ARC is of course Avatar Render Cost. The lindens introduced it as a way to encourage more sensible avatar attire. What some residents did with it is to try to force others to conform to their idea of what is an appropriate ARC value. We call them Nazis.
One of the things I suspect ARC Nazis have not considered is that different viewers give different ARC values. Nor have they considered that the current ARC values have little to do with reality. The numbers are a bit faked. It might have been better if the Lindens had ARC shown as; Good, Fair, Poor, Bad, Awful, and Disaster. Sometime after mesh roll out is complete the Lindens plan to revise the ARC numbers.
Now with the introduction of mesh we are starting to see people get concerned about the number of polygons an avatar is wearing. As an experiment Maniac Choche attached a load of teapots to his avatar. (Classy fashion statement – none were cracked) The prim count was about 11,000 and the polygon count something like 8 million. To put this in perspective, a typical scene in SL, what you see when you look around a region, has a few hundred thousand polygons. Maniac exceeded that by magnitudes of order with his single avatar.
Runitai Linden commented on the experiment. The Lindens knew this excess was possible. But, they figure the population of SL is sane enough to avoid this problem. Or at least enough so that it did not have to be address before roll out. Seems it was a matter of deciding whether or not the problem was serious enough to delay roll out of mesh. The Lindens decided it wasn’t. Time will tell if that was a good decision. I suppose it depends on how many idiot griefers there are in SL.
Fortunately, at some point the viewer decides an object is ‘too heavy’ and stops rendering it. One can also MUTE a heavy avatar and drop their rendering load.
Runitai says the plan is to add a control to the viewer to allow users to set the weight they are willing to render. There will be an automatic nature to the process. The plan is without doing anything, a heavy avatar will render as a muted avatar.
This feature has been delayed because of two problems. You may have noticed one of them. When you turn on Display ARC you can see your Frames per Second drop. I see something like a 3 FPS drop when I’m the only avatar around. Calculating ARC produces lag. So, calculating polygon weight for every avatar in a scene can produce more lag than one or two over dressed avatars would produce. The other problem is deciding what is considered too many polygons.
Deciding how many polygons are too many is another ARC Nazi type opportunity. Call them Polygon Nazis. We will see those trying to enforce their idea of appropriate polygon limits in the name of better performance. I think some of the Nazis are just trying to tell people what to do. None of them understand the meaning of freedom or personal responsibility. Fortunately, the Lindens will set any actual limits and it looks like residents will have a say about how their viewer sets the limit. There is no need for vigilante enforcement.
We have a number of new script commands in testing on Blue Steel. One sets the limit on how much memory a script can use. Plus there are a number of other new features too. Once you see a region’s Time Dilation and FPS crashing and see a script meter showing a rezzing avatar wearing 900 scripts, one gets the idea scripts can be a problem.
Of course this is an opportunity for Script Nazis to be born. However, in the case of scripts the game changes. Land owners, at some point, will likely be able to set script limits. It may even be possible to eject avatars with lots of scripts or scripts that use lots of memory. So, in some ways we will have to comply with the land owner’s idea of an appropriate script limit.
One will find it harder to define a Nazi and a griefer and whether a land owner is protecting their land and rights reasonably or has fallen into the deep end. Freedom allows us to decide what regions we go into and the owner to set the limits they want. The chaos of freedom brings people to real solutions by allowing people to experiment and vote with their participation or absence.