Lag Monster Part 2

Lag Lag everywhere!
Second  in a three part series

By Keeley Copperstone

Last time I discussed the issues with lag related to the avatar we looked at Gwyneth Llewelyns article at Analutea to gain a clear understanding of lag and all that is involved. One of the previous mentioned areas that causes lag is the draw on servers by having lots of people in one particular area and this really did make me think not only about shows that models, fashion agencies and designers are involved in but also the shops and sims that these things occur on.  Gywneth goes on in her article to make some excellent points about this matter.
What do shop/sim designers need to do?
Well basically to avoid open space!  If there is a draw distance of over 256m then the interest list for the avatar will cover the whole sim and with the creation of advanced graphic cards this is usually the default setting they are on. This can however be changed by the user as this adds to the huge jump in content transfers and lags the sim alot.  Simply put the designers should build no open spaces rather large rooms with partitions so that people may still move around.  They can artificially enhance the optimisation mechanisms built in SL and if none of the rooms are bigger than 64m and you request people to have their draw distance down people might move relatively lag free.  Another useful method is to have multiple landing points in a shop that way not all avatars will be in the one area and only a handful of avatars are in plain sight of each other allowing an SL client to only rezz the avatars it needs to display. Gwyneth goes on to make mention of some optical effects and signage to help shops rezz faster.  Also to suggest that they prevent avatars from flying as many of these tips and helps are null and void if an avatar has to fly to see the items. So shop keepers must make things accessible to avatars at an easy to see level.

Now one I know you all worry about…Does good hair really make us lag?
Since the introduction of Avatar Rendering Costs – yes I know you ladies and gents know about it in the modeling world!  It has become apparent to some that hair jumps the numbers up quite a bit.  See my before and after picture here for that one! One day experimenting on myself I saw that the hair I was wearing jumped the ARC up by nearly 1000.  So shocking when we all love to find the perfect hair to go with out outfits. The better it looks the more costly to your ARC it might be.  Strangely enough though this is another one of those myths. A higher ARC however according to the boffins does not create sim lag!  This also can be applied to shoes – basically a prim is a prim if it’s on your head or the ground or in the designs of a building.  The more there are the longer it takes to load. Usually in the case of hair its one of the first things that does download.
Lastly I want to relay Gwyneth’s discussion on the differences between sim lag and client lag.  We have talked alot about sim lag so far.  Gwyneth states that Sim lag is what happens on SL grid and affects every person on the same sim. Client lag is what you experience on your own computer. She mentions that computers or laptops particularly on WiFi lag more then a desktop computer worth half the price with a wired connection. Wireless and WiFi connections are susceptible to loosing packets and having information re transmitted. Laptops overheat quickly and have to start slowing things down and the CPU and graphics cards are the first to go!  She goes on to talk about unconfigured computers to affect the client performance especially when discussing the performance of Vista on a CPU.  Not being so technically minded myself this might require someone who knows what they are doing to adjust and change the settings to get the optimum performance.  SL tries to guess this with knowing what computer you use and adjusting the settings so for that but according to Gwyneth they do get it generally wrong. Generally she says is all client lag caused by improper configuration and the answer is generally yes.  Apart from that a good quality graphics card is what helps to minimise the client lag. The interesting part even if you can afford this state of the art item with a sim of 50 to a 100 avatars one will always get lag as there are no graphics cards powerful enough to deal with it.
Yes I know I said last! But there was one more important bit of information.  There is one thing that will lag everybody on the sim not only for the reasons mentioned above.  To put it simply it is time.  The more avatars that enter a sim the more the time it takes for refreshing of data for smooth performance.  The goal is to render all those polygons around you 25 times in a second.  The article suggests ways of using the View Statistics window to see how this works but I wouldn’t want to bore you with too much technical stuff.  It is worth a read however. The important information is that if lots of avatars arrive at the same time requesting textures as they start rezzing the time dilation or delay increases for that aspect and thus other things start to slow down causing things to not occur in real time.  What does this mean for us as models?  Possibly some of the suggestions would be to ask the creator of the sim to have less open space and limit the textures used in the sim.  To ask people to come to an event and have them be there prior to the start so that real time might actually catch up.  Maybe even to limit the number of people attending an event by putting on a few shows people can go to.  The lag generally happens when there are avatars that are sitting at events for long periods of times say over an hour.  So making the shows quicker and less populated might be the answer. Have you ever noticed how things speed up to real time much easier towards the end of a show when avatars start to leave?
The reality is we can not really do much to cut down lag we can slightly affect it but in essence the sorts of things we are doing are pretty much happening independently of what we attach to ourselves or what we are wearing.  No matter how much we turn off take off or lower down the one true answer and not the desired choice is to get rid of the avatars!
My next part in this series will concentrate on the little you can do to help with your own client lag – so stay tuned to see what we can all do be it small or relatively minuscule to help with your own lag.




Stay lag free
Keeley

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Lag Monster Part 1

Lag Monster Part1
by Keeley Copperstone
Lag Lag everywhere!

First in a three part series.

