Save Your Sim – Save Your Video Card!

• Save Your Sim
• Save Your Show
• Save Your Video Card
by Babypea

I am reluctant to learn new stuff because I fear technology. I know learning is part of the fun of dance, but I only want to know what buttons to push. I’m already confused enough. I relish my ignorance and do not want to know why or how things work. I recently found out that making things phantom reduces lag and stress on a sim. This befuzzled me, since I don’t ‘do’ technology. I found myself in the danger zone of asking why. Oh, that tempting fruit from the Tree of Knowledge! I asked Darkstone Aeon, my informant, what items being phantom or physical has to do with lag. He directed me to speak to someone who has understanding of this. Her name is Polgara Llewellyn. She has great knowledge and generously gave me some of her time to share it. Using small words and simple sentences, this is what she told to me. Everyone who gathers crowds on their land should know this information. This is, of course, for those who do not already know how making everything possible on your land phantom can reduce lag on your sim.

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When you are at home in RL and run into a wall, if you hit it hard enough, it shakes. That happens in SL too. Even though you can’t see the shaking, it exists. Polgara explained, “When you collide with a non-phantom object, it reverberates in the server. Like an echo in a canyon, and the server is so focused on the collision that it forgets everything else on the sim. Thus you get the lag.”

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If you have Estate Manager permissions on your sim, you can go to the Region/Estate/Debug and get top colliders. This will list them for you. The standard collision for an avatar walking on a prim is .450. One avatar is one collision, but when you get 20 or 60 or even more, the collisions are massive, not only for the avatars but for the prims as well. Prims will often show collisions of two or three from avatars. “You get any collisions over 3 or 4, that is enough to make your sim soup,” Polgara said. “Anything around 8 to 10 can crash your sim.”

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What can you do about this? You can make everything possible phantom. Why does this reduce collisions? “By making things phantom, the server does not ‘see’ them. Kinda like walking into a wall that is phantom… you might fall thru it but you won’t collide with it. These sims can run 30 – 50ms on scripts for a full sim.” That makes sense! If things are phantom, there are no collisions. That equates to considerable less lag on your land. That is also why an avatar seated on a poseball or similar static seating reduces lag on a sim, whereas avatars that stand, sit, or kneel freely increase lag, because they are causing collisions. Savvy? Keep in mind, any furnishings, chairs, seating, or other items with sit/lay/etc. animations or poseballs should also be phantom.

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In October, a show I was performing in was griefed by a fellow dancer and her friends. It is appalling that a fellow performer would do this, but sadly the world is full of resentment, jealousy and cowards. What was even sadder was the people in group chat who trusted the dancer-griefer and vehemently defended her, saying she would never do this. But in the end, the evidence was undeniable, as was her bragging and laughing about it to other friends who stepped forward out of a sense of honor, disgusted by what she was so proud of doing. The griefing was severe. More than wrecking our show and crashing the sim, it damaged the video card of at least one person at the show. It is a sad truth that some of humanity’s lowest common denominators exercise their inner misery by trying to ruin SL for others. Why? Who knows. People can only give what they have. Alan Turing might say it is because violence feels good. Perhaps it is the only way one who feels powerless can feel strong, though is it not a false strength? The truly strong can afford to be gentle. Only those with weak character need to beat on their chests to feel powerful.

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Because griefers are an on-going problem in SL, I was thrilled when Polgara gave me a tip about something everyone can do to protect themselves from griefers, and keep their own systems from being lagged out when griefed. If you use the Firestorm viewer, in Preferences under Firestorm/Protection, check the box that says “Automatically hide large objects with high texture area”, and set the threshold at 3000. This will protect your graphics card and keep you from lagging out when you are griefed. Especially nice for those who have fans *winks*. Polgara also recommends, “Make sure you have spam protection checked too. It keeps things from spamming your screen, and it also keeps things from masking the real avatar.” She says this keeps objects from mimicking other people. Polgara has her max lines set to 40. Great information!

