Lag at Fashion for Life–What we are doing about it and what you can do

Note: I pulled this off the FFL blog so I could post it in a place it could be referenced. If you receive note of this, please ignore. It’s not meant to go to feeds, etc, but it may and I apologize. ~ HB

In running Fashion for Life, one of our biggest concerns was approaching the issue of lag. Lag is like the US Federal deficit—it seems to be getting worse and worse and definitely impinges on our enjoyment.

A lot has been written about lag, and there are a lot of myths and half truths. We have tried to get to the core of what we have control over and we want to explain to you what you can do to make your visit more enjoyable.

First, let us say that any sim that has 50 or more avatars moving around and doing things is going to experience some lag. It’s that simple. Add to this that Linden Lab has been messing around with the server code and that has made things worse in general.

There are ways we can counteract this from the Fashion for Life end, and below Syngen will tell you what we are doing to make it better. But there are things you can do as well.

First off, and we hate saying it’s you but it really is you. The biggest portion of lag comes from the user’s end. It comes from having a lower-end graphics card, a slower computer, a slower internet connection, and a poor set up. We can’t give you all new computers and better internet connections. (Gosh would we love to.) But we can give you some hints to make it all work better.

In short, our tips for making your time at Fashion for Life (and everyone else’s) more enjoyable are as follows:

  • Make sure you are using a more current version of any client. Most old versions of LL’s 1.23 are obsolete. Get rid of them. Go grab a third party viewer or get v2.4 and stop complaining. (It’s much improved—really.)
  • Tinker with your Graphics preferences in your client:Take down graphics quality and performance.(Go to Preferences > Graphics and set to mid or low.) Some people call this “turning down draw distance.” Do it!Lag at Fashion for Life

Lag at Fashion for Life

Turn off anistropic and antialiasing. (Go back to Preferences > Graphics. In v1 viewers, check the “Custom” and click “Hardware Options.” In V2 viewers, click “Advanced” and “Hardware.” In that window, uncheck “Anisotropic Filtering” and make sure Antialiasing is set to Disable.)

Lag at Fashion for Life

Lag at Fashion for Life

Stop looking at other avatars. Do this by going to Advanced > Debug Settings > RenderAvatarMaxVisible and just take that down to 5. Really. Do you really need to see that other waddling hairbase person over there? (See below.)

Lag at Fashion for Life

  • Close other programs you might have running. They may be hogging computer resources and bandwidth. You really REALLY don’t need PS, Firefox, iTunes, Messenger, and WoW running all at once. You need to shop!
  • Adjust your graphics card to optimal settings. An interesting article about this (has not been tested on our side) is offered here.
  • Remove all scripts (including AOs). Too many scripts make the sim cry. We will be monitoring for script usage on the sims. If people enter with an unusual load, we will ask them to descript or in worst cases, resort to booting them. (Please don’t make us go there.)
  • The following all go under the heading: “No one is looking at you anyway”(and most of this has to do with reducing scripts rather than ARC):
      1. Take your AO off. Waddle. Or install your AO if you are using Phoenix (find out how to here). (No one’s looking at you anyway. Really. We are all shopping and not noticing someone else’s waddle. And if we ALL waddle, then we all look silly together—in the name of charity. Besides we have derendered you so it really doesn’t matter—see above.)
      2. Wear system clothes only. It is not necessary to be naked. The avatar has to render anyway—doesn’t matter if it’s naked or not. But wearing prims will add a bit to graphics lag (and many contain scripts). So wear something sleek and sexy and system.
      3. Barefoot is in these days–no shoes or prim feet ;) The earth girl look is in. We all have the same fugly system feet.
      4. Wear a skin with a hairbase and skip prim hair. (You won’t look bald. In fact it’s kind of chic.)
  • Wait a few days and go later and enjoy leisurely, less-lag shopping.  (It’s open from March 12-22!)
  • Do not lecture others on their arc, scripts, etc. Mind your own business and don’t be a drama queen. Besides, running that arc indicator thing increases YOUR personal lag.
  • Have patience. We’re open for over a week. You can hit a sim a night, slowly enjoy the incredible bounty of fashion and beautiful building and spend more than a week having fun.

If you really want to know how the sim is running, if you REALLY think it’s not you, go to Statistics view and get a better idea:

Lag at Fashion for Life

If Sim FPS is running in the 10s or less, it IS the sim. We will restart the sims at 10 am slt every day to clear the cache of the sims.