Recently I was given a link to an article about the dreaded Lag Monster all SL people have to endure.  Gasp I hear you say – well to be honest some people just bang it down to the fact there are too many people on line and others to day that SL is having a ‘bad day’.
As models and fashionistas we are forever having to deal with the issue of lag not only in going about our daily lives in trying to race from store to store to buy that important outfit, hair, or set of killer shoes.  But also deal with it during shows and events which require us to be at our best.  Other areas of fashion are dealt a horrible blow when lag kicks in on their sim if they are designers and trying to upload things or make modifications to designs that won’t save.  This is also most important for shop owners and running vendor scripts with delivery of items and for all where money is concerned.
The interesting thing this article discusses is some of the myths people have about Lag.  For those of you that don’t have time to read the full article here. I will summarise it for you!
Basically one massive cause or even way that lag occurs isn’t just the draw on the servers created by lots of people in one particular area but in fact also your SL client application.  It as Gwyneth Llewelyn so beautifully puts it ‘takes two to tango’. Each of these things has its own limitations and when they are pushed to the edge is when things start to go wrong.  She goes on to say compared with times of old on SL where the servers and the clients found it hard to handle more then one aspect at a time even though a variety of things such as sending each avatar prim data and textures, tracking down on the sim where your avatar was and handling physics just to mention a few were needed to be done. In those days the only way to deal with lag was to make avatars as simple as possible.  Shock – yes ladies that means sorting out that hair, getting rid of attachments and making sure the location was as simple as possible with cubes and blank textures.  Could you imagine!
I took a picture for my personal blog of me attaching all my hair heavens know if i ever went for a SL walk about so to speak if I would be spiking the draw on the sims all over SL!  See below.

Thank goodness now days things are much more different. Firstly on the side of the server things are being done in parallel and scripts will now only run when all else has been done. Hence why your AO, Hud or Chim might run a little slower at crowded events!  Turning of AOs or entering ‘sleep mode’ on MystiTools or detaching everything with a script will really have no effect now to the lag of the sim all it will do is make scripted attachments run very very slow or not at all.

Gwyneth goes on to talk about the myths associated with lag and the etiquette that was associated in the old days with making Sims lag free.   She does stress however that they made sense in the past but however don’t really apply to today.  Turning off AO’s will not reduce lag – although many people still think they will.  So she is suggesting if people still request this in politeness and SL etiquette it might be nice to do without the AO for a few hours even if it is only to make the requests by the host feel listened to.
What we as avatars need to do?
The cold hard facts are the following – the more prims a sim has on it the more textures our SL clients have to download which means it takes longer to rezz now days however the SL clients do have the ability to download what it basically needs and not to include every last little texture unseen.   On the sim site basically the same happens it keeps a little list of what your avatar wants and needs based on the Draw distance you have on your SL client. The lower it is the smaller the interest list.  Basically it means the lower you have it the less you are requesting and sending to and from the SL client and the sim.
Well now that I have totally made your brains hurt  ! I will say that the next part concentrates on Sims and Shops for lag as well as looking at client lag which more realates to how you can help your lag.  Lastly the third in the series will be lots of helpful hints on how to reduce your client lag.
May the power of lag be with you!
Keeley

Creating A New Me

CREATING A NEW ME
by Keeley Copperstone
Whilst creating some looks to put together for a photo shoot I have lined up in January I decided I needed a new me.
It is great trying out all the skins on Second Life but at some stage you end up looking just like everyone else.  So in an attempt to evolve as a model I wanted to look more unique.  I remember a talk I went to with the famous model Wicca Merlin and she said to be one of the best you need to be unique.  She really stressed about finding something of your own to make you the most unique you can be to stand out from the crowd.
So with that in mind I was told by a friend I must check out The Body Politik and Kin. So off I ran as soon as I got a moment free. Walking into the store looks just like every other skin, shape, hair, clothes and accessory store until it is that I stumbled upon the display that made me smile.  The display said ‘ Create the exact look you want, billions of different combinations’
EUREKA – Just what I have been searching for.  The Body Politik has designed a range called Infinity Skins that allows you to design your own skin using a few powerful swift moves of the mouse and a few rapid clicks of the buttons.
The board takes you to their own site www. Infinityskinscom where you can work inworld or out of world to create skin for you.  The best part is that there are so many different combinations that the chances of you choosing the same as someone else will be quite rare.
On the web site I was able to choose the skin tone I desired, the shade of lipstick that I wanted for my skin and the eye shadow that I desired.  As I did this the model on the right hand side of the base skin changes showing the over all look.  Next I decided to change other elements of my body from skin shading to eyebrows and freckles and a few unmentionables you will just have to see !
Rather then spoil all the fun take a look at the end result. Rather nice having something very unique.
I chose just for this skin from Amber Skin colour , Charcoal eye shadow, Bouquet lips, Blush No 5 and Dark Brown eyebrow colour.

I am wearing :

Outfit: Aurora dress by Champagne Designs
Shoes: 24’s Wow! No 18 Platinum by 24 Shoo-Shoes
Hair: Antoinette – Biscotti by Hairy Situations
Eyes: Rita Eyes -Blue Green by Curio
Eyelashes: MoulinRouge by Redgrave
Jewelery:Dahlinks Ice Princess Bracelet – Diamond, Stacked silver Bracelet, Necklace and Earrings – Cristallo by Twinkleberry

Happy creating everyone.
Keeley x