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Nacy Nightfire
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I believe folks who can't see mesh don't have much incentive to switch over to mesh enabled viewers since they can't see what they are missing.  I'm thinking of attaching a small billboard photo over my avatar to make my cat avatar visible to people who just see me as a blob.  I hope it encourages a few people who aren't using meshs enabled viewers to give it a chance.

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Without a doubt jackie, there are folks who feel the way you do, but I suspect there is another subset of SL members who just don't know enough about mesh and cant see it with the viewers they are currently using so they don't  know what great stuff they are missing.

In the four years I've been in SL, I've never experienced an actual stable viewer.  I just roll with the punches and make do as both the SL and alternative viewer developers pump out newer, greater, and more "fixed" versions.  It's a way of life in SL.  I'm not angry, resentful or bitter about it.  (not directing this to you, jackie, but to the vitriol in general about this topic that I've come across).  I'm just patient.

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That virtriol comes mostly comes from the subset of users who think (insist?) that SL should run on any desktop, laptop/notebood, netbook, tablet and smartphone made.  Yeah, they want all the pretties and shinnies but they want it without having to have the hardware necessary for all those pretties and shinnies.

 

"Just dumb the platforn down so I can run SL on my $199 netbook or my $200 Playbook.........afterall I'm just as important as that guy with $800 home built desktop.  He gets all the goodies and I get nothing".  That type, you know?

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Coolviewer and Singularity are not for Mac.  So my "mesh alt" gets on the latest beta viewer, which is actually not that bad except for things like no radar. However, they make me download a new one every other day and each time I lose all my prefs (and there is some setting up to do because the default is no controls or buttons of any kind).

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And this is the very first time that I remember that you have ever mentioned any inconvenience for having to put up with that.  I would say you have the proper attitude in that you, for whatever reason, decided to enjoy SL with what you have to enjoy it.....not insisting that you should be able to have the same performance that others have who have higher spec'd machines.  You, Pamela, are not the people I'm talking about.

 

There are people who want to be able to enjoy mesh like the OP has discribed.  But, because of the machines they are using, cannot.  That's unfortunate to say the least.  But it's not anyone's fault be their own for the computers they are using.  Sure, maybe they can afford a new machine or to upgrade their existing machine to be able to enjoy mesh as mesh is meant to be enjoyed........but don't advocate (or whine) because LL has introduced a feature they are not capable to enjoying.  Don't take it away from the people who can.........save your pennies so that you can join the crowd who can.  Nothing waits for anyone in the world of computers........why should LL wait for you?  That's my point of my post........the "vitriol" spewed by so many.

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Peggy, I'm confused. Sorry for my lack of knowledge in this area.  Is there something inherent about mesh that requires a system that is more robust then one that allows you to view sculpties?   I assumed (always a mistake, I know) that because mesh requires less geometry, etc. it should be as easier or at least as simple to render, especially since everything IS mesh as we view it.

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It's the server code that apparently makes mesh more difficult for some systems.  You're right about what should be but the code has changed to allow mesh.............some systems just can't handle that change.  Shadows (which required no substantial server code change) are actually harder on the system hardware, but for some reason it didn't stir up such a fuss).  People can't run Viewer 3 and TPV's what can view mesh.  Of course it's got to be LL's fault....even though the vast majority of people don't have that problem.  It boils down to hardware or the drivers running that hardware......people don't want to accept that so by spew the "vitriol" at LL.

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Thanks for the explanation.   Shadows,  I'm guessing, can just be turned off, so probably that's what it didn't bother people that much.

I consider SL to be similar to any other kind of recreation.  You can't enjoy the advanced slopes?  Don't blame the ski resort for your c*ppy equipment.  Either make it a priority and save the money and spend it on proper equipment for what you are trying to accomplish, or accept your self-imposed limitations.  Or just go away and  enjoy another sport.  As it is, in SL  there are no required "lift tickets", anyone is free to enjoy SL at a basic level they just shouldn't  complain that their personal choice or circumstances dictate that for this form of entertainment  they are restricted to enjoying it at its most basic level.  

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A bit off-topic here, but I'd just like to mention a slightly worrying trend I've begun noticing with a few mesh creators on the marketplace, without pointing any fingers etc.