Look at the Packet Loss. If that is more than 0%, your connection is struggling. It’s not us. Call your internet provider ;)

Look at the Main Agents. That is how many people are on the sim. Remind yourself

I typically enjoy most of SL lag free because I have followed all these rules and then some. It really works! Come enjoy Fashion for Life with me!

Harper Beresford
Co-Lead, Fashion for Life

Syngen has a few words about lag too. As Co-Lead in charge of all building things, she was appointed graphic lag fighter, and this is what she has to say:

Hi folks! I’m Syngen Sohmers, the Co-Lead for Fashion for Life, and the lead builder for the project. Besides working with a great team of amazing builders, I spend a lot of time time thinking about lag. How to reduce it so that you can have a smooth shopping experience. There are a lot of things we’ve done to help on the sim side of things, and I’m going to list them out for you here:

  • The fair is spread over 9 sims. Rather than trying to cram some 200 stores onto 4 sims (or worse), we’ve spread the whole thing out across nine sims. This comes out to 25 total stores per sim, which not only spreads out the avatar load per sim, but also the scripts, textures, and all the things your graphics card needs to render at one time. The Avedon sim, located in the center of the region is the main landing point, and that will have no stores. Each sim will have their own landing point as well. Check our Vendor Listing for links to those sims.
  • The sims are arranged in an unusual shape. Rather than making a plain box of the nine sims, we’ve arranged them into a “tetris” shape. This was done intentionally so it could reduce the amount of things your computer will have to load from the central entertainment sim. If your draw distance is cranked out, you’ll still only be rendering the sim you are on plus those connected, as opposed to trying to render all nine sims at once. You also won’t be rendering child avatars viewable from 8 other sims.
  • There is only one path. A single forced path that will lead you through all the sims. This makes it easier for you to move around the sims and ensures that you get to see everything each sim has to offer.
  • All the sims are textured in grayscale. That’s where we got our theme “Beyond Black and White.” The ground, the trees, the grass, the buildings, the roads–all of the builds are completely grayscale. Your graphics card will thank us for reducing the amount of full colored textures it needs to render. After all, when it only has to render 2 colors instead of 256 colors, that’s obviously a lot less work.
  • All the textures we are using are lower resolution. Per our build requirements, most of the textures are 256 x 256. The highest resolution textures are 512 x 512. I’m a big advocate of this practice because I believe in not using high resolution textures until absolutely necessary.
  • We use repeating textures. We have reduced the number of actual textures by using the same texture for more than one thing and using them creatively. If there are two buildings that are made of brick, it’s likely the same brick texture has been used on them both. If there are sculpts? They’re probably used more than once. So our sim builds might have an actual texture count (sculpts and textures) of somewhere between 30 and 50.
  • There are no scripts except those that donate to ACS (and the few I allowed Harper to use.. grrr). Scripts on sims can slow down the communication between servers and clients. The only active scripts on sim are those in the RFL Vendors and Gacha Machines. If you see any flashing light effects (like at the tops of skyscrapers so planes don’t crash on the roof—ha!) the script was used to start the effect and then removed. All of your designers have been sweet enough to use standard sell-content prims as vendors instead of fancy vendor systems. (Harper’s note: The scripts in the RFL vendors we are using have been rewritten and optimized to use only 25% of the resources they used to use.)
  • There’s a little secret under the landing point. On each sim, hidden underground but within your draw distance are a bunch of teeny tiny little boxes. Those boxes contain the build textures each sim uses on their faces, both sculpt maps and regular. Without you ever seeing it or ever knowing it, these practical little things pre-load the textures for the sim into your cache. You won’t have to walk 20 meters into gray space. The build’s textures will already be comfortably nestled in your cache so you can see them as you approach.
  • A time for restarting the sims has been scheduled for 10 am slt daily. This clears out the sim’s cache from having thousands of avatars on it all day. Of course these restarts will be staged when it’s the least disruptive to your shopping experience and will come with warning. This also helps some folks who may have been having problems getting into the sims by giving them an opportunity to hop in on the restart.

Ultimately, some lag is inevitable. It’s a big event, and there are going to be a lot of avatars on the sims. But we want you to have the most enjoyable experience possible. Between what the builders have done and Harper’s very good advice about what you can do to help improve your shopping experience we’re hoping this can be the fun event it was meant to be!

Syngen Sohmers
Co-Lead, Fashion for Life

4 thoughts on “Lag at Fashion for Life–What we are doing about it and what you can do

  1. Pingback: Lag at SL8B–What you can do about it | SL8B

  2. Pingback: It’s Time It’s Time!! « Hey Girlfriend

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