Some improvements in Second Life have unintended consequences. The Destination Guide and What’s Hot are both nice additions to Second Life. But, there are some unintended consequences from them. One of the negative consequences is over loading regions.
I’ve seen lots of improvements in Second Life this year. Region crossings and region lag have been improved. But, those sailing and flying vehicles through crossings are still unhappy. Also, we all have probably had recent problems with region crossings. But, in general things have gotten better. But, the destination guide offers some new opportunities to concentrate more people in a region.
Region lag has been reduced. More and more of the regions I’m in are running at full speed. But, there are regions that are horribly lagged. It seems to me these lagging regions are regions where lots of people are arriving and departing. Departures may be having more impact on performance than arrivals. Visiting a What’s Hot region is a good way to find a lagging region. From the various Linden Office Hour meetings, if we can still call them that, we know that lag issues are being worked on.
We’ve also learned that the Destination Guide lags too. It may show 25 people in a region. But, when we get there, no one is there. Some viewers lag more than others. Some viewers seem to only load the guide once per login. May be it is the way Web Kit caches the web page.
The most interesting take I’ve seen on the impact of Destination Guide induced lag is by Loki Eliot, who is running mini-games and running into problems. You may have seen his earlier: The Evil Giant Zombie Worm Massacre. (Image above) This game of his and the newer The Dark Aether falls Mini Game of Clue Hunting and Bug Zapping #SL (Image below) have both been added to the Destination Guide. Of course as more people pour into the regions they make the What’s Hot list. Once one is on HOT even more people pour into the region. But, neither have the impact that being featured on the login Destination Guide does. Being featured is an honor and it does say something positive about the region so honored. But, it may also crash your region.
Loki has written about his experience with both the Destination Guide and What’s Hot. Following Loki’s blog is a must for those interested in making games within Second Life, actually for anyone making games for any system.
The Destination Guide provides Loki a steady stream of visitors. Apparently most were experienced SL’ers. Things went well for a time. Then one day the game was swamped with new visitors, many noobies. The region ground to crawl and the game became unplayable as the script system overloaded and HUD’s stopped working. It seems the game had been moved to a Featured Game/Destination prominence in the Login Destination Guide.
Since Loki sells game HUD’s to pay tier, with the region overloaded that was a problem. People get upset when what they buy fails to work. He ended up asking the Destination Guide Editor to remove the game from the featured spot to reduce the load on the server. He is happy they quickly helped out.
You can also imagine what people new to SL may have thought. Sending new people to a lagged out region of SL is not going to help player retention. You may also have noticed that the Destination Guide does not show regions with more than 25 people. Whether the limit is a new feature of the guide, I have not heard. But, it is probably a smart thing.
In another of Loki’s articles, Goonys visit the Linden Realms #SL #Slgames, he describes his experience with the Linden Realms game. He goes into what new tools they used and how he thinks he could make use of those tools in his games.
He points out the Linden’s solution to lag in their Linden Realms game is to throw regions at the problem. Loki says they are using 12 regions that are duplicates. I didn’t count last time I was in the Realms Portal. But, 12 sounds about right. Add the portal region and it costs about a US$3,900 per month.
I have learned to turn 90 to 180 degrees after landing there and then head for a portal doorway. If I just head for the portal in front of me I tend to crash when attempting the tp.
Loki is pointing out the problems region owners and game builders are having with Second Life lag. I know that many of the problems are being addressed by the Lindens. I expect to see most of the issues affecting Loki get fixed, or at least improved, during the 2012 year.