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Posts posted by animats

  1. Luna, is this the "appealing surreal look" you wanted?


    That's the New Babbage docks in winter, with New Babbage's standard lighting and rendering options at max. New Babbage, unlike most of Second Life, has people who care about and work on the aesthetic. They have a building code and building inspection, to keep the quality up, and an annual Oiling Festival during which problems are fixed.

    Sansar's few experiences are mostly the creations of pro designers. That's why they look good. It's not the technology.

    • Like 2

  2. 6 hours ago, Luna Bliss said:

    While I don't fully understand all the graphics specs you've mentioned, I notice an appealing surreal look with the shadows and lighting, and even the sound is somewhat surreal....what causes that?

    Artistic choices and rendering power.  Here's a picture of the SL Waterhead Welcome Area with common rendering settings.


    Same scene, but with highest rendering settings in SL, plus a change to the scene lighting to early twilight.


    Frame rate on my machine is about 20fps at these settings.

    SL's night is rather bright, but doesn't have to be. Here's New Babbage at night, lit only by the few street lights and the tram's headlamp.


    Here's Dark Alley, the roleplay area, rendered as, well, a dark alley.


    If you want to make SL look like Sansar, the tools are there.

    • Like 3

  3. 8 minutes ago, Parhelion Palou said:

    As for continents ... most people don't want them.

    You may be right. The social layout of the world is a huge issue. Sansar and SL are very far apart here. This matters for the future of virtual worlds.

    Running a big space with lots of people in it is hard. I've been involved in major real-world planning disputes. Stanford University wanted, and still wants, to expand their campus into the foothills. After much public pressure, that was pushed back, and so Stanford moved about 2600 administrators to a urban site ten miles away in Redwood City. I went to about fifty meetings on that. That level of effort is too high for a virtual world.

    SL ended up with feudalism. Eight land barons own about 40% of SL's land. Most disputes are between landlords, who have all the power, and tenants. Linden Labs doesn't have a dispute resolution mechanism for neighbor problems.  (There are abuse complaints, but they're not too helpful.) Feudalism gets Linden Labs out of dealing with city councils. Earlier in SL's history, governance was taken more seriously, but that seems to have ended.

    There are a few successful large areas run by groups. New Babbage (11 sims) is probably the most visually coherent. They have building inspection. Some of the big urban roleplay areas hold together well. They're all strong-leader operations, enforced through land ownership. If there's a democracy left in SL, I don't know of it.

    If your virtual world isn't a world, just a collection of unconnected 3D web sites, who needs Linden Labs? Just use WebGL, which is quite powerful and in everyone's browser. There are impressive WebGL demos, and few real uses. Or put up your world as a game on Steam.

    But then Linden Labs doesn't become a really big company.

    • Like 1

  4. I agree with most of that.

    • 2K textures may not be that useful, but Sansar does have them. Unreal Engine has 4K textures, but they usually don't push them across a network.
    • Bigger regions - 64-bit machines and more RAM help a lot. Good region crossings mean you can have big continents. Whether there's a market for big continents is a real issue. SL has them because that's what virtual worlds were like in science fiction. Sansar seems to be single-region islands, although it's supposed to be possible to have multi-region ones. Anyone seen one in action? Fir SL region crossing, with the current architecture, some delay is inevitable, but the things that go badly wrong seem to be fixable bugs.
    • Voice. In Sansar demo videos, there's usually someone talking. Usually the guy in charge. That may be the way this goes. Masters talk. Peons type.
    • Facial expressions. The real question is first person vs third person, a classic video game issue. In first person, you don't have enough field of view unless you have a VR headset or wraparound screens. In third person, you're one step removed from the action, but can see what's going on. This has classically been a first-person shooter issue, but avatars with facial expressions mean it has to be addressed again. I dunno.
    • Level of detail. That needs to be automated as much as possible. Yes, good 3D artists can get good results with inadequate tools. But they have better things to do with their time. In general, creating needs to be made easy for creators. Nobody here has AAA title budgets. For example, if meshes are cheaper to render than the equivalent collection of prims, they should be created automatically when a collection of prims is saved. Keep the prims around for later editing; archive them on some asset server until needed. One of the great strengths of SL is in-world editing. Face it, Blender is a pain and has a terrible UI, even after several rounds of improvement.

