SECOND LIFE

April 8, 2017

Critical to one's enjoyment in Romanum is their ability to technically manage it's platform, Second Life.

 

With the incredibly complex virtual environment Second Life provides, a regular problem for users is something called lag. Lag is where the user experiences a slower performance or no performance for their avatar or animations or chat.

Like any complex technical subject, lag has many layers to it and many causes. Each cause is dealt with differently.

No one user will experience the same degree of lag as another user for a variety of reasons. Your goal is to minimize lag for yourself and also help reduce lag for others.

Let's examine the various components of lag and what can be done to mitigate the lag at that level.

1. YOUR computer - The key parts of your computer that affect lag are your graphics card, your RAM, your hard drive speed, your CPU. The more recent and powerful these are, the more you can deal with Second Life's complexity. This is a minimum for Second Life. If possible, turn off any applications you can while running your Second Life viewer.

2. YOUR internet connection - Most people use broadband now, which is really a requirement for Second Life. Although a direct Ethernet connection to your Internet provider is best, for speed, a wireless connection from your router should be fine.

 

3. YOUR avatar - Avatars today can be loaded with all kinds of fancy things from simple layered clothing to fancy scripted animations. Even static parts can contain scripts for resizing and stuff. Your goal is to reduce the scripts your avatar uses at any given time depending on the circumstances. This has an impact more on the Sim environment overall and a heavily scripted avatar will impact other avatars in the Sim. Also, your avatar textures and the texture complexity affect the client (personal computer) performance of your own client and the clients of every avatar within their draw distance from you. Generally speaking textures, both prim objects and avatar attachments, cause more lag then scripts (assuming most scripts are not constantly being executed).

 

In Romanum, in particular the main Romanum Sim and Romanum V, we now have goals for avatars to help reduce lag for each avatar. We request avatars in those two Sims wear:

1. Scripts that execute less than 10GB of system memory.

2. Scripts that execute less than 1 second in time.

3. Less than 150 scripts.

4. Textures that have an avatar complexity of less than 250,000.

If your avatar exceeds any of these goal maximums when you are in the two mentioned Sims, you will receive a local chat notification every 30 minutes as a way to encourage you to stay under the stated goals. By doing your part on this, you help make everyone's experience in the Sim better, less laggy. 

To check how your avatar is using scripted memory, in the regular Second Life viewer, select World/About Land, in the Firestorm viewer select World/Parcel Details. On the General Tab select Script Info at the bottom left side. Then select the Avatar tab. There you will see every scripted attachment you are wearing. You can remove attachments you do not really need, to get below 10 MB (10,000 KB) total of scripted memory goal.

To check how complex your avatar's textures are, you can right click on your avatar, choose Appearance/Edit Outfit. At the bottom of the popup is your avatar complexity. Our goal is to keep it below 250,000 when you visit the main Romanum sim and Romanum V. Here is a great video explaining avatar complexity.

It is important to understand there are times you may need or want to wear certain scripted attachments or complex textures that may cause you to exceed the goals in Romanum. This is OK. Just create a number of outfits based on what your needs or wants are. Create some outfits that require high memory scripts or complex avatar textures for those times you need or want to use those attachments and create low memory scripted and low complex textures outfits for going to events with a large number of people where lag is an important factor. 

An attachment that has a constantly executing script is known as an AO, Animation Override. AOs give avatars more interesting body movement animations then the simple animations Second Life provides and  most avatars like to use those attachments.

 

For those who use the Firestorm viewer, there is a built in AO you can use that allows you to not use script memory and therefore help the Sim. You can load your favorite AO into the Firestorm viewer and easily click that AO on and off directly in Firestorm. It is explained in detail here. Basically you copy to inventory the contents of your AO by rezzing your AO inworld (not as a HUD). Then you drag the AO notecard into the Firestorm AO setup window. To get the Firestorm AO button on your menu, go to Avatar/Toolbar Buttons and drag the AO button unto your screen menu. Once the AO is loaded into the Firestorm AO, there is a small white box on the button. You click that white box to turn your AO on and off.

