Second Life’s Annoyances

I generally think Linden Lab is doing a good job with Second Life. I see the quality of the simulation improve and degrade over time. But, there is a definite trend of improvement. Sort of a two steps forward one back.

Hair Fair 2013 - Waiting to Rez

Hair Fair 2013 – Waiting to Rez

At the moment performance seems to have degraded, at least in regard to texture download and rendering. I saw this problem with the Linden SL Viewer 3.6.1 (278007) Jun 27 2013 12:41:07 when I visited Hair Fair 2013 (HF). And I do keep HTTP Get and Inventory enabled. I’ve given up on the older UDP protocol. It has little future in SL. HF regions were running the main server release version 13#13.07.08.278357 not an RC . 

HF was a busy place when it opened. Typically there were 40 ± people in a region most of the day. I found that early in my day (7AM PDT/SLT) that might be as low as 25 people. But, large numbers or not, the servers seemed to be doing well. Ping and packet loss were great; 75-180ms and 0% packet loss. Sim FPS and Time Dilation were 44 and high 0.9x. Of course that departed from optimal from time to time. But, I had texture render problems even when the regions seemed to be working well.

DonnaFlora_003

These things never rendered.

I found that fewer people present seemed to reduce the texture render problems I was seeing, but there were still problems. Some textures were loaded before I ever got near them, that was wonderful. But others were blurry, some only partially loaded. I could not make out what the image was of and the colors were obviously incomplete. Others just never loaded and left their prims gray. The yellow arrow point to some of them.

My usual tricks of hovering the cursor over the object and getting the Hover-Tip didn’t work. That usually moves the item to the front of the render cue or something, whatever it gets it to render. I can slowly move my cursor over items and get a group of things to render quickly… or seemingly ahead of other things nearby. Plus I keep the things I want to see in the field of view. When they leave the field of view the Interest List can demote their priority or skip them entirely.

When that fails, I right-click the item and wait a couple of seconds. That almost always gets the item’s texture to render. But that wasn’t working either.

So, when the tricks fail, I just wait. I typically have 4 to 8 tasks open on my computer at any one time. So, I am enjoying the extra speed that Windows 7 64-bit with more memory gives me. I can flip over to another task and work on that for a few minutes. Of course sometimes I am away for 10 to 20 minutes with that distraction. So, I set my viewers to NOT time out my SL secession.

Usually when I come back things are rendered and I can proceed. But, even that was not working. I tried spinning around 360 degrees, which used to force Interest List updates. But, that no longer seems to do anything. Some stuff would just not render.

Love Donna Flora is going on now. BTW, there is some great stuff there and it is for a good cause. That event is in a single region (Brookridge – SLURL) that is in the Magnum RC, which is running SSA (13#13.07.19.278843).

I ran into the same problems. I’m less patient with it now. But, I did try my tricks and waiting. None of that worked. So, I know I missed seeing lots of things. Well, maybe not that much, something like 20%, which is still a lot.

I expect this problem to eventually go away. The Lindens are not too excited about it because they have things in the pipeline that should improve things. A viewer is coming that takes better advantage of the Interest List and HTTP changes and I think I remember something about more SSA improvements being in the pipeline.

I’m not filing a JIRA because my viewer install is so messed up just now. See: Viewer Pipeline Update. I’ve got to take time to straighten that out.

Mesh

There is a problem where the texture on a worn, rigged mesh item stays blurry. There are some work around methods for solving that problem. An article on that problem is: Rigged Mesh and Textures. You’ll find it on the blog: a man 4 all seasons’s Blog.

One of the things the author, aman4allseasons, says I find questionable. The fix is to rez your mesh item on the ground and wait for it to rez. It usually does. It can then be taken back into inventory and worn. The texture should have fully downloaded and will be in your cache. So, it should look OK when worn.

But, there are comments about changing the rigged mesh size not being a concern. But, there is a discussion going on in the Mesh Deformer’s JIRA thread about problems with the bounding box size of resized mesh items and what that will do with the Mesh Deformer.

You can see a bounding box by selecting: Develop (top Menu) -> Render Metadata -> Bounding boxes. Until the bounding box problem is sorted out I suggest you not change the size of mesh items you rez on the ground to solve texture render problems.

Mesh Clothes

OK… they don’t fit. In general I find they suck. They look great in pictures. But, in use they are pretty bad. Put on a mesh dress and sit down.