Mesh in theory is supposed to be less demanding on system resources, due to efficient modeling techniques etc, which I fully support and applaud - plus it is miles easier to texture etc. HOWEVER, I've noticed a trend for some merchants at least to use the sculptie mentality in their mesh techniques - as in, absolutely INSANE amounts of triangles in their AV attachments (clothing etc). They would probably argue that since it doesn't count towards land impact, the PE is irrelevant, but I would think it would cause considerable lag just for it render. I'm talking about clothing meshes (rigged or unrigged) with PE counts in the 80 to 230 range etc - utterly insane triangle counts which all need to be rendered in real time, whether visible or not. When looking at some of these items in wireframe mode, I am utterly floored at the wastage of triangles - the creators clearly have no concept of efficiency in meshwork for realtime framerates. No removal of invisible backfaces, huge amounts of incredibly tiny geometry detail which nobody will ever really see, but will cause lag due to them needing to be processed, often with no LODs (just the full mesh for each LOD) etc.

The meshes I am referring to have triangle counts comparable to (and even in some cases, surpassing) the levels of mesh geometry detail I have seen and used for general 3D RENDERING work (NOT realtime rendering). To have this amount of mesh geometry inside of SL is only going to add to the misconception that mesh is bad, causes lag etc.

(Not being egocentric or elitist in the slightest here... but I could make equivalent mesh attachments with about 10% of the triangle counts of the worst cases, and at normal viewing distances would look quite comparable in quality (even zoomed in they would look reasonable, with a sacrifice in "curvyness" - but that is the nature of realtime meshes - tradeoffs for performance).

There will always be inefficient mesh makers, and no doubt some terrible ones. My main worry is that many creators don't have a clue about mesh making for efficiency, especially for real-time rendering, and just go along their way happily making meshes with insane levels of triangle counts without ever knowing how much of a lag-monster they are producing. I'm not referring to meshes with a little more detail than is really necessary - but rather, the ones with massively excessive triangle counts... the ones that really cause and add to the lag problem.

Please note my rant isn't aimed at anyone in particular, but this is a trend which is beginning to worry me.

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As is the case with almost all user created content in SL.  The number one draw for many people who come to and stay in SL is the ability to create your own content, sell it or not, is also the number one reason for 90% (at least) of the lag we all experience. 

 

We are our own worse enemy for what we complain about the most.

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Maeve I think you make an excellent point.

It would be interesting if some OTHER basic test, not one just regarding copyright issues, but also regarding a of what is and is not an optimized mesh might not be in order, before being allowed to build with mesh.  That doesn't mean everyone will then go about making mesh correctly any more then the current test is going to stop adetermined thief from trying to take advantage.  But I wouldn't be surprised if a whole lot of beginner mesh creators have no idea what makes up an efficient mesh.  They just pile it all on and if it uploads, they are happy.  Perhaps there aren't enough concrete rewards or punishments for people to do it properly.

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Nacy Nightfire wrote:

 

It would be interesting if some OTHER basic test, not one just regarding copyright issues, but also regarding a of what is and is not an optimized mesh might not be in order, before being allowed to build with mesh.

 

I had the exact same thought.  Even if it were to get just a few percent of participants to at least begin making intelligent decisions, that would be something.

But the sad truth is that no matter what, as Peggy well stated, there will always be those in SL who take the whole "your world, your imagination" thing a bit too literally.  "If I can imagine a world in which I can attach ten million extra polygons to every avatar, and put 1024x1024 textures on every single surface, and have every manner of particle effect, scripted gizmo, and physics simulation you can shake a stick at, all going at once, and run the whole thing at warp speed on last year's bargain basement netbook that I was clever enough to rescue from that dumpster behind my local Best Buy, then by gosh, that's how it should be!  And while I'm at it, I'll bitch and moan all day every day about how the Lindens are so stupid because they dared to base their system on such inconveniences as computer science, mathematics, and laws of physics, instead of magic, superstition, and flight of fancy, like I would have.  They're just pure evil, I tell ya, liars one and all!"

Hopefully, if nothing else, market forces will prevail at least to some degree, and those who make lagtastic products just won't sell as much as those who make things that look equally good but are better performing.  Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but I'd like to think that if that were to happen, the lag monsters would force themselves to learn to do better, or at the very least, realize maybe realtime modeling isn't for them.  Either outcome would benefit the rest of us.

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Chosen Few wrote:

Hopefully, if nothing else, market forces will prevail at least to some degree, and those who make lagtastic products just won't sell as much as those who make things that look equally good but are better performing.  Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but I'd like to think that if that were to happen, the lag monsters would force themselves to learn to do better, or at the very least, realize maybe realtime modeling isn't for them.  Either outcome would benefit the rest of us.

