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Second Life Mythbusters; getting rid of some of those old SL myths!


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There are lots of myths in SL, even after being here for a few years there are still a few I am not sure about.

Lets try and bust a few myths but please keep it to the point and useful so it can be used later to find these answers back in stead having to fight your way trough dozens of jokes and silly answers.

Myth #1: holding your cursor over a texture makes it load faster...

Myth #2: megaprims cause lag

Myth #3: most lag is caused by avatars
CONFIRMED: Yes, avatars generally cause a lot of lag especially when wearing scripted objects, clothing, etc.
So fight lag by removing things from your avatar that you don't really need.

Myth #4 Too many scripts cause lag.

 

Add a myth to the list you'd like to see answered or add an answer!

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Myth #4 Too many scripts cause lag.

Maybe it is my graphics card but I get more lag when I am somewhere with a lot of prims (San Francisco or the White House for example) and no other avies around then I do when I am somewhere that every avatar is wearing 100s of scripts (Ambrosia for example).

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but most lag iscaused by avatars, a visit to a packed sim will soon prove that.


Jo Yardley wrote:

There are lots of myths in SL, even after being here for a few years there are still a few I am not sure about.

Lets try and bust a few myths but please keep it to the point and useful so it can be used later to find these answers back in stead having to fight your way trough dozens of jokes and silly answers.

Myth #1: holding your cursor over a texture makes it load faster...

Myth #2: megaprims cause lag

Myth #3: most lag is caused by avatars

 

Add a myth to the list you'd like to see answered or add an answer!

 

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Keli Kyrie wrote:

Myth #4 Too many scripts cause lag.

Maybe it is my graphics card but I get more lag when I am somewhere with a lot of prims (San Francisco or the White House for example) and no other avies around then I do when I am somewhere that every avatar is wearing 100s of scripts (Ambrosia for example).

There are different kinds of lag, such as server-side lag (or sim lag), connection lag, and client-side lag. Connection lag shouldn't be an issue if you have a sufficiently fast broadband connection. Prims cause mostly client-side lag; especially older PCs can't handle too many polygons at once. Scripts cause server-side lag that affects everybody in a sim, no matter how fast their PCs are.

In case of server or sim lag, it is true that most lag is caused by scripts. All other kinds of lag can be avoided by using a sufficiently fast PC and internet connection.

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Isn't it so that only scripts that are active all the time or often cause lag?
For isntance scripts that have to listen or that scan the area for other people, actions, etc?

Scripts that don't do anything until clicked are relatively harmless.

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Mega Prim Pros and Cons

Prim density and lag

Using a mega prim instead of multiple regular prims (for a wall, a floor, etc), dramatically decreases the number of faces which need to be drawn by the viewer, or, depending on how "smart" your graphic driver, the number of occlusions to calculate, thus avoiding drawing hidden faces. [3]

Draw distance and rendering

Depending on draw distance, very large mega prims are sometimes not rendered by the Viewer. Increasing draw distance, which renders the mega prim, also increases lag. [3]

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Ishy's and Griffith's points are accurate and most don't seem to understand this.  When I was working with Electric Sheep, we found that nearly 75% of lag reported by users was due to their own (Client) computers.

Sim Lag is indeed a script issue but can also be a network issue especially considering that LL runs mostly on Level (3) backbone which at times can be highly congested as they tend to over subscribe their network.  Since SL runs as a hybrid TCP/UDP system, latency can come from many directions.

#1 Lag problem we found was from rendering. Either rendering poly's (from prims) where we saw excessive torus use caused problems (hair, etc.) and graphics.  With graphics, it works much like a web site and optimization is about the same.  When a builder fills a scene with 1024 x 1024 textures, you end up with a ton of graphics memory needed to manage it. 

The irony of the SL business model which limits prim to 10 x 10 actually adds significantly to poly count.  If we had the ability to create larger prims, we would have less poly's rendering in a scene and if we had the ability to create planes, we could bring this down much further.  I have been an long time advocate of the 64 x 64 prim max limit.