    There's so much that could be done here. I wish I'd been here when SL was on the way up, rather than getting in on the way down.

    • Like 1

  5. On 1/9/2018 at 5:42 PM, KarraSue said:

    I am seeking to buy a parcel, would like mountains, and some wooded areas, some water. Would like approx 550 prims. Want to spend no more than 10,000L.

    If it doesn't have to be near anything, there's plenty of abandoned land like that. See, for example, http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Relleri/93/174/23 You get abandoned land by filing a support request. Then LL puts it up for auction, and you bid on it. Some flipper will bid, but usually not that high; all the big owners have a huge inventory of land they can't unload.

  6. 43 minutes ago, Parhelion Palou said:

    Sansar needs that high end graphics card to run VR goggles. Without the goggles you can get by with a lesser PC.

    The original poster was concerned about frame rate. You need a high end card to get full frame rate with complex scenes and high rendering options, goggles or no goggles. Goggles with frame rate problems is hell, while flatscreens with VR problems are only heck.

    • Like 1

  7. 8 minutes ago, Jerilynn Lemon said:

    Would larger texture maps improve on lagging (FPS) in SL?

    I've seen if I am near a building that offers multiple  texture options, surrounded by multiple texture foliage, my FPS drops like a rock (7-14 FPS). If I am in a clear area, a building area for instance, it improves greatly (35-41 FPS).

    It would only help if you had a graphics card with a lot of texture memory. Those are still a few hundred dollars. Sansar requires one.

    • Like 2

  8. On 1/9/2018 at 1:57 PM, Luna Bliss said:

    SL simply can't be improved as much as we'd like, as it was built a certain way years ago and this causes limitations. Sometimes it's easier to start from scratch, especially when changing things too much could break our content.

    Visual quality in SL could be improved a lot. If you run SL today with the client hardware recommended for Sansar (a $500 or up graphics board), and turn the quality settings all the way up, it can look better than Sansar. Many SL avatars look better than Sansar avatars.

    What's Sansar got technically that SL doesn't have?

    • Bigger texture maps - 2Kx2K vs 512x512. SL could do that. They'd just have to pay for more RAM.
    • More server to client bandwidth. SL is throttled down to 1.5Mb/s or lower. Sansar is throttled to 10Mb/s. 
    • 64-bit servers. Are SL servers 64-bit yet? The migration to Amazon's cloud eliminates any old 32-bit hardware. If the code isn't 64-bit yet, it should be. Then you can have more RAM per server.
    • Bigger regions. Region crossing in SL is a headache, but as I pointed out in another topic, it's a combination of about four bugs, one of which I've fixed, one someone else has worked around, one in road construction that can be fixed in-world, and a tough one involving crossings at 4-sim intersections. All those could be overcome.
    • Voice that works better. SL doesn't use voice by default, and most regions have it turned off.  That's a policy issue. Voice also fails a lot, because the voice system doesn't try hard enough to reconnect when bandwidth is limited.
    • Facial expression recognition and animations that match it. Sansar has that, and a SL viewer could have that as an option. You don't need a VR headset, just a webcam.
    • Better level of detail handling. Biggest visual problem in SL. SL level of detail is per-prim. There's no way that a large number of prims, like a house, get aggregated into one big distant texture. SL needs that. Drawing nothing beyond the view distance sucks. SL needs something like a "LOD box". You'd put a LOD box around your building, it's rendered into a texture for each face, and that's what's shown when the camera is far away. Prims inside a LOD box are on standby until someone gets close. As an incentive, you should get a bigger prim allowance for prims inside a LOD box. LL themselves could implement automatic sim-sized LOD boxes, so that the faraway world always has a visual representation.

    As I've mentioned before, Sansar is way below the Unreal 4 game engine in visual quality. Sansar is roughly 2005 game technology.

    Now, to really juice up SL, do all the above, and add SpeedTree procedural vegetation. Give all LL-owned grass and trees SpeedTree equivalents. Natural areas suddenly look far better. Much of Sansar's better look is better vegetation. It's certainly not the avatars or the motion.

