With the coming of Materials, being able to use normal and specular maps, how one builds is more important. Knowing or not good building practices is going to determine the experience in Second Life™. Poorly built items, whether clothes or objects, have a detrimental effect on our frame rates.
The SL Wiki has a page about Good Building Practices. There is lots of good information there. But, a significant number of creators ignore the guidelines or don’t know about them. Or… it may be they don’t understand them.
Penny Patton has a new article up titled: Building a Better Second Life – Tips for squeezing both better performance and more detail out of SL through efficiently made content. This article is something that every person building in Second Life should read and learn.
Penny covers using textures and scripts. She gives examples of what efficiently built things look like. Her M&C fantasy build (some sections are NSFW) is an example of efficient building practices. Penny does get to her ubiquitous near mantra ‘build to scale.’
I believe her points are keys to a better SL.