I would love to see more education on building for optimization and have everyone stop the ranting on how bad SL runs.  It's rarely SL and more often, the users and the objects within a scene.  (BTW a scene is the rendered distance at which a users graphics are limited to).

 

 

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Jo Yardley wrote:

Myth #1: holding your cursor over a texture makes it load faster...

 

The viewer does raise the priority of the texture under the cursor, you can see this in the texture console. Whether or not that makes it load faster is debatable. The last time I know of that some one tried to test this was back around 2008 and it showed minimal improvements. However the viewer and server have changed a lot since then.


Myth #2: megaprims cause lag

Years ago megaprims did cause physics lag but that was fixed a long time ago.

 

 

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Jo Yardley wrote:

There are lots of myths in SL, even after being here for a few years there are still a few I am not sure about.

Lets try and bust a few myths but please keep it to the point and useful so it can be used later to find these answers back in stead having to fight your way trough dozens of jokes and silly answers.

Myth #1: holding your cursor over a texture makes it load faster...

Myth #2: megaprims cause lag

Myth #3: most lag is caused by avatars

CONFIRMED: Yes, avatars generally cause a lot of lag especially when wearing scripted objects, clothing, etc.

So fight lag by removing things from your avatar that you don't really need.

Myth #4 Too many scripts cause lag.

 

Add a myth to the list you'd like to see answered or add an answer!

Second life isnt a game

i had to say it :smileywink:

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Jo Yardley wrote:

There are lots of myths in SL, even after being here for a few years there are still a few I am not sure about.

Lets try and bust a few myths but please keep it to the point and useful so it can be used later to find these answers back in stead having to fight your way trough dozens of jokes and silly answers.

Myth #1: holding your cursor over a texture makes it load faster...

Myth #2: megaprims cause lag

Myth #3: most lag is caused by avatars

CONFIRMED: Yes, avatars generally cause a lot of lag especially when wearing scripted objects, clothing, etc.

So fight lag by removing things from your avatar that you don't really need.

Myth #4 Too many scripts cause lag.

 

Add a myth to the list you'd like to see answered or add an answer!

Scripts reserve memory even when they're not using it all, so a lot of scripts could indeed cause performance issues.

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I heard that magaprims only create lag when an avatar colides with or walks on them. If they're phantom they don't create lag.  Newer megaprims are also supposed to be "safer" than the old Gene Replacement ones. I saw the difference smaller prims made in lag when the owners of DV8 replaced the floor in busy areas with non-mega prims.  The change was immediate & significant.

If anyone visited the Hair Fair recently, it was probably obvious what many avatars wearing many prims did increase lag. There were 4 regions, & I found the least populated had the least lag. Primmy hair & clothing is often scripted for resizing & recoloring, so I think that's a big part of the problem. Fighters know low-prims are preferable for reducing lag, but of course they're stuck with scripted weapons & armor. 

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Keli Kyrie wrote:

To address Myth #1.
I don't think clicking on a texture makes it load faster but I do believe that when I zoom in on the texture I want to rez that it gets a higher priority and rezzes faster.

That is correct. If you focus your camera on a texture, it will load faster. Merely pointing at the texture doesn't do anything though.

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I have a longstanding keen interest in making SL perform better.  I often experience a lot of lag, significantly degrades my experience.  I am not very technically knowledgeable, but I wonder if most of the lag I experience is due to server lag or network congestion.  This is largely based on two observations.  One is that, according to the Statistics Bar, SL never has used as much as a third of my available bandwidth.  Usually it uses much less, even if I am standing in a store I just TPed to looking at a lot of gray. My CPU and GPU utilization never go over 70 percent, and only go over 35 percent very briefly occasionally.  The second is that multiple major upgrades during the past year made little difference.  The details are:

2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo to 3.0 GHz Core 2 Quad-No appreciable improvement

GTX 8800 to GTX 470-Modest, but not dramatic, improvement

4 gB RAM to 8 gB-No appreciable improvement

6 mbps connection to 18 mbps-No appreciable improvement

Also, putting the Secondlife program folder on a RAMDisk didn't help.  

