement controls are sluggish and jerky, you have it set too high. Move to left a notch.

Along with the simple settings is one more handy setting; Draw Distance. Click the Advanced button on the Graphics tab to expose it. Use this control to tweak your usual settings. This setting has a major impact on performance and your experience. This setting controls what you see. When set at 64m you only see things within 64m of your avatar/camera. In a shopping mall you will usually want to reduce draw distance to 32 or 64m, depending on how well the mall is built. The Draw Distance limits the objects your viewer is downloading and rendering. Shopping a short draw distance and for scenic photography a long draw distance.

The complex answer is too long to explain. Also all those settings in Advanced have a meaning and affect on performance and your experience. Read through Graphics Tweaking for Second Life to learn about them and begin experimenting.

You can, depending on video card and driver, get video settings that will prevent the viewer from launching. It is rare but it happens. The only settings that can prevent a viewer starting are in the viewer. Custom video card settings made via your computer's display controls may not work well, but the viewer will at least launch, at least in my experience.

To recover from bad viewer settings, close the viewer, delete the file C:\Users\[user_settings]\AppData\Roaming\SecondLife\user_settings\settings.xml. Once deleted, restart the viewer and it will create a new file with the default settings for your machine. The same file is on Apple machines but a different place. See the SL wiki for its location. Different viewers usually have the settings in the same folder but name the XML file differently. You'll recognize the viewer related file names. They make it obvious.

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