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  9. Sansar is a "go in, have experience, leave" system. Second Life is a "live there" system. It's the difference between Angry Birds and Everquest.

    The business case for Sansar is that there's a big market for casual entertainment. The downside is that you're competing with all other forms of casual entertainment, many of which are better. The business problem with SL is that it appeals mostly to people with a lot of free time, hence the limited market.

    Headset-type virtual reality may turn out to be the next 3D TV. The Oculus Rift has been out in some form for five years now, and there's still no "killer app". For the first ten minutes, VR is really cool. Now spend four hours in there. A lot of those things end up in closets or on eBay. Some fraction of the population gets simulator sickness from VR, and if you wear a VR headset while standing and the graphics glitch, there's a big chance of falling. That's not good for a mass market product.

    Augmented reality, where you can still see the real world but graphics are projected on it,  still has potential. If you get a chance to try a Microsoft Hololens, take it.

    • Confused 1

  10. 15 hours ago, Sigh Parx said:

    Internal Server Error...

    Reference #3.9d55ee3f.1515566038.54729c

    The error means the server, probably Apache, found a program to execute for that URL, and that program crashed.

    Note that if you're going to pass info around in encoded URL format, you're supposed to encode it first. See http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/LlEscapeURL for how. This matters if there are spaces or special characters in the content. LL says they recently changed handling of spaces in URLs, so check that.

    The PHP side working from a browser indicates this is likely the problem. Browsers will do that encoding for you. If you type in or paste in a URL with a space, it will be converted to "%20". But in LSL, you have to make function call to do that.

    • If you buy something from an in-world store, you can't review it on Marketplace.
    • LL is reluctant to provide "last login date" data. Probably because it would be embarrassing to LL. But for sellers, that should be disclosed.
    • Yes, the whole "will this fit my avatar" problem should be automated.

  11. 14 hours ago, Kurshie Muromachi said:
    • There is nothing such as procedural vegetation or SpeedTree in Sansar. The vegetation you see in the picture was created by a user.
    • I agree with other SL members that avatars are... to put it lightly, not the greatest. Although, it appears (having watched Discord) that some frequent creators within Sansar think the avatars are fine. To each their own I suppose.
    • Avatar motion is crude at the moment and feet placement can get weird at times depending on surface. Sansar users are awaiting animation capability.
    • There are people making such stuff. At least with dresses, skirts, etc. Thing to note is that clothing items are baked once you complete your look and rez back in world. So, draped type stuff, or any cloth physics for that matter, don't physically react in world. Apparently, that is to come later but their focus for now is getting user retention and engagement worked out.
    • Inara Pey has a summary posting (including an audio byte) in regards to the thing about LL's consideration of an engine such as Unreal.

    Thanks. That's even worse than I thought. It's embarrassing. There are Unreal Engine MMO games by amateurs that look better. A virtual world is basically an MMO with user building tools. Here's a 3 year old Unreal Engine demo.  Sansar should have looked that good.

    A new virtual world needs something like SpeedTree to fill it with nature. When you want to build something, you start by clearing the land, just like real life. Then the world doesn't look so empt at startup. High Fidelity starts out with a big, empty grid, so it looks deserted.

  12. I watched that video. They're still years behind modern video game quality.

    • Sansar has good vegetation. It looks like they licensed SpeedTree, the procedural tree, grass, shrub, and flower generator. Everybody licenses SpeedTree for games. It could potentially be in the SL viewer. It's mostly viewer-side; you tell it "put tree here" with some parameters and it generates a tree. Each tree is different.
    • Why are Sansar avatars so fat? Possibly because they're using convex hull collisions, which are really fast to compute.  That can't handle a narrow waist.
    • Avatar motion in Sansar looks no better than in SL. In the demo video, they can't even keep the avatar's feet on the ground. There's jerky motion of other avatars. The guy on the Golden Gate Bridge walks right through the railing.
    • The fashion release doesn't show anything that drapes.