I'm sorry to say it but that is wishful thinking that goes against decades of economic research. In the absence of any concrete incentive to optimize the vast majority of people won't even know what that is, let alone actually optimize their builds or buy optimized products. As your preceding paragraph points out we've already been down this road with texture overuse and look how well that's turned out.

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As for the computer hardware needed to view mesh... there are plenty of viewers that can handle mesh, ranging from V1 to V3. I have a computer which isn't off the shelf..and it cost more than $800 to build... so I guess I have no  right talking about hardware then...oh wait my computer is four years old! An equivalent can easily be bought second hand for $200. Very reachable for the majority I think. (No I can't view shadows or occlusion, too bad).

Mehs being hard on your system rendering wise? That's just nonsense. The duality of SL shows itself here: What I love most about SL is also what I cant stand about SL... Anyone can build, anyone. This is what makes SL stand out from the rest, by a mile. It however also means people will dump their laginfested items onto the grid, being caused by scripts or visual overkill in the form of textures or models which are too big. Do meshes make this problem worse? I don't think so, people dump 100 prim sculpted hair onto the rest, now let's count.... (my simple calculation again:) )

100 x 32 x 32 x 2 = 204 800 faces at LOD high

100 x 16 x 16 x 2 = 51 200 faces at medium

100 x 8 x 8 x 2 = 12 800 faces at low

100 x 4 x 4 x 2 = 3200 faces at lowest

I haven't tried to upload such nonsene as an equivalent mesh yet, but I am pretty sure the uploader won't accept this. If anything mesh is the best answer to sculpt infested builds.

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leliel Mirihi wrote: I'm sorry to say it but that is wishful thinking that goes against decades of economic research. In the absence of any concrete incentive to optimize the vast majority of people won't even know what that is, let alone actually optimize their builds or buy optimized products. As your preceding paragraph points out we've already been down this road with texture overuse and look how well that's turned out.

 For clothing, right now we only have a *slight* incentive to be efficient - that the upload cost is higher for complex meshes.  If you expect to sell 100 copies of the item, though, the incentive ends up being less than L$ 1 per sale, so it is very slight.  If the Marketplace commision on sales were L$1 per prim/land impact, that would be a strong incentive.  Now creators might save L$50 or more per sale for an efficient design, and I would bet they would study hard how to get there.

As an aside, when I was making clothing for the Blue Mars world, we had a 5000 triangle limit per attachment and a 512 kB total limit including textures for the zipped file size, and it was perfectly possible to make very nice looking items within that limit. 

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leliel Mirihi wrote:

I'm sorry to say it but that is wishful thinking that goes against decades of economic research. In the absence of any concrete incentive to optimize the vast majority of people won't even know what that is, let alone actually optimize their builds or buy optimized products. As your preceding paragraph points out we've already been down this road with texture overuse and look how well that's turned out.

I think you've missed the point, Leliel.  It doesn't go against decades of economic research. Quite the opposite, in fact, it's just about as classic a textbook example of precisely how any free market is theorized to work as one could imagine.  In simplest form, the market forces I was referring to would be directly related to, and resultant from, consumer experience.  If I'm a consumer, and I buy a product from Merchant A that doesn't perform as well as a similar one I got from Merchant B, I'm not as likely to go back to Merchant A the next time.  This scenario, taken to its logical conclusion, results with Merchant A eventually going out of business while Merchant B continues to thrive.  That's economics 101.

People don't need to understand the technical reasons for why Merchant A's products are lag machines in order to experence first hand that that's indeed what they are.   Now, will every customer of Merchant A realize there's a problem?  Probably not.  But a certain percentage will, and that's all it takes for a trend to begin.

Even if a given merchant doesn't give a damn about performance, and is only in it for money and nothing else, there's still plenty of "concrete incentive", as you put it.  There's a short term incentive right off the bat, which is upload fees.  The less overall resource cost a model has, the less L$ it costs to upload.  And, of course, there's the longer term incentive, which is what I described above.  All other things being equal, the less laggy the product, the more it will sell, in comparison with other products of the same type.

Of course, the above is all assuming there are no other chaotic factors in play, to complicate this otherwise simplistic view of how a market really works. (In this regard, an economics degree and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee.)  That's where the wishful thinking part comes in.  It's not about wishing we can inexplicably defy established principle, but rather about hoping that the issue doesn't become confused by misconceptions, misinformation, and misinterpretation, so that honest reactions are able to happen. 

