You probably know there is a griefers tool known as a graphics crasher. What you may not know is there is a defense. The blog The Green Lanterns has an article on how to defend against these crashers. See: Debug settings to make graphics crashers obsolete.
I have yet to try these settings. I have not been running into crash problems. So, you are on your own.
The The Green Lanterns site is mostly interested in griefers/anti-grifers and what they and the Lab is doing related to griefing. I have yet to decide if this is another vigilantly group or a responsible activist group. I tend to avoid griefer and anti-griefer discussions considering both sides mentally unhealthy. But, The Green Lanters blog seems oriented towards helping people, at least that’s my first take.
Whatever the case, they do have an article: Linden Lab bans “PN” griefers. If you are one of the people that has only ever heard that the Lab does nothing about griefers, check it out. The Lab does remove griefer accounts. However, there are numerous other articles about the Lab not responding in a timely manner. So, at best the evidence only removes credibility from the use of the words “the Lab never…”
One of the Debug settings you need to change is: RenderAutoHideSurfaceAreaLimit. The SL Wiki’s Debug Settings page describes the settings as: Maximum surface area of a set of proximal objects in-world before automatically hiding geometry to prevent system overload. A setting of 0 disables the control and is the default value. I suspect your video card and the amount of video ram you have will determine the value of this setting for preventing video crashes.
Another is RenderAutoMuteSurfaceAreaLimit. It is described as: Maximum bytes of attachments before an avatar is automatically visually muted (0 for no limit). I suspect this one too is dependent on your video card and video ram.
The last is RenderAttachedLights. This one is decribed as: Render lighted prims that are attached to avatars. Some of you know this as the ‘face light killer.’ When set to FALSE people’s attached face lights are turned off, as least for those of us that disable them with this setting.
Another setting not mentioned in the article is: RenderAutoMuteSurfaceAreaLimit. It is decribed as: Maximum surface area of a set of proximal objects inworld before automatically hiding geometry to prevent system overload. I think this would provide another limit to what griefers and impose on our video card.
The setting RenderAttachedParticles may also be helpful in some cases. But, it is very difficult if not impossible to crash a viewer with particles. There are already built in particle limits. But, being able to disable all particles created by and avatar attachment can be helpful.
RenderComplexityStaticMax is another setting. It is described as: Setting a max value for scaling of renderComplexity display. Use –1 (false?) for dynamic scaling. This setting apparently affect the settings starting with RenderComplexity.
Crashers tend to try and over load a graphics card with complexity. These setting limit how much complexity the viewer will ask the card to render. Complexity can be in the form of large data sets, lots of vertices, and lots of intersecting surfaces. Numerous large textures add to the load on the video card. Fortunately the SL limit is 8 textures or less per object. But, lots of objects with the maximum of large textures can be a problem.
All of these settings are reversible. None of them should be detrimental to your viewer. They may however detract from your enjoyment of SL, as turning down any of the graphics settings might. But, if it saves a crash… Experiment until you find the settings that work best for you.