    It looks like LL really did roll all this themselves, instead of licensing Unreal Engine or one of the other good game engines. Unreal comes with full source, so splitting it into server and viewer is possible.

  13. 7 hours ago, Theresa Tennyson said:

    Some time ago there was a book called Motel of the Mysteries, which is set in a future time when an archaeologist digs up a 20th century motel that was buried by a cataclysm and comes up with spectacularly inaccurate explanations for what he finds.

    Your posts remind me of that book sometimes... The Dunkin' Donuts store was almost certainly made by somebody who felt like making a Dunkin' Donuts store and has no connection to the real-world business.

    I read Motel of the Mysteries. And yes, SL does feel like that. You look at something built by a user long gone, and admire, or wonder why. Many thousands of hours went into building those abandoned places. It's like touring roadside America. Or Cars, the original movie. I do go to busy places and belong to groups, but I also like to check out the scenery of the big world.

    The Dunkin' Donuts shop is clearly a fan project when examined close up. At one time, there were big companies with a presence in SL. It was going to be the next World Wide Web, the next Myspace, the next Facebook. Most bailed long ago. This might have been a remnant of that era, but it's not.

    Aldrin, above, commented that "I have to wonder how many people are ever really logged in to SL. ... I really wonder if there are ever more than 10,000 real people logged in at any one time, and if SL is in fact largely dead." That's what prompted my response. He may be right.

  14. Think of Sansar as a way to make stupid YouTube videos easily, and it starts to make sense as a business. Look at Twitch.tv. Read about their scale and revenue. Twitch.tv is about 40% of the live streaming traffic in the US. And it's just people watching other people play video games. Sansar TV needs to go live, not just upload to Youtube. With ads, of course.

  15. 14 hours ago, BilliJo Aldrin said:

    I have to wonder how many people are ever really logged in to SL. So often I search for active clubs to check out,  I get there and there are a dozen or 20 avatars parked in the sky at 3000 meters inflating the traffic numbers. I assume those are all logged in and counted in the total, but I really wonder if there are ever more than 10,000 real people logged in at any one time, and if SL is in fact largely dead.

    Driving around the mainland, the number of non-bot active avatars is very small. Dunkin' Donuts still has an outlet in Bay City with a 'bot making donuts. I wonder if the company has forgotten about it.

    Boating is strange. I have a fast boat, and started going to green dots on the world map to see what other people were doing with boats. They're avatars standing at the bottom of the ocean. Almost all of them. They don't respond to IMs.  Anyone know what they're doing? It takes resources to stay logged into SL. Why stay logged in and do nothing?

    Sansar's design, of disconnected "experiences", may reflect the failure of Second Life continents. What action is left in Second Life is in contained areas - islands or skyboxes. For that, you don't need the big continents and their management problems.

    Second Life has become feudal - each land baron has an iron grip on their own territory. Sansar is feudal by design. "Experiences" have single ownership. Some SL real estate operator just bought their own continent.

  16. After two months in SL, I haven't seen much petty rudeness in SL from avatars. I've been in the steampunk regions, the newbie regions, the adult regions, and the biker regions. Just not a big problem. There's some snarkyness, but that's part of the fun.

    Real estate, though... I'm really annoyed by those "eject from your property in zero seconds" security orbs, ban lines that trap avatars, and "object entry allowed, scripts cannot run" parcels. That's  griefing.

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  17. I realize that. I've been to small, busy places, but I wanted a sense of the big world. It's amazing and sad that so many people built so much stuff, and then left.

    Here's the end of the road trip


    (Come on, LL, put something at the end of roads. A barrier. A MoleMart. A "Dead End" sign.)

    • Like 1

  18. I've been working on making vehicle sim crossings work better.   I can now drive fast around SL for two hours with few problems. So I'm looking for some good road trips. Any suggestions?

    I've driven around the Circuit de Corse. That's great. I've driven around Heterocera, which has some good spots.  I've driven across parts of Sansara, most recently the region around the airport in Bradmoor. (In Sansara, I've enountered three bots, two AFKs, an abandoned hearse in the roadway, and no active users. The mainland is deader than I expected, even though 34,000 people are logged in right now.) I've explored Kama City. What am I missing?



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