Admittedly, that's a BIG hope.  But the good news is we don't have to leave it entirely to chance.   It's perhaps fitting that you chose texture abuse as an example, because on that subject, I would submit that your words, "look how well that's turned out," only serve to underscore my point.  What you said in jest, I say with conviction; yes, by all means, look how well that's turned out!   Thanks in no small part to a concerted effort to spread correct information about how textures relate to lag, by myself and others, as well as a healthy dose of the very market forces I was talking about, the amount of texture abuse that creators now put forth, and that consumers are willing to endure, has greatly diminished over the past several years. 

There's no reason the same effort can't be applied, and the same level of awareness achieved, for poly counts and other mesh factors that has been achieved for textures, especially now that we have the means to showcase performance costs, built right into the viewer.  I strongly suspect that display costs, download costs, etc., will become commonplace items in advertising by all merchants who want to promote the fact that they offer high quality low lag wares. I'd even go so far as to assume that any merchant who doesn't start advertising the numbers will eventually suffer for it, as consumers will likely gravitate toward those who do.

A lot of content creators still make huge mistakes in the texturing front, obviously, and some always will.  But a great many are efficient now who weren't at first, and that's obviously a very positive trend.  Again, the same thing can, and likely will, happen with regard to mesh efficiency.

As time goes on, many of the people who are producing overly high-poly models right now will inevitably learn to do better.  Likewise, consumers who don't yet know enough not to buy that stuff will eventually learn where their money is better spent.

 

As for the idiots I mentioned in the paragraph you referenced, let's not blow things out of proportion.  While yes, those people will always exist, just as I said, and many of them do tend to be unsettlingly loud in their displays of decided ignorance, I've never seen any evidence that they constitute any sort of majority.  In my experience, most people, given the opportunity, are capable of understanding and accepting basic concepts like "less resource usage equals less lag".  You do your fellow SL residents a disservice by assuming otherwise.

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Your wishful thinking depends on two things, first that the average user will notice (and care) about the performance impact of clothing from merchant A, and second that a single piece of clothing from merchant A will cause enough of a performance impact by itself for the average user to notice (or care about).

I'm not worried about the merchant that sells a 60k tris clothing, obviously they'll go out of business quickly, I'm worried about the hundreds of merchants that will sell 6k tris clothing (rough numbers, bear with me). The 6k tris clothing has a low enough impact that most people won't notice it when they're alone, but when they go to a room full of people wearing unoptimized but not horrible clothing they will notice the lower frame rates they get. How many people will be able to make the connection and not just blame it on the viewer or sim? Mind you we're talking about average people here, many of whom still see a computer as a magic black box.

We don't need to guess tho because texture overuse provides us with a great past example. Texture overuse causes a very real and easy to measure impact on performance yet it has taken the better part of a decade to make any headway in that fight. And once again the problem with texture overuse is not the one object with hundreds of textures but the hundreds of objects each with a dozen textures. It's a classic case of tragedy of the commons, each object / person uses a little more than they should, no one person is obviously in the wrong but in aggregate they are clearly hurting each other. Despite your wishful thinking the market did not correct for texture overuse in any way, and still fails to do so in any significant manor now. The reason for this is simple, capitalism depends on buyers having perfect knowledge.

I'm shure that eventually we'll win the optimization war but it's not going to be as easy or quick as you hope.

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I understand what you mean about the aggregate of small overages, and I certainly share your concern about that. SL's always had that problem, and likely always will.  But what we don't know yet is whether or not the presence of mesh in the equation will make that situation any worse.  There's potential for it to make things much better, even if not by deliberate effort or awareness on the part of users.

Say we go with your example of 6000 tris.  (I realize you plucked that number out of the sky, so this isn't exactly a scientific discussion at this point.  But for the sake of argument, it's as good as any other number we might select.,)   6000 tris is less than the poly count of three sculpties.  Most sculpty clothing consists of a hell of a lot more parts than just three.  Even if we double the number to 12,000, that's still just six sculpties, and an awful lot of everyday avatar attachments are made from way more than that.  While I'm not sure we can call the lesser of two evils a win, it's certainly not a loss.

But of course, we also have to consider that a lot of people don't wear sculpty clothing, because of the fact that it's rigid and can't bend.  Therefore, rigged mesh clothing, which can animate with the avatar, may well end up becoming infinitely more popular than sculpty clothing ever was.  If so, the amount of avatars walking around with extra geometry on them would increase dramatically.  If that were to happen, the total amount of attached-to-avatar polygons could go up, even if the poly count for each individual avatar that has attachments goes down.  I'm not sure if we would call that a win or a loss, or both.

Also, we can't forget that a rigged mesh will always be more costly than an unrigged version of the same mesh, on all fronts, which makes any comparison with the pre-mesh status quo even harder to gauge.