Skirts and Sitting = Fail

Skirts and Sitting = Fail

I have on a tan pants suite and put on a mesh dress over it. When sitting the alpha layer makes things look ridiculous. That sitting posture is not very lady like, but it show the problem well. My whole genital area has gone invisible. To the right the second arrow points to ring around my leg where I’ve also gone transparent. 

Some mesh hair has problems. You have to know if it was made for use with those huge Tango Lola’s or small breasts. Otherwise, it just looks dumb.

Mesh Shape Changing

Mesh Shape Changing

The shape thing is especially annoying to me. I’m not into the Jo-Lo butts. She is beautiful and her butt looks really good on her. But that size butt just doesn’t work for me. You can see how the brown dress distorts my shape. The left and right red lines are the same curves. You can see how much bigger my butt is in the brown dress.

The brown dress is darling and well made. I love it. But, not what it does to my butt.

Poke Through Places

Poke Through Places

Then there are all those little places where the dress and alpha leave a problem. It seems everything has one or more of these places. For me it is common for my upper back muscles (latissimus dorsi) to poke through.  Have you tried to adjust for that?

Sizing Poke Throughs & Jogs

Sizing Poke Throughs & Jogs

If you are an in between size, then you will have what I’ll call skin jogs. You can see in the image above the jog where my skin and the tan top (I it wore for modesty) extend past the evening gown. Then there are those spots of dress embedded in or sticking out of my back.

For now the only solutions are to use the Mesh Deformer experimental viewers with deformable mesh clothes, which are rare. The other is to make your own clothes that fit your personal shape. And the more popular… ‘popular’ may not be the best work, may be ‘common’… method is to adjust your shape to fit the clothes.

If you choose to use an experimental viewer, you will not appear correctly to others unless they too are using a Deformer capable viewer. It will be interesting to see what happens if a significant number of people start using experimental viewers.

And why do all clothes have to be left so they attach to the right hand? I have my nails on my hand. If I ever find a mesh item I keep, I’ll re-attach it to my pelvis or spine. I suppose I could get by using ADD when wearing mesh clothes. I do it for alpha layers. But, why not attach the rigged mesh to seldom used attachment point?

Summary

Well… enough annoyances. All these things will get fixed. It’s just a matter of how long it takes. I think the texture render problems are likely to resolve in the next few weeks. The Mesh Deformer problems are going to take a long time, at least I am expecting it to.

5 thoughts on “Second Life’s Annoyances

  1. Glad to hear the texture problems are not just mine. Trying to take product pictures has been frustrating.

  2. I dip my toes into the mesh clothing fiasco every month or two. I agree with your assessment, when it works it can be spectacular, but that is rare. One really annoyance is overdone alpha layers, almost any mesh blouse with a loose open collar will be ruined if you look at it any way except straight on. I *hope* things will be better when the deformer comes out but I am not getting my hopes up until Avatar2 (assuming LL does it right).

    • I think we see it the same. I pretty much see mesh clothes as something that looks good only in pictures.

      I doubt the Deformer is going to provide a complete solution. The problems are from people not yet knowing how to work with mesh clothes.

  3. You forgot the most basic solution for the Mesh clothes problem: simply not buy any. Mesh clothes have been a general fail for the very same reasons you describe (and several more). Most designers are simply not doing a very good job at making them, either delivering terrible sizes or even “aspect ratios” in sizes (narrow waist, insanely broad shoulders), Or the alpha mask is badly made. The beauty, much like the devil, is in the details. Seems many dont understand that, both creators and customers. Maybe the number of people who take a very close look at you and what you are wearing is getting smaller. But as long as Mesh clothes remain what they are today, I will pass on them. I have traditional clothes that look just as good.

    • I did not forget that solution. I’ve only bought 1 pair of mesh pants and a couple of mesh hair do’s that work for me.

      We agree on the problem being in the details of making mesh clothes. It is possible to make good mesh clothes. But, for now one either changes their avatar to a standard size or suffers poor fitting clothes. So, I am making my own clothes. With the improvements in Blender 2.68 I hope to get some skirts working as I want them to. I’ve been unhappy with the weighting. 2.68 should allow me to more easily fix that.

      Also there is a size problem few creators are aware of. Taling with Gaia Clary, maker of Avastar, I found she did not realize that currently Avastar is the tool that correctly imports Avatar XML shape files. See http://blog.nalates.net/2013/04/23/second-life-shape-export/ for an explanation of the problem and a work around.

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