If anyone has any suggestions about how to make it run better, I would appreciate them.

 

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Keli Kyrie wrote:

To address Myth #1.
I don't think clicking on a texture makes it load faster but I do believe that when I zoom in on the texture I want to rez that it gets a higher priority and rezzes faster.

 

It seems to me that looking at an object's profile makes the textures on it load faster.

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What I do lately is temporarily lower my Graphics setting one or two notch.

Usually any stubborn textures (including sculpties) load immediately!

Once it loads, I just rachet those Graphics settings (under "Preferences") back up to the max :matte-motes-asleep-2:

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"Myth #1: holding your cursor over a texture makes it load faster..."

actually i found that if you right clicked a texture it would load faster..

 

i remember going shopping and when getting there if the store was not rezzed ..i would find the first prim that rezzed  then start to right click on them causing the others to show up..

then when infront of a wall full of items that were all grayed out..i would  start to click in a zig zag pattern  through the center of the wall of items..

they would rezz in the order they were clicked on first..

so after finding out it worked..the first thing i would do after that was to just start clicking on them all rather than waiting for them to rezz..

 

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Jo Yardley wrote:

Does using big textures cause actual lag or just grey buildings or both?

Big textures don't load much slower than small textures. Of course they take up more video memory, but it doesn't matter if you're looking at a single 1024 x 1024 pixels large texture or four textures with 512 x 512 pixels each.

It's actually more performant to combine the textures of four or more prims in a single texture file and then offset the texture in a way that each prim only displays a part of it, because that way the client has to make less calls to the asset server. To illustrate what I mean, this is one of my vendor textures:

ArchAngel vendors.jpg

The original is 1024 x 1024 pixels in size. There are six vendor displays in this single texture, which means one asset server call instead of six. Plus, most merchants use 512 x 512 pixels large textures for every single vendor, which would amount to 1.6 million square pixels for six vendors instead of the one million square pixels that I'm using here.

I always use the maximum texture size for my vendors and try to squeeze as many individual textures into it as possible. Don't believe those who claim that large textures are evil :) If you make your own textures, this is also useful for furniture, prefabs and other linksets. For example, you could combine the texture of a wall, a door, a rooftop and a chimney in a single large image file and then offset it accordingly on the prim surfaces.

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Jennifer Boyle wrote:

I have a longstanding keen interest in making SL perform better.  I often experience a lot of lag, significantly degrades my experience.  I am not very technically knowledgeable, but I wonder if most of the lag I experience is due to server lag or network congestion.  This is largely based on two observations.  One is that, according to the Statistics Bar, SL never has used as much as a third of my available bandwidth.  Usually it uses much less, even if I am standing in a store I just TPed to looking at a lot of gray. My CPU and GPU utilization never go over 70 percent, and only go over 35 percent very briefly occasionally.  The second is that multiple major upgrades during the past year made little difference.  The details are:

2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo to 3.0 GHz Core 2 Quad-No appreciable improvement

GTX 8800 to GTX 470-Modest, but not dramatic, improvement

4 gB RAM to 8 gB-No appreciable improvement

6 mbps connection to 18 mbps-No appreciable improvement

Also, putting the Secondlife program folder on a RAMDisk didn't help.  

If anyone has any suggestions about how to make it run better, I would appreciate them.

 

You could put your cache on a RAM disk instead of the program folder, that might speed things up a bit. You can set the cache location in the client preferences. But with your PC configuration, the lag is most likely on the server side. If you get 30 or more FPS, there is no client lag. Things like rubberbanding, walking on the spot, or delays when trying to open the dialog of a scripted item all come down to server-side lag.

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WADE1 Jya wrote:

What I do lately is temporarily lower my Graphics setting one or two notch.

Usually any stubborn textures (including sculpties) load immediately!

Once it loads, I just rachet those Graphics settings (under "Preferences") back up to the max :matte-motes-asleep-2:

Thanks for the tip :) I'll try that the next time when I tp into a crowded place. Avatar textures load awfully slow in Phoenix.

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