4. YOUR viewer settings - You cannot personally control the number of textures in a Sim that are rezzed, but you can reduce the impact textures have that can cause you lag. It is handled by your viewers preferences. The most important being your Graphics preferences. CTRL-P takes you to your preferences. Go to the Graphics/General tab. Click the advanced setting to get all the graphics settings.

a. Quality and Speed affect how detailed and quick textures are rendered for you. If you want to improve performance, consider lowering this setting to MID or even LOW. If you have a high memory graphics card, you can probably handle HIGH or ULTRA.

b. Draw Distance is how far away your avatar will render textures in your viewer. This is a personal preference as the lower the number is the more your viewer will keep seeing things render before your eyes as you walk. On the other hand, if you are standing still, a lower draw distance improves your computer's performance because it has to render less textures. Most recommend a draw distance of 128M. That is the distance of half a Sim. If you want to be able to see more textures further away (and less rendering going on as you walk), you can set your draw distance higher. But the higher the setting, the worse your performance.

c. Max Particle Count - Recommended 2048 or lower.

d. Objects and Scripts LOD - recommended maximum is 1.0.

e. Under shaders - The recommended minimum is "Bump Mapping and Shiny" and "Basic Shaders" checked.

f. Set "Water Reflections" to minimal.

g. Under the Hardware settings tab of your Graphics tab, set Anti-aliasing to OFF (or at most 2x).

h. Click OK for your new Graphics settings to take effect.

i. Under your Preferences Network and Files tab it is recommended to set your broadband setting no higher than 1500 kbps. Click OK for your new Network settings to take effect.

j. Maximum Avatar Complexity - Avatars can have higher complexity for your viewer to render than others. You can set a maximum complexity you want your viewer to render. To set this, go to Preferences (CTRL-P), select Graphics/General tab, make sure Advanced is clicked and you will see Maximum Complexity on the right column. Use the slider to raise or lower the avatar complexity you want your computer to render. The lower the number, the higher your computer performance will be, but many avatars, with high complexity will look like a single color outline (known as jellies). We recommend a setting of 250,000. Once again, this is explained here.

k. When done changing your viewer preferences, relog your avatar into Second Life.

5. OBJECTS - Objects are non-avatar objects you interact with in Second Life including plants, buildings, furniture, etc. They are made of one or more prims. SOME objects also have scripts inside of them. They normally have a texture to fit their purpose. Whether you rez the object into Second Life or the Sim owner does there are things that can be done to reduce lag:

a. Texturing - Textures can be done at various levels of resolution. Try not to use textures greater than 512x512. Some textures are material layers, which is a three layered texture that better reflects light and shows more realism. The only way you can see the special effects of such material layered texture is if your viewer Preferences (CTRL-P) Graphics/General tab has clicked Advanced Lighting Model. If you do not care about seeing the lighting effects, unclick that setting. Your viewer will view such textures more easily (but you will lose the effects of material layers).

b. Object setting - Plants should be set as phantom. 

c. Scripting - Objects use scripts for any number of reasons, the most common being giving avatars animations when they interact with the object. For those who rez objects with scripts (individual residents and Sim owners) pay attention to those items with heavy scripting impact. That would usually be objects that have scripts that are constantly executing, such as moving objects (birds, animals) or objects surveying non-stop such as monitors or objects constantly communicating with a central server such as store vendors. Objects with a lot of avatar animations inside executed by one or more scripts cause server lag when being executed. Otherwise they cause no server lag. 

d. Derender - You may have little control over what textures are rezzed in the Sim and their complexity, but as a user, you can make them disappear, those that cause you the most problems. You can derender them. You can only do this with the Firestorm viewer. For objects, you do this by right clicking on the object you want to derender. Select MORE twice on the object wheel, then select Derender. You have two choices, you can derender temporarily (which means until you log out) by selecting Temporary or permanently (which means they stay disappeared regardless of log out) by selecting Blacklist. If you change your mind on something you derendered permanently, go to World/Asset Blacklist and select the object you want to render again. Then select Remove selected. Likewise you can derender an avatar. Right click on the avatar and select More and then Derender. You can then select Temporary, which means the avatar will come back after you relog. Or you can select Balcklist, which means the avatar is permanently derendered. If you change your mind on an avatar permanently derendered, go to World/Asset Blacklist, select the avatar and select Remove selected.

****** Feel free to contact Emperor Galtier with any other tips not mentioned here to help reduce lag ******

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