Lag Lag everywhere! Part 2

December 16, 2009 at 8:25 pm (Life of SL Model) (, , , , , )

Second in a three part series

Last time I discussed the issues with lag realted to the avatar we looked at Gwyneth Llewelyns article at http://analutetia.com/2009/06/22/anatomy-of-lag/ to gain a clear understanding of lag and all that is involved. One of the previous mentioned areas that causees 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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