I do maintain faith that, little by little, people will learn these things, and enough will be able to strike the right efficiency balances that the world won't suffer (at least not any more than it already does).  It may take a while for most to find their footing, but that's OK.  For better or worse, one of the inherent properties of SL is that it allows people to be stupid.  If we weren't accepting of that, none of us would be here.

 

Perhaps a good (partial) solution would be to add tools for land owners to set limits on how much junk can be attached to an avatar allowed on a parcel.  If someone's display cost is too high, they're either barred from entry, or their 3D avatar gets replaced by a 2D imposter, or they have to walk around as a puff of smoke or something.

I could see this not only as a very good governance instrument for land owners, but also as a nice yardstick against which content creators and consumers could measure when making decisions.  People would likely think twice about buying that shiny new 6000 polygon jacket if they know the club they like to hang out at has a low display weight limit.  They'd probably choose to go shopping around for the lowest-poly similar item they can find that still looks decent.  And that, of course, is exactly the kind of intelligent decision process we want people to employ.

If there's one thing SL history has shown us, right from the start, it's that pretty much all people, even the most decidedly ignorant ones, tend to wise up really fast when they're presented with hard limits.  As evidence, I don't think there's an SL user on the planet who didn't firmly and indelibly grasp the concept of prim count, the moment he or she first tried to plop a 118-prim house onto a 117-prim parcel of land. If we had a similar mechanism in place to impose the same kinds of limits for other factors besides just prim count, I think people would get the picture for those concepts just as quickly.

I'd be willing to bet serious cheddar that the first time some tricked out hoochie mama avatar tries to teleport to join her friends at the club, and she's presented with a message stating, "Teleport could not be completed because your avatar's display weight is too high.  The destination parcel only allows an display weight of 25,000 per avatar.  Your current display weight is 37,500.  Please inspect your attached objects, and remove any that have high display weights," she'll get the message post haste.

 

Regarding what you said about it having taken many years for the message about texture efficiency to disseminate effectively, there's no reason to believe it would take that long to spread the same message about mesh efficiency.  We're in a much better position now to circulate the truth than we were so many years ago.  First of all, the people who have embraced the concept of texture efficiency are already in the right frame of mind to apply the same logic to mesh efficiency.  They're not starting from scratch.  Secondly, we've got real numbers in the viewer now that we can point at, to very easily and definitively explain all this.  Third, and perhaps most importantly, those who have spent these years fighting the good fight to help educate the public are now MUCH better at explaining these things in ways that SL users can readily understand than we were in the beginning.  In this, as in all things, practice makes perfect, and some of us here have had an awful lot of practice by now.

Also, we can't forget that SL is now for the first time actually attractive to existing game artists, many of whom avoided it like the plague before.  I've got colleagues looking to sell their stuff in SL, and they already know how to optimize.  The presence of such people will undoubtedly help skew the playing field in favor of good practices, as they will be able to lead by example.

While you're probably right that population-wise improvements won't happen as quickly as I hope they will, I also don't think it will take nearly as long as you seem to fear.

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Chosen Few wrote:

6000 tris is less than the poly count of three sculpties.  Most sculpty clothing consists of a hell of a lot more parts than just three.  Even if we double the number to 12,000, that's still just six sculpties, and an awful lot of everyday avatar attachments are made from way more than that.  While I'm not sure we can call the lesser of two evils a win, it's certainly not a loss.

 

Can't point this out often enough, although the lower LODs can ofcourse be heavier in polycount than the sculpts. I didn't try it yet, but if 255 prims (or prim equivalent) is the limit for wearable meshes, I am without a doubt some builders won't use it as the limit, but as a goal, just to make it better looking (for people with a 16000 x 9000 screen resolution or something??)

Again, SL's best feature is also its worst, anyone can build or script...(but they really can't...)

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Kwakkelde Kwak wrote:

if 255 prims (or prim equivalent) is the limit for wearable meshes, I am without a doubt some builders won't use it as the limit, but as a goal

 

Heh, that's 255 per attached object, right?   And you can have 30 objects attached.  Oh geez, how many tris does it take for a prim equivalency of 7,650?  Let's not find out!

Actually, I'd be surprised if it goes by prim equivalency for attached meshes, since avatars have no land impact.  I don't know for certain, but my guess is the only limit is the actual mesh vertex limit itself, which is 65,536.  So, multuply that by 30, and that's probably the real limit of what avatars can wear.  How many tris is that?  Again, let's not find out.

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