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Polgara also bans certain creators who are known for producing items that create severe collisions. She says, anything that rezzes more rezzers is bad. Want a nice snow rezzer with no lag? She recommends, “Try Laura Liberty.”

Polgara Llewellyn knows what she is talking about. She learned from a Linden six years ago, who taught her about terraforming and many things regarding land management. She is always happy to share this benevolence with others. “I would do him a disservice if I did not help anyone who asked for help.” She manages close to 200 sims, and they seldom ever… if ever… crash. Two of them have live venues that regularly hold 80 avatars with no worries. She was also selected to wrangle the sims for RFL (Relay for Life), running them at top performance. She says though some people do not believe in all this, she sees it and feels it. Her estate runs like a top. She also offers free classes on this and other topics for builders. She has a generous soul, using her own light to light other candles. She says with a smile, “Hey this is everyone’s SL, and everyone should enjoy it, and it’s like RL, when you find something that makes it more enjoyable, you share.” It is a happy truth that some of humanity’s highest common denominators exercise their inner joy by trying to enhance SL for others. Now, that is strength! People can only give what they have. Integrity gives honor to our purpose.

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Here are the guidelines Polgara has established for the smooth performance of the RFL sims. Perhaps they could help us all to have more stability in our shows.
BUILDS:
*All builds must have the floor unlinked from the rest of the build. The floor MUST be a standard prim, not mesh nor sculpt.
*All builds should have the foundation as the root. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.
*All builds must have a foundation of at LEAST 4 meters, and 3 of it MUST be pushed down into the Navmesh on the terrain.
*Textures: Builds are one place where bigger is NOT better. Textures should be 512×512 or smaller. Use Scale NOT resize in PS or Gimp so you do not make the bits irregular in shape, as this makes your textures blurry.
*ALL trees, plants, waterfalls, signs, furniture MUST be phantom.
*All paths must be phantom and at least 5 meters deep into the Navmesh.
*Anything an avatar can bump into, run into, fly into, MUST be phantom. If you need clarification, contact Polgara Llewellyn or Melodie Jigsaw.
*NO Physical objects or any kind of breedable animal. If an item is phantom yet physical do not put it down. Physical items are cool and beautiful but laggy on a sim that has a lot of people on it.
*Do not use any creator that has firefly, butterfly, or any other object in a rezzer that creates more rezzers. i.e. Dash of Romance Fireflies, 2 prims that rez over 20 rezzers. Although particles are a viewer lag issue, lots of people do not know this, so we need to make it easier for them.
*Linden water – try to use as much of it as possible, as it helps with lag. ANYTHING in the water, should be made phantom, with the exception of walkways, and they should have their root prim stuck in the Navmesh.

What is Navmesh?
Navmesh means Navigation mesh. It’s a representation of the region’s geometry generated and used by the physics simulator (Havok) to determine paths for the pathfinding characters. Pathfinding allows scripted objects to intelligently move from one place to another while avoiding obstacles. Pathfinding works with Navmesh, which is the special kind of physics simulation of terrain, walls, doors and things like that for pathfinding characters to navigate. Every time you make a change to the Navmesh, you have to rebake the region so it updates the physics shapes used for pathfinding.

 

EXAMPLES

Navmesh
Navmesh on the sim with terrain

 

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Walkability with Navmesh bug

 

Navmesh no land

What the Navmesh looks like with no terrain

 

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Sidewalk-sitting on top of the terrain, BUT not in the Navmesh

 

Barely stuck in the navmesh but now NO shadow

Sidewalk IN the Navmesh… barely

 

NON Phantom tree stuck in navmesh

A non-phantom item stuck in the Navmesh

I hope this will help you to have a more stable SL and more stable shows!

 

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An award-winning competitive Gorean dancer, Babypea entered mainstream SL performance dance in July 2012. She co-owns Elysium Cabaret, and often dances for other troupes as well, as a regular or a guest performer. The friendship and fellowship dance provides is as important to her as the creative expression of this amazing artistic medium.

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